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I'm an actress, singer, dancer, and writer. I'm also a freelance journalist, a publicist, a bookseller, and a webdesigner. This LiveJournal, for the most part, pertains to books - book reviews, exclusive interviews with authors, press releases, and booklists. My journal has an emphasis on teen fiction, though there are plenty of items for adult fiction and for juvenile fiction (or "kidlit") as well.
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1. Poetry Friday: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Compose a haiku in honor of a person you admire.
You are spiky spring, humming summer, wings that beat
back ghosts of winter.

This appears on page 310 of the novel Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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2. Poetry Friday: Coming Awake by D.H. Lawrence

When I woke, the lake-lights were quivering on the wall,
The sunshine swam in a shoal across and across,
And a hairy, big bee hung over the primulas
In the window, his body black fur, and the sound of him cross.

There was something I ought to remember: and yet
I did not remember. Why should I? The running lights
And the airy primulas, oblivious
Of the impending bee - they were fair enough sights.

- Coming Awake by D.H. Lawrence

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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3. Poetry Friday: Try by Jillian Edwards

If you were a melody
I'd sing you all the time
And if your hands were poetry
I'd memorize every line
And if every look you gave me were
A different hue or shade of color
I'd learn how to paint you
You know I'd try

And if you were words in a story
You'd be in a book that's overdue
That's somewhere hidden in my closet
Looked a million times for you
And if you were just one day
You'd be the very first of May
And I'd be sunlight in your skies
Or at least I'd try

- selected lyrics from Try by Jillian Edwards



If you can't see the media player embedded above, click here to listen to the song.

Last week, I posted lyrics from Jillian's song Room.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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4. Poetry Friday: Room by Jillian Edwards

With all of my heart, I'm racing
Watch the page as it turns out
You would read all of me had you the chance
You'd never put me down
Please don't put me down

I get a little bit restless
You just gotta give me time
I get a little bit insecure, a little bit bent
I get a little bit everything every now and then

But there's room for you here
Oh, if you take it all
Got so much room for you here
Yes, I pray you lay your head down here

So take it all
Take it like you would your childhood
The street you lived
You ride your bike
The whole world there inside your eyes
I'll find the water's deep
The river's wide
I've got nothin' but time

This is steady and sure and clear as the wind
That I see the other side of me in you
That I've got nothing but room for you here

- selected lyrics from Room by Jillian Edwards

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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5. Best Books of March 2015

March 2015: 9 books and scripts read

Knee-deep in rehearsals, I read a scant 9 books this month.

I enjoyed Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman. I posted my review of the book here and at GuysLitWire.

I read and discussed The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon with a friend who had also read it - and then I recommended that she read Snowblind by Christopher Golden stat. Both of those books make me grateful for life and sunshine.

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6. #tothegirls




From author Courtney Summers:

"I write about girls.

"I write about girls because every girl deserves the opportunity to pick up a book and see herself in its pages.

"I write about girls because girls, and their stories, matter.

"It's my way of letting them know.

"On April 14th, 2015, please join me in telling the girls you know - and the ones you don't - that they are seen, heard and loved. Share advice, be encouraging. Tell us about or thank the girls in your life who have made a difference in yours. Use the hashtag #ToTheGirls along with your personal message of support and encouragement on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, or the social media platform of your choice."


For more information on how to participate visit summerscourtney.tumblr.com/tothegirls and share the campaign via Thunderclap.

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7. Tin Men by Christopher Golden


Christopher Golden's novel Tin Men will be hitting stores this June - and it's going to hit hard. While I can't say much for the sake of spoilers, I can tell you the mini-summary that the publisher is offering:

Brad Thor meets Avatar in this timely military thriller for the drone age, which spins the troubles of today into the apocalypse of tomorrow. A rocket ride of a read packed with high action, cutting-edge technology, and global politics, Tin Men begins with the end of the world as we know it and takes off from there.

I love sci-fi stories that are based in science and technology, stories that present us with possible, plausible situations that stir up society as we know it. Hello, Black Mirror. Oh, how I adore thee, Twilight Zone. And you all know how much I love Christopher Golden's writing. So of course I can't wait until Tin Men is released - even though I hope none of them attack my home.

Bonus points for those willing to discuss the various Cybermen storylines from Doctor Who with me. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Tin Men by Christopher Golden will be available June 23rd, 2015. Check out the awesome reviews it has received. (Yay, Publishers Weekly!)

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8. Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

In Alyssa Brugman's thoughtful novel Alex As Well, the teenaged title character often feels like two people - one female, one male - trapped in the same body.

There's nothing like feeling uncomfortable in your own body. For Alex, the struggle is constant. Alex was born intersex, having physical characteristics of both genders. Doctors could not identify Alex as male or female. Alex's parents selected a gender-neutral name for their baby and were made to monitor their child's behavior and report back to doctors, who decided Alex's tendency to be more aggressive than passive indicated the child was more masculine than feminine - and so Alex was raised as a boy.

Now Alex is in high school, and she has found the strength within to tell her parents that she would rather identify as a girl. Her father splits; her mother falls apart. Alex stands her ground and starts making decisions for herself. She leaves her all-boys school and enrolls in a new school as a girl. She finds new friends, including a girl she gets a crush on and a boy who gets a crush on her. Though she enjoys their friendship, she cannot bring herself to tell them - or anyone at her new school - the truth about her condition, and fears the day that someone or something will reveal it.

The novel is told from Alex's first-person point of view, which occasionally has her talking to her masculine self, her inner twin, who often taunts her and points out the physical differences between her - them - and her peers. Posts from Alex's mother's blog, placed between chapters every now and then, shed light on her struggle to raise her child, revealing facts about Alex's condition and upbringing and the mom's attempts to assist and accept her. The blog posts help make the mother seem a little less harsh, a little less hysterical, and a little more human than she would be had the blog not been included.

To date, I've read four Alyssa Brugman novels - Finding Grace, Walking Naked, Being Bindy, and Alex As Well - and I've enjoyed them all. Brugman creates protagonists driven by personal matters who have yet to realize something about themselves. Her realistic storylines draw in readers and her frank storytelling takes them straight to the heart of the matter.

Looking for more intersex representation in the media? The MTV series Faking It features an intersex character named Lauren. Learn more in Emily Quinn's letter and her video with Bailey De Young (Lauren), which shares some facts about the condition, including this: Being born intersex is almost as common as being born a natural redhead.

This review was cross-posted at GuysLitWire.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Tough Issues for Teens Booklist
Finding Grace by Alyssa Brugman

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9. Poetry Friday: A tourist (Sidewalk Poetry)

A tourist
in the cathedral
of your silence
I am reverent
for all the wrong reasons

This is one of many poems imprinted on the sidewalk in St. Paul, Minnesota:



The St. Paul project has inspired a similar Sidewalk Poetry project in Cambridge.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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10. Poetry Friday: If Spirits Walk by Sophie Jewett

If spirits walk, love, when the night climbs slow
The slant footpath where we were wont to go,
Be sure that I shall take the selfsame way
To the hill-crest, and shoreward, down the gray,
Sheer, gravelled slope, where vetches straggling grow.

Look for me not when gusts of winter blow,
When at thy pane beat hands of sleet and snow;
I would not come thy dear eyes to affray,
If spirits walk.

But when, in June, the pines are whispering low,
And when their breath plays with thy bright hair so
As some one’s fingers once were used to play-
That hour when birds leave song, and children pray,
Keep the old tryst, sweetheart, and thou shalt know
If spirits walk.

- If Spirits Walk by Sophie Jewett

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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11. Get ready to #rockthdrop for Teen Literature Day 2015!

It's under a month away! It's coming! Operation Teen Book Drop, 2015, also known as #rockthedrop. For right now keep an eye for that YA book, or several, you own and want to leave in a public place on Thursday, April 16th. We'll be celebrating YALSA's Support Teen Literature Day. Happy finders will be enriched by your beloved reads.

This year instead of a book plate, we are going with a bookmark by Little Willow. Placed in the book, all will know you are leaving a FREE gift. You can print your own bookmarks! Right-click on one of the images below, save the file, print as many as you want, and get ready to Rock the Drop on Thursday, April 16th!



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12. Poetry Friday: Pick Offs by Carl Sandburg

The telescope picks off star dust
on the clean steel sky and sends it to me.

The telephone picks off my voice and
sends it cross country a thousand miles.

- from the poem Pick Offs by Carl Sandburg

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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13. Poetry Friday: A Good Boy by Robert Louis Stevenson

I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.

And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I’ve been good.

My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
And I must off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.

I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.

But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.

- A Good Boy by Robert Louis Stevenson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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14. Best Books of February 2015

February 2015: 42 books and scripts read

Picks of the Month
Beyond the Parallel (Parallelogram #4) by Robin Brande
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman
The Apartment screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

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15. Poetry Friday: Breaghy by George William Russell (A.E.)

When twilight flutters the mountains over,
The faery lights from the earth unfold:
And over the caves enchanted hover
The giant heroes and gods of old.
The bird of æther its flaming pinions
Waves over earth the whole night long:
The stars drop down in their blue dominions
To hymn together their choral song.
The child of earth in his heart grows burning,
Mad for the night and the deep unknown;
His alien flame in a dream returning
Seats itself on the ancient throne.
When twilight over the mountains fluttered,
And night with its starry millions came,
I too had dreams: the songs I have uttered
Come from this heart that was touched by the flame.

- Breaghy by George William Russell (A.E.)

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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16. Poetry Friday: The farthest thunder that I heard by Emily Dickinson

The farthest thunder that I heard
Was nearer than the sky,
And rumbles still, though torrid noons
Have lain their missiles by.
The lightning that preceded it
Struck no one but myself,
But I would not exchange the bolt
For all the rest of life.
Indebtedness to oxygen
The chemist may repay,
But not the obligation
To electricity.
It founds the homes and decks the days,
And every clamor bright
Is but the gleam concomitant
Of that waylaying light.
The thought is quiet as a flake,-
A crash without a sound;
How life’s reverberation
Its explanation found!

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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17. Poetry Friday: When I go to orchestra rehearsals by Barbara Newhall Follett

When I go to orchestra rehearsals,
there are often several passages for the
Triangle and Tambourine together.
When they are together,
they sound like a big piece of metal
that has broken in thousandths
and is falling to the ground.

- Barbara Newhall Follett

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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18. Interview: Una LaMarche

The 2015 Sydney Taylor Awards were recently announced, and Like No Other by Una LaMarche received an Honor in the Teen Readers category. The book was also named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of Summer 2014, a 2014 Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Summer 2014 Indie Next List Pick, among other accolades.

When I interviewed Una as part of The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, here's what she had to say about love stories, teen stories, and true stories.

LNO paperbackWhat inspired you to write Like No Other?

I knew I wanted to write a love story, I knew I wanted to set it in Brooklyn (where I grew up and still live), and I knew I wanted to write something with real stakes. I felt like a lot of the supposed "obstacles" in contemporary romance - He’s rich, she’s poor! She’s popular, she’s a nerd! Etc.- weren’t strong enough. I’m no Shakespeare scholar, but I kept thinking about Romeo and Juliet, about how their families were sworn enemies, and how great it would be to find something similar in modern-day New York. One of the greatest things about living in the city is how inclusive it is, but I needed to find two groups who could believably be at odds. I wanted true forbidden love. Luckily, I barely had to do any work to connect the dots, since they were literally right in front of my face.

Growing up, I had always seen Hasidic families at the park or out shopping, but there was an unspoken rule that we would never interact; we were "other" to them and they were "other" to us. It struck me that that kind of extremely insular religious group might provide the perfect environment for the story I wanted to tell, and after speaking to women who had grown up in those communities, I knew I'd found what I was looking for. There are rules of Hasidic life that govern how to live, whom to love, and who to be. For anyone to break those rules, let alone a young woman - let alone with a black man - well, that would set some seriously Shakespearean stakes.

How has real life impacted your writing, and/or vice-versa?

I draw as much as I can from what I know, just because that’s both what’s easiest and most genuine. In Like No Other, what I knew best was Brooklyn - that experience of growing up in a dense, vibrant, diverse place that’s alternately comforting and a little frightening - but even though I didn’t have a huge amount in common with either Devorah or Jax, I always try to put as much real life experience into my characters as I can. The great thing about being human is that regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or religion, most emotions are more or less universal. I may not have had any firsthand experience with Devorah (my Hasidic character's) upbringing, but I know what it felt like to be a teenage girl. And I'm not male or black like Jaxon, but I know what it’s like to be a city kid under pressure from your parents to make them proud.

What's your favorite part about writing fiction? How do you approach writing non-fiction?

I love writing fiction because A) there are no limits, but mostly B) I’m a control freak and can decide what happens. When I’m writing nonfiction I’m very careful to make sure everything I’m writing is as accurate as possible; I don’t even like to write dialogue in my memoir pieces for fear of getting it wrong or manipulating it somehow. But in fiction there is no getting it wrong - at least from an artistic standpoint - and manipulation is the whole point! It’s pretty awesome.

What books or authors did you love as a teenager?

As a preteen I was a card-carrying member of The Baby-Sitters Club fan club, and a little too emotionally involved with the goings-on at Sweet Valley High. Later, I got into horror and devoured anything by Stephen King or Christopher Pike. I loved Lynda Barry’s cartoon anthologies, and of course Queen Judy Blume. But I also dabbled in Jane Austen, Cynthia Voigt, and Maeve Binchy… when I wasn’t busy obsessively reading Sassy magazine. UnaHeadshot

You are a novelist, an essayist, and an Etsy enthusiast. What other nouns or vocations suit you?


Mother. Wife. Oenophile. Karaoke hustler. Ball of emotion.

When you were a kid, you kept a diary. Do you still keep one as an adult? Does anyone else in your family keep a journal, or write regularly?

I have actually never kept a regular or honest* diary. I was a diary dilettante and still am; I have a sort-of-diary that’s an ongoing letter to my (currently three year-old) son, and I still only manage to update it about twice a year.

*As a teenager I tried to make my life seem a lot more exciting than it was. Maybe that’s why I write teen fiction now?

What are your top ten favorite books?

It was so hard to narrow it down to ten, but here’s an attempt at a reflection of my current list, in no particular order:

It’s So Magic, Lynda Barry
The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Bank
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
Candyfreak, Steve Almond
Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz
No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel, Janice Dickinson (I’M BEING HONEST, DON’T JUDGE ME)
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay

Visit Una's website at http://www.unalamarche.com/

Check out the full blog tour schedule as posted at the AJL blog.

Drop by the Association of Jewish Libraries website and the official Sydney Taylor site.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2014
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2013
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2012

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19. Poetry Friday: Unwritten Poems by William Winter

Fairy spirits of the breeze-
Frailer nothing is than these.
Fancies born we know not where-
In the heart or in the air;
Wandering echoes blown unsought
From far crystal peaks of thought;
Shadows, fading at the dawn,
Ghosts of feeling dead and gone:
Alas! Are all fair things that live
Still lovely and still fugitive?

- Unwritten Poems by William Winter

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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20. Poetry Friday: The Sea-Weed by Elisabeth (Cabazza) Pullen

The flying sea-bird mocked the floating dulse:
"Poor wandering water-weed, where dost thou go,
Astray upon the ocean's restless pulse?"
It said: "I do not know.

"At a cliff's foot I clung and was content,
Swayed to and fro by warm and shallow waves;
Along the coast the storm-wind raging went,
And tore me from my caves.

"I am the bitter herbage of that plain
Where no flocks pasture, and no man shall have
Homestead, nor any tenure there may gain
But only for a grave.

"A worthless weed, a drifting, broken weed,
What can I do in all this boundless sea?
No creature of the universe has need
Or any thought of me."

Hither and yonder, as the winds might blow,
The sea-weed floated. Then a refluent tide
Swept it along to meet a galleon's prow-
"Land ho!" Columbus cried.

- The Sea-Weed by Elisabeth (Cabazza) Pullen

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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21. Poetry Friday: The Sea-Wash by Carl Sandburg

The sea-wash never ends.
The sea-wash repeats, repeats.
Only old songs? Is that all the sea knows?
Only the old strong songs?
Is that all?
The sea-wash repeats, repeats.
- The Sea-Wash by Carl Sandburg

Related posts at Bildungsroman
Fog by Carl Sandburg
Pigeon by Carl Sandburg
Potomac Town in February by Carl Sandburg

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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22. Poetry Friday: Of so divine a loss by Emily Dickinson

Of so divine a loss
We enter but the gain,
Indemnity for loneliness
That such a bliss has been.
- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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23. Best Books of January 2015

January 2015: 36 books and scripts read

Short Story Spotlight
An Optical Illusion by Eimear Ryan

Non-Fiction Pick
Yes Please by Amy Poehler

The Play's the Thing
I and You by Lauren Gunderson

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24. The Menagerie series by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski



Looking for a new series to add to your e-bookshelf? You can now get all four books of The Menagerie series by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski on your Kindle via Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk!

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- this series rocks! If you like X-Men and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, you'll enjoy the mix of mischievous, powerful characters that make up The Menagerie: each legendary character has distinct abilities and mystical, mythical, and/or literary origins. Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski have taken various characters well-known from literature and mythology and made them their own. They've got Eve (yes, that Eve - who became a vampire after she fell from grace), Ceridwen, and Doyle (what's up, Sherlock?), among others.

Again, there are four books in the series, which you can get separately or all at once. Trust me, you're going to want to have the entire series on hand once you start the first one so you can read them back-to-back.

Let me know which character or story is your favorite in the comments below.

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25. Poetry Friday: Souvenirs by Orla Gartland

Yearning, yearning for the past
It's like we're always burning
Through the hourglass
(Like we always do, like we always do)
Learning, learning as we go
It's like we're always searching
For the seeds we've sown

Stuck in the rhythm, same every day
Looking at pictures I know I should put away
Building towers to break 'em back down
We're framing the moment
Ties that keep us bound

Days and nights
And the best of times
We keep our memories like souvenirs
When we were kids,
Did you think that it would all come back to this?
Looking back
Oh, looking back
And you know, and they know,
That we just don't wanna be forgotten

- selected lyrics from Souvenirs by Orla Gartland

Watch the official lyric video:



If you can't see the video embedded above, click here.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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