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!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cover Stories: Something Wicked

The cover for the anthology of nightmares, Something Wicked, makes me wish I had a Halloween costume just like this. Kelly Parra has a short story within its pages, and she's here to talk about the cover:

 "When I first saw the cover for Something Wicked I thought, 'Wow, eye-catching!'And that’s what I really like about covers. I want them to be unique and give you a little punch at first glimpse. 

"Buzz Books's first young adult anthology Prom Dates to Die For was shot with a model (right). My first story with teen supernatural hunters Jaz and Blake were introduced in my story 'Darkness Becomes Him.' They did an entire behind-the-scenes video with a teen model. I really enjoyed that. This time I believe the girl with the painted face may be a stock photo. But I can tell the choice really gave the spooky vibe the publisher was going for..."

Read the rest of Kelly's Cover Story at melissacwalker.com. Happy Halloween, readergirlz!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Diva Delight: Brain Storm, Unleashing Your Creative Self, Don Hahn

Hey, rgz! I have to share this work with you all because you mustn't miss it. My journal is fat with notes from Don Hahn's words of encouragement regarding the creative process. The work is easy and accessible and inspiring. I didn't realize how much I was gathering, until at the conclusion, I looked back at all my highlighted sections. I imagine you'll respond the same way. Don produced both The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. The work is full of fun production anecdotes which act as examples to the featured concepts.

Since we shoot straight at readergirlz, I'm going to share the most meaningful passage to me. Tuck it away, think on it, and maybe it will redirect your thinking about your pursuits the rest of your creative life.

"There is no compelling reason that people should care about your work. Most of what you will create will be for your own enrichment or will be a stepping stone to better, more insightful work. Maybe once or twice in a lifetime you will be recognized with public kudos, so in the meantime, create for yourself. Create because you have to, not to be famous, but because you are a living, breathing soul who must create or die a slow and boring death." 

There you have it. Take it and run, rgz!

Brain Storm, Unleashing Your Creative Self
by Don Hahn
Disney Editions

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cover Stories: Take a Bow

The fantastic Elizabeth Eulberg is here to share the story of her latest cover. Take a Bow is told in four points of view (so hard!) and I've heard only raves about how awesome this book is (MTV's Crush gave it a standing ovation). YES! Also, the cover is blindingly eye-catching, no? Here's Elizabeth:

"I usually don't start thinking about the cover until I'm almost done with the book. I didn't really have a clear idea of the cover until I had the title (the book was untitled for awhile). Then once we settled on Take a Bow as the title, I automatically envisioned a cover very similar to the final cover. It's really freaky how in sync the book designer (the fabulous Elizabeth Parisi), my editor (David Levithan), and I are. We've been on the same page for all of my books. Just the other day, I told David my thoughts on the cover for my next book and they were already mocking up covers with the exact same concept - scary! The only difference between my idea for Take a Bow and Scholastic's was that I was picturing four people 'taking a bow' to reflect a key scene in the book, but I think the one person is more dramatic and personal.

"I really don't like having faces on covers of books, it's just a personal preference I've always had. So when David called me to tell me their idea for the cover, my first thought was 'that's exactly what I was thinking!' but I only wanted to see the back of the head. When he said they were going for a side view, but in shadow, I was a little hesitant. But then I got to have an opinion on the model who'd be on the cover, which was a huge treat..."

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cover Stories: The Julian Game

Adele Griffin's The Julian Game was released in 2010 with a raucous cover that I always meant to share here. Much belatedly (my fault!), she's showing some early cover options for that book and a bit about the story.

Also, I'm psyched that she's got another book out this month (All You Never Wanted)!

Here's Adele:

"I had no cover ideas at all. For one thing, the original title of the book was MELLEN IN SPRING which gives me such big shivers of Terrible Title-ness. What was I thinking? It sounds like a strange, Little House on the Prairie story. That early draft was so different. Mellen was short for Mary Ellen, who then became Ella. And the story was more like a 'bad influence' type, with Mellen getting Raye to do awful stuff for her. So, no cover had jelled. Maybe: two girls in a red convertible? More shivers!

 "My publisher went into the bat cave slash think tank, and came up with a lot of options. I loved so many of them. It was during the summer, and my family was on vacation in Fire Island, so we printed them up and put them on the kitchen table. And people would walk by and say--'I love that one! No, that one!'


 "Penguin's art department is, in my mind, very 'mad genius in the lab'-- and my last cover with them was for my middle grade 'Vampire Island' series. I'd been over the moon for their choices there. All I'd said on VI was 'What do you think about making the vamps sweet but streetwise?' and they came back with pure gothy delicious. So I was prepared to be bowled over...."

To read the rest of Adele's story, and see even more cover options, go to melissacwalker.com.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Diva Delight: Paradise by Joanna Nadin

Paradise by Joanna Nadin is so well-crafted. I was truly amazed. You will be rocked back and forth in time and through emotion. Sometimes it feels like a gentle pull of the tide, and other times, the story roars like a rogue wave. Consistently, the tug of the undertow will take you back, back, back until all the secrets are revealed, and peace is finally found.

When Billie inherits her grandmother's house, she moves from London to a small seaside town with her mother and brother. Her intent is to find her estranged father. Her quest unravels the secrets of two generations of women, secrets which she is completely entangled in without even realizing it.

Add Paradise to your stack. Listen to the whispers of women of the past, as they join the voice of a girl of today. Peek here to see Nadin chat about her personal casting and director choices. So interesting!

by Joanna Nadin
Candlewick Press, Oct. 2012

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cover Stories: The Poison Diaries

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood is based on a concept by The Duchess of Northumberland. See? I'm already enchanted. Here's the effervescent Maryrose to talk about that cover:

"[As I was writing], mostly I was thinking about plants. Plants and more plants! But there are already quite a few book covers out there with plants on them. They seem to skew toward spooky tendrils, like the Beautiful Creatures cover, or close-ups of luscious blossoms, like New Moon. I knew The Poison Diaries needed a cover that would appeal to fans of gothic, supernatural and romantic YA, but would also communicate the uniqueness of the poison plant concept. Thank goodness it was not up to me to come up with a solution.

"While writing The Poison Diaries, I read quite a bit about the English Romantic poets. In fact, they’re one reason I chose to set the book in late 18th-century England (that and Wuthering Heights, of course!).

"My boyfriend and I went to see an exhibit of William Blake’s illustrations at the Morgan Library &Museum. There were all these amazing, trippy drawings, with terrifying winged angels and so on. The hallucinogenic feel of it was inspiring to me. (You can check out this exhibition online.)

 "I remember sending my editor, Donna Bray, some links to those images. I’m not sure they were useful in her thinking about the cover, but I certainly drew upon some of that imagery when I was writing. People think writing is all about the words, but I find visual research very stimulating when I’m working on a book. Thank you, Google Images..."

Read the rest of Maryrose's story on melissacwalker.com.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

rgz Newsflash: TRW 2012

This just in from YALSA. Be sure to participate as it sounds super easy and fun!

On October 17, 2012, help YALSA celebrate Teen Read Week™ by joining the conversation about teen reading and young adult literature!  We’re encouraging people of all ages to Tweet their YA lit reading recommendations, thoughts and ideas on YA lit and more via the hashtag #TRW12 any time on Oct. 17.  To get all of the details, please visit: http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2012/10/08/join-the-conversation-about-teen-reading/.  Have a wonderful Teen Read Week!  To learn more about Teen Read Week visit www.ala.org/teenread.

Rock on, rgz! Share what you are reading next week!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Monday, October 1, 2012

Watch for It: Daylight Savings

Daylight Saving (Hardcover) ~ Edward Hogan Cover Art

Reminding me of a tale by William Sleater, Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan is a fast-paced, mind-bending chiller. Daniel, on a forced vacation with his father, meets a girl whose wounds seem to worsen daily. As the clock runs down, he grasps for courage and inspiration to try to save her. At the same time, he's dealing with his own body image, the blame of his parent's separation, and his father's drinking. If you liked The Lovely Bones, you'll find a similar thread here.

Watch for Daylight Saving. And see how sympathetic you become as the clock ticks backwards...

Daylight Saving
by Edward Hogan
Candlewick Press

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz