Monday, August 23, 2010

29 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways)

Suzanne Collins' MOCKINGJAY (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) drops tomorrow. Cue fan-crazed YA junkies everywhere! We've been so distracted with this much-antcipated book release that we may have failed to realize several other fabulous YA titles will also emerge onto bookshelves tomorrow.

So cue another fabulous thing. The YALit site, founded by Keri Adams and Stefan Hayden, puts together a list of book launches, and they are generously letting us add onto that service to combine the weekly list with book summaries, author interviews, and author giveaways you won't find anywhere else. We are beyond excited to bring this to you. Just like Keri and Stephan, who decided to start their site "after trying various methods of remembering when to run to the nearest bookstore, including an online calendar, random scraps of paper, and scribbling on the back of her (Keri's) hand," we keep trying to juggle what's coming out and what to read. So many thanks to Keri and Stefan for putting this terrific service together for the rest of us junkies... er, readers, and letting us piggyback off their research!

Scroll all the way down to enter the giveaways and read below for the interviews and book summaries!

This Week's Interviews
  • The Candidates (Delcroix Academy, #1) by Inara Scott
    From Goodreads: Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden. But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome. And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.
    How long did you work on this book?
    It was a long time ago, so let me try to remember... ;-) I started writing a book I called "Taking Sides" in October 2006. By spring of 2007, I had a final draft that I submitted to agents. After a few months (and a lot of rejections!) I found my agent and then went through another round or two of revisions with her over the summer of 2007. She submitted it in fall 2007, and we had an offer for a preempt about two weeks after that. (Amazing!) But then there were several additional rounds of revisions for my editor as well... The best I can tell you is that it's a messy business. A book is never really "done". You just get to a point where you run out of time to keep revising it.

    How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
    I wrote two books before Delcroix Academy, both of which I submitted to many agents and entered into more than a few contests. Together with the polite "not for me"s I received from agents for Delcroix, I garnered well over 100 rejections before the sale. But in chronological time, the journey was not very long. I started writing seriously in 2005, and sold in 2007. I just happen to write fast enough to have a lot to have gotten a lot of rejections during that period. :-)

    What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
    Writing is a skill that requires practice. I think some writers get the notion if they don't sell their first (or their second) book, they don't have what it takes to be published. That's nonsense. You wouldn't expect a person who has just started playing the violin to get it right the first time, and you shouldn't expect to do that with your writing. Keep writing, keep practicing, work with critique partners, take classes, and get your writing in front of agent and publishers -- anything to get feedback that will allow you to get to the next level. But don't give up. Never give up. If you really want this, keep writing.

    What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
    It never gets easier. Writing is an inherently unstable business; you're constantly writing yourself out of a job and wondering whether there's going to be a next one. And there's no guarantees, even after the first, second, and third sales. You just have to love what you're doing enough to keep living with the uncertainty.
  • Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

    From Goodreads: Could any two sisters be more tightly bound together than the twins, Katherine and Anna? Yet love and fate intervene to tear them apart. Katherine's guilt and sense of betrayal leaves her longing for death, until a surprise encounter and another near catastrophe rescue her from a tragic end. Set against the magical kaleidoscope of the Philadelphia Centennial fair of 1876, National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart's book conjures the sweep and scope of a moment in history in which the glowing future of a nation is on display to the disillusioned gaze of a girl who has determined that she no longer has a future. The tale is a pulse by pulse portrait of a young heroine's crisis of faith and salvation in the face of unbearable loss.

    How long did you work on this book?
    I started the research that would ultimately be incorporated into DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS six years or so ago. I was working, at the time, on an autobiography of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, a book called FLOW, and I kept encountering stories and images that stirred in me an entirely different kind of story. I tend to work on multiple projects at once. I focus obsessively, then walk away, then return. It’s never a straightforward process.

    How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
    Ah, well, there’s a long story in this, but I shall keep it short. My editor for this book, Laura Geringer, is the same editor who originally brought me to HarperTeen for a series of YA novels that began with UNDERCOVER. When I was writing DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS I always imagined that Laura would be its editor at HarperTeen. But things changed at HarperTeen, and Laura left to begin a new chapter in her editorial life. There were several months during which I wasn’t sure the book would have a home. It was sent to a handful of adult houses, where I heard wonderful things, but it wasn’t quite right for those lists.
    But one day, quite unexpectedly, Laura reached out and asked if she might read that Centennial novel she’d remembered me speaking about months before. I sent it, and she called the next day. She wanted to give this book a home, she told me, and she was going to see if she might find a way. Several weeks passed. Laura ultimately entered into an arrangement with the fabulous Egmont USA, and after what was, all told, more than a year of holding my breath, the book was sold.

    What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
    The books that have had the hardest journey are the books that are often the most successful, at least for me. This was true of FLOW, which seemed a too-odd book in many a publisher’s mind. An autobiography of a river? most publishers asked, incredulous, but after it was published, Philadelphians embraced the book in ways I’ll never forget. This was also true of ZENOBIA, a corporate fable that I co-authored; most thought me crazy for writing an Alice-in-Wonderland-like story for corporate America, but in the end, it sold more rights to more foreign countries than any of my other books. This might also prove to be true of DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS; it’s surely too early to tell, but I can tell you that I’ve been amazed by the generous early outreach by readers like you. Keep fighting, is my mantra. The battles can be won.

    What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
    The conversations that I have with readers and other writers. The communities that have welcomed me in. The chance that I have been given to get to know extraordinary young readers. All of it is a privilege.
    We cannot thank you enough for this wonderful opportunity.
    The pleasure is all mine.
    You can check out Beth's teacher's guide for DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS here.
  • You by Charles Benoit

    From Booklist: Fifteen-year-old Kyle is a member of the “hoodies.” So named for their ubiquitous hooded sweatshirts, they are the slackers/burnouts/freaks common to every high school. In fact, Kyle would be the first to admit his commonness—he gets picked on by bullies, he serves detention, he pines after a girl. The deadness he feels is impinged upon by the arrival of Zack, a private-academy transfer who wears sports coats, quotes philosophers, laughs at Shakespeare, and seems to have every student and teacher in the palm of his hand. Zack takes on Kyle as a sort of project, but his swank parties and daring escapades soon turn to deeds far darker. Benoit's stylistic gamble here is the use of the second person—you, the reader, are Kyle.
    How long did you work on this book?
    I had just finished writing Noble Lies, an adult mystery, and wanted to do something totally different. A Young Adult written in second person was about as far as I figured I could go. My adult mysteries usually take about 14 months to write and I wasn’t ready to jump into another one right away. YOU took about six months to write, not because it was easier than adult mysteries—if anything it was harder—but because the narrative voice seemed to flow so much faster. That surprised me since second person isn’t something I’d ever tried before. The strange thing was that as I was writing YOU, I found myself talking in second person, narrating the stupid things I did every day. Not out loud (well, not regularly) but enough to make me wonder. But that voice in my head helped move the book along at, for me, a quick pace.

    Was it difficult switching from adult to young adult?
    It was harder than I thought it would be!
    When I was writing YOU, I assumed that many of my readers wouldn’t be coming to the book willingly, that it would have been assigned or, best-case scenario, it was the one they settled on when they had to pick a book to read for class. Sure, I knew there would be other readers who devoured all sorts of books, but those readers love to read. I wanted to write something that people who didn’t like to read would read but that was still written in a way to please the avid readers. The hardest part was knowing that I couldn’t let the story slow down too much or I’d lose my audience. Devoted readers are more willing to take a serendipitous route though the story and I did that with my mysteries, taking the scenic road to the conclusion, but with YOU I had to keep on the main path almost all the time.
    I also wanted the book to reflect the young adult experience as I knew it and as it’s being lived by the young adults in my life. The clothing styles change and the forms of entertainment are different, but the key issues, the stuff that really makes it such a wild time, stay the same. Keeping the know-it-all adult me out of the story became my most important job as a writer.
    Finally, I made some small choices that proved to be tricky as well. For example, I made a decision not to swear in this book. I have nothing against swearing and I know it’s common now in YA novels, but it was a writing challenge I wanted to take on, just to see if I could do it. It turns out I could do it, but it was harder than it sounds, and it forced me to be a better writer.

    What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
    Be careful what you choose to read. You have only X amount of time you can spend reading and what you read will influence what you write. Reading should be like eating—you need a varied diet to keep healthy and too much of any one thing isn’t good for you. Plus it’s boring. Shoot for a mix of meaty, protein-packed books—the kind you can savor, loaded with unexpected flavors, carefully prepared and enjoyed slowly—and mental junk food books—the airy, quick and fun reads that you know aren’t good for you but that you like anyway. Gorge yourself on either type and you’ll regret it. Your diet fuels your exercise, which for us is writing. What you eat will determine what you get out of the exercise.

    What has surprised you most about being/becoming a published author?
    What surprised me most was how little anything has changed. I still struggle to find time to write, my friends and family still treat me exactly the same, I’m still humbled by what other authors write, I still have a full-time job, I still doubt my talent and I still stare at the same blinking curser, just like before.
    Here’s a question you didn’t ask but that I want to answer: What do you like most about the Adventures in Children’s Publishing blog?
    It is absolutely packed with practical, real-world advice and I have spent many happy hours reading the posts and hitting the links it suggests. Used intelligently, it can serve as a college-level writing program, and it’s free. I’ve picked up a lot from this site and I’m sure I will continue to learn from it.

    (Okay, we're majorly blushing!!! Thanks, Charles. Major *squee*!)

Additional Releases:
  • Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett

    From Goodreads: Plum Coyle is on the edge of adolescence. Her fourteenth birthday is approaching, when her old life and her old body will fall away, and she will become graceful, powerful, and at ease. The strength of the objects she stores in a briefcase under her bed —a crystal lamb, a yoyo, an antique watch, a coin —will make sure of it. Over the next couple of weeks, Plum’s life will change. Her beautiful neighbor Maureen will begin to show Plum how she might fly. The older brothers she adores will court catastrophe in worlds that she barely knows exist. And her friends, her worst enemies, will tease and test, smelling weakness. They will try to lead her on and take her down. BUTTERFLY is a gripping, disquieting, beautifully observed coming-of-age novel by an acclaimed author at the top of her form.

  • Hot Mess (Chloe Gamble #3) by Ed Decter
    From Goodreads: The final book in the rags-to-riches-to-rags trilogy that reads like an E! True Hollywood Story.

  • Kisses From Hell by Kristin Cast, Richelle Mead, Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noel, Francesca Lia Block

    From Goodreads: This irresistible collection features stories of love amid vampires by five of today's hottest authors—Kristin Cast (Tempted), Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy), Alyson Noël (Evermore), Kelley Armstrong (The Summoning), and Francesca Lia Block (Pretty Dead). From a fugitive vampire forced to trust a boy who might work for the group bent on destroying her to the legendary romance of two immortals whose love compels them to risk everything, this heart-pounding collection brings new meaning to the words "love you forever." Whether you're into romances that are dark and moody or light and fun, these stories will quench that insatiable thirst for enchanting tales of the beautiful undead.

  • Hothouse:A Novel by Chris Lynch

    From Goodreads: If you do it right, it can be a life. The hothouse, the guys, the glory. But just like that, it can all go up in smoke. In the beginning it was strange, ya know, because of all that we had lost. But there was something about it that felt so good and so right, too: "I'm so proud of you, Russ." "We'll always be here for you, man." "Heroes don't pay for nothin' in this town." It was nonstop. The mayor shook my hand. Ladies sent food. I've never eaten so much baked ham in my life. And now? Now the phone won't stop ringing from the crazies ready to blame me. My mom has to cry herself to sleep. They take a firefighter, a man, and they pump him up so big. . . . But once they start taking it away from you, they don't stop until they leave nothing on the bones. First they needed heroes, then they needed blood.

  • Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
    From Booklist: Durango is the 16-year-old chief of a team of mercenaries who eke out a living on Mars by earning meager commissions for their dangerous work. Their current job, and the main thrust of this high-energy, action-filled, science-fiction romp, is to protect South Pole miners from the Dræu, a cannibalistic group who are after the miners' treasure. Two feisty women help Durango lead. Second-in-command Vienne and Durango care more for each other than either wants to admit, although there is little time for romance amid all the flying bullets and detonating bombs. Mimi, the other central woman and Durango's former chief, is now implanted in his brain as an artificial intelligence.

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

    From Goodreads: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.


And now for a contest! Inara Scott and Beth Kephart generously agreed to give away a copy of their wonderful new books to two lucky readers. Charles Benoit kindly offered a signed page of his original manuscript, which he says is "complete with all the embarrassing errors, crossed out bits and stuff illegibly crammed in between lines."

Thank you, Inara, Beth, and Charles for this fantastic opportunity! Enter for a chance to win by leaving a comment and filling out the form below. The contest closes on Wednesday, August 25th at midnight EST and is open to U.S. residents only.

Happy Reading,

Martina & Marissa


  1. I just read another article about The Candidates. Cover is awesome!! All the books look/sound wonderful. Thanks for organizing this.

  2. Love when people do the legwork for me!! Thanks! :)

  3. Hi Salarsen! Since the Candidates comes out TOMORROW I am all over the Internetz today talking it up. ;-) And I agree with you, the cover is AMAZING. I can honestly say I had nothing to do with it, but I fell in love the minute I saw it. :-)

    You can find me on twitter at @inarascott or on Facebook (Inara Scott). If you do get to read it, let me know what you think. I love hearing from readers.

  4. Hi Jess! I agree, this site is awesome. I think I'll just print out this post and take it with me to the bookstore.

    Not that I'll be hovering around the shelves, looking for my book. Nope. Not me. I'm WAAAAY too cool for that sort of behavior.

  5. Christine, I heartily agree. These books all sound fabulous. Stiff competition for readers, though I'm a believer in the "high tide floats all boats" theory. The more readers love YA, the more YA gets published and sold. Which is great for everyone.

  6. You guys never cease to amaze me!! I didn't enter because I felt it would be somehow weird if I won. But that is awesome! I love that you showcase the releases like that. Can you make this a regular feature? Then I won't have to be completely surprised when I miss something that came out that looks good!

  7. Wow, great list. Dangerous Neighbors and You sound AWESOME.

  8. Gorgeous covers and wonderful plots!!!

    Thanks girls for doing such hard work and presenting us with all this juicy info!

  9. What a great idea to highlight these books this week. Especially with all the Mockingjay hipe. The books sound awesome.

  10. Thanks Ann Marie (I'm not scared to take credit for a cover I had absolutely nothing to do with!). Hope you enjoy the new books -- don't they all look fabulous? :-)

  11. Hi Natalie, and I definitely appreciate the attention -- it is a bit hard for a debut author to get any notice when she's up against the Mockingjay freight train. :-)

  12. Hello, and thank you so much for this opportunity! Especially in this, the week of Mockingjay. So very appreciated!

  13. We are so happy everyone is chiming in! We're honored to have Inara and Beth on the blog commenting. Thanks, ladies :)

    Martina and I get into the bookstore and can never remember what's coming out on a given week. We know there are a lot of great books in the works, but we can never keep track of actual release dates. If you're like us, something like this comes in handy! It's our hope to make this a recurring post each week to help everyone keep new releases straight.

    Thanks everyone!!!


  14. I'm with Lisa - what an incredibly valuable resource! I'm off the bookstore tonight! Thank you so very much.

  15. WAIT -- Katelin! Don't go tonight! Go tomorrow, so you can get The Candidates! You don't want to try to deal with all those nasty Mockingjay crowds anyway, right? ;-)

  16. What a generous giveaway! Thanks! :) And can I just say MOCKINGJAYZOMGOMGOMG!

    Uh, yeah. Just had to get that out. :)

    Angela @ Teh Bookshelf Muse

  17. I met Inara at Book Expo (and dinner afterward). She is one awesome lady! Looking forward to all of these great books!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Thank you so much for such a great contest once again!

  19. I've been looking at The Candidates for a while in the blogosphere and hoping to get my hands on it LOL! Lots of great releases this week thoguh! (If you're I haven't even read The Hunger Games series yet. *ack*)

    Awesome interviews and giveaway! Thanks so much!

  20. It's my first visit to your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed the interviews and the additional info. Thanks!

  21. Nice to have all of this information in one place!

  22. OMG, what a list! My head is swimming with all the awesome books I have yet to read, even as new awesomeness is released. Holy book giveaway!

    Thanks, guys.

  23. Hi Lacey! Right back 'atcha -- BEA was great fun. If you do get your hands on it, please let me know what you think of Delcroix! :-)

  24. Kris -- are you just teasing me? Seriously, you've been looking at The Candidates for a while? Aw man, that's so nice! Just about 12 hours before the bookstores open...not that I'm counting or anything! :-)

  25. Hi Kittie -- I've got a confession -- this was MY first time to the blog as well. Isn't it amazing? So much information to be gained here. I'll have to settle in for a day and just read back blogs....

    Glad you enjoyed the interviews. Email me if you have any other questions, or just want to say hi!

  26. Julie. Awesome enthusiasm. Truly an awesome display of awesomeness, wrapped in an awesome blanket.


  27. Thanks so much for all the info on such a great list of books! And my to-read list just keeps growing...and growing...

  28. I'm glad that I followed a link to this blog. What a wonderful resource for readers and writers.


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)