Saturday, July 2, 2016

Author Spotlight: Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler + Interview

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM

Liz Kessler is the author of the best-selling Emily Windsnap series, the Philippa Fisher series, and the middle-grade novels North of Nowhere, A Year Without Autumn, and Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins? She lives in Cornwall, England.

Title: Read Me Like a Book
Author: Liz Kessler
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication: June 14th 2016(US Date)
Cover Rating: 5/5

Have you ever read a book with a language barrier? Not so much that you can't read the language but because the words that are used aren't what you are used to? Well, I have that happen almost all the time when I read books written by a UK author. Normally, that deters me from reading those books. Luckily, that did not happen with this book. This book is about love, hate, sorrow, beginning life and finding yourself and those are all things that defy any language barrier.

Ashleigh seems like any other normal teenage girl. She is in her last year of "high school" and she is meeting new people and having new experiences. One thing that she didn't seem to worry about, at all, was her A-Levels, which I assume is like American's getting A's in our classes. That is, until Miss. Murray comes along. Ashleigh sees how amazing of a teach she is and can't help but want to do better. 

Miss Murray is a young teacher. She is energetic and brilliant and all the students really love her. After all, getting a little bit of positive attention from Miss Murray seems to be the best thing to have happened to most of the students for a long time. She tries to push everyone to their potential but takes an extra special liking to Ashleigh. Miss. Murray sees the spark behind Ashleigh's eyes. She knows that Ashleigh has the potential to be something amazing. 

The friendships and relationships in this book are very realistic. Cat is a good friend. She does get a little annoyed with Ashleigh's selfishness. I don't honestly think Ashleigh was being selfish but that is just my opinion. Then we have Robyn. Cat's "replacement". Robyn and Ashleigh become pretty close very quickly but then something happens and we get to see Robyns true colors. Things do end up getting worked out in the end but I don't think Robyn reacted the way a REAL friend should have.

Then we have Ashleigh's parents. This book is more than just a Young Adult novel. A good chunk of the book deals with divorce and the impact it has on everyone's life. Read Me Like a Book is just an overall great story with plenty of real life issues. It isn't sugar coated or dumbed down. It puts into perspective what REAL people have to deal with on a daily basis when they are just trying to live their lives.There is one big aspect to this story that I do not want to say, no, it isn't exactly a spoiler, but I think it would be better if the reader finds out on their own. I honestly thought this book was going to be another Student-Teacher relationship book with a lot of horrible consequences but it wasn't. It was so much more with so many other issues going on at once. Most books will only focus on one little issue and revolve the entire book around that. This book does not do that and that is why it is so realistic.

The ending of the book was sad, but very real. I have hope for Ashleigh's dad. I know he will come around but I am not sure about Jayce's mother. This is definitely realistic of today's world. Sadly, a lot of kids lose their parents because the are "different" or "wrong". And it is so heartbreaking knowing a parent can just turn their back on their child like that.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.



1) What was the inspiration behind Read Me Like a Book?
Well, I had an amazing English teacher when I was at school. She changed my life in lots of ways. I was always quite a naughty child and then she came along and encouraged me to put my energy into writing and studying literature instead of being naughty, and somehow it worked! it was as if she saw my potential, where other teachers had only seen my behaviour. And this inspired me to want to write something about an amazing teacher who has a profound effect on a pupil. Of course, for Ashleigh it went much further than this in terms of her emotional attachment. 

Also, I guess I was inspired by coming out myself!

2) Which cover do you like better for Read Me Like a Book?(American or UK)?
TOUGH QUESTION!!! I adore the UK version of the book and it was made by an artist who is a friend of mine. However, I absolutely LOVE the US one too. I’m going to have to call it a tie!

3) If there was a way to turn a gay person straight do you think most people would take that opportunity so they no longer have to deal with the hate and shame that society places upon them?
Wow. You know, I don’t even think I’d like to attempt to answer this. For two reasons. One because there simply isn’t a way to do this and there shouldn’t be, because it’s not the gay people who have the problem, it’s society. And two, because I can’t speak for most people. I can only speak for myself. And for myself, I’d say that if someone told me that they had a way of doing this, I’d tell them to look inside themselves and ask themselves why they believe it’s necessary for them to try to do something like this - and to suggest that they learn to become more accepting of people loving who they want instead. 

4) Do you agree that the Young Adult genre has exploded over the past few years? 
In some ways, yes. There is more YA around than ever before, and a few titles have gained a lot of attention, which is fantastic. It’s a tough, crowded market though, and not an easy ride for authors by any means!

5) Do you think the UK is more harsh than the USA towards the Gay community?
I honestly can’t say - and again, it feels like quite negative phrasing. I’d prefer to take a more positive slant and say that I believe times are changing in both the UK and the US and that attitudes are becoming more and more positive all the time - and this is a great thing.

6) If you had to choose between writing only ONE really amazing, impactful book and not making a lot of money on it or writing a bunch of light hearted books but having a steady income which would you choose and why?
Ha! I ask my fellow authors a similar question to this quite often. I have to say, even when I write lighthearted books, they still have quite important messages in them, so I don’t know if I’d be able to choose between these. If I didn’t make a steady income, I wouldn’t be able to keep writing, and I have to keep writing as it keeps me sane and happy! But I would love to write one amazing, impactful book. Gosh. This is unfair! I can’t choose! I work really hard! Please let me do a little bit of both!!!!

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