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All in a Single Sentence October 31, 2013

Posted by ccbooks in Nerd Line.
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One of the more tedious and time-consuming jobs at the bookstore where I work is entering data for the New York Times Bestsellers every week.  Each of the four categories for children’s and YA lit (Middle Grade, Young Adult, Picture Book and Series) has a list of the top ten bestselling titles printed in the New York Times Book Review each weekend. But I have to enter data for WAY more than just those ten titles. The online site organizes books alphabetically by title, not author, so I’m constantly skipping back to authors who have two (or three, or four, or seven) books in a particular category. It’s a pain. However, when I open the actual print review, it’s fun to see what made the top ten list, and the sentence that goes along with each title. Who writes those sentences? Some are great, some are succinct but accurate and a few are just plain misleading. Here are some examples from a recent edition:

EXCELLENT ENCAPSULATIONS:

Out of My Mind: A brilliant girl with cerebral palsy longs for a way to speak.

Journey: A lonely girl draws a red door on her bedroom wall and enters a lushly detaailed imaginary world. I would quibble with the word ‘imaginary’ (says who?) but otherwise, a great summary.

Fangirl: Cath, a writer of popular fan fiction, struggles during her freshman year at college. 

Looking for Alaska: A boy seeking excitement finds that and more in a girl named Alaska. 

OKAY, BUT NOT THE WHOLE PICTURE

The One and Only Ivan: A gorilla who lives in a mall meets an elephant. Yes. And THEN??? No hint of the way Ivan takes control of his destiny.

Paper Towns: After a night of mischief, the girl Quentin loves disappears. Why does this sentence not mention the ROAD TRIP?

SHORTEST PHRASE POSSIBLE:

There’s apparently only so much you can say about the books for the really young set.

Press Here: A dance of color. 

Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes: Well-shod Pete.

LEAVES OUT MOST OF THE STORY:

The Fault in Our Stars: A 16-year-old heroine faces the medical realities of cancer. WHAT??? This makes TFIOS sound like a CANCER book, which it is definitely NOT. What about love? What about sparkling wit and conversations and true friendship? Epic fail, New York Times Book Review.

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