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Okay, Picture Book Month is over. Now it is time for...zombies!
Not to worry. I'm not doing a month on them. I'm not even all that enthused about zombies. I've read a couple of good books, seen a few movies, and that's about all I need. Especially since many zombie books are also apocalyptic novels. And, as Garrison Keillor once said about pumpkin pie, the best apocalyptic novel you've ever read isn't that much better than the worst.
That's why I ignored Rot & Ruin
by Jonathan Maberry for a long time when it was on my library's new YA shelf. It wasn't until I saw a review for one of its follow-up books that I gave the first book in the Rot & Ruin
series a second thought and made a point of finding it.
What makes this book so intriguing is that while it is set in a vague American future, it has a western vibe. The characters in this book are fourteen years into zombie world and the little group we're interested in are living in a small town they've created to keep themselves safe from the zombie horde. One character goes so far as to compare the people living there to western townspeople protecting themselves from Native Americans. Horses figure in the story because society has fallen and power for machinery is limited.
Our protagonist's older brother fills the roll of the lone gunslinger with his own code, making him noirish, too. There's no law in these parts, so you've got outlaw types who are far worse than the zombies, just as you had outlaws in westerns. Our heroes head out of town to save their woman from said outlaws. There is even a scene that calls to mind the cavalry coming over the rise to save the day.
For those of us who grew up with parents who watched westerns on TV every night of the week, it's fun to pick up all the western, well, cliches. (I didn't enjoy doing this anywhere near as much while watching Defiance
.) It's been a long time since television was populated by cowboys, though. The western connection won't be an issue one way or the other for younger readers.Rot & Ruin
is an apocalyptic novel that works for me because the society in it isn't stagnant. So often in these books the world goes to pieces and stays that way for generations. No one shows any interest in technology or even changing the height of a hemline. Given the last 500 years or so of human existence, that seems unrealistic to me. Cultures evolve.
And there are suggestions that the culture portrayed in Rot & Ruin
is going to. It's only been 14 years since the world fell to zombies, and already the young people who are growing up there are thinking that they'd like something better. If the zombies come, it seems likely to me that before long people are going to get sick of them and start thinking of ways to make a better life. Trying to make a better life is what we do.
Did you all see this article from Charlotte Church on Digital Music News from her lecture? What do you think? Any crossover to YA? Literature in general?
Etiquette & Espionage
, the first in Gail Carriger
's entertaining steampunk and paranormal series for young adults
, is difficult for me to assess because I'm not coming to it fresh and new, the way most young readers will. I've also read the author's amusingly sexy steampunk and paranormal series for adults
. Quite honestly, I read the adult series for the funny sex. The YA series, at least its first book, doesn't have that. And that's perfectly fine. It has plenty of other things. But an adult reader who is familiar with that aspect of some of Carriger's other work is left wondering, you know, what happened to it?
This new series takes place before the original series and some of The Parasol Protectorate'
s secondary characters appear in the new book as teenagers or children. That's a fun aspect of the book for an adult reader such as myself, though YA readers won't get it. If they move on to the adult books at some point, finding these characters as their much older selves should be entertaining. Or disappointing, if they don't like how they turned out.
The book involves a young girl leaving home to attend what she and her family believe is a finishing school. (A disturbance to her world!) What she's gotten into, though, is a training program for spies and assassins, one that involves learning how to get some dirty jobs done while maintaining proper social behavior. The premise is clever, as is the world in which vampires and werewolves are recognized parts of the social structure.
What's more, this truly is a YA book, not just a thriller that a writer for adults has retooled for young people by replacing an adult protagonist with a teenager. The young people in this book are dealing with separating themselves from their families and determining what kinds of lives they're going to live. That's YA all over.
Oh, look. Etiquette & Espionage
is a Cybils nominee
. Book Two in this series, Curtsies & Conspiracies,
comes out in eight days.
I am not a fan of ghost stories, but Spirit and Dust
by Rosemary Clement-Moore
is more of a thriller than it is a ghost story. It's certainly not any particular ghost's story.
It could also teeter into that adult thriller retooled for YAs category
that I've been noticing recently. Daisy Goodnight (a great name) is a freshman in college and the two guys she's not quite torn between are twenty-somethings. Daisy's story is entertaining and engaging, but there's no compelling reason for these characters to be as young as they are. The story could easily be flipped for older, even much older, characters.
As I said, Daisy is a college freshman, which is a neat way of making her available to FBI agents who want her assistance. It is easier for a person that age to be off having adventures, than a younger one, even a younger one who is an orphan like Daisy. The FBI is interested in Daisy because she can communicate with the dead, helpful when investigating murders. The world of the book is one in which any number of people can do magic to one degree or another, and while it may not be common knowledge, even a criminal mastermind may use magical assistance. The Goodnight family is full of hedge witches and other magical sorts.
The book begins with a murder and involves the story of how Daisy gets drawn into a scheme to take advantage of the dead. I got lost a few times in the plot, but Daisy is definitely a charmer.
Another interesting point I must mention--No blurbs on the cover! The back cover simply says, "Daisy Goodnight can talk to the dead. And something has them terrified." And that's why I read a book about ghosts when I don't care for them.
Here are some inexpensive reads for your Saturday night. If the weather in your area is like mine, you are probably going to want to stay in this evening. We are expecting thunderstorms to roll through, and it has been cloudy and overcast all day long.
The Rise of Renegade X rocks, and I highly recommend it, even though at $3.99 it’s the priciest book listed below. The rest are $1.99.
The Rise of Renegade X (Renegade X, Book 1)
Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she’s been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father’s too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he’s not a hero in any way, or else he’s stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.
To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad’s "flying lessons" that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city–despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights–thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she’s his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.
I just saw a listing for the sequel The Trials of Renegade X (Renegade X, Book 2), which released last month. I will be grabbing it as soon as I have some room in my reading schedule.
Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy)
Fear the Corn.
Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow—and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie—his first mate and the love of his life—forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry—angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. When Cael and his crew discover a secret, illegal garden, he knows it’s time to make his own luck…even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.
Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.
Die for Me (Revenants)
My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I’m fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family’s—in jeopardy for a chance at love?
The Cloak Society
The first in a thrilling, action-packed middle grade trilogy, which School Library Journal declared "will likely find the same wide appeal as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books.
The Cloak Society: An elite organization of supervillains graced with extraordinary powers. Ten years ago the Cloak Society was defeated by Sterling City’s superheroes, the Rangers of Justice, and vanished without a trace. But the villains have been waiting for the perfect moment to resurface. . . .
Twelve-year-old Alex Knight is a dedicated junior member of Cloak who has spent years mastering his telekinetic superpowers and preparing for the day when Cloak will rise to power again. Cloak is everything he believes in.
But during his debut mission, Alex does the unthinkable: He saves the life of a Junior Ranger of Justice. Even worse . . . she becomes his friend. And the more time he spends with her, the more Alex wonders what, exactly, he’s been fighting for.
by Geoff Herbach
was the 2011 Cybil winner for YA fiction. It illustrates one of the reasons I like the Cybils. Stupid Fast
is not a a paranormal romance or fantasy or part of a dystopian or apocalyptic trilogy, all of which attract big sales. Nor is it a heart-warming overcoming-adversity-in-a-small-town-filled- with-eccentric-characters-story, which attract awards. It has the overcoming adversity thing but with an edge, maybe even a desperate edge. Books like Stupid Fast
don't fit into the standard marketing molds used right now.
Neither does the Cybils. It is made for books like Stupid Fast
. The book was well reviewed, but I would never have heard of it without its Cybils win. What's more, it has two sequels that I only heard about a couple of hours ago when I started preparing this post.
Felton Reinstein is limping through adolescence when he suddenly starts to grow. And that growth spurt makes him fast. It's a life-changing event because his speed makes him desirable to the coaches at school as well as to the student athletes who had never been part of his world before. Felton is evolving. He is in transition. He's in a liminal state
, as the anthropologists might say, he is most definitely in some state that is neither one thing or another, neither child nor man.
This makes Stupid Fast so
a YA book. I say that because it's not unusual for me to read a YA book that is perfectly decent as a story, entertaining, but what about it is YA? You definitely know why Stupid Fast
Now, while Felton is doing his transitional thing, he is living with a parent who is descending into mental illness and a brother who is in need of help in dealing with her. It's as if he's living two different, simultaneous lives, one in which he is becoming more and more desperate, and another in which he is becoming more and more competent and part of the world outside his home. Something similar happened in Alice Bliss
where Alice was dealing with her father's deployment while continuing to grow up, because that's what adolescents do. Adolescents have to grow and change. They can't help themselves. It's the nature of the beasts.
I think someone could argue that Stupid Fast
's ending is a little too much of a turn around. A deus ex machina type character shows up to make everything right, and things work out really well for Felton. But this adult reader also felt that Felton could have his good moment because things weren't going to stay that way for him. If I ever get around to reading the sequels, I suspect I'll find out that I'm right.
While reading Stupid Fast
I kept wondering about YA problem novels versus the adult equivalent. Stupid Fast
probably could be described as a problem novel. When adult novels deal with characters with problems, what are they? Are they ever referred to as problem novels or as something else?
Emma Walton Hamilton
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Whether your manuscript is a picture book or novel, it can be tempting to create a wide variety of supporting characters to help tell your story. But too many characters can be hard for young readers to keep track of, and can dilute the focus. So how do you decide which secondary characters to keep? Keep these tips in mind:
* All characters should be multi-dimensional, authentic, believable and interesting to young readers – even if they’re bad guys.
* All characters should have a role to play in relationship to your main character. Whether they are a catalyst, a foil, a mentor, an antagonist, a challenger, a sidekick, the voice of reason, a tempter, or something else, they must serve a purpose in relationship to your hero’s journey.
* All characters must be in pursuit of something: a want, or a need, or a goal. They should also have to make their own choices to pursue that want or need.
* Consider whether or how the story would change without them. If you removed this character from the story, would it affect the course of events one way or another? If not, they should probably go.
* Secondary characters should also learn something or grow by the end of the story. They need to have journeys of their own. For example, in Where the Wild Things Are, the secondary character is Max’s mother (even though we never actually “see” her, she has a huge influence on the story and on Max’s journey, and is a presence nonetheless.) We know Max grows and changes by the end, but Max’s mother does, too… because she delivers dinner to his room after she’s promised that he’s going to go to bed with no supper. We can infer from this that she has softened and forgiven him. We want all our supporting characters to have the same kind of journey.
Please give a warm welcome to Jennifer Kloester! She’s here to talk about her new release The Cinderella Moment.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Jennifer Kloester] I’m an adventure-loving book addict with a passion for writing. I love karate, Paris and my garden. I believe in kindness and integrity.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Cinderella Moment?
[Jennifer Kloester] It’s a contemporary novel set in New York and Paris with a 16 year-old heroine who dreams of being a fashion designer. She’s entering a fashion design competition called the Teen Couture but when things go wrong she has to go to Paris and masquerade as her best friend. It’s all fashion, glitz and high society, and of course nothing turns out as she expected – especially after she meets a gorgeous guy who thinks she’s someone else!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Jennifer Kloester] I was living in the Middle East and read a story in a magazine about these girls who were in Paris for a grand ball and my heroine Angel and her dream of winning the Teen Couture just fell into my head fully formed. I knew she wanted more than anything to be a fashion designer and that her mom was a housekeeper and her best friend the daughter of the mega-rich family her mom worked for and the story just grew from there. Funnily enough, I didn’t realise just how many links to the original Cinderella story there were in my book until I’d finished it!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Angel?
[Jennifer Kloester] passionate, determined,romantic
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Angel had a theme song, what would it be?
[Jennifer Kloester] Adele’s version of "Promise This"
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Angel is never without.
[Jennifer Kloester] A sketchbook.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Angel’s purse?
[Jennifer Kloester] A car key cause she hasn’t got her license yet and who drives in New York anyway?
A credit card – maybe one day when she can afford it.
Pepper spray – Angel’s not afraid of boys, she just hasn’t met one she really likes – yet!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Jennifer Kloester] Other books, other writers – as Stephen Kings says – ‘if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.’ All kinds of music and the things people say – I love listening to people’s words and conversations – you never know where the next big idea will come from.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Jennifer Kloester] Time, a pen or laptop, discipline (is that four things?)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on The Cinderella Moment?
[Jennifer Kloester] My family (immediate and extended) and household chores that suddenly became much more appealing than usual!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Jennifer Kloester] "The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" I loved it because it was clever, had memorable characters, and it made me laugh.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Jennifer Kloester] When I was six I read "The Good Master’ by Kate Seredy. I still remember it vividly.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Jennifer Kloester] I love karate and got my black belt last year. Training in the martial arts is the perfect contrast sitting at my computer all day. I also love gardening and the beach. I’d say travel but I usually write when I’m travelling – so much great material.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Jennifer Kloester] I’m on Twitter (I love Twitter) @jenkloester, via email firstname.lastname@example.org and on my Facebook author page JenniferKloesterAuthor – I’ve also had letters from readers via my publishers (Penguin Aus, Sourcebooks & Swoon Romance) which is awesome fun. I love hearing from readers and will always reply.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
About the book:
Let the masquerade begin!
Angel Moncoeur has always wanted to be a fashion designer, but without money or connections, it’s going to be a challenge. When an opportunity to leave her home in New York and head to Paris appears, Angel grabs it – even if it means masquerading as her best friend Lily. That can’t be too hard, can it? But when she falls in love with her very own Prince Charming who thinks she’s someone else, Angel embarks on a plan to secure her happily ever after.
THE CINDERELLA MOMENT is a fabulously fun story about high society, mistaken identity, love, betrayal, friendship – and great clothes
About the author:
Jennifer Kloester is passionate about books and writing. She is the author of two books on the bestselling historical novelist Georgette Heyer: Georgette Heyer’s Regency World and Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller. The Cinderella Moment is her first novel. She is currently writing the sequel The Rapunzel Dilemma. In her spare time Jennifer loves to travel and train in karate.
by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
is the story of an overweight high school girl tormented by bullies. Yes, we've heard that before. What's interesting here is that Angie is also dealing with the probable loss of her sister in Iraq, which has pretty much wrecked her family. What is even more interesting is that an attractive, very cool, new girl in school seeks Angie out.
Angie is living in a world of suffering, and that world is disturbed by the arrival of someone. I liked that opening. How is Angie going to respond to that disturbance?
After that, more and more problems pile on. Angie's mother is hard, hard, hard. Her brother is acting out in hateful ways toward her. Her head tormentor at school seems almost pathological in her behavior. The new girl's interest brings more challenge (no spoilers), and she has problems to boot. As much as I liked what I saw as Angie's basic story, it seemed to be overwhelmed by so many problems for its character to deal with.
As I was reading this book, I was reminded of Alice Bliss
, an adult book that deals with a teenage girl's life while her father is serving in Iraq. With both books I kept thinking that we have a volunteer army now. No one has
to leave a family to go to Iraq. And while it is without a doubt a noble act to serve your country with military service of this type, what about the families that are left? In both Alice Bliss
and Fat Angie
we are not talking about career service people. These families know that their loved ones did not have to go
. They know that their loved ones chose
this action that causes such anxiety and risks such incredible pain for them. What does that do to the people at home paying a price for their father/sister's noble act? To me, that seems like a big enough situation to carry an entire story.
On the other hand, in books like this one that are filled with problems, readers get to sort of choose the one they want to follow. I do understand the attraction of the overcoming adversity storyline. In fact, Fat Angie
earned starred reviews from both Publisher's Weekly
and School Library Journal
has a great trailer
, memorable enough to lead me to pick up the book when I saw it at my local library. Last summer author Charlton-Trujillo did an At-Risk Tour
, driving across the country meeting with at-risk youth at community organizations as well as bookstores, bringing an author into venues where young people might not have an opportunity to meet them.
Blog: The Open Book
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Just in time for Halloween, we’re excited to announce the release of two new novels from our science fiction and fantasy imprint, Tu Books: Killer of Enemies, a post-apocalyptic retelling of an Apache monster slayer legend by award-winning Native American author Joseph Bruchac, and The Monster in the Mudball, a hilarious supernatural mystery set in England.
In Killer of Enemies, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen hunts monsters to ensure the protection of her family from the Ones, maniacal warlords who rule in a post-apocalyptic Southwest. Fate has given Lozen a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. Soon she realizes that with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.
In this Junior Library Guild selection, eleven-year-old Jin must run around the English town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne trying to track down a monster named Zilombo. Jin teams up with Chief Inspector of Ancient Artifacts A. J. Zauyamakanda, or Mizz Z, for short. Zilombo gains new, frightening powers every time she hatches. Now the monster is cleverer than ever before . . . and it appears that Jin’s baby brother has disappeared! Will Jin’s baby brother be next on Zilombo’s menu? As the monster’s powers continue to grow, Jin and Mizz Z must find a way to outsmart Zilombo!
Happy birthday to both titles! We can’t wait to hear what you think of them!
*Today marks the release of the hardcover versions of both titles. E-book versions are also available.
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If you guys didn't know, Simone Elkeles has a new series coming out called Wild Cards
. To promote the new series, she has created a mini reality web series. The first two episodes are out now. The production value looks pretty good with these. Enjoy!
Many months ago, I requested a copy of Hit By Pitch from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. I was thrilled that I was chosen to receive a copy, but it never showed up -- until last week, when I eagerly devoured it, and was not disappointed. This one's not for *kids, but certainly suitable for young adults.
Lawless, Molly. 2013. Hit By Pitch: Ray Chapman, Carl Mays and the Fatal Fastball. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
If you've ever watched a player get beaned by a baseball, you've experienced the sickening feeling that occurs merely from watching. In 1920, fifty years before the mandated use of batting helmets, Cleveland Indian shortstop, Ray "Chappie" Chapman, became the first and only major league baseball player to be killed by a pitched ball. This is his story and
the story of pitcher, Carl Mays of the New York Yankees.
In some ways, it is easy to write about sports as the statisticians make the research simple - dates, times, players, locations, runs, hits, balls, strikes, averages - it's all recorded history. However, the single entry in the scorer's book for the game at the Polo Grounds between the Cleveland Indians the New York Yankees, "hit by pitch," cannot explain the tragic story of baseball's only fatal beaning on August 16, 1920. Molly Lawless uses black and white drawings, period quotes, newspaper articles, and sportswriter commentaries to animate this story for a new generation.
A more perfect tragedy could not be conceived if it were a work of fiction - the odd, sullen and nearly friendless "villain," Carl Mays, versus the cheerful, handsome and beloved athlete, businessman, husband and friend, "Chappie." One will live and one will die. Both stories end in tragedy.
Fascinating, well-researched, and told with a keen eye for the game and all its intricacies and idiosyncrasies. Ms. Lawless' respect for (and love of) baseball is apparent in every page. Her black and white illustrations evoke the time and spirit of the game in the "deadball era," and an American public, still processing the effects of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal and the relatively new phenomenon of Prohibition. Fans of baseball, graphic novels, history or tragedy will love this book.
*For younger readers interested in this topic, Dan Gutman's, Ray & Me
(Harper Collins, 2009), tells the tragic story as part of his Baseball Card Adventures
series, combining fact, fiction and a hint of fantasy as the young protagonist travels back in time to great moments in baseball history.
Please welcome special guest Katie to the virtual offices! Katie is on the run for her life, hiding from the undead. Hopefully, they haven’t followed her here.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Katie} Faltering, but not yet broken.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your typical day like?
[Katie} Before the end of the world, I had a peaceful Amish life. I worked on my parents’ farm. I raised Golden Retriever puppies and helped take care of my little sister, Sarah. There was plenty of work to be done: tending the garden, working the crops, feeding the cattle, cooking, laundry, and cleaning. But it kept me busy, and for the most part kept my mind from wandering to all the interesting things that must be in the outside world: comic books, Coca-Cola, jeans, and make-up.
But after…after the end of the world…I am on my own. I’ve been exiled from my community. With my two friends, Alex and Ginger, we search for other survivors by day. By night, we try to fight and outrun the vampires. We eat whatever we can scavenge and try to find safe places to sleep. Winter’s coming, and there’s less and less food as it grows colder.
I miss home.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?
[Katie} I know that my parents would want me to regret being shunned in the first place. Fearing contagion, the Elders made a rule that no one was to come in our community, and no one was allowed out. But I found Alex, an injured man, just beyond my fence. I brought him into our barn to heal.
I know that my parents would want me to say that I regret this, and that I regret falling in love with him. But I don’t.
The thing that I regret is not being able to make my family and my community understand what terrible evil was coming, that it could affect us just as much as it has the outside world. They didn’t believe me then. But I know that they do now.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s the one thing do you prize above all others?
[Katie} Of all things, certainly my faith. Though I wrestle with knowing that God has chosen not to intervene in this evil that has spread over the earth, I still treasure it.
In terms of material things? The only thing I really have is the Himmelsbrief my village Hexenmeister created for me. It is a letter to God, a beautiful and powerful thing. It deters the vampires, and I credit it with my survival so far.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Why do you think the world has become such a dangerous place?
[Katie] I have heard many explanations for this. My village Hexenmeister has said that the Darkness has always been with us. He says that it was with us even in the Old Country. He remembers the old ways of dealing with the Darkness: with stakes and fire and sunlight. People believed in it then, and struck it down before it had the chance to take root.
Others tell me that it is a scientific evil. That something has crawled out of a radioactive experiment in a place half a world away. Chernobyl? I can’t remember what it was called. Some think that a meteor fell. Others think that it is a virus.
I don’t know the answer. All I know is that there is Darkness and light, and that one must choose a side.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Why do you think you have survived, while so many others have not?
[Katie} Alex says that it’s because I’m used to being without modern conveniences: that I know how to make my way without electricity, cars, and telephones. I know what’s edible in the forest and which animal tracks to follow and which to avoid.
I think it’s partially because of the Himmelsbrief. Without it, I would have been devoured long before.
And it’s also because I am not truly alone. I have my friends, Alex and Ginger. We have a horse and have just been joined by a wolf. The wolf is good with hunting…more dog than wolf. He is good with finding chickens, and he shares what he finds.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.
[Katie} No more blood and Darkness.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
[Katie} Thank you so much!
About the book:
One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…
After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.
And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?
By: JOANNA MARPLE,
Blog: Miss Marple's Musings
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, MFA in Creative Writing
, Writerly Musings
, contemporary fiction
, Ellen Hopkins
, expats in New York
, Kristin Elizabeth Clark
, Lesléa Newman
, LGBTQ authors
, novels in verse
, OCTOBER MOURNING
, Patricia McCormick
, YOUNG ADULT
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Maceration of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes – source – Wikimedia Commons
Mondays on this blog will be given over to musings on being: a writer (for children), a voracious reader, an MFA student, an expat in New York, a nature advocate, part of the LGBTQ community, a lifelong wanderer, an obsessive observer of human nature, and one who jives to the java bean and the fermentation-flirtation of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape!
While I shall most definitely be writing a post on, ‘Why One Should Read Outside One’s Genre,’ today I espouse the importance as writers of reading the themes, content, forms and genre in which we have rooted our own manuscript. You need to know how your book compares with the competition, and how it is different. Reading your genre is about staying current as an author, just as a teacher or doctor might. Agents and publishers will expect this of you, and you should certainly know on which shelf in a (Indie) bookstore a reader should be able to find your book!
I like to not only read in my genre, but also books that have focused on some of the big themes and subject matter in my story; maybe betrayal, or teenage pregnancy, maybe set in other cultures, or in slang…. You might read to be inspired by form and style. Maybe you are seeking to write in a more literary style, then you could perhaps read Laurie Halse Anderson’s WINTER GIRLS. Since meeting and reading most of the works of author, Ellen Hopkins, I have been fascinated by the form of novels written in verse, and have been reading broadly in this form. I am thrilled that we have on the faculty of the Stony Brook MFA program, Patty McCormick, whose novel in verse, SOLD, has so much of what I want to explore in my own writing.
In which genre are you writing? And/or what theme(s) are you exploring, and what recommendation do you, therefore, have for us? Let me kick off, and let me say that while my novel is at present in prose, I am drawn to a more poetic vehicle for the story.
Genre: Contemporary YA fiction (edgy) Form: narrative prose Themes: Estrangement, abusive parental relationships and/or LGBTQ characters and bullying
SMOKE by NYT best selling author, Ellen Hopkins and published by Simon and Schuster. I was lucky to read an ARC of this novel in verse, which is released tomorrow, September, 10th 2013. I loved BURN and was not disappointed with this sequel. SMOKE addresses big themes – courage and survival, abuse, hypocrisy and silence in religious communities (LDS), gay bullying, neglect, love… the writing is quick and sparse and visually meaningful. All the characters are 3+ dimensional. If you have never read a novel in verse, I highly recommend any of Hopkin’s novels. SMOKE is also included in this recent list of Top Ten YA Releases in Sept 2013.
Okay, I have not yet read FREAKBOY, a YA novel in verse by Kristin Elizabeth Clark, which is going to be published on October 22nd, 2013, by Farrar, Strauss and Geroux, but I have discussed the book with the author and am a huge fan of her writing and very happy to see a book embracing these themes. I am convinced this will be a book with significant ripples in the YA book community. Just this week it received a starred review -“*”This gutsy, tripartite poem explores a wider variety of identities—cis-, trans-, genderqueer—than a simple transgender storyline, making it stand out.“ — Kirkus Review, starred review.
You can buy it now, here.
OCTOBER MOURNING by Lesléa Newman, published by Candlewick, September 25th, 2012. “A masterful poetic exploration of the impact of Matthew Shepard’s murder on the world.”
On the night of October 6, 1998, a gay twenty-one-year-old college student named Matthew Shepard was lured from a Wyoming gay bar by two young men pretending to be gay. Matthew was savagely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. October Mourning, is the author’s deep personal response to the events of that tragic day. It is a novel in verse, but quite different from the previous two as Newman creates fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence Matthew was tied to and the girlfriends of the murderers. This is a heartbreaking series of sixty-eight poems in several different poetic forms offering the reader an enduring tribute to Matthew Shepard’s life.
Your turn! Please add your recommendations in the comments below.
Set in the mysterious, alluring Arctic, Dragon Fire
is a mesmerizing debut novel about a girl torn between the shape-shifting dragon she loves and the best friend she must stay loyal to.
When Rakan is sent to Tromso high school by his mother in order to restore their family’s honor and destroy their enemy dragon Jing Mei, he never thought his attraction to Anna, a human, would complicate matters. But, for one thing, Jing Mei — aka June — is none other than Anna’s best friend, and to make things worse, Rakan’s mother expects him to seduce and deceive Anna to get information.
In fact, she expects him to stop at nothing and to stay loyal to the dragon code, which includes disregarding humans and using them as pawns. Yet, something different about Anna touches a deep core within him, and even though loving a human is punishable by death, he can’t stop.
When Anna first sees Rakan, she immediately senses the strange animal-like energy emanating from him. He seems to like her, but his mood swings leave her hurt and frustrated. What is going on between him and her best friend June? Do they share a past? If yes, is it a romantic one? What, in fact, does Rakan want from Anna? Does he really care about her, or is he only using her for his own ends?
Dina Von Lowenkraft’s world-building is rich, original, and fascinating. The setting is vividly laid out, transporting the reader into a genuinely different world. There are also an array of intriguing, interesting characters, such as Rakan’s wilful half-sister Dvara, and Anna’s predator-like soon-to-be-stepfather Ulf.
The prose is beautifully clean and the dialogue sparkles. Filled with intrigue, romantic tension, and sensual imagery, this is a must-read for fans of dragon stories and young adult paranormal!
Learn more about the book from Amazon
[Manga Maniac Café] Please welcome Kelly Fiore to the virtual offices this morning!
[Kelly Fiore] Thanks so much for having me!
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Kelly Fiore] I’m an author, mother & former high school teacher. I love Hair Metal (think Def Leppard) & baking. I’m obsessed w/my Fiat 500 & I’m a sucker for movies with James McAvoy.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Taste Test?
[Kelly Fiore] Sure – TASTE TEST is about a high school senior named Nora who applies to be a contestant on Taste Test, which is a show like Top Chef but for teenagers. Nora gets on the show, but has to leave her best-friend-and-maybe-more, Billy, behind, along with her dad and the barbecue business she loves. When she gets to the set of the show, Nora’s faced with a snotty roommate named Joy and an infuriating fellow contestant named Christian. Christian is super-competitive and, of course, super-hot – and that only makes Nora dislike him even more. As Nora gets further into the competition, secrets and mysteries begin to surface – there is a huge scandal bubbling just below the surface, a scandal that could bring down another contestant and maybe even a judge. Nora is determined to reveal this dramatic twist to the producers of the show, but when accidents start happening in the kitchen, she realizes she’s got bigger problems after all. Nora needs to dig a little deeper to find out the truth about what’s happening on the Taste Test set – before she becomes a victim, too.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Kelly Fiore] There are certain shows that have characters with great chemistry and sexual tension – the Pacey/Joey factor is what I like to call it (for those of you who don’t know, Pacey and Joey were two of the characters on the 1990’s show Dawson’s Creek.) Blair and Chuck from Gossip Girl are another great example. I really tried to emulate that frustrating but satisfying relationship between Nora and Christian.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Nora?
[Kelly Fiore] Competitive, Sassy, and Loyal
[Manga Maniac Café] If Christian had a theme song, what would it be?
[Kelly Fiore] That is a GREAT question! That might be the best one I’ve been asked!
I think Christian is the type of guy who would have a playlist, like in the locker room – how athletes play certain songs to psych themselves up. I feel like AC/DC “Back in Black” would be a good bet, but also something like “Can’t Deny It” by Fabolous. Something with a lot of “smack talk” to it.
[Manga Maniac Café] Name one thing Nora is never without.
[Kelly Fiore] She has two pictures that she brings with her from home – one of her and her dad and one of her with her best friend, Billy. In some ways, she’s never without those two people, even though they’re far away from her. She learns to respect her roots and the culture she grew up in – I know that’s not really a tangible thing, but it’s definitely something she carries with her.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things will you never find in Nora’s kitchen?
[Kelly Fiore] Another fantastic question! In Nora’s kitchen, you’ll never find something fancy taking the place of something simple. No lobster, no caviar, no fois gras – she’d much rather cook ribs, potatoes, and corn on the cob!
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Kelly Fiore] In terms of YA, my greatest writing influences are YA authors I admire – there are so many great writers out there. Some of the books that I find most inspiring are Liar by Justine Larbeleister, Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King, and Teach Me by RA Nelson. As a writer in general, poetry is what helped me establish my writing style and my voice. I have an MFA in poetry and it was my first love – I feel like poetry taught me how to tighten my prose and be more expressive in an abbreviated space.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Kelly Fiore] Coffee, noise in the background (usually the TV), and natural light. I work best around lots of windows!
[Manga Maniac Café] What was your biggest distraction while working on Taste Test?
[Kelly Fiore] The internet. Ugh – social networking is SO my downfall. It’s far too easy to get sucked into the lives of other people instead of creating the lives on the page.
[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Kelly Fiore] The Fault of our Stars by John Green is absolutely as good as everyone says it is, and it was probably the last book I read that really blew me away.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Kelly Fiore] The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It was such a clever, magical world and I was totally enamored with the way Juster described his characters and settings. It’s such a great story – so creative.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Kelly Fiore] I spend most of my time with my husband and son – we love going on road trips and going hiking. I love to cook and try to do it as much as possible, although it’s admittedly less often when I’m working on a book!
[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?
[Kelly Fiore] Follow me on Twitter! I’m @kellyannfiore – I would love to talk to readers! You can also find me on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/KellyFioreYAAuthor or at my website, www.kellyfiorewrites.com.
[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!
About the book:
If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good.
With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.
The YA Author Club is expanding is author presence and bringing on new talent every single week. This week, we are introducing the newest member of our team, Toni Lombardo. She is not an indie author, and she does not plan to become one. She’s working hard at establishing herself within the traditionally published world. We wish her the best of luck in her efforts and thought it might be kind of cool to offer our fans/friends/followers a new voice within the club.
Instead of posting information about indie publishing, Toni will take a few minutes every few weeks to fill us in on her trials and tribulations as she journeys toward the Big Six.
Also… leave us a comment and let know which Big Six pic you like best #1 (first one) or #2 (second one). The one getting the most votes/comments will be the one we use to introduce Toni’s posts from this point forward.
Social Media Sites for Toni:
Without further ado, we are pleased to introduce Toni Lombardo:
Hello there blog readers! Toni here, I am going to talk about myself now. Hope you don’t mind.
Okay, so first off I am a twenty something (21) and striving to be a writer! I am currently(ish) a student at a community college (although at the moment I am taking a break from school) and my plan is to major in meteorology. Of course I’ll have to transfer to a four year. In some moments I want to major in English, because I am in love with words (a good thing for a writer, right?) . I would like to teach an elective class in a preppy school to do with the appreciation of old timey writers (Stoker, Melville, Shelley, etc.) and introduce the kids to modern day writers who I think are fantastic such as John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) , Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) , *clears throat* T.R. Graves (not kissing up, she is actually really great, like go read her books now!) .
I have been writing since I can remember. I wrote short stories or was forced to by teachers, but I always enjoyed it and nine times out of ten exceeded the length required or well wanted (sometimes they weren’t happy) . My dad also made up stories for me when I was little, I hope to one day publish and anthology of them (I do attribute that to my love of the plot) . I actually sat down to write a book when by hand when I was fourteen? Maybe? But I gave up on that book (I will one day reapproach that book, but for now the characters and I are not mixing…it’s not my fault blame them) to write what I wanted to publish as my first. I started that book when I was fifteen and finished it when I was sixteen and went onto the next. I am on the third in the series and am currently rewriting the first book. I was young when I wrote it and afraid of words like sex, so I would dance around the word. Plus other things I wrote in it are just cringe worthy and embarrassing. Trust and believe if a writer says their work is cringe worthy it is…we are our biggest critic yes, but if we can make ourselves cringe it is pretty correct to believe that the reader would wonder what the heck the writer was thinking.
I spend my days working at a clothing store. I love it. I work with kids ranging from size 6-20. I love working with the girls who aren’t societies standard of ‘beauty’. It’s great because you can see the kid coming in so self-conscious (because they are a size 16 not 12 like their friends) and leave smiling because you told them they are beautiful and helped them pick out clothes and raved over how amazing the kid looked and sometimes the kid even hugs you. I know this sounds like I am saying ‘oh look at me. I’m so great. Blah, blah, blah.’ That is not my intention. Today’s society is so messed up, these kids are so self-conscious at such a young age, and they are getting bullied. Their parents telling them they are beautiful is one thing, when a someone else makes a big deal about it the kid feels good. I think it’s a thing everyone should do. Encourage people, because one day you will need it. Okay enough about my job.
I also spend my days plotting up stories and plot twists. I like listening to music and sometimes it even inspires or curbs scenes. I like going to the gym and reading, it is where I get most of my reading in. In one day at work…working on stock in the back room, five new book ideas came flooding in.
I have one dog, a Beta named Platelet in one tank with a snail, eight goldfish all named after characters in my books and a Plecko and a snail in another tank that is huge. I have the plecko and snails to help keep the tanks clean. I’d like to write more often and I need to. It is the best and worst thing in the world, if you are a writer you will understand that sentence; if you are not a writer ask one that you know.
I use Twitter and Instagram and Facebook to interact with writers and friends and share stuff about my books and from time to time excerpts!
I hope to change the publishing world by introducing them to new styles of writing! And once you get to know me you know I don’t just dabble in things, I jump in whole heartedly with both feet, and most of the time without a safety net. I am beginning to blog under the supervision and guidance of Graves (I just love her) . Please come back bi-weekly to join me on my journey of publishing and writing on my blog series called Toni’s Big Six Journey.
to: Wishing Well by Ben Moody: All for This
“Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter
how bad the situation may get.” – Unknown
1) What is your all-time favorite book and
“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (TFIOS) . It is just perfect. I cried on every page and went hysterical at Chapter 21. I re-read the book within two months and re-experienced all that beautiful pain (readers of this book will get it #nerdfighter) . Also, I bonded with my IBBF (internet best friend forever) over this book. We’ve known each other for a little over two months as of 7.12.2013, but it is one of the greatest friendships I have had. So, beyond being a great book it brought me a great friend.
2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
Oh gosh, this is a biggie. I don’t really know. I have my own style, but some of my darker pieces, like “The Tale-Tale Heart” which is a re-doing of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by E.A. Poe for a final English paper, have been associated to Poe. I’m actually about to start a second mirroring piece of his, that T.R. Graves is up-to-date about.
As far as characters…People are going to think TFIOS for some of my characters, because I talk about the book ALL the time and it is a book about kids with cancer. But my book is about a kid or two with cancer but there is more of a story to it than that, just like Green’s.
As far as my characters relating to other characters…oh I don’t know, never thought about that. I’ve read books with characters that reminded me of mine, but never really thought about it that way. I think Devon would like Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
“If you don’t know, you do not deserve to know!” –Devon
Oh my, how can I explain, Devon? Okay so in this scene Devon just found out something in his family. Sorry for being vague,
don’t want to give away plot points. He is really struggling in his life at the moment and this news was just devastating.
Like a lot of teens Devon struggles with the idea of self-harm and when his brother is talking to him he (Devon) hints to wanting to hurt himself, and when his brother doesn’t get the hint he says the above quote possibly angrily.
4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
Things that inspire me to write…I don’t know. Sometimes I just see something, okay I was in a store the other day and
saw a beautiful all glass frame, free standing. I saw it and instantly knew it belonged to a character in one of my
W.I.P.s, and when I got home it was already done the character would have it in their house. So it is just kind of
random, if I see something and it attaches to a character, I say it inspired me.
My best friend Anne is who I write for along with a few other people. Anne is my muse and my ‘first reader’. She keeps me going when I don’t want to write and pushes me to finish projects. So she inspires me as well as Graves, Green,
Asher, and others.
Ahh, such an inspiration! Don’t want to say too much here because this topic is going to be a whole blog post for me!
What makes me want to keep writing—my characters.
I get a points where I miss them and I physically feel missing them, I feel pain of sorts. Sometimes just
thinking and plotting and writing notes just does not suffice, so I write to subdue the longing for interacting with them.
And I love writing, so that helps.
5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
They are random. I write whenever and wherever. At one point I was writing (more than this at home) every Friday
night at the bar in Red Robin, where one of my friends works. I would buy an unsweetened peach tea with
EXTRA regular syrup and she kept me in well supply. It was a great writing environment and the support was great!
6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
I love, love, love peach tea, but I can’t have too much caffeine otherwise I can’t sleep. So at one point it was that, but
now….yeah, it is still that, I just can’t have it all the time.
7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover) ?
Sooooo many things! The book I am working on to get published first is Life’s Not a Fantasy I have a cover idea, but no cover yet! An excerpt? Sure! Here is the introduction. It is written by Devon:
It wasn’t ever supposed to be like this. Our family was always so torn apart, even before what I’m, about to write. Dad was out fighting for ‘our safety’ but was never home…he was a ‘lifer’. Mom chose her favorites and clung tightly to them, and I fell to the bottom of that spectrum. I was okay with it though. I was always the ‘untypical typical’ teenager, meaning I was or still am the loner. I’ve done my fair share of stupid things, but more on that later. He, Cameron always held us together. He was our rock. He could make or break our family and now his name resonates with pain.
How can one name ruin everything? How can one name bring so much pain?
It’s been days, moments, but his name already feels like a curse.
Thanks for reading! Hope this was entertaining.
Join us every Friday at The YA Authors Club!
Matt de la Peña has released a new book. Infinity Ring Book 4: Curse of the Ancients is part of an MG series where each book is written by a different author. (A librarian’s nightmare to shelf!!)
Sera has a secret. She’s seen the future, and it is terrifying. Unfortunately, she can’t do anything to prevent the Cataclysm while stranded with Dak and Riq thousands of years in the past. Their only hope lies with the ancient Maya, a mysterious people who claim to know a great deal about the future. Is there more to these ancients than meets the eye?
I was surprised when he announced the release on Facebook because I hadn’t seen it coming. Looking at the age, it was recommending for ages 8-12. MG???
Sure, Matt wrote A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis and it appealing to younger readers, but having heard Matt speak twice, having read his books, I’d say his passion is YA.
He speaks about his own personal coming of age experience with his dad, how he connects with his high school readers and what it has been like growing up as a Latino, finding his own voice. He’s so personable that you realize storytelling comes natural to him.
And perhaps that’s how he found himself writing this book that publishers recommend for 8-12 year olds.Honestly, I’m glad to see anything Matt writes, I just can’t get over this 8-12 thing. Here’s why.
Publishers consider middle grade (MG) books written for ages 8-12. Upper middle grade books are 10-14 and young adult books are 12-18.
Educators identify elementary grades as 1-5, middle grades as 6-8 and high school as 9-12.
Depending on local laws and when birthdays fall, children can enter the first grade at ages 5, 6 or 7. Using, the median age, a child would be 6 in the first grade and 8 in the third grade. When a child enters middle grades (6th grade) she would be 12 and 14 in the 9th grade, a freshman in high school.
Essentially, they’re recommending Matt’s book for third graders. Up to my shoulders in YA books, I don’t quite have time to read Curse of the Ancients to see where I think it will fit best, but I may be able to work in The Living which releases in November. It’s a YA book, Matt’s fifth novel.
Matt de la Peña is the author of four critically-acclaimed young adult novels: Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here and I Will Save You. He’s also the author of the award-winning picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis (illustrated by Kadir Nelson). Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific where he attended school on a full basketball scholarship.
de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn NY.Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. source
Filed under: male monday
Tagged: Male Monday
, Matt de la Pena
The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna
Taylor Jane is living in the south of France for the summer, with her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and his two sons. The youngest son has cerebral palsy and Taylor is employed as his personal care assistant (that sounds better than babysitter.) She hopes that her mother and Alan Phoenix don’t get married this summer, because then they’d be family, and it wouldn’t be a real job she can put on her resume.
Taylor wants a professional resume so she can lead her own lie, without her mother’s constant watching. She yearns for the independence and freedom that most girls her age have, but Taylor doesn’t. Yet.
Taylor is autistic but by this point in her life she has learned many ways to cope with her anger and frustration. She uses a lot of these ways very consciously and walks us through such things as sending her anger through her feet. She also looks back on her early childhood to see if there are connections that can be made between then and now, but it gives the reader great insight into her mindset, but also her growth as a person.
This is the third book in a series and while it completely stands alone and you don’t need to read the other books, I fell so in love with Taylor that I can’t wait to read the other two to see where she was before France.
I love this book because while Taylor has autism and that causes some of the obstacles to her independance, it’s not really the focus of the story. Trying to break away from home while still loving your parents is a fairly universal story and delicate line to walk for every young adult. Taylor’s mom uses the autism both as part justification, part excuse for holding Taylor too close. (But not in an overbearing way-- Taylor’s mom is also trying to find that balance of wanting your children near you forever and letting them go. The autism is an added complication, but, once again, universal story.)
I'm so glad this was a Printz honor. It's such an amazing book and if it hadn't won, I would have never known about it, let alone read it.
Book Provided by... my local library
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Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger.
In her mother's eyes, Sophronia is a failure. She's way too interested in mechanics, spying, and climbing and things just happen around her that tend to end with flying desserts landing on honored house guests. She's particularly dismayed when she discovers that a rather meddlesome honored houseguest has recommended her to attend Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Mademoiselle Geraldine's is not what one would expect-- first of all, it's a flying school, so it's harder to find. Second of all dance lessons also include lessons on how to pass messages back and forth without being noticed. Then there are the classes in fighting. And poisons. In the middle of this educational intrigue, there is real intrigue-- flying highway men are attacking the school, after something the school has, and hidden. What is it? And where? Secret late-night trips to the boiler room, mechanical dogs and more...
This is the first book in Carriger's new YA series, set in the same world as Parasol Protectorate. It's set several years earlier, but there is a bit of character overlap-- most noticeably one of Sophronia's classmates is Sidhaeg and the little boy running around helping Sophronia--you'll recognize that one, too.
This is a fun series, with fewer vampires and werewolves and more steampunk technology than Parasol Protectorate. There is no romance in this one, which on one hand-- YAY! A YA book with girls and no romance! On the other hand, BOO! Carriger writes romance so well!
I missed the paranormal politics of the first series, but enjoyed the quick adventure of this one and want to delve more into this part of this world and see how it develops.
Book Provided by... my wallet
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Season 1 Episode 6
Character Interview MURMUR by J. Leigh
Adama Mahoney from MURMUR by J. Leigh
Click here: http://goo.gl/uWBLw
Jean M. Malone
Blog: Adventures of a Part-Time Asthmatic
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, Bee Ridgway
, Hannah Moskowitz
, historical fiction
, Invincible Summer
, Jessica Brockmole
, Letters from Skye
, Melina Marchetta
, Quintana of Charyn
, Renaissance Faire
, River of No Return
, Add a tag
I didn’t post on Saturday because the weather was gorgeous and the Ren Faire was packed. In my 7-year-old nephew’s words, it was his best day ever–in his entire life. I wish that I could say E got his flair for the dramatic from me. But it was a really fun day, and E was hilarious as usual.
He’s also a big reader. He read every sign at the faire, and when we turned on to Castle Rd he said “Oh this must be where the castle is–no, wait that’s cas-T-le, never mind.” When we told him he was right and the T is silent he said, “Oh! Like Django!” Yep. Just like that.
When I was a kid we would spend lots of time at the library each summer, and we would read books off a list our teachers sent home. But E’s 1st grade teacher is pretty great–she set the class a challenge to read 100 books over the summer, and he fully intends to (when he’s not in the pool or hacking apart worms). It got me thinking about how I don’t read nearly as much as I used to, even though I still love it.
Here are my top 4 favorites so far this year (in no particular order):
- The River of No Return – Bee Ridgway: chosen purely because the time period interested me, echoes of Downton Abbey but earlier, more Austen, with time travel and bad guys and intrigue and love. It was brilliant and exciting–impossible to put down.
- Invincible Summer – Hannah Moskowitz: Contemporary YA from a boy’s perspective, which is a rare find, and the writing itself is so achingly beautiful I couldn’t look away. I read the whole thing in one day.
- Quintana of Charyn – Melina Marchetta: hands down my favorite author these days, Melina Marchetta gives life to the most wonderful characters that I adore for their flaws and yearnings as much as their strengths. She’s a master of depicting social groups that you get drawn into and become a part of, and I am only sad that this trilogy has drawn to a close.
- Letters from Skye: a novel – Jessica Brockmole: I picked this up for 2 reasons. It is about an author living on the Isle of Skye, which we visited on our honeymoon and I have since fantasized about having a writer’s retreat there. And it is partially set during WWI, which is a time of particular interest to me at the moment. The narrative unfolds through a series of letters across 2 World Wars, making the story feel both grand and intimately nostalgic at the same time.
Of course I have a massive to-read list to keep me busy for the rest of the year. Who are some of your favorite authors, and what are some of the best books you’ve read this year? I always love suggestions!
Tagged: Bee Ridgway
, Hannah Moskowitz
, historical fiction
, Invincible Summer
, Jessica Brockmole
, Letters from Skye
, Melina Marchetta
, Quintana of Charyn
, Renaissance Faire
, River of No Return
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Y’all remember Quinn from the Bucket List giveaway right? She wants to see two of the seven wonders of the world. Isn’t that cool? And so are her books! Call Me Crazy just released, enjoy the teaser & be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post! Beat the heat this weekend and curl up with Call Me Crazy
“I’m looking out from inside the chaos. It must be a one-way mirror because no one seems to be able to see back inside to where I am. The looks on their faces, the judgment in their eyes, tells me everything I need to know. The most frustrating part about the whole messed up situation is that even though I’m the one that they stare at in shock, I am just as shocked as they are. I know no more than they do of why I lose control. What they don’t know is that I am more scared of myself than they could ever be.” ~ Tally Baker
After a devastating turn of events, seventeen year old Tally Baker is admitted to Mercy Psychiatric Facility where she is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She has come to a place where she honestly believes that her life is over. Her mind tells her that she will never smile or laugh again, that she will never be normal again. It is in this unlikely place that she meets two people, different in every way, yet both critical to helping her realize that she has so much more living to do.
Candy, a cantankerous sixty year old Mercy Psychiatric patient, is hell bent on driving everyone as crazy as she is. Candy shows Tally that, regardless of her diagnosis, the ability to push on and live her life to the fullest is her choice and hers alone. In the midst of Tally’s oftentimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching, escapades with Candy, a new patient is admitted to Mercy—a Native American woman named Lolotea. Along with this new patient comes a daily visitor, her son, Trey Swift. At first glance, it is obvious to Tally that he is incredibly handsome and unbelievably caring. But what she learns through her second glance, and many thereafter, is that there is much more to Trey than he ever lets on. It is during these daily visits that Trey and Tally build a friendship far deeper than either of them truly realize. With Trey, Tally feels for the first time since being admitted that someone is looking at her as a person and not as a disease. Trey begins to make it clear that he wants more than friendship, but she knows that she can never give him more. How can she, when she won’t even give him the truth? Tally doesn’t tell Trey that she is a patient at Mercy, and she doesn’t ever plan to. Her plans go up in flames when she finds out that Trey is a new student at her school, the school where her brokenness was found out in the floor of the girl’s bathroom in a pool of her own blood.
“Crap Candy,” I growl at my snickering companion as I rub my side and glare at her. “What was that for?”
“A better question would be why were you hunkered down under the table drooling over Kemosabe?”
I frown at her. “That’s tacky don’t you think?”
“I’m sixty years old and crazy; I can do tacky if I want,” she snorts at me.
I can’t really argue with her there. Like pregnant women, old, crazy ladies pretty much get a free pass on crassness and eccentricity.
“So come on,” she pats the chair that I had so quickly vacated, “tell Candy all about it.”
I roll my eyes. “He just took me off guard, that’s all,” I lie smoothly.
Candy isn’t buying it. “He was hot, just admit it. Hot and he got you bothered.”
I cringe. “Candy, you calling a guy young enough to be your grandson hot is just not right.”
“Psht,” she flips her hand at me. “I’m old, not blind or dead. Besides, I didn’t say I wanted to jump his exotic bones.”
I groan as I bang my head against the table. “Where do you learn these terms? I mean it’s not normal for someone your age to blurt out crap like that.”
“Did you just use the term normal in a sentence describing me?” She raises her brow surprisingly at me.
I laugh. “Good point.”
Candy is a great character and looks like Tally will have her hands full trying to keep up!
Now, here’s the giveaway! This giveaway is for everyone! Click here to enter!
Quinn lives in beautiful NW Arkansas with her husband, son, Doberman and cat (who thinks she is a ninja in disguise). She is beyond thankful that she has been blessed to be able to write full time and hopes the readers know how much all of their support means to her. Some of her hobbies include reading, exercising, crochet, and spending time with family and friends. She gives all credit of her success to God because he gave her the creative spirit and vivid imagination it takes to write.