Thursday, January 18, 2007

I finished "Cathy's Book: if found call..." by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman. The book made a stir in the Young Adult publishing world because it includes pretty blatant product placement. It gave me a headache, librarian-wise, when it arrived because it contains an envelope with about 2 dozen pieces of paper - mock newspaper clippings, birth certificates, a napkin with a lipstick kiss and a phone number. Supposedly, readers can call all the numbers and they all lead to actual businesses and readers can visit the websites as well.
I thought the book was a fun read though certainly not literature with a capital "L". And the idea behind the product placement is sort of clever. Why not? YA advocates call this shamelessly capitalizing on teens and their propensity to buy stuff. Teens are going to buy stuff anyway, I say. And, yes, some teens are more susceptible to advertising than others. Newsflash here! So are some (a whole lot if you ask me) adults. Look at political situations, for instance. A lot of perfectly sane adults are swayed by persistent advertising. If it didn't work - advertising, that is - then it wouldn't be a mega-billion dollar business.
Now here's the secret. You can get through the whole book and fully understand what happened without punching in a single number or clicking on a single website. I pawed through the score of paper addenda and though intriguing in a lot of ways, they were just window dressing. SO, I will catalog said title and put it in the library and hope that everyone carefully puts the papers all back in the envelope.
Oh, you might want to know what the book is about. Well, Cathy wakes up after a date with her much older (she has NO idea how MUCH older) boyfriend to find a bruise inside her elbow - a spider bite, perhaps? Her recently widowed mother (which makes Cathy recently bereaved, too) is a nurse and is sure that the mark is a needle mark which ticks Cathy off. Cathy is a "Say No to Drugs" kind of girl. Then her boyfriend tells her to stay away from him and etc. and Cathy, who is still grieving from her father's sudden death, skips school and ignores the pleas of her best friend/biology partner to find out what happened to said boyfriend. And THEN one of boyfriends's female co-workers ends up murdered. Off we go, all around San Francisco, especially Chinatown, trying to figure out who Boyfriend is and whether he's Evil or merely Misunderstood. It's written as Cathy's journal and IMs and you're supposed to think she's still in danger, which leaves the way open for a sequel.
Stuff happens a little too fast and maybe the addenda does flesh things out. But you can get the picture without it. Logical? No. Fast-paced and fun for people who like this kind of thing? I enjoyed it. It made a couple of lunch breaks fly right by.
I'm reading the "Boy Book" by e. lockhart. (The lower case letters are on purpose.) I didn't read "The Boyfriend List" which precedes this one. You don't need to. lockhart does a good job of hinting at what happened. If you're intrigued, you'll read the first book, but she tells you enough to understand what's going on. Ruby Oliver has been a social outcast since the summer between sophomore and junior year at Tate Prep the expensive private school she attends on a scholarship. This book is how she deals with losing her friends - over a serious but not overwhelming social gaffe - and the love of her life, Jackson. Visits to her therapist are one way the plot moves along. Quotes from Ruby's "Boy Book" a guide to the opposite sex that she and her friends compiled since 8th grade make fun entries to each chapter. I don't know where Ruby will end up - not with Jackson, I hope. He's a shameless flirt. But, it's fun getting there.
Well, it looks like I might actually get to bed before midnight. So off I go.

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