Ontario Teen Book Fest 2015 Blog Tour: Spotlight on Melissa Landers

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I am so pleased to be bringing you the Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour once again! This is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m honored to help promote it as much as I possibly can. There are a ton of wonderful authors this year and an equally wonderful batch of bloggers to help me spotlight them.

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When: March 21st, treat 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, buy CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 28th: Spotlight on Kasie West — Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 1st: Spotlight on Melissa Landers — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 2nd: Spotlight on Anna Carey — The Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd: Spotlight on Cecil Castellucci — Nite Lite Book Reviews

March 4th: Spotlight on Debra Driza — Read Now Sleep Later

March 5th: Spotlight on Katie Finn — Fearless Kurt Reads YA

March 6th: Spotlight on Claudia Gray — A Bookish Escape

March 7th: Spotlight on Shannon Messenger — People Like Books

March 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — The Thousand Lives

March 9th: Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross — Kid Lit Frenzy

March 10th: Spotlight on Brad Gottfred — Recently Acquired Obsessions

March 11th: Spotlight on Sherri Smith — Movies, Shows and Books

March 12th: Spotlight on Mary Elizabeth Summer — What A Nerd Girl Says

March 13th: Spotlight on Jessica Khoury — The Consummate Reader

March 14th: Spotlight on Maurene Goo — The Windy Pages

March 15th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Read Now Sleep Later

March 16th: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — The Romance Bookie

March 17th: Spotlight on Gretchen McNeil — Movies, Shows and Books

March 18th: Spotlight on Aaron Hartzler — Fangirl Feeels

March 19th: Spotlight on Michelle Levy — The Consummate Reader

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Today’s Spotlight is on the one and only:

Melissa Landers

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Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati and writes adult contemporary romance as Macy Beckett.

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

Her Books

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Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Find Her Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

The Interview!

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Nerd Girl: This first one is kind of typical: where did the idea for Alienated and Invaded come from? Why THIS story? 

Melissa: Right before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2009, I was driving down the interstate thinking, “If I’m going to do this whole NaNo thing, I need a plot. What am I going to write about?” Several ideas came to mind, but I dismissed them because they were boring or cliched. Then – out of nowhere – I thought, “What if a high school senior had to host an alien exchange student?” Boom! I fell in love with the concept, and the rest is history.

Nerd Girl: Congrats on Invaded being published recently! What can we expect from you in the future?

Melissa: Right now, I’m wrapping up STARFLIGHT, a new stand-alone sci-fi romance that should release in 2016.

Just announced as well…

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Nerd Girl: What are some of the things that you strive for when you’re writing, knowing that teens are going to be reading it? 

Melissa: My process is pretty organic, meaning I don’t have any ulterior motives or anything I “strive for” while writing. I just let the story unfold.

Nerd Girl: Cara and Aelyx have easily become one of my favorite book couples! Did you have any inspiration from other fictional couples or even real life couples when creating their relationship?

Melissa: Thank you! I love their relationship, especially the way it gradually evolved from reluctant acquaintances to friends to more-than-friends. No, I didn’t find inspiration from any other couples. Aelyx and Cara are one of a kind.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write for teens as opposed to adults? 

Melissa: Actually, I never made the choice. As stated above, my process is very organic. I had an idea to write about a teenage girl hosting an alien exchange student, and the story unfolded from there. The second book I wrote (under a pen name) was for adults. Again, not an active choice. The story ideas come to me, I write them, and then figure out who the audience is.

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen? 

Melissa: My favorite teen memory is probably my first date, which didn’t happen until I was sixteen. (My parents were strict.) The night was incredibly special, and as a bonus, it led to my first kiss and my first love. I dated that boy on and off for almost a year.

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush?

Melissa: I have a fickle heart when it comes to literary crushes. With so many amazing book boyfriends out there, who can choose just one? Not this gal!

Giveaway!

Two Prizes, Two Winners!

Each winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ontario Teen Book Fest-Author Spotlight on Jessi Kirby and Giveaway!

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Hello everyone, visit this site and welcome to my second stop of the blog tour for the Ontario Teen Book Fest :) You can read my previous stop with Jessica Brody and all other previous stops by clicking the links further down in this spotlight. But let’s jump and start talking about this wonderful event happening next weekend!

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When: May 17th, sickness 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, cialis 40mg CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Festwebsite.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Mrs. Nelson’s by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event. I’ve got some great bloggers helping me out to profile these amazing authors. Check out the full blog tour here!

May 2nd: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 3rd: Spotlight on Elana K. Arnold — Nite Lite Book Reviews
May 4th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Fangirl Feeels
May 5th: Spotlight on Livia Blackburne – The Thousand Lives
May 6th: Spotlight on Lauren Kate — She Reads She Blogs

May 7th: Spotlight on Katie Alender — Movies, Shows and Books
May 8th:Spotlight on Lauren Miller — A Bookish Escape
May 9th: Spotlight on Sarah Skilton — Read Now Sleep Later
May 10th: Spotlight on Lissa Price — Recently Acquired Obsessions 
May 11th: Spotlight on Jessi Kirby — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 12th: Spotlight on Katherine Ewell — iFandoms Collide
May 13th: Spotlight on Mary Pearson — The Windy Pages
May 14th: Spotlight on John Corey Whaley — Read Now Sleep Later
May 15th: Spotlight on Robin Benway — Adventures of a Book Junkie
May 16th: Spotlight on Ava Dellaira — Fangirl Feeels

So today’s kick off spotlight of the tour is on the one and only:

Jessi Kirby

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Jessi Kirby is the author of  Goldenwhich will be released in May of 2013, MoonglassIn Honor.  She is also a former English teacher and librarian, wife, mom, beach lover, runner, and lover of Contemporary YA, strong coffee, and dark chocolate.  In that order. You can find her at:

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

Her Books

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Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her. 

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn . . . and ruggedly good-looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn–but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

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Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

Interview!

Nerd Girl: All of the characters in your novels have degrees of strengths and weaknesses and go through lessons and self-discovery. Was it important to you to represent these kind of characters in books for young people, especially as a mother?

Jessi: I think all of us, as people, no matter what age, gender, etc., have different degrees of strengths and weakness, and that these things shift and change as we go through, life, with all of its lessons and self-discovery. It’s extremely important to me that my characters reflect that, because that means they’ll read as genuine people, who are strong sometimes, and weak at others, but who are always growing, hopefully for the better. That’s the goal, anyway, both as a writer, and a mother – to portray those things that make us human.

Nerd Girl: Your most ‘recent’ novel, Golden, was published in May 2013. What can we expect from you in the future?

Jessi: I’m very excited about my next book, Things We Know By Heart, which comes out in Summer 2015. It’s about a girl named Quinn Sullivan, who lost her first love in an accident, and as a way to deal with her grief, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs. All of these people write her back, except the one she deems most important, which is, of course the one who received his heart.

Unable to let it go, she goes outside of the guidelines for privacy and finds out who he is. She tells herself she just needs to see who he is, see him living his life and then she can let it go, but when she goes to his small beach town and literally runs into him in a cafe, things get complicated fast. He’s completely fast. He’s completely taken with her, and no matter how much she tries to deny it, the pull of him is so strong that before she knows it, she’s falling for him too. The problem is, he has no idea who she is, and a relationship built on omissions and half-truths can only last so long before the truth comes out.

Nerd Girl: Have you always imagined yourself as an author, or did you have other career aspirations in the past?

Jessi: I’ve known since 3rd grade and my first Judy Blume book that I wanted to be a writer. I’ll never forget listening to her words, read by my teacher, and thinking “I want to do this. I want to make stories like Judy Blume.” I started writing then, and never stopped. But in high school, I had an English teacher (Mr Kenny, who is Mr Kinney in GOLDEN), who so inspired me that he got me thinking about teaching as well. I taught middle school and high school English for 5 years, and while trying to inspire these kids to go after their dreams, I ended up prodding myself to do so as well, and started writing Moonglass.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write about teens instead of adults or children?

Jessi: Like I’ve heard many YA authors say, it wasn’t really a conscious decision. That’s just the way that my first story came out, and it’s the way they all have since then. For that, I feel lucky, because writing about teens is full of so much potential.

Nerd Girl: What are some important things that you strive for when writing your novels, knowing that teens are going to be reading them?

Jessi: I don’t think I treat teen readers any different than adult readers. I just try to tell a story where the characters read as genuine people, who, as you mentioned earlier, have strengths and weaknesses, make mistakes, fall down, pick themselves, grow as people. Those things are for all readers.

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment and who was it with?

Jessi: I have, and of course it was with the one and only Judy Blume, who I met for a half second where instead of telling her everything that was on the tip of my tongue about how much she inspired me, and how I’ve loved all of her books ever since I can remember, I shook her hand, a friend took a picture of us, and it was over so fast I actually have to look back at the picture to believe it really happened!

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen?

Jessi: Senior prom night — the after party. Someone had rented a condo for the party, and just about everyone from our class was there — we had we had a tiny senior class. It was one of those nights where we all knew the end of the year was coming and everyone was friendly and nostalgic, and we danced all night then watched the sun rise from the roof — (almost) all of us. It was special. Like we could feel how much big chance was coming.

Nerd Girl: Last question: who is your fictional crush?

Jessi: Ooh, that’s a tough one. It has to be a tie — between Wes, from The Truth About Forever, and Dexter from This Lullaby. Dessen writes the best boys!

The prizes include: 

Grand Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Poster Signed by All Attending Authors and a Swag Pack!

Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!

Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!

First Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Signed by All Attending Authors!

Second Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Shirt Signed by All Attending Authors!

The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!

The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!

And its easy to enter, in the rafflecopter below! Sorry, no international this time around!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ontario Teen Book Fest-Author Spotlight on Jessica Brody

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I am so so so incredibly excited to be kicking off the official Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour! The Ontario Teen Book Fest is SUCH an important event to me, buy and I’m happy to be putting this tour to bring as much attention to the event possible.

Last year’s event brought so many amazing authors into my life. I went to the event, side effects only having been familiar with Morgan Matson, Jessica Brody, Marie Lu, and Stephen Chbosky. I left the Fest with a gigantic bag stuffed full with books and friendships with authors like Ann Stampler and Leigh Bardugo and the duo of Lex Thomas and ANDREW SMITH and Gretchen McNeil and Carrie Arcos and Jennifer Bosworth. It was an incredible experience and I can’t wait to experience that again!

But first, the blog tour!

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When: May 17th, 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Mrs. Nelson’s by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event. I’ve got some great bloggers helping me out to profile these amazing authors. Check out the full blog tour here!

May 2nd: Spotlight on Jessica BrodyWhat A Nerd Girl Says
May 3rd: Spotlight on Elana K. ArnoldNite Lite Book Reviews
May 4th: Spotlight on Lauren MillerA Bookish Escape
May 5th: Spotlight on Livia Blackburne The Thousand Lives
May 6th: Spotlight on Lauren KateShe Reads She Blogs
May 7th: Spotlight on Katie AlenderMovies, Shows and Books
May 8th: Spotlight on Catherine LinkaFangirl Feeels
May 9th: Spotlight on Sarah SkiltonRead Now Sleep Later
May 10th: Spotlight on Lissa PriceRecently Acquired Obsessions 
May 11th: Spotlight on Jessi KirbyWhat A Nerd Girl Says
May 12th: Spotlight on Katherine EwelliFandoms Collide
May 13th: Spotlight on Mary PearsonThe Windy Pages
May 14th: Spotlight on John Corey WhaleyRead Now Sleep Later
May 15th: Spotlight on Robin BenwayAdventures of a Book Junkie
May 16th: Spotlight on Ava DellairaFangirl Feeels

So today’s kick off spotlight of the tour is on the one and only:

Jessica Brody! 

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Jessica Brody is the author of several adult and young adult novels including The Fidelity Files, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, My Life Undecided and her young adult science fiction trilogy, Unremembered, Unforgotten and the yet to be released, Unchanged. Unremembered has just recently been optioned for film by Reliance Entertainment and Kintop Pictures. Her books can be found not only here in the U.S. but also in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Norway, Denmark, China, Russia, Brazil and more! She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Colorado. You can find her at:

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram / Her Tumblr / Her YouTube

Her Books

In all honestly, she has kind of a lot of books and you should definitely check her out at the many links above so that you can read them ALL. For this, I’m just going to profile two.

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Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job…but someone’s gotta do it.

Lexington Larrabee has never had to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to workBut then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand-new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Boulevard either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteenth birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In Jessica Brody’s hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have fifty-two reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

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When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

Interview!

Nerd Girl: Okay, first off: tell us, how absolutely excited are you for the Unremembered movie, and what do you hope they capture from the book to the screen: 

Jessica: GAH! I’m SO super excited for this movie! My books always feel like movies when I’m writing them and when they’re developing in my head so this is a huge dream come true for me! I have full faith in these producers to adapt the book to the big screen. But one thing I really hope they’re able to capture is the waging war between nature and science that runs through all three books of the trilogy. What really makes us human? And when science starts messing with human nature (as it often does even today!), what are the consequences? Does it make us any less human? These are the questions I sought to answer in the book and I hope they translate to the screen as well.

Nerd Girl: Sera is an extraordinary main character and, because of that, sometimes it might be hard to remember that she is a teenager. However, she goes through very “teenage” things like first love and discovery. Was it important to you to make sure she experienced that to make her familiar to the reader?

Jessica: Well, thank you so much for saying so!

At first, I thought it would be difficult to make Seraphina relatable. Being that she’s a genetically modified super human with no memories (not your every day teen to say the least!) But as I started to write the book, it became apparent that Seraphina went through the same struggles as all my other teen contemporary characters. Like most young people, she’s trying to figure out who she is, how she fits into her world, who to trust, what she wants her legacy to be. These similarities surprised me as I wrote but now that I look back, it makes me so much sense. Being a teen is being a teen. Regardless of how beautiful you are, how fast you can run, how much you remember. It’s a transitional period in your life. A time of discovery. And it was a discovery process for me to realize this but in the end, I’m happy with the message that’s portrayed in the book.

Nerd Girl: Both Unremembered and Unforgotten have cliffhangers that make any reader want to throw their book across the room. What is the trick to creating a really good cliffhanger? 

Jessica: I think the trick to ending any book with a cliffhanger is making sure you wrap up all the BIG loose ends of the current story. There’s a difference between making the reader want to know what happens next and completely frustrating the reader because you, the author, didn’t do your job and finish the story. In both Unremembered and Unforgotten, I was very careful to make sure the major conflicts and storylines were resolved. THEN and only then, did I introduce the next major conflict to come in the form of a cliffhanger.

Nerd Girl: You can switch places with one person for a day: who would you pick and why?

Jessica: Taylor Swift. I’m such a nerd fan of hers! I just think she’s so dang adorable and talented. I would love to be in her shoes for a day. I’m sure it’s not all it’s cracked up to be (a theme I plan to explore in a future book one day), but it’s still something I’d love to experience.

Nerd Girl: In Unforgotten, the characters bounce back and forth between various time periods. What is the hardest part about writing a book in different time periods? 

Jessica: Probably the research. In Unforgotten, the book takes place in three time periods: 1609, 2032, and 2115. These are all very different settings. And two of them haven’t even happened yet. So after I finished researching life in the 17th century, I would then have to crack open a book about what we can expect in the future. It was like changing college majors in the middle of the semester, from a history major to some kind of speculative technology major!

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a ‘fangirl moment’ and who was it with? 

Jessica: I had a  major fangirl moment the first time I read Rainbow Rowell. I had just read Eleanor and Park and I went to one of her signings in LA. I waited until her long line of fans had died down before getting my book signed and introducing myself. We spoke for a little while and she asked what I had written. Then she asked if they carried it in the store. They did. And she actually BOUGHT Unremembered while I stood there and watched. And she asked me to sign it. I was so speechless and beside myself. To this day, I can’t believe Rainbow bought my book! GAH!

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is your favorite memories from when you were a teen? 

Jessica: Okay, this is super JUVENILE, but one of my favorite moments was when I was thirteen and the guy I’d been crushing on for weeks asked my best friend if she thought I would go out with him, if he asked me. I still remember the giddiness I felt when she passed on the message. The whole delivery was SO middle school but I don’t care. I was ecstatic!

Nerd Girl: Last question: who is your fictional crush?

Jessica: Gosh, it changes by the day. Today, I’ll go with Sky from LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD. I just read it and it was amazing! I’m excited to meet the author, Ava Dellaira, at the festival this month!

Giveaway!

Oh yes! There is a giveaway! With three prizes. It starts today, and ends May 20th, three days after the actual fest.

The prizes include: 

Grand Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Poster Signed by All Attending Authors and a Swag Pack!

Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!

Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!

First Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Signed by All Attending Authors!

Second Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Shirt Signed by All Attending Authors!

The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!

The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!

And its easy to enter, in the rafflecopter below! Sorry, no international this time around!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  *      *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Author Spotlight and Interview: Bethany Hagen

Today I’m spotlighting an author that I’m VERY excited to be spotlighting. Bethany Hagen is a debut author, for sale whose novel, visit this  Landry Park, information pills  is hitting bookshelves all over the place and is definitely getting talked about. I saw the book on shelves at Barnes and Noble and Mysterious Galaxy and I kept noticing it. It’s dark cover, and interesting title kept jumping out at me. And guys, I have a book buying problem. So it ended up in a pile of books that I bought on one trip and I went home to read it.

And I loved it. While I’ve been mostly avoiding dystopian and the like because of my own hard work at writing my sci-fi novel right now, this book was beautiful and the characters incredibly compelling and I was definitely one satisfied reader at the end of the novel.

I knew I had to get Bethany on What A Nerd Girl Says. So I did! She’s incredibly sweet and answered a few questions for me, so let’s take the time now to get to know her!

About Bethany Hagen: 

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Bethany Hagen is the debut author of the dystopian novel, Landry Park. She loves to drink coffee and do karate with her husband, but she’s quick to assure us, not at the same time. According to her website, “I’ve been a model for a painter, stung by a sting-ray, stuck in a coma, and I used to dress up as a 1904 schoolmarm, but I got paid for it, so it’s not weird”. She also has a day job as a librarian, which makes this pizza delivery driver quite jealous. She’s also QUITE good at utilizing GIFs to their best ability on her blog.

You can Find her at:

Twitter / Good Reads / Website / Blog

About Her Books: 

Landry Park

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In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire.

To read my review of Landry Park, click this link.

Interview with Bethany

 

Nerd Girl: What was the inspiration for Landry Park? Why was it important to you to tell this story? 

Bethany: The inspiration actually came from the city I live in and grew up in, Kansas City, Missouri. Working at a local history museum, I got to see exhibits and artifacts from the Gilded Age and the Edwardian Era–gowns and operas and garden parties. I also got to see fun Cold War era gadgets and pictures, relics from an age when people are both thrilled and terrified by the potential of nuclear technology. All of this added in with Kansas City’s historic (and very much still present) problem with poverty jostling next to unimaginable wealth, the story sort of came together on its own.

Nerd Girl: In Landry Park, Madeline struggles between the doubts she has about the way her world is run and the comfort she feels in her privileged lifestyle. How was this important to Madeline as a character and where she inevitably ends up in the end of the book?

Bethany: With Landry Park, I wanted to make sure that nothing was too easy for Madeline. Changing your entire worldview is hard. Like intensely hard work. Much harder than choosing between two rakish boys with dimpled cheeks and tousled hair. And in many dystopian novels, I think it’s fairly straightforward for heroines to accept that the world they once viewed as perfect is actually run by diabolical Goldfinger-types who want to blow up the moon. I didn’t want that for Madeline. I wanted her to struggle, to make mistakes, to feel weighted with guilt and uncertainty.

Nerd Girl: your novel has a lot of themes that are familiar to a young adult: romance, responsibility, family loyalty, commitment, rebellion and more. What is something you hope your readers get out of your novel once they’ve read it? 

Bethany: I hope readers feel like it’s okay not to be perfect. I hope that Madeline shows that it’s okay to falter and fumble and still find your way through at the end.

Nerd Girl: What are some of your own favorite books to read? Were they inspiration for your own writing career?

Bethany: Jane Eyre and Lord of the Rings were my perennial favorites, along with the works of Jane Austen and Gone with the Wind. They are absolutely inspirations for me — Austen, Bronte and Mitchell have this way of playing settings and characters off one another in a manner that I can only dream of doing (…but I try anyway). And I think my life’s goal is to write something as epic as LOTR. Or at least something that requires multiple appendices.

Nerd Girl: What can you tell us about what you are working on for the future? 

Bethany: I’m currently working on editing the sequel for Landry Park (working title Landry Park II: Landry Parkier.) I’ve also been working on a YA Sci-Fi, a YA horror and a NA gothic during my free time. I would love to eventually write in every genre. (Except self-help. My self-help book would be like Step One: Drink More. Step Two: Sweatpants. Step Three: Internet until the pain goes away.)

Nerd Girl: What sort of advice/insight do you think an aspiring author should know that doesn’t get said enough?

Bethany: Step One: Drink More. Step Two: Sweatpants. Step Three: Internet until the pain goes away.

Just kidding! (mostly)

Nerd Girl: This is kind of a fun question that I ask everyone I interview: who is your fictional crush and why? 

Bethany: Oh, the usual suspects: Edward Rochester, Darcy, Aragorn. My most recent fictional crush has been Gansey from The Raven Boys. Or maybe Stephen from Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London books. I have a soft spot for cops and British accents, so Stephen really nails the center of that Venn diagram for me.

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Thank you SO much to Bethany for answering these questions and having AWESOME answers, and for being part of this What A Nerd Girl Says spotlight.

For the rest of you, make sure to click the links above to learn more about Bethany and get your butt out to a bookstore to pick up Landry Park!

Happy Reading!

Pasadena Teen Book Festival Blog Tour-Spotlight on Margaret Stohl

I am so happy and pleased to be a part of this blog tour, page for an event that is sure to be fantastic. I’m going to post the official flyer in just a moment so you take a look at the amazing authors in attendance.

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Isn’t that list of authors absolutely beautiful?

When: Saturday, viagra 40mg April 26, 2014 from 12pm-4pm
Where: Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91101

You can follow the Pasadena TBF on a various number of web platforms to keep updated on all the 411 for the event: 

Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr / InstagramBlogspot

The most IMPORTANT thing you need though is the link to get your free tickets! You can do that by clicking HERE. Don’t forget the best part: its FREE!

Like I said before, I am very fortunate to be a part of this tour, and to be a part of it twice! That’s very exciting. But more importantly, there are a ton of amazing bloggers out there, sharing spotlights on the various authors that are guests at the festival. Check out the tour list!

Fri April 4 – What a Nerd Girl Says – Spotlight on Andrew Smith
Mon April 7 – What a Nerd Girl Says – Spotlight on Margaret Stohl
Tue April 8 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – Spotlight on Amy Tintera
Thu April 10 – The Consummate Reader – Bridge to Books Guest Post
Mon April 14 – Nite Lite Book Reviews – Spotlight on Sarah Skilton
Tue April 15 – Nite Lite Book Reviews – Spotlight on Allen Zadoff
Wed April 16 – The Reader’s Antidote – Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross
Fri April 18 – A Bookish Escape – Spotlight on Ann Redisch Stampler
Tue April 22 – The Book Twins – Spotlight on Carrie Arcos
Thu April 24 – Birth of a New Witch – Spotlight on Katherine Ewell

Today’s spotlight is on Margaret Stohl! 

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Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Margaret Stohl is no stranger to the young adult literature community. You may know her as part of the duo responsible for the best-selling book series turned movie, Beautiful Creatures. She is now working on her Icons series, the first of which was released last year. The sequel, Idols, will be released on July 8th of this year!

About Her Books

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Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol’s family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn’t know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside — safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can’t avoid.

She’s different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy.

Within the Icon’s reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions — which they’ve always thought to be their greatest weaknesses — may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts — in order to save the future.

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Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

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Interview with Margaret! 

 

Nerd Girl: What made you want to be a writer? Did you have other career ambitions before that?

Margaret: When I was little, I read in my bed by my nightlight. I read in the avocado tree in my backyard. I read with blankets and a pillow in my closet. I read in church. I read at the piano. From about age 5, I identified as a reader and since that didn’t seem like something you could be when you grew up, I knew I’d be a writer.

Nerd Girl: What was the inspiration behind the Icons series? Where did the idea come from? 

Margaret: Icons is, as I have often said, a story about big feelings. As a teenager, I grew up in a conservative religious culture. I felt like if I spoke my inner emotional truths I would disappear and the world would end – which only made me want to speak them more. So Icons is about four teens who have out of control emotions – love and hate, fear and sorrow – that are essentially weaponized. Their feelings literally could destroy the world. And I guess you could say the way they evolve from their fear of who they are to a place of power because of who they are is my take on growing up.

Nerd Girl: What can you tell us about Idols? What can we expect from it? 

Margaret: The Icons story moves from what one was the city of Los Angeles, now the Hole, to what once was Southeast Asia, now the SEA Colonies. There’s a lot of action – as is so often the case, when you’re on the run from a totalitarian government overseen by an alien race :) – but lots of romance and friendship and family building as well. I wrote the book, in part, in a jungle near Chiang Mai in Thailand, and did things like take care of an elephant in a rescue shelter as research. Obviously, I really loved writing this book…!

Nerd Girl: What are the best parts of being a published author? 

Margaret: The community, not just of readers, but also of other writers. At all the festivals, including the one I work on myself, the Charleston Yallfest, are like giant parties. We all really love hanging out with each other. But I also love traveling the 50+ countries our books are in to meet our readers from around the world.

Nerd Girl: What sort of advice do you give to aspiring writers and authors? 

Margaret: Notice the world around you. Keep a notebook and write down your observations. When you do start writing, have mercy on yourself — just not on your draft. Learn to finish what you star, that’s the hardest thing in the world. Don’t be a chicken. Be brave and write!

Nerd Girl: Was it difficult to make the transition from writing in a duo for Beautiful Creatures to writing solo for Icons? Why/why not? 

Margaret: Not really. The way Kami and I worked, we edited each other while we wrote. So we basically taught each other to write. Now that we’ve written books alone, though, it’s super fun to come back and work together.

Nerd Girl: Who are some authors that are inspirational to you? Who are some authors you enjoy reading for fun? Or both? 

Margaret: I was the head of the Susan Cooper Fan Club in third grade, so she is a goddess to me. Also Diana Wynne Jones. And I love Veronica and am so happy for Divergent’s success. I also love Richelle Mead’s Age of X series; Melissa de la Cruz’s Witches and also her Ring and Crown books, and of course all of Kami Garcia’s books! I love all my friends’ everythings!

Nerd Girl: Which book is harder to write: the first or the second?

Margaret: All books are hard to write, for different reasons. But usually it’s the second, when you’re just learning to write on a contract, instead of on pure hopes and dreams and love.

Nerd Girl: What are some things you like to do in your free time, when you are not writing?

Margaret: Eating tacos, ramen, soup dumplings, traveling. Three out of four of those I did today :)

Nerd Girl: What book (that is not yours) do you wish you had written?

Margaret: The Kenyon College commencement speech written by David Foster Wallace.

Nerd Girl: A little last fun question that I enjoy asking everyone I interview: who is your fictional crush? 

Margaret: #TeamAdrian from Vampire Academy. Han Solo, however, is my longest running character crush, going back to middle school, when I crank called his house with my friends ALMOST EVERY DAY. That’s a patient, patient man :)

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Okay, I love that Margaret and I have two shared fictional crushes and I really want to have tacos with her now…

I hope you all enjoyed this spotlight on the amazing Margaret Stohl and are able to come down on the 26th to enjoy the Fest and meet Margaret and all the other fantastic authors!

Pasadena Teen Book Festival Blog Tour-Spotlight on Andrew Smith

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When: Saturday, stuff April 26, case 2014 from 12pm-4pm
Where: Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91101

You can follow the Pasadena TBF on a various number of web platforms to keep updated on all the 411 for the event:

Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr / Instagram / Blogspot

The most IMPORTANT thing you need though is the link to get your free tickets! You can do that by clicking HERE. Don’t forget the best part: its FREE!

Like I said before, I am very fortunate to be a part of this tour, and to be a part of it twice! That’s very exciting. But more importantly, there are a ton of amazing bloggers out there, sharing spotlights on the various authors that are guests at the festival. Check out the tour list!

Fri April 4 – What a Nerd Girl Says – Spotlight on Andrew Smith
Mon April 7 – What a Nerd Girl Says – Spotlight on Margaret Stohl
Tue April 8 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – Spotlight on Amy Tintera
Thu April 10 – The Consummate Reader – Bridge to Books Guest Post
Mon April 14 – Nite Lite Book Reviews – Spotlight on Sarah Skilton
Tue April 15 – Nite Lite Book Reviews – Spotlight on Allen Zadoff
Wed April 16 – The Reader’s Antidote – Spotlight on Elizabeth Ross
Fri April 18 – A Bookish Escape – Spotlight on Ann Redisch Stampler
Tue April 22 – The Book Twins – Spotlight on Carrie Arcos
Thu April 24 – Birth of a New Witch – Spotlight on Katherine Ewell

Today’s Spotlight is on one of my absolute favorite authors and a man that I have such a deep respect for: Andrew Smith! 

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Website / Twitter / GoodReads / Instagram / Facebook

Andrew Smith is the critically acclaimed author of several young adult books such as Ghost Medicine, The Marbury Lens, Winger and the recently released Grasshopper Jungle. His novel 100 Sideways Miles will be released later this year. He has received starred reviews for his books in publications like Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist and more and his novel, Grasshopper Jungle has been optioned for film by Sony Pictures, with writer Scott Rosenberg at the screenwriting helm.

His Books

He has written quite a few books so I decided to spotlight his two latest novels :) 

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Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

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Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He’s stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it’s up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

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Interview with Andrew Smith 

 

Nerd Girl: One of the many things I’ve noticed about your books is that your characters all seem to have a sense of humor and hilarity that just leaps off the page. Is that a conscious effort on your part? Or does it come out naturally while capturing that “teen” voice?” 

Andrew: Hmmm…I’m going to answer in reverse. As far as the “teen voice” thing goes, I think I tend to write from an inner place and allow whatever I’m channeling to come out of my characters’ mouths. I tend to see the weird joke behind everything happens to me, even the painful stuff. But you can never really tell if what you’re writing is actually funny. It’s not like doing stand-up, where the response of the audience provides instant feedback. So I guess it’s a matter of being honest and putting down on the page what really occurs to me. It’s always such a relief to get that feedback from readers, though, because it takes so long for books to actually get into the hands of readers. For example, I wrote Grasshopper Jungle in the fall of 2011, and it came out in February of this year.

Nerd Girl: Let’s talk about romance: in Winger, we have a sort of fun, high school romance between Ryan Dean and Annie while we get a more straightforward, physical, hormonal version in Grasshopper Jungle. What were the reasons for the differences? 

Andrew: There’s a conscious effort on my part to make all of my books as different from another as I can. Winger is all about innocence; and Ryan Dean is such a pure kid (not so much in his thoughts). On the other hand, Grasshopper Jungle is more about unstoppable forces, so the sexuality had to be a little less restrained and uncovered.

Nerd Girl: Your characters all seem to have one thing (amongst others) in common: having a real, genuine, blunt and honest voice. Is it important to you for your characters to have this kind of voice in your novels? 

Andrew: I think sometimes people are afraid to confront certain issues and discuss–openly–the way things really are for so many kids when they go through adolescence. It’s important to me to at least try to express things that are real in the most straightforward manner. I deal with about 200 teenagers every day. I know what they talk about and I listen to what they have to say about their experiences.

Nerd Girl: What sort of advice/insight do you think an aspiring author should know that doesn’t get said enough? What would you want an aspiring author to know?

Andrew: My advice to aspiring authors: Tell, don’t show. Showing is for mimes. Nobody likes mimes. Also, have thin skin. Thick skin is for watermelons. Watermelons can’t write.

Nerd Girl: I’ve read 100 Sideways Miles and absolutely love it! What can you tell us about your future projects, especially that elusive Winger Part 2? 

Andrew: I’m currently working on another novel for Penguin, called The Alex Crow. I’m having a blast writing it, because it’s really weird and big and wild. It’s about a ship that gets stuck in ice, a fifteen-year-old kid, a schizophrenic who thinks he can speak to Joseph Stalin, a summer camp for kids who are addicted to technology, the de-extinction of a species of crow, and there’s a bigfoot in there, too. You know…the typical stuff. As far as the sequel to Winger, that’s coming next. It’s about Ryan Dean West’s final year at Pine Mountain Academy, and it’s called Stand-Off. 

Nerd Girl: This is a bonus question. I ask this to every person that I interview because it’s lighthearted and fun, after basically overloading your brain with thought provoking questions: who is your fictional crush? 

Andrew: Ally Condie. I think she’s adorable. Oh…you mean someone who IS fictional, as opposed to someone who writes fiction? Um…well, if it’s going to be all fake and stuff, I’ll go out of the box and say Robby Brees from Grasshopper Jungle. I totally love that kid.

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I hope you enjoyed this spotlight on Andrew Smith and are encouraged to read his books. If you are in the Southern California area, you should definitely come out to this event. It’s going to be amazing and you will be able to meet authors like Andrew and more!

A.S. King, My New Favorite Author

So, side effects my initiative for the New Year is to read an author that I’ve never read before, viagra buy who I’m not familiar with, price and who is not in a genre that I typically read — quite the challenge for me (because I’m a creature of habit).

I chose contemporary YA author, A.S. King.

A.S. King

I ended up picking A.S. King (A.S. stands for Amy Sarig) because of Ariel Bissett on YouTube. She raves about King in many of her videos and so I did some research on her books and found them very intriguing. I decided to pick one book that sounded the most interesting to me, which initially was Everybody Sees the Ants. I read it in like a day or two — the book was fantastic! And my A.S. King journey took off from there.

I then read Reality BoyAsk the Passengers, and Please Ignore Vera Dietz — all of which I absolutely LOVED.

King has such a beautiful way of telling stories and making you feel for her characters. Her main characters are so deep and troubled, but they always come out better on the other side. There are quite a few metaphors through a lot of her books, which makes me think that King love to think in analogies, metaphors, and symbolism.

In Everybody Sees the Ants, the ants are a metaphor for Lucky Linderman’s social experiences. In Reality Boy, Gerald Faust’s bowel movements, while very real and very gross, are a metaphor for something as well. In Ask the Passengers, Astrid’s experiences with the passengers — those “passengers” are a metaphor for something else entirely. And finally, in Please Ignore Vera Dietz, Charlie’s countless manifestations are symbolism of a secret that Vera needs to tell.

A.S. King always has a life lesson at the end of her books, I’ve come to find. A lesson that, while meant for the character to experience, also ends up teaching the reader something about his or herself as well.

She even said that she enjoys writing for young adults versus adults because “young adult minds are endless…adult minds are often not so endless”, which is a true statement and is also part of the reason why I love Young Adult fiction so much.

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King’s books have won many awards from the L.A. Times Book Prize awards for Ask The Passengers, 2012’s ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults in Everybody Sees the Ants, and 2011’s Michael L. Printz Awards for Please Ignore Vera Dietz. She is a writer of short stories as well, and believe me, I will get to those soon!

Her fellow colleagues, i.e. other authors, praise her work:

” A.S. King is one of the best YA writers working today. She captures the disorientation of adolescence brilliantly.” – John Green, best-selling author of The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns

“Timely, incisive, compassionate. All of A.S. King’s novels are must-reads.” – Matthew Quick, best-selling author of The Silver Linings Playbook

Overall, this is not an author to sleep on. King’s novels have lessons for you to learn, things for you to experience, and characters for you to fall in love with. If there is one thing that I can say about King’s writing and her creativity, she is not afraid to write flawed characters and she is very good at making us love them as they are — flawed. It’s not about them developing into the perfect person. It’s not even about them getting everything right in the end. It’s just a life experience. King allows us to experience human interaction and everyday life through the eyes of someone who is struggling. And after reading an A.S. King book, I come out of the experience a little different from when I started.

Not many authors have that power over me — but A.S. King definitely does.