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!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

rgz NYC HOST: Books of Wonder event TONIGHT!

Hey rgz -

If you're in the New York City area, check out tonight's "Great Teen Reads" event at Books of Wonder, featuring Leah Cypess (Desires of the Dead), Lisa Schroeder (The Day Before), Adele Griffin (Tighter), and Laurie Faria Stolarz (Deadly Little Games).

The eagle-eyed among you may recognize Lisa Schroeder as founder of the YA Contemps, a blogging group that diva Melissa and I are both a part of, and Adele Griffin, as a formerly featured (and always favorite!) rgz author! All of these books sound fab and the event is sure to be a blast!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

rgz NYC HOST: Gayle Forman's Where She Went reading!

Forgive this terribly, terribly late photo recap of Gayle Forman's Brooklyn reading for Where She Went, which was lovely and moving and full of cupcakes. You must get this book, after you read If I Stay, natch (oh, and check out the Cover Story).

Here's Gayle with me:

And Gayle with awesome bloggers Mitali from Alley of Books and Rachael The Book Muncher:

Gayle signing her pretty books for a line of adoring fans:

And cupcakes! Bonus.

These two titles are incredible--pick them up!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cover Stories: Zen and Xander Undone (redesign) by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Talking to Carolyn Mackler about her new paperback cover for Tangled got me thinking about paperback changes, and here's another one for you guys. Amy Kathleen Ryan's Zen and Zander Undone recently got a big cover change, so she's here to share that story:

"I didn't know about the change. It came as a complete surprise when I got my author's copies. They didn't even tell me they were considering a redesign. This is very different from how they usually do things. Before, they've always seemed to value my opinion. I think maybe they were in a real hurry with this one.

"I liked the new cover immediately. I liked the subtlety of it, though it no longer portrays the two sisters. The girl on the cover could be either of the sisters, so it's fine by me. A different department handles paperbacks. I imagine that my editor approved the cover, but I do not think she was at the center of the redesign.

"The hard cover (right) was from an original photo shoot [read that Cover Story], and I found it very flattering that my publisher would go to that expense and trouble for me. With the paperback, I would be surprised if they didn't use a stock photo, since they already spent so much money on a cover that didn't end up working well..."

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

PS-Alea has a great Hardcover vs. Paperback feature if you want to see more of these changed covers!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Little Willow's Book Bag

This Week's Picks
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Bitter Melon by Cara Chow

rgz Newsflash: Wedding Bells

Running around Facebook, I discovered one of our first readergirlz ever has just married! ALEX! Best wishes from your fans and friends here as we remember the days when you were still in high school, and we regularly chatted. Thanks for your work on the rgz Street Team!

Happy marriage to you! May your home be filled with books, books, books! xox

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Love Contemporary YA?

Then get thee to Stacked, where Kelly thoughtfully and insightfully points out awesome and effective ways to share these titles with other readers.

We have so many Contemps on our readergirlz list--browse the archives for our features with author interviews, soundtracks, discussion questions and more! And check out The Contemps, too, where 21 authors who write realistic teen fiction chat and share and talk shop. This week's hot topic: religion in YA lit.

Enjoy, and spread the love!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cover Stories: Tangled by Carolyn Mackler

Carolyn Mackler's Tangled has a new paperback cover, and it's out this week. So I had a chat with her about the changes (and also how she came to write with Jay Asher)! Here she is:

"My publisher had the vision for the hardcover jacket - the blue and pink tangling hearts, and also this new paperback cover. I love its energy, especially with the butterflies since they strangely showed up in three of my four characters' stories.

"Harper was wonderful about including me in the development of Tangled's paperback cover. They wanted to do a photo shoot with models, and I got to look over several headshots and pick who I thought would work on the cover. The girl is Jena for sure, but in my head the guy is a mix of Dakota and Owen. They're brothers, so they have the same basic look. And Jena DOES kiss both of them. Surprised? Shocked? If you read the book it'll all make sense..."

Read the rest of Carolyn's Cover Story, and see the original hardcover, at melissacwalker.com.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Little Willow's Book Bag

This Week's Picks
Zitface by Emily Howse
Judy Moody, Girl Detective by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cover Stories: Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

The lovely Amanda Ashby is here to talk about the cover of her latest book, Fairy Bad Day (read a review from Supernatural Snark), which, as you can see, has tons of personality.

"I had no idea of what the cover would be like when I was writing it (hahaha—most of the time I was pretty sure it would never even reach the stage where it would have a cover!)

"My publisher asked for input, and I went and looked at a whole heap of covers to give me some inspiration. I found quite a few adult urban fantasy books that had headless characters who were leaning on a sword and I really loved them so I mentioned the idea..."

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

iheartdaily recommends!

Just grabbed iheartdaily's newsletter this morning and was delighted to see our own Micol Ostow's Family recommended! Woot!

Be sure to check it out as well as the other two shivery suggestions, Dreamland Social Club, by Tara Altebrando, and Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. Must reads!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Seattle Host Review: Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales

Welcome our Seattle Host, Stephanie Guerra! She teaches children’s literature, young adult fiction and a seminar in writing instruction at Seattle University. She also heads a volunteer creative writing program at King County Jail, and researches and speaks about literacy instruction for at-risk and incarcerated young adults. Stephanie lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and children. Her debut young adult novel, TORN, will be published by Marshall Cavendish in spring of 2012.

Stay tuned for Stephanie's reports of Seattle book events! Today, she shares a book review of Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales:

"Leila Sales’ Mostly Good Girls is both deep and delightfully fun; puff pastry that’s actually good for you. It takes on the hypocrisies of the New York prep-school world with humor and affection, and inspires provocative questions about class and identity.

"The book opens during Violet’s junior year in Westfield, an all-girls private school with an ivy-covered campus and tuition the size of a normal person’s paycheck. Violet comes from a middle-class family, and her parents have to stretch to manage school costs, but they’re determined to give Violet the best possible education.

"Westfield is viciously competitive, and Violet always feels a few steps behind the other girls, with their money and social grease. It doesn’t help that Violet’s best friend, Katie, is from one of the wealthiest families at Westfield—and effortlessly brilliant at everything she does.

"With college applications on the horizon, Violet begins to resent working so hard for things that come easily to Katie, especially grades. Violet labors over PSAT study guides, and her score is just mediocre. But Katie aces the PSAT without even trying—more evidence of her charmed life.

"As if Katie is contemptuous of her advantages, she starts blowing off school. Then she drops crew, though it guarantees her admission to any college. Next, she hooks up with a sleazy stoner. Katie’s rebellion feels like a slap in the face to Violet, who would never dream of throwing away such advantages. It’s the beginning of a rift in a friendship that has been rock-solid for years, despite class differences.

"But Violet has the integrity to fight her own resentment and envy, and look past Katie’s crazy behavior to the friend she still loves. Why is Katie rebelling? How perfect is her life, really? And how far is Violet willing to go to stick by her friend?

"Mostly Good Girls illuminates the friendship and loyalty possible between girls. Sales’ prose is swift-moving and dryly funny, and her characters have depth and heart. Violet is her crowning achievement: intelligent, snarky, wry, and slightly na├»ve, but radiating courage and commitment." --SG

Read the story behind the cover of Mostly Good Girls (those are a publishing house employee's legs!).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cover Stories: My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody is here to talk about the cover for her new release My Life Undecided! The book is about 15-year-old Brooklyn, who starts a blog to enlist readers to make all her decisions for her: Should she join the debate team? Try out for rugby? She lets readers decide. But soon she finds out that some things in life you just can't choose -- like who you fall in love with.

How fun does this book sound? Here's Jessica:

"I’m pretty bad at visualizing things. I know what I like when I see it but coming up with it myself is often hard for me. However, I did have an idea of doing some kind of cover that represented choice, since that’s the theme of the book. And I envisioned some kind of split cover with two different images to represent the main character’s battle with choices. But I think the current cover does a good job of representing the theme. She’s clearly indecisive!

"The cover for this book was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. We had a very early original cover that was similar to this one (that I loved!) but it quickly came to our attention that it was VERY much like another book that was already on the market. So it had to be changed..."

Read the rest of Jessica's Cover Story, and see the amazing book trailer, at melissacwalker.com.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Girls Who Rock Concert

"Music is universal. Education should be too."

GIRLS WHO ROCK, a concert supporting She’s the First, a non-profit helping girls in the developing world be the first in their families to graduate, will fundraise for the sponsorship of girls at the Arlington Academy of Hope in Uganda this Friday, June 10th at Gramercy Theater in NYC. The strongest voices in technology, entertainment, and design will come together under one roof, to help girls’ education worldwide. Get tickets here.

Not in NYC? Join the $11 for the Class 2011 campaign and help sponsor 42 girls in Uganda with an online donation. The most successful fundraiser will take home fantastic prizes the day of the show!

Full show details in the invitation below:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cover Stories: The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess by Leanna Renee Hieber

Leanna Renee Hieber has a set of haunting covers, and the third book in her Strangely Beautiful series came out in May. She's here to share the story behind the cover of The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess:

"It’s uncanny how much of what I envisioned translated onto this cover.

"Since I’ve been very active in the marketing process, I was asked early on what I was hoping for / interested in and had an in-person conversation with the art director (whom I love) and was delighted that we were all on the same page, my editor included. Once the 'look' of the series was already established with book one, and it worked really well for the series, I knew the parameters and style we were working with, so it was honestly just a matter of deciding background image and colours. My publisher has done a great job of creating a distinct STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL series look, my three covers are gorgeous all together (see below). What I love about my books is that the covers are unlike anything else out there today, which is quite a feat..."

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

Monday, June 6, 2011

Enter to Win The Amanda Project Book 2!

The Amanda Project is an interactive book series and website where readers and writers piece together the mystery of high school student Amanda's disappearance by answering questions and discovering clues that affect the direction of future Amanda Project books.

The second book, The Amanda Project Revealed by Amanda Valentino and Peter Silsbee, is out tomorrow, and you can win a copy by entering The Amanda Project Clue Hunt, sponsored by I Heart Daily. (See how to play here.)

It's fun, and it could lead to a book for you! Win-Win.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cover Stories: Spoiled!

I talked to Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, aka the bright lights behind the hilarious Go Fug Yourself, about the cover of their Young Adult debut, Spoiled!

"I like to imagine [the designer] Liz going shopping for a ton of makeup and then just dumping it all out on her desk and playing around, smearing it everywhere, having a day of feeling like a toddler in mommy's bathroom..."

Read the rest on bn.com.


This Wall Street Journal article on the “ever-more-appalling offerings for adolescent readers” gets it so wrong it almost feels like a parody.

If you're on twitter, rebut this idea with the hashtag #yasaves and @wsj. We can't say it any better than you guys can, so here's a screen grab of some of your stories, prompted by the awesome Maureen Johnson:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What say you: Books or E-readers?

Hey readergirlz,

Just curious as to how you are doing most of your reading right now. Are you sticking to paper or are you downloading your favorite reads?

Are you Kindle lovers or do you HAVE to have color on your iphone, ipad, or Nook? Thanks for sharing, then get back to that book!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz