Saturday, February 25, 2017

0 Lilliam Rivera, author of THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ, on her writing muscle

We're delighted to have Lilliam Rivera here to tell us more about her debut novel THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ.

Lilliam, what was your inspiration for writing THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ?

My inspiration for writing the novel came from my own experience working with my father. It was my first summer job and I ended up working at the hospital he works at. It was the first time I got to see him in an environment, outside of the home. Before that my father was larger than life. My father worked as a nurse aid and there was something really humbling in watching my father serve others.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

My writing ritual is pretty simple. Because I freelance for a living I mostly work from home. I drop my kids off at school, exercise, and then get to writing. I can usually get in two full hours before I lose interest. When I have a full-time gig or I’m on deadline for something, I will write for two hours before going to sleep.

0 Bethany Wiggins, author of THE DRAGON'S PRICE, on how the meanest reviews are her biggest compliments

We're pleased to have Bethany Wiggins stop by to share more about her latest novel THE DRAGON'S PRICE.

Bethany, what was your inspiration for writing THE DRAGON'S PRICE?

So, THE DRAGON’S PRICE is about a girl who chooses death by dragon over an arranged marriage. When people ask how I came up with such a dramatic story idea, I simply tell them I’ve been married for twenty years (Insert maniacal laughter). Also, one night at dinner we were having a typical, quirky dinner discussion--mythical beasts. I have FIVE kids, so our dinner conversation is never, ever dull. Well, my son asked what the worth of a dragon’s scale would be in our world, and his question was an aha! moment for me. Those two things really helped form THE DRAGON’S PRICE.

0 Susin Nielsen, author of OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST, on writing with joy in your heart

We're thrilled to have Susin Nielsen join us to chat about her latest novel OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST.

Susin, what was your inspiration for writing OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST?

I don’t know why I started toying with the ideas of guilt, and shame, and blame. I notice I like to sometimes dig into behavior and situations that I’ve tended to look at in a very black-and-white way, because of course nothing in life is ever black and white, and I think it’s a novelist’s job to explore the grays. Also, I wanted to try my hand at a novel with slightly older characters, and attempt a realistic portrayal of first love. I’ve never forgotten Judy Blume’s “Forever,” which did that really well. It was important for me to depict a positive and consensual first-sex experience too, because I’m not sure it happens very often in YA fiction, yet it’s a part of life for many young people.

0 FREE 1st 5 Pages Workshop opens on Sat 3/4 w Mentors Lit Agent Wendi Gu and Author Catrina Burgess

Our March workshop will open on Saturday, March 4 at noon EST. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Catrina Burgess as our author mentor and Wendi Gu as our agent mentor! (See below for Wendi's background and query preferences!)

The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?
  • You are mentored by at least two traditionally-published published or agented authors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales. 
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants. 
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right! 
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy. 
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works
Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. I will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

March Guest Literary Agent Mentor
Wendi Gu: Wendi Gu is an agent at Greenburger Associates. She was raised by hardworking immigrant parents in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Shortly after graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in Creative Writing and Anthropology, she started working at Greenburger under the mentorship of Brenda Bowen.

Wendi likes puns, quirky humor, girl power, and cute animals in picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She’s also looking for literary middle grade, young adult, or adult fiction on the first-generation American experience. Wendi loves a middle grade with that classic vibe and any book that makes you want to hug someone. Although she leans towards contemporary fiction, Wendi first and foremost appreciates anything character-driven with a strong voice.
March Guest Author Mentor
Catrina Burgess: "I write because it helps keeps the darkness away and reminds me that there is magic in the world. I live with one husband, two dogs, and a cat in a small mining town in Arizona. At night this place is definitely spooky. I swear I’ve heard the wind giggle, and sometimes there’s a very odd breeze. Luckily, I love all things that go bump in the night. I adore old movies. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan."

She is the author of THE DARK RITUAL SERIES, including AWAKENING, POSSESSION, REVENANT, and LEGION.

In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge. Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks-and the only way for her to survive. Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he's reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she'll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death. As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become? Catrina Burgess' Dark Rituals series originally appeared on Wattpad with over three million reads. Awakening is the first book of four and was named Wattpad's Best Suspense Story of 2014.

Where to get a copy:
Add it on Goodreads!


Friday, February 24, 2017

0 Kim Savage, author of BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS, on why books breaking your heart is desirable

We're so happy to have a chance to connect with Kim Savage and talk about her latest book BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS.

Kim, what was your inspiration for writing BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS?

I am obsessed with Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides. I always wanted to know what really happened to the Lisbon girls. I guess creating my own story of overprotected sisters and a Greek chorus of neighborhood boys who are enthralled and terrified by them was my way of exploring my own fascination, and also my grief when they died. Of course that’s where the similarities end.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Love, am most proud of, and most devastated by: it’s all the same scene. In this one chapter, called “Ash,” both sisters’ fates are sealed. A secondary character has died and her wake is being held. Francesca forces a confrontation with disastrous consequences. Moments later, Mira has an unexpected and devastating encounter. In one swoop, everything changes, and the girls are suddenly on the same page.

Francesca says, ominously: “He doesn’t want me while I’m living. But he’ll have me when I’m dead.” That one line works for both Francesca and Mira on so many levels. I wanted it for the title.

0 Thank You to the Mentors and Participants of the 1st 5 Pages Workshop!

Congratulations to all of the participants who worked so hard during our February 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop! Also, a big thanks to our wonderful guest mentors, Kelly Barson as our author mentor and Kristy Hunter as our agent mentor! And as always, thank you to our talented and fabulous permanent mentors, who read, comment, and cheer on our participants every month!

March Workshop
Our March workshop will open on Saturday, March 4 at noon EST. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Catrina Burgess as our author mentor and Wendi Gu as our agent mentor! (See below for Wendi's background and query preferences!)

The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?
  • You are mentored by at least two traditionally-published published or agented authors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales. 
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants. 
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right! 
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy. 
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works
Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. I will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

March Guest Literary Agent Mentor
Wendi Gu: Wendi Gu is an agent at Greenburger Associates. She was raised by hardworking immigrant parents in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Shortly after graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in Creative Writing and Anthropology, she started working at Greenburger under the mentorship of Brenda Bowen.

Wendi likes puns, quirky humor, girl power, and cute animals in picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She’s also looking for literary middle grade, young adult, or adult fiction on the first-generation American experience. Wendi loves a middle grade with that classic vibe and any book that makes you want to hug someone. Although she leans towards contemporary fiction, Wendi first and foremost appreciates anything character-driven with a strong voice.
March Guest Author Mentor
Catrina Burgess: "I write because it helps keeps the darkness away and reminds me that there is magic in the world. I live with one husband, two dogs, and a cat in a small mining town in Arizona. At night this place is definitely spooky. I swear I’ve heard the wind giggle, and sometimes there’s a very odd breeze. Luckily, I love all things that go bump in the night. I adore old movies. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan."

She is the author of THE DARK RITUAL SERIES, including AWAKENING, POSSESSION, REVENANT, and LEGION.

In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge. Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks-and the only way for her to survive. Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he's reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she'll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death. As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become? Catrina Burgess' Dark Rituals series originally appeared on Wattpad with over three million reads. Awakening is the first book of four and was named Wattpad's Best Suspense Story of 2014.

Where to get a copy:
Add it on Goodreads!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

1 Promising Form and Content Pt 3: The How To of Great Openings

Every time we run a round of our Red Light/Green Light writing contest here at AYAP, we take some time to look at the openings paragraphs of published novels and to examine exactly how they go about grabbing a reader's attention. We've talked before about the two keys to creating a fulfilling opening--making promises to your reader regarding the form and content of the book they're about to read:

Some openings are so strong they've become iconic. There are opening lines that most readers know and can quote off the cuff: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," "Call me Ishmael" or "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single gentleman in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

All openings that work, though, have one thing in common: they hint at what's to come. A great opening unfolds like a flower, revealing layers of information relating to both a book's plot (CONTENT) and its prose (FORM). Here are a few examples of recent books that had great openings, with a breakdown of how they make promises about form and content. Hopefully this will be of help to you as you polish up your own first pages in preparation for Red Light/Green Light.






FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP
Sarah Glenn Marsh

They found her body at dusk, washed up in a tide pool with a handful of sea urchins and a slender green starfish. As they lifted the girl, her dark hair wrapped around her neck like seaweed. Fat drops of saltwater rolled off her body and kissed the cold sand. I shivered in sympathy, though, of course, she didn't feel the bitter wind tugging at her gown. Her waxy skin appeared paler than the full moon, which had risen early in the lavender sky. 

Old Mr. Gill pushed the girl's hair back, revealing milky, grayish eyes. I couldn't begin to guess their true color. Cradled in his arms, the girl looked like a nymph, or one of the mermaids my mam loved to paint. 

A neighbor standing beside me shrieked, sending a chill rippling down my back. Other women sniffed. They reminded me of a flock of guillemots, the way they'd perched themselves on the lowest cliff overlooking the rocky shore. They shared handkerchiefs and made little hiccuping sounds. 

Not one of them noticed me lingering where a girl of sixteen shouldn't have been.

Right away, in conjunction with the book's title, we have an idea of what to expect from this novel content-wise. In this book, the sea will be an antagonist. Given that the people of this community live next to the shore, it's likely they're also dependent on the sea for their livelihood, meaning we're in for a beautiful and tortured relationship between the book's characters and the ocean itself.

We get a sense, too, when we dig a little deeper in our search for clues as to the book's content, that our narrator is perhaps an outsider. She observes the actions of  the village women distantly, as if she's slightly removed from them and their experience, and is overlooked by the people of her own community.

As far as form goes, it's easy to see from the outset that FEAR will be a book full of beautiful, spare turns of phrase, drawing inspiration from the coastal setting. The opening paragraphs paint a chilling, evocative picture, and we expect as readers that the rest of the book will be similarly written--that we're in the hands of a talented wordsmith who will make good use of her skills as she brings FEAR's seaside community to life.



WHEN WE COLLIDED
Emery Lord

I knew I was in love with Verona Cove on the first day, but I waited until the seventh day to commit. After one week here, I'm carving my name into a tree in the center of town. It's way harder than you might think, digging a pocketknife into ancient bark. Eleven letters have taken me hours, or it felt like that, anyway. Fortunately, before the sun rises, no one polices Irving Park--or anywhere, really. I'm pretty sure the worst crime Verona Cove has ever seen is someone dropping a napkin. The napkin dropper tried to chase it, I bet, but the wind swept it up, and eventually, somewhere, the napkin became litter. 

And besides, I'd actually enjoy getting caught--clearly, since I implicated myself in jagged lines forever etched into a tree older than any of the 3,051 people in this town: Vivi was here.

It's a little trickier to find promises related to content in the opening lines of WHEN WE COLLIDED, but they're still there. We know this book will be about the narrator, Vivi, and her relationship to Verona Cove and its inhabitants. Perhaps it will be about her commitment to the town--whether she stays or goes. It will almost certainly be about her perceptions of Verona Cove--her description of the town seems idealized, and every town the world over has secrets and fault lines.

As far as the form of the book goes, we can see from these paragraphs we'll be treated to narration from an upbeat, flamboyant main character who sees the world through rose-colored glasses. The pace will likely move along quickly, as the narrator bounces us from one subject to another.

*****

Hopefully this has given you some food for thought as you tweak your own opening pages in preparation for Red Light/Green Light on March 9th. Don't forget, one lucky winner will receive a full request from Alyssa Jennette of Stonesong Literary! If you're looking for more details on what Red Light/Green Light entails, proceed here.

Happy writing! May the words be ever in your favor ;)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

0 Developing a Writing Process: Nic Stone and I Only Eat Raspberries

I was checking out Nic Stone’s website the other day and saw that not only does she have a very succinct explanation of her writing process, but also has a mnemonic device to describe it.

I got an opportunity to talk with Nic about her “I Only Eat Raspberries” writing approach and how she applied it to create her debut novel, DEAR MARTIN (Crown Books, October 2017). See below for a bit about the book, one of 2017’s most highly anticipated debuts. But now, more about “I Only Eat Raspberries.”

I Only Eat Raspberries”:
Inspiration – the idea
Organization – notes, research/interviews (if necessary), outline
Execution – initial draft
Revision – self-explanatory and Nic's least favorite part :)

Kelly deVos: So, starting with “I” for Inspiration, what inspired DEAR MARTIN?
Nic Stone: A combination of three things: the shooting deaths of unarmed teens (specifically Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Mike Brown), the rise of Black Lives Matter, and the negative responses in the media that often cited MLK as someone who would be against the protests. Something about that last part just felt off to me, so I thought to myself How WOULD Dr. King’s teachings hold up here in 2016 in light of everything going on?  

KD: The next step is Organization and I was especially interested in this since your book combines a main narrative – the story of your main character, Justyce McAllister – with the letters he writes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What kind of research was needed and how did you outline/organize these elements while drafting?
NS: Most of my research involved combing through Dr. King’s teachings/sermons/speeches/essays/books and really examining not only the events of the Civil Rights Movement, but how society at large responded. It often wasn’t pretty (just like today). I also spent some time talking to young black men about their experiences and how they deal with things like racial profiling. Originally, the book was nonlinear, so the outline was very complex, but in the final version, the letters happen in response to things that take place within the narrative, so the organization was fairly straightforward. Event —> Response; Next event —> Next response and so on.  

KD: Next up, is Execution, which is fairly self-explanatory. But how long did your drafting process take? What did you find most challenging while writing?
NS: HA! So fun story: DEAR MARTIN sold on proposal. And then I had eight weeks to write a draft. I think I did the initial draft in 6 weeks. The hardest thing was that because of the time crunch, I had to do the research and drafting simultaneously. Which was very awkward and uncomfortable because it meant I spent a good chunk of the execution phase crying (it was all a little intense).  

KD: Finally, there’s Revision, which is a step many writers truly dread. Any tips or tricks to help manage revisions or make them less painful? How much did your final version change from your first draft?
NS: Whew. I really don’t like revisions. If anyone has any tips for ME, please let me know, lol! I tend to just grit my teeth and plow through them. I do print a paper copy and edit with a pencil. That helps me stay focused and makes it easier for some reason.

With DEAR MARTIN, the final book is night and day from the initial draft. Draft two (the one that went in to the editor after agent notes) was 79,000 words, eight points of view, and nonlinear. The final is 40,000 words, one point of view, and linear. But oddly enough: it’s the same book. Just boiled way down (and infinitely better, believe me).

KD: Last question. You sold DEAR MARTIN in a 2-book deal. Is your next project a related story or something completely different?
NS: So different, I’m terrified, lol.  

KD: BONUS Question> You’re one of the few debut writers I know who sold your debut book on proposal. Did that increase the pressure on you during writing? Or make you more confident since you’d already sold the book?

NS: Listen: selling on proposal is a real crap shoot. Because this is the thing: if your editor doesn’t like your initial execution (i.e. mine was like “This isn’t what I bought. I can’t publish this.”) you’ll have to rewrite it. Truthfully, during the writing, the only pressure I felt was getting it in on time. But I will say from the experience: I probably won’t sell on proposal again. I want my editor to have a FULL scope of what she’s getting before she buys something from me. Yes, cutting 39,000 words/140 pages was great with regard to making me a better writer, but if I can avoid that kind of gutting again, ya know: I will. 


About DEAR MARTIN
Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In that media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


About Nic Stone
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.

Stone lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons.
Website | Twitter | Instagram

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2 How to Use IBM's WATSON Artificial Intelligence to Improve Your Writing -- FOR FREE

It's no secret in the tech world that IBM's artificial intelligence program is poised to do amazing things in terms of predicting and improving the likeabilty, accuracy, efficacy, and even tone of communications. ANY communications. H&R Block is even advertising this year that they are using it as part of their tax preparation process.

So, it occurred to me, can we--as writers--use Watson in some way to improve our own writing?

Yes, I think we can. Tone is a huge part of writing, especially in particular genres. We need our opening chapters to draw people in, to give them that sense of familiarity and comfort that tells them they are IN the genre they are expecting. That doesn't mean that the tone or likeability of the text in a work of horror will be the same as that in a romance, obviously. But I wondered if it might mean that there would be some commonalities in scores between best-sellers within a genre.

And there is. I also found that books that didn't do as well often didn't share those commonalities.

IBM has a free sample "tone" analyzer online. You can use it here:

https://tone-analyzer-demo.mybluemix.net

You can paste in a chapter of your work, or someone else's work, and get immediate feedback on everything from the emotions displayed. I used a sample from the first two chapters of Stephanie Garber's AMAZING gothic fantasy Caraval that just hit the New York Times bestseller list to generate some screenshots.




This is the overall document level result for that sample first two chapters, which analyze the text both at the document and the sentence level.


As you can see from the above, the results are broken down by emotion, language style, and social tendencies. Each of those results is also provided in a more precise breakdown showing, sentence by sentence, what contributes to a score. If you want to see where you exhibit what will (most likely) be interpreted as joy in your pages, you simply click on that emotion and each sentence that tends toward joy will be highlighted in the text.




An explanation of each result is also provided so that you understand the function of each result.





It also analyzes the style of language and shows the specific instances that display the tone being analyzed:




Similarly, social tendencies like openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional range--all of which contribute to likeability, can be analyzed on a granular level.



Using this tool, you can make sure that your writing says exactly what you want it to say, and you can tweak it online until you are confident.

About the Author

Martina Boone is the author of Compulsion,  Persuasion, and Illusion in the romantic Southern Gothic Heirs of Watson Island trilogy from Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse, and the new upcoming romance for adult readers, Lake of Destinya magical exploration of destiny, family, healing, and the often twisted path to love set in the Highlands of Scotland (and featuring delicious men in kilts.)

She is also the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a three-time Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers Site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site dedicated to encouraging literacy and reader engagement through a celebration of series literature. She's on the Board of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and runs the CompulsionForReading.com program to distribute books to underfunded schools and libraries.

Monday, February 20, 2017

7 New Releases 2/20-2/26 plus 3 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week we have three giveaways; BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS, OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST and THE DRAGON'S PRICE. Don't forget to check out all the new releases below and enter to win.

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, Anisaa, and Kristin


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


Beautiful Broken Girls
by Kim Savage
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 2/21/2017

Mira and Francesca Cillo—beautiful, overprotected, odd—seemed untouchable. But Ben touched seven parts of Mira: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. After the sisters drown themselves in the quarry lake, a post-mortem letter from Mira sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the seven places where they touched. Note by note, Ben discovers the mystical secret at the heart of Mira and Francesca's world, and that some things are better left untouched.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Beautiful Broken Girls?

The love scenes between Ben and Mira. Bad blood between their families and an overprotective father force Ben and Mira to meet in secret, and each chapter is named for the moments he touches her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. Theirs comes close to a pure love. Both terribly wounded, they are the only ones who can reach each other.

Not gonna lie: I cried while writing them.


Purchase Beautiful Broken Girls at Amazon
Purchase Beautiful Broken Girls at IndieBound
View Beautiful Broken Girls on Goodreads

* * * *


Optimists Die First
by Susin Nielsen
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Wendy Lamb Books
Released 2/21/2017

Award-winning author Susin Nielsen has written a laugh-out-loud and heartrending novel for fans of Robyn Schneider’s Extraordinary Means and Cammie McGovern’s Say What You Will.

Beware: Life ahead.

Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group could derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk. . .

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Optimists Die First?

Well, from an author perspective I guess I’m glad I feel it holds together as a novel, if that makes sense. But just from a fun and joy perspective, it would definitely be the cats … and the unique ways in which they are utilized in the story. ☺ I’ve been a big fan of cat videos since Keyboard Cat Moon, which must be one of the first!

Purchase Optimists Die First at Amazon
Purchase Optimists Die First at IndieBound
View Optimists Die First on Goodreads

* * * *


The Dragon's Price
by Bethany Wiggins
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Crown Books for Young Readers
Released 2/21/2017

Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Talon and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn will devour this action-packed fantasy adventure about a girl who chooses to surrender herself to a deadly dragon rather than marry an enemy prince.

When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon.

Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.

As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan. . . .

If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries. If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding?

There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Dragon's Price?

Oh, that is way too easy to answer. My favorite thing about THE DRAGON’S PRICE is the barbarian prince, Golmarr. He is brave and strong and funny and fierce and really good at everything, and even with all of those manly traits, he never tells Sorrowlynn, the main character, what to do. Plus, he’s hot. Out of every book I’ve ever written, if I could bring a character to life, it would be him . . . except that might make my husband a little upset!

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YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Dare You by Jennifer Brown: Courtney W.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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The Education of Margot Sanchez
by Lilliam Rivera
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 2/21/2017

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.


THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Education of Margot Sanchez?

Summers in New York are very magical and intense. Everyone is outside. There’s live music playing everywhere. For THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ, I really wanted to capture that. My favorite thing about the novel would be moments where Margot Sanchez discovers the beauty of the South Bronx. There is a scene where she sits on a park bench watching kids order iced coconut treats from the coquito lady. There is another where she is up on the roof watching fireworks. It is those scenes that really capture summers in New York. I hope I was able to convey that bit of magic.

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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined
by Danielle Younge-Ullman
Hardcover
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 2/21/2017

Like Wild for teens! In the tradition of Sara Zarr and A. S. King, a girl must survive an extreme wilderness experience to prove to her mother that she has the strength to pursue her dreams.

When she was a little girl, Ingrid’s entire world was her mother: Margot-Sophia, the brilliant and sophisticated opera star. So when Margot-Sophia loses her singing voice, Ingrid loses everything. The two of them move to a small, normal house in a small, normal town, where Ingrid tries to convince her mother that there must still be something worth living for.

It’s in this small, normal life that Ingrid discovers her own passion for the theater arts. But Margot-Sophia refuses to support her daughter’s dreams. They strike a deal: if Ingrid makes it through a summer of an extreme wilderness experience, then she can have her chance to pursue life as a performer.

Over the course of this summer, Ingrid is stripped of every dignity and freedom. But she also finally comes to terms with her inner demons—and finally confronts the secret tragedy that defines her.

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How Not to Disappear
by Clare Furniss
Hardcover
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 2/21/2017

Our memories are what make us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them we are nobody.

Hattie's summer isn't going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to 'find himself" and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum's wedding. Oh, and she's also just discovered that she's pregnant with Reuben's baby.

Then Gloria, Hattie's great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria's fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery — Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future.

Non Pratt's Trouble meets Thelma and Louise with a touch of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Clare Furniss' remarkable How Not To Disappear is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that will make you laugh and break your heart.

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Long May She Reign
by Rhiannon Thomas
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 2/21/2017

The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty-third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

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Ronit & Jamil
by Pamela L. Laskin
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 2/21/2017

This beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the barrier fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together.

And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred. Ronit and Jamil fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered.

But a love this big can be kept secret for only so long.

Soon, the teenage lovers must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.

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