YA Passport at Trident Booksellers with Lauren McLaughlin and Annie Cardi

captureHey there, Boston-area YA fans! This Thursday, I’m going to be at Trident Booksellers & Cafe with fellow YA writer Lauren McLaughlin for a conversation about books, writing, and probably how great the sweet potato fries are at Trident. Lauren’s launching her new book, The Free, and I’m so excited to be part of the festivities.

The details:

YA Passport with Lauren McLaughlin and Annie Cardi
March 2, 2017, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Trident Booksellers & Cafe
338 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115

Come say hi, get some tasty food/a refreshing beverage, snag a book, and take part in a fantastic YA conversation!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! This week has had some ups and downs, but the ups included beautiful sunny weather and seeing Newsies the Broadway musical movie experience with some awesome author friends, so I’m gonna call this week a win. Let’s kick the weekend off with some book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Engaging family drama with strong writing. Lydia and Nath stood out the most for me.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Why did it take me so long to read a Discworld book? Tiffany forever!

Running in Literature: A Guide for Scholars, Readers, Runners, Joggers and Dreamers by Roger Robinson
An interesting look at running in myth, poetry, and stories. Atalanta is my new favorite.

This One’s for the Girls

Parks and Recreation gave us so many great TV moments, and Galentine’s Day (aka February 13, when we celebrate the great women in our lives) is one of the best.

Although I can’t be brunching with my favorite ladies today, it’s a great excuse to share some of my favorite female non-romantic bookish relationships. My criteria: all members of the relationship have to be well-developed characters with their own stories and motivations (ie, no friends who basically be taken out of the story without it affecting the plot to much). In no particular order:

code-name-verityMaddie and Julie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The most powerful story of friendship and sacrifice in YA. Or literature. COME AT ME.

The Penderwicks sisters from The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks girls are smart and thoughtful and supportive. Part of why I love this series is just getting to spend time with all of them.

Hermione and Polly from Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
Even in the truly worst of experiences, Hermione and Polly’s supportive friendship shines through. I don’t have the upper body strength to be part of their cheerleading team, but I would totally hang out with them after practice.

Nikki and Maya from This Side of Home by Renée Watson
Genuine and thoughtful look at two twin sisters who are growing up and growing apart, but always have each other’s backs.

Mary, Scarlett, Tansey, and Emer from A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle
Touching story about a girl, a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother as they deal with life and death.

Elizabeth and Christina from Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
This was one of my favorites as a teen reader. I love how Elizabeth and Christina get to be friends through their schools’ pen pal program. Great story showing how friendships can evolve over time.

Other suggestions for great Galentine’s Day reads? Share them in the comments!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everybody! We’re digging out of a snowstorm here in the Boston area, which means all I want to do this weekend is curl up with a lot of books and baked goods. (Gotta get a run in there, too.) In the meantime, let’s kick things off with a couple of book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
A beautiful story about family and kindness and the power of stories.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Epic and engaging look at the history of cancer. Literally cried at some parts.

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
Whether it’s poetry or books for adults or YA, Woodson more than delivers.

Links Galore

The links I’ve been saving for a snowy day:

Registration Opens Saturday for NESCBWI 17!

I’ve talked before about the annual NESCBWI conference. It’s where I connected with my crit group; where I see lots of writer friends; where I’ve heard inspiring keynotes; where I’ve taken awesome workshops; and where I go every year in April.

This year, I’m especially excited, because I’m teaching two workshops! They are:

J1 – Stories Without Stigma: Writing About Mental Health
Sunday, 10:50 am – 11:45 am
This workshop will focus on crafting nuanced, realistic characters who are struggling with mental health. Topics covered will include the importance of talking about mental health in fiction for young readers; questions to ask when researching a particular mental health issue; creating dynamic characters and avoiding stereotypes; mental health issues vs. neurodiversity and intersectionality in mental health; avoiding romanticizing mental health struggles and providing hope for readers. We will look at examples from work such as Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory (PTSD), Other Broken Things by Christa Desir (addiction), OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu (OCD), Pointe by Brandy Colbert (eating disorder), and Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (depression).

M8 – Write Like a Runner: Training Your Writing for the Long Haul
Sunday 3:05 pm – 4:00 pm

Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole.”—Haruki Murakami. Writing a novel and running a marathon require a lot of time, focus, dedication, and can also feel like pretty intimidating. But with a little planning and a lot of motivation, you can approach the novel writing process with the focus and heart of a marathoner. Learn how to craft a schedule, deal with setbacks, and focus on short-term goals to get yourself to the finish line.

Registration opens this Saturday (February 4) at 2pm. NESCBWI fills up fast, so make sure to be at your computer this weekend. And hey, maybe sign up for my workshops while you’re at it! (I promise I won’t make you run.)