Notes from the Blender

( 10 )

Overview

Declan loves death metal—particularly from Finland.  And video games—violent ones.  And internet porn—any kind, really.  He goes to school with Neilly Foster and spends most of his classroom time wondering what it might be like to know her, to talk to her, maybe even to graze against her sweater in the hallway.  Neilly is an accomplished gymnast, naturally beautiful, and a constant presence at all the best parties (to which Declan is never invited).  She's the queen of cool, the princess ...
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Overview

Declan loves death metal—particularly from Finland.  And video games—violent ones.  And internet porn—any kind, really.  He goes to school with Neilly Foster and spends most of his classroom time wondering what it might be like to know her, to talk to her, maybe even to graze against her sweater in the hallway.  Neilly is an accomplished gymnast, naturally beautiful, and a constant presence at all the best parties (to which Declan is never invited).  She's the queen of cool, the princess of poker face, and her rule is uncontested— or it was until today, when she's dumped by her boyfriend, betrayed by her former BFF Lulu, and then informed she's getting a new brother—of the freaky fellow classmate variety.  Declan's dad is marrying Neilly's mom.  Soon.  Which means they'll be moving in together.  
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cook (Overnight Sensation) and Halpin (Shutout) coauthor an amusing if slightly overstuffed story about two families that collide amid marriages and misunderstandings. Classmates Declan and Neilly are from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Declan is an angry yet sensitive loner, obsessed with death metal, video games, and sex (especially as it pertains to Neilly), who still blames himself for his mother's death in a car accident. Neilly is popular, but has just been dumped by her jock boyfriend and learned that her mother is pregnant and engaged—to Declan's father. Throw in Neilly's father's impending commitment ceremony with another man and Declan's escalating feelings for his stepsister-to-be, and the authors offer ample opportunities for drama. Both Declan and Neilly provide sarcastic and often funny perspectives on their rapidly changing lives, and while Declan's persona can feel somewhat forced ("Oh, for the love of SuicideGirls. Neilly Foster just said 'three way,' "), the teens become allies and develop in ways they didn't expect. The swift plot and sympathetic characters result in a moving story about embracing change. Ages 14–up. (May)
VOYA - Barbara Johnston
Sixteen-year-old Declan is into black garb, violent video games, internet porn, and death metal music to assuage his grief from his mother's death. Classmates call him "Columbine" and keep their distance. Underneath, he is surprisingly funny, and constantly fighting a "boner" when pretty Neilly Foster is around. Since being dumped by her boyfriend (for her best friend), Neilly is alone and floundering in unchartered waters. They are both horrified to discover that their parents plan to marry and a new sibling is already on the way. At first, only reluctant allies in their defiance, they ultimately become friends as they discover what is important in relationships. Both protagonists, Declan and Neilly, authentically demonstrate how painful family upheaval is for teens already caught up in the maelstrom of their changing bodies. Both hate the surprise of the impending family-blending and feel insecure about their futures. Dec turns to his dark music to combat his distress while Neilly needs a friend. He deals openly with the"masturbatory dilemma" of his emerging sexuality, but Neilly downplays the physical and relishes the ego boost of a "hottie" boyfriend. Both experience release in hooting about their parents' unplanned pregnancy. With colorful characterization, a narrative full of teen socialization, and discussions of pertinent topics— such as same sex unions—this light-hearted novel will prove popular. That it also gives insight into the differences between the sexes is a bonus. F-bombs and street language (dildo, pussy) are present but they do not saturate the text. Reviewer: Barbara Johnston
Kirkus Reviews

Two stepsiblings-to-be narrate this charming, funny and surprisingly touching family story in alternating chapters. Declan, the stronger of the two voices, is a prickly but sensitive metalhead obsessed with masturbation and Internet porn who lost his mom to a car accident at age nine. Neilly—over whom Dec secretly lusts from afar—is a pretty, popular junior who fiercely defends her father's partnership with a man. When Dec's dad and Neilly's mom reveal to their children that they plan to get married, the teens quickly unite in sympathy, forming a refreshingly warm sibling relationship as they come to terms with the changes in their lives. Though the lessons Neilly learns are somewhat pat, Declan's transformation from antisocial lech to tattooed vegan and "boyfriend material" is unique and pitch-perfect, with a satisfyingly realistic number of rejections along the way. Dec's compassionate Aunt Sarah, whose Unitarian Universalist youth group becomes a refuge for both teens, brings yet more wit and kindness to this sweet, emotional, but never hokey mix. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606842270
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA
  • Publication date: 6/11/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 625,244
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Brendan Halpin and Trish Cook are both accomplished authors with established readerships in the young adult world.

Trish is a former corporate communications consultant whose debut YA novel SO LYRICAL was published in May 2005 by NAL Jam; its sequel, OVERNIGHT SENSATION, published in February 2006.

Brendan's novel (co-written with Emily Franklin) THE HALF LIFE PLANETS will come out from Hyperion in Spring of 2010; their second collaborative effort FAUXMANCE will be published by Walker Books in 2011.  Brendan has two novels published by FSG's YA division (HOW YA LIKE ME NOW and FOREVER CHANGES) with a third on the way next year.  Brendan's adult novels and nonfiction are published regularly at Random House's Villard imprint.  He has been featured on the Today show, on NPR's Fresh Air, on Rosie, as well as in Good Housekeeping, the New York Times Modern Love column, and several other prominent magazines and newspapers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    Awesome book!

    Recently just got it from my library and i loved it! I liked how you got boths POVs and two unique stories from it! A+

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2011

    Good Book!

    This book was really good and I loved the realationship between Neilly and Declan! Glad griffin doesn't have a blue mohawk anymore, I could never see Neilly with a guy with a blue mohawk! I still can't believe Neilly dressed up as a baby to the Halloween party, Declan was a dead thing! Good book though!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    Great book

    The relashionship between Neilly and Dec is a great addition to this book. I loved it! I read the whole thing in one sitting!! At times it can be confusing because the book is through 2 point of views, Neilly and Dec, so the book repeats events. Overall good book.!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted November 7, 2011

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    Posted July 14, 2011

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    Posted January 14, 2013

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