Spotlight Wednesday: You by Charles Benoit & John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles

This week, we have two great contemporary recommendations for you. Both are first-time YA novels (and one is the author’s very first book). Let’s share a little YA Contemps love with the authors of You and John Belushi is Dead.

You by Charles Benoit You want action, danger, thrills? Then you want You, Charles Benoit’s first novel for teens. Booklist says, "This is a brutal, fast, and satisfying read." And it's the rare novel that is written in the second person. In other words, the main character is "You." 

It begins: You're surprised at all the blood. He looks over at you, eyes wide, mouth dropping open, his face almost as white as his shirt. He's surprised too. Now how could you stop reading after that?

Kyle lists the top 10 things his parents say to him:
  • Is that all your going to do today, sit in front of the computer?
  • When I was your age, I had two jobs.
  • Why don't you wear some clothes that fit for a change?
  • Turn it down, I can hear it all the way over here.
  • You're not eating that for dinner.
  • Did you do your homework?
  • Stop mumbling and speak up.
  • Now what did you do?
  • Because I said so.
  • No
Question: What else should be on the list of things parents say? Feel free to suggest something something good or bad.

Or do you want to read about obsessions, mysteries, and murders? Then pick up Kathy Charles' first book: John Belushi is Dead.

Seventeen-year-old pink-haired Hilda and punk Benji have an obsessive hobby -- they haunt places where Hollywood celebrities have died. Publisher's Weekly says, "Chock-full of gory details of famous murders, suicides, and urban legends (Belushi, the Mansons, the Black Dahlia), Charles' first not for the faint of heart, but rewards readers with chilling reminders of the all-consuming nature of celebrity and the transience of life. 'Death didn't just come for me, or my parents,' Hilsa muses, 'it came for everyone: the rich and famous, beautiful, and privileged.'"

Excerpt: John Belushi once said that happiness is not a state you want to be in all the time. I knew what he meant. He was talking about the uncontrollable urge to fuck it all up, the desire to put a knife in the toaster of existence just to see what would happen. To put a bomb under your blessings and watch them blow sky high, swan dive off the precipice and give in to the free-fall. Belushi had it all: money, fame, a wife, a home. But he didn't want to live in the safety of these creature comforts. He wanted to exist on the knife's edge, the sharpest point of the blade where you could fall eitehr way, the only guarantee that you will inevitably get cut.

Question: Who is your favorite dead celebrity and why?


Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

We had Charles on out site Monday for a mini-interview and can we just say what a nice, genuine person he is? The book sounds amazing. We're elated he made the jump to write a YA novel and we're excited to get out hands on YOU!

Thanks so much!

Bee said...

Both You and John Belushi Is Dead are on my wishlist. They have such interesting concepts.
I like this cover of Kathy Charles' book rather than the Aussie Hollywood Ending one. But it's good too :)

Raven said...

I'm adding both of these to my TBR list. I especially love the cover for John Belushi is Dead. Look forward to reading both!

Hmm. Favorite dead celebrity? I would have to say John Lennon because it creeps me out that he used to talk about how he would die, and happened.

Lisa Schroeder said...

I'm like Kathy - I'm also sort of obsessed with dead celebrities. Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson are ones I find myself thinking about a lot!

Lydia Sharp said...

Just wanted to say that I love this blog SO MUCH and I hope it stays around for a long long time. You're introducing me to great reads I wouldn't have found otherwise. Which is sad, but also awesome. Thank you! :)

Sarah Darer Littman said...

You know what's scary? When I find the things my parents said to me coming out of my mouth. It's like they're programmed into my reptilian brain. Freaky.

Melissa Walker said...

I think about Michael Jackson all the time. I even had my wedding DJ play a rock block of Michael Jackson songs last summer b/c I got married right after he died. We danced to "I'll be there." I'm a little obsessed.

And I totally want to read both of these books!

kathyerskine said...

Here's one Kyle missed:

"How many times do I have to tell you ...."


Lisa_Gibson said...

My mom used to say "In or out. I'm not paying to cool the whole neighborhood." I can't wait to read either one of these. :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Micol Ostow said...

Great recommendations - I'm going to check them both out!

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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