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!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cover Stories: Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Jennifer Echols has a new book out--yay! She stopped by on her GCC tour to talk about the cover for Love Story. (Check out her previous Cover Stories for Going Too Far and Endless Summer.) Here's Jennifer!

"I asked for [my character] Erin in the foreground, looking over her shoulder at Hunter at a desk writing in the background. My publisher doesn’t ask me for my input--I just give it, LOL! I didn’t really think they would follow my advice, because my covers are all from stock photos, not photo shoots, and a cover as specific as the one I asked for would have been hard to find. So I also sent them pictures of what the characters should look like. And I asked that above all, the heroine should look happy.

"When I first saw the cover, I thought, 'The heroine is happy! Hooray!' and also 'Why does the heroine have a diamond stud in her nose?'..."

Read the rest of Jennifer's Cover Story at melissacwalker.com.

Monday, August 22, 2011

rgz Newsflash: Sonya Sones' Poetry

We know and love Sonya for her verse novels. Did you know she now has an adult novel titled The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus? Go, Sonya!

In celebration of kids heading to college, Sonya is writing poems, daily, from the mother's point of view as her teen departs. Click here for her blog. Check out this fresh, poignant work, especially if you are headed off to university this season. Maybe you'll gain a bit of insight into your mom. Just maybe...

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

rgz NYC Host: Hudson Valley YA Society event at Oblong Books!

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of speaking at Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, NY, alongside fellow YA author Nova Ren Suma
Those of you who follow @Literaticat on twitter are probably already familiar with her young adult reading series (and if you’re not, you should be!), so I shouldn’t have to tell you that it was a real thrill to be included in her line-up. It was particularly special to be reading and presenting alongside Nova. Nova and I first met when we were working as a copyeditor and book editor, respectively, at a children’s publishing imprint, and we quickly bonded over our “secret” writing aspirations. We shared early frustrations, and were around to celebrate big-time triumphs. These days, we’re both riding the highs and lows of finishing up the second manuscripts on our book contracts, which we often do together, with the aid of much caffeine and baked goods. It goes without saying I’m a HUGE fan of her work.
Thanks again to everyone who came out to chat with us about all things young adult. And thanks to Oblong for having us!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

rgz Newsflash: Baby June Hazel is born!

Sending out cherished congratulations to Diva Melissa Walker, for the birth of her daughter, June Hazel! We are thrilled to have this youngest readergirl in our community. Here's to many cherished books read together. I'm packing up a box of board books for this sweetie right now!

Welcome, Baby June! Congrats to you and your hubby, Melissa! We heart you!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cover Stories: The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

A couple of weeks ago I noticed lots of girls-in-grass covers (my own included) and I mentioned fellow Contemps author Lisa Schroeder's latest, The Day Before, of which Booklist says: "Readers will find plenty of appeal factors in this outing... delivers a punch at the novel's end." (I love an end punch.)

Now she's here to share her Cover Story! Take it away, Lisa:

"I don't think about covers much, mostly because I've learned that it's not good to get attached to anything since who knows what you'll end up with. However, I really thought the cover would be a beach scene of some kind.

"I was surprised, because there wasn't a grain of sand to be found. I thought it was pretty, but I wasn't sure that it conveyed what the book is about. Although, more and more, I'm not sure that's a cover's purpose, necessarily..."

Read the rest of Lisa's Cover Story at melissacwalker.com.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

rgz NYC Host: Diva Melissa Walker reads at Books of Wonder!

I'm out of town for the remainder of the summer, but before I left, I had the chance to see our very own diva Melissa read from her latest release, SMALL TOWN SINNERS, at Books of Wonder!

Here's Melissa on the far right (does she make pregnancy look stylin', or what?), and to her left, Gayle Forman, Aprilynne Pike, and Sarah Porter.

After reading from their newest books, the authors answered questions about reading, writing, and inspiration.

Best tip for beating writers' block? Aprilynne's advice is "keep writing," so as not to lose momentum. Well, she definitely seems to be onto something!

Hope everyone's having a fun summer -- filled with great reads!

Cover Stories: A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Suzanne Young's new book, A Need So Beautiful, scored a star from Booklist, which deemed it "a clever and well-written fantasy." It's also got an absolutely glowing cover.

She stopped by on her Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Tour to tell us about it:

"I had an idea for the cover, but ultimately it would have been too dark. The idea for this one was there from the start, and I think it really captures the warmth and essence of the book.

"When I first saw the image, I was stunned. I loved it. But it didn’t truly hit me how beautiful it was until I saw the entire jacket and back copy.

"Mostly just the colors changed a bit. I didn’t have anything that I wanted to change, so luckily I was pretty happy. It was very different from my first cover experience. [Read about Suzanne's Naughty List covers.]

Read the rest of Suzanne's Cover Story, and see a behind-the-scenes shot of the model, at melissacwalker.com.

Oh, and here's the lovely trailer.

Friday, August 5, 2011

rgz Seattle HOST: Stephanie Guerra and the YA Extravaganza!

Here's a great entry from our Seattle HOST, Stephanie Guerra! Her debut young adult novel, TORN, will be published by Marshall Cavendish in spring of 2012. Take it away, Stephanie!  

Last night, Third Place Books held a YA extravaganza hosting six local authors: Suzanne Young (A Need so BeautifulThe Naughty List), Lisa Schroeder (The Day Before), Eileen Cook (The Education of Hayley Kendrick), Mandy Hubbard (Ripple), Kimberly Derting (The Body FinderDesires of the Dead) and Cat Patrick (Forgotten).
All of these fabulous authors were warm, funny, and engaging as they took Q and A’s and did some great giveaways. Here are a few fun quotes on inspiration:
Eileen Cook on The Education of Hayley Kendrick: “More people are killed by falling vending machines than shark attacks. I wanted a risk adverse character who would worry about things like this.”

Cat Patrick on Forgotten: “My twins were five months old and in the middle of an activity in the kitchen, and I forgot what I was doing. I started to think about how tough it would be to have amnesia, especially in high school. And then I wondered what it would be like if people could remember things in the future…”
Kim Derding said her husband gave her the idea for The Body Finder with the simple question, “What if there was a kid who could find dead bodies?”

Suzanne Young found the idea for A Need So Beautiful  when she was offered inspiring words by a stranger after receiving the terrible news that a family member was dying. The incident made her wonder about angels, and the ways that a single sentence can change a person’s life.
And some great advice for aspiring authors!
“Don’t be afraid to get in there and play. You don’t know what you’re good at until you try.” –Lisa Schroeder
“After you’ve written something, walk away for awhile and then come back with truly fresh eyes.” –Cat Patrick
“Continue to write. Sometimes your ideas develop into other ideas that are a little bit better.” –Suzanne Young
“I have stacks of rejection letters. Want it so bad that you’re willing to keep working at it. It’s about not giving up.” –Kimberly Derting
“Give yourself permission to write crap. Crap can be fixed.” –Mandy Hubbard
“Read a lot! …and keep trying, because you don’t have anything to lose.” –Eileen Cook
Cat, Suzanne, and Lisa

And to close, a few suggestions for more great reads. These are the titles the authors offered in response to the question: “What book do you wish you had written?”
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Divergent by Veronica Roth
White Cap and Red Glove by Holly Black
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Thanks for reading, girlz. It was an amazing night all around and I hope you’ll check out some of the books by these talented ladies.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

rgz Shout Out: Young Adult Reader Reviews, Verse Novels

Shout out for our friends and neighbors down under! Check out www.yarr-a.com  Young Adult Reader Reviews-Australia, to find an amazing list of verse novels, as well as other great reads. Stephen has included US and UK title, too. The list is brilliant, and I'm sure he dedicated much time for this resource!

Have you read a verse novel this summer? You know I'm partial. :~) Choose one from the list and let us know how you liked it!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz