Category Archives: Article/Review

“Getting Your Teen to Read” by Christine Stock

The Blog below is posted by Christine Stock in the Huffington Post:

Ask any high school teacher you know: there are certain questions from parents that come up time and time again during parent-teacher interviews. The most common ones are usually marks related, but English teachers will tell you that parents also want to know how they can foster the joy of reading in teens who claim to “hate” books and wouldn’t read one if their lives depended on it.

As sad as I am to say it, traditional high school English classrooms probably don’t inspire much reading for pleasure. I don’t know a whole lot of kids who care that Fitzgerald used synaesthesia as a tool in The Great Gatsby or that Shakespeare loved his dramatic irony. But even reluctant readers can find books to enjoy if provided with the right options.

First and foremost, do talk to your teen about her reluctance to read. You need to determine if your teen has a lack of interest or is struggling with something more significant like comprehension (in which case you should contact your teen’s English teacher as soon as possible). But if your teen claims that his reluctance stems from boredom or laziness, consider the following:

Don’t try to force a teen to read (or do anything for that matter). Your teen is not going to read a book just because you liked it or it’s on a reading list for school. So don’t let your teen’s class syllabus be her only selection when it comes to reading material.

Do provide your teen with books that focus on his personal interests. Thanks to the success of Harry PotterThe Hunger GamesTwilight, and other book series in recent years, publishers have inundated the public with Young Adult Literature. I am certain that there is a book out there that discusses at least one thing your teen likes. Is your teen into airplanes, war stories, codes, and spies? Consider Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity. What about tales of Armageddon, mass destruction, survival, and aliens? Pick up a copy of Rick Yancey’s The Fifth Wave. Paranormal activities, mysteries, and old haunted barns? Then Gail Gallant’s Apparition is a must.

Do consider your teen’s favourite course in school when making book selections. Does she excel in Physics? Kari Luna’s The Theory of Everything discusses string theory and alternate universes. Is your teen consumed with Tech and Computer classes? Alex London’s bookProxy is filled with awesome, not-so-futuristic technological inventions. What about Religion or Equity Studies? All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry is an excellent story about the oppression of small-village life.

Do consider the didactic and therapeutic qualities a book can have on a teen struggling with hardships. There are numerous well-written books out there that focus on tough topics, including Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (abuse, bullying, and suicide), Elise Moser’s Lily and Taylor (physical and sexual abuse), and Suzanne Sutherland’s When We Were Good (death and LGBTQ), among others.

Don’t disregard the impact that film adaptations can have. Why not buy your teen copies of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief or Veronica Roth’s Divergent and stick movie passes in them? Or get John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and include the YouTube site for the movie trailer? Falling in love with the story on the big screen just may inspire your teen to relive the glory of it in book form.

Don’t focus too much on stereotypical topics. Sometimes a teen’s reluctance stems from being introduced to a publisher’s idea of single-gender readership. Always focus on your own teen’s specific interests when making your selection.

Do try to frequent smaller, privately owned bookstores. The employees are far more likely to have read the selection of books and can give you honest feedback about the quality of writing and the maturity of subject matter. They will spend the time talking to your teen about his or her interests, and can offer appropriate selections.

And finally, do keep your eyes open for new releases. Publishers and Web sites devoted to book reviews will keep you informed of the newest and hottest YA literature available. Once you’ve identified what your teen likes, you can keep prepared with the next great read.

For my recommendations, identified by topics of interest and curriculum connections, please visit

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Wonderful article in the Owen Sound Sun Times

Grey County huge part of book

By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound

Sunday, December 15, 2013 2:31:13 EST PM

Gail Gallant wanted to call her first book Grey County because the novel wouldn’t exist without it.

1297504287441_ORIGINAL“I would have never written a book if I weren’t here,” said Gallant, one of about 15 local authors gathered at the Ginger Press in downtown Owen Sound on Saturday for its 28th annual authors’ open house. “It is completely inspiredby the landscape. The landscape and the weather are all in there.”

The Annan-area author’s murder mystery thriller, Apparition, released in September, is set in and around Owen Sound and tells the story of a teenage girl name Amelia who sees ghosts and the adventures in her life it causes.

Gallant said the working title of the book was always Grey County because it seemed so natural. The name change didn’t come until she was looking for a publisher, which she found in Doubleday Canada (Random House).

“Grey County to me surmises the book,” said Gallant, who was a weekender in Grey County for about a decade before moving to the area about two years ago. “I have a lot of geographic references like Inglis Falls, the Bruce Trail and some of the local parks and cemeteries.”

While the area is known for its beauty, Gallant said in a different light it can also be a very spooky place.

“On our property we used to have a dead apple orchard and there was nothing more Tim Burton than that apple orchard,” said Gallant. “It is very spooky and I have to say it arose naturally from my own emotional response to the landscape and the history in the landscape.”

Gallant said she loves the delapidated beauty in the old barns that are scattered across the area and has always been obsessed with the old cemeteries throughout the countryside.

“I don’t want to get nostalgic like there is only history here, because there is also an amazing future,” said Gallant. “But I think there is something deep about the feeling of the past here.”

Much of the book centres around a haunted barn, which is based on a rundown barn at a property Gallant owned south of Meaford.

“Eventually we took it down because it was half falling down, but it was spooky and somewhere along the line I started imagining a story,” said Gallant.

It was about a dozen years ago and Gallant’s son was going through some tough times as a young teen and Gallant imagined a story of a ghost in the barn that was forcing young boys to commit suicide and it had to be stopped. Gallant, who kept the story in note form, couldn’t bring herself to complete the book until about four years ago, when she decided to tell the story through the eyes of a teenage girl, rather than a mother after her son — who is doing well now and works in a bookstore — bought her a book from the Twilight series.

“As soon as I adopted the point of view as a teenage girl, the book came out,” said Gallant, who is originally from Toronto and has worked in television as a producer and director for the CBC and done freelance work for about 20 years.

Gallant said the book has been categorized as for teens and she has received a good response from teen readers, but the book is also quite serious.

“It is not a fantasy, it is really dealing with things like death and loss,” said Gallant. “The narrator is probably a lot more confused and a little neurotic and troubled than the average teen narrator.”

Gallant has already written a sequel, called Absolution, that is currently in the copy editing stage. It is slated to be released next fall.

Gallant said the local landscape again plays a major role in the new book, which she feels is an improvement on her first.

“”Grey County is right through both books,” Gallant said. “I don’t think it could have been a bigger part of it.”

Maryann Thomas, owner of the Ginger Press, said Saturday’s event was an opportunity to bring together authors so they can connect and share stories and meet with the public. The event has turned out to be a celebration of local literacy in the community.

Thomas, who opened the Ginger Press 35 years ago, said the store has made a deeper commitment to new and old books by local authors and about the region and that has led to the store now having more than 70% local content.

“I think that is a phenomenal statement about the wealth of literature in the community,” said Thomas.

Santa’s Reading List: YA Edition

Honoured to be included in this great reviewer’s Santa’s Reading List, YA Edition!

Canadian Gift Guide

A final peek in Santa’s sack reveals a bounty of amazing reads for young adults (and those not-so-young actual adults that simply love to indulge in one of the hottest genres around). These aren’t your pastel-coated, blonde twin-starring books my friends. Today’s YA is responsible for spurring on some of the world’s largest movie franchises, creating hotly contested love triangles, and special preorder editions and launch parties with each book. Whether you’ve picked up a Twilight or Hunger Games in the past or you’re completely uninitiated, rest assured, there’s plenty of diversity to hook you. Note that for the purposes of this post, all prices are suggested list prices.

All The Truth Thats In Me
All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry – $19
I’m going to start this little review off by saying that I had a lot of physical discomfort while reading this book…but it was still flippin’ fantastic. Set in…

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