Books Young Adult

#LookingForKerouac @barbshoup @SamiJoLien

Looking for Jack Kerouac by Barbara Shoup

Looking for Jack Kerouac

One of the reasons I love YA books is that I try to incorporate myself into the coming of age tale. I try to imagine how I would react if faced with these circumstances.  Barbara Shoup and I must be kindred spirits then because she wondered what it would be like to follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac.

In “Looking for Jack Kerouac,” Paul Carpetti picks up a copy of “On the Road” by legendary beat novelist Jack Kerouac during a class trip in New York City. The book has a dramatic impact on Paul, changing his whole outlook on life. But when he returns home from the city, his world crumbles. It’s 1964, and Paul is dealing with the death of his mother. He
needs to get away. Paul hops in a car with his friend, Duke, and doesn’t look back. The two land in Florida where Paul finds Kerouac, who turns out to be nothing like the author he idolized. But, in the end, the writer helps Paul in his journey to self-discovery in an unexpected way.

Haven’t you ever thought  about taking a sabbatical and driving across country with your bestie and live out an adventure? To be sure, I did, but then I realized that I could satisfy that wanderlust through reading books. Of course Kerouac’s own life wasn’t nearly as glamorous as you might think.  Shoup delved into his past and discovered that he was human and flawed. Not, I’m sure, what young Paul and Duke want to discover at the end of their road trip.  This book is labeled YA but could totally appeal to adults since they might actually know who Kerouac was.

Still, nostalgia is fun to indulge every once in a while. And so is traveling.

You can learn more about Shoup and her other books at


Adult Fiction Books Reviews

Those we Love Most by Lee Woodruff

Can I preface this book review with: I love Lee Woodruff.  I love her! I do.  I want Leesies to be my bestie. I want her to come over to my house and sit at my kitchen bistro table and drink coffee with me.

Or maybe we’ll go shopping, just us girls: go to King of Prussia Mall and stop and have a cuppa tea and then lunch at Legal Seafoods, all the while chatting about women stuff and husbands and telling each other how fab we look in the outfits we try on.  It would be great, really.

She’d love it. And me.


The thing about Lee Woodruff is, she’s FAMOUS.  Like, on TV famous.  She’s on CBS This Morning and her husband is the famous Bob Woodruff, the journalist embedded in the Middle East who suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Like I said, she’s famous so when I met her at BEA this June, I was impressed by how NORMAL she was.  Seriously.

During BEA I attended an author speed dating session and Lee was one of the speed daters.  The authors went table to table greeting us book bloggers and telling us about their latest books.  There was very little time for interaction as they had to visit 17 tables of 8 people each.  It was INSANE!  But guess what? In that 3-5 minutes of lightning speed interaction, I picked up something abut Lee.  We even had a very brief conversation.  I’m sure she’ll never remember me, but you know what? She stuck with me.  So, I collected her book and vowed to read it.

To be sure, I thought Those We Love Most was going to be a vanity project by yet ANOTHER famous person.  But it wasn’t. Lee is a writer by trade and in some ways, her stories remind me of Jennifer Weiner’s stories: tales of normal people and how they respond to life.  The characters are flawed, but not desperately so, but they are relatable.  You might know Maura or Margaret or have seen them in the grocery store.

Woodruff knows about loss, having dealt with the issue with her husband’s TBI.  And in a very neat way, she works the story of loss into the book. The loss is totally believable and they way the characters deal with the losses could also happen in real life.  So much so, that you’d think the book was a work of non-fiction. It’s that believable.

I’m not a sucker for romance nor a happy ending.  I like endings that make sense and I squirm at too much “i love you we can work this out no matter what” ideologies.  Those We Love Most isn’t like that.

It’s better.

Put it on your TBR  list when you need a break from hot, steamy sex or vampires in dystopian settings.

So here’s a message to my new BFF Lee: If you’re ever in the Philadelphia region, I’ve got a cuppa coffee with your name on it.  I’ll even let ya drink outta my Frida Kahlo mug, it’s my fave.

You are too.



I give this book 3 paws!

Unconventional Librarian 3 paws