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1. 30 Days of Teen Programming: Organic teen-led programming

Before last summer, whenever I heard the term "teen-led programming," this feeling of ennui would descend upon me like a black cloud.  Okay, I exaggerate a bit, but let's just say I felt . . . defeated.

I loved the concept.  How exciting to have programming not only for teens, but led by teens!  What better way to offer programming that is relevant and exciting for them?  But even with an active Teen Advisory Board, I had never been able to make it happen.  No one ever had the time, commitment, or desire to do the work of leading a program.

Then, last summer I planned and facilitated a Teen Writing Camp that was well attended by both teen program regulars and newbies.  We did all kinds of writing exercises, talked to YA authors via Skype and in-person visits,  ate snacks, and generally had a great time.  And then it was over, and we all moved on to other things.

That's when the ennui-busting magic happened.

It seems that unbeknownst to me, a group of writing camp participants discovered a mutual love for the Pokemon card game while working on their small-group writing assignments, and since the library was where they first met, it was the logical place for them to meet up and play.  I kept stumbling over the group once or twice a week playing on the floor of the teen area or at a table near the adult fiction section and noticing that a) the group was made up mostly of teens who hadn't been regular library users before the writing camp, and b) the group was exponentially bigger every time I saw it.

One day, when checking in with them, I mentioned that if they were going to meet on a regular basis, I'd be happy to reserve a room for them every week.  The group fell silent -- so silent I thought I'd broken some sort of unspoken rule -- and then a voice said "Seriously? You'd do that for Pokemon?" When I confirmed that yes, Pokemon was a legitimate use of library space, they jumped on the opportunity:

"Can we be a real club?"  Yes.

"Can our club be in the library's calendar?"  Yes.

"Can we make posters?"  Yes.

"Can we bring snacks?"  Well, how about I provide the snacks?


And thus an amazing teen-led program was born -- a program that is almost a year old and still going strong.  Staff involvement is minimal and relegated to room reservations, snack procurement, and statistics-gathering.  When attendance dipped several months ago, the group wrote recruitment announcements for the schools and the numbers climbed again.  They've developed a texting system to remind each other about meetings, and several of the members have volunteered at the school-age version of the club that we had to start because the under-12s were so jealous of the teenagers.

Most of all, I've learned to keep my eyes and ears open for other opportunities like this.  Teen-led doesn't have to mean complicated.  It doesn't have to mean pleading with already over-scheduled teens to lead a program at the library.  It can mean programs that grow organically out of other, seemingly unrelated programs.  And it can be beautiful to watch.


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2. Celebrating Summer Reading

Summer is right around the corner and we want to be sure to encourage kids to keep reading even after school is out. Here’s a poem that celebrates Summer Reading Month in June. It’s “Oh, Summer Books” by Diana Murray and Kaela L. has recruited a young volunteer who reads the poem with such expression that she really captures the spirit of the poem.

For the full text of this poem and 150+ more (all in English AND Spanish), order your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations HERE and for more Poetry Celebrations fun, click HERE. Plus for more on National Poetry Month, click HERE.

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3. Ready to Celebrate Poetry Month with The Dreamer?

I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to share The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan with you for National Poetry Month. The Dreamer is an invitation into the imaginative world of Pablo Neruda. Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets !! The Dreamer has allowed me to share my love of this poet with my children as we wander through his world and life in Chile.


It is a tale of day-dreaming, gathering those little items which catch our eye, while guarding and savoring them into a collection of our childhood. Pam Munoz Ryan does an incredible job of weaving facts into an incredible story of magic, nostalgia, and intrigue. Pablo Neruda’s real name was Neftali Reyes. He had a very stern and unbearable father. Protecting him were his step-mother, uncle, and sister. Along with everyday situations in his household and school, we are invited on wandering journeys to the rainforest where Neftali’s imagination is taken away by all of the fauna, insects, and animals which live in the forest.



Another trip takes us to the ocean where Neftali meets a librarian who gives him his hide-out for the summer. This turns into a spectacular adventure with his sister of trying to save a swan. Later Neftali learns of the movement to kick indigenous people out of their homeland from his uncle. As he grows, he takes up the cause to protect them. Making sure that he doesn’t seek the wrath of his father, he uses a pseudonym. His new last name Neruda was derived from a poet from Czechoslovakia.

One of the elements that makes this book such a treasure to read and hold are the simple but powerful illustrations of Peter Sis. His contributions to this magical story gives us a look into the world of a poet through the heart and eyes.

The Dreamer 1

Equally as interesting is Pam Munoz Ryan’s telling of what inspired her to write this story. Also in the back are several beautifully selected poems of Pablo Neruda’s. This book is a poetic magical tale that is sure to inspire all of us to look at those simple things around us with the eye of a poet. Life is for living and experiencing and this book is an invitation to do just this.

Something To Do

A Word Box

In the story The Dreamer, Neftali Reyes loves to collect things. One of his most beloved collections are his words. Writing them on a piece of paper, folding it gently , and then placing it in his drawer; Neftali can return anytime he wants to and remember the words that caught his imagination. Let’s remember our friend Neftali by making a word box.

word box


  • One unfinished wood or paper mache box found in a craft store.
  • Scrapbooking word stickers
  • Mod Podge matt finish
  • Brush
  • Paper


  1. Taking your wooden box and the word stickers, put words all over your box in a design of your choosing.
  2. Once you’ve finished sticking your words on the box, brush Mod Podge all over the words and let it dry.
  3. You can use any kind of paper. We like to use paper with pretty colors on one side but white paper works just fine. Cut little pieces of paper that fit into your box. Start writing your favorite words down and saving them in your word box.

Beautiful Spanish Words

The Dreamer uses a beautiful mix of English and Spanish. I liked the way the Spanish was woven throughout the story without it being distracting. Each Spanish word followed with it’s English meaning. By using the Spanish language in this way, it brought the essence of Chile into the story.

Here’s a Spanish lexicon from The Dreamer. Be sure to write these words on colorful cards and put them into your word box.

  • Adios:: Good-bye
  • el viento:: the wind
  • Porfa :: Please
  • buena suerte:: good luck
  • mapuche:: indigenous people in Aranucania
  • Bravo:: Good Job
  • la empanadas y el bistec:: Potato turnovers and steak
  • Aqui Estoy:: I am here.
  • El pan amasado:: Home made bread
  • futbol:: soccer
  • Amigo:: friend
  • un escondite:: a hideout
  • una chismosa:: a tattletale
  • Amor:: Love

Poetry Explorations

In The Dreamer author Pam Munoz Ryan poses many questions to get us thinking in words. Let’s look at those questions and write a short poem about the Wind. Remember when Neftali’s hat and gloves gotten blown away by the wind. What do these questions inspire in you ?

  1. What does the wind give ?
  2. What does the wind take away?
  3. Where is the storehouse of lost and found ?

Let’s experience Time through words. By answering the following questions you can experience time in a new way. Write a little poem about time.

  1. What is the color of a minute? A month ? A Year ?

Reader’s Theater

A great way to instill active reading in our young readers is to practice in a Reader’s Theater setting. Set for four voices, author Pam Munoz Ryan has created this Reader’s Theater edition to her book The Dreamer.

I’d like to know…..

Have you read this book? If so, share your thoughts and comments below!


Homeschooling can be complicated and frustrating, especially if you are overloaded with information. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out alone. Donna Ashton’s The Waldorf Home School Handbook is a simple and step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf-inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this all-in-one homeschooling guide parents will find information, samples of lesson plans and curriculum, helpful hints and the secrets behind the three Areas for Optimum Learning. Join Donna as she guides you through the Waldorf method and reveals how to educate your children in a nurturing and creative environment. Visit the Waldorf Homeschool Handbook info page HERE.

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

The post Ready to Celebrate Poetry Month with The Dreamer? appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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4. W is for Writing Prompts ~ Tyrean Martinson ~ A to Z 2015 Challenge

I hope you are enjoying the excitement of the Blogging from A to Z April 2015 Challenge and you getting the chance to visit with old friends and making new friends in the process. 

Today, it's all about "W" and I'm proud to profile fellow Muffin Commando Squad member, Tyrean Martinson, of A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts... 

A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts

Brief synopsis:

A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts is an ebook that contains over 500 simple writing prompts, all jumbled out of order so that each may stand alone to evoke a new story, a new poem, or a new reflection. Write, reflect, imagine, and enjoy!


Author Bio:

Tyrean Martinson, an everyday writer, likes to write in jeans and old Christian concert t-shirts while drinking copious amounts of tea and coffee, preferably served up in her Tinkerbell or Eeyore mugs (these are 16oz mugs, not wee cups). She teaches writing classes to home-school teens once a week, and she writes fantasy, science fiction, space opera, poetry, experimental hint fiction, and writing help and curriculum books.

Her latest releases reflect her love of everyday writing: A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts eBook with the companion paperback, A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts, and the additional Jumble Journals.

Visit with Tyrean Martinson:

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]-->


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

0 Comments on W is for Writing Prompts ~ Tyrean Martinson ~ A to Z 2015 Challenge as of 4/27/2015 9:01:00 AM
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5. A New Challenge: On-Line, Illustration Workshop

Fans of the little videos John and I occasionally make for my YouTube channel, will be interested to hear of my latest venture. I confess, I am rather excited myself.

A few Urban Sketchers friends of mine, including the truly outstanding Paul Heaston, and Marc Holmes, have recently signed up to run on-line workshops for a company called Craftsy. Paul and Marc's lessons are excellent, as you would imagine (but if you want to sign up for them, do it via the artists' own websites, as that way they get more commission). 

Craftsy classes are not just in urban sketching though: there are all sorts of things you can learn, including children's book illustration... See where this is going?

Yes, that's right - they have invited me to do a class on illustrating picture books, concentrating specifically on character design and development. Now, I really enjoyed making our studio-based films, but this is the real thing: the film will be shot over a 3 day period in a proper, real-life, film studio. And not just that... it's in the USA! Okay, so now you know why I am excited. 

I have been stealing time where I can over the last week or so, to write down everything I can think of on character creation. It helps that I do a lot of illustration workshops in schools on this theme, as it can be hard sometimes, trying to remember the stuff that you know really well. My next job is to collate these ideas into Craftsy's specific lesson-plan structure. 

Once that's done and has got the OK, I will work with a Content Editor to talk further about the specifics of how we turn those learning points into a filmed workshop (which specific characters I will draw as demos, what practical assignments I will set etc). When that's sorted out, I am assigned a Producer to work with, fine-tuning various practical elements of the project and the logistics of what needs to happen when. Apparently, we'll even be discussing my wardrobe (new dress needed..?)

Then comes the exciting bit: Craftsy are going to fly me out to where they are based, in Denver. I'm booked into the film studio for September 9th - 11th. Another adventure! I am doing rather well on that front just lately.

It's early stages and nothing much will happen for a while, as I have my other commitments to work on first, mainly my Urban Sketching People book, but I'll keep you posted (of course). Once the filming is done, there will be about 6 weeks of post-production editing before it's released. If all goes to plan, it sounds like we should have it ready to go live around the middle to end of October. Watch this space!

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6. Graceful - a review

When I reviewed The Last Present by Wendy Mass, I wrote the following:
The Last Present is the final book in the Willow Falls (or "birthday") series, realistic fiction with just the right amount of magic, courtesy of Angelina, the mysterious old woman with the duck-shaped birthmark. Angelina is seemingly the architect of all that occurs in Willow Falls, the town where nothing happens by coincidence and everything happens for a reason. Readers of the series will delight in revisiting their favorite characters - Leo, Amanda, Tara, Rory, David and all rest, as their stories intertwine and the story of Angelina is finally revealed. ... I'm sad to see it come to an end. It's been great fun!
Apparently, I wasn't the only one who was sorry to see the Willow Falls series come to an end. In the forward to Graceful (Scholastic, 2015), Wendy Mass writes that her readers let her know "IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS" that they were not ready for the series to end.  Graceful (due out tomorrow) is a gift to her readers.

I think fans of the series will be happy with Graceful, in which Grace fills in (somewhat unwittingly) for the mysterious Angelina as the architect of all that occurs in Willow Falls.  This is a series about friendship and family and the cosmic connectedness of all things. It can best be described as magical realism, and it is a series that should be read sequentially.  Mass does her best to catch the reader up with previous occurrences, but the series is so intricately plotted that it is difficult to skip a book or read them out of order.

Willow Falls has been a great place to visit, but I think Ms. Mass is ready to move on now.  All of our questions have been answered and all loose ends are tied.  It's been fun!  Enjoy!

The Willow Falls series by Wendy Mass

My Advance Reader Copy was supplied by the publisher.

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7. Query question: my novel isn't a ripoff, I swear

I've just had a terrible shock.  I have been taking my time meandering through all your author's websites.  There is so much to read on the blog AND also to keep up with the daily writing you do, fun commenters, other blogs, my own work and then, of course my full time gig, mothering/homeschooling.

I just read this in the works of Phillip DePoy: "2013 December's Thorn... Fever's wife? The mythology of Tristan and Isolde combines with Fever's dim past". And this: "To his family home in Blue Mountain, a small town in Georgia's Appalachian Mountains."

I know my story and this one cannot be the same at all from the little blurb I have read. My ms was written last summer before I had even heard of your blog. My point is, my story takes place in Appalachia in the Georgia Mountains and the mythology of Tristan and Isolde combine with my character's lives as well.  It wouldn't/couldn't happen again, such an odd coincidence? But what if I did query you and there were these bizarre similarities? What if I hadn't gone through all your authors books and queried?! I might not comb through other agent's websites as I do yours. This is so strange, would an agent see something like this as a joke? Or worse somehow, along the lines of plagiarism???

Yikes my heart skipped a beat.  To have two such strange coincidences...if this book also has to do with the Foxfire Magazine...errg. It's not like being queried for another vampire novel.  It just seems so strange. I know I am overreacting. Would you notice something like this? And if so what would your reaction be?

 I most likely will not notice if you too use a long established literary trope like Tristan and Isolde as the narrative blueprint for your novel.  Well, I'll notice the Tristan and Isolde part, I just won't assume you're lifting it wholesale from one of my client's books.

Tristant and Isolde is everyone's to use. As is Romeo and Juliet. As is "a monkey and horse walked in to a bar."

On the other hand, we're going to have some problems if you query me for an ex-military policeman, doing the vagabond shuffle, carrying only a toothbrush, and getting into trouble in cafes where he drinks too much coffee.

That's NOT a trope, that's a fully fleshed out character and Lee Child isn't a guy you'd want to steal from. 

Do you see the difference?

And even if you lifted every single element of Phillip DePoy's amazing Fever story, unless you write as well as he does, you're out of luck that I'd want to read it.

As long as you really are doing your own work you'll be ok. 


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8. Favorite and Fabulous Animal Stories

Congratulations, Rosi H! You won THE DEATH OF A HAT by Paul B. Janeczko!

Animal stories have always been popular. Ancient peoples told stories of mythic animals depicting universal truths about humanity. Over two thousand years ago, Aesop told the story of the fox that coveted a bunch of juicy grapes, of the frog who wanted to be king, and of the proud town mouse who visited his country mouse cousin.

 Animal stories have always been some of my favorites reads, including Anne Sewell’s Black Beauty (1877), Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971), Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion (1941), and the quintessential animal story, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (1952).

 And this year, I’ve found more to add to my collection!

Lumpito and the Painter from Spain (Pajama Press, April 2013): Monica Kulling’s poetic narrative retells the story of a special friendship with sparse eloquence. Dean Griffith’s rich, vivid watercolors capture the luscious landscape, the bold personality of the painter, the soulful expression of Lumpito as he dodges Big Dog, and Lump’s sheer delight as he finds his new home. A gorgeous and rewarding tale of love, and a perfect read-aloud for a rainy – or any -- day!

When Emily Carr Met Woo (Pajama Press, August 2014): Monica Kulling is the master of biography. Her series depicting little known inventors, Great Ideas, remains one of my favorites on the topic. However, it is when her biography showcases the iconic relationships between human and animal that her poetic narrative truly shines. This book follows eccentric Canadian artist Emily Coo, who lives in a camper she calls Elephant. She takes her puppies for walks using a baby carriage.
Folks called the painter a strange bird! One day Emily Carr adopts a small lonely monkey, whom she calls Woo. And the fun begins!

Call Me Amy (Paperback, Luminis Books, 2013): Marcia Strykowski’s coming of age story is a wonder. Amy Anderson is the shy protagonist. The quirky Miss Cogshell is dubbed Old Coot by the town’s children. And the mysterious Craig, the most popular boy in class who doesn’t have any real friends. One day, Craig finds a stranded, injured seal pup and asks Amy to help him, and the three come together to save Pup. This book reminds me in many ways of Hoot, the 2003 Newbery Honor by Carl Hiaasen.

Snow Ponies (Paperback, Square Fish Reprint, October 2013): First published in 2001, the book begins “On a cold, gray day, Old Man Winter leads his snow ponies outside. "Are you ready?" he asks. Using her signature quiet, poetic narrative, Cynthia Cotten captures the magic of winter as Old Man  Winter takes the snow ponies across the frigid landscape. As the ponies gallop, faster and faster, everything they touch turns white with snow. This is a poetic masterpiece, and a perfect read aloud.

  It’s Raining Bats & Frogs! (Feiwel & Friends, August 2015): What’s a witch to do when a rainstorm threatens the Halloween Parade? Rebecca Colby’s book doesn’t come out until August, 2015, but I can’t wait! I loved Rebecca’s previous book, There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie (Floris Books, May 2014). Her language in this retelling of the familiar tale of the the old woman who swallowed a fly was so much fun! Rebecca used the Scottish landscape to tell the story about “a wee Lassie who swallowed a midgie, so tiny and squidgy!” I have no doubts this one will be just as entertaining!

 “Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.” -- Charlotte's Web, E.B. White 

What are your favorite animal stories?

Bobbi Miller

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9. Comic: The Paperless Office


I recently received an Apple Watch for my birthday, which I am loving. Not because it keeps me in touch with the digital world -- in fact, I've turned off notifications for most social media and have decided NOT to check Twitter or FB via my Watch. I mainly plan to use it for fitness tracking as well as tactile reminders (it taps me on the wrist if I sit in my office chair too long) to get up and move around every once in a while.

As I hunted around for a place to put the charger, I couldn't help but think how ironic it is that the so-called paperless office often turns into a wire-laden office instead. In my case, I have lots of paper AND wires!

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10. W is for Writers' Weekend

....from my poetry book Kaleidoscope

Writers’ Weekend

Cross country driving through grey sleet,
skies overcast, wet roads a black deserted ribbon,
fame spurred me on, what if I should meet
someone who’d recognise my skills that had been hidden?

There on the hill, behind high rusting gates,
thin wintery hedges, crunching gravel
sinister ivy walls, a frozen lake,
poor welcome after miles I’d had to travel.

I rang the bell, listening to the echoing silence
spreading across the cold wet hills
and waited on the step, stamped in the snow,
much more of this and I’d be very ill.

Silence... if no one came I’d freeze to death
and slithering along the icy paths through cheerless gloom
I peered through  unwashed windows, cold and wet,
a single electric bar glowed in a darkened room.

My hostess, tiring of the empty sweep of lawn,
discovered me and led me through a  hall where Mr. Pugh
among his poison vats would be at home,
‘Had I been here before, did I admire the view?’

‘A ghost appears where you are standing,
your room is on the topmost floor
there’s no disturbance on that landing,
three people have arrived, there’ll not be more.’

‘It is the time of year, the snow is falling,
sorry about the dreadful lack of heat.
Fuel costs go up, it really is appalling,
but there’s a coal fire in one room, do take a seat.’

Huddled by the fire we shut the door
the fuel in the bucket’s growing less.
Oliver like, I dared to ask for more
but, sad to say with just as much success.

Retiring for the night to white-washed cell
colder than sheep pen open to the stars,
I dressed in all I had pell-mell,
three jumpers, woolly socks, and scarves.

A sudden thought, the other rooms were empty,
switch on the light to keep the ghosts away.
Collect the quilts; there surely would be plenty.
The longest night turned slowly into day.

Our breath formed clouds at breakfast as we ate,
we rubbed our arms and clapped our hands together,
watching the food congealing on the plate,
and smiled politely at each other.

After two days, I felt that we could face
anything the army could put us through or worse.
Manoeuvres would be easy; we’d swim the frozen lake,
hardened by the rigours of the course.

What we learned I really can’t remember...

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11. Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell Su Blackwell Su Blackwell Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell


Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell is an artist who works mainly in paper, she has illustrated books such as “The Fairytale Princess” by Wendy Jones, designed art fabric for Liberty London and contributed to columns in magazines such as Harpers Bazaar. Alongside art direction and theatre set design. Inspired by fairytales her work has a beautiful romance to it, that is just beautiful to look at. The designs look so delicate and interesting.

Too see more of Su Blackwell’s work visit her website  and blog

posted by Jessica Holden 

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12. FIVE Giveaways plus New YALit Releases 4/27 - 5/3 with Author Interviews

There are so many fantastic books coming out this week in a variety of genres that there should be something for every reading taste. Check out the descriptions to see which will be the latest additions to your 'to be read' pile. Plus make sure to enter to win one of the five great books we're giving away below.

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Martina, Jan, Shelly, Susan, Lisa, and Erin


* * * *

In a World Just Right
by Jen Brooks
Signed Hardcover Giveaway

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 4/28/2015

Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.

But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about In a World Just Right?

My favorite thing about IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT is the ending. It’s hard to say more without giving spoilers! I will say that although this is my first published book, it’s my third completed manuscript, and I think the way the ending came together was the result of a lot of things learned by writing manuscripts 1 and 2, whose endings didn’t have the pay-off I really wanted. But that’s how you grow as a writer (and a person!). You work at something until you get better at it. And, boy, as much as I enjoy it, writing is work for me. It’s been really rewarding to read reviewer reactions to the events in the final chapters.

Purchase In a World Just Right at Amazon
Purchase In a World Just Right at IndieBound
View In a World Just Right on Goodreads

* * * *

The Secrets We Keep
by Trisha Leaver
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 4/28/2015

A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Secrets We Keep?

In one word: Josh! Is it wrong to have a crush on one of your own characters!?! If so, then I am guilty as charged. He is quiet and loyal to a fault. He shares Ella’s passion for art, understands her quirks and is the one who eventually makes her see the truth—that she is as loved, as valued as her twin sister. He’s the kind of friend I wished I had growing up.

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* * * *

The Secrets of Attraction
by Robin Constantine
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Balzer + Bray
Released 4/28/2015

Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and (of course) romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine’s debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love.

Madison Parker is on fast-forward. Working toward a scholarship for a summer art program, she already has her future figured out. But when a visit from a family friend turns her life upside down, everything she thought she knew becomes blurred. All she wants is to stand still for a moment.

Jesse McMann is stuck on repeat. Reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band, Jesse divides his time between working as a barista and trying to find the inspiration to write music again. All he wants to do is move forward.

The night Maddie strolls into Jesse’s coffee shop after yoga class, the last thing on his mind is hooking up, but her smile and witty comebacks are hard to ignore. The spark between them is undeniable, but once-a-week flirting is hardly the stuff of epic romance.

Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett. When Jesse discovers that Gray’s girlfriend is also Maddie’s best friend, he invites Gray to join his band as their new drummer, hoping this connection will give him more time around Maddie. Slowly but surely, Jesse and Maddie forge a friendship, but do they have what it takes to make their relationship truly sync?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Secrets of Attraction?

The Secrets of Attraction is a companion to my first novel The Promise of Amazing, and I loved having characters from the first book play an integral role in this book too. It’s Madison and Jesse’s story, but Wren, Grayson and Jazz are featured, and I enjoyed revisiting their world of private school and coffee shops and garage bands. I also love the swoony parts! Lots and lots of swoon in this one, which is always fun to write!

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* * * *

The Boyfriend Project
by Rachel Hawthorne
Signed Paperback Giveaway
U.S. Only

Released 4/28/2015

Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Barnholdt, and Susane Colasanti, The Boyfriend Project is a romantic read about a girl who wishes her sweet boyfriend had a little more edge.

Kendall and her boyfriend, Jeremy, have been together forever, and Kendall is starting to wonder if Jeremy is a little boring. . . . So she embarks on a boyfriend makeover. But as Jeremy learns to strut his stuff, other girls start to notice him and, what's worse, he's noticing them back. Then Jeremy breaks up with Kendall and she realizes her makeover project was the ultimate disaster. Is the sweet boyfriend she loved gone forever?

A companion novel to Rachel Hawthorne's paperback original Trouble from the Start, this title is perfect for fans of summer beach reads and sweet treats.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Boyfriend Project?

My favorite thing about THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT is that it explores the old adage that the grass is always greener on the other side. This book is a companion to TROUBLE FROM THE START. Kendall loves Jeremy but he seems a little boring compared with her best friend’s new bad-boy-turned-good boyfriend. So she starts suggesting ways that he might change. It was fun writing his metamorphosis and figuring out ways that he might change that didn’t really alter the essence of him. I think sometimes we all wonder what if or if we’re missing out on something. We search for what we think we will make us happy when it’s actually been with us all along.

I’ll also admit that I loved all the dogs in the story. Kendall works at a dog shelter. The various dogs featured in the story were part of my life at one time or another, so it was fun to visit with them again.

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* * * *

Trouble from the Start
by Rachel Hawthorne
Signed Paperback Giveaway
U.S. Only

Released 4/28/2015

One of two companion novels from beach-read favorite Rachel Hawthorne, this cute, romantic paperback original is about a good girl who falls for a bad guy.

Avery knows better than to fall for Fletcher, the local bad boy who can’t seem to outrun his reputation. Fletcher knows he shouldn’t bother with college-bound, daughter-of-a-cop Avery. But when their paths cross, neither can deny the spark. Are they willing to go against everything and let their hearts lead the way? Or are they just flirting with disaster?

Trouble from the Start releases simultaneously with companion novel The Boyfriend Project. These heartwarming paperback originals are the perfect summer reads, great for fans of Jennifer Echols, Lauren Barnholdt, and Susane Colasanti.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Trouble from the Start?

My favorite thing about TROUBLE FROM THE START is the banter between the heroine Avery and the hero Fletcher. Avery is super-smart so she is really quick with comebacks. Fletcher has a bad-boy reputation and wants to be a loner so he will say things hoping that it’ll cause Avery to leave him alone. But she’s not having it. Due to mysterious circumstances that are revealed later, Fletcher is staying in the apartment above her family’s garage and she’s determined he’ll be part of the family, whether he wants to be or not.

I also love the attraction these two feel toward each other. They represent the opposites attract rule. Avery loves school; Fletcher just wants it to end. Avery never breaks the rules; Fletcher thinks rules exist to be broken. Avery has plans and dreams. Fletcher just wants to make it through to the next day. Avery wants to fall in love with Mr. Right. Fletcher is definitely Mr. Wrong.

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Becoming Jinn
by Lori Goldstein
Signed Hardcover plus Swag
Feiwel & Friends
Released 4/21/2015

Winner - Alicia Ezell

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters,” Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Becoming Jinn?

I love the world that is BECOMING JINN, meaning that it is a contemporary fantasy. Jinn is steeped in and reads very much like a straight contemporary and yet there’s magic and granting wishes and teleportation, or apping as the Jinn call it, that make it a fantasy as well. The merging of these elements comes together in a way that I love writing and have always loved reading. It has the ability to bring contemporary fans into the world of fantasy and vice versa in a very accessible way. And it’s just fun. I mean, who doesn’t want to lounge on a beach in this world we live in but be able to conjure mint chocolate chip ice cream? I certainly do!

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* * * *

The Remedy
by Suzanne Young
Simon Pulse
Released 4/21/2015

Winner - Tammy VanScoy

Can one girl take on so many identities without losing her own? Find out in this riveting companion to The Program and the New York Times bestselling The Treatment.

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

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* * * *

The Trials
by Stacey Kade
Signed Full Series
Released 4/21/2015

Winner - Kat Swank

After being on the run, Ariane Tucker finds herself back where she started—under the cruel control of Dr. Jacobs, head of the research facility that created her. Now she must participate in the upcoming trials; a deadly competition pitting her against other alien hybrids, each representing a rival corporation.

But Ariane is no one’s weapon. She is prepared to die if it means taking down those involved in Project Paper Doll. They destroyed all that she holds dear, including Zane Bradshaw, the one person she trusted and cared for the most—the person she was forced to leave behind, bleeding and alone.

As her plan takes shape Ariane will need to depend on, now more than ever, the other side of her heritage—the cold, calculated instincts born from her alien DNA. With Zane gone she has nothing left to lose.

With heart-pounding action, and plenty of surprises, the gripping conclusion to Stacey Kade's Project Paper Doll series delivers a powerful finish that will keep fans hooked to the very end.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Trials?

I think the last book in a series or trilogy is always the most fun because that's when all the changes you've been working toward in the previous books become permanent. Characters succeed or fail, once and for all. And wow, those are some high stakes to play with!

With THE TRIALS, my favorite part was seeing Ariane embrace the different sides of herself, her alien and her human side. She's always felt torn between the two, and in this book, she gets to a point where she is more comfortable with who she is and knowing she'll never be just ONE thing and that's okay. It's actually to her benefit to be both human and alien.

I also really enjoyed writing the chase scene in the mall. I love writing action sequences! And there's a romantic scene in the book that made me blush.

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* * * *

The Revelation of Louisa May
by Michaela MacColl
Chronicle Books
Released 4/14/2015

Winner - Kira Budge

Louisa May Alcott can't believe it—her mother is leaving for the summer to earn money for the family and Louisa is to be in charge of the household. How will she find the time to write her stories, much less have any adventures of her own? But before long, Louisa finds herself juggling her temperamental father, a mysterious murder, a fugitive seeking refuge along the Underground Railroad, and blossoming love. Intertwining fact, fiction, and quotes from Little Women, Michaela MacColl has crafted another spunky heroine whose story will keep readers turning pages until the very end.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Revelation of Louisa May

My favorite thing about The Revelation of Louisa May (Chronicle 2015) is probably Louisa May Alcott herself. I just liked her so much! When I write these literary mysteries I always start with biography. I learn as much as I can about the writer who will be my main character. I feel a little bit like a sculptor – adding bits and pieces of my understanding of the character until she’s fully formed in my head. When I start to write, the voice comes naturally. But Louisa was special – I understood her from the beginning.  She was bright and contrary even as a toddler (her wacky parents did all sorts of educational experiments on them and documented the results!).  The most practical member of the family, even at 12 her harassed mother (Marmee) confided in her way too much about the disastrous family finances. Louisa’s response was to vow to earn enough money to support the family … with her pen.  And she did. Little Women was published in 1869 and has never gone out of print. Louisa was a millionaire and yes, she supported the whole family.  She had grit and I liked that.

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* * * *

Deception's Pawn
by Esther Friesner
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 4/28/2015

Fortune favors the bold in this adventurous tale of broken friendships, forbidden love, and a fiery heroine's journey to escape the role into which she was born. Perfect for YA fantasy fans of Shannon Hale, Malinda Lo, and Tamora Pierce.

Maeve, princess of Connacht, seems to have won her freedom. Her father, the High King, is finally allowing her to explore the world beyond his castle. But Maeve soon discovers that being the High King's daughter doesn't protect her from bullying or the attention of unwelcome suitors.

Struggling to navigate a new court, she must discourage the advances of her father's rival, who is vying with her host's son for her hand in marriage. Maeve is a pawn trapped between these two boys. Her bold defiance will bring her to the brink of disaster, but her clever gamble may also lead to her independence. Though she faces danger and intrigue, Maeve will also discover what kind of person-and queen-she's destined to become.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Deception's Pawn?

My favorite thing about writing DECEPTION'S PAWN was having the opportunity to address a subject that's been with us since the very ugly day when someone saw the advantage to making others feel worthless. Why strive to build yourself up when it's easier to tear someone else down? If you can't feel superior through real accomplishments, play it so no one else dares to outshine you. Welcome to the wonderful world of bullying.

I know, I know: Bullying is one of those subjects that make some people roll their eyes and groan,"Oh please, THIS again? Can't we move on? Talk about something else?" Sure, why not? It's a free country and a free internet. Close your eyes, turn your back, leave the real/virtual room whenever you like. I'll stay.

In case you're wondering, yes, I've been the victim of all sorts of bullies. I was fat, wore glasses, used big words, liked geeky stuff, was a late bloomer socially, and was an only child. (Translation to Bully-ese: "You're so spoiled, you think you're BETTER than us!") Some bullies I encountered used fists, some used words, some used persuasion or outright coercion to build their own little hunting parties to sic on their prey. Does it help, knowing that some of the chief bully's followers went along with the mob because they were afraid of becoming victims themselves if they refused? Perhaps. It doesn't lessen painful memories, but if insight and understanding help stop or prevent even one incident of bullying, the pain was a price worth paying.

The heroine of DECEPTION'S PAWN isn't fat or geeky or squinting at the world through thick eyeglasses. She's beautiful, accomplished, a king's cherished daughter and heir. She's still a bully's target. I want to remind you that anyone can be picked on and persecuted as long as we allow such things to be comfortably ignored, dismissed as "girls will be girls," "boys will be boys," and "If we don't make a big thing out of it, it'll go away."

It won't. It needs to be recognized, talked about, dealt with, thwarted, and--hopefully some day--ended. Remember: Trolls hate sunlight.

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* * * *

The Game of Love and Death
by Martha Brockenbrough
Arthur A. Levine Books
Released 4/28/2015

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured — a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Game of Love and Death?

This is a really tough question—I wove a lot of beloved things into this book: some of my favorite songs, art that influenced me when I was a teen, the appeal of swanky jazz clubs… It’s also set in my hometown, Seattle, which I adore, and during an era I find compelling—the Depression and run-up to World War II. Maybe an analogy is having an apartment in your favorite city and an unlimited decorating budget … it was all about creating a world I loved inhabiting.

But my favorite part, I’d say, has nothing to do with the decor and everything to do with Death, the villain. I grew to love her. She’s complicated and awful and kind of wonderful too.

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* * * *

The Girl at Midnight
by Melissa Grey
Delacorte Press
Released 4/28/2015

For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Girl at Midnight?

My favorite part of The Girl at Midnight is definitely the cast of characters. The protagonist, Echo, is the beating heart of the story, but she’s not alone in narrating it. I realized as I was writing the first draft that in order to best tell the story I envisioned, I had to show it from different angles. The best way to do that was to expand the pool of narrators and really try to get into each character’s head to find their unique voice. The process of discovering what made each character tick — be it Echo’s desire to find love and acceptance or Jasper’s quest for glory or Dorian’s unfailing loyalty — was a wild ride.

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* * * *

An Ember in the Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir
Released 4/28/2015





LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier— and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

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* * * *

by Sarah Darer Littman
Scholastic Press
Released 4/28/2015

He says: You're an awful person.
He says: What makes you think I would ever ask you out?
He says: The world would be a better place without you in it.

Lara just got told off on Facebook.

She thought that Christian liked her, that he was finally going to ask her to his school's homecoming dance. They've been talking online for weeks, so what's with the sudden change? And where does he get off saying horrible things on her wall? Even worse - are they true?

It's been a long time since Lara's felt this bad, this depressed, this ugly. She's worked really hard to become pretty and happy - and make new friends after what happened in middle school.

Bree used to be best friends with overweight, depressed Lara, but constantly listening to Lara's issues got to be too much. Secretly, Bree's glad Christian called Lara out. Lara's not nearly as amazing as people think. But no one realized just how far Christian's harsh comments would push Lara. Not even Bree.

As online life collides with real life, things spiral out of control, and not just for Lara. Because when the truth starts to come together, the backlash is even more devastating than anyone could have ever imagined.

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* * * *

Be Not Afraid
by Cecilia Galante
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 4/28/2015

Marin spends a lot of time avoiding things. She avoids thinking about her mother's suicide and what she could have done to prevent it. She avoids looking at people directly-because she can see their pain as bright, colorful shapes. And she avoids Cassie Jackson, who used her in a sinister ritual months ago, although Marin's not exactly sure why.

When Cassie stands up at school, screaming, raking her nails down her cheeks, and pointing a finger at Marin, whispering "YOU," Marin's days of avoidance come to an abrupt end. Cassie's older brother believes that Marin holds the secret to Cassie's illness. So they team up to solve the mystery of what Cassie has unleashed. But as they look deeper into the darkness and things begin to go bump in the night, can Marin trust what she sees?

Cecilia Galante, author of The Patron Saint of Butterflies, presents a chilling story with horror-movie thrills and nail-biting suspense. Perfect for fans of American Horror Story, Paranormal Activity, and The Exorcist, and readers who love to feel goose bumps.

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* * * *

Encore to an Empty Room
by Kevin Emerson
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 4/28/2015

Summer always wanted Dangerheart—the band of talented exiles she manages—to find success. Now that they've become an overnight sensation, her hard work is really starting to pay off.

So how come her life seems to be snapping like an old guitar string?

Maybe it's because part of her knows that college applications are due soon, but another part of her can't imagine leaving her life behind—especially when the band is on the verge of a record deal and her relationship is becoming something more than she ever dreamed of. And especially when there's a chance of finding another missing song written by the famous dead rocker who is also Caleb's father.

But are Caleb, the band's future, and the lost songs more important than college? Summer will have to decide. It's time to choose who she wants to be, even if that might mean kissing Caleb good-bye.

Filled with infectious music, mystery, and romance, this electrifying sequel to Kevin Emerson's Exile doesn't miss a beat.

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* * * *

Flirty Dancing
by Jenny McLachlan
Feiwel & Friends
Released 4/28/2015

Full of humor and heart, this story of finding your confidence (and your jive!) is the first in a four-book series, The Ladybirds, by debut author Jenny McLachlan.

Bea Hogg is shy, but she has a fiery core that she doesn't let many see. When the national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just her luck that her best friend Kat ditches her and agrees to enter with school super-witch Pearl Harris (and Bea's former best friend).

Bea is determined to fight back! But when the school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl's boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea to jive dance, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

Jenny McLachlan weaves a warm and hilarious story of friendship and dance starring the refreshing and plucky Bea Hogg.

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* * * *

by Amy Reed
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 4/28/2015

The Fault in Our Stars meets Go Ask Alice in this dramatic romance about a teenage girl who survives a terminal cancer diagnosis, only to get trapped in the deadly spiral of addiction. Fans of Gayle Forman and Sara Zarr will be swept away by this gritty romance, the first in a duology.

Evie is living on borrowed time. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer several months ago and told that by now she'd be dead. Evie is grateful for every extra day she gets, but she knows that soon this disease will kill her. Until, miraculously, she may have a second chance to live.

All Evie had wanted was her life back, but now that she has it, she feels like there's no place for her in it--at least, not for the girl she is now. Her friends and her parents still see her as Cancer Girl, and her boyfriend's constant, doting attention is suddenly nothing short of suffocating.

Then Evie meets Marcus. She knows that he's trouble, but she can't help falling for him. Being near him makes her feel truly, fully alive. It's better than a drug. His kiss makes her feel invincible--but she may be at the beginning of the biggest free fall of her life.

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* * * *

Lying Out Loud
by Kody Keplinger
Scholastic Press
Released 4/28/2015

Kody Keplinger returns to the world of The DUFF in this brand-new companion novel!

Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend's house every night because she has nowhere else to go.

Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with -- secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross.

Ryder's the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can't stand -- a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.

But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually like him. Only there's one small catch: he thinks he's been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she's the girl he's really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?

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* * * *

by Maria Dahvana Headley
Released 4/28/2015

Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy where Neil Gaiman's Stardust meets John Green's The Fault in Our Stars in a story about a girl caught between two worlds . . . two races . . . and two destinies.

Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who's always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza's hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

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* * * *

by Sharon Cameron
Scholastic Press
Released 4/28/2015

A remarkable and utterly inventive novel bursting with intrigue and romance, from Sharon Cameron, acclaimed author of THE DARK UNWINDING, which USA TODAY called "spellbindingly imaginative."

Centuries after a shifting of the Earth's poles, the Sunken City that was once Paris is in the grips of a revolution. All who oppose the new regime are put to the blade, except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy's arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

Daring intrigue, delicious romance, and spine-tingling suspense fill the pages of this extraordinary tale from award-winning author Sharon Cameron.

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* * * *

The Eternity Key
by Bree Despain
Released 4/28/2015

Fan-favorite author Bree Despain continues her modern-day romance trilogy inspired by the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades with this second book in her Into the Dark series.

Haden Lord, the disgraced Prince of the Underrealm, has chosen love over honor and will do everything in his power to protect Daphne Raines, the human girl he was supposed to bring to the Underrealm. Haden’s choice is put to the test as the Skylords and a figure from his past arrive in Olympus Hills with a plan that could destroy all of the realms.

Embracing her destiny as the Cypher, Daphne begins to understand the immense power of her musical ability to control the elements, but she must come to terms with her feelings for Haden and what she must sacrifice in order to protect him and her friends.

Believing the Key of Hades is the only thing that can stop the Underrealm Court from releasing the monstrous Keres on the mortal world, Haden, Daphne, and their friends set out to find the Key before Persephone’s Gate opens again on the spring equinox.

Purchase The Eternity Key at Amazon
Purchase The Eternity Key at IndieBound
View The Eternity Key on Goodreads

* * * *

The Replaced
by Kimberly Derting
Released 4/28/2015

Romantic and action-packed, The Replaced is the gripping second installment in the Taking trilogy.

Kyra hasn't been the same since she returned from her mysterious five-year disappearance. Now, on the run from the NSA, Kyra is forced to hide out with others who, like her, have been Returned. Yet she is determined to find Tyler, the boy she loves who was also abducted—all because of her. When her group intercepts a message that Tyler might still be alive but is in the hands of a shadowy government organization that experiments on the Returned, Kyra knows it's a risk to go after him. What if it's a trap? And worse, what if the returned Tyler isn't the same boy she lost?

Perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the Body Finder series, The Replaced is both chilling and explosive, with creepy, otherworldly elements and twisty, psychological thrills that will have you questioning what exactly it means to be human.

Purchase The Replaced at Amazon
Purchase The Replaced at IndieBound
View The Replaced on Goodreads

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The self-proclaimed # 1 cartoon on the Internet, Bobbee Bee "The Hater" is back to answer all the difficult questions everybody else is afraid to answer. Yes, the comeback kid, from the "City of Brotherly," is back with another episode of Here Comes "The Hater" on the Black Athlete Sports Network. www.blackathlete.net
1. With the all of these police killings and gang-shootings, do you think we should have another Million Man March? NO!!!! I am TIRED MARCHING!!! It's time for some action!!!

2. Do you think Adrian Peterson will play for the Minnesota Vikings next year?

Not if Jerry Jones has anything to do with it.

3. What would you like to tell ESPN's Skip Bayless?

A wise man never knows all and only a fool knows everything!!!

4. Why do you think Adrian Peterson beat is son?

That's easy.....He wants to be a Dallas Cowboy...


5. What do you think about all the police brutality is an issue in America?

Yes. But, police do locally. What the government does internationally

6. What was the best advice you ever received outside the classroom?

Think, it is not illegal yet.
7. Can you believe the Philadelphia Eagles signed Tim Tebow? Hey, God performs miracles all the time. Plus, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly thinks he is smarter than God.

8. Have you ever been stop by the police?

Of course....I am a Black male with a college degree, who listens to Hip-Hop.

9. What did you dream about last night?

I dreamed about revenging the deaths of Mike Brown, Jordan Davis, Travyon Martin, and other Black men, who were killed by the hands of a crooked cop.
10. What do you think Martin Luther King would say if he was here today?

Force begets force. Hate begets Hate. And, only Love can transform the hearts and minds of others.
Eric D. Graham is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television and a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies. Currently, he is the Managing Editor at BASN, where his articles appear daily, along with his controversial cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.”Graham can be reached at lbiass34@yahoo.com

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14. Interview and Giveaway: Wild Heat by Lucy Monroe

[Manga Maniac Café] Good morning, Lucy!  What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Lucy Monroe] My debit card.  I get very nervous if I can’t pay for things (like transportation home if I need it).

[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Lucy Monroe] My water bottle. My phone. A credit card offer I need to shred.

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Lucy Monroe] My husband makes mini chocolate chip-pecan cookies for me when I’m super tight deadlines.

[Manga Maniac Café] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Lucy Monroe] The Queen of England.  I’m very curious and I want to see the rooms you can’t when on tour of Buckingham Palace.  But just for a day, mind.  I love my life and don’t want to live in anyone’s skin but my own. ?


Sometimes old flames are the hottest of all . . .

In the quaint little town of Cailkirn, Alaska, it’s impossible to keep a secret, especially one as juicy as the unexpected return of Kitty Grant. Tack MacKinnon remembers her wild red curls and even wilder spirit-and still feels the sting from when she shattered his heart in college. But there’s a pain in Kitty’s gorgeous eyes that guts him to the core and Tack is determined to do whatever it takes to see the woman he still loves smile again-even if it means taking on her demons as his own. After fleeing an abusive ex-husband, Kitty decides that the best way to heal her broken heart is to come back home. But she gets a whole new shock when she sees how undeniably sexy Tack has become. More handsome, more muscular, more charming-more everything-he’s impossible to resist. Before she knows it, they’re reigniting sparks that could set the whole state of Alaska on fire. Yet trust doesn’t come easy to Kitty anymore, and as things heat up between her and Tack, she can’t help but wonder if one of them is going to get burned . . . 

About Lucy Monroe:

A USA Today Bestseller, most of Lucy Monroe’s titles have spent multiple weeks on national bestsellers lists, including Neilson Bookscan (in both North America and the UK), Amazon & B&N.com. She is ranked as a top selling contemporary romance author on Amazon. 

Lucy’s SM:






Buy Links:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1GszZ3I

BAM –  http://bit.ly/1GsCvXH

B&N –  http://bit.ly/1HyVsIy

IndieBound – http://bit.ly/1EAPF4L

GooglePlay – http://bit.ly/1Dt10Oq

iTunes – http://apple.co/1OQf3CZ

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1z2yeYH


An almost frenzied need to bring her back to the present washed over him. His instincts were telling him the best way to accomplish that, but his brain insisted it was a bad, bad idea.

Fighting the urge to act on his instincts, Tack cleaned up the detritus of lunch. It only took a couple of minutes to put everything back in his pack. But in that short time, Kitty didn’t just maintain her distant silence, but she drew further away from him.

And she couldn’t afford to do that.

He couldn’t say how he knew that, he just did.

Tack’s certainty growing that she’d checked out mentally in a way that was dangerous for her emotions, he put his pack aside and scooted closer to Kitty. She didn’t seem to notice.

“Wildcat?” he prompted, his voice as gentle as he could make it. “You okay in there?”

“Of course.” The words were right, but the vacant tone was anything but.

He slid his hand under her hair, cupping her neck, giving physical contact to draw her back to him and now. She didn’t react to the touch at all and that scared him.

“Damn it, Caitlin Elizabeth Grant, look at me.”

Her brows furrowed. “Don’t.”

“What?” he asked in a tone as gentle as he’d spoken sternly before. Come on, wildcat, tell me not to yell at you.

Her silence changed, as if she was searching for words. “Call me Caitlin.” She frowned. “I don’t like it.”

“I thought you wanted me to.” She’d said so, hadn’t she?


“Why not? Why don’t you like it?”

She shrugged.

And that was it. He was done playing nice, his own misgivings not nearly as powerful as his need to stop whatever was going on inside Kitty’s mind.

With careful, but inexorable pressure, he turned her head so she faced him. Her pupils were dilated like they’d been yesterday, her complexion waxy, but her lips were pink and parted invitingly.

Her breathing changed just a little bit and he took that as a victory.

“I’m going to kiss you, wildcat. Are you up for it?”


Tack’s gut was telling him this is what he needed to do, but damned if he would kiss her without her permission.

She’d had enough choices taken away, that was becoming clearer the more he found out about her life before returning to Cailkirn.

“What?” Suddenly she was looking at him and seeing him. “You’re going to kiss me? Why would you do that?”

He almost laughed. He did groan. His body was burning for her. “Because I want to.”


“You really need to ask?”


“You don’t sound real sure there, sweetheart.”

She bit her bottom lip and then released it. “I don’t think I’m very good at it.”

“Good thing I am then, huh?”


“I tell you what, let’s give it a try and you can let me know if you agree, okay?”


More relieved at her acquiescence than he should be, he tipped his head forward and slid his lips across hers in the simplest and most chaste of touches.

A small sigh shuddered out of her, the breath washing over his lips.

He kissed her again, this time molding their mouths and moving his lips against hers for long delicious moments. Her small hands came up to clutch the front of his long sleeved t-shirt, her fingers twisting in the fabric as she tried to pull him closer.

He went willingly, allowing their upper bodies to touch.

It wasn’t skin on skin contact, but that didn’t seem to matter to the electric shocks short-circuiting his nerve endings.

He flicked his tongue out to taste her. The flavor of grapes and ripe strawberries exploded on his tongue along with a sweetness that was all Kitty Grant.

Certain it would become an addiction way too easily, he still wanted more of that taste. He delved into her mouth and she welcomed him, sliding her tongue along his, and pressing their lips closer together.

His reasons for initiating the kiss melted, along with everything else around them and he reveled in the touch and feel of this woman he’d craved for too many years of his life.

He maneuvered them so she was lying on her back on the tarp and he was partially over her without once breaking his lips from hers. To do so would have been a travesty of epic proportions.

Her fingers kneaded him through his shirt like a cat. Such an innocent touch, but it felt good. So good, that between that and the kiss, his erection was pressing hard enough against his fly he’d be surprised if it didn’t leave an imprint in his flesh.

He wanted skin though. Craved her skin under his fingertips and damned if common sense was going to stop him from getting exactly that.

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15. FYI from Storywraps

Reminding you that there is still time to win one of Brad Snyder's signed books on parenting ... "The 5 Simple Truths of Raising Kids".

Just answer the question,  "What were Sir Winston's Churchill's favourite drinks"?

(If you don't know Google does)

 Leave your answer, with your email:

*  Here on comments section of Storywraps

* Twitter (Storywraps@Storywraps1) -Twitter button on blog.

* Storywraps on Facebook

 I'll contact you for mailing info and it's yours.  There are two books to giveaway so don't miss an opportunity to get a copy FREE!!

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.


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16. in defense of copyright

There's been a lot of talk in Britain about copyright during the past few days. What is it? Do we need it? Some people argue that it's not an important issue in the context of the overall election, but I disagree; I think people's attitude toward copyright tells us a lot about how they want society to work and how willing they are to take away protective rights before they even know much about them.

I got very weary of trying to explain the same points about copyright over and over to people on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to follow the debate, I've posted updates on my previous blog post here. If you want to know more from me, go there and leave a comment (or here); I'm not going to tweet endlessly about it.

Here are five reasons why I'm glad we're having this discussion about copyright:

1. Copyright is IMPORTANT. It's been a reminder to all parties not to mess with copyright unless thinking VERY hard about it and consulting freelance creative people whom the policy change would deeply affect.

2. Many people are clueless about copyright. It's shown that there are a lot of people out there who have no idea what copyright really means, but still want to see it severely curtailed.

3. Copyright is a subject worth investigating. It's made us see that we can't take copyright for granted, and we need to educate people about how it protects individual artists. (It's not just a truncheon for big corporations, as some assume.) It's made us think about the current state of copyright (Lifetime + 70 years) and wonder if it needs review or is right for now, taking into consideration existing EU policy.

4. We have to go by what's written. Intention doesn't mean much unless written words back it up. It's not just the Green Party policy website, the same goes for business conducted by creative people. If terms aren't correctly written into our contract and we have no copyright to protect us as creatives, the stronger and richer party gets to decide who's right.

5. We have help. It's highlighted the importance of the Society of Authors, an affordable source of help with legal explanations. The SoA is the closest thing writers, illustrators and translators have to a union for defending our rights and pointing us in the right directions so we can educate ourselves.

Here's the Society of Author's recent statement on copyright:

The discussion has thrown up two good pieces of online writing about the subject, including these two articles. Read five myths about copyright by writer John Degen:

And check out this defense of copyright by writer Joanne Harris:

What the copyright discussion taught us about the politics and the Green Party:

The Green Party handled this quite clumsily at first. Some representatives were pretending the policy website didn't say what it said about their stance toward an intended duration copyright 'with a usual maximum of 14 years'. Some said that it meant '14 years after death', and some insisted that it DID mean 14 years in total, as written. There was confusion. What we've learned from this:

1. Writing matters. If you write something on your policy website, that's what people are going to read and they will think that is what you mean. Your intention means nothing if you can't write clearly.

2. Learn how to write if you want to make big changes to society. People who deal in policy creation need to have good writing skills, and people to copy-edit what they've written before it goes public (particularly just before an election). Being 'grass roots' is no excuse for sloppiness in thinking or in writing.

3. Twitter is a powerful way to bring up an issue very quickly. All I did was highlight an existing piece of public policy and because the policy itself was so shocking to people in creative professions, the word spread like fire. (A lot of creative people spend a lot of time on Twitter.)

4. The Green Party lets all its members vote to decide policy. The Green Party can't make quick decisions or fix wording on its website without members voting to change it.

I think the Green Party should have highlighted this fourth fact right away, to show off its democratic decision-making process. Pretending the website wording didn't mean what it said was off-putting to people trying to understand the party's stance. Party Leader Natalie Bennett kept trying to smooth over this by retweeting an article that said the website didn't mean what it said. But Brighton MP Caroline Lucas realised within a few days that this wasn't enough, admitted the party got it wrong, and highlighted the need for consultation with creatives about copyright. I still think she shouldn't pretend the party meant '14 years after death', because that's not what the policy said, but if she wants to state this as a face-saving measure, I suppose that's politics, and people who want to vote Green can show up to discuss the subject with her. Read more on the Green Party website here.

And finally, how do we vote? ...I still have NO IDEA. Argh. But I will vote. Personally, I'm not convinced about protest votes. I don't want to see UKIP get power and I believe in voting for the party I think will do the best job. (Saying 'don't worry about Green policy and vote for them because they won't get in anyway' sounds lame. It's like I handed you my book and said 'don't bother reading it, it's rubbish'.)

But some creatives who were worried about copyright policy are reassured and deciding to go ahead and vote Green, to give a stronger voice to environmental concerns. You can read writer Jonathan Emmett's argument for voting Green:

And now I need to get back to work.

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17. Social Media Etiquette

What not to do when using social media.

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18. It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4-27-15

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers.
Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews!

Books I Read this Week:

(ARC details)
The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Bloomsbury, 2015
368 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

More on this to come! I am saving my review for the book's birthday on May 5th!

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Dial Books, 2015
Graphic Novel: Realistic Fiction
240 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

This is by far, my favorite roller derby novel ever! Ok, ok, it's the only one I've ever read, but I know it would be my favorite, even if I'd read others.
Vibrant colorful and expressive drawings jump off the page, I became so wrapped up in Astrid's world and perspective, that like her, I didn't even notice some of her shortcomings until we were both smacked in the face with them.
Strong themes of hard work and friendship make this the perfect book for...everyone.
If you're a classroom teacher and want to add this to your classroom library, be warned that there is a minor female development reference, and Astrid shares a less than positive nickname she was given in 2nd grade. Sound out her name, slowly, you'll get the first part. Otherwise, I should think this book is in all public libraries, because it is phenomenal!

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Thanks for stopping by!
Have a wonderful week!

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19. On Poetry

To me the world of poetry is a house with a thousand glittering windows.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

The post On Poetry appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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20. If You Are In Germany (Sorry) Hundreds Of German Cinemas Boycotting Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Of course Disney are going t6o squeeze every cent out of something that is popular.  It is what they do. A furry turd gets attention then Disney will sell it at an over the top price.

Just as you are guaranteed that soon Star Wars and the Marvel Universe are going to cross over.  My gods, the Disney executives must be wetting their pants over that.  Why are Marvel Disney comics more and more sci fi based.....?

Hundreds Of German Cinemas Boycotting Avengers: Age Of Ultron
The heroes of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ won’t be assembling at a number of German theatres.
Theatres in 193 small towns in Germany are refusing to screen the Marvel blockbuster, citing Disney’s raised rental fee for the film, according to German publication Deutsche Welle. 

In total, the film is being kept from 686 screens.

Cinema owners told DW that they were taken aback when Disney announced it was upping the fee from 47.7 to 53 percent of ticket sales.
Additionally, Disney is cutting its advertising spend and will not provide advances for 3D glasses. 

“We are worried, particularly about eastern Germany,” Karl-Heinz Meier, spokesman for advocacy group I.G. Nord, told DW. 

“When prices go up, then we have a serious problem that could force movie theatres to close.”

A Disney rep issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that the studio wouldn’t address the situation. “We don’t discuss the negotiations that we are engaged in with our partners in exhibition,” the statement reads.

The Joss Whedon-directed film, which stars Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, opened April 23 in Germany. 

It got off to a big start at the international box office this weekend with a $201.2 million haul, including $9.3 million from the German box office, and hits U.S. theatres on May 1.

Image credit: Disney

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21. New Adult Fiction Genre - Contemporary Romance - #WriteTip

There is a new genre emerging..."New Adult" fiction for older teens aka college-aged readers. You never stop growing up, but little in the market seems to address the coming-of-age that also happens between the ages of Nineteen to Twenty-six. Life changes drastically once high school is over, you have college, first jobs, first internships, first adult relationships…

Part of the appeal of NA is that the storylines are about characters who are taking on adult responsibilities for the first time without guidance from their parents. And the storylines generally have a heavy romance element. 

Keep this in mind as you revise your wonderful story, New Adult books are mostly about that specific time in every person's life—the time when the apron strings are cut from your parents, you no longer have a curfew, you're experiencing the world for the very first time, in most cases, with innocent eyes. New Adult is this section of your life where you discover who you want to be, what you want to be, and what type of person you will become. This time defines you. This is the time of firsts, the time where you can't blame your parents for your own bad choices. 

An NA character has to take responsibility for their own choices and live with the consequences. Most storylines are about twenty-something (18 to 26) characters living their own lives without any parents breathing down their necks, and learning to solve things on their own as they would in real life. New Adult fiction focuses on switching gears, from depending on our parents to becoming full-fledged, independent adults.

I am a firm believer that if you’re going to write a certain genre that you should read it, too. So I’m going to recommend that you start devouring NA novels to get a real sense and understanding of the genre before you write one.

Here are some great recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult-romance and http://www.goodreads.com/genres/new-adult and https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/new-adult-romance

Just as YA is fiction about teens discovering who they are as a person, New Adult (NA) is fiction about building your own life as an actual adult. As older teen readers discover the joy of the Young Adult genres, the New Adult—demand may increase. This, in turn, would give writers the chance to explore the freedom of a slightly older protagonist (over the age of 18 and out of high school, like the brilliant novel, "BEAUTIFUL DISASTER" by the amazing talents of author, Jamie McGuire) while addressing more adult issues that early 20-year-olds must face.

Older protagonists (basically, college students) are surprisingly rare; in a panel on YA literature at Harvard’s 2008 Vericon, City of Bones author talked about pitching her novel, then about twenty-somethings, as adult fiction. After several conversations, Clare realized she had to choose between adults and teens. She went with teens.

Quote from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press: We are actively looking for great, new, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin’s Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an “older YA” or “new adult.” In this category, they are looking for spunky but not stupid, serious but not dull, cutting-edge, supernatural stories.

Quote from Georgia McBride, author (Praefatio) and founder of #YALitChat and publisher at Month9Books: "New Adult is a fabulous idea in theory, and authors seem to be excited about it. But in a world where bookstores shelf by category, to them, it is either  Adult or Young Adult. Some booksellers even call their YA section “teen.” And when you have a character who is over a certain age (19 seems to be the age most consider the start of New Adult), it is received as Adult. In some cases, the designation by publishers causes more confusion than not.
Let’s face it, YA is associated with teens, and at 19, most no longer consider themselves teens. So, it would support the theory of placing these “New Adult” titles in the Adult section. However, with the prevalence of eBook content, it would seem that the powers that be could easily create a New Adult category if they really wanted to...."

There’s also a list on goodreads of New Adult book titles. These books focus on college age characters, late teens to early twenties, transitioning into the adult world.

Some popular authors of the NA category include:
  • Jamie McGuire
  • Jessica Park
  • Tammara Webber
  • Steph Campbell
  • Liz Reinhardt
  • Abbi Glines
  • Colleen Hoover 
  • Sherry Soule

Would you buy New Adult books? 
Does the genre appeal to you? 

Does it sound better than YA (teen novels)? 
Or are you happy with YA as it stands?

Do you consider YA to include characters that are over the age of eighteen? 

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22. MMGM Links (4/27/15)

It's deadline crunch-time around here, so I'm tossing the MMGM links together super quick. Sorry again if there are mistakes. I should hopefully getting my brain back soon. I'm tired of sharing it with Sophie & Crew! :)

- Rcubed sees something special in SOMETHING NEW. Click HERE to read her feature. 
- Jenni Enzor is charmed by THE PENDERWICKS IN SPRING. Click HERE to see why. 
- Cindy Tran is featuring BLACKBIRD FLY with an interview with Erin Entrada Kelly. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--CODY AND THE FOUNTAIN OF HAPPINESS. Click HERE for all the details.   
- Katie at Storytime Secrets is spreading some love for MY LIFE IN DIORAMAS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is sold on SEAN ROSEN IS NOT FOR SALE. Click HERE to read his feature. 
- The Page Turner is whispering about HOUSE OF SECRETS. Click HERE for their thoughts.
- Rachel at What Rachel Wrote is caught up in THE WESTING GAME. Click HERE to see why.  
- Laurisa White Reyes is answering the call for A MONSTER CALLS. Click HERE to find her review.  
- Suzanne Warr is spotlighting GOBLIN QUEST. Click HERE to see why.
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.   
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!  

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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23. NIGHTBIRD by Alice Hoffman for MMGM

In keeping with this month's inadvertent theme (see Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly and Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose), today's feature also has a bird title.

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman (hardcover, Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, 208 pages, March 10, 2015, for ages 10 and up)

Synopsis (from the book jacket): Rumor has it that Sidwell (Massachusetts) is home to a monster, and tales of sightings draw in as many tourists as do the town's famed Pink apples. Twig's mom owns the orchard and bakes irresistible pies. Because of a family secret, Twig has tried her best to be invisible, but when two girls named Julia and Agate move into Mourning Dove Cottage next door, everything changes. A witch lived there once, and Twig's mother has always forbidden her to step inside. But Julia just might be Twig's first true friend, and her ally in vanquishing an ancient curse.

Why I recommend it:  The writing takes my breath away. Even though the setting is modern (Twig's brother, for instance, has a computer), there is a timeless, dreamlike quality about this book that makes it feel like a fable. This is an excellent book in which to lose yourself for a day or two. Perhaps best read on a warm, soft spring or summer day. Preferably while eating a slice of pie.

Without revealing too much about the plot, my deepest childhood wish involved flying, and this book evokes the joy as well as the obvious dangers of a person soaring silently over the town.

The publisher claims this is Alice Hoffman's first novel for middle grade readers. But I distinctly remember reading both Aquamarine and Indigo, which the bookstore shelved in MG, many years ago, and according to Amazon they're both aimed at preteens. She's also the author of several YA novels, including Green Angel, and many adult novels, including the recent The Dovekeepers, and The Museum of Extraordinary Things.

Favorite lines: "If enchantment could be found anywhere, it would surely be in the Berkshires, where the woods were so green and deep, and a mist rose from the streams that crisscrossed the meadows so that even those of us without wings felt as if we were walking through the clouds."  (from p. 40-41)

Bonus: The budding friendship between Twig and Julia is a gem. Give this to readers looking for friendship novels, and quiet, lovely magical realism.

Alice Hoffman's official website

Other MMGM reviews of NIGHTBIRD:

Jess at the Reading Nook

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger. Visit her blog for links to other MMGM posts.

Readers, what was your childhood wish? Did you dream of flying?

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24. Growing Students Who Love Poetry

  Back in March, I had the pleasure of attending the Michigan Reading Association conference in Grand Rapids, MI. I had been preparing my own presentation for the event and had neglected to… Continue reading

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25. Top 20 Middle Grade Agents: 129 Sales in the Last 12 Months

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What agents are selling middle grade novels? Publishersmarketplace.com does a great job of monitoring the business of selling manuscripts to publishers. If you’re looking for an agent, you’ll want to spend a lot of time there doing research on agents to find the perfect match for you and your stories. Here’s just one way to look at the agents for middle grade novels. This list includes information on the agent, links to his/her agency and the number of middle grade deals made in the last twelve months. Please note that the agent/agency may have made many other deals in addition to these; these are limited to those self-reported by the agent/agency in the category of middle grade. For more information, go to Publishersmarketplace.com (you must pay to join to see full information).

This is the second of three articles on current agents for children’s books. See also Picture Book Agents and YA Agents lists (link is live on 4/29).


I did this roundup of middle grade agents in 2013 and you may want to compare the list from then. At that time, I only listed the top 10 agents, who represented 60 sales. This time, the top 10 middle grade agents report 80 sales. There may be two reasons for this. First, Publisher’s Marketplace relies on agents to self-report. This means that the agents are, for the first time, in a sort of competition for rankings. Reporting more sales means they are ranked higher, which gives prestige and possibly brings in more prospective clients. Second, it could mean that sales are up for middle grade novels. We hope the latter is the case, but suspect the first reason has much to do with the increased number of sales.

  1. Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary Agency), 15 deals. Website
  2. Jennifer Laughran (Andrea Brown Literary Agency), 14 deals. Website
  3. Ammi-Joan Paquette (Erin Murphy Literary Agency), 10 deals. Website
  4. Erin Murphy (Erin Murphy Literary Agency), 9 deals. Website
  5. Steven Chudney (The Chudney Agency), 9 deals. Website
  6. Holly McGhee (Pippin Properties), 8 deals. Website
  7. Tina Wexler (ICM), 6 deals. Website
  8. Stephen Barbara (Inkwell Management), 6 deals. Website
  9. Kelly Sonnack (Andrea Brown Literary Agency), 6 deals. Website
  10. Rosemary Stimola (Stimola Literary Studio), 5 deals. Website
  11. Daniel Lazar (Writers House), 5 deals. Website
  12. Sara Crowe (Harvey Klinger), 5 deals. Website
  13. Tracey Adams (Adams Literary), 5 deals. Website
  14. Rebecca Sherman (Writers House), 5 deals. Website
  15. Josh Adams (Adams Literary), 5 deals. Website
  16. Jennifer Rofe (Andrea Brown Literary Agency), 5 deals. Website
  17. Brianne Johnson (Writers House), 5 deals. Website
  18. Caryn Wiseman (Andrea Brown Literary Agency), 4 deals. Website
  19. Laura Dail (Laura Dail Literary Agency), 4 deals. Website
  20. Jill Corcoran (Jill Corcoran Literary Agency), 4 deals. Website

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