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, January 28, 2014

Cover Stories: Masque of the Red Death

Bethany Griffin is here today to talk about her cover for Masque of the Red Death, which is a twist on Edgar Allen Poe's gothic short story (cool!). The cover has atmosphere in spades.

Here's Bethany:

"I think that covers are the most exciting thing, seeing a visual interpretation of your work, and every time we've sold a foreign right, a part of me is jumping up and down going, Another cover! Another cover! But, I didn't have an image in mind as I wrote.

"In retrospect, I'm not sure that there was much discussion with my publisher, but one thing we did discuss during revisions was having some symbols for different groups in the story, because through a good part of the story evil is sort of amorphous, and since there are multiple groups vying for the city, it made sense to give the reader some visual clues. I think it was great editorial advice, and added to the story, but...in my mind I was picturing a more gender-neutral cover, perhaps using some of those symbols, so I was surprised when I got the cover, initially..."

Read Bethany's full Cover Story on melissacwalker.com.

Monday, January 27, 2014

rgz Newsflash: And the winners are...

What fantastic choices! Congrats to all the winners and thanks to the librarians who worked so hard to award these books. Here's the link for the full list of glory!

** Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
“Midwinterblood,” written by Marcus Sedgwick, is the 2014 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
Four Printz Honor Books also were named: “Eleanor & Park,” written by Rainbow Rowell and published by St. Martin’s Griffin (Macmillan); “Kingdom of Little Wounds,” written by Susann Cokal and published by Candlewick Press; “Maggot Moon,” written by Sally Gardner, illustrated by Julian Crouch and published by Candlewick Press; and “Navigating Early,” written by Clare Vanderpool and published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, Penguin Random House Company.

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

rgz Newsflash: ALA Midwinter Hello

Hello from ALA Midwinter, rgz! I saw a lot of YALSA teens on the floor yesterday, and I was happy to share readergirlz buttons. So many cheerful faces, square glasses, and books bulging in bags. Thanks for dropping by the Blink booth for Firstborn. Such a great celebration. Super fun to see postergirl Jackie Parker Robinson, as well!

Okay, in anticipation of the awards tomorrow morning, check out this video of some of your childhood favorites. We'd like to see a similar video for the Printz!

Here's to the festivities and thanks to all the librarians for their work in selecting this year's winners!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cover Stories: Torn by Stephanie Guerra

Stephanie Guerra's 2012 debut novel has a cover that really tells a story, especially when you look at the entire jacket. Here's Stephanie (our fabulous Seattle Host!) to talk about the process: 

"I love the cover of Torn, because by some amazing coincidence, the model looks like the friend on whom Stella, my narrator, is based (see the picture of 'Stella' and me in high school, below right). I also like the model because I can see both Latina and Eastern European characteristics in her face, and Stella is biracial Mexican and Croatian..."

Read Stephanie's full Cover Story at melissacwalker.com (and see many other considered options!).

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cover Stories: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Jennifer Echols has some great covers. (Remember the makeovers of her illustrated-cover books into photographic covers? Love that!)

Her 2012 book, Such a Rush, is no exception. Jennifer's here to share her Cover Story:

"When the publisher asked me for my input on the cover, I told them a big sky would be good, but we would also need to see the characters Leah and Grayson to make it evident to readers that the book is a romance. They came back with two possibilities. One looked like the back cover, showing the small-town airport with an airplane overhead, except that Leah and Grayson were also lying in the grass. The other looked like the front cover...."

Read Jennifer's full Cover Story on melissacwalker.com.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bad Reviews Read by Authors

As the launch of my fantasy approaches, I await good and bad reviews from readers. It's just the case that every book is not going to connect with every reader. However, I found this video, recommended by FUSE#8 on Sunday, along with my Firstborn trailer. Seriously, it gives great perspective in the midst of the journey. So yes, thanks for talking about our books in every way, rgz!

This is just part one. Go to Marc Tyler Nobleman's blog for more!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Monday, January 6, 2014

Crossing Genres: Donna Jo Napoli and Melissa Walker

Sometimes we hear of those in the publishing industry who dissuade authors from writing in different genres. As if YA readers don't read various styles of storytelling. YA readers do, and so do YA writers. Therefore, writers like the freedom to crossover. We choose the best genre to tell our story. Because ultimately, it's all about good story.

I'm happy to share two books by authors writing in different genres than they usually do. The first is Skin by Donna Jo Napoli. I did expect fantasy when I picked up the work, but then quickly entered into Sep's world as she discovers she has vitiligo. The realistic work is paced well as Napoli draws us alongside Sep. We feel compassion, frustration, and ultimately empathize with a character accepting her new self and redefining normal.

The second work is by our own rgz diva, Melissa Walker: Ashes to Ashes. I expected a contemporary work, which, true enough, the story begins with, but the paranormal afterlife caught me by surprise. (I don't tend to read flaps. :~) Melissa's setting is fresh and will draw you to think and ponder your own beliefs. That is of course after you've run with Callie through her trial, been pulled and torn through her decisions, and cheered her character growth. And as always, Melissa writes of real, compelling love. My favorite quote: "Life is fragile, worthy of reverence and gently care." Great thoughts for the new year!

Find these, rgz, and let us know what you think, here or on facebook. Happy new year!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

by Donna Jo Napoli
Skyscape, 2013

Ashes to Ashes
by Melissa Walker
Katherine Tegen Books, Inc. 2013