Monday, February 27, 2017

1 New Releases this week 2/27-3/5 plus 2 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week we have giveaways for AVENGED and THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL as well as many more releases to spotlight. Don't forget to enter to check out all the new releases and enter to win below.

Happy Reading,

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


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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Avenged
by Lynn Carthage
Paperback Giveaway
U.S. Only

Kensington
Released 2/28/2017

Long ago I was a servant girl at the great manor house in the quiet English village of Grenshire. My mistress, Madame Arnaud, proved cruel, and many died at her hands. To stop her, I tried to kill her.

I failed. And I lost everything.

But that was then. Now, Phoebe Irving's family has moved into the Arnaud Manor. Phoebe, her friend Miles, and I crossed paths and discovered a powerful connection. Together we might be strong enough to untangle an ancient prophecy hanging over this troubled place where old, deep magic mingles with greed and revenge. We might save Phoebe's baby sister and other innocents. We might even save ourselves.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Avenged?

Throughout the Arnaud Legacy series, the main characters have wondered what their mission is--what they must accomplish to "graduate" and move on. In Avenged, they receive an answer, and that's my favorite thing about the novel, that the characters finally piece things together and achieve understanding. It's not easy as an author to carry forward a question like this across three books, and it's satisfying to be able to see the characters get a sort of reward for their travails.

The other thing I'd consider a favorite is that we finally get to hear from Eleanor Darrow. Each book in the series is narrated by a different member of the trio, and I have a special fondness for the Victorian maid Eleanor. It was fun to write a little more of her back story and reveal why she is who she is. She may have been merely a maid, but her heritage is one of great power.


Purchase Avenged at Amazon
Purchase Avenged at IndieBound
View Avenged on Goodreads

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The Beast Is an Animal
by Peternelle van Arsdale
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 2/28/2017

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village--twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human. Alys, and all the other children, were spared the devouring—and were sent to live in a neighboring village. There, the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch.

When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Beast Is an Animal?

Its depiction of moral ambiguity. It was important to me that the novel accurately show how hard it is to be simultaneously true to oneself, to protect oneself, to protect others, and to be “good” by any strict, black-and-white definition of the word. One of the greatest struggles I had as an adolescent and young adult—and if I’m honest, even now—was to accept the conflicts and imperfections within myself as part of an embraceable whole.

Purchase The Beast Is an Animal at Amazon
Purchase The Beast Is an Animal at IndieBound
View The Beast Is an Animal on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


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Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage: Amanda D.
Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen: Molly M.
The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins: Alisha S.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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10 Things I Can See From Here
by Carrie Mac
Hardcover
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 2/28/2017

Perfect for fans of Finding Audrey and Everything, Everything, this is the poignant and uplifting story of Maeve, who is dealing with anxiety while falling in love with a girl who is not afraid of anything.

Think positive.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about 10 Things I Can See From Here?

I love Maeve’s family.

In early drafts her family wasn’t as fully realized as it is now. Her mom was less present, and her stepmom wasn’t particularly nice, and her dad was simply a mess. The twins, however, have always been a delight to write. I’d be happy to write an entire middle grade series based on those kids.

As early drafts thickened out and the characters took on more shape, the family started to come to life. With feedback from my teen beta readers, Maeve’s parents and siblings and grandma and Dan (let’s call him chosen family) became more colorful and intricately drawn. Lastly, when my agent and then editor read it and I worked in their feedback, everyone was fully present and accounted for.

I’m so glad that Maeve has exactly the family that she does. It’s far from perfect—which we can all relate to—but it’s full of big love, which shores Maeve up at times when she’s struggling, even if it’s her family that she’s struggling with. Being in a loving family is not the same thing as having no troubles with your family. We all get into it with members of our family at times, but if you know that they love you—truly unconditionally—it makes being honest and vulnerable much easier. Get through the hard times and the prize is being tighter and the love being even bigger still.

Maeve is so lucky when it comes to her family. So many queer kids don’t have that same kind of support. And neither do kids dealing with mental health issues, or hard stuff like addiction in the family. I envy Maeve her family, even while it was so awesome to write it for her.

I gave the family an apartment near my house, between the park and the library. I walk by there almost every day, and one of my best friends lives in the building, so I’m in the complex often, and every single time I think of Maeve and her family and wish I could drop by and see how they’re doing.

It’s okay that I can’t, though, because I know that they are doing just fine.

Better than fine.


Purchase 10 Things I Can See From Here at Amazon
Purchase 10 Things I Can See From Here at IndieBound
View 10 Things I Can See From Here on Goodreads

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Daughter of the Pirate King
by Tricia Levenseller
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 2/28/2017

A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

If you want something done right . . .

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there's only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who's going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell?

Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it's down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Daughter of the Pirate King?

I had so much fun writing the romance in this book. In some ways, I think it’s even more prominent than the plot. Writing romantic banter is my favorite, and DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING is full of it. The dynamics between captor and captive were so fun to write, especially when I had a captive who gets herself kidnapped on purpose and a captor who tries to seem fierce when really he isn’t comfortable with keeping a woman against her will—he’s only following orders. Alosa and Riden are both acting for the other’s benefit. They get under each other’s skin and are impressed when the other outsmarts them. I loved writing this dynamic. I think it really moves the rest of the book along.

Purchase Daughter of the Pirate King at Amazon
Purchase Daughter of the Pirate King at IndieBound
View Daughter of the Pirate King on Goodreads

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Lifeblood
by Gena Showalter
Hardcover
Harlequin Teen
Released 2/28/2017

My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love or victory.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Lifeblood?

At the very beginning of LIFEBLOOD, there’s a passage that reads: “My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is now beginning. My Light will shine… The shadows will scatter…and every life will matter… It’s time to do what I was born to do. It’s time to rise and shine. Whatever I face—be it war, persecution, hunger, simple threats or my Second-death—I will not be deterred. Night will be replaced by day, and those who cry in the dark will rejoice in the morning. The day is about to dawn. Time is short. Let the battle begin.”

For me, that passage set the tone of the entire book. I couldn’t wait to see Ten rise and shine, to grow into the girl—the warrior—I knew she could be. In FIRSTLIFE, she has to make a future-altering decision. In LIFEBLOOD, she faces the consequences of her decision. She suffers great tribulation, but through it, she discovers a strength she never knew she had.

But also my favorite thing—Killian. Dang, I love that boy. He’s sexy and alpha and smart and sexy—did I mention sexy? He’s deliciously cunning, and an absolute horrible enemy to have. On the flip side, he's a great friend to have. When he's devoted, he's devoted. He is Ten’s greatest competition for winning souls...but maybe more? Writing him—and not knowing if he loved her or if he was playing her—was beyond exciting!


Purchase Lifeblood at Amazon
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View Lifeblood on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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A Good Idea
by Cristina Moracho
Hardcover
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 2/28/2017

Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl?

Fin and Betty’s close friendship survived Fin’s ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates.

Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones—and herself—at risk.

But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty’s disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined—and infinitely more devastating?

Purchase A Good Idea at Amazon
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View A Good Idea on Goodreads

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A Lie for a Lie
by Robin Merrow MacCready
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 2/28/2017

A gripping YA mystery about seventeen-year-old Kendra, an amateur photographer who discovers her father is leading a double life.

Kendra Sullivan loves taking pictures. But when a photograph reveals that her father is leading a double life, she sets out to investigate the situation. Before long, Kendra discovers her father's second family, which he has hidden for years.

Kendra's knowledge soon turns into power; she is torn between exposing her father and destroying her family as she's known it, or looking deeper than the truth and suffering of that outcome. This emotionally charged mystery pushes the boundaries between truth and deception, and the consequences one faces when dealing with life-changing information.

Purchase A Lie for a Lie at Amazon
Purchase A Lie for a Lie at IndieBound
View A Lie for a Lie on Goodreads

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Freedom's Slave
by Heather Demetrios
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 2/28/2017

An Empress Fighting for Her Crown.

After three long years in exile, Nalia is ready to return to her homeland and sit on the throne that is rightfully hers. But the gods might have other plans. Forced to endure untold horrors on the journey to Arjinna, Nalia learns that it will take more than cutting down the tyrant Calar to get her crown.

An Army Fighting to Survive.

Raif’s return to Arjinna as the commander of the revolution against Calar and her army isn’t as smooth as he’d hoped. Though he has more soldiers than ever before, his love for Nalia is losing him the trust of his comrades...and the war. But little does the resistance know that insurrection is brewing among Calar’s own ranks—and from the one person she trusts the most.

A Land Worth Fighting for.

Arjinna is dying—Calar’s evil experiments with dark magic and the strength of her own psychic powers threaten to destroy the land of the jinn. Is Nalia and Raif’s enduring love enough to transform and rescue their homeland? Will they be willing to save the realm, no matter the cost?

Purchase Freedom's Slave at Amazon
Purchase Freedom's Slave at IndieBound
View Freedom's Slave on Goodreads

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Frogkisser!
by Garth Nix
Hardcover
Scholastic Press
Released 2/28/2017

The Last Thing She Needs Is a Prince.

The First Thing She Needs Is Some Magic.

Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother's new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.

Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land-and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.

With Frogkisser!, acclaimed bestselling author Garth Nix has conjured a fantastical tale for all ages, full of laughs and danger, surprises and delights, and an immense population of frogs. It's 50% fairy tale, 50% fantasy, and 100% pure enjoyment from start to finish.

Purchase Frogkisser! at Amazon
Purchase Frogkisser! at IndieBound
View Frogkisser! on Goodreads

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Heels, Heartache & Headlines
by Ni-Ni Simone
Paperback
Kensington
Released 2/28/2017

It s a showdown for the spotlight as Hollywood's elite Pampered Princesses scramble to outshine each other for the ultimate crown. But being on top is never what it seems.

Heartbroken and humiliated, teen supermodel London Phillips is done with her pity party and ready to move on. But between the mean-spirited media, a shocking realization about her billionaire ex, and a vengeful obsession, London's discovering that while confessions are good for the soul, deception is so much sweeter.

When it comes to juggling her cuties, Rich Montgomery is the queen. But now she's fallen for a bad boy who comes with more drama than she ever did and her fairytale love affair soon turns into a nightmare. Will she find a way out, or will pride get the best of her?

Spencer Ellington could teach an advanced class in revenge. So when she's shunned by her frenemy, Heather Cummings, "again," backstabbed by her bestie, Rich, and sucked into her parents' sordid antics, she's ready to roll up her designer sleeves and pull out all the stops. After all, frenemies fight. Divas wage war.

Purchase Heels, Heartache & Headlines at Amazon
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View Heels, Heartache & Headlines on Goodreads

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One Blood Ruby
by Melissa Marr
Hardcover
HarperCollins
Released 2/28/2017

Now that Lilywhite Abernathy is the heir to the Hidden Lands, everything is about to change.

The Queen of Blood and Rage wants Lily to help broker peace with the human world, but Lily knows that harmony won’t come easily. After decades of waging war on the humans, who cost the queen her firstborn daughter, the fae are struggling to accept Lily, a half-human monarch. And the humans, while no match against faery affinities, will hardly agree to the queen’s détente without resistance.

Lily wants to be a fair ruler but fears having to abandon the life she’s known to do so. Now that she and Creed are more than just fellow Black Diamonds—operatives for the queen—her priorities have shifted. But her worries about assuming the throne are derailed when it becomes clear that someone—or some fae—is masterminding violent attacks to discourage peace.

In this gripping follow-up to Melissa Marr’s lush Seven Black Diamonds, Lily and her friends are forced to reckon with the truth of their own parentage and to protect one of their own, no matter what—or who—comes between them.

Purchase One Blood Ruby at Amazon
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View One Blood Ruby on Goodreads

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Sad Perfect
by Stephanie Elliot
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 2/28/2017

The story of a teen girl's struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.

Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and thoughts that she doesn’t want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine.

At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that's when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.

Purchase Sad Perfect at Amazon
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View Sad Perfect on Goodreads

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Stranger Than Fanfiction
by Chris Colfer
Hardcover
Little, Brown Books for Young
Released 2/28/2017

Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime--but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he's been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship.

Purchase Stranger Than Fanfiction at Amazon
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View Stranger Than Fanfiction on Goodreads

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The Free
by Lauren McLaughlin
Hardcover
Soho Teen
Released 2/28/2017

In the beginning, Isaac West stole to give his younger sister Janelle little things: a new sweater, a scarf, just so she looked less like a charity case whose mother spent money on booze and more like the prep school girls he’d see on his way to school.

But when Isaac’s petty theft lands him in juvie, he’s cut off from helping Janelle. Friendless in a dangerous world of gangs and violent offenders, he must watch his every step. His sentence requires him to meet regularly for group therapy, where the inmates reenact their crimes, attempting to understand what happened from the perspective of their victims.

The therapy is intense. And as Isaac works through scenes with the group, he begins to recall a memory he’d long ago repressed. A memory that changed everything. And as he begins to piece together the truth about the circumstances that shaped his life—the circumstances that brought Isaac to Haverland in the first place—he must face who he was, who he is . . . and who he wants to be.

Purchase The Free at Amazon
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View The Free on Goodreads

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The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 2/28/2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now, what Starr says could destroy her community, and get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice.

Purchase The Hate U Give at Amazon
Purchase The Hate U Give at IndieBound
View The Hate U Give on Goodreads

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The Ship Beyond Time
by Heidi Heilig
Hardcover
Greenwillow Books
Released 2/28/2017

The breathtaking sequel to the acclaimed The Girl from Everywhere. Nix has escaped her past, but when the person she loves most is at risk, even the daughter of a time traveler may not be able to outrun her fate—no matter where she goes. Fans of Rae Carson, Alexandra Bracken, and Outlander will fall hard for Heidi Heilig’s sweeping fantasy.

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person.

Purchase The Ship Beyond Time at Amazon
Purchase The Ship Beyond Time at IndieBound
View The Ship Beyond Time on Goodreads

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Velocity
by Chris Wooding
Hardcover
Scholastic Press
Released 2/28/2017

Buckle up for a fast-paced, high-octane thrill ride!

Cassica and Shiara are best friends. They couldn't be more different, but their differences work to their advantage -- especially when they're drag racing. Cassica is fearless and determined, making her the perfect driver for daring, photo-finish victories. Shiara is intelligent and creative, able to build cars out of scrap and formulate daring strategies from the passenger's seat.

Now they've set their sights on the Widowmaker -- the biggest, most anticipated, and most dangerous race of the year. The winners get a pass to a life of luxury and fame. The losers, more often than not, die in fiery explosions. And even if Cassica and Shiara survive the deadly three-day challenge... their friendship might be roadkill.

This breathless reimagining of extreme sports is perfect for fans of Mad Max: Fury Road and NASCAR.

Purchase Velocity at Amazon
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View Velocity on Goodreads

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Wild Lily
by K.M. Peyton
Hardcover
David Fickling Books
Released 2/28/2017

It's the 1920s -- cars and planes are new.

Lily Gabriel is scruffy and confident and takes no nonsense from anyone. Antony is rich, spoiled, and arrogant, and Lily is completely and utterly -- no nonsense! -- in love with him.

So join Lily as she falls: In love. Out of the sky. And through time.

Life is never what you expect or what you predict. But if you're lucky, you hold onto exactly what you need -- a young and wild heart. Wild Lily is a striking, timeless coming-of-age story that reminds us that the untamed life is always worth living.

Purchase Wild Lily at Amazon
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View Wild Lily on Goodreads


Sunday, February 26, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 2/26/17

It's Sunday, and that means more YA lit news! Below are all the blog posts and articles you might've missed. Happy reading!

Writing for Publication: Before the Sale:

Writing for Publication: Book Marketing and Social Media

Author Interviews:

Literary Agent News and Interviews:

Writing and Pitch Contests:

Writing Craft:


Writing Inspiration:

Publishing News & Trends:

New YA E-Book Deals:

New YA Book Giveaways:

YA Book Awards and Congratulations:

YA New Book Deals and Releases:

Just for Fun:

If I missed anything, please leave a comment!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

1 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

3 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.
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