Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Rich and Mad by Academy Award Nominee, William Nicholson

Released Sept 9, 2010

William Nicholson is an Academy Award nominated screenwriter (Nell, Gladiator) as well as an award-winning fantasy author and playwright. Rich and Mad is his first young adult novel.
At first glance, it sounds like the simplest of stories, the story that has been told and retold since forever—young love. Rich and Mad (short for Maddie), both age sixteen, have decided they want to be in love, just not with each other. They come to their separate epiphanies and decide to take the plunge and open themselves to their hearts desires. Whether the object of each of their affections is prepared to reciprocate those loving feelings is another matter. This is the tale of their saga to find out and discover what love is.

Rich is the one of the “odd ones out” at school. He marches to his own beat, and confidently so. He doesn’t even own a cell phone. If you want to talk to him, come find him.
Maddie is a typical teen girl trying to parse and read the signals of male attention, hoping and praying it means what she thinks it does.

Rich and Mad is a relatively quiet read, but there’s intensity and depth to the story that goes far deeper than its apparently simple premise would presume. Nicholson has an amazing ability to evoke not only a teen girl’s voice, but also the sensibility, and the layers of fear, concerns, and search for identity so common at the adolescent stage of life.

Nicholson’s portrayal of Rich is an abundant, full-bodied depiction of a boy not caught up in the trends of the day, not even drawn to them, but his self-doubt is still clear; and his search for meaning, in life and in love, resonates soundly. The author makes a subtle use of psychology through the character’s use of reading material. This device is delightful in its originality, and it’s cleverly woven into the story. It gives the reader as much opportunity as the characters to consider these issues in ways perhaps never done before.

There is a description of sexual activity that is forthright and graphic, more so than in any other young adult book I've ever encountered. Because of the no-holds-barred portrayal, some may feel it’s salacious. I believe it is what it is: real.

Rich and Mad is William Nicholson’s first foray into the young adult genre. I certainly hope it isn’t his last.

I'm giving away my ARC. If you'd like the opportunity to receive it, leave a comment and tell me what YA books you've read, if any, that were sexually explicit and what did you think of it. Of course, if you haven't read any, you can't tell't forget to leave your email, so you can be contacted if you're the winner. That is all.

Winner will be chosen randomly using
Giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada. It ends Friday, January 28, 2011 at 6PM



  1. I'd love to give it a shot. I actually read a lot of YA. The last one I read was the Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball.

  2. Hmm... can't say I've read any that were explicit but sex is referenced a lot in some of the books I've read. Forever by Judy Blume maybe...

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  3. I don't know how 'explicit' you mean but I have read some books that get pretty descriptive and I actually really like them (hehe).
    Some of the more recent ones I've read are:
    Beautiful by Amy Reed
    Kiss It by Erin Downing
    The Duff by Kody Keplinger

  4. Don't count me in as I am overseas. I generally do not read this genre but thought it was an interesting story - also I think time I stepped out of my comfort zone.

  5. I have read a lot were sex is referenced and i don't understand by what you mean by "explicit" but it doesn't bother me. I think that sometimes when it has been used correctly it adds to the story.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever read a YA book that I would consider "explicit". Sexual stuff doesn't really bother me, and I never pay it much attention, so no titles really jump out at me.

    Thanks for the contest! I've been dying to read this one.


  7. This sounds like a book I'd like to read!!

  8. Considering today's teens (meant in a good way - they're more aware than I was at that age), I can't think of any books I may of read that would be considered sexually explicit.

    I do know there were some raised brows about "Looking for Alaska". I haven't had a chance to read it yet, so I can't say for sure.

    Thanks for the opportunity! (Hugs)Indigo

  9. Hmm, I can think of some books that have referanced and implied sex but never anything full on. I personally don't mind it at all. I'm a teen and I've been around sex referances since I was in middle school, so I've been around it all my teen years and it doesn't bother me. I think that authors are being honest by including it, that's just the way teens are, not all teens and I'm not saying that every book should have sex and sex referances but I think it's realistic to read a book that has that every once in a while. Thanks so much for this giveaway!

  10. I'm new to the YA genre and have yet to come across anything very explicit, but I wouldn't be put off by it. It's a part of life.


  11. I read lots of YA, and have for a long time... I haven't come across much that is explicit, although it's there in several of them. It's a part of teenage life though, and I think it's incredibly and dangerously naive to think teens aren't haveing sex...

    But, I prefer contemporary fiction, although I do read some in every genre. If I Stay/Where She Went and all things Laurie Halse Anderson are among my favorites!

    basicallyamazingbooks [at] gmail [dot] com

  12. Wow...I wouldn't have thought that a YA would classify as "explicit" in that department. Interesting. I, myself, haven't really ran into any that fit that particular category....more often than not the feelings run strong but the scenes are chaise (one thing I like about the genre as opposed to say outright Romance). Still, curious about this one as the story sounds deceptively deep and the characters well-crafted. Count me in for the contest please!

    Thanks for the chance and for sharing such a great review on the book. Really shed some light on the content without revealing the entire story. Happy reading!


  13. I love your reviews... They are always so sincere and they give me a feeling of experiencing the book itself. I dont read too many YA's and I wont be participating in the giveaway.. but just wanted to drop a note.

  14. Most recently, the most sexually explicit book I've read (and reviewed) is Kiss It by Erin Downing. It was very surprising, but only because the author is known for her rom-com reads. And they definitely don't contain so many juicy details. However, I love when the physical is better explained because it's like the author-adult is saying to teens, "I know you're smart enough to know more about this stuff than you're given credit for."


  15. I read this book a while ago and reviewed it on my blog. I thought it was good - not in US so not entering but good luck to everyone else.

    The US cover looks even better than the UK
    Mostly Reading YA

  16. Hm... I'm not exactly sure what you mean by explicit but many YA novels I read mention sex a lot. The last book I read that had such a scene was Shade by Jeri-Smith Ready.



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