Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Book Review - Confessions of Georgia Nicholson

Confessions of Georgia Nicholson (#1 & 2) by Louise Rennison

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #1) Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison


My rating: 4 of 5 stars ("Really Liked It")
This first installment introduces Georgia Nicholson who provides us with a funny, snarky romp through the diary of a younger (brattier) Bridget Jones. Our narrator, Georgia, has the typical 'tude of a fourteen-year-old girl, but thankfully, we readers get to enjoy her snark and wit, rather than be a victim of it. I'll concede that at times Georgia is difficult to like, which probably costs this book a 5-star rating. In a slight defense of her, though: I know I was a complete brat from 13-14. Bad, bad times that I can look back on now with a slight shudder. And her relationships with her friends? Well, while they're not warm & fuzzy bonds, they are pretty typical of relationships with girls at that age. Why do you think teen girls seem to go through new groups of friends each year from 6th-9th grade? Despite the mean streak in Georgia, she still had me laughing out loud too often to dislike her tale. I will warn you, though, the ending is a killer, so make sure you have book 2 on hand!

Recommend: I would definitely recommend this book to younger teen or tween girls, from 5th through 9th grade and adults with a sense of humor who enjoy chick lit and YA lit.

Topics Presented: This is pure fun fluff about being a young (silly) adolescent, fighting with parents, drooling over boys, and trying to grow up.

And while I'm at it...

On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God: Further Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #2) On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God: Further Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison


My rating: 4 of 5 stars ("Really Liked It")
Once again we get to join Georgia in her angst-ridden quest to avoid Kiwi-a-gogo with her family while simultaneously trying to hold on to her Sex God, aka Robbie. The former problem gets solved, but what about the latter? Is there trouble in paradise? And what is WITH her mother?

On the one hand, Georgia is as horrible & incorrigible as the first novel; because of that, I feel like I should dislike her...but I really don't.

A couple issues I had with this book are some strange characterizations. The first is her little sister Libby, who acts more like a 12-18 month old than a preschooler. The other strange characterization is that Georgia does NOT look forward to her developing "basoomers." Do you know any preteen girls who DIDN'T want breasts? I didn't know of any when I was in middle school! This little detail about Georgia strikes me as v. strange.

Other than those little points against Rennison, Georgia is still hilarious and an apt representation of a fourteen-year-old girl. She seems mean at times to her best friend, Jas, but really...what girls are actually good friends to one another at that age? All the girls are equally self-conscious and self-absorbed, so it works. I do worry, though, that with 8 more books in the series, Rennison will try to continually capitalized on Georgia's teenage selfishness and continually write from the perspective of an early teen rather than having any development from young Georgia.

There are a total of 10 books in the series thus far, and I think I will be picking up the rest. A true guilty pleasure for a thinking adult!

Recommend: I would definitely recommend this book to younger teen or tween girls, from 5th through 9th grade and adults with a sense of humor who enjoy chick lit and YA lit.

Topics Presented: This is pure fun fluff about being a young (silly) adolescent, fighting with parents, drooling over boys, and trying to grow up.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

YA Lit = Love

Maybe over the summer I'll post reviews of recent YA reads. Lately it's been all I've been in the mood to read. Perhaps because it's generally a quick one or they're usually happy...I'm not sure. Well, they're not always happy exactly -- some deal with deep, heavy issues. But in general, even in dealing with those sobering topics, they usually end with a note of hope or wisdom.

I'll work on getting a new review up for tomorrow.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Victory!

You are now reading the blog of the newly employed SAT-prep tutor! (critical reading/writing sections only)

It was all quite a whirlwind. I received a call this past Sunday (yes, Sunday), had an interview Monday morning, and received an offer that afternoon to come by on Thursday to begin training. I was there from 9 until 3, and I was mentally exhausted by the time I got home. The first day of training is always a bit overwhelming, right? Not only was I swimming in all that new information, I started the morning with a 2 hour test myself! (I had to take & pass the SAT reading/writing portion of the test first. Which, on the one hand makes sense. On the other hand, I've passed about a bajillion Praxis tests by this point, soooo couldn't those count?) I did indeed pass, which meant I can confidently say I have a part-time job as an SAT tutor.

It won't be very many hours during the week, at least during the summer. But that's perfectly fine, because I'm not quite ready to give up my independence yet. I had mentioned I was leaning towards going to get my master's, and the center's director seemed very pleased. He assured me that they had two people there currently working on graduate degrees and a third who just finished hers. When I start taking classes, I just need to let them know my schedule and they'll work with me accordingly. Of course it means I might not get as many hours I want, or I may have to take more evening sessions than I'd like...but it's great to know I could continue this job while going to school. It won't be much, income-wise, but it will be something. More importantly it will prevent me from getting rusty and it will be a nice addition to my resume for teaching SAT prep at a HS, who knows?

Friday, June 4, 2010

It can't hurt to apply

Well, it's looking more and more like I'd be better off going to graduate school at the moment. Out of the three local counties I have looked into for positions, only one has just lifted its hiring freeze, and none of the schools I'm interested in have listings (yet). They are actually still in school for another week, so technically their school year hasn't even ended yet, so there's still the possibility of the whole summer for a position to open. The other two local counties are still in limbo, waiting to figure out budgets and positions. I wrote a thank-you email to the one middle school I interviewed with (she had mentioned email as a method of communication and so etiquette guides said it was acceptable!) and haven't heard back from her. Same with a principal I met at the fair - he gave me his card and told me to email him the following week, when he might know about English positions. Haven't heard back.

But I've submitted the county application and completed the state's online application program, so I'm all ready to go on that front! I decided to investigate local private schools, too. Most of them are parochial, though, with only one Catholic HS. The others are private Christian schools which is okay, but some require that you sign a particular statement of faith and since I actually am Catholic, I'm not totally okay with signing my name to some of their statements. So, I'll keep looking. There is a middle school Language Arts position available (possibly) and an Episcopal K-12 school with an upper English position; hubs is going to proofread/edit my cover letters and long-answer responses before I send those off on Monday. Still, I just get this feeling that I'm probably not going to get a job this year.

In which case, graduate school it is! (Hopefully) Which means I need to start studying for the GRE!

So I get a little social interaction, I need to take some kind of job for the fall. In the shower yesterday (so cliche, right), I realized I should look into local tutoring places. And if I couldn't find anything, maybe I could put an ad in the church bulletin or library...well, fancy this. I looked up Sylvan, and it turns out there's a center in one of the little towns nearby and low & behold, they have a center instructor position available (described as "part-time"). Another little perk is that they aren't open Fri-Sun, so I can keep my weekends, even if I work 30 hours Monday through Thursday. Look at me, jumping the gun. Basically, I wasn't expecting to apply for it today, but I did.

The application wasn't terribly in-depth -- for example, the three references it requested weren't required fields and even then the text box had limited characters. I couldn't even fit "former assistant principal." So, I'm not sure how thorough the interview process is. I know my credentials are great, though!

It would be nice to get to talk about English-y things again with a kid. And to have a little extra cash around the house. And to have a reason to get out of the house and do my hair.