Join Me at Teen B-Fest at Barnes & Noble in Charlottesville!

Good news: going to Charlottesville, VA, (aka my favorite place) for a visit in a couple weeks.

Even better news: my visit also coincides with Barnes & Noble’s national teen book festival, B-Fest.

Best news: I get to join B-fest for a reading and signing at Barnes & Noble Charlottesville!

The details:

Saturday, June 11, 2pm
Barnes & Noble – Charlottesville, VA
1035 Emmet St Suite A, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

Come hear me talk about writing, the awesomeness of YA lit, and why I dream of Bodo’s. Check out the Facebook event page for more info, and come say hi on Saturday, June 11!

Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been saving:

Happy Book Birthday to THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET!

Being part of a critique group means that you see drafts way before they hit the shelves, which means that you spend a while wishing that you could tell absolutely everyone about this amazing book that they have to read right now.

Fortunately I don’t have to hold back my enthusiasm any more, because The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan, because it is available today! That’s right, you lucky readers you–you can now own your very own copy of one of the most powerful, touching books I’ve ever read. There’s totally a reason why this book has four (yes, four!) starred reviews.

The official Goodreads summary:

For fans of Linda Sue Park and A Long Way Gone, two young boys must escape a life of slavery in modern-day Ivory Coast

Fifteen-year-old Amadou counts the things that matter. For two years what has mattered are the number of cacao pods he and his younger brother, Seydou, can chop down in a day. This number is very important. The higher the number the safer they are because the bosses won’t beat them. The higher the number the closer they are to paying off their debt and returning home to Baba and Auntie. Maybe. The problem is Amadou doesn’t know how much he and Seydou owe, and the bosses won’t tell him. The boys only wanted to make some money during the dry season to help their impoverished family. Instead they were tricked into forced labor on a plantation in the Ivory Coast; they spend day after day living on little food and harvesting beans in the hot sun—dangerous, backbreaking work. With no hope of escape, all they can do is try their best to stay alive—until Khadija comes into their lives.

She’s the first girl who’s ever come to camp, and she’s a wild thing. She fights bravely every day, attempting escape again and again, reminding Amadou what it means to be free. But finally, the bosses break her, and what happens next to the brother he has always tried to protect almost breaks Amadou. The old impulse to run is suddenly awakened. The three band together as family and try just once more to escape.

In the Boston area and want to celebrate this powerful book in person? Come to The Bitter Side of Sweet’s launch party tonight at Porter Square Books!

This is a book that gives voice to the tragic reality too many children face today, and deserves to be on everyone’s reading list. Get your copy of The Bitter Side of Sweet today!

ARCs, Feminism, Thin Mints, and Librarian Friends: a Weekend at ALA Midwinter

collage-2016-01-12 (1)This weekend I got to go to ALA Midwinter–aka where librarians, educators, authors, publishers, bloggers, readers, and general fans of books and media come to learn and engage and share Girl Scout cookies. (Seriously, bringing Girl Scout cookies to a conference is a way to ensure people love you.) I’d never been to an ALA event before, and I only got an exhibit hall pass, but it was such a fantastic weekend. Some highlights:

  • Meeting librarian and writer and blogger friends from the Internet in real life–you get to hug them in real life!–and seeing lovely librarian and writer friends from the Boston area.
  • Seeing adorable baby pictures of aforementioned friends. (Or adorable pictures of their babies or their nieces/nephews.)
  • Having writer friends in from out of town meant an awesome panel at Brookline Booksmith, one of my favorite places to both meet readers and buy books. Awesome questions, thoughtful/hilarious discussion, fantastic audience.
  • Saying hi and the Candlewick booth and snagging an ARC of A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls.
  • Listening to thoughtful discussions at the We Need Diverse Books panel and the Class of 2K16 Debuts panel.
  • Seeing ARCs for friends books and getting excited about all the future readers who will love these books.
  • Sharing Thin Mints with friends old and new.
  • Talking about reading, writing, publishing, teen readers, feminism, graphic novels and more with people who get it.

collage-2016-01-12This is the kind of weekend that reminds me why I love being part of the book community. People are so enthusiastic and smart and talented and kind and thoughtful and funny. They’re pushing the boundaries in all sorts of fields and making a difference for readers everywhere. I cheered along with the webcast of the ALA Youth Media Awards this morning, and was so proud to be part of this larger community.

Thanks to all who helped make this such a fun and inspiring weekend. Here’s to another awesome year of our bookish community!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m extra excited for this Friday, because it’s the start of ALA weekend here in Boston, which means I get to meet some of my favorite librarians and bloggers and writers in person. Book lovers unite!

In case you’re in town for the conference or a YA-loving local, don’t forget to come to tonight’s Real Teen Lives YA panel at Brookline Booksmith (7pm EST)! In the meantime, let’s kick off the weekend with a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer.

Reading: Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine (Bitch Planet #1-5) by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma, Robert Wilson
Started off the year with some feminist sci-fi graphic novel goodness.

Writing: “I wonder if Ms. Simpson is somewhere now, walking with the living and reciting poetry.”
My latest short story (about poetry and the zombie apocalypse) is up at the Hanging Garden.

Real Teen Lives Panel This Friday!

I’m so excited for ALA Midwinter this weekend–so many awesome librarians and writers in town? Aw yeah! And what better way to kick off the weekend than with a great YA panel featuring some wonderful contemp YA authors? The details39e45766-c4c3-41b0-b7e1-4eefd92fcb2d

Real Teen Lives Young Adult Panel
Friday, January 8th, 7pm 
at Brookline Booksmith
YA authors who are keeping it real–Marieke Nijkamp, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Emily Martin, Jen Malone, and I talk about crafting real stories for teen readers. Also book signing and hilarity.

Come say hi and chat with us about writing, books, and being real. Looking forward to an awesome start to a bookish weekend!

Real Teen Lives YA Panel – January 8!

After last winter and 100+ inches of snow in the Boston area, there are only two things that could have me looking forward to January: ALA Midwinter and a panel with delightful fellow YA authors at the wonderful Brookline Booksmith! Details for the event:

Real Teen Lives Young Adult Panel
Friday, January 8th, 7pm 
at Brookline Booksmith
YA authors who are keeping it real. Come see Marieke Nijkamp, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Emily Martin, Jen Malone, and me, as we talk about crafting real stories for teen readers.

Librarians in town for ALA, please join us and share some high fives for contemp goodness!