readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rgz Austin HOST: March Madness!

Our Austin HOST, Bethany, is here with a recap of a fun month in her happenin' town!

Note: the end of this message tells you about YOUR chance to ask a question of DAVID LEVITHAN and JOHN GREEN!!!

March Madness

. . .isn't just about basketball and the final four, here in Austin, Texas. During the month of March the tween/teen lit scene has been jam packed. Cynthia Leitich Smith's paperback release of Eternal (Candlewick Press) debuted at #5 on the NYTimes best-sellers list.

A huge congrats to Cyn, who is the hardest working woman in kid lit and is a champion to new author's everywhere. I was doubly thrilled, as Co-editor of Hunger Mountain, when I got to interview Cynthia on the big news.

South by Southwest brought a number of celebs to town. Friends reported seeing Mary Louise-Parker, Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning--in town for the premiere of Runaways, the Joan Jett bio pic-- and, walking down Ceaser Chavez, I caught a glimpse of a grey-T-shirted Saturday Night Live cast member Seth Myers, who is cuter on the street than behind the fake newsdesk. But nothing, for me, beat spotting Adrian Brody, with my very own, two blue eyes, in the aisles of Book People while there for Jo Whittemore's release of Front Page Face Off (Aladdin Mix). Adrian never made it upstairs to the second floor where Jo's party was in full swing but if he was he would have gotten many a sweet treat. (And, I'm not talking about that kiss he stole from Halle Berry.)

As one of the top reporters at Brighton Junior Academy, twelve-year-old Delilah James is on her way to becoming a Junior Global Journalist until an international rival steals her spotlight...and her crush. Will Delilah manage to be a Junior Global Journalist and win back the boy, or will she find herself to be yesterday's news?

Jo's party was a ton of fun. If you haven't already, and you, like Seth Myers, are a journalist in the making, check out Front Page Face Off.

But, the parties didn't stop when the celebs left town. Varian Johnson's lovely wife Crystal, threw a pre-release party for Saving Maddie at Embellish Nails where local authors gathered to get gorgeous.

Gift bags stuffed with purple party favors were handed out to each attendee. Crystal sure knows how to make authors feel like Hollywood celebs. I have a feeling her party planning skills are going to be in demand on the Austin author scene.

We tried to talk Varian into getting his nails painted purple in honor of Maddie, but he held his ground.

But this was a pre-party, the real shebang was last Saturday at Book People where April Lurie and Varian Johnson held a join book launch bash.

In The Less-Dead, Noah knows a serial killer is targeting gay teens, but only those who live in foster homes, whose deaths are not that important to society; they are the less-dead. Noah, however, is determined to prove that someone cares. With the help of Will's journal, which he pocketed at the scene of the crime and in which the killer has written clues, Noah closes in on an opponent more dangerous than he can guess. Reviews are fab! Publisher's Weekly calls the less-dead, "Suspensful and emotional." While Kirkus states, "Lurie has wrought a compelling, edge-of-your-seat thriller that will keep readers riveted to the end."

Along with being critique partners, and members of the Delacorte Dames and Dude(of which I am the latest member! Go, DDD's.), April and Varian are good friends, and their latest books both tackle religious themes. Saving Maddie asks the question: What happens when you fall in love with the girl you’re supposed to be saving? Kirkus states: "Johnson avoids heavy-handed messages with nuanced characters and a realistic treatment of Joshua and Maddie's complex relationship." And Publisher's Weekly adds: "[A] sincere story...the questions Josh weighs about morality, God, and desire feel wholly genuine."

At the party, April and Varian interviewed one another on the makings of their latest books, how they tackle such controversial subject matter, and how they balance it all. The event ended with the tables turned, and Mandy, from Book People, asking them a few questions about the other to see who knew who better. Turns out Varian is a dunce and April the champion! But, for those of you creating Varian Johnson fan pages, I'll let you in on a little secret. His favorite ice cream is butter pecan.

But, if you think March was MAD, wait until you see the throngs that show up for the April events. Coming to town on April 9th are John Green and David Levithan and on April 19th, Gary Paulsen makes an appearance.

If in Austin, turn out for both events. And, if not, and you've got a question for John Green and David Levithan, post a comment here and I will ask a randomly selected question from the commentors at the event and will report back with the answer. And, I promise, I won't make you wait until the end of the month for dish and dirt on our out-of-towner author appearances.

Signing off for now, from Keepin' It Weird, Austin, Texas.


Lorie Ann Grover said...

What a fantastic post, Bethany! Thank you for the report and I can't wait to see your next. Woohoo!

John and David. It's going to be good for certain.

PJ Hoover said...

Sweet wrap up, Bethany! Austin does rock!

Lorie Ann Grover said...

And Bethany, Adrian Brody: my daughter would just die. o-0

Lorie Ann Grover said...

And one more: Just caught John reading:

Dia Calhoun said...

Thanks, Bethany! Wish I were there.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.