Wednesday, February 28, 2018

0 Jennifer A. Nielsen, author of THE TRAITOR'S GAME, on ignoring all the rules and writing from the heart

We're so excited to have Jennifer Nelson stop by to chat her latest novel, THE TRAITOR'S GAME.

Jennifer, what was your inspiration for writing THE TRAITOR'S GAME?

THE TRAITOR’S GAME actually began for me with a song: RUN by Snow Patrol. The lyrics got inside my head and I began wondering why these two people who were so in love might be on the run and what threatened to separate them. The answer to those questions will really come more in the second Traitor’s Game book, but this first book is where everything begins.

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?

Although I’ve skirted the line between upper middle grade and young adult books before, THE TRAITOR’S GAME is a definite YA. Because this story is told from two perspectives: Kestra, who is the target of the rebellion, and Simon, one of the members of the rebellion tasked with keeping an eye on her, there were many scenes that I wrote both ways before determining which of them was better at telling that piece of the story.

For example, there’s a scene in which the two of them are hiding together in a very tight space. Simon realizes he’s strongly attracted to Kestra, but he also suspects she is baiting him as a trick. I went through that scene multiple times before finding the balance between what is happening in each of their heads in that moment. I love the way the scene turned out, with Simon fighting every instinct inside him not to lean forward and kiss her, and Kestra making Simon as uncomfortable as possible because she has plans of her own.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE TRAITOR'S GAME?

A strong desire to read book 2, of course! Also, an interest in recommending the books to others - no marketing is stronger than word of mouth!

But honestly, I hope that readers enjoy the book, that it made them smile and get nervous, and that it got their heart pounding a little. I hope I have written something that is worth their time and deserving of their love.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

I started writing far too concerned with doing everything correctly: punctuation, formatting, grammar - all the stuff that would make my English teachers proud. And while the plots were good, my writing was flat and predictable. Then one day, I threw it all out and decided to write something I wouldn’t submit anywhere, something that was just for me. So I ignored all the rules and simply wrote from my heart. In doing so, I found my voice as a writer. The story I wrote became the work that so far, I’m best known for: THE FALSE PRINCE.

What are you working on now?

This fall, I will release my next historical called RESISTANCE, based on the true story of Jewish teenagers who decided to fight back against the Nazis. It is absolutely incredible what these young people accomplished, and my favorite part of the story is that much of the work was done by the teenager girls, because no one else could do it.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Traitor’s Game
by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Hardcover
Scholastic Press
Released 2/27/2018

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won't stop her from being drawn back into her father's palace politics. He's the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well -- and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.

The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what -- and who -- it is they're fighting for.

Purchase The Traitor’s Game at Amazon
Purchase The Traitor’s Game at IndieBound
View The Traitor’s Game on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has forgotten to do that has allowed her any spare time.

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Have you had a chance to read THE TRAITORS'S GAME yet? I love the dynamics of dual POV stories -- how do you determine who carries the most weight in a scene? And how do you decide where to hand off the baton (or switch POV's)? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Charlotte, Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

6 Cover Reveal, Interview, Excerpt, and HUGE Giveaway for UNCHARTED by Erin Cashman


Hello, lovelies! I haven't posted in a while, but I couldn't resist shouting this out from the rooftops! AYAP is SO proud and honored to be able to host the cover and excerpt reveal (and an ENORMOUS giveaway) for our very own Erin Cashman's next novel, which is coming out in September. Uncharted is literally all the things I love rolled into one books: a mystical Celtic island, not one but two warring secret societies, danger, action, romance, and a character grappling with guilt and mental illness. I love Annabeth. And I love Erin, who is our First Five Pages Workshop coordinator and quite literally one of the most generous, intelligent, and caring people on the planet. That, of course, comes through in her writing.

So. Without further fanfare, here's the gorgeous cover! And you can get a sneak peek into the book by downloading the PDF excerpt here. Read on for the interview and giveaway!



I love this cover so much. That splash of red Annabeth is wearing reminds me of the way she learns to take charge in this book, despite the grey sea of guilt and depression that swirls inside her. The cover shows how she makes herself powerful by sheer force of determination, and I love that the symbol of the Magellans is right there, too.




UNCHARTED

by Erin Cashman
Page Street Publishing
Hardcover, Sept 4, 2018

Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and paintings to reality—because in reality, her mom is dead, and it was all her fault. When she accompanies her father to the funeral of some family friends who drowned, she’s surprised to find her grief reflected in the face of Griffin Bradford, the son of the couple who died. Griffin is nothing like the carefree boy she once knew. Now he’s irritable, removed, and he’s under police investigation for his parents’ deaths.

One night following the memorial service, Annabeth’s dad goes missing in the woods, and she suspects Griffin knows more about the disappearance than he’s letting on. He refuses to answer her questions, particularly those related to the mysterious “expedition” his parents took to Ireland, where they went missing for seven months.

Annabeth fears her father isn’t lost, but rather a victim of something sinister. She launches her own investigation, tracing clues that whisper of myth and legend and death, until she stumbles upon a secret. One that some would die to protect, others would kill to expose—and which twists Annabeth’s fantasy and reality together in deadly new ways.

“Prepare to be swept away! An ancient secret that many have died to protect. Richly detailed mythology. A hero who is – literally – like no other. This thrilling and romantic adventure deftly navigates the blurred lines between legend and reality. Safe to say, Erin Cashman’s UNCHARTED plotted a course straight to my heart!” ~ Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction; The Forget Tomorrow series, The Darkest Lie, Girl on the Verge

“Journey through the fog into the atmospheric world of UNCHARTED, a stunning new fantasy where legend and reality come together in the form of a deadly mystery, where every page simmers with danger, magic, myth, and romance. Readers are sure to fall in love with this dark, gripping story that brings ancient Ireland to life on the misty shores of modern-day Maine.” ~ Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of the Reign of the Fallen series and Fear the Drowning Deep

“A fantastic read! A perfect blend of thriller, mystery, romance, and contemporary, UNCHARTED features great characters, a marvelous setting, and a mythology so fabulous and complete that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Readers who love Celtic legends, maps, and secret societies (and who doesn’t?) will want to put this on their TBR shelf ASAP. I can’t recommend it highly enough!” ~ Martina Boone, award-winning author of the Heirs of Watson Island series and the Celtic Legends collection

“Erin Cashman is a master storyteller. She finds portals in the seemingly ordinary world and leads us into unexplored territories of mystery, magic, and Irish mythology. Uncharted is a page-turner and a refreshingly original tale!” ~ Diana Renn, author of Tokyo Heist, Latitude Zero, Blue Voyage, and False Idols

Uncharted is available September 4 - but you can preorder it now!


Monday, February 26, 2018

10 New Releases this week 02/26 - 03/04 plus 4 Giveaways!

Happy Monday! This week is full of so many great releases and we have four awesome-sounding new releases up for grabs this week. Don't forget to check out the awesome books being released this week and enter to win below!

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Halli, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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The Traitor’s Game
by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Scholastic Press
Released 2/27/2018

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won't stop her from being drawn back into her father's palace politics. He's the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well -- and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.

The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what -- and who -- it is they're fighting for.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Traitor’s Game?

THE TRAITOR’S GAME is written from dual perspectives between Kestra, the girl whose comfortable life is about to be turned upside down, and Simon, the boy responsible for all the trouble she is facing. I love seeing the story through each of their eyes because it opens up the narrative in so many wonderful ways. So even if Simon is talking tough, we see him struggle with the ethics of what he has to do for the rebellion. And even if Kestra says all the right things to Simon, we also get the idea that she is making plans of her own. They are both such fun characters, I couldn’t tell this story through only one person.

Purchase The Traitor’s Game at Amazon
Purchase The Traitor’s Game at IndieBound
View The Traitor’s Game on Goodreads



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Where I Live
by Brenda Rufener
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

HarperTeen
Released 2/27/2018

Linden Rose has a big secret--she is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her position as school blog editor, her best friends, Ham and Seung, and the promise of a future far away are what keep Linden under the radar and moving forward.

But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea's life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. And attention is the last thing she needs.

Linden knows the only way to put a stop to the violence is to tell Bea's story and come to terms with her own painful past. Even if that means breaking her rules for survival and jeopardizing the secrets she's worked so hard to keep.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Where I Live?

While Linden Rose is a homeless teen, it was important to me to show that she is more than her crisis. Through the friendships she has developed with Seung and Ham, I was able to provide a balance between her everyday struggles and routine life. We see Linden as a regular teen, navigating high school and the dramas associated with it. She’s a good student, an editor for her school’s blog, and a loyal friend. My favorite part of writing WHERE I LIVE is the bond of friendship between Linden, Seung, and Ham (affectionately referred to as The Triangle).

Purchase Where I Live at Amazon
Purchase Where I Live at IndieBound
View Where I Live on Goodreads



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Cadaver & Queen
by Alisa Kwitney
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Harlequin Teen
Released 2/27/2018

When Elizabeth Lavenza enrolled at Ingold as its first female medical student, she knew she wouldn’t have an easy time. From class demands to being an outsider among her male cohorts, she’ll have to go above and beyond to prove herself. So when she stumbles across what appears to be a faulty Bio-Mechanical—one of the mechanized cadavers created to service the school—she jumps at the chance to fix it and get ahead in the program.

Only this Bio-Mechanical isn’t like the others. Where they are usually empty-minded and perfectly obedient, this one seems to have thoughts, feelings…and self-awareness.

Soon Elizabeth realizes that it is Victor Frankenstein—a former student who died under mysterious circumstances. Victor, it seems, still has a spark of human intelligence inside him, along with memories of things he discovered before his untimely death…and a suspicion that he was murdered to keep that information from getting out.

Suddenly Elizabeth finds herself intertwined in dark secrets and sabotage that puts her life, and the lives of Victor and their friends, in danger. But Elizabeth’s determined to succeed—even if that means fighting an enemy who threatens the entire British Empire.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Cadaver & Queen?

As a kid, I loved gothic romance comics with titles like “Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love” and “Sinister House of Secret Love.” There was something very satisfying to me about following progressive and resourceful young women through intensely creepy settings and situations, but unfortunately, there was a nasty strain of sexism that tended to run through most of the old stories. I loved writing a novel that had elements of gothic romance—the school set in a medieval abbey in the moors, a dark and brooding man with a dangerous secret, and lots of weird science—but featured a strong female protagonist who does not get punished for her curiosity, her ambition, or her desire.

Purchase Cadaver & Queen at Amazon
Purchase Cadaver & Queen at IndieBound
View Cadaver & Queen on Goodreads

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To Right the Wrongs
by Sheryl Scarborough
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Tor Teen
Released 2/27/2018

Barely three weeks after catching the killer of Erin’s mother and their biology teacher, Erin and her crew are back, up to their elbows in forensics projects. But this time it’s with the full approval of their parents.

With Uncle Victor at the helm, Erin and her best friends, Spam and Lysa, are prepping a new classroom for CSI summer camp, where they will serve as camp counselors. Meanwhile, Erin's super-hot new boyfriend, Journey, is graduating, just in time for him to take a position as Victor’s intern in the new CSI lab on campus. Journey and Victor are going to take another look at the evidence in the murder trial that sent Journey’s father to prison. The girls are under strict orders not to meddle with the murder case, but that's easier said than done...

Purchase To Right the Wrongs at Amazon
Purchase To Right the Wrongs at IndieBound
View To Right the Wrongs on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


Blood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Belleza: Julie C.
Flight Season: A Novel by Marie Marquardt: John S.
Hooper by Geoff Herbach: Kelly M.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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Daughter of the Siren Queen
by Tricia Levenseller
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 2/27/2018

The capable, confident, and occasionally ruthless heroine of Daughter of the Pirate King is back in this action-packed sequel that promises rousing high seas adventures and the perfect dash of magic.

Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Daughter of the Siren Queen?

I'd have to say my favorite thing about DotSQ is Alosa's nearly all-female crew. It was so much fun writing so many female personalities. In the first book, Alosa was trapped on a ship full of men, so this time, I got to show her interacting with other women. We see a lot of rivalry relationships between women in literature, and I was really excited to show some strong friendships in this book. I love to see women supporting each other and working together. And while I still think Siren Queen has plenty of male/female interactions, I'm really excited to see what readers think of all the girls!

Purchase Daughter of the Siren Queen at Amazon
Purchase Daughter of the Siren Queen at IndieBound
View Daughter of the Siren Queen on Goodreads

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I Stop Somewhere
by TE Carter
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 2/27/2018

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn't the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture, but it also reminds us what it is to be human.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about I Stop Somewhere?

Honestly, the thing I love most about the book is simply that it exists. I've spent a long time wanting to write something similar, and it took a long and winding road to get to this point. So seeing it come together is really my favorite part. It's a very personal story in many ways and being able to express some of those thoughts and fears is incredibly cathartic.

I also adore the characters. I feel like I could write so much more about each of them, although that would only appeal to me! You spend so much time, as a writer, in the heads of these people that it's strange to let them go out into the world.


Purchase I Stop Somewhere at Amazon
Purchase I Stop Somewhere at IndieBound
View I Stop Somewhere on Goodreads

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This Tiny Perfect World
by Lauren Gibaldi
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 2/27/2018

Penny loves her small-town Florida life, and she has her future mapped out. She’s going to community college after graduation to stay close to home and her best friend, Faye. She’ll take over the family diner that her dad has been managing since her mother died. And one day, she’ll marry her high school sweetheart, Logan.

But when she unexpectedly lands a scholarship to a prestigious summer theater camp, she is thrust into a world of competition and self-doubt. And suddenly, her future gets a little hazy. As she meets new friends, including Chase, a talented young actor with big-city dreams, she begins to realize that maybe the life everyone (including her) expects her to lead is not the one she was meant to have.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about This Tiny Perfect World ?

I was an extremely shy child. I had friends, sure, but I was scared of speaking out, of speaking my mind. When I got to high school, I knew I wanted to change that, but I didn't know how. Until I found theatre. I started out small, a class my freshman year, but eventually found myself delighted and inspired by the drama world and the people in it. I acted (not extremely well, but it was fun all the same), worked behind the scenes, and coached. It became my life, and I finally felt like I fit in somewhere. It didn't change me instantly--I wasn't suddenly the most popular girl in school--but I found a home. I made best friends (this book is actually dedicated to two of them) and memorable experiences. I was able to express myself through acting, show parts of myself I never knew I could. Quite simply, I loved it.

So how does that relate to my book? In THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD, Penny believes her life is set for her. But then she attends a theatre camp and finds a part of her she didn't know was there--this part that's full of passion and fearlessness and drive. I loved writing about her journey, and her time at the camp. I loved remembering what it felt like to put on your costume for the first time, to make obscure musical references to friends, to step onstage and be blinded by a spotlight. I loved writing these experiences for Penny--they felt so real to me. And I hope they feel real to everyone who reads her story.


Purchase This Tiny Perfect World at Amazon
Purchase This Tiny Perfect World at IndieBound
View This Tiny Perfect World on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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A Girl Like That
by Tanaz Bhathena
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 2/27/2018

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that. This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers; tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion; and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.

Purchase A Girl Like That at Amazon
Purchase A Girl Like That at IndieBound
View A Girl Like That on Goodreads

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All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages
by Saundra Mitchell
Hardcover
Harlequin Teen
Released 2/27/2018

Take a journey through time and genres and discover a past where queer figures live, love and shape the world around them. Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.

From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.

Purchase All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages at Amazon
Purchase All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages at IndieBound
View All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages on Goodreads

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Everlife
by Gena Showalter
Hardcover
Harlequin Teen
Released 2/27/2018

STAND TOGETHER OR FALL ALONE.

THE FATE OF THE EVERLIFE HANGS IN THE BALANCE.

At seventeen years old, Tenley “Ten” Lockwood had to make the ultimate choice—where to live after she died. Loyalty to her selected realm has not wavered…until now. The numbers-obsessed Conduit is out of time. Sacrifices must be made, and a terrible price must be paid. But is she too late?

As the Everlife descends into darkness, a single truth becomes clear: Troika and Myriad must unite at long last—or perish. In order to bring sworn enemies together, Ten must enter forbidden territory…and destroy the powerful Prince of Ravens. But there’s only one way inside—bonding with Killian Flynn, a deadly rival Laborer who sets her blood aflame.

When nothing goes as planned and betrayal leads to the edge of utter defeat, Ten and Killian will have to rebuild trust from the ashes of their hearts. Victory seems impossible, the odds stacked against them. In the end, how far will they be willing to go for the sake of their realms and the Everlife?

Purchase Everlife at Amazon
Purchase Everlife at IndieBound
View Everlife on Goodreads

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Heart of Iron
by Ashley Poston
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 2/27/2018

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

Purchase Heart of Iron at Amazon
Purchase Heart of Iron at IndieBound
View Heart of Iron on Goodreads

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People Like Us
by Dana Mele
Hardcover
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Released 2/27/2018

Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she's reinvented herself entirely. Now she's a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl's body is found in the lake, Kay's carefully constructed life begins to topple. The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay's finally backed into a corner, she'll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make...not something that happened.


Purchase People Like Us at Amazon
Purchase People Like Us at IndieBound
View People Like Us on Goodreads

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Tess of the Road
by Rachel Hartman
Hardcover
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 2/27/2018

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons can be whomever they choose. Tess is none of these things. Tess is. . . different. She speaks out of turn, has wild ideas, and can't seem to keep out of trouble. Then Tess goes too far. What she's done is so disgraceful, she can't even allow herself to think of it. Unfortunately, the past cannot be ignored. So Tess's family decide the only path for her is a nunnery.
But on the day she is to join the nuns, Tess chooses a different path for herself. She cuts her hair, pulls on her boots, and sets out on a journey. She's not running away, she's running towards something. What that something is, she doesn't know. Tess just knows that the open road is a map to somewhere else--a life where she might belong.


Purchase Tess of the Road at Amazon
Purchase Tess of the Road at IndieBound
View Tess of the Road on Goodreads


Sunday, February 25, 2018

0 Free #1st5pages Workshop Opens March 3 - and Mentor News!!

The Free 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop will open on Saturday, March 3. Please note, we now require that all participants have a completed manuscript. We have had an overwhelming response by agents, and many ask for full manuscripts. Remember, we usually fill up in a minute, so get those pages ready!

We also have exciting mentor news!

Congratulations to Sheri Larsen, MARKED BEAUTY, her wonderful contemporary fantasy, was named a 2017 New England Book Festival Runner-Up for for excellence in young adult literature!

NEW MENTOR RELEASES:

ASSASSIN OF TRUTHS by Brenda Drake, the epic conclusion to her wonderful NYT bestselling fantasy series, released February 9th. If you like action packed fantasies, with romance, danger, mythology – not to mention fabulous settings (hello – old, mysterious, libraries!) this book (and series) is for you! I could not turn the pages fast enough.

REIGN OF THE FALLEN by Sarah Glenn Marsh released January 23rd. Featuring a bad-ass bisexual main character, this novel has it all: unique world building, tight pacing with plenty of plot twists, characters you love and hate, and somehow it is dark and yet hopeful at the same time. You don't want to miss it!

If you loved the movie, you need to read BLACK PANTHER, THE YOUNG PRINCE by award-winning author Ron Smith, which released January 2nd. With plenty of intrigue and mystery, a great school setting and realistic friendships, I ripped through this action packed middle grade adventure!

Mark your calendars, because PHOENIX FIRE by Sarah Grimm comes out March 5th! I can't wait for the first book in this YA fantasy series!!

And check out these fabulous cover reveals!

THE DEVIL'S THIEF, the sequel to THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell - how gorgeous is that cover?!!!!

Speaking of gorgeous covers, check out PHOENIX FIRE, by Sarah Grimm!!!

Then there is the wonderful cover of SVEN CARTER & THE ANDROID ARMY by Rob Vlock! I adored this hilarious, middle grade, sci-fi adventure!!!

And I can't wait to share my cover for UNCHARTED with you right here on AYAP on Tuesday, February 27th!!

Happy Reading, Writing, and Revising!

Erin

About the Author:
Erin Cashman is AYAP's 1st 5 Pages Workshop coordinator, and a permanent mentor. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, three kids, and an energetic rescue dog. She writes YA fantasy. UNCHARTED is coming fall of 2018, and THE EXCEPTIONALS, a Bank Street College of Education best book of the year, is available now. For up to date information about the workshop, you can follow Erin on twitter here

Saturday, February 24, 2018

0 Geoff Herbach, author of HOOPER, on ideas coming together to create a character

We're thrilled to have Geoff Herbach join us to talk about his latest novel, HOOPER.

Geoff, what was your inspiration for writing HOOPER?

I live in a relatively small town in Minnesota. I went to the grocery store during the holidays and saw a tremendously tall kid singing Christmas Carols with his family. They were collecting donations for the Salvation Army. The poor kid was so embarrassed and dorky. I thought it would be funny if he were a great basketball player and had to change teams to a big city school to up his competition. In the next few months it became clear who the Republican nominee was going to be and I started thinking a lot about members of my family who were refugees. The two ideas came together in the character of Adam.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it? 

There's a character named Barry in the book. He's a wonderful, beautiful kid, but has came from a seriously troubled background. To protect Adam, he ends up beating up another kid. Another one of Adam's great friends, Khalil, is black. He's also a wonderful, beautiful kid. He essentially stutters when a police officer is questioning him and gets in life-altering trouble. Barry suffers from guilt. He committed a real crime. But, I realized nothing much of life-altering consequence happens to the small town white kid while the black kid gets absolutely hammered for nothing and that felt very true, and troubling. It became the key thing that moves Adam from worrying about himself to worrying about and fighting for his friends.

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

I am at a coffee shop right now. I haven't always worked at a coffee shop, but we have a new pup and this pup wants to hang out. She puts her big lab paw on my leg while I'm trying to type and she's really cute and I end up rolling around on the floor wrestling lab pup all day instead of getting work done. So, the new ritual: get me to the coffee shop.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Hooper
by Geoff Herbach
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 2/20/2018

For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.

But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.

Purchase Hooper at Amazon
Purchase Hooper at IndieBound
View Hooper on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geoff Herbach is the author of the award winning Stupid Fast YA series as well as Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders. His books have been given the 2011 Cybils Award for best YA novel, the Minnesota Book Award, selected for the Junior Library Guild, listed among the year’s best by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association and many state library associations. In the past, he wrote the literary novel, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, produced radio comedy shows and toured rock clubs telling weird stories. Geoff teaches creative writing at Minnesota State, Mankato. He lives in a log cabin with a tall wife.

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Have you had a chance to read HOOPER yet? How do you decide on the key thing that changes your character? Do you write in coffee shops to avoid distractions like adorable puppies?

Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Charlotte, Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Friday, February 23, 2018

0 Rhoda Belleza, author of BLOOD OF A THOUSAND STARS, on writing as a form of therapy

BLOOD OF A THOUSAND STARS is the sequel to Empress of a Thousand Skies, and we're thrilled to have Rhoda Belleza here to share more about it.

Rhoda, what was your inspiration for writing BLOOD OF A THOUSAND STARS?

I always gravitate toward war, expansive worlds, lots of politics and reluctant heroes. I’d watched and read a lot of scifi, and I have a deep deep love of 80s action movies—but never saw any brown people as main characters. They were tangential or part of the scenery at best, caricatures and villains at worst. I wanted to write the book I wanted to read as a teen, with heroes who looked like my friends and me, who were dealing with similar societal themes. Racism, gender inequality, colonization—I wanted it all captured here in this series.

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?

There’s a scene where Kara is nearly at the end of her journey, looking to destroy a piece of technology that would in turn erase her past identity. She’s down on herself; she doesn’t think she deserves anything good in the world, and she doesn’t think she has anything to offer. Her friend Issa shows support, and tries to convince her otherwise. It’s not the flashiest scene but it hit really close to home. Kara has imposter syndrome to the extreme and I deal with that, too—it was really raw to explore those emotions, and sometimes I found her so blind to her intrinsic good that I’d get annoyed with her…and then I’d be like, “Oh yeah I do that too.”

In terms of a scene I really love, it’s in the epilogue! And I want to avoid spoilers but let’s just say I found a circularity and a closure for a couple of characters.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?


There's so many! Cindy Pon's WANT, Beth Revis' amazing novelization of ROGUE ONE and her book ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, Marie Lu's WARCROSS. I also recently had the pleasure of doing an event with Melissa Albert for her amazing book THE HAZEL WOOD. Though our books are very different in style and content, I think this book would really resonate with my readers as they both stare amazing, complex angry girls.

How long did you work on BLOOD OF A THOUSAND STARS?

It was a sequel so I had about a year for it to all come together! It was super intense.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

That writing is a form of therapy. It’s at its most fulfilling when I work out some deep, interpersonal conflict within the character—because I’m kind of working it out with myself, too.

What do you hope readers will take away from BLOOD OF A THOUSAND STARS?

That you define who you are. It’s easy to listen to all the voices that doubt you—including your own!—and to slip into insecurity. It’s a part of life, or my life at least, and to some extent a thing I’ll always have to live with. But I want readers to at least know that they can exert some control over who they are and how they act, and feel empowered to pursue the things they want and be the person they hope to be…

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?


The road felt infinitely long, and as exciting as it is to release two books, I don’t want to ignore the parts that were excruciating and heartbreaking! I’ve attempted to write at least six books, all abandoned, in addition to about a bazillion short stories that were rejected across dozens and dozens of publications.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

LOL. I wish there was some key I could turn to unlock the creative process and make things run smoothly. The truth is nearly every part of writing is difficult work, which is not to discourage, but just to say that it’s a rollercoaster. But even as I’m writing thing, I’m thinking maybe that’s the key…to accept how difficult and emotional the process is, and push through it to make art you’re proud of.

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

I write a messy zero draft that makes as much sense as a fever dream. No music, no distractions—just a stream of consciousness typing from my desktop computer at home. It’s more like laying out my initial thoughts on the dynamic between characters and basic choreography of each scene. Then, I go back through and refine the sentences and flesh everything out. And then I have to do that a million more times.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Between deadlines and word counts, it’s easy to tell yourself you don’t have time to go out—but make the time! Exercise, take walks, eat good food, and connect with your friends. It’s worth it in the long run. You don’t want to look up from your computer a year later and realize your life passed you by.

What are you working on now?

A scifi fantasy about a plague. Uplifting stuff!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Blood of a Thousand Stars
by Rhoda Belleza
Hardcover
Razorbill
Released 2/20/2018

War tears the galaxy apart, power tests the limits of family, and violence gives way to freedom in this exhilarating sequel to Empress of a Thousand Skies.

Empress
With a revolution brewing, Rhee is faced with a choice: make a deal with her enemy, Nero, or denounce him and risk losing her crown.

Fugitive
Framed assassin Alyosha has one goal in mind: kill Nero. But to get his revenge, Aly may have to travel back to the very place he thought he’d left forever—home.

Princess
Kara knows that a single piece of technology located on the uninhabitable planet Wraeta may be the key to remembering—and erasing—the princess she once was.

Madman
Villainous media star Nero is out for blood, and he’ll go to any means necessary to control the galaxy.
Vicious politics and high-stakes action culminate in an epic showdown that will determine the fate of the universe.

Purchase Blood of a Thousand Stars at Amazon
Purchase Blood of a Thousand Stars at IndieBound
View Blood of a Thousand Stars on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Rhoda Belleza was raised in Los Angeles, where she grew up writing XFiles fanfiction and stuffing her face with avocados. When she's not writing, Rhoda obsesses over nail art tutorials, watches kung fu movies, and sews together crooked things that pass for clothes. She's a children's editor at a publishing house and writes from a sunny Brooklyn apartment stuffed far too many bikes and far too many shoes. Empress of a Thousand Skies is her debut novel.

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Have you had a chance to read BLOOD OF A THOUSAND STARS yet? Do you feel like writing is a rollercoaster? Do you make time to go out and connect with friends? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Anisaa, Charlotte, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

0 Thank You to the Mentors and Participants of the #1st5pages Writing Workshop!

Thank you to all of the participants who trusted us with their pages, and worked so hard during our February 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop - and congratulations to Britney Shae, our workshop winner! And a big thanks to our wonderful guest mentors, Kelley Armstrong as our author mentor and Laura Crockett of Triada US as our agent mentor! As always, thank you to our talented and fabulous permanent mentors, who read, comment, and cheer on our participants every month!

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 pages aren't compelling, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is! Our March workshop will open for submissions on Saturday, March 3rd at noon, EST. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Heather Smith Meloche as our author mentor and Meg La-Torre Snyder as our agent mentor! So get those pages ready - we usually fill up in under a minute!

Happy Writing (and revising!)

Erin

About the Author:
Erin Cashman is AYAP's 1st 5 Pages Workshop coordinator, and a permanent mentor. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, three kids, and an energetic rescue dog. She writes YA fantasy. UNCHARTED is coming fall of 2018, and THE EXCEPTIONALS, a Bank Street College of Education best book of the year, is available now. For up to date information about the workshop, you can follow Erin on twitter here

Thursday, February 22, 2018

0 Gwendolyn Clare, author of INK, IRON, AND GLASS, on thinking critically about what you read and write

We're delighted to have Gwendolyn Clare join us to chat about her debut novel, INK, IRON, AND GLASS.


Gwendolyn, what book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

I'd definitely recommend it to fans of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series or the Girl Genius comics by Phil and Kaja Foglio. If you're hungry for more historical fantasy after Ink, Iron, and Glass, I'd suggest Beth Cato's Breath of Earth, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my debut twin, Deborah Schaumberg, whose YA novel The Tombs also came out this week!

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


When I was writing full time, I would park myself in a local cafe first thing in the morning and write for a solid five hours, then take a break in the afternoon, and do brainstorming in the evening for the next morning's writing session. Now that I'm back to teaching full time, my writing schedule is more like trying to squeeze in a few panicked minutes here and there! Mostly I work on weekends now.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I started out writing short fiction for several years before I even tried my hand at writing novels. Then I wrote and queried three previous (still unpublished) novels before Ink, Iron, and Glass landed me an agent and later a publisher. It's easy to see other authors' successes from the outside and assume they somehow jumped on the publication highway, but we all have trunk stories and piles of rejection letters! That's just part of the journey.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

The best advice I can give is to take all advice with a grain of salt. There's no such thing as an unbreakable writing rule. If a piece of advice helps you to be productive and hone your craft, then great! But if it doesn't work for you, throw it out. The only part of the process that seems consistent for basically all writers is that you need to be reading a lot and writing a lot -- and thinking critically about what you read and write, so you're actually learning from it. That's the only must, as far as I'm concerned.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Ink, Iron, and Glass
by Gwendolyn Clare
Hardcover
Imprint
Released 2/20/2018

Can she write a world gone wrong?
A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother―a noted scriptologist.
But when her home is attacked and her mother kidnapped, Elsa is forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones―young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology―and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.
In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created―and only she can stop it.

Purchase Ink, Iron, and Glass at Amazon
Purchase Ink, Iron, and Glass at IndieBound
View Ink, Iron, and Glass on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gwendolyn Clare's debut novel -- INK, IRON, AND GLASS -- is the first in a steampunk duology about a young mad scientist with the ability to write new worlds into existence, forthcoming from Imprint in 2018. Her short stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Asimov's, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, among others, and her poetry has been nominated for the Rhysling Award. She holds a BA in Ecology, a BS in Geophysics, a PhD in Mycology, and swears she's done collecting acronyms. She lives in North Carolina with too many cats, too many ducks, and never enough books.

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Have you had a chance to read INK, IRON, AND GLASS yet? Do you have any trunk stories? Are you learning from what you read and write? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Anisaa, Charlotte, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

0 Marie Marquardt, author of FLIGHT SEASON: A NOVEL, on diving back into grief

We're thrilled to have Marie Marquardt with us to share more about her latest novel, FLIGHT SEASON.

Marie, what was your inspiration for writing FLIGHT SEASON?

This story was inspired by my own experiences at two very different times in my life. A couple of weeks before I graduated from high school, I found out that my dad was terminally ill, and he died during my first year of college. I share this in common with Vivi, the story’s protagonist. As an adult, I have spent many years working with undocumented immigrant teens. The other key elements of the storyline draw from my time with them, and from my enormous respect for the immigrant teens I’ve had the honor of knowing.

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?

Every scene that made me dive back into my grief was an enormous challenge. But I also was amazed by how raw and present that grief – from decades ago! – continues to be when I allow myself to feel it.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I learned not to be afraid of my own intense emotions. They can be a powerful tool for writing, and writing them can be a powerful tool for healing.

What do you hope readers will take away from FLIGHT SEASON?

The power of empathy to change our world.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Take heart. Be bold. Never let fear get in the way.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Flight Season: A Novel
by Marie Marquardt
Hardcover
Wednesday Books
Released 2/20/2018

Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

Written in alternating first person from the perspectives of all three characters, Flight Season is a story about discovering what’s really worth holding onto, learning how to let go of the rest, and that one crazy summer that changes your life forever.

Purchase Flight Season: A Novel at Amazon
Purchase Flight Season: A Novel at IndieBound
View Flight Season: A Novel on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Marie Marquardt is a Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and has been an advocate for social justice for Latin American immigrants in the South for two decades. She is the author of three critically acclaimed novels for young adults—Dream Things True, The Radius of Us, and Flight Season. Her novels reflect the experiences of undocumented immigrant teenagers and are inspired by her experiences working with detainees and their families as chair of the Georgia non-profit El Refugio.

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Have you had a chance to read FLIGHT SEASON: A NOVEL yet? Are intense emotions a powerful tool in your writing? Have writing intense emotions helped you heal? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Anisaa, Charlotte, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

0 Vesper Stamper, author of WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS, on listening to and trusting your characters

We're excited to have Vesper Stamper stop by to chat with us about her latest novel, WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS.

Vesper, what is your writing ritual?

Since I just finished another manuscript, I’ll tell you how I did that! I get all the “heady” stuff (admin, emails, calendar) out of the way in the morning. While I make and eat breakfast, I read a bit of the Bible, then listen to part of an audiobook, either by a language master like Dostoevsky, or a book that’s part of my research. My husband builds me a fire, I make a cup of tea, light a candle and say a prayer over my work day. I hole up in my comfy chair with a basket of research books, and get to writing. I try to write “blind”—not looking at the screen so I can work in a more stream-of consciousness way. And I try to work on my art, whether it’s illustration or sketchbook work, as much as possible to keep that part of me thriving.

What did this book teach you about writing, or about yourself?

One of the most important takeaways for me was the importance of freedom of speech. When totalitarian movements or regimes like the Nazis begin to amass power, there’s a recognizable pattern. First, they attack language and speech codes. They then go after artists and intellectuals, because they want to remove the reflex, right or ability for individuals to think with nuance and critical thought. I became very dedicated to the First Amendment and resisting censorship as a result.

What do you hope readers will take away from WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS?

I hope readers will be inspired by Gerta’s story to go deeply into the question of who they really are, and who other people really are, without making easy assumptions. It’s so easy to think we are answering that question when in actuality we are only stating what we are—and as humans we have enormous capacity to change our minds. No one is as “other” as we make them out to be, and there is so much richness in really knowing people.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Follow your curiosity and dive deep into a subject you can’t get out of your mind. Journal, by hand, a lot. Listen to and trust the characters. If you’re stuck, close your eyes and let your characters just live their lives in front of you, then write what you saw. Do more thorough world building than you think you need. Get. Outside. Of. Yourself. Artists must surround themselves with—and get close to—people who think differently than they do so they can write a range of characters, not just multiple dimensions of themselves. And go for long walks without your phone. There is such a clean and beautiful world out there ready to speak to us and tell us its stories.

ABOUT THE BOOK

What the Night Sings
by Vesper Stamper
Hardcover
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 2/20/2018

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future.


Purchase What the Night Sings at Amazon
Purchase What the Night Sings at IndieBound
View What the Night Sings on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vesper Stamper was born in Nuremberg, Germany and raised in New York City. Her family was an eclectic mix of engineers, musicians and artists who didn't think Voltaire too tough for bedtime reading, Chopin Valses too loud for wake-up calls, or precision slide rules too fragile as playthings. She married filmmaker Ben Stamper right out of college, and together they have two wildly creative children. When Vesper earned her MFA in Illustration from School of Visual Arts, Ben gave her an orange tree. She illustrates and writes under its leaves and blossoms at her grandfather 's old drafting table, in the pine woods of the Northeast.

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Have you had a chance to read WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS yet? Have you tried writing without looking at the screen? Do you surround yourself with people who think differently than you do? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Charlotte, Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

Monday, February 19, 2018

7 New Releases this week 02/19 - 02/25 plus 3 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week is full of so many great releases and we have HOOPER, FLIGHT SEASON, and BLOOD OF A THOUSAND STARS up for grabs this week. Don't forget to check out the awesome books being released this week and enter to win below!

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Halli, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


Flight Season: A Novel
by Marie Marquardt
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Wednesday Books
Released 2/20/2018

Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

Written in alternating first person from the perspectives of all three characters, Flight Season is a story about discovering what’s really worth holding onto, learning how to let go of the rest, and that one crazy summer that changes your life forever.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Flight Season: A Novel?

I adore Ángel, one of the point-of-view characters in the story. He’s sick with a major heart condition, but he never lets himself be treated as a victim. He’s also funny and self-deprecating, and he consistently sees the best in other people. If offered the chance, I’d probably give him my own heart.

Purchase Flight Season: A Novel at Amazon
Purchase Flight Season: A Novel at IndieBound
View Flight Season: A Novel on Goodreads

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Hooper
by Geoff Herbach
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Katherine Tegen Books
Released 2/20/2018

For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.

But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Hooper?

A couple of things. First, I really love basketball, but am a short guy, much better suited to soccer or football. Writing HOOPER gave me the opportunity to imagine, for a full year, what it would be like to be legitimately tall and legitimately good at this game I've actually spent a substantial amount of time studying. It was fun to write the game play, to base it on things I'd seen watching the sport, but getting right in there with my eyes. Second, I got to couple basketball with imagining what it would be like to be my maternal grandfather and my dad. They both immigrated to the U.S as school-aged kids (Grandpa from Eastern Europe, around the age of 12 and my dad at 18 -- he'd actually escaped Nazi Europe as a small child and came to the U.S. from Brazil). My Grandpa, in particular, struggled with English and was frustrated by it in school. But, both of them were eventually embraced by America and they embraced it back. I got to imagine how it would be to show up at a very different time in our history. The whole thing was this tremendously enriching experience. Thanks for asking.

Purchase Hooper at Amazon
Purchase Hooper at IndieBound
View Hooper on Goodreads



* * * *


Blood of a Thousand Stars
by Rhoda Belleza
Hardcover Giveaway
Razorbill
Released 2/20/2018

War tears the galaxy apart, power tests the limits of family, and violence gives way to freedom in this exhilarating sequel to Empress of a Thousand Skies.

Empress
With a revolution brewing, Rhee is faced with a choice: make a deal with her enemy, Nero, or denounce him and risk losing her crown.

Fugitive
Framed assassin Alyosha has one goal in mind: kill Nero. But to get his revenge, Aly may have to travel back to the very place he thought he’d left forever—home.

Princess
Kara knows that a single piece of technology located on the uninhabitable planet Wraeta may be the key to remembering—and erasing—the princess she once was.

Madman
Villainous media star Nero is out for blood, and he’ll go to any means necessary to control the galaxy.
Vicious politics and high-stakes action culminate in an epic showdown that will determine the fate of the universe.

Purchase Blood of a Thousand Stars at Amazon
Purchase Blood of a Thousand Stars at IndieBound
View Blood of a Thousand Stars on Goodreads

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Break Us by Jennifer Brown: Michelle M.
Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre: Rosi H.
Nexus by Deborah Biancotti and Margo Lanagan and Scott Westerfeld: Catherine C.
Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid: Kate F.
The Precious Dreadful: A Novel by Steven Parlato: Taffy L.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


Ink, Iron, and Glass
by Gwendolyn Clare
Hardcover
Imprint
Released 2/20/2018

Can she write a world gone wrong?
A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother―a noted scriptologist.
But when her home is attacked and her mother kidnapped, Elsa is forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones―young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology―and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.
In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created―and only she can stop it.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Ink, Iron, and Glass?

As much as I love all the action and steampunk tech... the protagonist, Elsa, is nearest and dearest to my heart. She's prickly and awkward and too smart for her own good -- and probably the most similar to teenage-Gwen of all the characters I've ever written.

Purchase Ink, Iron, and Glass at Amazon
Purchase Ink, Iron, and Glass at IndieBound
View Ink, Iron, and Glass on Goodreads

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What the Night Sings
by Vesper Stamper
Hardcover
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 2/20/2018

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future.


Author Question: What is your favorite thing about What the Night Sings?

My favorite thing about What the Night Sings has been my publisher’s boldness in breaking unwritten rules with the book’s format. My designers, Stephanie Moss and Alison Impey, did such a beautiful job on the package. You’ve got to hold it in your hands. It’s so elegant.

Illustrators have long desired to find more long-format opportunities, in addition to picture books, to tell their visual narratives. Knopf believed in my vision of readdressing how we traditionally view Holocaust-related imagery. We were able to explore the history in new ways through the illustrations, while still paying homage to the treasure of archived visual evidence of the Holocaust.


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MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


Heart of Ash
by Kim Liggett
Hardcover
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Released 2/20/2018

Ash may have escaped the immortal-worshipping cult that killed her mother, but the love of her life is still under its thrall. Dane has been possessed by his diabolical ancestor Coronado, a man who's fabulously wealthy, dripping with fame, and the leader of Europe's most dangerous immortal network. Dane begs Ash to join him at Coronado's castle in Spain, and swears that his blood bond with Ash is stronger than Coronado's hold over him. Ash is desperate to help Dane vanquish Coronado without having to sacrifice herself to the darkness. But when you're all in, blood and salt, the only way to hold on to the light might just be by setting everything on fire.

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Pitch Dark
by Courtney Alameda
Hardcover
Feiwel & Friends
Released 2/20/2018

Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race.

Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved.

When Tuck's and Laura’s worlds collide―literally―the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save the John Muir . . . and the whole human race.

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

1 Donna Jo Napoli, author of HUNGER: A TALE OF COURAGE, on placing paving stones in a scene

We're thrilled to have Donna Jo Napoli stop by to share more about her latest novel, HUNGER: A TALE OF COURAGE.

Donna Jo, how long did you work on HUNGER: A TALE OF COURAGE?

I'm answering this question because the answer is unusual for me. I normally get an idea for a novel, start into the research immediately, then write it. I'm quick about getting out a first draft -- then things slow down for me, since second and third drafts are very difficult for me. Totally, though, I tend to complete a book from start to finish in 2 years or so. With this book, instead, things progressed differently. I had a fellowship from Trinity College Dublin in spring 2012 -- so I was in Ireland for several months. While there, I visited prisons where rebels against the British had been kept, many of whom died. I didn't know much about Irish history, so I picked up books and started reading. And I kept reading. I didn't realize I was preparing to write a book, I thought I was simply falling in love with Ireland. But in 2015, my editor, Paula Wiseman, asked me if I wanted to write a book about the great potato famine. I was startled. That was the book I'd been preparing to write -- how on earth had she recognized it when I hadn't? So I set to work. A year later we had a draft that was worth editing. So we edited away. And thus was born HUNGER.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

This book taught me something I knew already, but that I seem to need to learn over and over. I think it's something that other writers, particularly budding writers, might benefit from hearing about. That is that what I put on the page does not always match what's in my head. I will think I've made it very clear what the character's feelings are or what the character's options are or what the complicating factors in the situation are. Then along comes my editor and she asks something that shows I failed miserably -- what I thought was obvious was not obvious at all. So I have to figure out where I was making assumptions that my reader won't necessarily share. Then I have to add information that supports those assumptions -- so that my reader has a chance of seeing what it is I'm trying to show. In other words, I benefit enormously from sharing my work with others -- friends, family, editors. Reading is a creative act -- and all readers will bring their own baggage to a story -- all will bring their own world-views to a story. I know that, and I'm not trying to interfere with that. But if I have a scene that is critical to the overall path of my story, I want to do my very best to help the reader see the paving stones I've put in place in that scene. I can't do it alone: I need my readers of those early drafts to help me.

What are you working on now?

I seem to be on a binge of writing about children in the middle of a massively destructive situation. The book I'm presently working on opens in autumn 1943 in Tokyo. The time tells you a lot -- this is World War II -- but it tells nearly everything when I give you one more fact: the main character is an Italian girl, living in Tokyo with her father and little sister. If you don't know what information that adds, I'm glad -- because I want the reader to be as shocked and horrified as my main character. This is a struggle for survival in a doomed world. It gives me nightmares. But in the present climate in our country, I can't not think about what war brings, particularly to young people.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Hunger: A Tale of Courage
by Donna Jo Napoli
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Released 2/13/2018

Through the eyes of twelve-year-old Lorraine this haunting novel from the award-winning author of Hidden and Hush gives insight and understanding into a little known part of history—the Irish potato famine.

It is the autumn of 1846 in Ireland. Lorraine and her brother are waiting for the time to pick the potato crop on their family farm leased from an English landowner. But this year is different—the spuds are mushy and ruined. What will Lorraine and her family do?

Then Lorraine meets Miss Susannah, the daughter of the wealthy English landowner who owns Lorraine’s family’s farm, and the girls form an unlikely friendship that they must keep a secret from everyone. Two different cultures come together in a deserted Irish meadow. And Lorraine has one question: how can she help her family survive?

A little known part of history, the Irish potato famine altered history forever and caused a great immigration in the later part of the 1800s. Lorraine’s story is a heartbreaking and ultimately redemptive story of one girl’s strength and resolve to save herself and her family against all odds.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction. She loves to garden and bake bread, and even dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to make the neighbors wonder. But dear dear Taxi died in 2009.

She has five children, and currently lives outside Philadelphia. She received her BA in mathematics in 1970 and her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures in 1973, both from Harvard University, then did a postdoctoral year in Linguistics at MIT. She has since taught linguistics at Smith College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgetown University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and Swarthmore College. It was at UM that she earned tenure (in 1981) and became a full professor (in 1984). She has held visiting positions at the University of Queensland (Australia), the University of Geneva (Switzerland), Capital Normal University of Beijing (China), the University of Newcastle (UK), the University of Venice at Ca' Foscari (Italy), and the Siena School for the Liberal Arts (Italy) as well as lectured at the University of Sydney (Australia), Macquarie University (Australia), the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), and the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa). In the area of linguistics she has authored, coauthored, edited, or coedited 17 books, ranging from theoretical linguistics to practical matters in language structure and use, including matters of interest to d/Deaf people. She has held grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and the Sloan Foundation.

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Have you had a chance to read HUNGER: A TALE OF COURAGE yet? Have you written a story from research you were doing for fun? How do you get the image in your head on the page? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Charlotte, Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann