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1. An Interview With Carolyn Howard-Johnson – Creator of the How To Do It Frugally Series of Books

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is best known as The Frugal Book Promoter, but she has worn many hats including that of literary writer, poet, and writer for many well-known publications. We reached out to Carolyn to get her insights and wisdom on publishing, book marketing and editing.

Hi Carolyn, Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. For those who may not have seen your ‘The Frugal Book Promoter’ book, can you take a moment to tell us a little about yourself and your books?
I’m just a writer who love everything about writing. It’s a problem because that ranges from advocating for authors to copywriting to poetry and fiction. It makes it hard to focus, but it also keeps me positive and enthusiastic about writing.

You’ve seen the publishing space evolve over a long time. What’s different today?
I don’t think anything on the Web stays the same for more than a day. I had to learn the hard way. At first I wrote my how-tos for authors with as much detail about processes (like where to find things on Amazon) as possible. But page designs changed, links went bye-bye (even the ones famously called permalinks) and changes often meant that users needed to adjust everything from their philosophy to the way they work. That meant I had to adjust so I could bring authors more of what they need–both today and tomorrow. The basics like writing a great media release and putting together a great media kit never go away. And the way to think about promotion and marketing doesn’t change. So now I concentrate on things like how to make the most of a book fair or a book signing or suffer the consequences. Once we learn how to apply the basics, we can apply them no matter how the industry changes.
By the way, as a writer I formed a policy a long time ago. I don’t have to know all the tech all the time. I can learn what I need as the changes occur. You know. It’s learning on an as-needed basis.

Can you tell us a little more about ‘The Frugal Editor’ – why should authors read it?

Authors should read it because they for the first time they will be in charge of or partners in every aspect of publishing (one of those changes mentioned in the last question). Even if they snag a big New York publisher. Budgets are tighter. Authors want more control over their own careers if for no other reason than that–these days–they can! Knowing the difference between style choices and grammar rules will make better, more original authors of them! And this book does things that other books on editing don’t do, like help an author think like agents or other book professionals. Once we can do that, we’re in a better position to avoid major publishing booboos.
As an example, did you know that there are very few Jackie Onassis styles acquisition editors at publishing houses these days, that everyone is running on tighter budgets on everything from book cover artists to copy editors to marketing. Authors who don’t know about grammar and voice and formatting, and frontmatter and indexes, and . . .well, you get the idea! It’s a big publishing world out there, a world full of potholes just waiting for us to fall into.

Given that you recommend doing things frugally, should indie authors hire an editor for their books? How much does an average editing job cost? What are the benefits? How should an author select an editor?
These are all topics I cover in The Frugal Editor. In great detail. You don’t want me to write another book for you, do you? Ha!
Yes, everyone should hire an editor, but only a good editor. Authors who hire a typo hunter or their high school English teacher (who probably knows nothing about publishing) will waste their money. And we all know that most authors can ill afford to hire an editor for every document like query letters, press releases, media kits. And those are as vital to the success of a book as writing a great book. In The Frugal Editor I also caution writers: “You wouldn’t choose a contractor for a remodel of a house based solely on price, would you?”

What are some of the biggest mistakes newbie authors make with their books?
One of the biggest is signing a one-sided contract that protects the publisher and does nearly nothing for the author. One of the biggest editing mistakes is ignoring dialogue (nonfiction authors are especially guilty of this) or knowing nothing about writing dialogue or punctuating it. This is one aspect of writing that even those who grabbed down As in English have no training in whatsoever. Even those who think they do.

What are some of the simple, low-cost things that authors can do to promote their books
I love the kind of marketing that lets us do what authors usually like to do. That is, to write! So, in The Frugal Book Promoter, there is a chapter on marketing that covers ways to do that. My favorite is to write articles or edit excerpts from one’s own book to use as articles. . .or essays. . .or op-ed pieces. . .or first person columns.

How can an author get an outstanding book cover in a frugal manner?
How did you know! I am partnering with the cover designed I used for The Frugal Editor and The Frugal Book Promoter, Chaz DeSimone, to write a how-to book on this very topic. It’s amazing how much is involved in a great book cover, including marketing. Choosing a title. Thinking in advance about the future of the book and possible spinoffs. The use of keywords in the subtitle. Gleaning blurbs (endorsements) to go on the back cover–blurbs that are credible and help sell books.

Is it still possible to make a living as an author in today’s crowded marketplace? What can an average author expect from her publishing journey?
Absolutely! The keyword here is persistence. That means we have to continue to learn. As you have seen, we authors must be jacks-of-all-trades like we never had to before. You know those “overnight successes” we read about in the newspaper? They’re only overnight successes because we just heard of them. They’ve been honing their craft, teaching, developing new skills. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes about ten years for a person in any field to become an overnight success. Yes, I’m paraphrasing. But that’s the gist of it!

You’re also active on Pinterest. Is there any learning that you can share from here with authors?
One of the things I tell authors in The Frugal Book Promoter is to reread their book(s) with their marketing hats on. Fiction, poetry. Whatever. And watch the news cycles. We must keep wearing that marketing hat so that we can apply all the aspect of our books to what’s in the news, what’s on the Web, etc. Pinterest can be very efficient if we focus. Every author should have at least a few bulletin boards on the topic of writing or fields related to the theme or subject of their books and at least one bulletin board that makes it very clear that board is about that author’s books and writing career.
I have a marketing device, I use. I tell those who subscribe to my newsletter and blogs: “You pin my book cover (or covers), and I’ll pin yours.” But I can’t do it if I can’t find their covers on their Pinterest page or have to dig through 500 pins to find it! You’ll notice that little motto is in my e-mail signature, too:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Instructor for nearly a decade at the renowned UCLA Extension Writers’ Program
Author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
Amazon Profile: http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile
The Frugal Book Promoter: http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo
Web site: http://www.HowToDoItFrugally.com
E-mail: CarolynHowardJ@AOL.com
Facebook: http://Facebook.com/carolynhowardjohnson
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FrugalBookPromo
Pinterest: http://Pinterest.com/chowardjohnson
You pin one of my book covers, and I’ll pin one of yours!
Let’s Network Today!

Where can readers find you on the web?
I like to send readers and authors directly to my sales pages on Amazon when possible but they can find all kinds of resources for themselves on my Web site: http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Just click on the Writers Resources tab on the top of the home page. And, yep! They can find what they need about all of my books there. We should never forget that people don’t only visit our sites to buy a book. There should be something there that will benefit them besides the book an author wants to sell.
PS: Authors can sign up for my SharingwithWriters newsletter there, too. There is a signup form on almost every page of my Web site.

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2. 8 Ideas for Educators to Get Students Excited About the Public Library This School Year

Do you know how many books your students or their families own or even have access to? The start of school is a great time to introduce (or reintroduce) children (and their families) to the public library.

libraries!

In the home visits many of us make at the beginning of each school year, it is an unique opportunity to see not only where our students live, but also where they study and keep their books. I learned that many of my students had only a few books in their homes and our classroom libraries would be vital to enabling student discovery of new interests and topics, as well as access to texts at and above their levels.

Families may not be able to afford books or find few books for sale. For example, one study of low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia found one book for sale for every 300 children.

As we set out to create literacy-rich environments in our classrooms this school year, let us remember a powerful ally in the community: public libraries.

September is also Library Card Sign-Up Month so many public libraries have programs and resources available to students of all grades. Check with your nearest branch to see field trip availability, possible funding, and to download and distribute the library card application.

Before You Go

1. Read Aloud Book Recommendations

 

The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos

Richard Wright and the Library Card and Richard Wright y el carné de biblioteca

Destiny’s Gift (setting is a bookstore, but applicable themes)

Questions during reading

  • Why does this character/historical figure believe in the power of books?
  • What obstacles does this person have to overcome to achieve his/her goal?
  • How do reading books change the main characters/historical figures?
  • How does this person demonstrate respect or show appreciation for books and the library space?
  • Why are libraries an important part of a community?
  • Should having a library in a community be a right or is it a privilege?

2. Shared Reading ActivityThe following articles, which can be downloaded as a PDF file, contain information at just the right level for readers. Comprehension questions also included:

*note: must sign-up to read, but free for teachers

A Helper at the School Library” by ReadWorks.org

A New Kind of Library” by ReadWorks.org

Homework takes over the library for kids without Internet” by Newsela

A Chicago library’s books hit the road on two wheels” by Newsela

3. Bring in a library book for students to observeCompare the library book to a classroom book. Note the spine label on the side, the barcode label on the back, the plastic covering, the library pocket, and so on.

Finally, before your class visits the library, print off library card applications for students to fill out in class or at home with their families. This will streamline the process at the library and students will have the necessary information like their home addresses to obtain the cards. With cards in the hand, students can borrow some books!

If Doing a Visit or Field Trip, Here Are Some Activities at the Library:

4. Interview a librarian—Have students brainstorm a list of questions before they visit to ask, including:

  • What motivated him/her to become a librarian?
  • What is his/her favorite part of being a librarian?
  • What are some of the challenges of a library?
  • Why is it important for communities to have libraries?
  • How have libraries changed? How has this library changed since it first opened?
  • What can someone do at a library in addition to reading books?
  • What if someone does not speak English (or very well)? What resources can he/she use to get the most out of the library? How does the library make an inclusive space for multiple languages?

5. Library scavenger hunt—Premade lists for grade bands are available from ALA. Ideas include:

  • Get the signature of two librarians.
  • What is the name of the Children’s Librarian?
  • How much does it cost to make a copy in the library?
  • List two magazine titles the library has available to read.
  • Find a chapter book with an author whose last name begins with “D.” What is the title of the book?
  • What newspaper does the library have for reading?
  • How many computer stations does the library have for visitors to use?
  • Have students try to find a couple of the read alouds you have already read in class this year, such as The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos or Richard Wright and the Library Card.

Activities After the Visit to the Library

6. Create a poster to advertise the local libraryWith words and pictures, explain the benefits of visiting a library and highlight the perks of the space. How is the library rewarding to one’s education? How can a library help with homework? Depending on the class size and the amount of posters, encourage students to donate their poster to each classroom in the school as well as the main office to post on the bulletin board.

7. Write a thank you letter to the children’s or teen’s librarian or community volunteers. Encourage students to include what book title they would like to borrow first with their new library cards.

8. As a class, brainstorm a list of ideas on how to responsibly treat a borrowed library book. What does being responsible with a library book look like? Record student ideas on a chart. Look up the behavior rules on the library website. Post this list in the classroom library as a reminder for all borrowed books throughout the year.

How to make a trip to the library affordable and achievable:

  • Most important: TALK to the librarians! Many public libraries have back-to-school programs available (or preferred times for such visits) and schedules that work with the school calendar. The children’s or teen librarian may also know of funding or grants available specifically for school visits to the library.
  • Make it a family affair. While optional, encourage students’ families to join you on a Saturday at the library. This will save you having to pay for bussing or coordinate chaperones as students will attend with their families.
  • Absolutely can’t get off campus? Make sure to prioritize a program at your school library or see if the public library has school-visit programs.
  • Virtual field trips: (elementary school age) KidVision VPK Library Field Trip and (middle school age) Tour the Library by Harper College Library or Check It Out by Topeka Library

For further reading on educators engaging librarians for student achievement:

Dear librariansWhat other ideas do you suggest or have you seen work well for encouraging students to discover all that the library has to offer them (and their families) this school year? Share with us!

Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Specialist, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. In her column at The Open Book, she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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3. My tweets

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4. Take the Dog Out! - a bookwrap







Come on now....really? This is not what your dog had in mind I am sure.



Unwrapping a little humour for you...



















Unwrapping...








Authored by Lynne Dempsey and Illustrated by Mandy Newman-Cobb



Unwrapping the illustrations...
( I just loved them)



















About the book...



Anyone who is a dog owner can certainly relate to this charming tale.  Coco, an adorable puppy, is full of vim and vigor and NEEDS to go out for a walk.  She expresses her desire in doggie fashion by interrupting mom's baking session in the kitchen, annoying dad while he's trying to have some "me" time with his newspaper and harassing Grandma in the bathroom by swaddling her with toilet paper.  Coco causes chaos with the other family members as well and the entire family scrambles to right her energetic puppy wrongsdoings.

 Finally, after a family gathering consisting of chasing down and glaring at the poor little puppy, they and realize the error of their ways. Collectively they decide to go burn off some of that negative energy that has accumulated and decide that the whole lot of them needs to get outside on this beautiful day and take care of business...doggy business that is!  I love a happy ending!

The illustrations are playful, full of zest and zeal, and very expressive.  You love Coco the first time you meet her and you cheer her along as she goes from one fiasco to the next.  This story could be labelled educational as it is the perfect time to teach children about the responsibility of not only loving but caring for a pet.  

Be sure to read the back of the book first because you are thrown a challenge.  You are asked by the author to look for bones, barks and the colour red on every page.  There is also a word list there to challenge sight vocabulary skills and an star award that can be autographed claiming the book has been read.   I loved it!




About the author...






LYNNE DEMPSEY is the award-winning author of the TAKE THE DOG OUT series. 

TAKE THE DOG OUT! is a Readers' Favorite 2014 Gold Medal Winner, a 2014 USA Best Book Award-Winning Finalist, and a 2015 International Book Awards Finalist. NUMBERS! is also a 2015 International Book Awards Finalist.

Her pictures books have fun illustrations and sight words for ages 3-5. In addition to reading the story, a child can find hidden dog bones in the pictures. Her books include TAKE THE DOG OUT!, NUMBERS!, and COLORS!

"As a mother of two, I know it can be difficult to get children to read. Sometimes, they get frustrated. My goal is to build their reading confidence. I want to make kids giggle while they learn. Reading is fun!"

Lynne lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, their two children, and their dog, Coconut. Coco is the inspiration for the picture book series.

Visit her website and sign up for her free newsletter at www.takethedogout.com.






Read on and read always!


It's a wrap.




Conact me at storywrapsblog@gmail.com


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5. Rich And Rare: A Sneak Peek Cover Reveal!

This Ford Street anthology, in which I have my Eugowra robbery story, is coming out in late October, earlier than originally planned, yay!  It will be launched at whichever school wins the privilege(last time it was Princes Hill). I do hope it's somewhere I can reach easily. The book is the third Trust Me! anthology, but they've changed the title and they have certainly changed the cover. Take a look: 


                                                     

It's by Shaun Tan. Not at all like the covers of the first two, with their photos of teenage boys! But Paul Collins said that the second anthology was so like the first in appearance that people were getting them mixed up and the second volume hadn't sold as well as the first. So here we are with a cover by one of Oz's top cover artists. 

What do you think of it?
   

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6. Self-Help Author Wayne Dyer Dies at 75

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7. What sparks a child’s dreams?

Guest post by Darlene Foster dreamer of dreams, teller of tales.

When I was little, my dear grandmother gave me a colouring book filled with pictures of children from around the world dressed in traditional garments. I loved that book and while colouring each page, dreamt of visiting those fascinating places. Growing up on a farm in the Canadian prairies, we didn’t venture far. 



My grade three teacher, Miss Roll, taught us about exotic places, like Mexico. She gave us Mexican names, brought sombreros and serapes into the classroom, played Mexican music and served Chilli Con Carne. This further kindled my dreams of travel, especially to Mexico. Miss Roll also noticed my vivid imagination and encouraged me to write my stories down.

As is often the case, life happened. I got married, had children, worked full time, volunteered, took correspondence courses, attended the occasional workshop and dabbled in writing. I filled many notebooks with short stories and ramblings over the years. The thought of being published was a distant and, what often seemed to me, impossible dream. It didn’t look like I was going to see much of the world either.

Those ideas that were sparked all those years ago still flickered. I boarded an airplane for the first time when my second husband took me to England to visit his family. You can imagine my delight when I finally found myself in a country I had been reading and dreaming about for years. We travelled back to England a number of times as well as to many other interesting destinations, including Mexico. With every trip, I became as excited as the little child who held that international children’s colouring book in her hands.

When a friend took a job in the United Arab Emirates and invited me for a visit, I jumped at the chance. This amazing experience where I discovered a totally different culture, unique scenery and so much history, inspired me. I had many stories to tell when I returned home. Although I attempted to write these experiences down, they just didn’t portray the excitement and feelings I had while there.



Then one sleepless night, I started to write the story from the eyes of a twelve-year-old. I based it on my experiences and a perfume flask I purchased while there, added some colourful characters and tossed in an adventure. It was fun to spin my story in a way that kids would enjoy while learning about another country. My hope was that it would entice them to explore new worlds someday.  Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask was born and eventually my dream of being published came true. My main character, Amanda, has since gone on to explore other places such as Spain, England and her own province of Alberta.



Still pinching myself to make sure I am actually a published author, I am so glad I followed my dream of travel, which led to a writing career. I will forever be grateful to my grandmother, my grade three teacher and so many others for sparking the flame, and for all the people in my life who fanned those flames and encouraged me to follow my dreams. 

I believe it is our job as adults, to nurture the young people in our lives to develop and follow their dreams. If we don´t spark the flame, who will? As one creator of dreams come true once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney 



Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of travelling the world and meeting interesting people. She also had a desire to write since she was twelve. It wasn´t until she was a grandmother that her short stories started to win awards and were included in anthologies. She is the author of the exciting adventure series featuring spunky 12 year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Her books include: Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England – The Missing Novel and Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. Readers from seven to seventy plus enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. Darlene and her husband currently live in Orihuela Costa, Spain. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true.


Books available:


Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/amanda-in-arabia



Dear Darlene, thank you so much for agreeing to write for my blog and for allowing me to share your photographs. It is always a pleasure to welcome you here. 

I am always happy to share interesting posts from fellow bloggers or anyone wishing to try their hand at blogging.  I prefer the posts to be about childhood, hobbies, collecting or books but would consider other submissions. Please send an email with your idea, and I will get right back to you.   

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8. Wes Craven, Horror Maestro, Dies at 76

The Hollywood Reporter http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/wes-craven-horror-maestro-dies-818806


Wes Craven
Wes Craven

He wrote and directed the first 'Nightmare on Elm Street' film, helmed the first four 'Scream' movies and guided Meryl Steep to an Oscar nom for 'Music of the Heart.'

Wes Craven, the famed maestro of horror known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream franchises, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76.

Craven, whose iconic Freddy Krueger character horrified viewers for years, died at his home in Los Angeles, his family announced. Survivors include his wife, producer and former Disney Studios vice president Iya Labunka.

Craven was a longtime summer resident of Martha’s Vineyard, where he moved permanently three years ago before returning to L.A. for work and health reasons.

Craven claimed to have gotten the idea for Elm Street from living next to a cemetery on a street of that name in the suburbs of Cleveland. The five Nightmare on Elm Street films were released from 1984-89 and drew big crowds.
Similarly, Craven's Scream series was a box-office sensation. In those scare-'em-ups, he spoofed the teen horror genre and frequently referenced other horror movies. 

Craven’s first feature film was The Last House on the Left, which he wrote, directed and edited in 1972. A rape-revenge movie, it appalled some viewers but generated big box office. Next came another film he wrote and helmed, The Hills Have Eyes (1977).

Craven re-invented the youth horror genre in 1984 with the classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, which he wrote and directed.
He conceived and co-wrote Elm Street III as well, and then after not being involved with other sequels, deconstructed the genre a decade after the original, writing and directing Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which was nominated for best feature at the 1995 Spirit Awards.
His own Nightmare players, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon, portrayed themselves in that film.
In 1996, Craven reached a new level of success with the release of Scream. The film grossed more than $100 million domestically, as did Scream 2 (1997).
Between Scream 2 and Scream 3, Craven, offered the opportunity to direct a non-genre film for Miramax, helmed Music of the Heart (1999), earning Meryl Streep an Academy Award nomination for best actress in the inspirational drama about a teacher in Harlem.
“We had a very difficult time getting an audience into a theater on my name,” he said in an interview with writer-director Mick Garris in October. “In fact, we moved toward downplaying my name a lot on Music of the Heart. The more famous you are for making kinds of outrageous scary films, the crossover audience will say, ‘I don't think so.’”


Also in 1999, in the midst of directing, he completed his first novel, The Fountain Society, published by Simon & Shuster.
Craven again pushed the genre boundaries with the 2005 psychological thriller Red Eye, starring Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy and Brian Cox. And in 2006, he wrote and directed a romantic comedy homage to Oscar Wilde featuring Emily Mortimer and Rufus Sewell as a segment in the French ensemble production Paris Je T’aime.
Craven then produced remakes of The Hills Have Eyes (2006) and The Last House on the Left (2009).
His most recent written and directed film, My Soul to Take (2010), marked his first collaboration with Labunka, who also produced Scream 4.
Craven directed several other thrillers and horror movies during his career, including Swamp Thing (1982), Deadly Friend (1986) and The People Under the Stairs (1991).
Craven had recently signed an overall television deal with Universal Cable Productions and had a number of projects in development, including The People Under the Stairs with Syfy Networks, Disciples with UCP, We Are All Completely Fine with Syfy/UCP, and Sleepers with Federation Entertainment. 
He also was executive producing the new Scream series for MTV. The season finale of the series will pay tribute to the writer/director, an MTV spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.
Craven had recently written and was to direct the Thou Shalt Not Kill segment for The Weinstein Co.'s Ten Commandments miniseries for WGN America. And he is listed as an executive producer of The Girl in the Photographs, a horror thriller directed by his protege, Nick Simon, which will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month.
Wesley Earl Craven was born Aug. 2, 1939 in Cleveland. His father died when he was 5. Raised in a strict Baptist household, he graduated from Wheaton College with degrees in English and psychology, then earned a master's in philosophy and writing from Johns Hopkins.

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9. Which narration should I use?

Question: I intend to focus my story around an 19 year old boy who has suffered a lot of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his family. I want

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10. SIX New Release Giveaways, plus author interviews and what's new this week of 8/31

There are a whopping twenty-two new YA books releasing this week, and we have giveaways for six of them! Take a read over the week's offerings, and let us know what you're looking forward to reading in the comments!

Happy reading,
Lindsey, Martina, Sam, Jocelyn, Erin, Lisa, Shelly, Susan, Elizabeth, Kristin, Jen, Sandra and Anisaa

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK

Paper Hearts
by Meg Wiviott
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
International

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 9/1/2015

Amid the brutality of Auschwitz during the Holocaust, a forbidden gift helps two teenage girls find hope, friendship, and the will to live in this novel in verse that’s based on a true story.

An act of defiance.
A statement of hope.
A crime punishable by death.

Making a birthday card in Auschwitz was all of those things. But that is what Zlatka did, in 1944, for her best friend, Fania. She stole and bartered for paper and scissors, secretly creating an origami heart. Then she passed it to every girl at the work tables to sign with their hopes and wishes for happiness, for love, and most of all—for freedom.

Fania knew what that heart meant, for herself and all the other girls. And she kept it hidden, through the bitter days in the camp and through the death marches. She kept it always.

This novel is based on the true story of Fania and Zlatka, the story of the bond that helped them both to hope for the best in the face of the worst.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Paper Hearts?

My most favorite thing about PAPER HEARTS is that it is true.

Purchase Paper Hearts at Amazon
Purchase Paper Hearts at IndieBound
View Paper Hearts on Goodreads

* * * *

The Body Institute
by Carol Riggs
Signed Paperback Giveaway
U.S. Only

Entangled: Teen
Released 9/1/2015

Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl's body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body--leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches...

For one, Morgan won't remember what happens in her "Loaner" body. Once she's done, she won't recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she's been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it's all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start...

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan's mind. She's feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti-Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she'll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul...

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Body Institute?

I’m extremely fascinated by thoughts of “What would it be like, being someone else?” I mean LITERALLY, walking in their shoes. Would I act more like them if I lived their lives, saw the things they did, and experienced their struggles? Often we make assumptions about other people, and it’s intriguing to wonder if those assumptions would change, given the opportunity to become another person and live inside his or her skin. My main character, Morgan Dey, has exactly that opportunity. Her “brainmap” is downloaded into another teen in order to help that girl lose weight. What she discovers is the story of THE BODY INSTITUTE.

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Truest
by Jackie Lea Sommers
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Katherine Tegen Books
Released 9/1/2015

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening--and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister--and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Truest?

From beginning to end, my favorite thing about my novel has been Silas Hart—the goofy, curious, maddening young writer who moves into town and shakes up the narrator’s life. In fact, the entire story was built around him. In early 2012, I had this flash of insight that I was going about the whole writing thing wrong—so I set aside the two novels I’d been working on and started a new one by first creating a character whom I absolutely adored. That character was Silas, and that book is TRUEST. He’s the boy I wish I could have met when I was seventeen: brilliant, deep, romantic, and a total dork.

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The Shadow Behind the Stars
by Rebecca Hahn
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Released 9/1/2015

A girl’s dark destiny could cause the unraveling of the world in this spellbinding novel from the author of A Creature of Moonlight, which Kirkus Reviews called “cumulatively stunning” in a starred review.

Heed this warning, mortal: stay far away from the three sister Fates. For if they come to love you, they might bring about the end of the world…

Chloe is the youngest. Hers are the fingers that choose the wool, that shape the thread, that begin it. The sun smiles upon her. Men love her without knowing who she is. She has lived forever and will live forever more. She and her sisters have been on their isolated Greek island for centuries, longer than any mortal can remember. They spin, measure, and slice the countless golden threads of human life. They are the three Fates, and they have stayed separate for good reason: it is dangerous for them to become involved with the humans whose lives they shape.

So when a beautiful girl named Aglaia shows up on their doorstep, Chloe tries to make sure her sisters don’t become attached. But in seeking to protect them, Chloe discovers the dark power of Aglaia’s destiny. As her path unwinds, the three Fates find themselves pulled inextricably along—toward mortal pain, and mortal love, and a fate that could unravel the world.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Shadow Behind the Stars?

This is a difficult question! I feel as though I am much too close to the story to be able to pick one thing that I like better than all the other things. But since I have to choose . . . I’ll take the opportunity to discuss the main character’s (Chloe’s) relationship with the sun. In Greek mythology, the sun is a human-shaped god named Helios. THE SHADOW BEHIND THE STARS is inspired by Greek myths, but Chloe’s sun never descends to earth in human form or is even described explicitly as human-shaped. Nevertheless, he is personified in Chloe’s narration. She holds conversations with him and considers him a friend. For example, at the end of Part One, she says, “The sun reached down pale tendrils, gleaming at the ends of my hair, pulling me toward him, murmuring my name.”

I like their relationship because it shows the connection between the gods and nature: the sun in this story is absolutely a ball of fire in the sky, and he is also absolutely thinking and alive. Chloe and her sisters are the three Greek Fates, and the threads they spin form all human lives. So they are intimately connected with the mortal world and natural laws as well. Chloe loves nature, not only the sun but also the sea and the wind. Sometimes nature is beautiful and kind: warm breezes, gentle waves. But sometimes it is harsh, just as human fates can be harsh. A big question in the book is how far Chloe and her sisters can get around the laws of nature. The sun may be immortal, but he still must set every evening. There are rules to the universe that not even gods can bend.


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Violent Ends
by Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal Shusterman, Brendan Shusterman, Beth Revis, Cynthia Leitich Smith
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 9/1/2015

In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, seventeen of the most recognizable YA writers—including Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Beth Revis—come together to share the viewpoints of a group of students affected by a school shooting.

It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.

But this isn't a story about the shooting itself. This isn't about recounting that one unforgettable day.

This is about Kirby and how one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, played saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates.

Each chapter is told from a different victim's viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he'd become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties.

This is a book of perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—from the minds of some of YA's most recognizable names.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Violent Ends?

From Shaun Hutchinson: My favorite thing about VIOLENT ENDS is that it offers no easy answers.

The Secret Service compiled a report after the shootings at Columbine in an attempt to create a profile of the type of person most likely to become a school shooter. According to the report (The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications For the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States, which you can and should read at: http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac/ssi_final_report.pdf) "There is no accurate or useful 'profile' of students who engaged in targeted school violence."

That was the thing that struck me the most while researching school shootings. When a violent attack happens, survivors, the media, amateur arm-chair psychoanalysts attempt to figure out why. Inevitably they find something they can blame—goth music or violent video games or mental illness or lax gun control laws—and they become so myopically focused on that one thing they lose sight of the bigger picture.

Instead of trying to offer explanations for what Kirby did by telling stories about a school shooter, VIOLENT ENDS offers a multifaceted picture of a real person. Because I strongly believe that if we want to stop school violence before it happens, we need to stop trying to profile children and viewing them as potential shooters, and start seeing them as real and whole people. And it's my sincere hope VIOLENT ENDS does that.


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Anne & Henry
by Dawn Ius
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 9/1/2015

In this wonderfully creative retelling of the infamous—and torrid—love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, history collides with the present when a sizzling romance ignites in a modern-day high school.

Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Wild, brash, and outspoken, Anne is everything Henry isn’t allowed to be—or want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, but his desire for Anne consumes him.

Henry is willing to do anything to be with her, but once they’re together, will their romance destroy them both?

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry beautifully reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.

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YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Another Day by David Levithan - D S.
Code of Honor by Alan Gratz - Gloria C.
Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano - Kelly N.
Stranded by Melinda Braun - Rosie G.
Thirteen Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt - Annette
Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines - Maggie H.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

Cut Both Ways
by Carrie Mesrobian
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 9/1/2015

Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Cut Both Ways?

My favorite thing about this book is the favorite thing about my other books, which is kind of a secret I guess: my favorite characters are not my boy narrators, but the female characters in each: Baker Trieste, in Sex & Violence; Neecie Albertson, in Perfectly Good White Boy; and Brandy Corvallis, in Cut Both Ways. I love Brandy because she is a girl who has survived bad things and has family that has come to save her from them in an unconventional way, but a loving one. She is also a girl that is watching from the periphery and is discovering she can be put in the center, instead of always looking from the edge with her camera as a cover. I love that she explores her relationship with Will in ways that involve risk, both physical and emotional. I love the way her bedroom looks. I love her hobbies, I love her clothes, I love her fondness for spending her babysitting paycheck at Target. I love how she is open about her feelings despite being hurt so badly by her mother and grandmother. I love the person she is becoming, which is something I love about my female teenaged students I teach as well. I love their vulnerability, their efforts, their mistakes, their worries, their obsessive interests. I'm proud of them, for moving bravely and continuously in this world that often hurts them, and it makes me so happy to write the beginning phase of the journey for a girl Brandy Corvallis.

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Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
Hardcover
Delacorte Press
Released 9/1/2015

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Everything, Everything?

Hmmm, that’s a really difficult question to answer! My favorite thing about it may be that it’s being published!

But seriously, it’s very hard to choose. For both sentimental and artistic reasons, I really love the illustrations that my husband did. When I was writing it, I did my own very terrible version of each drawing to give my husband an idea of what I was looking for. To his credit, he never laughed at how completely awful my drawings were. He took my stick figures and turned each one into something beautiful. We also had a really wonderful time collaborating on it — so much so that we’re planning to do more projects together in the future!


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Vengeance Road
by Erin Bowman
Hardcover
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 9/1/2015

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.     

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Vengeance Road?

The genre! I know this is a broad answer, but I've wanted to write a YA western for ages and just never had the right story kernel. Kate (Vengeance Road's main character) finally appeared for me in 2013 and I got straight to work!

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Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle
by Katie Coyle
Hardcover
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 9/1/2015

“GET ANGRY. We should all be so pissed at the Church of America that we’re willing to break our hands in the metaphorical punching of its metaphorical face.” —Harpreet Janda, fugitive

The predicted Rapture by Pastor Frick’s Church of America has come and gone, and three thousand Believers are now missing or dead. Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple and her best friend, Harpreet, are revolutionaries, determined to expose the Church’s diabolical power grab . . . and to locate Viv’s missing heartthrob, Peter Ivey. This fast-paced, entertaining sequel to Vivian Apple at the End of the World challenges readers to consider how to live with integrity in a disintegrating world.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle?

When I started writing about her, I didn’t consider Vivian Apple’s story to be a particularly political one. I thought it was a pretty simple coming-of-age narrative about a girl learning to define herself in opposition to her parents, whom she deeply loves. But once I began building the world of the story of VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD (which continues and concludes now in VIVIAN APPLE NEEDS A MIRACLE), I realized there was so much I wanted to say about the world in which I live—specifically, the intersection of religion, politics, media, and capitalism. These are, obviously, Big Ideas and I would be the last person to label myself a nuanced political philosopher. But my favorite thing about VIVIAN APPLE NEEDS A MIRACLE is I feel satisfied that I managed to articulate my concerns and fears about this intersection, hopefully in a way that resonates with readers. Every day, I see stories in the news that remind me of Vivian’s world (most recently and alarmingly, when ten presidential candidates were asked in an official debate whether God had spoken to them and what He’d said), and I’m proud and a little uncomfortable that VIVIAN APPLE NEEDS A MIRACLE is as relevant as it is.

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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK

A Whole New World
by Liz Braswell
Hardcover
Disney Press
Released 9/1/2015

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney's Aladdin.

When Jafar steals the Genie's lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

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Catacomb
by Madeleine Roux
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 9/1/2015

Sometimes the past is better off buried.

Senior year is finally over. After all they’ve been through, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are excited to take one last road trip together, and they’re just not going to think about what will happen when the summer ends. But on their way to visit Jordan’s uncle in New Orleans, the three friends notice that they are apparently being followed. And Dan starts receiving phone messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween.

As the strange occurrences escalate, Dan is forced to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year may not be a coincidence, but fate—a fate that ties Dan to a group called the Bone Artists, who have a sinister connection with a notorious killer from the past. Now Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.

In this finale to the New York Times bestselling Asylum series, found photographs help tell the story of three teens who exist on the line between past and present, genius and insanity.

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Firewalker
by Josephine Angelini
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 9/1/2015

Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.

"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."

Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.

Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!

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Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
by Jennifer Smith
Hardcover
Poppy
Released 9/1/2015

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

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Hunter
by Mercedes Lackey
Hardcover
Disney-Hyperion
Released 9/1/2015

Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open, allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc and destroy entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.

Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close-knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.

With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.

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Infinite in Between
by Carolyn Mackler
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 9/1/2015

Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….

Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.

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Queen of Shadows
by Sarah J Maas
Hardcover
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 9/1/2015

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

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The Dogs
by Allan Stratton
Hardcover
Sourcebooks Fire
Released 9/1/2015

Cameron and his mom have been on the run for five years. His father is hunting them. At least, that’s what Cameron’s been told.

When they settle in an isolated farmhouse, Cameron starts to see and hear things that aren’t possible. Soon he’s questioning everything he thought he knew and even his sanity.

What's hiding in the night? Buried in the past? Cameron must uncover the dark secrets before they tear him apart.

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The Fate of Ten
by Pittacus Lore
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 9/1/2015

The sixth book in the thrilling, action-packed, New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series! For years the Garde have fought the Mogadorians in secret. Now all of that has changed. The invasion has begun. If the Garde can't find a way to stop the Mogs, humanity will suffer the same fate as the Lorien: annihilation.

There is still hope. When the Elders sent the Garde to Earth, they had a plan—one which the Garde are finally starting to understand. In the climax of The Revenge of Seven, a group of the Garde traveled to an ancient pyramid in Mexico known to their people as the Sanctuary. There they awoke a power that had been hidden within our planet for generations. Now this power can save the world . . . or destroy it. It will all depend on who wields it.

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The Foxglove Killings
by Tara Kelly
Hardcover
Entangled: Teen
Released 9/1/2015

Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.

I work at Gramps's diner, and the cakes — the entitled rich kids who vacation here — make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He's almost like a stranger now. I can't figure it out...or why I'm having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn't be having.

Then one of the cakes disappears.

When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her — and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it's up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I've ever known about myself — and Alex.

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The Trouble in Me
by Jack Gantos
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 9/1/2015

A sharp-edged misadventure for teens from the Newbery Medalist—the perfect bridge between the Norvelt novels and his Printz Honor–winning YA memoir, Hole in My Life.

This fierce black comedy from the master of turning his own true story into semi-fictional gold charts the summer at age fourteen that his alter-ego's life starts to go off the rails. In his family's new rental home on a down-at-the heels street in sun-beaten Miami—with dog-eating alligators in the canal out back, a dangerously attractive girl across the road, and the unhinged Pagoda family next door—teen Jack is adrift, losing a sense of who he is and what he's all about. Which is why he ends up trying to morph himself into someone he's not, that someone being sixteen-year-old Gary Pagoda, a.k.a. Scary Gary, just back from juvie for car theft. Following Gary's lead that first time is just the start of Jack's series of bad decisions. It goes shockingly, hilariously downhill from there.

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* * * *

Whippoorwill
by Joseph Monninger
Hardcover
HMH Books for Young Readers
Released 9/1/2015

Sixteen-year-old Clair Taylor has neighbors who are what locals call whippoorwills, the kind of people who fill their yards with rusty junk. Clair tries to ignore her surroundings, choosing instead to dream of a future beyond her rural New Hampshire town. But when a black dog named Wally is chained up to a pole next door, Clair can’t look the other way. Clair decides to save Wally, and the immediate connection she has with the lovable dog catches her off-guard, but even more surprising is her bond with eighteen-year-old Danny Stewart, the boy next door.

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11. Physician and Medical Writer Oliver Sacks Has Died

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12. Take the Dog Out!

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13. MMGM Links 8/31/15

I'm officially in that panicked home stretch, trying to race to The End of LET THE WIND RISE. So my brain is a blur of wind wars and sylph world building. But here's an attempt at this week's MMGM links:

- Mary Kincaid joins the MMGM fun with a feature on HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL. Click HERE to welcome her to the group.  
- Michelle Mason is casting her vote for DON'T VOTE FOR ME, with an author interview and a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Cindy at Cindy Reads A Lot has chills for FIERCE WINDS AND FIERY DRAGONS, along with an interview. Click HERE to check it out.
- Sher A Hart is gushing about DRAGONS OF THE DARK RIFT. Click HERE to read her review.
- Jess at the Reading Nook wishes she could go to THE SCHOOL FOR SIDEKICKS. Click HERE to see why.
- Katie at Story Time Secrets  is sweet on THE FRIENDSHIP GARDEN: GREEN THUMBS-UP. Click HERE to see why.    
- Greg Pattridge is building a FORT. Click HERE to read his review.   
- Suzanne Warr is back and talking Mythbusters and 20 MASTER PLOTS and THE FIRST FIFTY PAGES. Click HERE to see what that's all about. 
- 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--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) 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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14. Dear DEAR Teen Me

As JoAnn shared in her Friday post, in this current series my fellow Teaching Authors and I are writing to our younger selves, inspired by the authors’ letters of the Dear Teen Me project.

At first, this letter-writing idea grabbed me.  For years I’ve tasked my writers to pen all sorts of letters – to their future selves to envision their journeys, to their characters to learn their stories more fully, to the author of the book that made them a Reader, to the author whose writing changed their lives.  I also believe in writing Thank You notes, in haiku or not. 

But then Second Thoughts took center stage, overwhelming me and holding me back.
Hmmmm….
Let’s see….
I could say….
No way!

So I considered sharing Jake Wizner’s new Stenhouse book WORTH WRITING ABOUT – EXPLORING MEMOIR WITH ADOLESCENTS.
Or Carolyn Mackler’s September-released Harper Teen YA novel INFINITE IN BETWEEN, in which “five ninth graders write letters to their future selves, promising to reunite on graduation day and read them together.”
Or even reviewing DEAR TEEN ME which gathered over 70 letters noted YA authors wrote their teenaged selves.

And then I saw my badge from my 50th High School Reunion (!) and I knew just what I wanted to tell that Earnest, Smiling, Tenacious, Hopeful, Enthusiastic and Resourceful about-to-enter-college voted “Likely to Succeed” Teacher-Writer Wannabe – the one (I've since surprisingly learned) her fellow classmates viewed as confident, even though she knew “Self-UNassured” was the more appropriate and telling S and that her metaphorical non-stop paddling feet beneath the water’s surface belied the appearance of smooth and happy sailing.

I wanted to riff on borrowed words from Dennis Palumbo’s WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT to tell her what I've spent a lifetime learning.  Palumbo wants the writer to know, “…you  - everything you are, all your feelings, hopes and dreads, fears and fantasies – you are enough.

Here’s my variation and Dear Teen Me letter.

Dear Teen Me:

As your Life unfolds, no matter the circumstance and the verb 
you choose/need/desire to undertake - to love, befriend, embrace
or honor, achieve, create, realize or become, confront, rebound,
overcome, triumph, I absolutely assure you:
you are MORE than enough!”

Really and truly. 

XOXO

Esther Chairnoff Hershenhorn

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15. What, exactly, is a “high-concept” story?

MountainWhat the heck do literary agents mean when they specify wanting “high-concept” stories? I used to work in the film biz in Los Angeles and even I don’t know what it means. Luckily, an article titled “Writer Better: the 7 Qualities of High-Concept Stories” by Jeff Lyons is here to educate.

This is the list, but I suggest digging into the article for greater understanding. Interestingly, he says that you don’t have to hit every point to still “qualify.” Check it out.

  1. High level of entertainment value
  2. High degree of originality
  3. Born from a “what if” question
  4. Highly visual
  5. Clear emotional focus
  6. Inclusion of some truly unique element
  7. Mass audience appeal (to a broad general audience, or a large niche market).

Ray

© 2015 Ray Rhamey

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16. 7 Things I Want the Writers in my Classroom to Know

I am uneasy referring to myself as an author. I have writers I admire and I know there’s a vast divide between us, but I write. I enjoy writing; I write to improve my voice and my craft all in an effort to teach my students what it means to be a writer. As an educator I know all my students ARE writers. I don’t qualify who is and who is not a writer by the quality of their writing. I am working to give myself this same level of acceptance as a writer.

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17. Fab Four Friends

Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became The Beatles. Susanna Reich. 2015. Henry Holt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I love the Beatles, have spent several decades loving the Beatles, so I was quite excited to read Susanna Reich's picture book biography of the fab four. She introduces each Beatle individually, starting with John, of course. As each one meets John and joins the band, his story is then told in some detail. It is a partial biography, not a full one. The book concludes circa 1963 with the Beatles just beginning to become HUGE in England. (Think Love Me Do and Please, Please Me.)

The details are age-appropriate, in case you're curious. If you're familiar with the Beatles--as a group, or as individuals--then you know that there is plenty that could have been said, could have been shared, for a mature adult audience. The book captures them at their innocent best.

I've read a handful of books about the Beatles--mainly biographies--over the years, and this one did a good job with the basics. I liked the simple approach for a younger audience. Though this one would definitely be a picture book for older readers, and not a book ideal for preschool read aloud.

The Illustrations are by Adam Gustavson. I spent time looking at each spread of this picture book, absorbing the details in the text and in the illustration. I've spent plenty of time looking at photographs of the Beatles--I had a new Beatles calendar for several years in a row. So what did I think of the illustrations? I liked them for the most part. There were one or two that I thought were practically perfect. But I couldn't really say that of each and every page. Still, I liked the illustrations overall.

If used in a classroom, this one would pair well with the first Beatles Anthology album. Students could listen to "early" recordings of the Beatles.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. AAU Baseball Fans!


 I love that dog up there. Why? Because that scruffy little dog represents my local town's AAU Baseball Team. Why else do I love that dog? Because of my son. I'm proud of him.  I'm getting ahead of myself though. Let me tell you a story. After all, that is why you are here.

My son loves baseball, but he didn't always. He was one of the kids out in the field during his T-Ball days picking daisy's, literally. Over the years his interest grew, yet he still didn't have the same drive most of his friends had. Once the weather got chilly they were still at it. They tried out for the river dogs and made it. Why, because even in the winter they would find the time to hit the indoor batting cages, my son, on the other hand, not so much. Oh trust me it wasn't for the lack of trying to get him out there.

Last spring though something changed. My son became taller, stronger and more determined. He suddenly had the drive that wasn't there before. He started asking to hit the batting cages, and wanted to try out for the river dogs. My husband and I were happy to oblige. We knew it was going to be rough for him though. He had a lot of catching up to do. In this age group there are a lot of boys who are really good. I mean kids get scared at bat good. Danny knows, most of them are his friends, good friends. Gives him an advantage though on the field. Still competition is competition.

Last August my son tried out for the River Dogs for this past spring's team (They train from January to April. Then the games start). We told him don't be surprised if you don't make it. He knew, he understood what he was up against, but he wasn't going to let that stop him. He didn't make the team. It crushed him, but that rejection only made him stronger. During the spring season he was a changed kid. He took baseball seriously, he worked, he lead his team, He hit 11 balls over the fence, he played his heart out, and everyone of the coaches noticed.

August came around and try outs for the River Dogs came again. My son wanted to try again. He wasn't going to give up. He said if he doesn't make it, he'll keep trying out until he does. That's my boy!

We'll we got the call on a Wednesday night after the first day of school. My son made the team. They decided this year since there were so many kids who tried out and only 12 slots they would have two teams. Still that is only 24 slots. Still hard to get on the team in my eyes. They have an A Team (the diamond team) and an open team. Now my son is aware he isn't on the Diamond Team but that's okay, it isn't the point. He is on the team, he is playing the sport he loves, and he didn't give up.

Isn't that what life is all about? Falling down and getting back up? I know my writer friends out there know what that is all about. Well, that is my story, perseverance  pays off. Always remember that and Happy Monday!


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19. Links to Stretch Your Summer Reading and Writing

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Summer’s almost over, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Here are some great links to keep you reading and writing far into the fall.

Summer Notebooking :: Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

Summer Road Trip! Five More Books Set in Connecticut, Louisiana, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Kansas :: Barnes and Noble (lovely to find Miss May here!)

Fifty Great Books for Kids to Read This Summer :: The Washington Post

31 Great Summer Books :: Real Simple

The post Links to Stretch Your Summer Reading and Writing appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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20. I Wake Up And It Seems The World Is Still there -And I NEVER Imagined Kanye West (he's real!)

 As these photos are, apparently, really getting into certain peoples minds and making them angry I thought I'd upload this one again just for them!

 "Someone" told me to brace myself over some internet group chat going on about what can be done about me.  he seemed rather taken aback that I wasn't shocked!

So part of the comments shared by some of those "really nice guys" of UK comics and passed along to me by someone I can't name for obvious reasons!

"We all know the con organisers and if we keep chipping away we'll make sure the twatt never gets his much sought after table to sell his crap"

The "twatt" by-the-by, is me.

No such thing as a "UK comics Mafia"? They've helped destroy UK comics and try to pitch themselves the golden boys of comics to be admired and worshipped. Ask me again WHY I think the UK is dead comics-wise....

On the lighter side of things the new trend amongst former comic 'die-hard fans' has emerged.  Live reviews of comics are in the minority now.  The "New Thing" is watching movies or TV programmes live -via Google chat where 3-4 people link up via video- so we can get their comments and views and even outrage at the way something was done.  We don't get to see the programme or movie just the, uh, 'reviewers' sitting there.   Some really do need to improve the decor of their basements/rooms because spending 2+ hours looking at them...well, I sort of went comatose.

But it does get..."better" -reviews and thoughts on comic books series...from 30+ years ago. Yeah, everyone linked up and totally talking crap and confused because 30+ years ago they weren't even born so "don't get all this 1980s doom and gloom war stuff".  Right.  

All very annoying -almost as annoying as the comment: "Until, say 2004, comics were not very original -Marvel and DC have thrown continuity out the windows and the reboots make comics fresh!"   I'm assuming that the person who said that has a mental illness.  He is talking about comics being "throw-away" -every time a new reboot comes in get rid of that old crap and buy the new.  This is why comics are in trouble: there is no emotional investment in characters or titles any more.

No, I just can't write about it.  Pointless.

Anyway, back to decorating.

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21. How Much Magic?

All of my books to date have one thing in common: some aspect of the fantastic which, if looked at from the right angle, might not be fantastic at all. I’m using the “removed from reality” meaning of the fantastic: those things which, by definition, do not exist (because if they do, they are not fantastic). A decades-long rain, a kindred serpentine spirit, a fungus run amok, and even the fate-changing baseball cards could have both supernatural and natural explanations. The magical is usually a human interpretation of what’s going on. They are improbable but not impossible events.

When I am second guessing myself, I wonder if I should inject more fantasy in my books, to be a bigger hit with readers, and their insatiable appetite for superheroes and mythic beasts. Or, conversely, if I should abandon the fantastic all together and write strictly realistic books, and be a bigger hit with tastemakers. Either road would be better than wandering aimlessly between them, I figure.

Why not write both, some well meaning person will suggest. And some writers do, but I don’t work that way. It takes quite a bit of effort to finish a book, and the ones I see through are the ones that reflect the deep indecisiveness of my soul.

And I really don’t know, at least as far as fiction goes. There are uses for enchantment but also epistemology. Personally, I feel like the real world has plenty of miracles that surpass the imaginations of our most fanciful authors, but these miracles take patience, pondering and closer observation to appreciate.

I’m thinking about it now as I look into the abyss of “what’s next,” with one manuscript (which has the least magic of any book yet, but not quite none) almost ready to send out into the world. I have a ghost story that needs revising, an utterly fantastic/fairy tale kind of book I started in a fit of excitement, and a gritty magical-realistic book written in draft form that is probably inappropriate for children. I’ve also considered writing nonfiction, but kind of like the way I’ve considered marathons.

I’ll have to pick one project and see it through, or (more in line with past experience), one of them will pick me.

 

 


Filed under: Miscellaneous

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22. Cover Revealed for New Alexandra Sirowy Book

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23. August 31: On This Day

Well, it is the last day of August, the last day of winter - officially, anyway. The weather forecast for the rest of this week is still fairly cool - even with a bit of sun, it's likely to be windy. Thursday, my birthday, is predicted to be cold and wet. Rats!

Still, I thought it might be nice to have an on-this-day meme.

Not much in the way of books and writing., though poor Henry V of England died of dysentery, leaving his baby son, Henry VI, as king, and both of them were the subjects of Shakespeare plays.

Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed were chased by paparazzi and killed in a car crash, leading to thousands of words being written about it and a lot of fascinating conspiracy theories. Not the sort of writing history I'd like.

A lot of disasters happened on this day, which I'll skip here. 

Birthdays? A couple of Roman Emperors, Caligula and Commodus. Caligula had a chapter in The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, and that book inspired I, Claudius and Claudius The God by Robert Graves. 

There was DuBose Heyward, whose novel Porgy became, first a play by his wife, then an opera by Gershwin. I've never read the book or seen the show, but who hasn't heard at least a couple of those glorious songs? And speaking of musical shows, it's also the birthday of Alan J Lerner! 

There were some other authors, but the only one I have read was Leon Uris. I've read QBVII, Mila 18 and the blockbuster, Exodus. Trivia I read about that one says it has sold as many copies as Gone With The Wind

I read Exodus when I was in my teens - actually, about the time I was reading Gone With The Wind, come to think of it. I'm not sure where the battered paperback came from; my family had a lot of elderly books and recordings lying around. But I read it cover to cover and then, when I was in my later years of secondary school, I acquired a hardcover copy for 20c at a school fete. It was clean and in very good condition; I think it must have had a dust jacket at some stage, but without it, you wouldn't know it from new. It must have been donated by the teacher whose name was on it. 

Anyway, it meant I could read it again. And again. And so I did. 

The movie was a classic in its own right, but I couldn't help but feel that Paul Newman was miscast in the role of Ari Ben Canaan, the hero. He was just not the way I imagined Ari - and as for that American accent...! If Ari did speak perfect English - and I'm not sure he would - it would be with a British accent, not an American one, because that's who he learned his English from. Oh, well. The novelist was American. 

I do have a copy of the movie, but three hours is just too much for me - I've fallen asleep during the Tolkien movies, so would drop off in that.

I'd rather curl up with the novel. Off to the shelves to search!

Meanwhile, happy birthday, Leon!





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24. Cardiff Independent Comic Expo


 xmasdragon

We’re back!!
Saturday December 12th 2015 
We return to the Cardiff Masonic Hall with a mini-Expo – a ‘Showcase’ event just in time for Xmas – once again focusing on our exceptionally talented Small Press Creators and Publishers.

Advance Tickets are now on sale – only £3.50 for the first 50 tickets, then rising to £4.50 once the first 50 have been purchased.  The first 50 ticket buyers will also receive a Goody Bag on the door.

https://ciceevents.wordpress.com/

  Website links for exhibitors on the CICE blog!

Exhibitors-CICE2015Xmas

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deadstar 

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hellbound
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sdreams
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wart

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25. Jo’s Journey 2015 and Welcome Back to the Fall Blog Schedule

“Traveling is never a matter of money, but of courage.”—Paulo Coelho Sometimes it’s financial security that holds us back, other times it’s emotional security, but it takes courage to step outside your front door and head out into the world. … Continue reading

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