Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pretty Amy Blog Tour

I really appreciate YA reads that discuss hard topics for teens, or explore situations that some teens may find themselves in. With a pair of teens myself I find that while they are not always wanting to discuss some hard topics with me, I find that I can get a book that is on topic and then we can discuss the characters and their reactions and have more positive conversation together about some topics that ways. Here in our house YA saves for many topics that our teens don’t want to touch of directly. I really give thanks to the variety of books out there that deal with real issues in life people/teens face today.

Pretty Amy is one of those books that deals with hard topics and choices that are made within ourselves and within our families and overcoming our fears are just one of the many topics picked up in this book.

Pretty Amy
by Lisa Burstein
Released 5.8.2012
Entangled Publishing

Pretty Amy

Buy Now:  bn  /  amazon  /  powells

Book Summary:
    Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.
    Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

Author Bio:

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University and is glad to finally have it be worth more than the paper it was printed on. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats. Pretty Amy is her first novel. She never went to her senior prom.
She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous.
She was a lot like Amy when she was in high school.
She is still a lot like Amy. 

Author On The Net: 


Our Thoughts On Pretty Amy:

     When life throws you lemons you make lemonade, or so the saying goes, but what if life throws you the possibility of graduating high school from while in prison after you make a mistake? Amy Fleishman is not having the time of her life as a senior in high school, nor is her home life positively perfect. Amy falls into the likely aspect of high school life as being an odd kid out, coming into friendship under the bleachers with two snarky characters with a dark streak. Finding herself pushing her limits, Amy follows along with her two friends Cassie and Lila getting into trouble and picking up bad habits. Amy soon finds that the value of friendship is not always as it seems and sometimes consequences can be overpowering.

     Pretty Amy is a breathtaking book in that is it real or at least is feels real to the readers and the characters face problems and situations common in schools somewhere across the states. Peer pressure overpowers rational thought, especially what little rational thought teen girls possess especially after being ditched before prom, and send these three girls into a downward spiral. After drinking and smoking cigarettes to consuming illegal substances, Amy has fallen from the little girl image that they have wanted to hold on to, and when faced with Amy’s latest transgression it pushes her parents past their limits. Amy find herself cast out onto a coworker who takes her into his home and family trying to help Amy make sense of herself and her life.  The only thing that Amy finds is a healthy dose of sarcasm as she tries to distance herself from the upcoming trial and possible jail sentence as she is working off her court fees and community service hours. Pretty Amy was captivating in that is deals with common issues that may face teens in the real world, while also examining the feelings from a teen’s perspective as they go through something drastic in life.

    The characters in the story really made the book, as readers go through the world by Amy’s voice we get a feeling of the teen mind. Amy is facing such a feeling of loss and bewilderment in her current situation and as her conditions change and she has to face up to some of her fears, Amy is essentially working through a lot of emotions and speculations. Sometimes parents might forget how dramatic everything seems when we are young and the consequences of actions that we face are so world ending, but Pretty Amy does a great job is exploring the teen psyche and how they get through some problems. With compelling supporting characters in the bad news duo of Cassie and Lila, we see reliable Joe reminding Amy of what she was before she fell through the wrong crowd, and Aaron who is using her for his agenda. As Amy’s life is broken apart we find ourselves coming to grips with the aftermath of a whole bunch of actions and choices converging in on each other that a teen can or has made. This teen Amy has to come to terms with her faults and try to rise above her fears to be able to rise up from her mistakes. And this is essentially what is so powerful about the novel Pretty Amy is that the story revolves around the choices that we can make in any given situations, and the knowledge that there are ramifications for our mistakes no matter our age. Whether these choices affect our friends, schools, work, and especially how choices can affect families. Sometimes our choices in friends can totally impact our lives forever in good or destructive ways. 

Q & A With Lisa Burstein:

Where you under peer pressure or bullying while young? 

I wouldn't call it peer pressure, but yes, I used drugs and smoked and drank. I definitely did these things because my friends were doing it. I never felt forced necessarily, but certainly if my friends weren't, I wouldn't have either.
What inspired you to create Amy’s character and give her a voice? 

High school was not easy for me. Freshman year I tried my hardest to fit in with the popular kids. Girls who seemed like they had no problems, looked perfect, acted perfect, smelled perfect. I joined the pep-squad. I helped decorate homecoming floats. I joined student council. I was even on the field hockey team, but I kept feeling like I was just a body. Just a warm pile of skin and bones taking up space around all these people who actually belonged there. No one made me feel like I belonged there. No one made me want to belong there, but I still felt like I should want it. I still tried very hard to be wanted. I still cried in my room at night about why I wasn't wanted. These experiences are what helped me write PRETTY AMY.

In deciding how much snark Amy could whip out under duress, where you ever caught laughing at some of Amy’s antics or replies?There were so many great ones in the book that sent us smirking. 

Absolutely, she is one funny girl. The best thing was re-reading during copy-edits and being totally surprised at some of the things she said. It was like, wait, did I write that?

Were you ever in the crowd hanging under the bleachers in high school?

Yes, that was the crowd I hung out with. We hung out just off campus on a street called Farber Lane, it is in the book ;).

With there being so many YA books out there and different perspectives on how these book affect teens what is your view on YA saves? 

I believe that #YASAVES. Since you've read PRETTY AMY you know I am not someone who censors myself. I feel like if we don't give teens real situations, the things they really deal with to read, then we are doing them a disservice. They need books they can relate to. Why would we be afraid to let them "read" things they have to deal with on a daily basis anyway. That makes no sense to me.

Do you think that the YA genre gives teens a voice and an ability to read through some of their problems? Does YA portray a variety of examples of teen life to you?

I think it does, but I think it also does for adults. Even at my age, there are still things I am dealing with from when I was a teenager. I have had adults read PRETTY AMY and tell me that its helped them deal with the things they went through as a teen.

- We want to thank Amy Burstein for coming on and answering all of our questions, and Entangled Publishing for making this fabulous book available to us. I know that will such topics facing our teens these days, reading this book creates and impact on readers and in families who share it together.

No comments: