Friday, May 31, 2013

16 New YALit Releases 5/31-6/6 plus TEN Giveaways!

The June First Five Pages Workshop with mentor Nancy Kress will open for submissions at noon Eastern time on Saturday, June 1st. Check out the link below to find our more about our fabulous mentor and our submission guidelines:


by Elana Johnson
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 6/4/2013

The fight for independent thought becomes a matter of life or death in this sizzling and intense conclusion to the Possession trilogy.Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts.

But there is a traitor among them, and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for.

Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything--and their failure means death.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Abandon?

My favorite thing about ABANDON is that it's THE END. Seriously. Writing a trilogy is A LOT of work, and A LOT of words, and it's very satisfying to see if come to a conclusion. Also, Jag Barque narrates, and I kinda like him, too. ;)

Purchase Abandon at Amazon
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Rebel Spirits
by Lois Ruby
Advanced Reader Copy Giveaway (2 Copies)
Released 6/1/2013

Infused with history and mystery, this tale of ghosts, love, and murder takes place in present-day Gettysburg, where the Civil War still looms large.

Lori Chase doesn't know what to think about ghosts. She may have seen a few in the past, but those were just childish imaginings...right? Only now that she is living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, spirits seem to be on everyone's mind. The town is obsessed with its bloody Civil War history, and the old inn that Lori's parents run is supposedly haunted by the souls of dead soldiers.

Then Lori meets one such soldier--the devastatingly handsome Nathaniel Pierce. Nathaniel's soul cannot rest, and he desperately needs Lori's help. Because Nathaniel was not killed in the famous battle. He was murdered. Lori begins to investigate the age-old mystery, stumbling upon shocking clues and secrets.

At the same time, she can't help falling for Nathaniel, just as he is falling for her....

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Rebel Spirits?

Lori and Nathaniel are desperately in love, despite the fact that one's very much alive, and the other's been dead for a century and a half. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, or life after death, or reincarnation, anyone with a beating heart has to believe that true love triumphs over all these obstacles. The question is, how?

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Openly Straight
by Bill Konigsberg
Hardcover Giveaway
Arthur A. Levine Books
Released 6/1/2013

A funny, honest novel about being out, being proud . . . and being ready for something else.

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn't even know that love is possible.

This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate being different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Openly Straight?

My favorite thing about Openly Straight is that it feels raw and authentic, and that's a product of me not really knowing what it was I was writing when I started. There's this whole thing in the book where the main character Rafe's English teacher shares a quote for E.L. Doctorow: "Writing is an exploration. You start with nothing and learn as you go." I used it because I wanted Rafe to use writing as a way to explore his feelings in the book (I know, very meta). What I didn't understand as I was writing was that I was doing the same thing. I was unaware just how much I was tired of being labeled gay before any other aspect of my personality. So as Rafe was busy putting away his label, I was experiencing my own version of the same thing. I like the raw emotion that Rafe experiences toward the end of the book, because it feels real to me and I know it has been impacting other people the same way.

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The Pirate''s Wish
by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Paperback Giveaway
Strange Chemistry
Released 6/4/2013

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies -- and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Pirate''s Wish?

I have a couple of favorite moments in the book. One is toward the end, and it's bit of a spoiler --all I'll say is that the two main characters, Ananna and Naji, visit a strange new place. Another favorite part is when Ananna and Naji and the rest of their crew wind up on an island full of manticores, as the manticores' honored guests. It was tremendous fun writing the manticore society, since I imagined them as being fairly elegant creatures, even if they are technically monsters.

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by Adrienne Kress
eBook Giveaway
Diversion Books
Released 6/4/2013

After six years of "angels" coming out of the sky and taking people from her town, 16-year-old Riley Carver has just about had it living with the constant fear. When one decides to terrorize her in her own backyard, it's the final straw. She takes her mother's shotgun and shoots the thing. So it's dead. Or not? In place of the creature she shot, is a guy. A really hot guy. A really hot alive and breathing guy. Oh, and he's totally naked.

Not sure what to do, she drags his unconscious body to the tool shed and ties him up. After all, he's an angel and they have tricks. When he regains consciousness she's all set to interrogate him about why the angels come to her town, and how to get back her best friend (and almost boyfriend) Chris, who was taken the year before. But it turns out the naked guy in her shed is just as confused about everything as she is.

He thinks it's 1956.

Set in the deep south, OUTCAST is a story of love, trust, and coming of age. It's also a story about the supernatural, a girl with a strange sense of humor who's got wicked aim, a greaser from the 50's, and an army of misfits coming together for one purpose: To kick some serious angel ass.

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Tempest Revealed
by Tracy Deebs
Walker Childrens
Released 6/4/2013

**Giveaway of Tempest Rising, book one of the series**

Half-mermaid Tempest Maguire is trying to have it all: fulfilling her duties as second-in-line to the merQueen Hailana while periodically returning home to the California coastline to be with her family and longtime boyfriend, Mark. Living under the sea and rebuilding Coral Straits is grueling work, while being back home reminds her of everyone she loves and misses. But when her old flame Kona arrives bearing news that Hailana has died and Tempest is now officially merQueen, she returns permanently to Coral Straits--even though it devastates her family and rips her apart from Mark. Once there, she discovers that an old enemy has resurfaced, hell-bent on taking over her throne...with or without her. As Tempest prepares for her final showdown against Tiamat and anyone who stands with her, she must decide what--and who--is really important to her. Because there will be few survivors in the ultimate sea battle that is brewing--and Tempest isn't sure she will be one of them.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Tempest Revealed?

My favorite part of Tempest Revealed is the fact that Tempest really comes into her own. In the first two books in the series, we see Tempest try to decide what direction she wants her life to go. Land or sea? Mark or Kona? MerQueen or surfer? In Tempest Revealed, we finally get the answer to all these questions and more. Plus, even more fun for me, is the fact that we finally get to see her powers come full circle and watch as she faces down old enemies, finds true love and finally settles into her own skin and the life she was born to have.

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by Amanda Hocking
Hardcover Giveaway
St. Martin''s Griffin
Released 6/4/2013

With Penn and Lexi determined to kill Gemma and replace her with another siren, Gemma's life is in grave danger...unless she can break the curse before it's too late. With the help of Harper and Daniel, she'll delve deep into her enemies' mythical past--and their darkest secrets. It's her only hope of saving everything she holds dear: her family, her life, and her relationship with Alex--the only guy she's ever loved.

Purchase Tidal at Amazon
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Witch Fire
by Laura Powell
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1 edition
Released 6/4/2013

Lucas and Glory are hard at work in WICA (Witchkind Intelligence and Covert Affairs). As part of their training, they learn more about the witch-terrorist organization Endor. It is believed that Endor has infiltrated a boarding school for young witches in Switzerland, so WICA sends their two youngest agents--Lucas and Glory--to the school undercover. There, they learn more about an experimental brain implant that blocks the power of the fae. It's a dangerous procedure . . . more so than they could ever have imagined.

Purchase Witch Fire at Amazon
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The Wall
by William Sutcliffe
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Walker Childrens; 1 edition
Released 6/4/2013

Joshua lives with his mother and step-father in Amarias, an isolated town, where all the houses are brand new. Amarias is surrounded by a high wall, guarded by soldiers, which can only be crossed through a heavily fortified checkpoint. Joshua has been taught that the Wall is the only thing keeping his people safe from a brutal and unforgiving enemy.

One day, Joshua stumbles across a tunnel that leads underneath the Wall. The chance to catch a glimpse of life on the other side of The Wall is too tempting to resist. He's heard plenty of stories about the other side, but nothing has prepared him for what he finds . . .

Set in a tense reality closely mirroring Israel's West bank, this deeply affecting parable of a boy who undertakes a short journey to another world lingers long after completion.

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Rebel Spirits
by Lois Ruby
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Released 6/1/2013

Winner: Vivien

Infused with history and mystery, this tale of ghosts, love, and murder takes place in present-day Gettysburg, where the Civil War still looms large.

Lori Chase doesn't know what to think about ghosts. She may have seen a few in the past, but those were just childish imaginings...right? Only now that she is living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, spirits seem to be on everyone's mind. The town is obsessed with its bloody Civil War history, and the old inn that Lori's parents run is supposedly haunted by the souls of dead soldiers.

Then Lori meets one such soldier--the devastatingly handsome Nathaniel Pierce. Nathaniel's soul cannot rest, and he desperately needs Lori's help. Because Nathaniel was not killed in the famous battle. He was murdered. Lori begins to investigate the age-old mystery, stumbling upon shocking clues and secrets.

At the same time, she can't help falling for Nathaniel, just as he is falling for her....

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Rebel Spirits?

Lori and Nathaniel are desperately in love, despite the fact that one's very much alive, and the other's been dead for a century and a half. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, or life after death, or reincarnation, anyone with a beating heart has to believe that true love triumphs over all these obstacles. The question is, how?

Purchase Rebel Spirits at Amazon
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View Rebel Spirits on Goodreads

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by Em Garner
Advanced Reader Copy Giveaway (2 Copies)
Released 7/23/2013

Winners: Rain Jeys and bn100

After the Contamination-an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink SlimPro that turned ordinary citizens into violent, uncontrollable creatures-the government rounded up the "Connies" to protect the remaining population. Now, two years later, the rehabilitated are being allowed home, complete with shock collars that will either control, or kill, them.

Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister since her parents were taken in the round up. When she finds her mother in one of the "Kennels," Velvet resolves to do whatever it takes to put her family back together. But the danger isn't over. It's beginning all over again.

Gritty and grabbing, Contaminated is a harrowing, emotionally charged novel for fans of Carrie Ryan and The Walking Dead.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Contaminated?

My favorite thing about Contaminated is thinking up all the ways the world might change when faced with an outbreak of this sort -- everything from something simple like not being able to find pizza rolls in the supermarket to the movie and television industry being ruined because so many actors and actresses were lost to the Contamination. I love imagining the worst (and best!) outcomes to different scenarios, and Contaminated let my brain have free reign to scare myself!

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When You Were Here
by Daisy Whitney
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released 6/4/2013

Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity.

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about When You Were Here?

One of my favorite things about When You Were Here is Danny's relationship with the various girls and women in his life. Danny - the 18-year-old, just graduated narrator - is a guy who's surrounded by females. They include his mom (or rather, the memory of his mom), his ex-girlfriend who he's still in love with, a teen girl he meets in Tokyo, his estranged sister, and of course, his dog, who is also a girl! Danny starts the story in such a place of turbulence, hobbled by all the loss he's faced, but it's through those female characters that he's able to start to heal and find a sense of love, and hope, and happiness again. And, as a total dog person, I particularly like his relationship with his dog! He takes good care of his dog!

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by Elizabeth Richards
Putnam Juvenile
Released 6/4/2013

Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose threatens Natalie's life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose's Law--a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known as the Tenth.

When Ash can't bring himself to trade Natalie's life for those of millions of Darklings, her fate is sealed. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy Natalie once saved from her mother's labs, where he'd been experimented on and tortured. It was his venom the Sentry used to create the lethal Golden Haze, the heart of the government conspiracy that led to Black City's uprising and Ash's rebirth as the Phoenix, the face of the rebellion. Elijah is back and Ash doesn't like him; it's clear he's taken with Natalie, and Ash fears she may have feelings for him as well.

But Elijah also may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good--a powerful weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City undetected to find it. But fleeing the city and finding this weapon (if it even exists) are easier said than done, and the quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.

This enthralling sequel to Black City is just as absorbing, delicious and steamy as the first book, leaving readers hungry for the series conclusion.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Phoenix?

I love the fact the characters get to explore other parts of the United Sentry States; it's not all based in Black City (for a very dramatic reason!). It was so much fun getting to visit these other places, which I'd only alluded to in the first book, and meeting a whole new cast of characters. It's opened up the story and the world a considerable amount, and I hope readers will enjoy it.

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Over You
by Amy Reed
Simon Pulse
Released 6/4/2013

An intense friendship fractures in this gritty, realistic novel from the author of Beautiful, Clean, and Crazy, which School Library Journal called "compelling and moving." Max would follow Sadie anywhere, so when Sadie decides to ditch her problems and escape to Nebraska for the summer, it's only natural for Max to go along. Max is Sadie's confidante, her protector, and her best friend. This summer will be all about them. This summer will be perfect.

And then they meet Dylan. Dylan is dark, dangerous, and intoxicating, and he awakens something in Max that she never knew existed. No matter how much she wants to, she can't back away from him.

But Sadie has her own intensity, and has never allowed Max to become close with anyone else. Max doesn't know who she is without Sadie, but she'd better start learning. Because if she doesn't make a decision--about Dylan, about Sadie, about herself--it's going to be made for her.

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The Impossibility of Tomorrow
by Avery Williams
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 6/4/2013

The immortal Seraphina is forced to face the darkness of her past--and risk losing the love of her life--in this second novel in the Incarnation series.

Seraphina has been living for centuries, thanks to a special method of alchemy, but only recently has she really felt alive. She's finally broken free from her controlling boyfriend, Cyrus, and after years of swapping bodies to preserve her immortality, is happily settled into a life worth sticking with. Because in this life, she has Noah.

But Noah might not be as trustworthy as he seems. After he delivers an ominous message that could only come from Cyrus, Sera is worried that her new friends and family will find out her secret. And as her suspicions extend beyond Noah, Sera is forced to wonder about her new friends as well: Could her old coven be disguising themselves right under her nose?

Will Sera have to move to another body--and take another life--or can she find a way to keep what she's got, forever?

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You Look Different in Real Life
by Jennifer Castle
Released 6/4/2013

A smart, fresh novel about five teens whose ordinary lives are captured on camera for the whole world to see, from a breakout author who "will be well received by Sarah Dessen fans" (ALA Booklist)

The premise was simple: five kids living their real lives, with a new movie about them every five years. But the six-year-olds who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who are hardly friends. And Justine, whose edgy sense of humor made her the surprise star of the first two films, now feels like a disappointment.

Still, they've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how lonely it is to have fans instead of friends. So when the latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to really see yourself is through someone else's eyes.

With the "detailed writing and smart, realistically cool characters" (SLJ) that earned The Beginning of After critical acclaim and comparisons to Sarah Dessen, You Look Different in Real Life is a sharply observed, wholly engrossing book about the surface-level identities you can see on camera and the truths you can only see in real life.

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Rules of Summer
by Joanna Philbin
Released 6/4/2013

THE RULES OF SUMMER is about two 17 year-old girls living in the same beachfront mansion in East Hampton for the summer, one "upstairs" (the daughter of a very blue-blooded family) and one "downstairs" (the niece of the family's housekeeper.) Isabel is the privileged daughter who's used to having guys fall at her feet. Rory is the no-nonsense girl from a small New Jersey town who's always been the friend, never the girlfriend. Besides becoming each other's unlikely allies, both Rory and Isabel have a summer romance that will change their lives.

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Siege and Storm
by Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 6/4/2013

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

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by Philippa Gregory
Simon Pulse
Released 6/4/2013

The second book in a YA quartet filled with intrigue, mystery, and romance, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory.

Italy, 1453. Luca and Isolde grow more and more attracted to each other as they continue their journey to unravel the mysteries throughout Christendom. But their travels are delayed by the uprising of an intense religious crusade that threatens the balance of the civilized world. Death lingers in the air as war ravages on, but this religious conflict is nothing compared to the arrival of an intense and deadly storm.

Caught in the midst of unimaginable chaos, Luca and Isolde must rely on one another in order to survive.

The second in Philippa Gregory's four-book series delves further into a forbidden romance and an epic quest. And the tension builds as secrets about The Order of Darkness are finally revealed...

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Severed Heads, Broken Hearts
by Robyn Schneider
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 6/4/2013

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them--a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra's knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra's ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one's singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider's Severed Heads, Broken Hearts is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

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by Sara Shepherd
Released 6/4/2013

In the thirteenth Pretty Little Liars novel, the secrets are more crushing than ever. . . .

It's springtime in Rosewood, but while everyone else is searching for the perfect prom dress, Hanna, Spencer, Emily, and Aria are on a different kind of hunt: They're looking for A. . . .

Hanna puts her campaign for prom queen on the back burner to volunteer at a burn clinic, where one of A's victims is recovering. Emily digs into Ali's past at the mental hospital with some very crazy consequences. Spencer contacts an amateur private eye to help her stalk her stalker. But when their sessions get a little too private, they may forget to keep their eyes on A. And Aria's worried that A is even closer than she thought. When her dark secret from Iceland comes to light, she discovers that maybe, just maybe, the one person she's been trying to hide the truth from has known all along.

The liars are finally taking the fight to A. But no matter what they do, A's always one step ahead, ready to crush the girls completely.

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The Moon and More
by Sarah Dessen
Viking Juvenile
Released 6/4/2013

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

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by Tara Hudson
Released 6/4/2013

A stalker ghost, misguided Seers, and spellbinding wraiths--Amelia Ashley has faced them all. Now her greatest hope is to spend the rest of her afterlife with her living boyfriend, Joshua. But the demonic forces return to give her an ultimatum: turn herself over to the darkness or watch them murder one living person per week until she does.

Amelia fears she might really be doomed, until the forces of light give her another option. She can join them in their quest to gather souls, with a catch: Once she joins them, she can never see Joshua again.

Faced with impossible choices, Amelia decides to take her afterlife into her own hands--and fight back.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

0 Character Bucket List: Jennifer Banash and Cat from White Lines

In White Lines, when we first meet her, Cat is a broken mess of a person, just trying to make it through each day and survive. Abandoned by her father and abused by her mother, she turns to the bright lights and pulsing music of the club kid scene in 1980's Manhattan to give her a sense of belonging and self worth. Not to mention those seductive white lines that take all the pain away . . . That being said, Cat's bucket list doesn't include trips to exotic locales or dare devil stunts, but is made up of the kind of routine stuff that most of us take for granted every day of our lives. Since Cat is a character who has never felt safe, and who thinks that people are inherently dangerous, her bucket list involves breaking out of her shell once and for all, and stepping into the light:

1. To stay in the present moment without the distraction of drugs or alcohol.

2. To finish high school and maybe, someday, go to college. To be able to see a future for herself, somewhere out in the hazy distance--a future that grows clearer with each passing day.

3. To tell Julian exactly how she feels about him, no matter how scary it is to open her mouth and speak the word that haunts her dreams: love.

4. To somehow, some way, forgive her father for abandoning her, and to find the strength to break all ties with her abusive mother.

5. To laugh more often, to smile on a daily basis, so that when it happens, the feeling won't be strange and unusual, but so routine she will hardly notice it.

About the Author

Jennifer Banash lives and writes in Los Angeles.

You can find her at:

Her website:



About the Book

A gritty, atmospheric coming of age tale set in 1980s New York City.

Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream: she has her own apartment on the Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But when someone comes along who makes her want to truly live, she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control. 

Both poignant and raw, White Lines is a gripping tale and the reader won’t want to look away.

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at IndieBound
View It on Goodreads

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 Announcing the Winner of the May Pitch+250 Contest

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our contest this month! We had some really fabulous entries, and the scoring has been really close in every round.

Now, without further ado, the winner of the Pitch+250 contest and recipient of a 3 chapter critique from Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis is.....

Fighting Chance by Amy Trueblood

Congrats, Amy!! Please send your first 3 chapters to 4kidlit[at]gmail[dot]com with "Winner" in the subject line.

2nd-5th place, winners of a 1 chapter critique from one of our Agent judges

Earth to Earth by Amanda Leigh
The Drink and the Wheel by Fonda Lee
Hum of the Hills by Corrie Haluga
Whiff by Becky Swanburg

Congrats! Please send your first chapter to 4kidlit[at]gmail[dot]com with "Agent critique" in the subject line.

6th-10th place, winners of a 1 chapter critique from one of our Author judges

Accordian Girl by Sharon Edge Martin
Caretta, Caretta by Deborah Rocheleau
No Such Thing by Sarah Glenn Marsh
The Good Demon by Ryan Hill
Rancho Tails by C. Ramirez

Congrats! Please send your first chapter to 4kidlit[at]gmail[dot]com with "Author critique" in the subject line.

Special thanks to our Agent judges for taking time to help us judge in the middle of BEA and Memorial weekend!

Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

Christa Heschke graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children's Literature Department since 2009. Within Children's, Christa is interested in fantasy (urban and high) horror, thrillers/mysteries, steampunk and contemporary fiction, but is open to exploring other genres. Christa is a fan of novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists. Within fantasy, she is looking for something that pushes the boundaries of what's currently on the shelves, perhaps a new take on this popular genre that has yet to be seen. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys humorous contemporary, adventure and magical realism for boys and girls.
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Emily Keyes, L. Perkins Agency

Emily has a growing list of clients and is also the Contracts and Foreign Rights Manager. She’s very passionate about YA and teen novels and is looking to acquire in that area.

Previously, she was a Contracts Administrator at Simon & Schuster, Inc. and a writer for “The World Almanac for Kids.” She is a graduate of the NYU Publishing program and knowledgeable about many areas of publishing, and an expert on all things “Sweet Valley.”

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Emily's Blog

Laura Biagi, Jean V. Naggar Literary

Laura Biagi joined JVNLA in 2009. She is actively building her own client list, seeking adult literary fiction and young readers books. She also handles the sale of Australian and New Zealand rights for the agency. She has worked closely with Jean Naggar and Jennifer Weltz on their titles, as well as Jennifer Weltz on the submission of JVNLA's titles internationally.

Laura's writing background has honed her editorial eye and has driven her enthusiasm for discovering and developing literary talent. She studied creative writing and anthropology at Northwestern University. As a writer, she has participated in workshops at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute. She is the recipient of a Kentucky Emerging Artist Award for fiction writing.

Laura grew up in a small town in Kentucky and maintains a fondness for Southern biscuits and unobstructed views of the stars.
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Alyssa Henkin, Trident Media Group

Alyssa Eisner Henkin is a 1998 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Trident in December of 2006, she spent seven years at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers editing the NY Times bestselling Little Quack, The Mother Daughter Book Club, and The Wedding Planner’s Daughter. Alyssa is currently seeking middle grade and young adult novels, as well as projects with crossover appeal in women’s fiction. She is especially drawn to mysteries in mansions, adventures that suspend disbelief, wish-fulfillment premises that linger with what ifs, epic love stories, and settings tilled with strong regional flavors.
Alyssa is seeking middle grade mysteries in mansions, wish-fulfillment premises that give goose bumps, and epic young adult/crossover love stories filled with strong regional flavors. She is constantly re-evaluating the literary landscapes to avoid areas that may be flooded with more of the same and to hone in on themes poised for growth. Above all, she digs deep when she sees potential, from editing, to title brainstorming, to securing the right publisher, to working intimately on marketing. “When author, book agent, and publisher work together, a book can go from a sleeper hit to a groundbreaking bestseller in a matter of weeks.”

Eric Ruben, The Ruben Agency

A graduate of New York’s Cardozo School of Law and a veteran entertainment professional, Eric has over twenty-five years experience as an attorney, literary agent, talent manager, and professional performer. His unique perspective is valuable to performers, writers, artists, and others. Working in partnership with a diverse clientele, he determines how best to move their careers forward and achieve their personal, professional and artistic goals.

Follow Eric on Twitter

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

1 Creating Authentic Teen Characters by K.M. Walton

Contest Note

Jan and I had planned to post the winners of the May Pitch +250 contest today, but we are still missing scorecards from one of our agent judges. With BEA and the holiday, and the rush/rush/wait nature of publishing itself, this is to be expected sometimes. Delays and deadlines and busy schedules are a fact of life. We hope you'll bear with us as we hope to get everything turned in. One way or the other, we'll post tomorrow. In the meantime, the inimitable K. M. Walton has graciously allowed us to bump up her post. The great news is that you have her advice a day earlier, and it is advice that resonates with me. I hope it will with you as well!

Happy writing,

Martina and Jan

How To Listen To Their Voice and Capture It

“Get inside of your character’s head—think like they do.” No doubt you’ve heard this advice. But how does that work exactly? How can you get inside of a character’s head?

I hate to tell you this, but there are many, many ways to get inside of your characters’ heads. As with most creative things, there isn’t an absolute right or wrong way to develop characters. Some writers fully develop their characters before they write a single word of story. Some begin writing and let the story develop the character, and then go back and revise for character authenticity once the first draft is complete. Some do a combination of both.

I’m part of the third tribe. I do some bullet points on characters and plot – general ideas – overall type stuff. And then I start writing. I’m a pantser through and through. I like to have the story seed and then see where it goes.

Let me give you an example here of how I develop my characters. Take my debut novel, CRACKED. It’s about two sixteen year old boys—one the bully and one the victim. I created a t-chart for the characters. At the top one column said “Bully” and the other column “Victim”. I jotted down general character ideas for each boy. The bully would be poor and angry and have an abusive, alcoholic grandfather. The victim would be very wealthy, and consider himself weak, and have vapid, self-absorbed parents who chose emotional neglect as their form of abuse.

And that’s all I knew.

Then I started writing the story.

In early drafts both boys sounded similar, and both of my critique partners called me on it. I dove back in and decided to really get inside the heads of my boys, who, at this point, had become rather real to me. That’s when I investigated their motivations. What made them the way they were?

Boom! By delving deeper into their human motivations, they became fully formed human beings to me. That’s when their voices demanded to be shaped on the page.

I did a “character revision” where I went through my manuscript, page by page, focusing completely on this one question: Would Victor say that? Would Bull say that? Whenever I answered “no” I revised.

Almost every time I was removing “me” from their thoughts and dialogue.

As the creator, it’s natural for some “you” to weasel itself into your narrative. But hear me: YOU don’t belong in your characters thoughts and dialogue. You need to let them speak, act, think, and react. Constantly ask yourself: would my character speak, think, act, react like this?
If no—and this is crucial—that is when you revise accordingly, letting YOUR CHARACTERS speak, think, act, and react. Not you. That’s when authentic characters are crafted. That’s where the magic lies.

However, I’d like to make a very important distinction here: when I say “you” need to disappear from the story, I don’t mean your writing voice. That will always remain, because your writing voice comes from you, and your life experiences.

Voice is a very elusive thing to articulate. At least it was when I was teaching sixth grade. I used to describe writing voice as “every day of your life, every experience, thought, emotion, shapes you into who you are, as a person…and as a writer. Only you can write like you because of the life you’ve lived.”

But know this: Bits of my life and me always make it into my books. For example, with CRACKED, the inside of Bull’s apartment is based 100% on the layout of my nana’s row home. That’s a bit of me and my life.

Here’s the distinction again: none of my characters are me. They are their own fully developed people. They don’t speak like me, think like me, react like me. Characters need their OWN voice on the page. Their lives—via experiences, thoughts, and emotions—need to shape them as a person. That’s the writer’s job, to create the experiences, thoughts, and emotions so that the reader is let inside of the character’s life.

That’s when the character feels real to a reader.

As the writer and creator, you have to let your characters’ “person” come alive on the page.

It boils down to this: if you can learn how to tell the difference between your voice and your characters’ voices, you are half way there. The other half is doing the revising work to nail your characters’ voices.

About the Author

K. M. Walton is the author of Cracked (Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster 2012), Empty (Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster 2013) and the co-author of Teaching Numeracy: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking (Corwin Press 2011) for mathematics teachers K - 8. She is a graduate of West Chester University, with a degree in elementary education. As a former middle-school language-arts teacher she's passionate about education and ending peer bullying. She gives school presentations on the topic "The Power of Human Kindness." She lives in PA with her husband, two sons, cat, and turtle.

Visit her website
Check out her blog
Follow her on Twitter

About the Book

Dell is relentlessly teased about her weight, and she’s devastated when a tender moment with her long-time crush turns violent. Distraught and isolated after the attack, Dell’s depression—and life—spins out of control.

Finding that food no longer eases her pain, Dell turns to her mother’s prescription pain pills. But what starts as a quick fix rapidly escalates. How far will Dell go to make the loneliness, the self-loathing, the heartbreak, the shame, and the name-calling stop?

Buy Empty on Amazon
Find Empty on Goodreads

Monday, May 27, 2013

1 Openings That Let You in on a Secret by Rachel Shukert

For me, the best openings of books are the ones that feel like they're letting you in on a secret, like you're immediately the part of the world. They don't have to make a big deal about this, it's just understood that you understand, even if you don't. Sort of an inside joke, and you have to spend the rest of the book becoming a person who gets that inside joke, if that makes sense. It's important, I think, not to invite your readers in a sort of formal way, but to immediately establish them as intimates. The relationship between character and reader doesn't have to be an easy, or even a friendly one, but it does have to be intimate. You have to feel like you're in their head. I don't so much need to want to be friends with a character, but I need to feel like I know them. It's a different kind of a relationship. Some of our most intimate relationships are with people we hate.

But that's all kind of an intellectualization of an opening, I guess. In a practical sense, I like to think of achieving this by opening my books in a kind of mid-conversation. We all have those friends and acquaintances who, even if you haven't seen or spoken to them in like, two years, will just immediately start chatting to you just where you left off, as if you know everything that's happened to them in the intervening years. There shouldn't be an orientation session for a novel, you know? Orienting yourself is part of the fun. You've got to push the reader off the deep end a little, and trust that they'll adjust to the temperature of the water on their own.

As for the best writing advice I've ever gotten, I've gone through a lot of it over the years, and all of it is useful at different times, at different periods in your development as a writer. One thing someone said to me once was that you should just think about what you like to read most, and then try to write something like that--I can't tell you how liberating that was for me, at the time, when I found myself perversely trying to write things that I would never want to read at all, because for some reason I thought that's what I should be doing, writing this sort of abstract experimental stuff that I didn't connect with at all. It's good to challenge yourself, but you've got to know when you're indulging a vision of yourself that doesn't match with what you've got inside. There's a kind of variation on that advice, which is that you should write the book you wish existed, but doesn't. That's really good advice too.

And there are the kind of maxims I repeat, mantra-like, to myself, once the story is there and I'm actually writing. Jonathan Franzen said something once about how you should never use the word "then," because that's what "and" is for. I can't tell you how often that one swims in my head when I'm trying to get words on the page. He said another really good thing about writers' block, which is that it's what happens when you just don't know what you're doing yet, and that's really good advice too, because it's so non-judgmental. The reason you're not writing is because you're not ready yet to write, and once you start posing that question to yourself: "do I know enough yet? Am I actually thinking about this in the right way?" it makes so much sense, and you start to give yourself permission to walk away from something for an hour, a day, a week, during which time your subconscious does its work and solves your problems for you, like magic.

But the best, most inspiring advice for me is Seymour Glass's to his brother Buddy in J.D. Salingers' stories about the Glass family, which is that the most a writer can ask is that he write with all his "stars out." It's a beautiful image, and as a writer, I can say that when you're doing it, you really know. You really know the difference. It's a wonderful, exhausting, almost mystical feeling. But you have to be able to write even on the cloudy nights too. Knowing the difference but being able to persevere anyway--that's what makes you a writer.

About the Author

Rachel Shukert is the author the the critically acclaimed memoirs Everything Is Going To Be Great and Have You No Shame? Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including Salon, McSweeney's, Slate, Gawker, the Daily Beast, Heeb, and Nerve, and been featured on National Public RAdio. She has also contributed to a variety of anthologies, including Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists and Best American Erotic Poetry: 1800 to the Present.

Rachel's plays include Bloody Mary (NYIT nominee), Johnny Applef*&ker, Everything's Coming Up Moses, The Sporting Life and The Nosemaker's Apprentice (both with Nick Jones) and The Three Gabor Sisters, and have been produced and developed by Ars Nova, Soho Think Tank, the Williamstown Theater Festival, and the Ontological/Hysteric, as well as extensively throughout the Netherlands. With Julie Klausner, Rachel co-created, co-wrote, and co-starred in Wasp Cove, New York's favorite live prime-time 1980's soap opera. She is currently developing her first feature with Yarn Films in Los Angeles.

Rachel is also a contributing editor at Tablet Magazine, and an alumnus of the Ars Nova Play Group. She received a BFA from Tisch School of the Arts, and now lives in New York City with her husband Ben and her bipolar cat, Anjelica Huston.

Check out Rachel's website

About the Book

Every week they arrive in Los Angeles--beautiful and talented young hopefuls who dream of becoming stars. It's all Margaret Frobisher has ever wanted—and when she's discovered by a powerful agent, she can barely believe her luck. She's more than ready to escape her snobby private school and conservative Pasadena family for a chance to light up the silver screen.

The competition is fierce at Olympus Studios and Margaret—now Margo—is chasing her Hollywood dreams alongside girls like Gabby Preston, who at 16 is already a grizzled show-biz veteran caught between the studio and the ravenous ambition of her ruthless mother, and sultry Amanda Farraday, who seems to have it all--ambition, glamour . . . and dirty secrets. Missing from the pack is Diana Chesterfield, the beautiful actress who mysteriously disappeared, and there are whispers that Diana's boyfriend—Margo's new co-star—may have had something to do with it. Margo quickly learns that fame comes with a price, and that nothing is what it seems.

Set in Old Hollywood, Starstruck follows the lives of three teen girls as they live, love, and claw their way to the top in a world where being a star is all that matters.

Buy Starstruck on Amazon
Find Starstruck on Goodreads

Sunday, May 26, 2013

10 QotW: What is Your Writing Schedule?

Hey everyone! It’s Clara Kensie, back with a new Question of the Week! Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as writing is talking about writing. So each week here at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.

Question of the Week

May 26, 2013

What Is Your Writing Schedule?

What is your writing schedule? Early mornings, late nights, all day every day, in half-hour increments, on the train during your commute to work?

Photo by: Jennuine Captures

My answer: I work in an office two days a week. On the other three weekdays, I’ll whip through my to-do list of errands and chores as fast as I can, then dedicate the rest of the day to writing and writerly activities. I also have two of my author friends over every Thursday night to write. I rarely deviate from this schedule except for an occasional appointment or lunch date. I don’t like to write when my family is home, but I sneak in extra wordage whenever I can.

What about you? Do you have a regular writing schedule? Or do you grab writing time whenever you can?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

6 This Week for Writers 5/25 - Book Giveaways, Pubtips, Writing Tips, Inspiration, Industry News and More

Photo by Steve Corey
I've compiled another huge roundup of good articles, great books, and book giveaways published online and in the blogosphere this week. Scroll down to see the categories. I tried putting shortcuts to them last week, but blogger ate the links, so I'm giving up on that. The list is long because too many people are putting out great information. Which brings me to a question.  

Please Tell Me:

Are you finding these round-ups helpful? With Google Reader going away soon, I am going to have to cobble together alternate ways to compile this weekly list. If we don't have a lot of people who care much either way, I'm wondering if it's worth the hassle. Reading all these blogs definitely cuts down on my ability to leave comments for people, because I'm reading through the reader instead of visiting. What do you think? Are you glad we brought back the THIS WEEK FOR WRITERS posts? Are they worth keeping? And if so, do you have any suggestions or wishes?

Helping Oklahoma:

I spent most of the week enjoying my kids. Hugging them. Smothering them, really, because every time I turned on the TV and saw the devastation in Oklahoma and elsewhere, it reminded me of how easy my life is, and how lucky I am. How much I owe the rest of the world.

Inspiration of the Week:

The heroes and victims from Oklahoma are beyond inspiring. So are all the people who are helping any way they can. If you haven't pitched in yet,  the Red Cross has three easy ways to help. Kate Messner also has a KidLitCares for Oklahoma post. There are others, but that's a good start.

**Note from Jan - I live in Oklahoma, so if you are interested in donating to a local group who is collecting items for the victims, please let me know. I have contact info for some churches that are sending needed items and volunteers to the devastated areas daily.

And on a different but related note, here's another bit of inspiration, a reminder that one person at a time can change the world. Watch it all the way through. It's breathtaking and chill-inducing.

More Inspiration:
Great Book Art:
This photoset of 3D collages from classic books is incredible. Here's a sample.

 The Seven Minute Workout (i.e. Avoiding the Consequences of Butt-in-Chair):
We writers pride ourselves on having our butts in our seats and our fingers on the keyboard. Unfortunately, if I keep going the way I am, I'm going to need a bigger chair. Supposedly, there's science that says this particular Seven Minute Workout is all we need to keep fit. Seven minutes? I'm game.  
Books and Giveaways
Inspiration and Smiles
Writing Craft
Story Elements
Story Structure
Getting Published
Networking and Promotion
Industry News and Trends
   Other Roundups
Share Your Links
What have you read (or written) this week (books, blog posts, articles, thoughts, whatever) that struck a chord with you? Am I missing important posts from a particular site you've found? Share your thoughts and links in the comments!
Happy reading and writing. Have a great weekend!