Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s meltingly hot in the Boston area, and all I really want to do is spend a week by a large body of water with a big stack of books. In the meantime, I’ll have to accept a giant iced tea and a little reading and writing at home. Here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer.

Reading: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Even though it’s not set in summer, definitely one of my new favorite Dessen novels.

Writing: “Boo,” I say. “Too much Shakespeare, not enough smashing of pumpkins.”
High brow, low brow.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books Set Outside The US

I love reading all the Top Ten Tuesday posts, a weekly blog link-up feature hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week, the prompt is ten books set outside the United States and, considering international vacations aren’t happening for me this summer, I’m happy to do a little bookish travel and share a few of my favorite internationally-set YA favorites. Although I could add a dozen other awesome international books, these are all novels I feel really capture a particular sense of place. In no particular order:

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
A surreal and terrifying story of trust, self, and survival in Antarctica.

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
This powerful story of strength, family, and destiny centered around an arranged married wrecked me in the best way.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
It’s unfair how good Australian YA writers are, and Marchetta is the best of the best, and this book is her best.

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan
An arresting and touching look at child slavery in the chocolate industry, as narrated by a boy trying to protect the people he loves.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Nothing gets my Oxford-loving heart beating quite like Lyra’s thrilling adventures in this beautifully crafted story.

Sekret by Lindsay Smith
Spies, psychics, and secrets in Communist Russia–tell me you don’t want to see the movie version of this.

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper
A charming and surprising story of a tiny European island and its royal family on the edge of WWII.

Caminar by Skila Brown
Told in verse, this stunning story of love and survival in Guatemala’s civil war in 1981.

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Bright and charming and surprisingly touching, this Italian vacation has everything from love to grief to lots of gelato.

Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
Powerful story of history, family, and sacrifice set in Ireland during the Troubles.

Happy Birthday, E.B White!

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This is one of my all time favorite quotes, and it feels like a pretty appropriate one to share on E.B. White’s birthday. (He would have been 118!) Thanks to a writer who brought us such a thoughtful, compelling story, and possibly the only spider I will ever like.

(Original photo by dixieroadrash)

Quote of the Day

My Heroes - Maya Angelou connected with countless people through her powerful poetry
Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” ― Maya Angelou

I feel like I’ve bene hearing a lot recently about fear and about courage–universe, are you trying to tell me something? I feel like this quote about courage could apply not just to romantic love, but love for yourself or your work, too. Here’s to being courageous, one more time.

(image by Adria Richards)

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, all! I was feeling the good writing vibes this week, and I’m looking forward to a beautiful weekend here in the Boston area. Let’s get things started with a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer.

ReadingRise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
This made me wish I’d been naturally better at science. High five, NASA ladies!

Writing: It always seemed like friendship at first but they always wanted something.
Girl, you gotta stop being so suspicious.

Summer Solstice Reading List

Sunset...

Photo: Sunset by Martin

“Do you ever wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always wait for the longest day of the year and then miss it!”–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Happy Summer Solstice, everyone! In case you’re not up on your astronomy, this is when the northern hemisphere of the earth is most tilted toward the sun, giving us the most daylight of the year. (Summer hemisphere friends, this happens for you in December.) This year the solstice coincides with the Strawberry Moon, aka June’s full moon. Lots of cool stuff going on in the sky today!

 It also marks the beginning of summer, which feels like a great day to share some of my suggestions for summery reading. In ascending order of target age of reader:

  • The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
    Cozy and clever story of sisters on summer vacation.
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
    Life and death and eternity, all on the hottest day of the year.
  • A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
    The most famous of the Austin family novels, about grief and hope and dolphins.
  • Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen
    I never went to summer camp, but I want to sign up for  Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types.
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
    Fun and surprisingly moving story of family, love, and why you need your friends.
  • Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
    Set at a summer program for gifted and talented students, Gloria is in my heart forever.
  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
    Touching story about family and coming of age, paired with beautiful art.
  • 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
    When a summer at home means having to face your old loves and mistakes.
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
    Old money and secrets and tragedy on a private island.
  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
    Magical lights and cakes and wallpaper feature in this summer story of coming home.
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
    The original summer love story.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Wild parties and the most self-destructive summer romance ever.
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
    Set on a day in June, a lyrical story of connection.

What are your favorite summery stories? Share them in the comments!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! This week blew by and I didn’t do as much writing work as I’d have liked, but it is beautiful out in the Boston area and I’m psyched for all this sunshine. Let’s get the weekend started with a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer.

ReadingOther Broken Things by Christa Desir
Continuing my Christa kick; powerful story about recovery.

Writing: “Look at your laundry and look at mine. Any differences?” “Yours doesn’t have blood stains?”
I love a good laundry room scene.