Pasadena Teen Book Festival Blog Tour-Spotlight on Andrew Smith


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! 


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 :) 


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.


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.


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!