Voice. Heart. Connection. An Evening with 5 Extraordinary Authors of YA Fiction

More event news. On May 14th, I’m going to be on a panel with a few of my favorite local writers at the Barrington Public Library in Barrington, RI. The event is organized by another one of my favorite local writers, with Barrington Books, a wonderful bookstore in my home state. Needless to say, I’m psyched.

Teen-Reads

The details:

Voice. Heart. Connection. An Evening with 5 Extraordinary Authors of YA Fiction
May 14th, 6pm at the Barrington Public Library
184 County Rd
Barrington, RI 02806

Come say hi and listen to me chat with some fantastic YA authors.

The Chance You Won’t Return in PW!

About a week away from publication, and more good news on the review front. The Chance You Won’t Return received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! From the review?

“In Cardi’s candid and multilayered debut, high school junior Alex Winchester already has a full plate when her mother begins to believe she is Amelia Earhart…Alex’s voice is caustic, honest, and studded with humor. Cardi weaves elegant metaphors and incisive dialogue throughout her chapters, concluding with a wrenching sentiment about the necessity of sometimes allowing a lost loved one to find her own way home.”

That deserves a happy puppy gif:

Click through for the full review.

Friday Fifteen

Friday, I am so happy to see you. Onto the book reviews in fifteen words or fewer!

1. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Seuss’s take on environmentalism. Can we classify it as picture book dystopian?

2. The Witchcraft Sourcebook by Brian P. Levack
Another text from my college history of witchcraft class. Lots of cases from across Europe.

3. Changes for Felicity (American Girls: Felicity #6) by Valerie Tripp
If you’re kind to old drunk horse-beaters, they may do you a favor later on.

4. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Usual lesser-known-fairy-tale-adaptation Hale awesomeness. Also dug the epistolary style.

5. The Standard Book of British and American Verse ed. by Nella Braddy, preface Chistopher Morley
A friend gave me a beautiful copy as a wedding present. Bookshelf gold!

In Which I Cuddle My Author Copies

Another step on the road to publication–The Chance You Won’t Return author copies! The real book, just as it’ll look in bookstores and libraries, arrived at my door the other day. Actually a whole box of them. Check them out in the video below!

As always, Candlewick did a beautiful job–the cover and the binding and the layout is awesome. I love my publisher!

Walt suggested that I dump out the box and swim in the books like Scrooge McDuck, but maybe next time.

Links Galore

All the links I’ve been hoarding:

Friday Fifteen

Man, somehow this week got away from me. But it’s the first Friday in April, which means The Chance You Won’t Return is released in a few weeks, and it’s finally starting to feel like spring. Woohoo! Onto the b ook reviews in fifteen words or fewer:

1. Echo by Francesca Lia Block
Connected to some stories more than others, but stayed with me more than I expected.

2. The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3) by Lemony Snicket
The same plot as the first two, but the dark humor makes it worth it.

3. The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
I think reading YA fantasy gave me unrealistic expectations for this one.

4. More by I. C. Springman
Love the spare text, beautiful art. Also, yay magpies!

5. How to Love by Katie Cotugno
First Fourteenery release has a special place in my heart. Plus the book is so amazing.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s the last Friday in March, and frankly, the weather still feels a little more “lion” than “lamb.” Here’s hoping by next Friday, it’ll be real spring. Onto the book reviews!

1.  Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Between his fiction and banjo-playing, Martin seems thoughtful about and good at whatever he tries.

2. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
Sometimes it’s better not to see the happy ending, if that involves babies and werewolves.

3. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Remember the illustrations most, but I bet the poems would be fun to revisit.

4. An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The third generation of time-traveling Murrys. Zachary continues to be the worst.

5. Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg
I was fascinated by this one in kindergarten. Didn’t stop me from squishing ants.

The Chance You Won’t Return Launch Party!

The Chance You Won’t Return‘s release date is less than a month away, which obviously means my mind is turning to thoughts of celebration. Because you need tasty treat and a new outfit for your book birthday, right?

If you’re in the Boston area and want to join me for an evening of reading, happy dances, and tasty treats, come to The Chance You Won’t Return launch party at Porter Square Books!

The details:

The Chance You Won’t Return Launch Party
April 29, 2014
7pm
Porter Square Books
25 White Street
Cambridge, MA 02140

Come for the Q&A, stay for the happy dancing and book signing! There’s an event page for it over at my Facebook page, in case you want to be all official and RSVP.

I’d really appreciate seeing friendly faces, so please come out on April 29!

Ten Reasons Why You Should Read…Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Getting Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae in the mail made me so happy. In the middle of late New England winter, I was so happy just to see its bright cover and promise of Italian summer adventures, gelato, and lots of swoony goodness. The book delivered on all of that and more. Here are a few of my reasons why you need to read Wish You Were Italian.

1. Be Italian
This reason alone should be enough to have you grabbing for this book. Instead of getting stuck in art history class, Pippa takes a chance on exploring Italy, getting to know its people, and seeing amazing, beautiful, and historic places. I loved traveling along with her. Rae balances perfectly between seeing famous sites and getting to know more of Italy as its seen from the people who live there day-to-day.

2. Summer Lovin’
Pippa’s romantic encounters were so charming and thoughtful and swoony. The boys involved are charming in their own individual ways, and you can totally see why Pippa goes for them. (Seriously, Pippa and Darren’s flirting is so freaking cute and so real–I want to hang out with them!) And I love how relatable Pippa is in each of these relationships; so often I thought “That is totally how it is when you’re crushing!” Even with all the swoony goodness, the relationships felt so real and complex and heart-warming and challenging.

3. Friends Forever
I also loved that Pippa had great female friends in her life. Between Morgan, her friend at home who sends Pippa to Italy with the coolest journal (seriously, can I have one?), and Chiara, Pippa’s new Italian friend who provides a great dose of warmth and spunk, friendship in this book is just as important as romance. Kudos to Rae for that.

4. Gram
Pippa is super close with her grandmother, who is a wonderful addition to the story. She understands Pippa and encourages her to take chances. Their relationship worked especially well, as Pippa’s relationship with her parents is strained (more on that below). It felt so real to see generations of one family struggling with how to get along and bonding in their own particular ways.

5. Another Scoop of Gelato, Please
Seriously, read this book with a pint of gelato in the freezer and a gourmet pizza delivery on the way. Kristin, I totally expect a follow-up cookbook. Mangia!

6. Even on Vacation, Bad Things Happen
All of the above goodness isn’t to say that Wish You Were Italian is totally light and fluffy. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that there are some truly heartbreaking moments–which make the book even better. I love that Rae doesn’t shy away from real problems throughout.

7. Mothers and Daughters
Okay, so maybe I’m a sucker for mother-daughter drama. ;) But I was so pleased to see Pippa’s relationship with her mother get developed in surprising and touching ways. Again, I don’t want to give anything away, but I didn’t expect this layer at all when I started reading, and it ended up being such a real, lovely part of the book.

8. Taking Chances…
A lot of Wish You Were Italian has to do with taking risks and putting yourself out there. Morgan’s journal spurs Pippa to try new things, and Pippa herself makes a huge leap when she decides to take hold of her own life for the summer. As someone who’s not a huge risk-taker, this got me (and I’m sure will get other readers) thinking about what risks we take in our daily lives. Which connects with…

9. …Making Connections
Wish You Were Italian shows that sometimes taking changes and small decisions to put ourselves out there ultimately foster surprising new connections and relationships. At one point, Pippa realizes that she’s surrounded by people who care about her because of a small choice she made early on, which I just loved and feels so much like how real life works.

10. Viva Kristin!
Kristin Rae is a super sweet 2014 debut author, OneFour KidLit-er and fellow chocolate addict. She also shared the news that Wish You Were Italian isn’t her only big 2014 debut–her baby girl is due this summer!!! Make sure to follow Kristin for all sorts of wonderful adventures.