Saturday, January 26, 2013

YA for Pre-K

a self-portrait drawn by my sister, Rose
YA book covers can be so misleading, especially if you are a four-year-old, a truth that I recognized after reading multiple blog posts and articles that resulted from authors asking their children to judge books by their covers. I recently decided to put this to the test with the help of my own little sister, who not only willingly, but quite enthusiastically, told me what she thought various YA novels are about. I am so happy to welcome the most adorable preschooler in the world onto my blog, and I hope you enjoy meeting my sister, who will be going by her middle name, Rose, for privacy reasons.

So, I will let Rose take over now with the wish that you will laugh at her insightful interpretations as much as I did.

What it's Really About:
According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.
What the Four-Year-Old Says it's About: 
There's a little land and it's called Funny Draw Land. And there was a little boy who always liked to look at the drawings, and he never went home. He just looked at the drawings, like a heart or a pumpkin or anything!
I wonder if his parents missed him.

What it's Really About:
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
What the Four-Year-Old Says it's About: 
It's about a really big land and it's all purplish and a really nice girl comes walking in and then she goes walking home and that's the end.
My little sister seems to be a fantasy person; she loves her different "lands" that contrast with our own.

What it's Really About:
An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.

Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death
What the Four-Year-Old Says it's About:
That's a harder one. Let me lie down and think.


Yes. I got the start of it. First there's a really dark and black day, and there was always all kinds of different roses that lived there. And they never were dead. They never went anywhere. They were called stay roses. And they lived in the middle of a very funny thing: it's called chicken legs. And they were always wrapped around it. If they didn't wrap around it, then they would die.
This one has to be my favorite of these five preconceptions. 

What it's Really About:
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
What the Four-Year-Old Says it's About: 
There was a girl and a boy that loved to kiss each other. Another boy and girl came and they loved to hug each other and they hugged, hugged, hugged. Then we have another boy and girl who came walking by who loved to hug and kiss. They hugged and kissed so much that they loved each other. And then a girl and boy went walking by that didn't love to hug or kiss.
 This is actually somewhat accurate.

What it's Really About:
Question: What do you get when you take . . . 1 overachieving girl + 1 insanely cute guy + 1 massive fine + 1 scheme involving a little dishonesty and a whole lot of cash?

I've always been the good girl--working seriously long hours at my family's restaurant and getting straight As. And Camden King was always just that hot, popular guy I'd pass in the halls, whose ego was probably much bigger than his brain. I didn't think there'd "ever" be a reason for us to actually, like, interact.

Then again, I never thought I'd mess up so badly that my family might lose our entire restaurant if I didn't come up with a ton of money, and fast. So that's where Camden comes in--he and his evil/genius plan to do kids' homework for cash.

I know cheating's wrong, but it's better than being "dead," right? Which is what I'd be if my parents knew about what happened. I never expected things to spin so far out of control. Or that I'd be such a sucker for Camden's lopsided grin. Or that falling apart could be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Answer: The time of my life.
What the Four-Year-Old Says it's About: 
There was a girl who had a green shirt and she loved to sing really loud. There was another boy who was like her, but he only had one eye. The both singed and danced in a show for other people.
I had just shown her a different cover featuring a girl whose hair was covering one of her eyes, so I assume that is why she thought to give the boy that particular characteristic. 

Rose is signing off for now, but she had a blast helping me with this post. Would you like to see her again? This is one of her new favorite activities, and she would be happy to make a repeat appearance.

If you like this, you can visit Sara at Forever 17 Books, a blogger who was one of my inspirations for this post and who runs her own feature that also includes cover art drawn by her son. And for those of you who have little people in your life and have done a post like this: leave links! I would love to read their words of wisdom. 


  1. Your little sister has a vibrant imagination! I read e-books mostly, so my twins (who turned five last month) rarely see the covers. I wonder what they would think.

  2. So adorable! I can't even pick which is my favorite! lol Feel free to link up on my post on Fridays, if you would like! :)

  3. Your sister is adorable! Her interpretations really made me grin :) Would love to see her again, do this often!


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