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Press Play is an incredible and intense read!

WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind after reading Eric Devine's latest YA novel- Press Play.

Press Play by Eric Devine
Running Press // October 28, 2014
paperback, 368 pgs
ISBN: 978-0762455126
source: ARC from the publisher

About the book:
Pound by sweaty pound, Greg Dunsmore’s plan is working. Greg is steadily losing weight while gaining the material he needs to make the documentary that will get him into film school and away from the constant jeers of “Dun the Tun.”
But when Greg captures footage of brutal and bloody hazing by his town’s championship-winning lacrosse team, he knows he has evidence that could damage as much as it could save. And if the harm is to himself and his future, is revealing the truth worth the cost?

My thoughts:
Reading Press Play at our campsite
It's been awhile since I read a book in a mere 24 hours. Press Play is one of those incredible page-turning stories that you just have to finish as quickly as possible. I had the luxury of camping over the long weekend and was able to spend a fair amount of time reading - I brought Press Play with me, knowing that I like Eric Devine and because this just sounded like a really good read.
I am SO glad I did.
I finished this book within 24 hours and it was one of those novels where when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it.
The 4 main characters were superbly developed - even though I can't say that I connected directly with their struggles, I can say that I understood them. They were so real. I could absolutely feel the anger and pain that flowed from Greg, the humiliation Ollie felt, the anger and deeply hidden secrets of Ella, and the fear within Quinn. Each member of this quartet was exposed to the reader, allowing us to really understand them and their experiences.
The story isn't your typical high school YA novel. It isn't filled with romance or vampires or your typical drama. Press Play is filled with emotion. It is a tale about the hazards of sports, cliques, unhealthy lifestyles, lying, and hazing. It is also about the truth... how it can set you free, save your ass, and keep you sane.
The overall idea of Greg catching video of how cruel the lax bros are (and many of the cliques in general) is heartbreaking. It is terrible because it is true. I cannot imagine being in high school now - I was lucky that in school I was a social butterfly and got along with pretty much every clique. My only bad experience was that I was damn good at sports and had a gaggle of older girls (that I beat in a gym class game) try to heckle me. I kept my head down, ignored them, still kicked ass in gym, and carried on - they eventually got bored. However, I do know a lot of people who had terrible high school experiences. Now, with the addition of social media, I cannot even imagine how quickly bullying can escalate. Press Play gives us a glimpse into how dangerous High School really can be.

Press Play has a great message and I am really impressed with it, I would recommend it, especially for older high school students. They could certainly learn a lot from this book.

Before you run off to grab this - check out the awesome book trailer!

About the author:
Eric Devine is a writer, high-school English teacher, and educational consultant. He is the author of the young adult novels Dare Me, Tap Out, which is a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and This Side of Normal. He lives in Waterford, NY, with his family. He can be found online at and via Twitter @eric_devine.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Book image, author information, and synopsis from
Book trailer from Eric's webpage


Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

It's Thursday night and about time I share my Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon stack!
It is small this time around because Saturday will be a very busy day for us. Madeline (my son to be step daughter) is with us this weekend and we have lots going on. Saturday she has a birthday party to attend and we plan to go day trick or treating (if time allows) at our local Animal Adventure. We're also planning to go to a haunted Rail Trail walk either Friday or Saturday night, and of course carve pumpkins, bake Halloween cupcakes, and have some quality family time. I'm so glad she'll be with us again this weekend... but since she won't be here again until after Halloween so we want to get in all the Halloweenie fun that we can this weekend! Therefore, the readathon is taking a backseat this round. That's okay though, because I'm beyond grateful to have her home!
My stack includes the book In currently reading (on my Kindle Fire) - "The Quick" by Lauren Owen. It also contains "Mother Mother" by Koren Zailckas and (finally) "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. I've had TFIOS since it first came out and just haven't gotten to it. Then the hype and buzz came, so I tucked it away to read after the buzz died down.... that, and after the movie was pity of theaters. I'll watch it soon after reading, I'm sure.
As always, I'm happy to be part of this community of readers and join in the readathon in memory of Dewey. Can't wait to see you around this Saturday!


The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is... different. Part of it is the fact that it is old. Originally published in 1959, it is a different breed of book. Classic horror is the only way to describe it.

Set in the summer hills of a small New England town, Hill House is a classic haunted house tale. The members of Hill House were invited by Dr. Montague, a scholar trying to research paranormal activity. Theodora, Eleanor, Luke, and Dr Montague stay in Hill House in an attempt to uncover it's secrets. Joined by the housekeeper (but only for parts of the day!) and later on Dr. Montague's wife and her friend Arthur, the members of this little group are beginning to feel that something is indeed off. Eleanor attracts the most attention, and her reaction to that is bizarre. As the group experiences more troubling activity, Eleanor becomes more enmeshed in the happenings of Hill House. Will they make it out alive and uncover the secrets of Hill House, or will they, like many others, flee from the home and never return?

I must admit that I never would have picked this book up if it wasn't for The Peril of the Group Read for RIPIX hosted by The Estella Society. Andi and Heather always read great books, so of course I knew that I had to join in their readalong and read The Haunting of Hill House. I wasn't disappointed.
This was a bit different for me, seeing as it was a classic thriller and I'm more of a big show fright fest. The Haunting of Hill House is much more subtle. It was an eerie tale, that I think back in 1959 would be terrifying. By today's standards, it doesn't pack that punch. It is beautifully crafted though, and the descriptions are detailed enough to help you really build a picture of the old mansion that is Hill House. As far as the characters go, we don't delve too deep into any of them except Eleanor. On the surface, I liked her, but she was a bit drab and boring. By the end, I liked her though, especially after she realy became enmeshed in the house. Theo annoyed me the entire time, to be honest - she was a brat. Luke and Dr. Montague were both just kind of there... I'm a bit indifferent on my opinion of the two. Dr. Montague's wife, however, was an absolute horror. I couldn't stand her and repeatedly thought about how much I would have enjoyed punching her in the face if I was with them. For the most part, the House itself was it's own character. Jackson really poured effort into describing the house and giving it personality.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I wouldn't have ever picked it up, but I liked the change of pace and the difference that was old school horror novel. It was a slow build to a steady end, and gave me pause about old haunted houses.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Pumpkin Picking Party!

October means it is time for pumpkins and all things Autumn. Every year, Barrett's parents plant tons of pumpkins and gourds for the family. We all get together and have a fun pumpkin picking party. This year we were all able to make it and had a great family day at Mom Mom & Pop's. It is definitely rare to get all of us together at once - so it was wonderful to have the family together and enjoy a crisp Fall day picking out our pumpkins, making s'mores, and playing together.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Don't turn off the lights.

Remember earlier this week when I shared my review of Grady Hendrix's new book, Horrorstor? Well now I get to share the official book trailer! It debuted last night on CNET and now I get the privilege of sharing it with you today! Thanks to Eric, from Quirk Books for sharing it with me so that I can pass it on to you guys!


write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow