Saturday, October 31, 2009
Honoring Libba, here's a Gorgon for Halloween night! Stay safe out there, rgz! (pst, it's my daughter. :~)
Thank you, Libba Bray!
1. She can compose a fierce Post of Awesome, complete with moisturizer tips.
2. She finds wonder in "almost everything."
3. She'd like to play guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughn and drum like Dave Grohl.
Well, at least she can write like... Libba Bray! After you finish the Gemma Doyle trilogy, check out Going Bovine, her latest novel. Libba bills it as "the feel-good-mad-cow-disease/string-theory-book-of-fall." Yes!
Thank you, Libba!
Little Willow's Book Bag
The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau
Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell
Rain is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith
The Twilight Zone: The Big Tall Wish by Rod Serling, graphic novel adaptation by Mark Kneece, illustrated by Chris Lie
For Your Younger Sister
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
Picture Book Picks
Stormy Weather by Debi Gliori
Nugget on the Flight Deck by Patricia Newman, illustrated by Aaron Zenz
This Month's Spotlighted Title
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
Cover Stories: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
"I sat down with my editor and my designer and I gave them a mood board of a bunch of images I liked. I wanted something pretty and classic and nostalgic.
"My editor let me give a lot of input, which I will be forever grateful for. I got to pick the models, which is basically like choosing which Barbie doll should go with which Ken doll-- soooo fun. The hardest character to cast was Jeremiah, because apparently blond teenage male models are in short supply in NY. It took us a while to find the right one, but in the end, I loved who we picked. I especially loved the girl, because she was so fresh and sweet-looking and also she has those adorable freckles.
"They ended up doing the shoot at Coney Island. They shot like, a million pictures and the one we picked was literally right at the end of the roll. The sun was setting, and even though you couldn't see the beach, there was just this beautiful beachy light. It felt like summer to me.
"The first time I saw the cover, I could not stop staring at it. Love at first sight, I swear. And I continue to be in love with it!"
I love how involved Jenny got to be with her photo shoot--the most involved I've heard with an author so far! Casting models? Awesome. And yes, this looks like golden moments of summer to me for sure. Sigh.
What do you guys think? Does it say summer to you?
Friday, October 30, 2009
October: Roundup of Discussions
Did you catch all the Libba exchanges this month, rgz? Check out the list and weigh in!
Welcome, Libba Bray!
Things to know about Libba
October Book Party
Video: Girl Anger in YA Lit
The Sweet Far Thing Soundtrack
The Rose of Battle
Hot Topics with Libba Bray:
A Woman's Place
Post of Awesome by Libba
Solving Other People's Problems
Your Own Magic
What is Love?
Magic for a Day
Finding the Authentic You
Fate or Free Will
~the rgz divas
The Rose of Battle by W.B. Yeats
Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.
Beauty grown sad with its eternity
Made you of us, and of the dim grey sea.
- from The Rose of Battle by W.B. Yeats
I selected this piece in honor of the novel The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray, this month's featured title at readergirlz. Thanks, Libba, for hanging out with us this month!
Read the poem in its entirety.
View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
Consult the Poetry Friday roundup schedule at Big A, little a.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.
Chatting with Patrick Ness!
1. What were you doing when you found out you were a Teens' Top Ten nominee?
Probably writing. I say "probably" because that's all I've been doing for the last year, pretty much every minute. Every once in awhile, something really nice will happen and I'll lift my head and wave and then feel guilty and get back to work.
2. The Chaos Walking series is highly acclaimed. Is there one award you’ve won that has meant the most to you? Which one and why?
I couldn't possibly choose between them! Awards are really, really nice for so many reasons, not least of which that they get your book into the hands of readers. For that, the Carnegie Medal Shadowing Scheme here in the UK is unbelievably brilliant. Literally thousands of young people read the whole shortlist and then have these big multi-school events where they argue over a winner. I went to a few for Knife, and they were great. In the end, I didn't win, but participating in the Shadowing Scheme was amazing. A roomful of 400 teens arguing over books! Bliss.
3. What's the most memorable experience you've had with one of your readers?
I've had one teenage reader write and record a song based on The Knife of Never Letting Go, which was just really touching. Really good song, too, a very talented girl who's definitely going places.
4. Do your books have different covers in the states and England?
They do! The English covers are more emblematic (above), as English covers tend to be, and the American covers are more narrative, as American covers tend to be (right). No idea why that is, just how they've grown over time, I imagine, but I've had people loudly claim their preference for both sides, so they're obviously both doing something right.
5. What did you just finish reading?
Just today I finished reading the next Peter Carey. A perk of being a book reviewer is occasionally getting proofs months and months in advance. It's called Parrot and Olivier in America, and it's so rich and juicy and churning, like all his stuff. I'm a huge fan.
6. The Knife of Never Letting Go was your first book for young adults. Did you treat the writing process differently in any way?
Not really. You do of course have to take in some concerns about things like depiction of profanity (though I get around that), but mainly no. I think if you start worrying too much about the exact kind of book you're writing, you end up forgetting to pay attention to the story, and who's going to want to read that? I just tried to keep in mind what I'd have wanted to read when I was teenager and what I liked and didn't like and that was it. A teenage audience of one. But that way, I could really, really enjoy telling the story, and I think it's that joy that translates the page and to the reader. That's my hope, anyway.
7. What made you want to write for Young Adults?
The story told me to! Seriously, I wasn't planning on it, I just keep turning over the voice and trying different things and it suddenly revealed itself as a story for young adults. And I thought, great! I found it really liberating, because young adults are a tough audience, if they don't like you, they'll put you right down and tell everyone how bad you are. But if you do respect them, then they're also far less snobbish and more willing to take risks and come to far off places. Exactly the kind of audience I like.
8. What is your writing / revising process?
In a first draft, I write 1000 words a day. Then the next day, I go back to the begining of that, work my through it with a blue pen, the add 1000 words on to the end of it. Repeat the process until I've got a chapter or a section, then begin again with the next one. That way, my first drafts get a fair bit of rewriting in them already and I can always have the story being told in my head from beginning to end.
9. When is the next Chaos Walking book coming out?
It's called Monsters of Men and looks to be coming out in May 2010 in the UK. Not sure yet of the US release date but the last two have been September, so probably then.
10. What are you working on now?I'm working on the very final revisions to Monsters of Men! It's a big ol' book, bringing this story to a close, so I want to get it exactly right. I'm almost there...
Keep going, Patrick! Thanks so much for your thoughtful answers. Readergirlz, comment on the chat post for a shot at winning a copy of Patrick's books, as well as Cassandra Clare's and Melissa Walker's.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
readergirlz' mission is to champion teen literacy and corresponding social service. Does that mean we are teaching teens to read? It could! Who knows what our next special project will unveil.
Generally though, we use the term "literacy" in a broader sense. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has created a definition for literacy:
"the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society."
Does that make our intention clearer?
You might also ask if the social service is performed by rgz as a nonprofit organization or by teens. We answer, both! This is a community where we encourage each other to read, reflect, and reach out. You'll find everyone giving back in some capacity.
Just wanted to help clarify our efforts. Onward!
Rgz Street Team: Miss Erin Reviews The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen
Today, Miss Erin reviews The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen:
"A year has passed since Macy's father died, but she's hurting just as much as if it were yesterday. On the outside, she makes her life as perfect and organized as possible, the better to hide her inward pain and fear. She has a perfect boyfriend, perfect school life, and a perfect summer job lined up. She tells everyone she's fine, just fine. But the truth is, she's not, and she doesn't feel as if she ever will be.
"This was my fourth Sarah Dessen book, and while it certainly wasn't my favorite of hers, I did like it. Dessen has a definite knack for writing very real people and situations that are easy to connect with. I like her use of themes as well as the questions she poses at the beginning of her books and explores throughout..."
Read the rest of this review (where she shares her favorite part!) on Miss Erin's blog here.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
October: Libba Highlights (from the chat, not chunks of her hair)
Here are a few, rgz. Read the whole transcript for the entire fun hour!
Highlights from Libba:
I am in my pajamas live on your internets! I am wearing super fancy Target sweats plus a Book Fair t-shirt. Glamour! Apparently, I also look like a drawing of a microphone.
It took me forever and a day to write them, Melissa. I am actually 402 years old now.
My fave book to write might have been Rebel Angels because I got to go to London and it wasn't either the first or the last. I just got to play.
Memorable fan moments. Loved the girls who dressed up as Beauty, Hope, Song at a signing in Ohio. Loved the sixth grade boy who begged me to take out my artificial eye for him. Good times.
Hey Rachel, I def. found it hard to write the ending of TSFT. I cried.
NO plans to write a fourth Gemma book right now, Deena. I have a new trilogy to write. Mwahahahhaa! *suspense*
Dia, I can barely find my socks. I do not outline or plot anything in advance. What I do do (heh-heh, I typed "do-do"...so mature) is do a lot of writing in notebooks for a year or two in advance, asking myself questions, sketching, if you will, seeing how things will take shape. I'm doing that now and have been for over a year for a new one.
Meg, my tantalizing hint is this: a new supernatural historical trilogy. But first, I am writing a crazy satire for David Levithan about a plane of teen beauty queens that crashes on an island. Think Lord of the Flies meets Lost but with a talent portion. And sequins. Lots of sequins.
Viv, the series was inspired by my love of Victorian and Gothic novels and creepy ghost stories. I grew up on them and wanted to write one. And I also thought, "Wouldn't it be cool to write a sort of Victorian Buffy?" I did lots of research including going to the British Library in London but I never feel like I do enough.
Great question, Meg. I wanted to write a complicated female character. All the women I know/have known have been so complicated and interesting and I wanted to do justice to that, not simplify. I searched my own soul and looked to the lives of others as well. But I always think you have to go inside and ask yourself the tough questions.
I like writing both male and female characters. The story dictates who will do the telling, male or female. It's nice to be able to inhabit both sexes on paper.
Cat, I had no idea how the characters would grow. That's the fun of writing--seeing where they take you. I can tell you that I changed right along with them. I had no idea that Felicity would become so vulnerable. Or that Pippa would become so evil. Or that Kartik would become...um, leafy. And I was glad that Anne broke out.
At this point Barry Goldblatt joined us in his jammies!
Thanks, Rachel. The book that launched me on my YA career was Rob Thomas' RATS SAW GOD. Awesome book. He created Veronica Mars, btw.
My fave book as a teen was The Catcher in the Rye. I also loved The Bell Jar. And Hitchhiker's Guide. Can't remember exactly when I read that but I loved it. I read a lot of plays as a teen, too.
Barry: For those asking, there's really very little happening on the film front. The first option has lapsed, and we're shopping the books around again.
I had lots of role models growing up. You're going to laugh, but I remember really liking Barbra Streisand because she was talented and strong and she didn't change her appearance to suit H'wood's narrow confines.
Aspiring writer advice? Read. Read, read, read. And write every day even if you don't feel like it. sound simplistic but you'd be surprised how many people don't follow that. And learn to hear your voice on the page. Learn to be as truthful as possible. Don't flinch away from the bad stuff about yourself--go there.
Barry: My advise to writers? Read a million books before you try to write one.
Writing rituals: I like a dark, funky cafe. A corner table out of the way. Coffee. Food product. headphones and a playlist. That's ideal.
Rachel, Most Important Role Model...Well, creatively I might say Stephen Sondheim. he's a stone-cold genius.
LOL. Lorie, I thought your question said, "Can you tell us about your favorite hubby?" Which seemed very "Big Love." My fabbity hubby is Barry Goldblatt, literary agent extraordinaire. He also does childcare and takes out the trash. But only if you're married to him. He's also the agent for Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Lauren Myracle, Robin Wasserman, among many other stellar talents. I like him and have decided right now to keep him.
Emma, I can write from both a man and a woman's POV. I've never found men to be that foreign--maybe it was having an older brother who spared me nothing. and lots of great male friends. (Hi, Les!) I think it's easier to write male rage and get away with it. This is because our society doesn't allow women full access to their anger, IMHO. Justine Larbalestier just wrote a whole post about how there seem to be double standards for female characters, that if a male character did something icky, he'd probably still be crushed on but a female character would get piled on for it. Thoughts?
Oh, I had lots of fave interactions, Isabella. That was certainly one of them. I loved Gemma and Miss Moore, especially at the well. I am partial to the scene between Fee and Gemma when Gemma finds out about Fee and they are alone in fee's room and G. comforts her. I enjoyed writing the hot scene between Kartik and Gemma. And I liked the scene between Gemma and Mrs. NW that comes at the end of Rebel Angels when we find out that humanizing bit about the old battle axe.
Libba Bray is my real name. Libba is short for Elizabeth.
Thanks again, Libba!
rgz LIVE! with Libba Bray
Welcome to rgz LIVE! with Libba Bray. Tonight, enter the magical realm of a live chat with New York Times Bestselling author Libba Bray. The chat goes live at the top of the hour!
Luv Ya Bunches Will Be in Middle School Book Fairs
Read the updates we added to the end of the previous post.
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, and to everyone who supports truth in fiction and knows the value of a good book. :)
October: The Sweet Far Thing Soundtrack
Check out the awesome playlist that Libba Bray chose for The Sweet Far Thing! Tori Amos! Mazzy Star! Nicole Kidman!
Chat tonight with Libba Bray!
6 p.m. Pacific/9 p.m. Eastern, we'll chat with Libba about THE SWEET FAR THING and all things Gemma!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
October: Victorian Fashion and You
Monday, October 26, 2009
Tolerance Instead of Censorship: Showing Love for Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle
I salute Lauren not only for populating her book with such diverse characters, but for standing by those characters and her story. I wish that television, film, and books depicted the world as it is: multicultural, with characters both gay and straight of varying heights, weights, and abilities, with various pets, in different family, school, and work situations, at different points in their lives, with different amounts of money, and -
Obviously, I could go on for days here, but my point is this: If we're writing and broadcasting stories about people in hopes they are stories and characters to which readers and viewers can relate, then shouldn't we show all kinds of people? All kinds of families? All kinds of lifestyles? All kinds of relationships?
When there's a story with a happy, well-adjusted family in which the parents happen to be of the same gender, why try change that? If the family had a male parent and a female parent, but the female was, say, taller than the male, or the mother figure worked full-time while the father figure was a stay-at-home dad, would anyone demand that that be changed?
When I spoke to Lauren today, I asked if her editors or publisher had expressed any concern when the book was being edited and proofed. We also talked about the diversity of characters, and the beauty we can find in our differences.
"When I wrote Luv Ya Bunches, one of my goals -- in addition to just plain telling a great story -- was to accurately represent the makeup of today's elementary schools, but not in a hit-you-over-the-head 'lesson on diversity' sort of way," Lauren said.
"Milla has two moms. Katie-Rose is half-Asian. Yasaman is Muslim. Violet is on her own with her dad. There is no such thing as 'normal' in this scenario; or rather, difference is normal. Do classrooms look like this in real life? They sure do at my son's school. But the point wasn't to make a big deal out of these differences. The point was exactly opposite: to tell a story about these specific, non-generic fifth-graders who, despite surface differences, come together and unite in friendship the way loving humans do."
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. On October 23rd, a gentleman named Michael Jones began a petition on change.org urging Scholastic to support gay-friendly books, rather than censor them. He set the goal for 5,000 signatures. Three days later, when I was finalizing this piece on the evening of October 26th, the petition had 3,077 signatures. By the time I'd finished it, the petition had 3,126 signatures.
If you'd like to sign the petition, click here or utilize the widget below, at the bottom of this piece.
Thank you to Rocco Staino, whose article at School Library Journal first brought this to my attention last week.
For what it's worth, I had already planned to read Luv Ya Bunches, as I've read the majority of Myracle's previous novels. This includes Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen, three books about a young girl named Winnie. Throughout the course of these books, Winnie deals life, family, friends, and schools. She develops her first crush on a boy and, subsequently, gets her first boyfriend. Like Luv Ya Bunches, these books were written for the pre-teen/tween audience and are shelved in the juvenile fiction section of the bookstore.
I've also read many of Myracle's young adult novels, and I think one of her strongest is Kissing Kate, a book that does a great job capturing the ups and downs of friendship and romance. In this case, the main romance is between two girls. I recommend it to girls and boys, gay or straight, adults or teens. It's a good book, and to me, that's what it's all about: reading, writing, and sharing good books.
Update on October 28th:
NEWS: Regarding Lauren Myracle's Luv Ya Bunches
The following is an update on Luv Ya Bunches and Scholastic Book Fairs:
Scholastic does not censor books. We review thousands of titles each year for our book clubs and book fairs, and we are committed to a review process that considers all books equally regardless of their inclusion of LGBT characters and same sex parents. In an interview with School Library Journal, Scholastic stated that we are currently carrying Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle in our school book clubs. We also said we were still reviewing the book for possible inclusion in our book fairs. Having completed our review of Luv Ya Bunches, Scholastic Book Fairs will carry the title in our spring fairs for middle school.
Scholastic is proud of our long history of providing books that will appeal to the wide range of interests and reading abilities of children in the many diverse cultures and communities we serve. Luv Ya Bunches is just one example.
- and and here is an additional piece by Mike Jones at change.org who began the petition.
In summary: Scholastic has announced that they will carry Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle in their middle school bookfairs. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, and to everyone who supports truth in fiction and knows the value of a good book. :)
The fight isn't over yet, though. The book should be carried in the elementary school bookfairs too, don't you think? It was written for that age group, and the main characters are in 5th grade.
Keep spreading the word!
This article was cross-posted at Little Willow's Bildungsroman.
Happy Birthday, Roger Sutton!
Happy birthday, Roger Sutton! We click our Converse, Doc Martens, and Mary Janes in celebration.
Thanks for all you do for teen literacy!
~ the readergirlz divas
Don't Forget: chat Wednesday night with awesome author Libba Bray!
We'll chat with her on October 28th at 6 p.m. Pacific/9 p.m. Eastern about THE SWEET FAR THING and all things Gemma! See you here!
October: Fate vs. Free Will
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Serving the troops and their families
Little Willow gives me updates of referral links across the web, and she just let me know of this one today! readergirlz is helping serve the troops and their families as Army Europe Libraries linked to us.
A special welcome and thanks from rgz! It's our honor!
The site is recommending Sarah Dessen's work. Check out the full rgz issue about Sarah here!
More on Contests + Winners!
CYNTHIA LEITICH SMITH
We'll randomly choose winners and post a round-up with all of the Teen Read Week + contest winners at the end of this week!
Contests + Winners!
Second, here are the winners of the contests we've been hosting. Yay! Send your addresses to readergirlz AT gmail DOT com to claim your prizes.
1. Rachel Vincent's Cover Story:
TJ wins a copy of My Soul to Take + a My Soul To Take t-shirt!
2. Gena Showalter's Cover Story:
Dani wins a copy of Intertwined + an Intertwined t-shirt!
3. PC Cast's Cover Story:
Wendy wins a copy of My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent!
Elaina wins a copy of Intertwined by Gena Showalter!
4. Guest post by Laura Resau, author of The Indigo Notebook:
Cari wins a copy of The Indigo Notebook!
Thanks, Harlequin Teen and Laura Resau! Congratulations and good luck, rgz!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Little Willow's Book Bag
According to Kit by Eugenie Doyle
For Your Younger Sister
Snowfall Surprise by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens
Alphas by Lisi Harrison
This Month's Spotlighted Title
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
Cover Stories: Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
"Since Nothing but Ghosts is rooted not just in my imagination, but within Chanticleer, a very specific pleasure garden that I have now visited for years, this book was always visually alive to me. I could see each scene--place it atop the ambling hill, or beside the watercress stream, or within the shadows of a tree at night. I could see it. I hoped that others would.
"I sent photographs of the garden to my editor, Jill Santopolo, and to Carla Weise, art director, at HarperTeen. I sent images, too, of young women standing by windows, since this is one of the book's prevalent themes. And then I waited, as Jill, Carla, and the HarperTeen worked through what sounds like dozens of possibilities. One of the pivotal scenes in the book involves the sun streaming through a window and catching the light of tinted bottles; a related image was apparently tried. There are horses and old photographs in this book; these, too, were considered. In the end, there was but one day left before the book would have to be sent out for binding into ARCs, and that is the day that I first saw, on my husband's tiny phone, the image that became the Nothing but Ghosts cover.
"I loved it--every single thing about it--and felt the great happiness that arises when one feels as if an editor, an art director, and a marketing team have entered into your world and seen just what it was you were hoping to leave behind. That mood. That manner of maturity. That character waiting for a breeze. I seek, with my YA novels, to write beyond genre or category--simply to tell a story that has a teen protagonist at its heart, in a way that engages any reader, of any age. This particular cover is timeless and ageless, too. Oh, how I had hoped for that.
"It is rare when an author feels as at peace as I have felt about this particular cover. I know how lucky I got, this time around, and I am grateful."
I love this cover! I think it has a softness and a sense of nostalgia--and whoa, those grounds that Beth knows, how gorgeous are they? Everyone should read this book--it's fantastic. Beth Kephart is a wonderful writer (just check out her blog, filled with photos and poetry daily--a bouquet of posts to enjoy!). I mean, Beth even writes poetry when she's telling me her Cover Story!
Friday, October 23, 2009
rgz LIVE! Into Our Beyond with Sylvia Engdahl and Dia Calhoun
The party will go live at the top of the hour! What an amazing night and week. Thanks to every participant! And thank you, especially, Sylvia, for all that you have contributed to the YA literary landscape! rgz hearts you!
TRW Tribute: Justina Chen 5:30
"Thoughtful leaders come from thoughtful readers, which is why readergirlz and I so enthusiastically support YALSA's Teen Read Week. Here's an opportunity to connect readers with important books and topics across all racial, socioeconomic and global boundaries."
TRW Tribute: Lorie Ann Grover 5:15
"I constantly discover hidden layers of myself and the world through books. What an amazing choice by YALSA to concentrate effort for an entire week to engage teens in literature. For many, it could be the moment they start their own amazing journey of discovery, through a book in their hands."
Lorie Ann Grover
TRW Tribute: Lauren Myracle 5:00
"Read, my little muffins! Books are yummy-yummy!"