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The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball Paperback – September 1, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Thanks for the Trouble
Thanks for the Trouble
A brilliant new novel about a young man who overcomes a crippling loss and finds the courage to live after meeting an enigmatic girl. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10–Logical and practical, high school sophomore Erin Channing is focused on keeping her spot atop the GPA list and earning a trip to Italy with her AP Art History teacher. However, she is worried that she won't be chosen because she has “the most boring, normal, regular life ever.” All that is irrevocably changed when the aunt she hasn't heard from in years dies suddenly, leaving the teen a pink crystal ball and a set of cryptic instructions. Erin figures the object is one last example of “Aunt Kooky's” infamous eccentricity, but even she can't deny that it is more than coincidence when the ball's predictions begin to come true. Events ebook out of control as, at the prodding of her best friends and despite her better judgment, she uses the crystal ball without fully understanding its powers. Green's novel has a touch of romance but is rooted in Erin's relationship with her best friends, Lindsay and Samantha. It has some similar elements to Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes (HarperCollins, 2005)–both feature teens set on a path of self-discovery due to the bequest of a recently deceased aunt. Though some of the supporting characters are underdeveloped, readers will respond to Erin's growth and understanding, and her decision to control her own destiny.–Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, ILα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

With its talk of mean girls, cyberbullying, and hot male bodies, Green’s first YA novel seems a far cry from other magic-gone-wrong books, such as those by Edward Eager, but it has its sunny side: the narrating protagonist is a great student who tries to do good—or at least no harm—with the wish-granting crystal ball she has been bequeathed. The story begins with Erin and her two best friends complaining about their imperfect lives, but they are soon interrupted by the news that Erin’s aunt has been killed by lightning. Unbeknownst to her parents, Erin is given her aunt’s crystal ball along with cryptic instructions. As Erin figures out how to use it, diverting complications ensue between the pals, the boys they like, and two unfriendly students. Green develops the relationships well and with lively dialogue. Aided by her cohorts, an appealing love interest, and the crystal ball, Erin learns how to think, as she keeps saying, outside of the box. At book’s end, Erin passes the magic to one of her best friends—our crystal ball says sequel. Grades 8-11. --Abby Nolan
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Product Details

  • Series: Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire; 1 edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402241062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402241062
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,436,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

You would think that writing a bio would be an easy thing for a writer to do, but there's not much that's harder than trying to convey a sense of who you are in three lines or less. I've always admired those writers who are able to come up with hilarious little vignettes about their pets or their strange obsession with Cheetos, and yet, hard as I try, I just can't find a way to make myself sound that off-beat and quirky. Because I suppose when it comes down to it, I'm not. At the same time, though, I hate those "official" bios that just list where I grew up and where I went to school, and where I live now, because really, what does that tell anyone about me? Nothing. So because this is my author page, and I can do whatever I want with it, I'll just tell you my story, which, if you're interested in knowing anything about me at all, will probably fulfill your curiosity and then some.

I lived my entire life before college in the same house in a suburb of Philadelphia called Ambler. I loved to read, and whenever I found a book that really spoke to me I would read it over and over and over again, and somehow, I never got tired of it. Most of Judy Blume's books fell into this category for me (particularly Are You There God, It's Me Margaret), as did Bridge to Terabithia, a book called The Girl With the Silver Eyes, and my all-time favorite book, The Westing Game. I was a good student, though better at English and writing than I was at math, and although I like to think of myself as athletic, the truth is that I am not particularly coordinated or fast, and I don't have what my husband likes to call "heart" when it comes to sports. So after dabbling in field hockey and lacrosse in middle school (more because I thought the uniforms looked cool than because I was good at either of them, which I wasn't), I became a cheerleader. It was very 1980′s. I also was president of my class for three years, which I enjoyed at the time but I now kind of regret, because twenty years later, it turns out that I am the one responsible for planning our class reunions, which is something I distinctly do not recall being told when I was seventeen.

Until I was ten, I used to spend every summer "down the shore" with my family in Atlantic City (I am dating myself here, but I still remember when the first casino in AC had it's grand opening), and after that I went to sleep away camp, which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, were the best summers of my life. When I got older, I had part-time jobs during the school year at Baskin-Robbins and at a Hallmark store, and I spent a lot of time hanging around in the parking lot of McDonald's with my friends, because there wasn't a whole lot else to do in Ambler. I couldn't wait to get out of there, and I always imaged that I would go to college somewhere far away and experience a different part of the country, but I fell in love with the University of Pennsylvania, which was just forty minutes from my house.

At Penn, I double-majored in English with a concentration on 20th century literature, and American Civilization which is sort of like American History but from a social and cultural perspective. I always enjoyed writing and much preferred research papers to tests, but I never did take a creative writing course during college, probably because I never really imagined that I would ever become a writer. During my senior year at Penn, I met a guy from Los Angeles who eventually became my husband, and after I graduated I went to law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

I moved to Los Angeles and got married and practiced law for two years at a big firm, and I hated every second of it. Somehow, I just knew that if I didn't quit then, I would wake up one day and be forty years old and still hating my job, and I'd be really sorry that I'd wasted all those years being miserable. So I quit, and, much to the chagrin of my parents - who really enjoyed bragging to their friends about how I was a big-time lawyer in LA - I got a job as a college counselor at a private high school in the city. During my five years there, I really got to know teenagers in a way that I couldn't when I was in high school. Because I was a neutral observer and not part of one clique or another, I got to know all kinds of different kids, and because I was a confidant and they trusted me, I got to know them really well.

My daughter was born in 2002, and it was while I was on maternity leave that I started writing what eventually became my first novel, Notes From the Underbelly. I didn't intend for it to be a novel. I was just bored being at home all day and I had some pretty funny stories about being pregnant and having a newborn, and I wanted to write them all down for posterity. When I was finished, I gave it to a friend of mine to read, and she (who is someone who knows about these kinds of things) insisted that I had to try to publish it. So she gave it to someone who knew someone who worked in the lit department at a talent agency, and that guy gave it to some lit agents he knew in New York, and the next thing I knew, I had an agent and I was working as a counselor during the day, taking care of a newborn baby at night, and then staying up until two am to work on turning my essays about pregnancy into a novel. The book sold in 2004, while I was pregnant with my son, and then I quit my job as a college counselor to write full time. I wrote a sequel to Notes called Tales from the Crib, and then I wrote another adult book called The Carpenter Girls, which sold in Europe. It was after that I decided to try my hand at a YA novel.

I love writing YA, I think, for the same reason that I loved being a college counselor; teenagers are fun, being around them and writing about them makes me feel young, and there is really no other experience like high school, where you're thrown into this place every day with some people you love and some people you can't stand, where anything can happen and you never know what to expect on a daily basis, and all the while you're growing up and becoming an adult and figuring out who you are and where you fit in. If that isn't a gold mine of material for a writer, then I just don't know what is.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Erin's aunt dies, leaving her a box to be opened alone. Inside the box rests a pink crystal ball with a set of instructions.

Erin's two best friends, Lindsay and Samantha, think the crystal ball might be the key to unlocking their secret wishes. Erin isn't convinced. She doesn't think outside the box - much.

Erin's also trying to convince her used-to-be friend that she's not boring. Against the odds, they're partners for an art project. Erin can't help remembering the one time they made out while playing "Seven Minutes in Heaven" two years ago. While Jesse's a little different, he's still a hottie. He doesn't seem to remember that night. He also doesn't seem to remember they used to be friends. Working on this project together might bring up old times and maybe something more. Could he be the key to her letting go, just a little?

Plus, she's trying to write an essay for a chance to win a trip to Italy. She has to write about her life experiences. Unfortunately, because she rarely strays from the box, she can't think of anything important to write about.

Her friends are still pushing her about the crystal ball, but Erin's trying to figure out the instructions. Lindsey and Samantha force her into asking it questions: Does the hottest boy in school think she's smexy? Will her English teacher say her paper was well-researched and insightful? As the questions get tougher, so do the outcomes. Is the ball wreaking havoc on her life?

I really enjoyed reading this book. I love how Erin usually lives inside the box, but must make her way out of her comfort zone courtesy of a pink crystal ball. She must take risks and enjoy the consequences. Erin deals with friendship drama, bullies, school work, and a potential boyfriend all while navigating through life.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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Format: Paperback
Erin Channing desperately wants to be one of the students in her high school who is chosen to study art in Italy over the summer and with her GPA she thinks she has a pretty good chance. Still, she's trying to make sure she does nothing to jeopardize her chances of going. All of that changes, however, when her favorite Aunt, Kiki, dies and leaves her a pink crystal ball and a cryptic set of instructions. The crystal ball seems to be able to predict the future and soon the lives of Erin and her friends Lindsay and Samantha are changed - forever.

"The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball" is a delightful book for young adults. It is almost as if author Risa Green put several ingredients - high school life, best friends, crushes, teenage angst, bullying, sadness, magic, riddles, art, and more - into a magic 8-ball, err, a pink crystal ball, shook it up, reached in, and came up with a book that is fun to read from start to finish. The book is written in the first person from Erin's point of view and Green does a great job with Erin's character - she tends to think inside the box, has a crush on Jesse Cooper, gets very good grades in school, is a loyal friend, and really wants to go to Italy. Green does an equally good job with Lindsay who is bullied because of something she did years ago and who thinks she can find a way to beat the bullying by shopping at Ye Olde Metaphysical Shoppe. Samantha is the daughter of rich parents, a bit blasé, but insecure in her looks even though she is beautiful. While some of Aunt Kiki's friends seem stereotypical, by the end of the book she and her best friend Roni are anything but stereotypical.
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Format: Paperback
Ever wish that your life was more exciting? Think that nothing exciting ever happens to you? That's what is going on in Erin's life. She's interested in a study abroad trip to Italy but in her application she's required to write an essay about her life. She feels that she can't write an essay that will make her application stand out because there's nothing that goes on her in her life. Then the news comes that her favorite but eccentric aunt has died. Erin is left with a pink crystal ball. The ball seems normal, like a Magic 8 ball. However, this isn't just a toy to play with. This is something else that changes Erin's life forever.

This story was a fun twist on the genie in a bottle giving three wishes story. The old adage be careful what you wish for really comes true here. Erin's friends seem to take the pink crystal ball more seriously than Erin does. And because of that, their wishes not only backfire on them, but they come back to haunt them in a worse way. Erin is more worried about what is happening in her real life and pondering why her aunt didn't tell her about this gift that was left to her. The friends all have good chemistry together and Erin's rationalism keeps the trio from going off into craziness.

What I really enjoy about this book is that even with the "magic" that's in the book, most teen girls will be able to relate to the story. Erin and her friends are realistic and fun to hang around yet they share the same insecurities and worries that the average teen girl goes through. There's also a good bit about the importance of family weaved throughout the story. Erin is close to her parents and was also close to her aunt. Overall, this was a fun read and I had a blast reading it. I don't think this book is set up to be a series but if there are additional books featuring the girls or the Pink Crystal Ball, I'd love to read them. A fun YA book that girls everywhere will enjoy.
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