Mental Health, Hogwarts Houses, The Correct Pronunciation of Gif, and Other Strong Opinions

Obviously I’m a big fan of podcasting, so when the lovely people at Candlewick Press reached out to me about their podcast, Candlewick Press Presents, I was beyond excited. I had a fantastic conversation with the Candlewick team about writing, my time as a Candlewick intern, why I love social media, why I’m jealous of how good Walt is at titles, and more. (This didn’t even include the pre-recording conversation about which Candlewick team members would be in which Hogwarts houses, a topic we all take very seriously.)

You can hear my interview on iTunes and Stitcher, and make sure to check out the previous episodes, as well. They include interviews of amazing writers and illustrators like Aaron Becker, creator of gorgeous wordless picture books like Journey, and Lesléa Newman, author of the classic Heather Has Two Mommies. Can you hear my fangirling?

Thanks to the Candlewick team for including me in such a great project. Can’t wait to hear the rest of Candlewick Press Presents, season 1!

Happy Book Birthday to The Light Fantastic!

Fellow Candlewick author Sarah Combs is one of my favorite writers and people in the world. Her debut, Breakfast Served Anytime, got me teary because it was so beautifully written and so full of love and hope and feels. So obviously I’ve been way excited for her next book, and I am thrilled to say that The Light Fantastic is out today! A little about the book:

Delaware, the morning of April 19. Senior Skip Day, and April Donovan’s eighteenth birthday. Four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the country is still reeling, and April’s rare memory condition has her recounting all the tragedies that have cursed her birth month. And just what was that mysterious gathering under the bleachers about? Meanwhile, in Nebraska, Lincoln Evans struggles to pay attention in Honors English, distracted by the enigmatic presence of Laura Echols, capturer of his heart. His teacher tries to hold her class’s interest, but she can t keep her mind off what Adrian George told her earlier. Over in Idaho, Phoebe is having second thoughts about the Plan mere hours before the start of a cross-country ploy led by an Internet savant known as the Mastermind. Is all her heartache worth the cost of the Assassins machinations? The Light Fantastic is a tense, shocking, and beautifully wrought exploration of the pain and pathos of a generation of teenagers on the brink and the hope of moving from shame and isolation into the light of redemption.

I’m so excited to see how Sarah brings together these viewpoints to craft a sensitive and thoughtful story of grief and anger and pain and hope.

In case that all sounds awesome to you, too, friend and fantastic book blogger Ginger is celebrating The Light Fantastic‘s release with a giveaway! Inspired by one of the book’s associated discussion questions, Sarah and Ginger are sharing their lists of five good things/things that matter. Check out their lists and sign up to win a copy of the book!

Even though I’ve already ordered my copy, I want to share my list of five good, real things. In no particular order:

  • The smell of bread baking, the magic of seeing how such simple ingredients can become something so delicious.
  • When a song comes on the radio and you have to turn it up and sing along and make ridiculous emotive hand gestures.
  • The first sip of coffee.
  • Jokes you have with loved ones that go so far back, you don’t even remember exactly when or how they started.
  • When you’re watching a movie, sneaking a glance at the rest of the audience and seeing them engrossed in the story.

Head over to Ginger’s to share your five, enter her giveaway, and most importantly, get yourself a copy of The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs!

Books, Cake, and a Dress with Planes on It: The Chance You Won’t Return Launch Party

Being a writer can seem like a very solitary job. You spend a lot of time alone with your computer, thinking about imaginary people, and occasionally tweeting about things those imaginary people are doing. But sometimes you get a reminder that being a writer involves so many people, that it’s about connecting and sharing. Sometimes that reminder comes with cake. On Tuesday, I had the launch party for The Chance You Won’t Return at Porter Square Books, and it went so well. Check out some of the photos:

An awesome night like this doesn’t just happen. Some very special thanks to:

  • Porter Square Books for letting us use their fantastic space, for being so gracious and professional, and for being a kick-ass bookstore.
  • My incredible critique group who made t-shirts, got a delicious cake, did all of the pre-party prep, managed the crowd, and made me feel super supported. I’m so lucky to be part of this group.
  • The Candlewick Press team, aka, the best people in the publishing business. It was so cool to see some familiar and enthusiastic Candlewick faces in the crowd!
  • My friends and family who came out on a chilly Tuesday night to listen to me read, ask me great questions about writing, give me big hugs, and let me sign their books. I am overwhelmed by love.
  • The fine people of Modcloth who sold a dress with tiny airplanes on it. May all my future launch parties feature book-themed dresses.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out. I couldn’t have asked for a better launch party!

Books, Giveaways, and Cake: Launch Party for The Chance You Won’t Return

The Chance You Won’t Return is now available at your favorite bookstore, but the launch party is still to come! Come to Porter Square Books on Tuesday, April 29th at 7pm for:

  • book signings…
  • read aloud time…
  • questions and answers about writing, life, Amelia Earhart, never-have-I-ever…
  • hearing me talk about how awesome YA is…
  • cake!
  • giveaways!
Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967 (photographer) Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967 (photographer)
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

But not just any giveaways! Come to the launch party in a TCYWR cover-inspired red hoodie and get a prize. Come to the launch dressed as Amelia Earhart and get a super special prize. Or just come to the launch party and get the chance to win your very own signed copy of The Chance You Won’t Return!

And even if you don’t win anything, there is still delicious cake–so really, everyone is a winner.

The details:

The Chance You Won’t Return launch party
April 29th, 7pm at Porter Square Books
RSVP to the Facebook event page

Hope to see you there!

April 22, 2014: The Chance You Won’t Return in the World

I’ve been saying “April 22, 2014” for a while now. At first in was in the context of, “Oh, my book isn’t coming out for a couple of years, plenty of time to get excited.” Then it was next year, then in about a year, then this year, then this month, then next week, then in a few days.

Now it’s today. My book, The Chance You Won’t Return, is officially in the world today.

It’s a staggering thought that still kind of feels unreal, even though I got to actually see a copy on store shelves over the weekend.

2014-04-19 09.18.36

Please ignore my gross sweatiness.

A lot of people have been asking me if I’m nervous or excited or etc. for publication and honestly, I’m feeling kind of zen about it. Because it’s not really my book anymore. It’s a reader’s book, and I really hope that there’s at least one reader out there who will connect with Alex and her world and struggles and hopes.

I’m so excited to see that today is April 22, and I know that I’ll always look back on today as an amazing day in my life. But it’s not just about seeing my book in print or on shelves or in stores–it’s about passing something I made onto readers who could maybe use this story right now.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped The Chance You Won’t Return on its road to publication, and to any and all future readers it may have.

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.