Here is the official blurb from Goodreads: ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sarah Dessen It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live. A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend. In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect. **** I’m always impressed by Sarah Dessen’s novels. Let’s just establish that upfront. She manages to write about romance, family life, and the stresses that come with being a teenage girl. ALONG FOR THE RIDE isn’t my favorite Dessen novel, but I found a lot to love. Auden is an incredibly lonely character – my favorite kind. In her mission to please her mother, Auden has been groomed for academia. Shopping, gossiping, hanging out – these are pursuits for lesser girls who don’t have a bright future in front of them. Auden decides to take a break from this life of constant studying and perfection by heading to her father’s for the summer. Her father […]
Have you ever been reading a mystery and simply tired of trying to figure out who the killer is because the story stretches on and on? Or maybe you’re reading a drama and the ongoing sadness gets old, so you put the book away thinking you’ll come back to it someday. You may have been suffering from reader fatigue. Tension, stretched to the max, without a break. Sadness without a single moment of comic relief. Pain without a moment of release. Any emotion sustained for a long time can wear on a reader. The person may not be able to pinpoint the exact moment that they lost interest in your work; it’s more an overall sense of getting tired. Perhaps they even liked what they were reading…until they didn’t. Too much of a good thing is still too much. That, my friends, is reader fatigue. The most accessible example I can think of comes from a TV show, though the term for TV would be ARC FATIGUE. Same idea. Think of the show LOST. The overarching mystery is why these people have been put on island. It’s the question the characters ask themselves, the mystery that propels the story forward. Until one day when I simply stopped caring. That big mystery? It was still a mystery, but I was tired of waiting for the answer, exhausted by how long it took for the writers to give me the clues. They had me for three seasons, and then I was out of there. As far as I’m concerned, the characters are still lost on that island, floundering for answers. The reason why? Every episode the danger increased. The romantic tension increased. But […]
Hopefully, I am off doing fun things. While I’m off having a grand time, enjoy this random preschool picture of me. Yes, I had strawberry blond hair to my waist… I’m wearing a Strawberry Shortcake dress. I rocked it… My mom did my hair for picture day, but I’m pretty sure I hit the playground right before they took this… And last, a look that screams “MISCHIEF MANAGED.” Nailed. It.
Have you had a MG or YA book debut in the last four years? Please help me out by filling out this short survey. Thanks in advance! Note: the survey is anonymous and the data will be used in a social media presentation. I will also publish an analysis on my site.
To be completely transparent, Jennifer is a fellow Class of 2k12 classmate. I purchased the book. Here is the official blurb from Goodreads: BREAKING BEAUTIFUL by Jennifer Shaw Wolf Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship. When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness. **** Allie is devastated. Her boyfriend is dead, but she managed to make it out of the accident alive. Everyone thinks that she’s taking his death hard – but there’s more to the story here. Trip abused Allie, and she can’t remember the details around his death. And with the town mourning his death, Allie feels isolated. No one can understand what she’s going through because no one knew how he treated her. As the novel unfolds, Allie’s memories begin to return. We get flashbacks that show how her relationship with Trip began and devolved. As she slowly opens herself up to an old friend – and potential new love – Allie slowly realizes that others did know what she went through. Countering this slow growth, the mystery of the novel – what really […]
Bildungsroman is a very long, intimidating German word for a type of book that many of us know and love – the coming-of-age novel. M.G. Scholtz says the Bildungsroman, a novel genre made popular in the Victorian era, “tends to focus primarily on the change in the protagonist (from youth to maturity) who, by the end of the novel, has developed a distinct personality and has become sufficiently mature to cope with life” (qtd. in Noomé 127). Typically, the YA novel focuses on this same kind of growth. Frequently, the protagonist must overcome some type of obstacle in order to develop into adulthood or gain wisdom. Bildungsroman has evolved into a generic term that has been applied to a range of works, and the definition of the genre has continued to evolve over time from its German roots to later English adoption and so on. In “The Bildungsroman Genre: Great Expectations, Aurora Leigh, and Waterland,” Susanne Hader outlines the most common characteristics of the English version: A Bildungsroman is, most generally, the story of a single individual’s growth and development within the context of a defined social order. To spur the hero or heroine on to their journey, some form of loss or discontent must jar them at an early stage away from the home or family setting. The process of maturity is long, arduous, and gradual, consisting of repeated clashes between the protagonist’s needs and desires and the views and judgments enforced by an unbending social order. Eventually, the spirit and values of the social order become manifest in the protagonist, who is […]
Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) was a teacher, lecturer, author, editor, and translator. Why should you care? Because he was a very smart man who analyzed some of the greatest myths and narratives in literature from around the world, and he discovered some amazing commonalities. He used his learnings to outline the stages that a character must go through in order to be the hero of the story – hence, the Hero’s Journey. His work has had a huge impact on storytelling, from novels to movies. You don’t believe me? George Lucas used the Hero’s Journey to map out Star Wars. Christopher Vogler wrote about it and influenced several famous Disney movies like The Lion King. You can read more about the influence of his work here. After studying myths from around the world, Campbell plotted out the similarities that appeared in the narratives of heroes. He calls out 17 distinct stages that a character goes through when they embark on an adventure to become a hero. DEPARTURE The Call to Adventure – The hero is called to leave home in order to embark on an adventure. Refusal of the Call – The hero practices denial and turns his/her nose up at that call. Few people like change, after all. Supernatural Aid – A mentor or protector gives the hero the tools he/she will need for the quest (amulets, a wand, etc.). The Crossing of the First Threshold – The hero finally leaves his/her pad and heads off into the unknown. The Belly of the Whale – Uh oh. There’s no turning back once the hero crosses this line. And then he/she crosses it. INITIATION: The Road of Trials – The hero is […]
First off, I wanted to say thank you. The response to my new Marketing Mondays feature has been phenomenal. If you like what I’m doing, please be sure to like the post, share it, and comment below. If you’re debuting a YA book and planning your launch party, you are probably making an invitation list of friends and family. Unless you are a buzzed about author, you can pretty much forget getting teens out to your party, right? Not necessarily. This suggestion takes a little bit of work, but it can pay off nicely. When I was planning the launch party for IF I LIE, I found myself with a lot of leftover invites because I went WAY overboard. And these were gorgeous invites that I designed and put together. I even used ribbon, people. So it broke my heart to see them go to waste. On a whim, I decided to do some outreach to my local libraries. I live in a big city, and San Francisco has numerous branches – several of them with thriving teen centers. Here’s what I did. Hit the web to gather the addresses of your local library or library branches, especially those with teen centers. This could also work for the library at your local high school(s). If possible, get the names of the youth librarians or a specific person who works with teens. Prepare a one-page press release that includes the information about your book launch, the party info, key review quotes (if you have them), and a short author bio. Write a cover letter to introduce yourself to the youth librarian, explaining what is in the packet. Be sure to ask […]
Here is the official blurb from Goodreads: BRUISED by Sarah Skilton When Imogen, a sixteen-year-old black belt in Tae Kwon Do, freezes during a holdup at a local diner, the gunman is shot and killed by the police, and she blames herself for his death. Before the shooting, she believed that her black belt made her stronger than everyone else — more responsible, more capable. But now her sense of self has been challenged and she must rebuild her life, a process that includes redefining her relationship with her family and navigating first love with the boy who was at the diner with her during the shootout. With action, romance, and a complex heroine, Bruised introduces a vibrant new voice to the young adult world — full of dark humor and hard truths. **** Imogen can take care of herself. In fact, she’s almost arrogant about it. And why shouldn’t she be able to? She’s been studying Tae Kwon Do for years and has a black belt. Then the unthinkable happens. She’s at a restaurant when a shootout happens between the police and a suspect, and someone dies. Imogene is left wondering if she could have done more, and not knowing sends her spinning. The illusion of control is a strong theme in the book. Imogen thinks she can control the things around her and that she knows what to expect of her life. The shootout destroys her world view, especially when she can’t remember everything that happened. Add to that her father’s illness (which she partially blames him for perceiving him as lacking control), and Imogen has a difficult time readjusting to a world where violence seems senseless. Her black […]
I returned from the RT Booklovers Convention on Sunday, and I had a great time. My voice was a little thrashed from all of the talking and laughing I did, and I spent long hours catching up with other writers, many of whom I’d only met online. Here’s a little peek at what went down. Wednesday I roomed with Tamara Ireland Stone and Lenore Appelhans the first night. My roomies had driven from a signing in St. Louis and were crashed out when I arrived, but they only yelled a little when I woke them. Seriously, both of these ladies are awesome. After checking email, I ran down to the Kensington event, SPOOKY SOIREE: LOVING THE THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT. The room was separated into groups of 10-12 people, and authors were placed with each group. We were given a worksheet, chocolate for fuel, and tasked with coming up with our group’s idea of the perfect paranormal hero. I got to lead an imaginative group and loved who we came up with, including the very important detail that our hero have “nice teeth.” Sadly, we lost to another team when it came time for the judging, but I doubt any of us really minded when the judge was a former Mr. Romance. Lucky me, Kensington had made little signs for each of our books, and I happily stole this sign for PUSHED. LOVE. After the event, I was off to my room to edit (yes, I had edits due while at RT) and order room service. Then it was an early night for me since I hadn’t slept a wink […]