In which I talk about how much I love The Chance You Won’t Return‘s cover and show you how it’s a book with pages and everything.
Don’t forget to sign up for the ARC giveaway!
Some link-y goodness:
I’ve been waiting all weekend to share today’s post with you all. Starting today, the Fourteenery is hosting a cover reveal/ARC giveaway for two 2014 YA debut novels, including The Chance You Won’t Return! For a sneak peak:
When I saw the cover for the first time, I literally jumped away from my desk I was so excited. I’m big into colors connecting with emotions, and the team at Candlewick has totally captured the vibe of the novel with this cover. I seriously cannot wait to see it out in the world.
And if that’s not cool enough, the Fourteenery is also giving away the amazing Far From You by Tess Sharpe. Tess’s writing is stunning, and I’m pretty sure this is going to be the big YA thriller of 2014.
Head on over to the Fourteenery blog for more info on the books and how to win. Winners will be announced at the end of the week, so get reblogging!
Happy Friday, guys! Since Thanksgiving I’ve felt like I’ve been in a bit of a time warp (“Wait, is it Tuesday? Saturday? Wednesday?”) Fortunately, it is in fact Friday and time for book reviews in fifteen words or under.
2. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
Reading Dorothy Parker makes me feel like one of the cool girls with short hair.
3. The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin
Spoiler alert: it’s diabetes.
4. For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
YA dystopian adaptation of Persuasion. Aw yeah. (The letter made me just as emotional here.)
5. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
As a child who enjoyed retribution and hats, I would have been all over this.
A few good links to get you through the day:
Happy post-Thanksgiving Friday, everyone! Let’s wrap up November with a few book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.
1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Awesomely crafted, compelling characters and epic world-building. My new favorite fantasy series.
2. Homesick by Jean Fritz
School read aloud. I mix this up with The Inn of the Sixth Happiness movie.
3. Out of Time by Caroline B. Cooney
Sometimes you have to rescue to your time-travel boyfriend from a Victorian asylum.
4. The Stinky Cheese Man: And Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
The book we passed around fourth grade.
5. Molly’s Surprise: A Christmas Story (American Girls: Molly #3) by Valerie Tripp
Molly and Jill bring Christmas to their family. My favorite of the Mollys.
As a fellow contemporary YA writer, I was so excited to read Julie Murphy‘s Side Effects May Vary. Guys, the buzz around this book is so warranted. A few years ago, contemporary was hard sell, and I think Side Effects May Vary is a novel that will continue to prove that contemporary YA is one of the most engaging and powerful genres out there. But if you need more specifics, here are my ten reasons why you should read Side Effects May Vary.
Alice is a wonderfully complex protagonist. She’s the kind of girl you want in your corner–bold, smart, dynamic–but she also makes some serious mistakes. I love that Alice is as fierce as she is vulnerable.
Can I just give Harvey a big hug? He’s a heartbreaking character–loyal, loving, and totally defenseless against Alice and her issues. Julie’s crafted a character who is pretty swoonworthy (because come on, we all want a little swooniness) and yet so real. Also, I loved seeing Harvey struggle with his own issues–he’s not defined by his relationship to Alice.
3. The List
As someone who has a grudge list, I love the concept of Alice using the last months of her life to get back at her enemies. And while the revenge is satisfying, it doesn’t get Alice everything she wants. But Julie also lets Alice use the list for good and joyful things. As a result, all the list-based activities feel epic and also personal.
4. Now and Then
One aspect of Side Effects May Vary that set it apart from other YA novels about death/illness is that Alice has to deal with surviving. I loved how Julie used the past/present structure to not only look at how these characters engage with each other, but also to reflect on what it means to live and love and fear loss and really put yourself out there.
5. Family Affair
I like seeing characters’ worlds completely fleshed out, including family life. Julie’s accomplished that here, making both Alice’s parents and Harvey’s mom feel like real people who take an active interest in their children’s lives. Also, bonus points for a secret Alice finds out early about her mom; Julie handles the issue with just as much care as she does any of Alice or Harvey’s secrets.
6. You’ve Got to Have Friends
Similarly, I love the social dynamics at work in Side Effects May Vary. Minor characters Debora and Dennis feel fleshed-out. (I was especially into Debora’s character development; I didn’t expect her to become such a presence.) Even Alice’s major enemy Celeste and her cohort Mindi feel like real people, not stock villains.
One of my book/movie pet peeves is that people who are supposed to be deathly ill never actually look/act sick. (I’m looking at you, Satine.) But in the Then sections, Alice’s illness increasingly affects her physically and makes things like vengeance more difficult. It’s not a romanticized version of cancer; the reader can’t forget that being that sick is truly heinous.
8. Dancing Queen
I never got to take dance classes as a kid (I know, tiny violin) so I’ve always been interested in dancer stories. I love that Alice, who’s so fierce, is a ballerina. Even for someone who doesn’t know what it’s like to get caught up in precise, elegant movements and music, the dance scenes come alive.
9. Kickass Writing
Julie’s writing is stellar. The prose is so clean and clear, and then she has these lines that just killed me with feels. (One description in particular of a kiss is the best ever. No, not going to post it here because it works too well in the moment for me to spoil it.)
10. Julie Murphy, Your New Best Friend
Julie Murphy is one of the coolest people around. She’s fierce and funny and makes you feel like you’re immediately best friends. (On one Fourteenery email thread, I had to leave my desk because Julie made me laugh too hard.) When she’s not writing, she works at an academic library; that’s right, writer/librarian combo of awesome. She also knows the best places to buy cute dresses.
Side Effects May Vary is coming out on March 18th, which means you can preorder now. Trust me, guys, you’re going to want this in your hands immediately. All the feels!
Let’s get the week started with lots of good links:
Happy Friday, everyone! It’s going to be a busy weekend for me, so let’s get things started with a few book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.
2. Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Not sure the Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders would have caved that quickly.
3. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
The series should have ended here; stakes felt highest. (Haha, stakes.)
4. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight trans. by Simon Armitage
Read this and kept thinking “‘It’s just a flesh wound!”
5. Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman
Mini-sequel to His Dark Materials doesn’t quite hold its own, but loved seeing Lyra again.
Sometimes I hear writers talk about blogging (and social media in general) like it’s a big chore, and how overwhelming it is, and how it’s a giant time suck. I feel really fortunate in that I genuinely enjoy blogging. I look at it as a fun and easy way to share cool things I find online with lots of people who may find them cool, too. And apparently I’ve come across a lot of cool things to share, because this is my 1000th post. Thank you to all my followers and readers for helping me get to this point. I know at least some of you aren’t spam-bots, and I’ve really appreciated your likes and comments. You guys are the best!
To celebrate reaching 1000 posts, I’m launching my brand-new author Facebook page. Because one good social media turn deserves another! Follow along for more fun links, photos, live Q&As, and (hopefully) hilarity. Right now I have up a few new author photos–that’s right, I am a human being and not just one profile picture!
Thanks again to my wonderful readers and followers. You keep me going, and I’m psyched to share another 1000 posts with you.