The Chance You Won’t Return – Bookplates Are In!

One of my favorite things as an author is getting to sign copies of my book. It’s been awesome getting to meet and sign for readers at events, but it’s a little harder to sign copies for readers who don’t live in the general New England area.

Solution: bookplates!

photo 2I now have The Chance You Won’t Return bookplates (ie, stickers that you can put inside your book) that I can sign and send to readers across the country!

If you want a signed bookplate, check out my Contact page and let me know your contact info and if you’d like any personalization. Looking forward to sending these out!

Links Galore

Lots of good links:

December 16th is Jane Austen Day

Happy Jane Austen Day, everyone!

I’m a big Jane Austen fan. I’ve read her novels. In college, I took a class that consisted entirely of Austen and Woolf. I own all the recent Masterpiece adaptations and watch them so regularly that my husband likes to joke about it. I love adaptations like the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I own two Austen-related clothing items (holla Team Laconia) and two Austen-related toys for my desk. I know what JASNA stands for.

It would be easy to think that Austen’s novels are appealing because of the witty writing or the romantic plotlines or the historical interest. But what I find really appealing is the humanity of her stories. Austen’s heroines often deal with harsh realities like poverty or being branded a slut or having to marry outside of their control or being manipulated by cruel family members or realizing their own mistakes and hoping for forgiveness. These are all issues that are so human and so relevant for contemporary readers. This is why I think Austen’s work is so lasting–along with the romance and the wit are very real pains and anxieties and challenges.

This December 16th, I’m excited to celebrate one of my favorite authors. Grab a copy of Persuasion or Northanger Abbey, or settle in for the BBC Pride and Prejudice adaptation, or put on your Laconia t-shirt and share your enthusiasm for Jane!

Got It Covered: Favorite 2014 YA Book Covers

The other day I came across the Best Book Covers of 2014, as listed by New York Times. My reaction:

The covers themselves are fine, but as a collection of the ‘best of,’ they’re all too minimal for my taste, and seem to run toward one idea of aesthetics. So I wondered what covers would be on my ‘best of’ list for 2014. I got into a great conversation on Twitter about what YA covers of 2014 people loved, and thought I’d share a few of my picks here. Some of these I’ve read and loved and some of these I haven’t gotten the chance to read yet, but their covers are so appealing I just had to include them.

  • Bleed Like Me by Chrisa Desir
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker
  • The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
  • Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
  • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Some of these covers, like Bleed Like Me or The Half Life of Molly Pierce or Stitching Snow are striking just upon first look. Others, like Breakfast Served Anytime or We Were Liars or Far From You are gorgeous when you first see them, but become even more meaningful once you’ve finished the book. And some just appeal to me for my own aesthetic preferences, like Isla and the Happily Ever After and Blue Lily, Lily Blue (love those blue-green tones).

And, of course, I have a very special place in my heart for The Chance You Won’t Return‘s cover.

Chance_HJ_comp copyTotally biased, of course, but I think Candlewick did a great job with with one.

In case you need even more great YA covers, check out this list from Buzzfeed–special thanks to Liz Maguire!

I know we’re not supposed to judge books based on their covers, but what are some of your favorite YA covers of 2014?

Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been hoarding:

 

Ten Reasons Why You Should Read…No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

I was so glad to get No Place to Fall in the mail. Obviously I’m a big fan of contemporary realistic YA, and I have a special place in my heart for books about a) small town life, and b) the South. No Place to Fall had that perfect small town, Southern atmosphere that I was hoping for, and so much more. Here are a few of my reasons why you should read No Place to Fall:

1. Amber
The entire time I was reading No Place to Fall, I kept picturing Tyra Collete from Friday Night Lights. If you’re an FNL fan, you already know this means lots of feels. For those who haven’t yet experience FNL (seriously, go to Netflix now), that basically means Amber is a complicated character filled with lots of heart and lots of doubt and lots of strength and lots of sass and lots of pain and lots of awesomeness.

2. Mama and Daddy
A part of No Place to Fall that I didn’t expect based on the general blurb but ended up loving–Amber’s parents and their relationship. They’re facing their own relationship trouble and come across as very real characters. Even though it would be easy to put the blame on one party or another, they come across as real people with real problems, and I love how Amber loves both of her parents, sometimes in spite of herself. Also really want a warm hug from Mama.

3. Whitney and Sammy
Amber’s sister, Whitney, and Whitney’s boyfriend, Sammy, provide another unexpected dose of real life. Sammy’s involved in drugs, which means Whitney is, too, and trouble for Amber’s family. But even Sammy isn’t a mustache-twirling villain. He and Whitney are people who have made some bad choices, but are very real people caught in a cycle of drugs and crime in a small town.

4. Music
Music is a big part of No Place to Fall. I loved getting a sense of Amber finds escape through song, from folk tunes to country to classical to church hymns.

5. Church
Religion is a big part of lots of teens’ lives, but I don’t encounter a lot of it in YA novels. I liked seeing church and religion as a presence in Amber’s life, which felt like another real touch in a small, rural town. It was also nice to see church not as a particular plot point (aside from Amber’s musical connections there), but as part of her life.

6. Romance (and more)
A classic recipe for romance: one guy + one girl + music = romance. No Place to Fall has lots of that, plus some real-life heat for Amber. I like that she lets herself be physical, and that the book never shames her for it, even when she makes some less than wise choices. Again, another detail that made her feel like a real teen.

7. Small towns
No Place to Fall feels like the kind of book that needs to be set in a small town. Amber is very aware of what people think of her, of her family, and how deeply she’s tied to the place she lives–both in bad and good ways. One thing that made No Place to Fall stand apart was that aspect of bad and good. Small town life isn’t just something to run away from here. Amber may have bigger things in front of her, but she can’t deny her home.

8. Friends
Amber’s world is also populated by a circle of friends, including best friend Devon, who’s dealing with being a gay teen in a small town, and the other two Ambers in her high school, one of whom is a popular, pretty cheerleader and actually nice! (So glad not to see mean girl cheerleader stereotypes.) It feels like Amber has a wide circle of people she cares about, which felt like a real teen’s friendships. Not everyone has just one best friend!

9. Southern living
No Place to Fall also feels very routed in the South. Amber lives along the Appalachian Trail, where she meets hikers and feels music in the mountains. She’s a character who’s very much a part of where she lives and, although part of that is about small town life (as mentioned above), I don’t think Amber would be the same girl living in a small town in Vermont or Minnesota.

10. Jaye Robin Brown
Jaye is a fellow OneFour Kidlit author and all-around delightful person. In addition to writing YA novels with a lot of feels, she’s also an art teacher, which means that if you follow her on Twitter or Instagram, you get lots of pictures of cool artwork.

No Place to Fall is available on December 9th, so put it on your pre-order list now!