Google+ YA Romantics: Author Spotlight ... Lara Zielin

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Author Spotlight ... Lara Zielin

Author Spotlight

Welcome to a new periodic feature on my blog ... Author Spotlight.  In this feature, I'll showcase and review multiple works by a YA author.

Today's featured author is Lara Zielin, author of:

The Waiting Sky
To be published by Putnam Juvenile on August 7, 2012
Source: bought

The Implosion of Aggie Winchester
Published by Putnam Juvenile on August 4, 2011
Source: ARC traded with another blogger

Donut Days
Published by Putnam Juvenile on August 6, 2009
I didn't read this one, but just FYI


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The Waiting Sky

My summary: After Jane's alcoholic mother nearly kills Jane and a friend in a car accident, Jane joins her brother on a team of tornado chasers. Jane will have to come to terms with her mother's illness, her frayed relationship with her brother, and her feelings for a cute guy on a rival tornado team.

My thoughts: Beyond seeing the movie Twister back in the 1990s, I knew next to nothing about storm chasers. Lara Zielin really takes you into the eye of the storm, offering an inside look at the teams who follow tornados to do scientific research and gain fame. Jane is part of the Tornado Brothers, but a rival team, the Twister Blisters, are hot on their heels. Zielin does a great job of using the tornados as a metaphor for Jane's stormy relationship with her mother. It was heartbreaking to watch Jane struggle to support her mother, who claims to want to address her drinking problem but clearly will have to hit bottom first. I can't even imagine how hard it must be to watch a loved one in crisis and know that you need to give them tough love.

The Implosion of Aggie Winchester

My summary: It's not easy being the principal's daughter, and Margaret "Aggie" Winchester has thumbed a nose at her mother by going Goth. When rumors fly that Aggie's mother, who's facing a health crisis, schemes to stop Aggie's best friend Sylvia from being prom queen, Aggie dives into the controversy without thinking about the consequences, and learns some difficult lessons about friendship and loyalty.

My take: This book had tons interesting issues and story lines. There's Aggie's relationship with her mother.  Sylvia's pregnancy also puts a strain on Aggie's relationship with Sylvia, as Aggie thinks Sylvia is kidding herself by believing the baby's father cares about her. Added to that is the whole Prom Queen Scandal --the town goes crazy over the idea over a Pregnant Goth Prom Queen. Aggie also has a sort-of boyfriend, about whom she says:
He wanted me in private and ignored me in public.
As a backdrop, she and her father compete in a fishing competition, which also serves as a metaphor for some of her problems.
We were going to use the fish to win the tournament, then set him free again.
I really loved watching Aggie struggle to figure everything out. And I loved that Lara Zielin let Aggie mess everything up, then try to fix it again.  I had no idea how things were going to end up.

In conclusion:  Both of these books feature strong protagonists, use nature as a metaphor and explore mother-daughter relationships.  I've discovered a talented new YA contemporary author!

Both of these will be up for grabs next week in the comment contest!

25 comments:

  1. I've read Zielin's first two books but hadn't realized she had a new one coming. I will definitely be on the lookout for it! The tornado aspect sounds really interesting and mother-daughter relationships are probably my third favorite to read about (after sister-sister and female best friends).

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    1. How did you like Donut Days? I hadn't heard of that one but I'd been meaning to read Implosion for a while!

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  2. Those both sound really good. I had heard of The Waiting Sky, but not the other one. Thanks for the spotlight post!!

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    1. I liked comparing the two -- I'll do it again sometime!

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  3. I love the new meme! Do more! And can't wait to one one of those books! :)

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  4. I have a copy of The Waiting Sky and can't wait to read it ... it looks absolutely wonderful! I will definitely have to check out some of Zielin's other works -- I do love the cover for The Implosion of Aggie Winchester!

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    1. I loved Aggie and her story. If you like Waiting Sky, definitely check it out!

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  5. I like it when authors let their charcters mess everything up too but it really freaks me out to lol ;) nice spot light!

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  6. I love the fact that The Waiting Sky is about storm chasers. I've seen some stuff on TV and its seriously no joke. This is such a cool topic for a book and I look forward to reading it.

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    1. I have never seen them -- are they on the Weather Channel in real life? It was really fascinating stuff!

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    2. I'm not totally sure but I think the Discovery channel or somewhere around that. I'm so not good at details lol.

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  7. I'm really looking forward to The Waiting Sky. It sounds so unique and intriguing and I'm even more excited to know it doesn't disappoint. Thanks for the reviews:)

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    1. It was really different, especially the storm chasing!

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  8. I hadn't heard of Lara Zielin before this. A great into. I do like strong protagonists.

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  9. Fun post! I have seen The Waiting Sky, but haven't had time to really look into it. I actually really liked Twister and I like watching storm chasers, so I'll be reading that one.

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  10. I haven't heard of Lara Zielin but this book The Waiting Sky sounds promising! :)

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  11. I love YA Contemporary so much and these two sound great. I love the cover of The Waiting Sky better, but The Implositon of Auggie Winchester sounds more my speed.

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  12. I haven't heard of this author before, but I will tell you that I am huge natural disaster junkie. I know that sounds really bad but it's so true. I don't want anyone to die or get hurt, I just think they're fascinating, but I do enjoy them more in the movies because none of the bad stuff really happens. Seriously I've seen probably every natural disaster movie ever made, even the really bad made for tv ones, but I get really excited when there are books about them because there aren't that many. So I am totally going to read The Waiting Sky. And I'm really sorry I rambled on this post!

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    1. Ha ha-- sometimes the super- rambling comments end up in spam. But not this one, so you're good.

      Wow -- I want to be near you if there's a disaster, because you'll know exactly what to do :)

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