Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley

Crush ControlCrush Control by Jennifer Jabeley
Publisher: Razorbill
Publish Date: June 9, 2011
Paperback, 368 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary

Book Review:
I loved Crush Control, this was a great light-hearted contemporary young adult book. It wax very enjoyable and a real page-turner.  Willow makes a great main character, she wants to return to Georgia to her best friend she left at 9-years-old. She has kept in touch with Max since she left and she wants to create a romantic relationship to with him.  However when she returns, she finds him the same friend she has always had, friendly, caring, and the banter between them comes right back when they are face to face.  He drives her to school, he sneaks in her room (even though he doesn't have to, her mom adores him) but he has a girlfriend.  This is a presents major problem for Willow's plan to make Max her boyfriend.

Willow quickly finds a good friend in Georgia a slight outcast that gives Willow the lowdown on how the hierarchy of the school and about Quinton who Willow met the first day she came back to town.  I loved Georgia and her diagrams and her wit and humor.  Soon several members of the school learn of Willow's past in Las Vegas and her mom's hypnosis show and ask her to hypnotize as a type of party trick during one of Quinton's parties.  Being thrilled at being invited to the party she agrees to do this even though she knows her mom would not want her to do it.  Her mom is trying to leave the Las Vegas lifestyle behind and is work as a hypnotist in a pain clinic in town.  But Willow being the new girl, she does it and impresses the kids and soon draws attention of two popular students that think they need hypnotism to help them with different parts of their lives.  Willow debates whether to do this and ultimately decides to help and suddenly is part of the popular crowd.  At the same time Willow is dealing with the outcome of her hypnotisms and fitting in with the popular crowd, she is also trying to get her mother and her grandmother back together and not upset her mother as well. And there is Max who seems to like her, but every time she thinks he does, something happens and he seems to change.  Soon Willow's life is a mess of her own making and she and Georgia are working hard to make it all better, which leads to several humorous episodes that I think really bring out Ms. Jabaley's sense of humor and make the book.

I really love this book.  I thought the hypnotism angle was fresh and new.  It made a nice added dimension to the plot.  Willow was a great typical yet interesting teenage girl, she's trying to do things right and to fit in and she wants Max as a boyfriend.  Willow made a strong character, yes things get out of control, but she always tries to fix things with the help of Georgia.  I also like Max, he's just that all-around great guy that all girls want as their best friend and as a boyfriend.  Ms. Jabeley wrote an amazing story that entertains, teaches a lesson and can make you laugh.  I like the simple young adult books like this one (and I don't mean simple in a bad way - I just mean no paranormal element, no real harsh teaching element, just teenagers being teenagers).  This is an excellent book and I cannot recommend it enough.  You will quickly fall in love with Willow, her mother, Max and Georgia and their antics will keep you turning pages to see what will happen next.  I see this as going down as one of my favorite YA novels of this year!

Book Rating:  5.0/5.0

About the Book:
Willow has spent most of her life as her mother's sidekick in a popular Las Vegas hypnotism show. So when she and her mom move back to their sleepy southern hometown to start over, she thinks she's in for a life of quiet normalcy. Except that her new life turns out to be anything but, when she kinda sorta hypnotizes Quinton, the hottest guy on the football team, to fall madly, deeply, head over heels in love with her. But what started out as an innocent way to make her best friend, Max, jealous soon gets way out of hand, and Willow begins to wonder if the mind - and more importantly, the heart - is something you can really control.

About the Author: 
Jennifer Jabaley grew up in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and has been known to spend more time modeling sunglasses than seeing patients at her optometry practice. Jen lives in Blue Ridge, Georgia, with her husband and two small children.

FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher through BookSparks PR for an honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Guest Post: Julie Halpern - Where, How, and When I Write

Today Julie Halpern, author of Don't Stop Now which I reviewed last week is joining us with a guest post about her writing.

Where, How, and When I Write

Now that I am working on the big revision of my fourth novel (the sequel to my first!), I’m trying to remember how I managed to write any of my novels.  The hilarious part is that I quit my job as a school librarian last year to be home with my daughter.  I thought this would also give me more time to write, seeing as I would only have to balance two careers instead of three.  As if.  Now that I am MOM full time, I can’t seem to find any time of day where I am WRITER.  This is scaring me a bit.  So I thought I would look back at how I wrote my first three novels and see if this inspires Writer Julie to come out and play.

Get Well Soon – I should first mention that I write all my novels by hand into regular notebooks using regular ballpoint pens.  I am a terrible typist, and the blank screen combined with the flashing cursor and squiggly lines makes writing a book straight into a computer daunting.  I wrote the first half of Get Well Soon on my train rides from Chicago into the suburbs and back when I worked at an elementary school.  When summer came, I signed up for two hours a day in a private study room at my public library.  There, I finished the second half.  So disciplined I was!

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder – I signed on for this book with my editor when all I knew was that I was writing a “friendship novel.”  It was pretty daunting to be paid for a book and then having to write it.  I used the ol’ bland-walled library room to write this book, although the starkness and rips in the chairs started getting to me.  Obviously, though, it brought enough focus to write a book.

Don’t Stop Now – This was the first book I wrote after I had my daughter.  She was a power sleeper, so I wrote the book during my summer off in the wee hours of the morning before she woke up.  Okay, she slept until 9:30.  It all worked perfectly, until…

Get Well Soon: The Sequel (actual title to come) – My daughter seems to now sense when I’m working in the morning.  On days when I’m not working, she’ll sleep until 8:30.  Sometimes I have to wake her up.  On days when I’m trying to work?  I’m lucky if she stays down until 7:30.  I have no idea how I wrote my first solid draft, in my house, during baby sleeping times, but now that I have the first big revision to tackle?  I’m struggling.  I don’t like the pressure the baby monitor puts on me.  It’s like I’m constantly listening for her voice to break the flow I’ve got going with my writing.  Really, the only time I’m going to be able to write well from now on will have to be a) when my daughter is out of the house (hear that, Grandma?) or b) when I lock myself in my bedroom closet.  I’m seriously considering the latter.  Because I have a deadline, and I’m not getting much work done.  Did I just hear something over the baby monitor?  Guess this blog post is done.  Sigh.

Thanks so much for joining us today Julie - I really enjoyed Don't Stop Now and you can find my review here.

About the Book:
On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.
Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?

About the Author:
A native to the Chicago suburbs, She have been a school librarian for more than ten years (old much?).  She live with my sweetheart husband, illustrator Matthew Cordell, and their gloriously large Siamese cat, Tobin.  In her spare time she like to read, watch TV, play Sims 2, and travel.

Guest Post: Jennifer Jabaley

Today I welcome Jennifer Jabaley, author of Crush Control to My  Reading Room.  She's here to talk about how she was inspired to write Crush Control which I will be reviewing later today. 

When people find out that CRUSH CONTROL is about hypnosis, the first thing people ask is, "How did you come up with that idea?" quickly followed by, "Did you know much about hypnosis or did you have to do research?"
This is the true story of how I became inspired to write a story about hypnosis: It was the middle of the night.  I was up with my daughter who was about one at the time.  She was a horrible sleeper and I was quite exhausted.  On this particular night, I was rocking her back and forth and with a touch of delirium, I started to say, "You are getting sleepy.  SLEEEEEEEEPY" in my best hypnotist voice.  Then suddenly it occured to me - that could be a really great topic for a book! I don't think I've heard of any other books about hypnosis - especially not in YA. And what teenager wouldn't be drawn to the idea of being able to control their circumstances?
But I knew very little about hypnosis.  So once I decided this could be a great topic, Idecided to learn as much as I could. I booked a trip to Las Vegas to experience a real stage performance! It was quite entertaining :) There is a party scene in Crush Control that was heavily influenced by the Vegas hypnosis show I saw. I did have to tame down the antics a bit to make it appropriate for a teen book, though.
Much of the hypnosis used in Crush Control is not the stage variety, but rather, closer to a technique called hypnotherapy.  I did a tremendous amount of research on this form of hypnosis. It is used to help people break bad habits like smoking or to aid in weight loss, or combatting fears like a fear of flying.  I was really surprised and impressed with how much science backs the idea of hypnotherapy.  And even though Willow uses her form of hypnotherapy in an immature way, I do believe that hypnotherapy, if used appropriately, is a valuable tool to help people change habits that are hurting or inhibiting them.
I know some people might be skeptical about the idea of hypnosis.  The people on stage could just be faking, right? But after doing research for this book, I do believe that hypnosis is real! And it can be used not only to provide entertainment, but can help people erase bad habits or feelings.
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog and I really hope you enjoy reading CRUSH CONTROL!!