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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review: Tagged by Mara Purnhagen

Tagged by Mara Purnhagen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Release Date: Available Now
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 202
Received From: Author (Thanks Mara!)

Summary: Can Kate Morgan stand up for herself—without being labeled a snitch? Kate is just as confused as her best friend, Lan, when she arrives at Cleary High to find the building's been "tagged" with a life-size graffiti mural. Could the culprit be one of their friends or classmates? And is the kind-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to stay out of it—mostly because, as the police chief's daughter, she's worried about being labeled a snitch. But when the same mysterious graffiti starts appearing throughout the state, putting more pressure on the authorities to catch the vandal, her investigative instincts kick in. Now Eli, Kate's favorite coworker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With Lan preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can't stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all the clues about the graffiti point to someone she's close to…

My Review: Tagged was an interesting, creative and mellow toned novel. Kate, the protagonist was a likable character with a good head on her shoulders. Her best friend Lan, was an individual I would of liked to see more of in the book. Being the only Asian girl in school was tough for her. I felt bad because sometimes she was excluded from parties. But, I'm glad Kate was there to keep her strong. Eli, Kate's crush, was down to earth and cute. I really liked his personality off the bat and was rooting for Kate to approach him with her feelings. Now, for the whole concept of tagging the same graffiti throughout the state was intriguing. I never read that in YA before, so it definitely questioned the idea if graffiti should be considered vandalism or art?

The only thing that irked me was it never explained why the artist picked gorillas for his graffiti. The gorilla issue was introduced in the beginning of the book and continued on. I thought it was a little overdone and got annoying at times. Overall, this read was light and had an interesting enough plot to hold my attention. I just thought it had potential to be powerful with the idea that vandalism could be an expression of art but, it lacked the substance to make that impact. However, I do recommend this book since the plot is new and refreshing and the cover is really pretty even though it could be misleading. I must say Mara is super cool and does have a bright future as a writer so check out her interview below! :)

My Rating:
Author's Info:
Mara Purnhagen is the author of Tagged. She cannot live without a tall caramel latte, her iPod, or a stack of books on her night stand. She has lived in Aurora, Illinois; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Dayton, Ohio and Duncan, South Carolina. She presently lives outside Cleveland, Ohio with her family and two cats.

For more info on Mara, visit her site(s):
Good Reads:

Up & Coming Books:
-Past Midnight - Book #1 (September 1, 2010)
-A Hundred Candles -Book #2 (Spring 2011)
-The Other Life - Book #3(Fall 2011)

Author Interview:

1) How old were you when you started writing? I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. Throughout high school and college I wrote short stories. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I began writing novels.

2) What inspired you to write Tagged? Two main elements of the story-- a mysterious graffiti artist who paints gorillas and a huge, televised birthday bash-- came to me while I was washing dishes. I could hear the TV in the living room, which was advertising a reality show about huge sweet sixteen parties. I was listening to the commercial and thinking about Banksy, a British graffiti artist, and I wondered how I could connect those two things. I had just bought my husband a work bench for the garage which had a gorilla sticker on it and he was joking about how serious the gorilla looked. Those three things collided, and I had a first chapter before the end of the night (and a pile of dishes that didn’t get done).

3) Are the characters in the books based on someone you know? No. But it’s weird—just after I finished writing the book, I went to a coffee place for a gingerbread latte. The guy behind the counter was EXACTLY how I pictured Eli in my mind. I went back every day that week. He made a mean latte.

4) What was the hardest part about writing Tagged? The middle of any book is always tough for me. I want to keep a good pace but not reveal too much.

5) If you had to describe your book in one word, what would it be and why? Quirky. There are a lot of different elements going on in the story, from gorillas to televised birthday parties, but I hope they come together in a neat way.

6) What are your thoughts on the book cover? I love the colors, which I think are bright and bold and different. I think it stands out.

7) Do you have any other projects you're currently working on? I’m working on book three of the Past Midnight series. The series revolves around 17-year-old Charlotte, whose parents work as paranormal researchers. Her family does not believe in ghosts; instead, they believe that all hauntings (no matter how intense) are the result of residual energy that can be triggered by the living. They are very scientific—until something attaches itself to Charlotte and they need to reevaluate their ideas. Book One will be released in September 2010. Books Two and Three come out in 2011.

8) What book are you currently reading? When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

9) Do you have anything to say to all your readers? I can’t wait to meet you!

10) Tell us something about yourself that no one knows about. - Lately, I’ve been dreaming about aquariums that are crammed full of fish. I walk into a dark pet store and realize that all the tanks are too full. I’m trying to find a way to move the fish, but no one is around to help me. I would love to know what that means. Dream interpretation, anyone?

**Mara, thank you so much for the amazing interview!**


slommler said...

I loved the interview and enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her. I am not sure about the book though. I think I would be more inclined to start her series which is coming out.
Thanks for the info.

brizmus said...

How fun that she wrote a book and then ran into one of her characters! Great interview and great review!

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