Book Talk: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Date: October 12, 2010
Series or Standalone: standalone
ISBN: 978-0385737630
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel
A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

First line: Those who can, do.

Funny story about Jennifer Donnelly: her other YA novel A Northern Light was the first YA book I read—and I didn’t even know it. It was my sophomore year of college and it sat on this free table in our main building. I saw it, picked it up and took it home. When I finished reading it, I minored in writing because it was the most beautiful book I’d ever read and I wanted to be able to write like that. It wasn’t until last year I learned it was YA book. So, when Revolution was given to me, I was already excited. If there’s one thing Jennifer Donnelly does well, it’s the way she manages to mingle basic words together and leave you breathless. (I think she could write a book about a cow standing in a field and it would still be incredible just because of how she wrote it.)

Revolution is complicated, heartbreaking, beautiful and brutal. Most of the book is from Andi’s point of view but so much of is Alex’s story. Jennifer brings Alex and the French Revolution (something I know nothing about) into Andi’s life through a diary. Both stories show the struggles of a people and their fight for a better life. The diary provides insight into the suffering of the royal family and the loss of the small prince. And there’s Mahlerbeau, the famous composer that Andi is studying so she can graduate, who provides a lot of mystery, explanation and thinking. These elements mingled make this is a flawless journey that is centuries apart but just what Andi needs to survive.

Typically I’m not a fan of “here’s a girl, here’s a diary she’s reading” books. They tend to be stifled and missing pieces because they rely to heavily on one over the other.  I always wanted to read person A instead B. That was never an issue here; Jennifer really nailed it in this story though. The transitions are seamless in Revolution—whether we’re in Alex’s story or Andi’s story, I am content there. I enjoyed both stories because even though they were different, they were the same. Both wrought with pain and lack of hope. Both unsure of the purpose of living. Both looking for something to believe in.

From the first page, Andi is all about pain. She is mean to everyone in her life because “for just a few seconds, someone else hurts, too. For just a few seconds, I’m not alone.” Andi has lost her brother, which pulls her through the whole book in a painstaking guilt and loss, her father who left them and her mother, who had a breakdown. Andi doesn’t care, is about to fail out of school and is breathless moments away from ending it all. In the beginning, all she has is music. In the end, she doesn’t even know if that’s enough.

My only minor complaint was toward the end. I felt like a particular series of scenes where Andi is in the past was dragging. I get the importance and the beauty of it and that makes me okay with it but I was ready for it to be over. I felt as if that delayed the ending. I also wanted more Virgil. The epilogue was rushed and felt more like I was being told things rather than showed them as I had been for the previous 490 pages. I can look past these things though. They are so minor in comparison to the rest of the story.

Everything is beautiful and stunning and played out well so that Andi and Alex come to the same realization and it changes them. It’s an awesome thing to read on the pages. I can’t even tell you how beautiful this book is, how accurate, how raw. I promise that it’s worth a read. The words will resonate within your soul if you’ve ever lost or loved or felt guilty, if you’ve ever wondered why all this is how it is then you just need to read it.

Source: Given at NEIBA


YAspooktacular Prize Packs

That was a ton of fun! Thanks so much for being part of the first ever YAspooktacular. We look forward to next year! And what about those stories?!? I hope you enjoyed them as much as we did.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you need to catch up. Go read the stories! The buttons are to the right or you can click here for story 1: Darkness and here for story 2: A Soul Laid Bare.

Below you will find the entry forms to the grand prize packs for each story--and the one combined pack for all International people! Before you fill it out, double check this list and make sure you did everything you need to so you can enter.

1. Did you comment on every piece of the story? There are 13. If there's not a comment on each piece and your name is chosen by random, then you won't win. That will be sad. So, you should go check and see. A complete list of all the blogs can be found here.

2. The final TRICK. You won't want to miss this one. Really. Click the picture and then come back here to fill out your form! 

See? That was fun. Thanks to that person in that trick for taking on that linking challenge!

Here are the forms. Find the one that corresponds with the story you read and fill it out. If you did both, you'll have to do both forms. If you are international, yours is all the way at the bottom.

 DARKNESS pack includes:
*ARC of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
*Thirsty by M.T. Anderson
*ARC of Karma Bites by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas
*The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French
*Prom Nights From Hell (anthology)
*ARC of The Poison Bible 

 A SOUL LAID BARE pack includes: 
*The Dark Ground (book 1) by Gillian Cross
*ARC of Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
*Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz
*ARC of Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
*The Saga of Larten Crepsley
*Vampire Crush 
*Swag (see above for example)

 *$15 Gift Card to The Book Depository! (courtesy of Greyz)

The last thing is a survey. It's anonymous and optional but your feedback would be helpful. You can click here if you want to fill it out.

Thanks for participating! Winners for all ToTs and the grand prize packs will be announced by Nov. 6 via email and a blog post. This contest officially closes on October 31 at 11pm EST.

Until then, spread the word and, take a second to let me know what you liked most!


The Slump

I've been in a slump lately. All month really. It's come and gone--but mostly it's stayed. It started with reading--nothing I liked even if I wanted to, no motivation to do it. Then it was edits and then writing. Then it's been work and waking up, and wondering if Boston will ever bring me friends that I can call to see Harry Potter with. My car died, my computer died (and got fixed! praise!), my cell phone shattered and the reading--did i mention the reading?

I'm not really sure what to do about it but I'm ready for it to leave for good. It's affecting everything, this thing that started as a single item (reading) and has somehow morphed to envelope multiple parts of my life. That got me thinking, "What does slump really mean?" So I looked on dictionary.com. These are the definitions I liked.  (Stick with me. I swear I have a point...and I'm not complaining. Swear.)
–verb (used without object)
1. to drop or fall heavily; collapse
2. to decline or deteriorate, as health, business, quality, or efficiency.
5. to sink into a bog, muddy place, etc., or through ice or snow.
6. to sink heavily, as the spirits.
7. a decrease, decline, or deterioration.
8. a period of decline or deterioration.
9. a period during which a person performs slowly, inefficiently, or ineffectively, esp. a period during which an athlete or team fails to play or score as well as usual.
10. a landslide or rockslide
I love these definitions; some of them are self-explanatory. Some of them don't really make sense in this context. But wait, they do. Let me explain. I picked #1 because that's what I want to do: collapse to the floor and cry, give up on everything, walk away. Then, #5: to sink into a bog, muddy place, etc., or through ice or snow. I have this expression that I've said since middle school. Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning and fighting, fighting to the surface but never making fully making it. When I read that, I had to keep it around. I've never associated the two but there it is in black and white. 

#6. to sink heavily, as the spirits. I'm not really sure what that's supposed to mean, but I call it discouragement. Sometimes, when you are in a slump, you don't have the energy to get out of it. The disappointments of not being able to do whatever you are trying makes you sink further down. #7-8 are basically the same but I like the notation that it's a period of and not forever. Sometimes it can feel like forever. 

I like the example in #9 more than the definition: "a period during which an athlete or team fails to play or score as well as usual." I can't read/write/find motivation as well as usual. Usually, it's all like breathing. It's part of me and I am lost without it. But this month-long slump is getting to me. Again, that this definition says it's a period.

Ok, those make sense now...but #10? A landslide or rockslide? Think of it as a shift. Things move from where they were and go somewhere else. It's a shift in foundation, in believe, in action. It makes people react, think, figure out a solution, wait. It's the process of seeing what will happen when everything is cleaned up because eventually, it will be cleaned up. Things will return where they are supposed to be and it will be a new day. The slump will be over. That will be a GOOD day. And on that day, that very good day that hopefully will come soon, #11 will happen.
11. New England Cookery: a dessert made with cooked fruit, esp. apples or berries, topped with a thick layer of biscuit dough or crumbs.

Why? Because it sounds like a great way to celebrate the end of a slump. Although, I don't know how to make that....maybe it will be a cupcake instead.


YAspooktacular story 1: DARKNESS, part 1

Welcome to the first ever YA Spooktacular event!! This is going to be a crazy-awesome adventure. I'm the lucky beginning of story 1: Darkness. 

Before we get started with the story, you should know that on October 29th, the grand prize packs will up for grabs! We have two of them--one for each story--and one for internationals. To enter them you must comment on every post in the story you are reading. We will be checking! When that day comes, you'll have to fill out an entry form here on my blog or on this one. You may enter for both Prize Packs by reading both stories! You can win extra entries and extra prizes along the way by clicking on the TRICK or TREAT buttons that you see. All of the ToTs are optional but a great chance to win more prizes and entries! For all the rules, the full rundown click HERE.

If you don't know how this whole event works, here's the gist. We've compiled some great authors (known and aspiring) to write a spooky story. One author starts by writing 200-800 words, and then another adds. On and on until it ends. (Only, times it by two since there are two stories!) Basically...it's 7 days, 2 stories and more prizes than you can count! It all starts now. Part one of this story was written by the amazing Heather Brewer.

by Heather Brewer

The sun had never appealed to Jeremy Grainger. No, he was made of darker things. Things that glared with pure disgust at the slight golden hint of morning. Things that growled at passersby. Things that balked at the very idea of the light. Jeremy was made of darkness.
There are things in this world that people—humans, mostly—take for granted. They believe that the sun rises and sets every day, that up is up and down is down, and that they are the only intelligent life on earth.
They’re wrong on all counts.
At least where Jeremy is concerned.
He stepped from the edge of the building, wind brushing back his hair as he fell, but no fear gripped him, no terror. His feet hit the ground softly, as if they were made of the shadows upon which they now stood. It wasn’t a long way to the cemetery, but he had to get going, had to move through the darkness, be one with it, before the sunrise came and ruined everything.
With soft steps, he wound his way through the city streets, his thoughts never far from his goal. The girl. The headstone. The end of all light.
It wouldn’t be long now.

Catch the next part of the story over at http://readingorbreathing.blogspot.com/

Remember those Trick or Treats I mentioned? You can enter a win a treat now just by clicking the button below. What's the treat....?

A Vladimir Todd tote bag, an ARC of Ghost Town by Rachel Caine and an ARC of Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer! Just click the happy pumpkin to enter!

Don't forget to check out the other story!

Happy Halloween! 

 Enjoy the YA Spooktacular.

Follow all the action on Twitter at #YAspooktacular


Boston Book Fest (part 2): YA panel

As promised, here's part two of the great event. This one features the YA panel! And, a giveaway. As yesterday, things I loved are underlined. 
Photo from the AMAZING Kim Harrington, who sat beside me.

This was the thing I was most excited about all day! The panel featured: Noni Carter (Good Fortune), Kathryn Lasky (Guardians of Ga'hoole), Francisco Stork (Marcelo in Real Life, Last Summer of the Death Warriors) and Kristin Cashore (Graceling, Fire). 

"It" panel: Four YA authors discuss what's hot and what's not.

Noni Carter started writing her novel when she was 12. (She's now 19 and a student at Harvard.) The idea for her novel came from the true story her aunt told her as a child about her great-great-great grandmother Rose, who's mom was sold in slavery. Rose watched as a ship sailed away with her mother, who she never saw again. Noni knew that stories were important and she started writing. "We can't move forward in life unless we understand where we came from."

Noni Carter reading from her book.

Kathyrn Lasky was next---and she took a seat and took off her shoes. She addressed the issue of the panel discussion by jumping into "Hot or Not." Kathryn said that most stories (even fiction) are written on a deep personal level and come out with some form of that on the pages. "Writers don't write stories to start trends; they write because there is something burning inside them, a story that has to be told."

She also presented some really great ideas that trends stem from previous works of fiction. She pointed out three specific examples:  Catcher In the Rye (which was written in the 50's) and shaped many of the stories written in the 70's. The Giver, which has given way to the current influx of dystopian novels. Interview with a Vampire, which has given way to Twilight and the other vampire novels. She said that there were others and that these were just a few examples but it was impossible to deny that works of the past affect the future.

Kathryn also shared the story of her inspiration for Guardians of Ga'hoole. She has some non-fiction novels as well and her husband is a National Geographic photographer. She was really interested in owls and wanted to write a non-fiction book about them. Her husband said it was too much work. Owls were hard to find and they'd have to live in the woods. "'Just make it up,' he said. So I did!"

Francisco Stork took a seat next to Kathryn and, with a smile, said, "What's hot? I don't feel like I can answer that because it's not me." Precious! But he tackled the answer with ease. He said that there were two options for finding that answer: the best-seller list and the books that keep appearing everywhere. He specifically suggested looking at the Hot Reads tables at bookstores. "Those are the books that people are reading and they all have something in common. If you really want to figure out what's hot, read those books."

FS: The motivation with which you write a book affects the book and what comes out. That's what makes a book hot--YA especially. Teen years are full of hyper-sensitivity, hyper-awareness--hyper-everything--it's a time when you are in touch with the mysteries of the world around you and all the new things. There are a lot of firsts: loves, losses, kisses. The "hot" books embody these things and deal with ultimate concerns. "Who am I? What do I do? Why am I here? What can I do? What do I want?" These are the things that matter.

Francisco Stork. I just want to hug him.
Fransisco also suggested to ask the question, "What can I do to make sure my book is read five years from now?"

And when you are writing, find out what happens when a, b, c and play with all the concerns and outcomes. That's where the story is.  "Write with an attitude of discovery. The questions everyone asks has to be embodied and sought out." He also said to strive for that "Hot" table.

Kristin Cashore was last and immediately I was shocked by how hilarious she was! First words: "I don't feel like I should be talking about what's hot. What do I know? I spend all my time hiding in a room far away from everything else. Maybe that's hot now and I missed it..."

Kristin spoke about her revisions with Graceling and her writing process. She works with emotions and characters. (Yes, they talk to her but she doesn't talk back and she knows they are fictional! Just in case you wondered...) She figures out that and the plot comes last, which is the hardest part for her.

KC: I write in notebooks with pen. I keep my notebooks in a fire-proof water-proof trunk. Then, of course, the paranoia kicks in and I worry about meteors. They are going to land on that safe and destroy everything. So then so I make copies and keep them at a neighbor's house down the road, so I can worry about the meteor hitting the whole block.  After 20-30 pages, I use word recognition software and email it to every email account I have--just in case the meteor does hit and a computer survives.

She showed us one of those notebooks. #10. She said that she writes at least two pages a day and her current novel---yes! Bitterblue!!--was the longest she's done and will ever do. She started on #10 and is on notebook #16 now. Most of the pages she showed us, were completely marked out and crossed out.

Her thoughts on what's hot?

KC: You start from something you love and not what you think other people will love. It's not easy. Don't get discouraged. It can be crap. When a writer says her work is crap, she's not being humble. It actually is crap....The way to get to the right thing to say is to say the wrong thing ten times. If you know that you're a writer then you will always go back to it.

Then, the authors tackled some q&a from the audience.

What do you do when you are working on something and everything you do with the story isn't good? (This question came from a girl who is writing and revising but hates everything she does. She said she wasn't sure where to go next with her work. Basically.)

KC:  There are different kinds of writers--some have passion but no discipline to do the work. Sometimes you get tired and you just need to stop and step away. Seek out a writing group or readers. That's what I had to do. Sometimes you need it. The writing always calls me back when it's ready.

NC: You'll always want it to be better. There's a point where you need to just stop and trust yourself more.

FS: You can never trust how you feel about your writing. Sit and wait. Writing is a gift but it also takes effort and sometimes, that effort is doing nothing.

Do you share your project with young adults since it's for young adults? When does someone that age see it?

KC:  When it's published. I don't write specifically for YA but I write for whoever reads. I appreciate children's literature--I studied it--but I didn't set out to write a YA novel. Just write a good book that all will read. Don't focus so much on the audience as the story.

It was a GREAT panel--for writers and readers. And it was packed. They all signed books after and I got to talk to Kristin a little. She was really encouraging. All in all, I had a great time at BBF. I can't wait to go again next year!

Oh yea...a giveaway. How would you like a signed copy of Graceling? Sounds awesome to me! You know the deal. Fill out the form and cross your fingers!

  • US/Canada only. 
  • Must fill out form completely! 
  • Contest ends on Thursday at noon! 
  • Get extra entries by commenting, following & tweeting! (+1 each) 


Boston Book Fest (part 1)

Boston Book Festival happened Saturday in...well, Boston. It's the second annual free mini-convention and I'm really glad I got to go. BBF was a lot of fun. I took some ferocious notes because it was full of really good information. I'm trying to condense but I have a feeling it will run through a couple of posts. If you don't want to read it all, I highlighted the things I liked the most.

First Time's a Charm with Justin Cronin, Joshua Ferris & Jennifer Haigh

My first session of the day I was really excited for because...well....Joshua Ferris is a cutie pie--and a great author. I love his books. (He was discovered before I read YA.) Anyway, the session started with a "brief" introduction of all the authors and then a great panel discussion. I wrote it all down. Enjoy!

I didn't catch the first question specifically---but it was about writing and their journey--and how winning a big award affected that.

Justin:  I spent eight years on my first novel. When I was in Iowa (at writing workshops) someone said to me, "Try not to worry. It'll take you at least ten years. It has. You learn a lot with book one but I can die happy just because I wrote it. The biggest moment in the process is holding the final hardcover copy in your hand. You need success, it's the trail of breadcrumbs of encouragements to keep going.

Jen: Writing your first novel is like running you first marathon--you're not trying to win; you're just trying not to die while doing it. Mrs. Kimble was the third novel I wrote. Winning the Hemingway was transformative as a writer. It made me take my own writing more seriously.

Josh: I started in advertising (which is what his first book is about.) I was too close to the subject and it was difficult to write. When I moved to do my MFA, I got away from the world and wrote the book more successfully until it's completion two years later. Rejection is the job as a writer. It's so frequent that rejection becomes the nature of the game. I had low expectations so everything that happened was a confusing, unexpected gift. Even later, after your published or have an agent, rejection is still the job--if not by others than by self and scenes and characters and whole projects.

What is it like to abandon projects?

Jen: Relief! I'm glad to stop working on them.

Justin: It's like this joke I heard once. "Why is divorce so expensive? Because it's worth it!" When you scrap something that doesn't work a weight is lifted. Don't write the book that doesn't seem to want to be written--write the book that does.
(He also talked about a project he was working on before he wrote The Passage. He had to stop and write The Passage and now, he says he realizes that it's a story that will take him years to be able to write because he's not ready for it yet.)

Josh: The failure is yours and not the book's. You have to learn and grow with each one. Sometimes you over-reach with a project. You need to be able to bring warmth to the story and give it time. If something doesn't work, shelve it.

The panel. Really bad picture...sorry.
How important is research?

Jen:  I adore it. It's become my favorite; it's easier than writing. For me, it suggest a lot of the story. One small detail that I find may speak the whole plot to me. The whole premise for my second book was discovered through research.

Justin: It's my personal goal to write about things that I know nothing about...There are some things that you have to do for yourself. Those opportunities are important research. (He told the story of how he learned to shoot a gun for research.)

What about narrative voice?

Justin: Josh is a masterpiece of this technique. 

Josh: MFA's get a lot of grief but they shouldn't because they teach you the craft of fiction and cover an enormous range of fiction basics. (With Then We Came To The End) I knew this was in first person plural because of the business world. (Everything is "us" and "we".) For me, I studied writing, what worked and what didn't. But I just wrote a book that threw them all together and had no rules. It was a mayhem of that POV that allowed me to use all I learned of the craft. I broke the rules.

Justin: Writing is all about finding a voice--yours as a person in the world as well --and how to approach the story idea. You have to ask "What's the voice?" The Passage was that for me. It started as a challenge from my 9-year-old daughter to write a book about a girl who saves the world. A story is nothing until you find a way for the book to speak. If it doesn't speak, it dies. If you find a voice you will write it. Voice always equals story--and sometimes even length. I knew once I found the voice in The Passage I knew it would be a trilogy.

Jen: I've never written in first person until the last one. I'm fascinated with third and what lies between how different characters see the same event. Things are easier to write in third--the last one took me a year just to re-do in first. Listen to the story; sometimes it's not how we'd like it to be.

Joshua Ferris & Jennifer Haigh signing books.

What does success look like?

Josh: Success is an anomaly. It's all about doing the writing. It's easy to get swept up in a dream-like happiness but that goes away because it's not real. It's not every book or every writer. It all comes back to the thing that gets you there: the love of writing. If that's not there then you will struggle with the writing. The love has to be there to succeed. 

Jen: It's like falling in love with someone new and your old boyfriend starts calling. The timing of the success is what kills us.

Justin: Success doesn't last. If a book does well then that's great but it always happens to someone else after you. In this industry, you're only as good as your last book.

Josh: The secret is a lot of words. Just work. Every hour you give is a dividend. You write for six hours a week, you earn six hours a week. What you put in, you will receive back in some way. It may not always be in the current project or the next, but maybe with the next. Like the story Justin stopped led him to The Passage. There is always something that comes out of writing. Writing is not a task but a reward.

Josh and Jennifer. (Justin was already gone.)
Jeff Kinney: Keynote speech

Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) gave a fun keynote speech about his journey, cartooning and all things Wimpy Kid.  He started out telling the crowd (full of adults and kids) that he was writing for a newspaper comic called Igdoof when he realized he wasn't a very good illustrator and he wouldn't have any success unless he drew as a 7th grader. So, there came Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

His speech was full of his history as an illustrator--in which he spent a year drawing characters in a notebook before he wrote anything. Once he finished, he'd planned to write the story in one really big book for adults. He talked about his journey to from the book on the internet to  Comic Con NY, where he took his newly finished novel to try to find interest. He did but the book went from one adult book to the series that children love.

Jeff's notebook with ideas for the characters.
"If you can tell a good story then you can do amazing things. Don't be afraid to dream big because your creations may fly." Like his is about to--Greg Heffley will have a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year. All in all, he was very entertaining--and he answered the same question from the kiddos about ten times.

That's a long recap, yes--but so full of goodness! Part two is up tomorrow and it features the FABULOUS YA panel.


YA Spooktacular starts Friday!

Yay! Yay! Yay! The first annual (hopefully) YA Spooktacular: Tales From Under the Grave starts this Friday. We are so excited. It's time to share some of the information with you.

What is the YA Spooktacular? Stories! We have compiled TWO spooky YA stories by some of your favorite authors, debut authors and aspiring writers. You will get to trick-or-treat to other blogs and follow the story of your choice--or even both stories! At the end of the stories, you will have a chance to enter to win a grand prize pack! (We will even have a Book Depository gift card for international participants to win!)

Beware. Some of the blogs may contain a "Trick" or "Treatalong the way. These ToTs will give you the chance to win extra entries into the grand prize giveaway and some more great prizes! Some of them will require nothing and some may cost.....your soul! muahhahahaha.

Ok. Not really. But the tricks are tricky! It's going to be a blast.  

The rules are pretty simple:  

  • You must comment on EVERY post in a story to be eligible to win the grand prize pack. 
  • You MAY enter for both stories.
  • The forms are a must to be entered.
  • Winners will be selected at random.
We're so pumped about this event. We hope that you are too! Follow the hashtag on Twitter #YAspooktacular to get teasers that lead up to the story premiere on Friday, October 22. The last piece of the stories will be posted on the 28th. The prize packs will go up on the 29th and the contest closes on the 31st. Basically, clear your calendar. 

This is the list of bloggers that are hosting the story for us! You can follow them to make sure you are ready for the story


For your enjoyment

I was at the Boston Book Festival all day. My brain hurts and I'm tired but I need to go type up some posts for that. It was a fun day.

I was thinking how I needed a laugh and I thought I'd share it with you as part of my Anniversary of Awesome posts. Enjoy!


The End. :)


Fragment Friday #5: The Maze Runner/The Scorch Trials

Today's all about James Dashner.

It's been a long time but it's Fragment Friday! FF is a meme started by James of Book Chic. Basically the goal of Fragment Friday is to share a little snippet of what you're reading. I'm going to share the very beginning of The Maze Runner with you.  (And a random piece from The Scorch Trials...)

The sequel, The Scorch Trials, came out Tuesday and James Dashner was in town doing signings.

Some friends and I  saw him Wednesday night in Braintree. These friends (aka BAE, Boston-Area Entourage)  are really local bloggers and authors  including Kim Harrington (author of Clarity, Mar 2011), Karsten Knight (author of Wildfire, July 2011), Leah Cypess (author of Mistwood, out now), the other Dani (of Overflowing Bookself) and Irish (of Ticket to Anywhere).

We got to talk a lot at the store since the crowd was small (because Borders does crappy advertising for everything!) and get some books signed. We went out to dinner after and talked book-ish things. He's a really great guy and so much fun! You should check out his books.

The original plan was to go Thursday and since I had no other plans, Irish and I went again Thursday night and saw him at the B&N in Burlington. We played in their new YA section--and I coherced her into buying a book so I could read it later. :) There was a pretty good crowd for the signing and James talked with everyone, did some q&a and signed books. It was a lot of fun interacting (and watching) him with them. Local students came and they were really excited.

The q&a was fun and I should've taken notes. The thing that I remember most (aside from him saying Minho was his favorite!! {He's mine, too!}) was a mini-discussion James about e-books vs. paper copies. He told guests that he is reading his first book on his i-pad and he really likes it. He said that the version didn't matter. "The words of a book are obviously what matters." I really liked that. He also said he's a big movie buff and loves The Lord of the Rings movies--and is nervous about The Hobbit. If you want a more in-depth recap, Irish did that. She's just better than me. I need to be more like her.

We met some other local bloggers (who may or not have been recruited to BAE) Nikki of Wicked Awesome Books and Emily of Dragons Ate my Homework. They were super, duper fun.

Also, just for the record--first actual book signing. I've been to a couple other things (and received a few books) but this was "technically" the first. So, it was memorable.
You should check out the locations near you where James is doing a signing. It's definitely worth checking out and saying hi!



A Night with "The Near Witch"

As I promised, I am posting something awesome and random each day for my YA Anniversary!!!! And, in case you didn't hear, Victoria Schwab wrote a book called THE NEAR WITCH. 

She got some ARCs a few days ago. I just happened to be in Nashville when she got them (and we had an outing planned--so she brought them along too!) It's a really, really, really beautiful ARC. I held one my hands. I promise it is AWESOME. But you can see for yourself...This was how two ARCS of THE NEAR WITCH spent their first evening on the earth.
This is her spine. (PRETTY!)
This is her in YA.
This is her taking over the dark table!
This is V signing her!
This is V's name! She wrote it! I'm so excited...!!!

Here's the vlog that Victoria made about her awesome lovely! Oh, and here's where you can pre-order it on Amazon.

I know it may be kind of random to feature someone else's news on my Anniversary Posts of Awesomeness....but I love V. She's one of the people who really encouraged me in the beginning of all this so I'm VERY excited for her. Very. Very! I can't wait to read this. Put it on your TBR list.