Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting on Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Take a Bow
By Elizabeth Eulberg
288 pages
Point/Scholastic, to be released April 2012

From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.

— description

First of all, I adore Elizabeth Eulberg. Have you read Prom & Prejudice? Super cute. Also, have you seen her author photo? I think she is gorgeous. Not that has anything to do with the book. Just sayin'.

Plus, one of my many guilty pleasures is movies set in high school–level showbiz, and I just know that'll translate to books. (See: Glee, High School Musical, that one movie with Demi Lovato and that Jonas brother that I watched on the Disney Channel that one time.)

Anyone else pumped for this?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, August 29, 2011

Anna's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

(A Manual for Single Human Girls with Paranormal Interests)

Ladies, you never know when you might find yourself drawn to the mysterious loner who is new to town. Sure, he's a little weird and clearly has his secrets, but if anyone can get him to loosen up and open up, it's YOU. Sure, he's been alone
for years -- eternity even! -- but one look at you, girl, and he'll be a goner.

Luckily, Anna's Guide to Dating is here to help you...

Species: Vampire

Examples: Twilight, True Blood, Crave, Blue Bloods, Morganville Vampires, Vampire Academy
Pros: Mysterious, mature, won’t bring a lot of junk food into the house
Cons: Wants to suck your blood, moody, possessive
Advice: Invest in some cute scarves. Have a silver cross on hand at all times in case he gets too frisky. Don’t commit unless you’re in it for the long haul, aka FOR-EV-ER. 

Species: Werewolf

Examples: Twilight, Shiver, True Blood, Sisters Red, Blood and Chocolate
Pros: Cuddly, outdoorsy, loyal
Cons: Violent, tracks dirt into the house, unpredictable, always off with the boys
Advice: Don’t buy him any clothing for Christmas. They tear through clothes like it’s nothing. Hot, but impractical. 

Species: Angel

Examples: Hush Hush, Fallen, Unearthly
Pros: Otherworldly beauty, excellent sense of right vs. wrong, has an in with The Big Guy
Cons: Self-righteous, judgmental, wings always get in the way while making out
Advice: Watch out for the fallen ones. Also, steer away from sensitive discussion topics such as religion, immorality, how pretty his wings are, etc. 
Species: Dragons

Examples: Firelight
Pros: Could take you flying, exotic
Cons: Shifty, usually only date their own kind, secretive, way into jewels 
Advice: Stay away from the fire-breathing ones. There’s hot and then there’s hot

Species: Faeries

Examples: Iron Knight, Wings, Fragile Eternity
Pros: Gorgeous, magical, really know how to party
Cons: Untrustworthy, sneaky, not into commitment
Advice: Love ‘em, date ‘em, do what you want with them, but do NOT, I repeat NOT, eat or drink anything they give you. Trust me. 
Species: Demon wranglers of all varieties

Examples: Angelfire, Mortal Instruments, Soul Screamers
Pros: Protective, loyal, generally buff
Cons: Always off in the Netherworld, constantly surrounded by danger
Advice: Considering their close proximity to demons, these guys often get possessed. Beware. 

Species: Wizard

Examples: Harry Potter, Brightly Woven
Pros: Magical, powerful, handy to have around in case of emergency, generally bookish
Cons: Always in trouble, tendency to blow things up
Advice: Is it love, or is it a love spell? Think about it. 

Species: God/Demi-God

Examples: Oh. My. Gods, Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief, The Goddess Test, Abandon
Pros: Strength, power
Cons: Cocky, lots of baggage, Daddy issues
Advice: Resolve fights quickly, as he could smite you. 

Species: Ghost

Examples: Shade, Mediator series
Pros: Never too busy for you
Cons: Always hanging around, dead
Advice: Sorry, Casper, but this relationship is going nowhere. YOU CAN’T EVEN KISS. Let him go. 

So, my dear readers, any advice you'd like to impart? Please share in the comments!

Anna Reads young adult book blog   

*Title borrowed from Beth Fantaskey’s lovely book Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. Check it out for a tip or two on dating vamps. It's a fun book!

Guest Post - Tera Lynn Childs and Sophie Jordan

Two authors I love, Tera Lynn Childs and Sophie Jordan, have new books coming out, and I'm thrilled to be a part of their blog tour with Big Honcho Media and Harper Teen. These ladies know their teen romance, so I'm letting them take the reins of the blog today to share some of the WORST romantic advice they've ever received...

Worst Romantic Advice - Sophie Jordan

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been given this advice – especially during all those wedding-ish festivities (bridal showers, engagement parties, toasts at the wedding) – never go to bed mad.

Huh. *Angles head to the side contemplatively*

Now that seems like good advice, and therein lays the trick.

Never going to bed “mad” indicates that a couple will not rest until the issue is resolved. Now if it were simply that meaning, metaphorically, I’d have no complaint. But that’s not how people take its meaning. I (as do many others), understand it to mean: don’t go to sleep until the argument is settled. No matter what time of night, stay up until the fight is resolved.

Now that’s just sadistic. Yes, stay up late until you’re irrational with exhaustion. Until you’re so tired, you’re not even making sense anymore. Until you say things you regret and don’t mean. Um, yep. Good idea. The relationship will go far with nights like that. Instead of following this advice, I say: go to bed mad. Get some rest and look at it again in the morning with a clear head and fresh eyes – new clarity. Go to bed mad? Um … no. Of course, my characters in books don’t always follow this advice. Sometimes a time-out for bed would benefit them. But then I’m deliberately trying to make their lives harder and give them tons of conflict. That’s the fun with fiction and my job as a writer. I can be mean to my characters. ☺ I just don’t want that drama in my own life. I’ll leave it to the pages of my books.

Worst Romantic Advice - Tera Lynn Childs

When I was in graduate school, I had a classmate who was a few years older than me. One day we got started talking about guys, about romance and relationships and looking for the right guy. I mentioned that I had a kind of unofficial checklist of things I wanted in my perfect guy. Nothing outrageous or superficial. Things like sharing my same political and religious views, loving the theatre, longing for travel. Basic compatibility.

To this day I am shocked by my classmate’s response. “You’re going to have to lower your standards.”

I had no comeback for that, and if she said the same thing to me today, ten years later, I’d be just as dumbfounded. Now that I am the age she was then, I can confidently say that my opinion on this matter has not changed. Yes, my standards are high, but shouldn’t they be? Shouldn’t every girl’s standards be? I would rather be single and looking than settle for something less than I deserve. Less than I need.

I have to say that’s one piece of advice I will never ever take.

Thanks, ladies! Check out the next stop on the tour on Wednesday at The Book Binge. And, see the authors on their bookstore tour. Here are the upcoming stops:

  • September 7 @ 7 PM - Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, TX
  • September 8 @ 7 PM - Books & Co in Dayton, OH
  • September 9 @ 7 PM - Magic Tree Bookstore in Chicago, IL
  • October 1 - Austin Teen Book Festival in Austin, TX

More About the Books:


Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster. Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though. Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they’re triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful Gorgon maligned in myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.


An Impossible Romance. Bitter Rivalries. Deadly Choices.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

In bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox 21

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren about what new books we got in the mail (or library or whatever) this week.

For Review:
The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison (via NetGalley)
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (via NetGalley)
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (thank you, St. Martin's Griffin)

And for Fun:

A Grimalkin drawing by Julie Kagawa from Susan -- LOVE IT! Thanks, Susan! 

Also, some fun news from the week: was nominated for Best YA Book Blog for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Thank you to whoever was kind and gracious enough to nominate me. SO FUN!

And, as you may know, today is the TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF SLOPPY FIRSTS! Holy cow. My favorite book, you're growing up so fast! Megan McCafferty picked me and my silly vid from last week as a runner up in her anniversary contest, and I was just floored. Click here for the deets.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen Review

The Mephisto Covenant
By Trinity Faegen

Sept. 27, 2011
EgmontUSA, 448 pages
Source: Review copy

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

— GoodReads description

The Mephisto Covenant has a lot of potential. The concept and mythology here are solid. It’s good stuff that fans of books like Angelfire would probably really take to. Unfortunately, it wasn’t up my alley.

Why? Instalove alert! The romance here was too strong and too sudden. It has a Twilighty feel to it: They love each other eternally, though they only just met and know nothing about one another, there’s a lot of lust involved, and the guy gets all creeptastic.

This type of stuff gets me all riled up and feministy.

But the thing is, I think many people would probably love this. I guess I just want to tell the book, "It's not you, Mephisto, it's me. I hope we can still be friends." Has anyone else read this yet? Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Help Support Me in the Walk4Life

That cute little kiddo on the left is my hubby!
Hi friends,

I usually don't go this personal on the blog, but I could use your help.

Last year, my father-in-law was diagnosed with ALS. It's a fatal disease that has already severely attacked his muscles and will gradually rob him of his ability to walk, speak, eat and breathe.

Some symptoms are treatable, but there's no cure.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, my family is walking in the ALS Walk4Life to show him our support in this difficult time and to raise funds for the Les Turner ALS Foundation.

The foundation is really involved in researching a cure, and considering Northwestern University just announced a major breakthrough in discovering the cause of ALS, funding is more important now than ever.

Which is where the help part comes in.

Our family has a team fundraising goal of $7,500, and I could use your help to make our goal a reality. If you can help us out in any way, please click here go to my personal Walk4Life page and make a donation.

Thank you for all your love and support!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: And thank you to Ginger for the gorgeous button that you can click over there on the right. You warm my heart, girl.

Simone Elkeles Shares Her Chain Reaction Playlist

Anna's note: Simone Elkeles is rounding out her Perfect Chemistry series with Chain Reaction, the third book focusing on the third Fuentes brother:
Luis Fuentes is a good boy who doesn’t live with the angst that his big brothers, Alex and Carlos, have always lived with. Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when he falls for the wrong girl, Luis enters a dark world he’s never known, and just when he thinks he’s got life all figured out, learns some disturbing news about his family that destroys his positive outlook on life. Will that Fuentes bad boy streak come out with a vengeance and lure Luis to live on the edge like his new girlfriend and his own father? 
Continuing all the steamy romance of the first two books, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Simone Elkeles gives fans one more satisfying taste of the irresistible Fuentes boys.
Simone was kind enough to swing by the blog today to share her playlist for Chain Reaction, which just came out last week. I loved the other two books, and cannot wait to read this one! Check out the songs:

Ridin’ Solo by Jason Derulo 

This is how Luis feels at the beginning of Chain Reaction -- solo and not really loving being single but trying to own it. He would like Nikki to realize they have some kind of connection, but since she won't he's riding solo!

Thks fr th Mmrs by Fall Out Boy 
I imagine this playing two times...first when Nikki and Marco meet up again their senior year, and when Nikki and Luis have problems after his birthday.

Colgando en Tus Manos by Carlos Baute/Marta Sanchez  
I love how they talk about maybe it was coincidence or maybe it was destiny that they got together. I do feel like Nikki and Luis are destined to be together the minute they meet at Alex and Brittany’s just takes a while to get them there!

Gives you Hell by The All-American Rejects 
I love this song. It’s my song for every person that’s had a bad breakup and Nikki can SO relate! I listened to this song a lot while writing Chain Reaction.

Take a Bow by Rihanna 
This song reminds me of how Nikki feels most of the book -- when she doesn’t trust either Marco OR Luis. I actually listened to the Glee version with Lea Michele singing it a lot while I wrote Chain Reaction.

Baby Come Back by Magic Juan 
I love the beat of this song, and I feel that Luis would be listening to this song after his birthday -- when he thinks that Nikki is still hung up on Marco.

Someday by Mariah Carey 
When I was a teen and had a bad breakup, I really wanted my ex to come crawling back to me and realize that there would be nobody who’d love him like I did.

Womanizer by Britney Spears 
A fan on Twitter suggested this song and I think it’s perfect. Nikki thinks Luis is a womanizer, and she wants to resist his Fuentes good looks and swagger...but once she gets to know the true Luis she can’t help but fall in love with him!

Danza Kururo by Don Omar ft. Lucenzo
This is a catchy dance tune that I imagine playing at Alex and Brittany’s wedding and when the brothers play Panty Discus.

Tonight Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae
I totally imagine this playing at the party at Derek’s house.

Dynamite by Taio Cruz
I also imagine this song playing at Derek’s party. I love the beat, and can’t help but feel good when I hear it!

Good Life by OneRepublic 
This is a beautiful, slow song that I think would be played when Luis and Nikki are together in the lifeguard station on the beach -- you know what I mean!

Give Me Everything by Pitbull
Oh, I loves me my Pitbull! He’s a Latino with swagger...he should be friends with the Fuentes boys!

Time After Time by Javier Colon
This is not the original singer, but to be honest I think Javier sings it better than Cyndi Lauper. When I heard the song, it reminded me of the history that Nikki and Luis have...over the years they haven’t been able to forget about each other.

Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars
Luis loves Nikki just the way she is...if she’d just let him in and accept the fact that he loves her and wants to be her hero!

Lose Yourself by Eminem 
This is an intense song about a boy against the wall...which is how I feel about Luis when he’s confronted by Chuy.

Thanks, Simone! I adore you and can't wait to blast these songs while I read the book.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

10 Books I Haven't Reviewed, But Maybe Should Have

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is Top 10 Books You Loved But Never Wrote a Review For
I'll be including mini reviews, as these are books I one at the end that I'm GLAD I never reviewed:
The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins: Everyone should read this. In fact, high schools should teach this. My friend Ann’s school is teaching it to young high-schoolers next year. Lots of important themes and discussion points rolled into one riveting, emotional journey.  

Anything by Sarah Dessen: I have read them all (except the latest), but haven’t reviewed a single one. These are lovely romantic contemporaries from an author I can count on to tell me an enchanting story.  

Anything by Meg Cabot: Meg, I love you and I want to be you and your hair is so pretty and shiny. People, check out the Mediator Series and All-American Girl. Those are my faves.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: Pranks! Secret societies! HILARITY ENSUES!  

Graceling by Kristin Cashore: I really enjoy main characters who are female warriors. A beautiful fantasy/romance.  

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley: I mentioned this one last week. A contemporary that takes on body image, family issues and more. It’s a moving story that stuck with me.  

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: No review because there are no words. Also, I didn’t know what a blog even was when I read most of 'em.  

The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer: I am SO glad I didn’t have a review when I first read these. Because it would be very fangirly, and my interest has definitely waned as the excitement of first discovering them wore off. That Edward – I find him scrumptious and stalkerish at the same time. Conundrum!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins Review

Lola and the Boy Next Door
By Stephanie Perkins

September 29, 2011
Dutton Juvenile, 384 pages
Source: Borrowed from the lovely & generous Michelle

In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think

For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.

When the family returns and Cricket -- a gifted inventor and engineer -- steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

— description

I hate it when everyone is all “OMG READ THIS BOOK” and it’s not even published yet. It’s gross and off-putting. So, you know, pardon me when I say:


I know, HYPE. Honestly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main characters in Perkins’ first book Anna & The French Kiss. But her writing – you guys, it’s so wonderful. Her voice is crisp and clear as an author, and her story-telling is pure hilarity.

But her second book, Lola & the French Kiss…I seriously put it down and said out loud “This is the PERFECT book for me.” Comedy, romance, off-beat characters. What’s not to love?

Plus, Cricket. Yes, that’s the boy’s name. But I just. I mean. I can’t even. No words. And she has two gay dads, for heaven’s sake! I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS.

And even though I didn't originally like Anna and St. Clair, they grew on me in this book. Yes, that's right, you heard me: They've back as supporting characters and, frankly, more hilarious than ever.

I put the book down and then turned back to page 1 to immediately reread it. I’ve already preordered my own copy, and was seriously tempted to also order a copy for everyone I know. If you like romantic comedy contemporary reads, I have to say: This books is tops!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In My Mailbox 20

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren about what new books we got in the mail (or library or whatever) this week.

It's been a fun weekend so far. Went to a Cubs game Friday, then to an outdoor concert venue called Ravinia to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra play along to a showing of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

I sort of think I was denial as to how big of a nerd I am. Then, Tara kindly pointed out that I spent the entire evening bouncing in my seat and clapping whenever a "good guy" did something awesome. Yeah...there's no denying it now!

From the Library:
The Boy Book by E. Lockhart (I read Book 1 last week and adored it!)

For Review:
Eyes in the Mirror by Julia Mayer (thank you, Sourcebooks)
Underdogs by Markus Zusak (thank you, Scholastic)
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard (thank you Simon & Schuster -- this is actually my book club's selection for next month, so I'm thrilled I have a copy to share with the girls!)

For Me from Me:
A new MacBook Pro...because I deserve it, dammit! Hahaha!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young Review

A Need So Beautiful
By Suzanne Young

June 21, 2011
Balzer + Bray, 272 pages
Source: Review copy

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten... Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.

— description

This book! It just hurts my heart to even remember reading it. I was suffering from paranormal burnout, so it started out a bit slow for me. But then…before I knew it...OH IT WAS SO GOOD.

It was bittersweet and beautiful and owwww my heart!

At its core, this book is about the never-ending battle between good and evil, light and dark. Sure, those themes have been written about for ages, but Suzanne Young manages to present it with a fresh twist and a deep sense of meaning that never comes off as preachy. The main character’s emotional journey grew over the course of book, as did my interest in her. It was beautiful storytelling.

I couldn’t put it down, and then when I got to the last tragic chapter I just wanted to start sobbing. Unfortunately, my husband was sitting right next to me and would have ridiculed me endlessly, so I held it in. First bit of advice = read it. Second bit = maybe read it in privacy!

I’m thrilled that a sequel will be coming out in June because oh, that ending. My heart can’t handle it…

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jessica Darling Love + Megan McCafferty Interview

Friends, Aug. 28 marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. This book started what would become the Jessica Darling series...MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME.

To celebrate, I made a little video tribute of my love. Want to make your own? Do it! Because Megan's commemorating the occasion with a "Epic 10th Anniversary Giving Away of Rare and One-of-a-Kind Stuff." Click here for more info!

Plus, she's graciously agreed to do a 10th anniversary interview, just for me. I cannot tell you how much this means to me. Megan, THANK YOU!
Me: Red hair with dreads? Rooster tufts? Look, Megan, it's not like I don't trust you...but for the nonbelievers out there, could you please share some photographic evidence that this look can actually make a girl go "Sha-ZAM"? Or at least share your inspiration for Marcus' hard-to-picture appearance?

Megan: I saw Marcus Flutie on the 2 train in Brooklyn in 1998. I should have snapped his picture, but this was before the era of the camera phone and such stealth photography was much harder to get away with.

Me: If you could compare the fictional sound of Len Levi's fictional band to any non-fictional artist, who would you pick? (To aid my future imaginings of how the chorus would go...) 

Megan: The Mighties are anthemic like 30 Seconds to Mars and literate like Vampire Weekend.

Me: If you could ask Marcus Flutie to make you a T-shirt right now, what word/phrase would you want on it? 

Megan: YES. YOU. YES.

My husband and I have nicknamed this season The Summer of Yes. It’s a call for us to be more social and try new things. Also, I broke my foot in June and had to accept a lot of help from friends and family—something that doesn’t come naturally to me. Without getting too corny, I’ve realized that I shouldn’t feel guilty about their offers, that such generosity is a gift I should be grateful to receive.

Me: I was really touched by your account of how Jessica felt in the weeks after 9/11 -- I was in the same grade as her (well, fictionally anyway) when it happened, so I experienced it very similarly. Can you please share why you decided to include that day and its aftermath in Jessica's story? 

Megan: I wrote SLOPPY FIRSTS and SECOND HELPINGS in “real time.” Meaning, the books were specifically set during the very period I was writing them so I could capture whatever was going on at that particular moment. I was about three chapters into SECOND HELPINGS on 9/11. I debated quite a bit as to how I should handle this unprecedented tragedy. Do I ignore that it happened, thereby making the books set in a fictional alternative universe without the treat of terrorism? Or do I incorporate the events in a way that reflects how teenagers really responded at the time? I nervously went with the latter and I’m glad I did.

Me: Marcus' poetry played a big role in the books -- do you write poetry for yourself, or only as Marcus? 

Megan: I wrote a lot of poems in high school. Pseudo-Sylvia Plathy stuff. I only write verse through my characters now, probably because I’m not angst-ridden in that same poetic way I once was.

Me: No, really, what's with the Barry Manilow? Is he your guilty pleasure musician? If not, who is? 

Megan: My love for Barry Manilow goes back to my childhood. His 1978 HBO concert was like, my FAVORITE thing to watch when I was five. So when it came time to come up with an artist popular in the 8-Track era for Marcus to play in the Caddie, I decided to make it Barry Manilow. I had no idea that Barry Manilow would serve as the cheesy leitmotif throughout the series. I certainly couldn’t have anticipated inventing the ridiculousness that is Barryoke.

Me: This is an adult series that I wish all YA books would emulate. Ten years later, now that YA books are much more prevalent in the market, do you still see it as an adult series? Or do you think it blurs the lines? 

Megan: My books definitely blur the lines between YA/Adult. I pitched it as a crossover series, one that would be relatable to readers still in high school as well as those who had graduated long ago. I chose an adult publisher because they promised not to censor me (via Jessica) as much as the YA publishers hinted they would. I think Jessica’s outrageous candor is what makes different from other teenage narrators, even if such straight-talk wouldn’t be considered controversial by today’s YA standards.

Me: From book 1, page 1, line 1, did you always intend for Megan and Marcus to have a happy, hopeful ending? 

Megan: Did you notice your error? MEGAN and Marcus? That’s funny, because no matter how much I try to separate myself from Jessica Darling, readers (even my own parents, mind you!) assume that we’re one and the same. We’re not, but I’m flattered that readers think so. It must mean that she feels too real to be made up.

To answer your question, I had no idea what would happen past book one, page one, line one! Each book came as a surprise to me as I learned more about the characters and their inner worlds. I do know that I always wanted what was best for Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie. Even if they—or I—wasn’t quite sure what that was.

 Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy Blogoversary to Me

One year ago today, I was sitting in my office when I had an idea. 

I’d just gotten married, so with wedding planning out of the way, I had tons of time on my hands. 

 And, well, The Oprah Show was ending soon, so I knew I’d be starting a new job in the next year. New jobs = insanity. So, it was clearly the moment to take advantage of my newfound time and do something crazy. Like start a blog.

And there was clearly only one subject I'd write about...


 Thus, was born. It’s been a year of...well, ups and downs.

But also a year of new friends.


A year of meeting authors. And then practically peeing my pants when said authors tweet or email me.


 Of course, it's been a year of books, books and more books. 

And a year of adventures.

(Certain people will kill me for posting this, but whatever, you can't fight the moonlight, ladies! And you also can't see your faces.)
A year of just generally goofing around.

And, best of all, a year of immersing myself in something I love and surrounding myself with people who care.

I cannot thank you enough for your support and love and enthusiasm. You’ve made my year.

  Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Thank you to everyone whose pictures I just unabashedly stole for this post. Smooches!
PPS: Yes, I am aware Tara is in, like, every single one of these photos.
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