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:

2016 Book Resolution Recap

Confession: I kinda forgot that I made reading and writing resolutions for 2016, at least in an official way. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t make some progress! Some recaps from 2016 reading and reading

1. Finish book series I’ve started: I did manage to get through a few series that I’d started, including Dairy Queen, the Wolves of Mercy Falls, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I still have some series hanging out there, but at least I didn’t start a bunch more series that I couldn’t finish.

2. Read a few books for grown-ups: I did read outside of the YA sphere, but they were all non-fiction. I think that counts.

3. Add some non-fiction to the list: Totally nailed this one! I ended up reading way more non-fiction that I’ve read in years.

4. Pick from books already on my shelves: Well, I think I did that once…

Audio Book 5. Read more, tech less: Oddly enough, I think getting into audiobooks actually helped me reading more while tech-ing.

6. Finish my current WIP: I did get through a revision of this WIP, but it needs some more work before it goes out and is currently on a break. (Sorry, characters, I still love you.)

7. Complete a new first draft: I ended up completing a new first draft! It’s still way early in the revision process, but I really like this one.

8. Write when I think I don’t have enough time: I definitely could have been better at this. It’s so easy to think that a half hour isn’t enough time, when you can do way more than you think you can.Happy Dog

9. Start outlining new projects: I’m not an outliner, but I did start a spreadsheet of potential projects with notes about what they might include.

How did your 2016 reading and writing go? What were your successes, surprises, and challenges? And what’s on tap for 2017?

Be on the lookout for my 2017 resolutions, hopefully tomorrow!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! It’s the last Friday of 2016, and I am super glad to kiss this year goodbye. Let’s endeavor to stay strong, stay focused, stay positive, and stay supportive in 2017. In the meantime, let’s close out 2016 with a look at what I’ve been reading in fifteen words or fewer (because it’s winter break and I’m on vacation).

Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti
Caletti’s writing is beautiful, and Mads and Billy are heartbreaking.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
A fun, British-fueled romp toward the apocalypse. I need a miniseries now.

26.2: Marathon Stories by Kathrine Switzer and Roger Robinson
I guess I’m the kind of person who reads sports writing now. Yay running!

Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been saving:

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys–and happy holidays! This evening is going to be all above gift wrapping, dessert baking, and hopefully watching the Muppet Christmas Carol (the best of the Christmas Carol versions, obviously). In the meantime, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading, in fifteen words or fewer:

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Finally finished this series! Now I’d like a Wolves of Mercy Falls miniseries adaptation.

Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham
Interesting look at the connection of the mind and body, and the art of being mindful on the move.

And in case you need some media to get you in the holiday spirit, the latest episode of Crossover Appeal is live for your listening enjoyment.