Something’s up with Garret. I know this because he sits perfectly still next to me when usually he’s in constant motion. His eyes say he’s somewhere far away from this party and all the people celebrating his winning catch. No one else will notice, but I’m his best friend. It’s kind of my job.
I elbow him. “What’s up?”
He startles, as if he honestly forgot where he was. “Nothing, man. Just tired.”
I don’t believe him, but before I can ask anything else Mercedes shows up. She glances at me and waves. “Hey, Russ, mind if I steal him for a while?”
“What if I said no?”
She laughs and sits on his lap, attaching her face to his. That would be my cue to find another seat, because the last thing I want to see up close is Garret making out with his girlfriend. It’s bad enough that I’ve had to endure so many of them over the years while never having one myself.
I grab a beer from the counter and crack it open. I don’t really like the stuff – especially when it’s cheap crap like this – but you can’t be a school athlete without at least looking like you drink. Especially after smashing your rivals at Homecoming. But nothing seems right tonight. No post-game high. Nothing. This party is like déjà vu, and I get the feeling my whole senior year will be the same. Football games, parties, girls, school. Rinse and repeat.
Out of nowhere, Garret pushes Mercedes off him and says something to her. I can’t tell what it is over the blaring music, but she gives him that I’m-trying-to-be-the-understanding-girlfriend smile. Then she hugs him, and he pulls away.
I get it now. Garret’s getting restless. It’s always the same pattern: Garret gets swarmed by girls, he picks one, dates her, gets bored, and breaks her heart. We’ve now hit the “I’m bored out of my mind” phase. I give her a week, which means I must prepare. Since I am his best friend, every single girl campaigning to be the next trophy on Garret Taylor’s arm will suddenly want to be my friend.
Max the Brave by Ed Vere is one of my favorite stories of 2015. I got a chance to read it at ALA 2015 and the story has stayed with me. I was thrilled to be part of the blog tour. It made up for the fact that Vere came through town and I missed him!
Max is a fearless kitten. Max is a brave kitten. Max is a kitten who chases mice. There’s only one problem—Max doesn’t know what a mouse looks like! With a little bit of bad advice, Max finds himself facing a much bigger challenge. Maybe Max doesn’t have to be Max the Brave all the time…
Join this adventurous black cat as he very politely asks a variety of animals for help in finding a mouse. Young readers will delight in Max’s mistakes, while adults will love the subtle, tongue-in-cheek humor of this new children’s classic.
Ed Vere is an author, artist and illustrator with a long track record of success in the picture book category. Max the Brave was named one of The Sunday Times’s 100 Modern Children’s Classics. His book Bedtime for Monsters was shortlisted for the 2011 Roald Dahl Funny Prize and Mr Big was chosen by Booktrust as the official Booktime book for 2009 (and was distributed to 750,000 British schoolchildren making it the largest single print run of a picture book). Vere was the World Book Day illustrator
Rafflecopter Link (contest runs Sept. 1-Oct. 31)
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuNbrpUVunE
On her way to a writer’s conference, a bestselling teenage author takes a detour that has been deliberately set up by her biggest fans—a mother and daughter who kidnap her.
Livvy Flynn is a big deal—she’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s gorgeous, and she’s full of herself.
When she’s invited to an A-list writer’s conference, she decides to accept so she can have some time to herself. She’s on a tight deadline for her next book, and she has no intention of socializing with the other industry people at the conference.
And then she hits the detour. Before she knows it, her brand new car is wrecked, she’s hurt, and she’s tied to a bed in a nondescript shack in the middle of nowhere. A woman and her apparently manic daughter have kidnapped her. And they have no intention of letting her go. – Goodreads
You know when you read a book and your expectations are one thing, and then the book provides something completely from left field. That’s how The Detour was for me. While the left field book often works, The Detour did not work for me. I felt like the entire book was a satire and Boden was writing a lot of inside jokes for her friends and if you weren’t in that group the book really makes no sense.
The skeleton of the book makes sense. Olivia, or Livvy, is a worldwide best selling author; the author who everyone knows. On her way to a writing retreat she has an accident and the next thing she knows she has been kidnapped by a woman and her daughter. Olivia’s world quickly goes downhill and she has no idea what she did to deserve being kidnapped. Through use of flashbacks we see that Livvy did not have an easy life and was often made fun of and that is why she is the way she is. Sorry, just because you were once bullied doesn’t mean that you have the right to be a bully.
The Detour interested me from a publishing side of it. It showed the differences between a big named author who has everyone show up to their signing (Livvy needed ice for her signing wrist) and the author who tries everything and has three people show up to their signings. I’ve been to both. I’ve been to the signings where you wait for hours and to the signings where my BFF, Sarah and I have been the only people and every time my heart has gone out to both authors.
But besides a small part of the book, I lost interest in most of it. I was hoping for more from Boden and The Detour. That being said, I did read it in a day, and found it to be enjoyable.
I don’t hide away from the fact that #QuietYA is my jam. It’s a hashtag that is picking up steam on twitter and it has brought to light some of my favorite books and some I have never heard of. It has also allowed me to push books that I love into the hands of my friends and turn them into their favorites.
An Interview with Mary Crockett,
Co-author of Dream Boy
We’re bringing attention to #QuietYA today with a conversation between two authors who debuted very different young adult novels in 2014.
Mary Crockett’s Dream Boy, co-written with her friend Madelyn Rosenberg, is a contemporary fantasy that explores the world of dreams and asks what might happen when the lines between dream and reality become blurred. Helene Dunbar’s These Gentle Wounds is a realistic contemporary novel that takes us into the mind of Gordie, a teen suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as he seeks to overcome past emotional injuries and find a way to confront current ones.
Mary and Helene met through the OneFour KidLit debut group, and are interviewing each other in celebration of #QuietYA. You can find Helene’s interview of Mary below, and Mary’s interview of Helene here.
Helene: Dream Boy is a collaboration. How did that come about?
Mary: Madelyn and I met through our mutual friends, authors Cece Bell and Tom Angleberger. Tom and Cece were famous for their spades tournaments and “porch pickins” in our little corner of southwestern Virginia, and I’m pretty sure we met first at one of Tom and Cece’s parties.
I say “pretty sure” because the way Madelyn remembers it, we first met when we worked together to host a teen writing workshop for the YMCA. At any rate, the various events—the party and the workshop—were within a week or so of each other, and Mad and I have been friends ever since.
We thought it’d be fun to work together on a writing project—and as it turns out, we were right. It was fun. I come from a poetry background, so it was a huge help for me to see how Madelyn, a seasoned novelist, approached her craft.
Helene: What did you each bring to the process?
Mary: One of my kids has a Teen Titans Cyborg toy, and when you push a button it says, “I got the sonic if you got the boom!”
Yes, I have heard that bleeping toy make its mighty declaration a bazillion times, and yes, I am lacking sleep—but I don’t think those are the only reasons that that particular quote comes to mind right now. It also accurately describes the working relationship I shared with Mad.
If one of us brought the sonic, the other was right there with the boom.
Helene: I loved the humor in your book because that isn’t something you see in YA all the time. Was that a deliberate goal?
Mary: Mad said she’d only work with me on Dream Boy if we could make it funny.
We cracked each other up so many times in the process of writing that book. I’d write something totally straight and Madelyn would send it back with a zinger.
For me, too, I think collaborative writing works much better with comedy. What I’m working on right now as a solo project is quite heavy, quite depressing, and in some ways, I’m not sure I could “share” the writing of it with someone else. But comedy—that’s the perfect medium to be volleyed between friends.
Helene: Can you share a line or two from Dream Boy? A favorite quotation? Description? Bit of dialog?
Mary: Sure. Hmmm. So, like you mentioned, there’s a good bit of comedy in Dream Boy, but there’s also suspense, romance, horror, and the kitchen sink.
If you’d asked me yesterday, I might have gone with something scary; if you ask me tomorrow, I’ll probably chose something silly. But since you asked me today, I’m going with something a little swoony.
“What the hell are you thinking? Running after a sociopath in the middle of the night? It’s crazy. You don’t have to do it.” He stopped short. “I can’t lose you.”
“What choice do I have? And besides—”
“You don’t get it.” His voice seemed to have grown moss. “I can’t lose you.”
We were silent for a second, looking at one another across the darkness. Unexpectedly, the lines of his face were easier to read in the dim light, like the chiaroscuro paintings Ms. Sage had shown us in class. She’d said the dark helps us notice the light, and it’s true. In the brim of night, the slight uneven cast of his cheekbones blurred into shadow, while his eyes almost gleamed.
“It’s like that for me, too,” I finally said.
“I doubt it.” His voice was so quiet that I felt his words more than heard them.
“What do you mean? Of course it is.”
“I mean—” but he never finished. Instead he leaned down and pressed his lips, his breath, against mine. The shock of it filled my lungs.
Helene: What are your dreams like? Do you remember them?
Mary: At times, my dreams are certifiably insane! At times, they’re bone-numbingly boring. In my best dreams, I’m flying. In my worst nightmares, I’m powerless to move or speak while I watch a bus hit one of my children, my babies.
Most often, though, my dreams are just plain weird. I usually have some sort of task I feel the need to accomplish, and generally the task makes no sense. For example, I might need tell the old lady the eggplants are ready. But where is the old lady? And what eggplants? Often I’m in a big, old house, and I’m almost always looking for someone and avoiding someone else—which, now that I think of it, is not all that much unlike my waking life.
Helene: In a way, a debut book is an author’s “baby,” too. How do you see your book, now that you’re a year out?
Mary: You’re right. Dream Boy is my baby.
I always tell my kids, “I love you and I always will, no matter what,” and I think I might say the same to Dream Boy. I love this book—the fun and the sass of it. And I love that I got to spend such a special time writing it with a friend. I love it for all it taught me about writing and all it means as that first fat book with my name on the spine.
What’s heartening to me, though, is how its taken on its own life, out of my hands. It’s really exciting to see how teens have engaged with it and made it their own. I love hearing from people who read it and had their imaginations sparked in some way—and from those who are particular fans of one character or another.
But I was especially touched when I happened upon a review from a reader who encountered Dream Boy during a very difficult time in her life. The book, she said, gave her some solace as she faced her grandmother’s final battle with Alzheimer’s. It was incredibly meaningful to me to know that something Madelyn and I wrote was able to help someone through a difficult time. That’s when I knew for certain that all the imaginative energy we poured into Dream Boy was absolutely worth it.
Helene: What’s next on the horizon for you?
Mary: I don’t want to jinx it, but I’ll go ahead and say I’m close to finishing a contemporary YA manuscript. (Note to self: FINISH THE THING.) It’s quite different from Dream Boy. Pretty stark in its subject matter. But I suppose there’s some humor there, too. My mother would always say,“I’d rather laugh than cry.” And so far, this is a laughing-through-the-tears type of story.
I have several picture books and poetry projects I’m working on, as well. Wish me luck! I need it.
I’d like to start another collaborative manuscript soon, too, but I’m still looking for the right project. It’s hard to find that perfect fit—but when it happens, it’s magical. And I’ve always been one to believe in magic.
Helene: Finally, why do you think it’s important that readers give #QuietYA a chance? What can they find in these books?
Mary: There are times in our lives when we need certain books—books that will speak to us in a particular way at a particular moment. And it’s entirely possible that The Book On Everyone’s Lips isn’t necessarily the one you need at any given hour. What’s going to turn that key in you? What’s going to open that door?
Okay, mixing metaphors here. It’s late, and my brain is going in a million directions at once. But you get the idea, right?
Sometimes you have to look in unexpected places to find the book that’s right for you. That’s how I feel about Quiet YA.
Go into the unknown, turn over some rocks. Take a chance. What’s really at risk?
If the book’s not for you, pass it on to a friend. It may be just the book that person has been looking for.
Watch the book trailer for Dream Boy here:
Enter to win copies of Dream Boy and These Gentle Wounds in the #QuietYA giveaway, or you can pick up a copy at a local bookstore or online:
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dream-boy-mary-crockett/1118586374?ean=9781402295836
These Gentle Wounds:
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/these-gentle-wounds-helene-dunbar/1117011369?ean=9780738740270
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-remains-helene-dunbar/1120517252?ean=9780738744308
I am beyond thrilled to be part of Jennifer Mathieu’s blog tour for Devoted. I had the chance to read Devoted a few months ago and I fell in love with it to the point I could not stop talking about it. My friend Julie began reading it because I couldn’t shut up about it and then she fell in love with it. It also helped that I am completely fascinated by religions that border on cult like tendencies, which Mathieu covered extremely well. I also was excited to ask her some questions about Devoted.
Well, in part it did come from my fascination with the Duggar family, but I have always been interested in extremes when it comes to religion. Some of my favorite books are nonfiction books about childhood religious experiences as well as books about cults and how they form. I highly recommend Julia Scheeres’s book JESUS LAND about her fundamentalist upbringing as well as her book A THOUSAND LIVES about the Jonestown cult. I’m the type of person who spends hours reading Wikipedia pages about such things, so DEVOTED felt like a natural offshoot of that interest.
The Duggar family recently made news for their show being canceled. While the family in your book is not a placeholder for the Duggar family, after all the research that you did, what are your thoughts about the scandal?
My first thoughts are with the victims. It breaks my heart that these young women were hurt in this way and that there was no proper follow through in terms of real counseling for them or their abuser. It also pains me that they were forced to continue living with their abuser.
It’s incredibly troublesome that the family went first to church elders instead of law enforcement or family counseling, but it’s very common in this world, at least according to my research. Therapy is seen as suspect, and mental health issues or complex issues such as abuse are usually dealt with by prayer alone. In DEVOTED, Rachel’s mother has depression related to a miscarriage, but Rachel’s family never utilizes the help of a licensed counselor or medication, despite the obvious fact that she needs it desperately.
Another aspect of the situation involving Josh Duggar that is incredibly troublesome to me is that there is so much pressure on women and girls in this culture to be modest so as to not tempt men and boys. I find it maddening that more than likely these victims were made to feel that this was somehow partly their fault, which is ridiculous. Even if they understood on some level that they were not at fault, they were more than likely pressured to “forgive” their abuser. The situation becomes about the abuser’s need to be forgiven and redeemed as opposed to anything the victims have endured. I highly recommend reading Vyckie Garrison’s No Quivering blog and Libby Anne’s Love, Joy, Feminism blog for more detailed information on how this community handles sexual abuse. It’s highly disturbing.
What a great question! Even before this recent scandal involving Josh Duggar, I had stopped watching the Duggars’ show. What was once a novelty or curiosity became too painful to watch as I had interviewed and read about many women raised in similar families who had heartbreaking stories to tell. At the same time, I also began to understand what makes a parent join such an extreme world and raise their children in such extreme circumstances – it often comes from a hunger to provide the very best for their own children after a difficult childhood themselves. So I began to have more compassion for some of these folks even as I became more uncomfortable with their actions.
One of the things I enjoyed throughout your novel Devoted was the fact that while Rachel’s life was rocked to its core, she still believed in God. Unlike Lauren who went the complete opposite way when she left the religion. Not that there was a right or a wrong way to deal with something like that, did you always know that Rachel’s faith would stay true?
I think I did on some level although I wasn’t totally sure as I started drafting the novel. But as I got to know Rachel, I realized she had a hunger to know God and to feel something on a deeper, spiritual level – you could call it a soul level – even as she questioned her own family and upbringing. Then I understood that Rachel would end the story as someone who would still call herself a Christian. As I was writing, I realized that Lauren and Rachel had very different reactions to a similar upbringing, but I think – from my research – that that’s quite realistic and it added some interesting tension to the second half of the novel. To be honest, I think Rachel’s spiritual journey is based partly on my own. I no longer practice the faith of my childhood, and I’ve attended several different churches and asked myself a lot of questions over the years, but I have come to appreciate many aspects of my childhood faith where I once criticized it heavily and wanted nothing to do with it. I believe faith for most of us is a journey of a lifetime, and it’s different for everyone.
What are you working on now?
I don’t have a title yet, but I’m working on my third book for Roaring Brook Press, and it should be out in Fall 2016. It’s ripped from the headlines, in a way, and was inspired by a similar case that actually took place in Missouri in 2006. It opens with a young boy who is kidnapped from his small Texas town. Thanks to a sharp-eyed eye witness, he is found a few days later, but when law enforcement discovers him inside the abductor’s apartment, they also find a teenage boy who was abducted four years before by the same man. The teenage boy has developed what some call Stockholm Syndrome – while physically free, he has been too terrified to leave his abductor. The bulk of the narrative begins a few months after the boys are recovered, and it’s about the friendship that forms between the older boy and the older sister of the younger boy. It’s about two teens whose lives are linked by a bizarre tragedy, and it’s about secrets, guilt, hope, and finding a best friend in the most unlikely place. I just finished the first draft and will be started revisions soon. This one was a tough one to write, but the characters were so real to me, and I cared about them so very much. I hope readers will feel the same way.
The most important question: dog or cat?
Ha! I have one dog and two cats. I love my dog. I tolerate my cats. They’re old and ornery and fight with each other and wake me up in the middle of the night by puking up hairballs on my bed. No joke! I’m a big believer that when you adopt an animal you commit to taking care of it for its lifetime, so don’t worry – my felines are probably spoiled. But after they go to their reward, I think we’ll be a dog-only family.
Thanks for answering my questions Jennifer, it was a pleasure having you on the blog!
Other Stops on The Blog Tour:
June 2: Ex Libris Kate | @exlibris_Kate
June 3: YAdultReview | @_ash
June 4: Jenuine Cupcakes | @cupcakegirly
June 5: MacTeenBooks | @fiercereads
June 6: Bookish Broads | @BookishBroads
June 7: My My Shelf and I | @MyShelfandI
June 8: Into the Hall of Books | @bookwormashley
June 9: I Read Banned Books | @jenbigheart
June 10: Rainy Day Ramblings | @rnydayramblings
June 11: Dana Square | @danasquare
June 12: Book Addict’s Guide | @bookaddictguide
June 13: ReadingTeen.net | @readingteen
June 14: ReadNowSleepLater.com | @mslbooks
A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.
In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.
Music I Thought of When Reading When Reason Breaks
Adam’s Song by Blink 182
Long December by Counting Crows
Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson
What The World Needs Now Is Love by Dionne Warwick
If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot
The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
Re: Stacks by Bon Iver
Hurt by Johnny Cash
The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert
WHEN REASON BREAKS Blog Tour:
April 6th –> Write All the Words!
April 7th –> The YA Kitten
April 8th –> YA Romantics
April 9th –> Adventures of a Book Junkie
April 10th –>Itching for Books
April 13th –> Fic Fare
April 14th –> The Book Belles
April 15th –> Novel Ink
April 16th –> The Reading Nook Reviews
April 17th –> YAdult Review
Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former newspaper reporter turned public school teacher. She now teaches as a reading specialist at a Connecticut middle school but previously worked for the Hartford Courant and the Boston Globe. She and her young daughter live in Plainville, Connecticut. This is her debut novel. Visit her on Twitter @RodriguezCindyL.
This giveaway is US only for entrants aged 13 and older.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hello! We are thrilled to be part of What’s Your “Winner’s Curse” Blog Tour. After I read both books I knew I would flail my arms to be part of this tour. So here we are! Welcome to our stop!
The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means you’ve gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price. What would you pay too much for?
I’ve thought long and hard about this actually. Love? A solid job that I love every day? Concert tickets? (I go to a lot of concerts.) A puppy? Let’s be real, it’s going to be the puppy right? But I ultimately decided on books, because here’s the thing. Even as a librarian, I own a lot of books. I use the library all the time, I work at a library, I’m lucky enough to read ARCs and last year I still spent enough to pay off a good portion of my student loans if I would have just said no.
It’s a problem. I often buy books that I have to have only to have them sit on my shelf for a year before I sell them to my used book store down the street. Many times I start the year going “I am only going to get books for a book signing that’s coming to town!” But then I read a really, really good book and I have to buy it. Or my friend publishes a book and of course I’m going to support them. While in The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime, Kestrel probably wishes that her curse could be something as simple as too many books and not paying too much for Arin, but still, without a doubt my winner’s curse is books. Oh the buyers regret I’ve had. Not every time, but enough that I have started to double guess almost any book purchase I have, because I recognize I have a problem.
But isn’t it a good problem to have? In my room I am literally surrounded by literature and my friends. Of course my father jokes that one spark and my room is gone. And I don’t regret the money I’ve spent going to book events (including yallfest and driving to California one day, just because I wanted to see Kasie West.) There is something comforting about seeing an author who’s book you loved and telling them how much it meant to you. Or seeing Stephanie Perkins, who you’ve talked to on her blog a lot and having her recognize your name and having her give you a hug because she knows you needed it. I don’t regret that. I also don’t regret the friends that books have brought me.
From Tina, who I run this blog with and send daily emails to about books and general life complaints to my friend Erica who works in book publishing and I almost never talk to about books. Unless it comes to how I need to purge my collection and she’d like to set a skype appointment with me because “Ashley you have a problem. Let’s work through it.” Or having a bookbff in which there is no book judgement? Those friendships mean the world to me.
Will I get better about my winner’s curse? Maybe. I am running out of room. It would also be nice to pay off my student loans. But the feeling of those books? And my friends? Worth it.
More about The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart. – Goodreads
Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.
The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.
As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them. – Goodreads