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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: YA, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,520
1. UnWholly by Neal Shusterman {Review}

Reviewed by Elisa Age Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and up Series: Unwind Dystology (Book 2) Hardcover: 416 pages Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 28, 2012) Mark on Goodreads Buy on Amazon Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of

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2. SEA OF SHADOWS by Kelley Armstrong {Review}

Reviewed by Andye SEA OF SHADOWS Age of Legends #1 by Kelley Armstrong File Size: 773 KB Print Length: 417 pages Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0751547816 Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (April 8, 2014) Mark on Goodreads Buy on Amazon Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author, takes an exciting new direction with this big, breathtaking blend of fantasy, romance, horror, and

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3. Review of Feral Curse

smith feral curse Review of Feral CurseFeral Curse [Feral]
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
High School    Candlewick    259 pp.
2/14    978-0-7636-5910-3    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7040-5    $17.99

Secret werecat Kayla chooses Valentine’s Day to reveal her true nature to her boyfriend, Ben. He reacts badly, to put it mildly: he runs away from Kayla, is hit by lightning on the antique carousel in Town Park while staging a ritual to “cure” her, and dies. Her small town of Pine Ridge, Texas, decides to dismantle the carousel and sell off its wooden animal figures. Soon after, Yoshi, the hottie Cat from Feral Nights (rev. 3/13), touches the hand-carved cougar for sale in his Grams’s antiques store in Austin and is instantly transported to Pine Ridge. He’s not the only shifter to suddenly appear there. Darby, a Deer; Peter, a Coyote; and Evan, an Otter, show up within a few days—each having touched the carousel animal corresponding to his shifter form—and they’re all inexplicably drawn to Kayla. This second entry in the Feral series (a spin-off of Smith’s Tantalize quartet) features as kooky a cast of supernatural characters as ever (including a juvenile yeti in addition to the various werepeople and the occasional human), but they’re all relatable in various ways and easy to root for. Debut character Kayla — level-headed, religious, but also quietly proud of her shifter nature — holds her own, nicely complementing Yoshi’s swagger, Wild Card shifter Clyde’s newfound confidence, and human Aimee’s resourcefulness. Witty banter peppered with pop-culture references keeps the tone light even as the stakes ramp up.

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4. The Taking by Kimberly Derting {Review}

The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting Print Length: 368 pages Publisher: HarperTeen (April 29, 2014) Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers Mark on Goodreads Buy the book: Amazon The last thing Kyra Agnew remembers is a flash of bright light. She awakes to discover that five whole years have passed. Everyone in her life has moved on—her parents divorced, her boyfriend is in college and

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5. YA fantasy you’ve been waiting for

Every fantasy fan knows the exquisite agony of anticipating the next entry in a favorite series — particularly if that entry will be the last. These four new novels continue (and in some cases, complete) popular trilogies.

moriarty cracks in the kingdom YA fantasy youve been waiting forIn The Cracks in the Kingdom, the follow-up to Jaclyn Moriarty‘s BGHB Fiction Award Honor book A Corner of White, Madeleine (in Cambridge, England) and Elliot (in the Kingdom of Cello) continue to communicate through letters they send through a “crack” between their two worlds. At the behest of Princess Ko, whose parents and siblings have disappeared into Madeleine’s world, Madeleine and Elliot attempt to cross into each other’s worlds and avert the threat of war in Cello. They achieve a measure of success and give readers a tantalizing hint of romance to come. This wholly entertaining book outdoes the first — not an easy task. (Levine/Scholastic, 13–16 years)

meyer cress YA fantasy youve been waiting forMarissa Meyer’s fairy tale/sci-fi hybrid Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet) continues with Cress, a “Rapunzel”–inspired story. Cress, taken from her Lunar parents as a baby, is forced to live alone on a satellite spying on the Earthens for Queen Levana. But her real loyalty lies with cyborg Cinder’s plan to protect Earth by dethroning Levana. After an attempt to rescue Cress goes awry, Cinder and an injured Wolf head to Africa; Scarlet becomes Levana’s prisoner on Luna; and Cress and Thorne survive a crash landing on Earth and desert trek. This action-packed page-turner is sure to please series fans. (Feiwel, 13–16 years)

hautman klaatu terminus YA fantasy youve been waiting forIn The Klaatu Terminus, Tucker and Lia (The Obsidian Blade, The Cydonian Pyramid) join together for their final confrontation with the murderous religious sect known as the Lambs of September. Born in the same geographic locale hundreds of years apart, the two have been drawn to each other since Tucker first spotted Lia with his father, Reverend Adrian Feye (soon to become Father September). Other characters, similarly intertwined, also cross paths again in wholly unexpected ways. Author Pete Hautman pulls together the elaborate strands of the previous Klaatu Diskos books, rewarding readers with a surprising yet satisfying chronicle across time. (Candlewick, 13–16 years)

taylor dreams of gods and monsters YA fantasy youve been waiting forAn uneasy truce between chimaera and seraphim allows Laini Taylor‘s star-crossed lovers Karou and Akiva (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight) the chance to reconcile. This sets the stage for looming confrontations with the despotic seraph Jael, the mysterious Stelians, and a new threat that the pair could never have imagined. For all the well-made trappings of fantasy and horror, the amalgamation of myth and legend, the machinations of plot, and the colorful menagerie of characters, Dreams of Gods & Monsters the final entry in the trilogy — remains, at heart, a tender, satisfying romance. (Little, Brown, 13–16 years)

From the April 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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6. Two Stories In One Book

Scarlet is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, which began with Cinder, a book I was very taken with. Cinder is a futuristic cyberpunk take on Cinderella. Scarlet kind of does the same thing with Red Riding Hood.

I say "kind of" because this is still Cinder's story, and for a long time Scarlet had her own story that was barely connected with Cinder's. Readers swing between the two storylines. Scarlet's is a very traditional woman attracted to a bad guy stranger and getting him to help her with a quest tale. Cinder's story is the traditional royalty in disguise, birthright stolen from her thing. But I'm already committed to Cinder because of Cinder, so I liked her part of the book better.

Oh, look! The next book in this series, Cress, has already been published. And, gasp, there are short story prequels for this series. So much to read.

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7. Divergent movie review

divergent poster Divergent movie reviewIn the world of Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, the dystopian city of Chicago is run through a personality-based system of grouping. The five factions, to one of which every person belongs, are Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Abnegation, with its focus on humility and selflessness, acts as the political power; Amity, the good-natured, peaceful types, are the city’s farmers; Candor, those who value truth above all else, work as the judging body; Erudite are the thinkers and creators; and Dauntless, the bold, are what amounts to a standing army. Children are raised within the faction of their birth but, when they come of age, take a test to tell them where they truly belong. Beatrice (a.k.a Tris) from Abnegation takes her test only to find that she is Divergent — that is, she displays traits characteristic of more than one faction. Divergence is rare, and considered shameful and very dangerous. Tris is forced to dedicate her life to one faction (she chooses Dauntless) and keep her Divergence a secret.

The movie adaptation, directed by Neil Burger (Summit, March 2014), stars Shailene Woodley (from The Descendants and The Secret Life of the American Teenager). Slight and unremarkable-seeming at first, Woodley looks the part of the self-abnegating teen. As the story goes on, she grows into her role as a good YA dystopian female protagonist: sensitive but tough, and the consummate underdog. Woodley is a strong actor, reaching the emotional depths necessary for a character as out of her element as Tris. As the stakes get higher and the situations all the more impossible, Woodley’s Tris remains a hero to root for.

Theo James plays The Love Interest, Four, exactly as we would want him to be played: moody, strong, sexy, vulnerable, and surprisingly funny. Kate Winslet is intelligent and devious as the power-grabbing Jeanine, Tony Goldwyn (Scandal‘s POTUS) is totally believable as an ascetic politician, and Jai Courtney’s Eric is just plain scary. Altogether, the cast delivers an engaging and downright exciting performance, their stories developed over the backdrop of a surreally beautiful dystopian world. I also appreciate some of the content decisions — especially the depiction of sexual assault (in a controversial scene created for the movie) as a very real and constant fear in this society and Tris’s capable, Dauntless response to it.

But I have so very many questions. And while some of them are questions about gaps in the world-building (How does the train keep running? Can anyone be kicked out of a faction at any time? Who is behind all the technological advances in what appears to be a fairly stagnant society?), others raise more problematic issues.

If there is a line between bravery and recklessness, Divergent smashes it to bits. The movie defines bravery as actively choosing to do something scary even though you’re afraid. And yet, the film also portrays Dauntless characters doing scary and downright reckless things without thinking and without fear. I ask you, how can an individual be considered “dauntless” by being both thoughtful and thoughtless at the same time? What is up with the Dauntless, anyway? Why do they run everywhere whooping and pounding their fists? Is that what bravery looks like?

As to costuming — the use of color palettes for the individual factions is very well done, clearly delineating the five groups with visual representation. But… of course the Dauntless are shown as pierced, tattooed, and primarily black-clad. Coming from an individual who is both tattooed and pierced (and who also wears primarily black), I must tell you that tattooing, piercing, and dressing all in black do not a badass make. (Honestly, I’m pretty sure I would be placed in whichever faction is the most cowardly.) Isn’t it time to find another way to show an audience that a group of characters are “dangerous”?

Divergent was an entertaining movie with strong acting, beautiful visual effects, and an exciting plot. Yes, I have questions. Hopefully, the second movie will clear them up for me — because I will definitely be checking it out.

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8. Night of Cake & Puppets

taylor night of cake and puppets Night of Cake & PuppetsThe last book in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, publishes today. In honor of that occasion — and in case you need something to tide you over (and excite you further) until you can get your copy of Dreams — here’s a review of Taylor’s digital original Night of Cake & Puppets (Little, Brown, November 2013).

Laini Taylor’s YA fantasy trilogy Daughter of Smoke & Bone focuses on a never-ending war between chimaera and seraphim in the world of Eretz and the fraught relationship between a chimaera resurrectionist, Karou, and her star-crossed love interest, Akiva, a seraphim soldier. E-novella Night of Cake & Puppets takes place between the first two novels and focuses on two secondary characters, Karou’s best friend Zuzana and her love interest, “violin boy” Mik. This is the story of their meet-cute in Prague, and fans of this couple will relish a closer look at the beginning of their decidedly unstar-crossed relationship. While book two, Days of Blood and Starlight, does reference how Zuzana and Mik became a couple, Night provides all the details from that fateful evening.

Zuzana has had a crush on Mik for three months, but has up until now been too bashful to even talk to him — she doesn’t even know if he knows she exists. Zuzana finally takes the initiative one night at the theater where they both work on the weekends to enact her intricate plan for them to meet. She leaves a treasure map in his violin case in hopes that he’ll follow it to the locations where she’s left objects and clues for him to find. The treasure at the end of his hunt? Zuzana. Mik has a few tricks up his sleeve to surprise Zuzana, too.

As always, Taylor’s lush descriptive language paints a vivid picture for readers, and series fans will be happy to see familiar characters and settings. While Karou herself is not present in the novella, her humorous texts offer support to Zuzana. Karou’s ex Kaz makes an entertaining (unwanted) appearance. The story alternates between Zuzana and Mik’s perspectives, and their endearing insecurities allow their lovable personalities to shine. It’s a night full of puppets, magic, cake, music, and the hope of romance. While readers of the novels already know there will be a happy outcome to this story, the inherent anticipation during its unfolding makes the novella a satisfying page-turner. Carpe noctem!

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9. You

You Charles Benoit

You're a largely misunderstood kid that everyone thinks is a troublemaker. You know better but they don't, so sometimes you just go with it. It's what they expect of you anyway. It starts with the blood, something gone horribly wrong. It ends there, too. The in-between is the girl you like. The in-between is the new kid who likes you for some reason. You like him too, until it's all gone wrong. So very wrong.

Overall, it's an enjoyable read. The quick pace of the plot and the second-person narration help drive the reader to turn the pages quickly and draw you in. I liked it but didn't think it was anything special. And then someone pointed out that's a retelling of Othello and my mind exploded. Because it totally is. It's a Shakespeare retelling that will appeal to struggling and reluctant readers-- a fun read with some source material that's really subtly woven in (and then once it's pointed out to you, all you can do is shout OMG DUH and feel stupid for missing it.)

Book Provided by... my local library

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10. Interview with YA Author Sharon Ledwith

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I hope you’re ready to rumble with our guest author on the hot seat!Sharon Ledwith - YA Author If you’ve ever wondered if social media had any useful relevance, then I can testify that it does. And its primary purpose, I believe is to build relationships. Today’s interview is testament to that. I met today’s featured guest on GoodReads and then we connected on Twitter where we’ve kept in touch and stayed abreast of each other’s endeavours. She’s written two books in the Middle Grade/YA (Young Adult) category. I have to say that I have admired her generosity and support for the writing community on the social networks and I’m so glad she’s taken out time to be with us today. So without further ado, would you please join me in welcoming Sharon Ledwith.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

My journey to publication started in the mid-90s. One evening while I was reading, I thought how simple the structure and dialogue was in this particular novel. You can write, you can do this, a voice urged inside my head. Let me tell you, I almost fell off my chair. But the words rang true for me. So, I decided to act on this truth, and took a writing course—Writing your Novel—where I met a great couple of like-minded would-be writer gals. Together we started a writing support group, and I wrote my first novel—a paranormal romance. This manuscript caught the eye of an agent, but I was hardly ready, and I see that now. What I needed to do was to hone my craft and get better and better with the process of writing. And that takes making lots of mistakes at the expense of your ego. In other words: lots of rejection, rejection, rejection! Ouch!

Then, one night, during my writer’s group, one of my friends said something that floored me. She mentioned that I hit my twelve-year-old character’s voice bang on. What a compliment! So, this got me to thinking—how hard would it be to write a young adult novel? It was a stupid question. Of course it was hard! After thinking about what my friend had said to me, I decided I’d challenge myself and write not just a novel—but a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. Since I’ve always loved the time travel genre, it was a no-brainer for me.


What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Sharon Ledwith?

A laugh-out-loud nostalgic thrill ride!


You’ve gone the traditional route and are published by Musa Publishing. What would you say are the advantages you’ve experienced compared to a self-publisher?Legend of the TimeKeepers

Oh, for one you don’t have to go looking around for a cover artist and editor! That’s a plus. And our books are formatted and uploaded to all the major on-line stores like Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble by the publisher. We have complete input throughout the entire process including what we want on our book covers. My publisher also offers a lot of promotional items like book marks, trading cards, promotional paperbacks at a reasonable price, and helps us with the marketing process. All you have to do is ask. To me, it feels like an Esprit de Corps, a group spirit there. At least that’s been my experience.


What tips can you give us in terms of working with a publisher to ensure your vision for a story doesn’t get diluted or compromised by the demands of a publisher?

It’s very much a give and take. It took 15 years of writing in the trenches—querying publishers and agents, writing more books, getting rejected again and again—before I finally signed a publishing contract with Musa Publishing for The Last Timekeepers series. And after all this time there was still one catch—I had to rewrite the entire manuscript in the point of view of only one of the characters. Originally, I had written the series with each kid having their own chapter throughout the book. Musa’s head editor for their YA imprint found this confusing and suggested I write the first book in only one of the character’s voices, starting with Amanda Sault. That way, the next book would feature another character’s point of view. However daunting a task this sounds, it was sage advice and made the book stronger. Now, after saying this, an author must stand his or her ground if they think the integrity of their story would be diluted or compromised. It all depends on how they want their book presented to the world.


You write in the YA (Young Adult) genre which is very popular and competitive. What advice would you have for someone who wants to write in this genre?

Know your target audience by checking out what they’re reading. Don’t forget that success leaves clues, and makes tracks. What I mean by this is that one of my role model authors is Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson series among others), so I try to follow what he’s done. I follow him on twitter and ‘spy’ on the kinds of tweets he puts out, I’ve checked his website and blog, and try to emulate him as much as possible. Although I only have two books out, plus a free short story available on my website, I know that I’m in for the long haul, and slowly building my author platform, back list, and brand. Remember it takes time to build that back list, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.


What have you found to be a successful way to market your books?Sharon Ledwith Meeting a Reader

Let’s see…joining groups that support your genre, getting professional reviews from book bloggers, Goodreads giveaways, blog hops, and helping others by sharing or tweeting their books or thoughts or posts. I’ve heard the best way to get noticed is to engage first, then sell. This new publishing paradigm is a tough gig with so much competition out there. I think the only way an author can truly get noticed is to be their authentic self, and have a product (book) that gets readers talking! Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising.


What were some of your favourite books as a child?

My favourite all-time children’s book is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak! I also loved any kind of animal stories I could get my hands on!


What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue?The Last TimeKeepers

#1.Watch those dialogue tags! Using he said or she said is still the go-to sage advice.
#2.One of my young readers informed me, ‘You don’t need to say the character’s name over and over again. I don’t do that with my friends, unless I want their attention’. Yup. Smart and to-the-point.
#3.Never use a dialogue tag and action tag in the same paragraph. It’s redundant. It’s best to alternate between using dialogue tags, action tags, and no tags. This will keep your writing fresh.


What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?

Hard question! So many movies and books, so little time! I loved The Godfather book and movie. I know this isn’t kidlit, but there was something about the flavour and tone of the book that drew me into the story. Reading the dialogue transported me into the ‘family’, and gave me a sneak peek at how the mob operates. Plus this book not only won a Pulitzer Prize, but also an Academy award.


Toy Story or Shrek?

Shrek. Hands down. Love Mike Myers. It’s a Canadian thing!


What three things should a first time visitor to Ontario do?

Go to Niagra Falls for sure. If you get a chance, rent a cottage in beautiful Muskoka during the summer months, but after the bug season! Tour around Toronto, and take in a stage show. There’s just so much to see and do here!


What can we expect from Sharon Ledwith in the next 12 months?Sharon Ledwith and Pets

Since the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series entitled, Legend of the Timekeepers came out last August I’ve been busy marketing both it, and The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. Presently, I’m revising the second book in the series tentatively entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, which I’d written in 2000. I’m reworking it into Jordan Jensen’s point of view which is proving to be a daunting task! I’ve also signed on with literary agency, Walden House (Books & Stuff) in December 2012 to take on another young adult series I’ve created about teens with psychic abilities called, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. The first book in this series, Lost and Found, has been requested by three major publishers, so I’m keeping all my fingers crossed and toes crossed! Mind you, that makes it harder to type!


Where can readers and fans connect with you?

Website: www.sharonledwith.com

Sharon’s Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith

The Last Timekeepers Page: http://www.facebook.com//The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel

Twitter: @sharonledwith

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith


Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?

Never stop investing in yourself. Invest in the best. That’s in yourself, and in your readers. Your readers deserve the best of what you have to offer them. Surround yourself with the best possible team. Never stop learning. As you grow, so will your readers, so be prepared for this. Oh yeah, and never give up. That’s a given and should be part of any author’s credo.

Thank you so much for putting up with—er, I mean having me on your awesome blog today, David! You’re such a supportive and kind person, and I’ve noticed you go out of your way to help other authors get noticed. Cheers and hugs, my friend, and best wishes for many best-sellers!


It was an absolute pleasure to have you today Sharon and I won’t be surprised if one of your books gets optioned for a film or TV series. I loved what you said about investing in yourself as we sometimes tend to invest more in marketing our books while we invest little or nothing in improving our craft. I also had a light bulb moment about what you said with regards to modelling someone whose more successful in your genre. Sharon and I would love to know you stopped by, so do share this interview on your social circles and/or leave a connect. Do make sure you click one of her links and connect with her.

Do check out Sharon’s books by clicking this link =====> Sharon’s Books on Amazon

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11. Two Boys Kissing

Two Boys Kissing David Levithan

After Tariq is beaten for being gay, Craig comes up with an idea, and his ex-boyfriend Harry is the only one who can help. Craig wants them to break the world record for kissing.

Tariq is filming and live-streaming it from multiple angles, so no one can question it. They’re doing it in public-- on the lawn of the high school.

We also have other stories woven through-- Peter and Neil, who live a few towns over and have been dating for over a year, Avery and Ryan, who meet at a gay prom the night before the kiss begins, and Cooper, who is closeted and struggling when his parents find out.

The kiss itself is the central plot-point, but what I found most powerful about the book is the narrator-- a generalized “we” of the gay men who died of AIDS in the 70s/80s. It was devastating and made me unexpectedly sob. I wonder if teens will find it as moving as I did, as they leave a lot unexplained. They mention how no one cared until a movie star and teenage hemophiliac died. When talking about the hate and violence, they mention the 19-year-old strung up along the highway. These are small, passing references to things I know and remember. Ok, I don’t remember Rock Hudson dying and he never meant much to me, but I do remember Ryan White. I remember his advocacy and his death. I most definitely remember Matthew Shepard's murder. I know what a huge effing dealPhiladelphia was when it came out. Do teens? And this isn’t to say they won’t “get” the book, or enjoy it, but just that the emotional impact readers of a certain age are getting won’t transfer over.

I love love love love that there’s a trans character. I love that while it creates fear and uncertainty in his life (well, I don’t love that bit, but it’s realistic) it’s not a big deal for the narrators. They never question that Avery is a boy, that he’s a gay boy. They just feel for him that much more because he’s carrying around that much more. Handled so well.

And, let’s just talk about the cover, shall we?

Two boys kissing. You know what this means.

For us, it was a secret gesture. Secret because we were afraid. Secret because we were ashamed. Secret because it was story that nobody was telling.

But what power it had. Whether we cloaked it in the guise of You be the boy and I’ll be the girl, or whether we defiantly called it by its name, when we kissed, we know how powerful it was. Our kisses were seismic. When seen by the wrong person, they could destroy us. When shared with the right person, they had the power of confirmation, the force of destiny.

If you put enough closets together, you have enough space for a room. If you put enough rooms together, you have space for a house. If you put enough houses together, you have space for a town, then a city, then a nation, then a world.

We knew the private power of our kisses. Then came the first time we were witnesses, the first time we saw it happen out in the open. For some of us, it was before we ourselves had ever been kissed. We fled our towns, came to the city, and there on the streets we saw two boys kissing for the first time. And the power now what the power of possibility. Over time, it wasn’t just on the street or in the clubs or at the parties we threw. It was in the newspaper. On television. In movies. Every time we saw two boys kissing like that, the power grew…

Every time two boys kiss, it opens up the world a little more. Your world. The world we left. The world we left you.

And now there are two boys kissing on the cover of a major release book aimed at teens.

Book Provided by... my local library

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12. The Mad Potter - a review

Greenberg, Jan and Sandra Jordan. 2013. The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius. New York: Roaring Brook.

This book, recognized as a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, one of 2013's most distinguished informational books, is a photo-filled biography of George E. Ohr, a master of art pottery. A colorful character and far cry from the reticent or taciturn artist stereotype, Ohr was a self-proclaimed,
 "rankey krankey solid individualist," the "Greatest Art Potter on Earth," and "born free and patriotic, blowing my own bugle."

George E. Ohr pottery workshopSadly, his bravado did not serve him well in his lifetime, as one fan wrote,

"Mr. Ohr is by no means a crank, but is a naturally bright, even brilliant man, who has been led into the belief that the way for him to attain publicity is through the channel of preposterous advertising, and the signs which he placed round Biloxi do him more harm than good."
Still, he was confident in his own mastery of his craft, and future generations came to recognize that he was indeed brilliant.  The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art was built in his honor, and houses a permanent exhibition of his work.

The Mad Potter is a narrative chronology and includes a history of the museum, instructions on how to create a clay pot, extensive Notes, Bibliography and Picture Credits, and my favorite - "How to Look at a Pot," a useful interpretation of the language and method used in describing and evaluating pottery.

A fascinating glimpse into an artist's life, the art of pottery, and the nature and mindset of the art-collecting world.

Want to see the works of George Ohr?  There is a Pinterest board titled, "George Ohr & His Biloxi Pottery," dedicated to displaying photos of George Ohr and his creations.  Be sure to take a gander.

Today is Nonfiction Monday, and also the final day of our KidLit Celebrates Women's History Month celebration.  Please be sure to catch up on all of the wonderful posts!


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13. SALVAGE by Alexandra Duncan {Review}

SALVAGE by Alexandra Duncan Hardcover: 528 pages Publisher: Greenwillow Books (April 1, 2014) Language: English Mark on Goodreads Buy the book: Amazon Salvage is a thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. This is literary science fiction with a feminist twist, and it

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14. February & March 2014 Releases!


Vanessa Di Gregorio

I know, I know. These are hardly “upcoming” titles anymore, but still! Cut a girl some slack. February is a short month, and it also happens to be one of the busiest months for me, work-wise. March is almost just as hectic… and so. That leads us to this: A dual February & March releases list! I know, it’s practically April, but it feels really wrong to not point out the shiny new books that have come out!

However, you can probably imagine that compiling the releases for both months in one post would make for a massively behemoth list. So, I’m really only going to highlight the books that I’m SUPER excited about. A more comprehensive list can be seen in my Goodreads lists (which I’ve linked to at the bottom of the post) – so if you want to see more releases, head on over there!

But first! Last month, our very own Erin Bowman released an e-novella for TAKEN! So… BIG CONGRATS, ERIN! And, PC alumni (and one of our founders, to boot!) Sarah J. Maas celebrated a release earlier this month with THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE (a bind-up of all the THRONE OF GLASS e-novellas)! EXCITING!

February 4

Stolen  Cress  Wildwood-Imperium
STOLEN e-novella by PC’s own Erin Bowman (YA Dystopian)
CRESS by Marissa Meyer (YA Science Fiction / Fairy Tale Retelling)
WILDWOOD IMPERIUM by Colin Meloy (MG Fantasy)

Landry-Park  Mistwalker
LANDRY PARK by Bethany Hagen (YA Dystopian)
MISTWALKER by Saundra Mitchell (YA Paranormal)

February 11

Lady-Thief  White-Space  The-Worlds-We-Make
LADY THIEF by A.C. Gaughen (YA Fantasy)
WHITE SPACE by Ilsa J. Bick (YA Fantasy)
THE WORLDS WE MAKE by Megan Crewe (YA Dystopian)

February 25

 The-Wells-End  Boy-on-the-Edge  The-Shadow-Throne

THE WELL’S END by Seth Fishman (YA Science Fiction)
BOY ON THE EDGE by Fridrik Erlings (YA Contemporary)
THE SHADOW THRONE by Jennifer A. Nielsen (YA Fantasy)

March 4

The-Assassins-Blade  The-Winners-Curse  Death-Sworn

THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE by PC alumni Sarah J. Maas (YA Fantasy)
THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski (YA Fantasy)
DEATH SWORN by Leah Cypess (YA Fantasy)

Dangerous  The-Haven  Let-the-Storm-Break
DANGEROUS by Shannon Hale (YA Science Fiction)
THE HAVEN by Carol Lynch Williams (YA Dystopian)
LET THE STORM BREAK by Shannon Messenger (YA Fantasy)

Cured   Half-Bad
CURED by Bethany Wiggins (YA Dystopian)
HALF BAD by Sally Green (YA Paranormal)

March 11

Promise-of-Shadows  The-Shadow-Prince  The-Mirk-and-Midnight-Hour
PROMISE OF SHADOWS by Justina Ireland (YA Fantasy / Retelling)
THE SHADOW PRINCE by Bree Despain (YA Fantasy)
THE MIRK AND MIDNIGHT HOUR by Jane Nickerson (YA Retelling)

Mindscape   Game-Over-Pete-Watson
MINDSCAPE by M.M. Vaughan (MG Fantasy)
GAME OVER, PETE WATSON by Joe Schreiber (MG Contemporary)

Strange-Sweet-Song   Ruins
STRANGE SWEET SONG by Adi Rule (YA Fantasy)
RUINS by Dan Wells (YA Dystopian)

March 18

The-Riverman  Elusion
THE RIVERMAN by Aaron Starmer (MG Fantasy)
ELUSION by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam (YA Science Fiction)

Side-Effects-May-Vary  Remnants-of-Tomorrow
SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy (YA Contemporary)
REMNANTS OF TOMORROW by Kassy Tayler (YA Dystopian)

March 25

The-Strange-and-Beautiful-Sorrows-of-Ava-Lavender   Caminar
CAMINAR by Skila Brown (MG Historical)

Now, THAT was worth the wait, right?

I definitely missed a bunch of releases for February & March – so if  you know about any, let me know in the comments! And add them to my Goodreads February 2014 MG & YA Releases, or my Goodreads March 2014 MG & YA Releases list.


Vanessa Di Gregorio works in publishing as a sales rep at Ampersand, a book and gift sales agency. She is also a former literary agency intern. When she isn’t out selling books and talking to bookstores, Vanessa can be found over at Something Geeky, GoodreadsTwitter, or writing for Paper Droids.

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15. DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS (Daughter of Smoke & Bone 3) by Laini Taylor {Review}

DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS Daughter of Smoke & Bone 3 by Laini Taylor Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Hardcover: 624 pages Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 8, 2014) Mark on Goodreads Buy on Amazon Review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone Review of Days of Blood and Starlight In this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Karou is still not ready

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16. Review of Caminar

brown caminar Review of Caminarstar2 Review of Caminar Caminar
by Skila Brown
Middle School    Candlewick    197 pp.
3/14    978-0-7636-6516-6    $15.99    g

“Forest sounds / all around / but on the ground / the sound / of Me / grew. Echoed. / I heard a path I could not see.” Exquisitely crafted poems are the basis of an unusually fine verse novel set in 1981, in the middle of the Guatemalan civil war. When the government helicopters appear in the air over the small village of Chopán, young Carlos obeys his mother when she tells him to go into the forest to hide. When all is quiet, he climbs down from his tree and soon comes across a group of four guerrilla rebel soldiers, lost in the forest. They confirm his greatest fears — that Chopán was burned to the ground, and that the people there were massacred by the government soldiers. Wracked with survivor’s guilt, Carlos begins to walk — caminar — on a mission to reach his grandmother’s village at the top of the mountain, to warn them about the helicopters. The poems, all written from Carlos’s point of view, are emotional, visceral, and lyrical. Layered and varied, some are shape poems; some can be read in more than one way, as if written from two perspectives; and all are accessible to young readers. When Carlos first encounters Paco, the rebel soldier his own age, their meeting is described in a poignant mirror poem. All combine to give us a chillingly memorable portrait of one child surviving violence and loss in a time of war.

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17. Blog Tour: Monument 14: Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne

Hi everyone! I'm Emmy Laybourne, author of the MONUMENT 14 series. It’s such a pleasure to be here on Readingteen. Thanks to Amy and Austin for having me here and for helping with the blog tour! (Austin made my super-cool blog banner!)  Here's a little Q and A: What genre have you not yet written but really want to try? I am aching to try my hand at a high fantasy! It’s going to take a

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18. We'll See Where We Go From Here

I am a big fan of Maureen Johnson's Suite Scarlet, which I described as being a "combination of mainstream fiction and screwball comedy." I sought out her book, The Name of the Star, for that reason and because it was a contemporary thriller. I can take or leave that genre, in general, but I'm interested in it when combined with YA.

I have to say that I found The Name of the Star slow getting started. I'm not giving anything away by saying the story deals with a Jack the Ripper copycat murderer. He's carefully mentioned in each of the early chapters, but those chapters are used primarily to get main character, Rory, established in her English boarding school. I liked the premise behind the Scooby Gang that is hunting the killer, but this particular case seemed a little weak to me.

That being said, The Name of the Star is the first in a series, The Shades of London.  I'm going to pick up a copy of The Madness Underneath, Book 2. As I said, I liked the Scooby Gang, and I think it's possible that after The Name of the Star set up the universe, succeeding books could end up being stronger.

Another interesting point: That slow start I mentioned above definitely makes The Name of the Star YA. It's all about secondary school, getting along with other students, getting away from Mom and Dad, and does that boy like me? It doesn't read like an adult book whose adult protagonist has been replaced with a teenager.

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19. The new headless torsos, redux

The new headless torsos could also be this.

erlings boy on the edge The new headless torsos, redux   bedford neverending The new headless torsos, redux
For more book jacket love, read Thom Barthelmess’s article What Makes a Good Book Cover? From the March/April Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Illustration.

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20. Soon from Twilight Times Books: The Luthier's Apprentice (YA dark fantasy)

I'm thrilled to announce that my latest book, The Luthier's Apprentice, featuring 16-year-old violin student/luthier/amateur sleuth Emma Braun, will be out in May 15th (ebook) and August 15th (print).

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice.  But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma’s family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier’s apprentice…

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21. To Prologue or Not to Prologue?

Ready to startMany middle grade and YA authors debate whether or not to include a prologue when beginning their manuscripts. Prologues are sections of story that precede the first chapter, similar to an introduction, but their sequencing in relationship to the following chapter(s) is not necessarily chronological. Often structured as a flash forward or flash back, a prologue can provide details that justify a character’s motives later on, or offer a quick glimpse at the central action, conflict or climax of the story that lies ahead. (This kind of prologue was used by Stephanie Meyers in Twilight.)

It’s important to know that prologues are not wildly popular with editors – they can feel like a cheat, something the author has chosen to use because he or she can’t figure out how else to incorporate that information, or because their beginning isn’t strong enough.  They can also be viewed as a stalling tactic, a way to write your way in to the story, like a kind of literary ‘throat-clearing.’

Don’t decide definitively to include a prologue until your manuscript is complete… and even then, make sure you are including one for the right reasons. Below are some pros and cons of prologues that may help in choosing whether or not to create one for your story:

Prologue Pros

  • Can provide details that will explain character motives later on
  • May tempt readers to read on by allowing a glimpse of the excitement that lies ahead
  • Provides a place for important backstory without slowing momentum once the story is underway

Prologue Cons

  • Can be viewed as a stalling tactic or sign that you’re unsure how to begin
  • May be overlooked or ignored by readers, who may then miss the key information it contains

(Interested in more information like this? Check out my home study courses in writing picture books, chapter books and middle grade novels and young adult fiction, at JustWriteChildrensBooks.com

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22. At long last

There may have been some jumping up and down yesterday when I spotted this on the Magazine table.

nix clariel cover At long last

The Abhorsen trilogy/The Old Kingdom Chronicles is one of my all-time favorite series; I’ve read Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen several times each and listened to the superb audiobooks narrated by Tim Curry many more times. The trilogy even helped get me a job at a children’s bookstore when the manager overheard me busybodily recommending them to a fellow customer.

Clariel (sometimes called Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen) has been nothing more than a cherished rumor among YA fantasy fans following the release of Abhorsen eleven long years ago. Now I have it in my hot little hands and am halfway through it — but, unfortunately, most readers will have to wait until the October publication date. (Nyah nyah.)

I do miss the cover art by the incomparable Dillons, though.

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23. I should get an award or something

Not sure why scientists are so ga-ga over figuring out what black holes really are. I’ve already done that. And I know how they are formed. Revisions = black holes Revisions are formed when first drafts become second drafts, third drafts, fourth drafts, etc. An endless loop of deletions and additions that suck the writer…

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24. Reader Resonance

Girl reading bookThe middle grade and YA sections of your local bookstore and/or library these days are teeming with genres, styles and subject matters for teens and ‘tweens to explore.  Some offer up fantastical and imaginative worlds, others deal with gritty topical issues – and there’s a vast range in between. But no matter what genre or format you choose to write in, there is a universal key to crafting a compelling plot for young readers: resonance for your intended audience.

What does that mean?

You want to be sure the central problem or big idea that your story grapples with is relevant to your target audience on a very practical, concrete level.  In other words, the reader must identify with it.  Feeling different, seeking independence, navigating relationships, testing boundaries – these are all universal experiences that any teen or tween can relate to, whether the story unfolds in the past, present or future and no matter where in the world it takes place. (This is not to say that you can’t write about a subject that only a select number of young readers can relate to… but that will narrow your audience, so marketing well to that ‘niche’ group becomes even more essential when the time comes.)

No matter your story’s genre or format, who the central characters are or the time and place in which it unfolds, be sure that the central issue the hero is wrestling with is germane to your target audience.  If you don’t have ready access to kids the same age as your target reader, spend some time studying the developmental issues and concerns of children, pre-teens or teens in that age group (The Gesell Institute’s child development book series is a great resource to start with.)  Knowing the age-specific passions, questions, struggles and quirks of your intended reader is the best way to brainstorm kid-friendly ideas and craft compelling characters with authentic voices that young readers will relate to.

(Interested in more information like this? Check out my home study courses in writing picture books, chapter books and middle grade novels and young adult fiction, at JustWriteChildrensBooks.com

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25. Graphic Novel Week: Buffy Season 8: The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home Joss Whedon.

I know I’m totally late to this party, but Buffy didn’t end when the show did! Buffy lives! In comic book form!

So, now that all the potentials are slayers, they’re all divided up into different teams, working different parts of the world, killing baddies. But Willow’s missing, Amy’s back, and so is a gross skinless Jonathan. Plus, Dawn is a giant. And the Army thinks Buffy’s the enemy. All in a day’s work for a slayer!

But, this is a comic book with many over-reaching plot threads, and it jumps around a lot, which is a bit different from the show and took some getting used to. Also, while the characters look like the actors who played them, they’re still drawings and it’s a bit hard to get into. Luckily, the voice is still there, so I can "hear" it properly in my head. I’m really excited to see where this is going. I should have gotten a few volumes at ones, because I have to waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait for the second one. It’s checked out. And I’m not the first person on the holds list for it! (Which is awesome, given these books came out in 2007 and they’re still popular!)

Book Provided by... my local library

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