Upcoming Events: Buttonwood Books and the Boston Teen Author Festival!

A couple of new and excellent events to add to the calendar!

On Wednesday, August 13 at 7pm, I’ll be at Buttonwood Books in Cohasset, MA with fellow 2014 debut YA author (and all around delightful person) Skylar Dorset. We’ll be BrOEEmsCAAAGCN2talking about writing, being debut authors, how awesome YA is, and more.

And then on September 27, I’ll be part of the 2014 Boston Teen Author Festival at the Cambridge Public Library. Other authors on this year’s schedule include local favorites like A.C. Gaughen, Sashi Kaufman, Diana Renn, and Erin Dionne; and I might just fangirl myself into a frenzy over fellow Candlewick author M.T. Anderson.

Check out the Appearances and Interviews page for more info, and mark your calendars now!


Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s a beautiful Friday here, and I am so happy to be headed into the weekend. Onto the micro-book-reviews!

1. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
The ending made me think “This was about Cameron and her parents,” which I loved.

2. The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4) by Lemony Snicket
I honestly don’t remember much about this one. Before the VFD plot really got going.

3. Henry V by William Shakespeare
The Henrys bleed together for me. I think I need to see them performed.

4. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry
We read this one all the time when I was little. Classic Scarry goodness!

5. Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Glad to be back with Grace and Sam; looking forward to the third book.

The Secret Life of a YA Writer in a Traditional MFA Program

This month at Ploughshares, I’m sharing a little of my experience at a traditional MFA program and ending up a YA writer.

I know other YA writers who went through traditional MFA programs and weren’t as happy with their experiences, but I appreciated having the time to focus on craft and technique. And I think it helped that my program was a little more flexible than most–I got to take classes outside of my genre, and also crossed over a lot with the publishing program.

Obviously you don’t need to get an MFA to be a writer or learn/practice craft. There are a million different ways to be a writer and you have to find what works for you.

Click through to read the full post, and enjoy the Lost gif.

My Interview with Aisha Saeed at Story and Chai

Today’s post comes via Story and Chai, a fantastic website about diverse narratives created by Jennifer Zobair. I’m talking with fellow YA author and agent-sister Aisha Saeed about The Chance You Won’t Return, mental health, writing from outside your own experience, and more.

Aisha asked lots of thoughtful questions, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to talk about The Chance You Won’t Return and what I hope readers get out of it about Alex and her family’s situation.

Click through to see the full interview, and make sure to check out the rest of Story and Chai!

Ten Reasons Why You Should Read…Hexed by Michelle Krys

I grew up in the era of Buffy and Charmed and stories about paranormal worlds and girls with superpowers, so of course I was excited to read Hexed by Michelle Krys. Needless to say, it’s just as fun and thrilling as I hoped. Here are a few of my reasons you should read Hexed:

1. Banter
Okay, in a book about witches and sorcerers, the banter is at the top of this list? Yeah, that’s right–Michelle’s writing and her character’s voices had me laughing and giving mental high fives the whole way through. Indie’s narration and the dialogue of all the characters gives Hexed such a fun, fresh tone.

2. Magical Factions
Let’s be real–the magical powers side is pretty awesome, too. I love how Michelle sets up the Family vs. the Priory, and how Indie is stuck in the middle of these warring factions because of her family’s Witch Hunter’s Bible. She sets up this world well, and I’m excited to see more of how these sides work and fight–and what they want from Indie.

3. Indie, Unlikely Hero
So often through Hexed I kept thinking of very early Buffy–the Buffy who wanted to be popular and a cheerleader and could the vampires just quit it for one night? But also the Buffy who didn’t put up with crap and was funny and clever and was gonna kick ass. I think readers are going to have a similar connection with Indie, who’s smart and sassy, but maybe not your initial idea of a magical heroine.

4. Paige
Paige was such a delightful addition to the story! She seems like the awkward friend character from TV, but grows into so much more–she’s smart and confident in her own way, and a wonderfully loyal friend to Indie during a totally unstable time. Another example of how Michelle plays with some tropes and makes them into complex, lovable characters.

5. That One Moment That Literally Made Me Jump
No, I’m not going to say what it is. But seriously–jumped in my chair. I had to read the paragraph over again to make sure I got it right because WHAT OH MY LORD HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?

6. Stakes–and No, I Don’t Mean Vampires
Yeah, the stakes are pretty high in Hexed. (Like in that one moment above.) Michelle doesn’t pull any punches in her narrative, which I really appreciate. So often I read and think “Oh, this person won’t really get hurt because we’re only about halfway through the book.” Um, no. The Priory and the Family are out for their own interests and they don’t care who’s caught in the crossfire.

7. Twists and Turns
Outside of that one moment, lots of other great twists and turns throughout. It makes for a really fun, dynamic reading experience, and makes me think Michelle should be the head writer for a TV show.

8. Humor
Fortunately, with all these dramatic twists and turns, there are also a lot of hilarious comments and funny moments. It helps keep the novel fresh and light, even when seriously bad things are happening to the characters.

9. Cliffhangers
So I’m really glad that the sequel comes out next year, because Michelle gives readers some major cliffhangers. I need to know what happens next, Krys!!!

10. Michelle Krys, Magically Delightful
I’ve gotten to know Michelle through the OneFours, and she’s lovely and funny and supportive of her fellow writers. I’m really excited to see Michelle’s career know and see readers get to know her for the wonderful person she si.

Hexed is out now, so pick up your copy today!

Friday Fifteen

Hurray for Friday! And how is it already the last Friday in June? In my mind, it’s still May. Gotta get in these last few June micro-book-reviews while I can.

1. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
I find myself still thinking about Piddy and her nuanced world. Feels timeless.

2. Meet Felicity: An American Girl (American Girls: Felicity #1) by Valerie Tripp
Felicity Merriman, cross-dressing animal rights activist.

3. Brave Navigator by David Valdes Greenwood
The play I asked to keep after my grad school playwriting class ended.

4.The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
I have a soft spot for retold fairy tales and this one is way fun.

5. A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Hilarious and touching and so my heart; my favorite kind of middle grade.