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, December 19, 2012

Cover Stories: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Elizabeth LaBan's first novel, The Tragedy Paper, drops on January 8th, and it has a wintry cover we love. Here she is to talk about the process:

The book takes place at a prep school in New York that was, in my mind, based on a school I went to for my last two years of high school. I guess I imagined the cover would be an image of the school – maybe the quad or one of the buildings. Now that I think about it, I didn’t have a strong picture of what the cover would be while I was writing the book. That strikes me as funny, in light of one of the questions I answered at the back of the book. I was asked about the initial idea for The Tragedy Paper, which led me to talk about how I have wanted to write a book since I was in fourth grade. At that time, I worked with a friend and we created a character named Chopped Suey – but all we ever did was design and redesign the cover! So I guess it says a lot about my progress as a writer that I was finally able to get away from that and focus on the words!

"I knew there were a few covers in the works, but I was not brought in to talk about it until there were two possible designs. I have to say, I’m glad about that because I never could have come up with this cover – and now I can’t imagine any other image on the front of the book. I would love to give a shout out to the jacket designer Stephanie Moss!

"I was shown two covers. The one that was ultimately chosen was the one I liked best and, to be perfectly honest, I liked it immediately. I still think about the second cover sometimes, the one that was not chosen..."

Read Elizabeth's full Cover Story on bn.com.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

rgz Street Team: Myth of the Perfect Girl

Hey rgz! We LOVE when our readers and staff graduate and move on to college. Olivia was on our rgz Street Team awhile back and now is attending Stanford. She just popped in with this amazing recommend, The Myth of the Perfect Girl by Ana Homayoun. Definitely check it out on the release, December 31. It's perfect for our readers, yes?

Thanks, Olivia! Best to you. :~)

The Myth of the Perfect Girl
by Ana Homayoun
Perigee Trade, 2012

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Caroline B. Cooney Interview

Caroline B. Cooney has a published author for over 3 decades. For many, the Cooney book that they'll never forget is The Face on the Milk Carton, which introduced readers to Janie, a teenager who realizes she was kidnapped as a child. The success of that book led to a sequel, Whatever Happened to Janie? Then came The Voice on the Radio and What Janie Found, following the protagonist's story through the rest of her high school career. In 2012, the author released a short eBook entitled What Janie Saw. In January 2013, her story will finally be resolved with the publication of the final book in the line, Janie Face to Face.

I recently interviewed Caroline, and we spoke of Janie, Pilgrims, Egyptian queens, and everything in-between. We hope you enjoy the interview! Here's a teaser:

What about writing makes you happiest?

Writing is work and I love work. I love how an amorphous thought, paragraph by paragraph, turns into a thriller or a mystery. I love going back and chiseling yesterday's writing into something better. I love waking up in the middle of the night, struck by a new thought, and racing to the computer.

 Considering your early works - Among Friends, Family Reunion, Twenty Pageants Later, that era - do you have any sentimental favorites?

I love them all! Among Friends is still a joy to me, because friends are crucial to a good life, and one must also be a friend to have them.

Read the entire interview at Bildungsroman!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Hey, readergirlz! Did any of you go to the movies over Thanksgiving weekend? Don't forget to go to a bookstore while you're at it and grab the books which inspired your new favorite flicks!

Before his debut novel, Silver Linings Playbook, was made into a major motion picture starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence,  Matthew Quick visited readergirlz. That was back in December 2010, when we featured his first YA novel, Sorta Like a Rockstar. He spoke with us about compassion and kindness, themes that permeate all of his books. Melissa later wrote a Cover Story about Boy21, another Quick pick.

What did you think of the book? What did you think of the movie? Leave a comment below and let us know! (It will be interesting to find out which readergirlz are also Robert De Niro fans...)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

If You Want to Understand Me, Watch/Read This!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

rgz Seattle HOST: Stephanie Guerra on the WA State Book Awards

Hi girlz! A few weeks ago I attended the Washington State Book Awards Ceremony at Richard Hugo House in Seattle. I’m delighted to announce that Katherine Schlick Noe’s Something to Hold won in the middle grade/young adult category—and was also named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book. I covered her launch party here, and it was a joy to see her book get the attention it deserves.

Something to Hold is historical fiction based on Katherine’s experience growing up on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. It’s a warm, provocative, poetic look at a time and place that many of us could never imagine except through stories like Katherine’s. Below, she answers a few questions about writing from real life:

What was it like living on an Indian reservation?

For as long as I can remember, other non-Indians have asked this question.   It’s always been hard to explain.   Like all of the foundational, complex questions of our lives, there are many answers.   They finally began to solidify when I started to write Something to Hold.

This work of fiction is inspired by my memories of living on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in central Oregon in the 1960’s.  Like Kitty’s dad, mine was a forester with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  He and my mother left Iowa in 1950 to take a job on the Colville Indian Reservation in north-central Washington state.  They didn’t know then that they would spend the rest of their lives working with and living among Indian people.  My brothers and I were born on the Colville Reservation, and we moved every four years, living near Washington, DC and on the Warm Springs and Yakama Reservations.

The years at Warm Springs were pivotal for me, as they are for all children between the ages of seven and eleven.  Something to Hold is grounded in universals.  We all long to find a place to belong, to make friends, to feel connected and rooted.  The book also explores a unique perspective of a non-Indian outsider’s growing awareness of prejudice, including her own.

My writing began with one memory: In the fifth grade at Warm Springs, a classmate I both feared and admired refused to read out loud, and our white teacher took her out into the hall, shook her, and left her there.  Reading out loud, one paragraph at a time, was a normal practice in every school I had attended.  I hated it – so boring to listen to other bored kids read something boring – but I would never have refused.  I couldn’t understand why my classmate would defy this teacher, who allowed no disobedience of any kind, in this way.  That event had a profound impact on me and is one reason that I eventually became a teacher.  No child should be humiliated that way.

That event is also what moved me to write about living at Warm Springs. Having wrestled with the memory for over 30 years, I did what we encourage young writers to do -- started listing all that I could remember about it. Then I began to tell the story. I was writing in order to make sense for myself, to understand why she would dare to do something I would never have had the nerve to consider. But, of course, I couldn’t remember everything, and that’s when the fiction took over.

As Something to Hold took shape, I had a chance to meet my classmate again.  Both of us now grown, we visited over our class photo, talking about how life had turned out.  It was clear that hers had been filled with hardship, so different from my own.  When I asked her about the event that had affected me so deeply, she looked me in the eye and said, “It never happened.”  I knew in that moment that this was not my story to tell. So I took that episode apart, changed the details but kept intact the power and fear and strength of will – all of the emotions that were so influential for me -- and gave them to my two antagonists, Raymond and Jewel.  In the chapter “The Capital of Vermont,Raymond and Jewel stand up to their teacher and triumph over humiliation.  And Kitty learns something powerful about speaking out for justice. 

Many of the events in Something to Hold are based in truth.  The only way I could begin was to build Kitty’s story around my memories:  a Bible-quoting teacher, the death of a child, a boy who fell through the ceiling of my classroom while working in the school attic, how razor blades horribly derailed an art project.   I created a series of episodes tethered loosely to reality – and then slowly wove in the characters.

This image guided me: A basket maker begins with a tangle of warps and wefts, a mess of strings held in her hand. Carefully, intentionally, and sometimes magically, she weaves them together into something beautiful, powerful, and enduring – just as a writer weaves with words. 

My goal was to create a tapestry of characters that manage to find their own way and also to help each other live with courage and hope – especially when it’s a struggle to do so.  I hope young readers will identify with Kitty, Raymond, Jewel, and Pinky and the ways in which they reach across a chasm of difference to connect with one another.   I have my classmate to thank for getting me started.

Visit Katherine at her website: http://katherineschlicknoe.com

Thanks, Stephanie, for the update, and the fantastic interview!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Diva Delight: Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin

Joy of joy, readergirlz! A full cookbook from the winning vegetarian blog, Herbivoracious, by Michael Natkin! Packed with "global flavors" your palate will be delighted with the recipes in this extensive collection.

"Why vegetarian? Because vegetarian meals are good for you, tread more lightly on our planet's resources, and are kinder to animals. And personally, I figure that because I am a vegetarian I have a little leeway to indulge in extra chocolate, cheese, or French fries without overdosing on saturated fats."

So says Chef Natkin. Sweet! With an aim to pack immense flavor into each dish, you'll never miss the meat in the 150 original recipes. Photos of food dishes, not staged, give the book an honest, tangible feel.

How about chickpea fritters, white bean and kale soup, Persian rice pilaf, or caramel apple french toast? I am working my way through this beauty and enjoying the artistry, journey, and taste. Further features are found at the website where an interactive community thrives. Find Herbivoracious and eat your veggies, rgz!

A flavor revolution, with 150 vibrant and original vegetarian recipes
by Michael Natkin
Harvard Common Press, 2012

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banned Books Week 2012

Happy Banned Books Week! Let's celebrate intellectual freedom! From the Banned Books Week website:
Banned Books Week is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2012 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 30 through October 6. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. [...] According to the American Library Association, there were 326 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2011, and many more go unreported.
For example: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was #10 on the list of most challenged titles of 2011. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins was #3. For example: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Charlotte's Web, and Winnie-the-Pooh have all been challenged or banned because they include animal characters that use human language. In honor of Banned Books Week's 30th anniversary, ALA has created a timeline of significant banned and challenged books. Attention booksellers and librarians: Get your camcorders ready so that you and your patrons/students can participate in this year's Virtual Read-Out! Learn more about it here and here.

Related Posts at my blog, Bildungsroman:

I Read Banned Books: Celebrating Intellectual Freedom and Literacy

They Tried to Ban This Book Today, or, There's a Sticker on the Cover of This Book - inspired by the challenge of Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson: Too Cool for School?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cover Stories: Boy 21 by Matthew Quick

Matthew Quick is here to talk about the cover of his latest (and incredibly great) novel:

"The idea I pitched for the cover of Boy21 was a shot of Finley and Russ from the neck down. Finley would have been in his team uniform and holding a basketball. Russ would have been in his space costume and holding his makeshift astronaut helmet. I still think that would have been a good cover, but I have to admit that what the designer came up with was much much better. Maybe this is why I am a fiction writer and not a jacket designer!

"When I saw the design, I yelled, 'YES!' Alicia [his wife] came running into my office to see why I was yelling, looked at the image on my computer screen, and said, 'That's so much better than what you pitched them. That cover is amazing! Amazing!' It was a happy day.

 "At one point they changed the photo of Russ, who is depicted on the cover. The photo they swapped in featured an older-looking teen who appeared harder and maybe even menacing. It didn't look like Russ at all. I immediately wrote an e-mail explaining why the original photo captured Russ perfectly. The teen on the cover now has an intensity--especially if you look into his eyes--but he also looks a little vulnerable and as if he would be a complex person. Russ is a very complex character, who is troubled, but is also wise and compassionate and intuitive. I believe there was a meeting regarding which photo to use and, happily, everyone at Little, Brown agreed..."

Read the rest of Matthew's Cover Story on melissacwalker.com.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Diva Delight: Pure Vegan

readergirlz, let's talk food! When I saw this coming from Chronicle Books, I knew I had to check it out. I've been a pescatarian for awhile, so not a vegan, but this collection is accessible, brilliant, and beautiful. As the tag for Pure Vegan says, here are  "70 Recipes for Beautiful Meals and Clean Living." Author Joseph Shuldiner, a non-vegan, delivers. There's no political positioning or religious slant, but rather, wonderful recipes you are encouraged to adapt or change to your own taste.

I love how the work is divided into sections: Morning, Afternoon, Evening, Late Night, and Very Late Night. Each portion is printed on a different muted color. The photography by Emily Brooke Sandor and Joseph Shuldiner is artistry itself. The texture of the paper and cover feels wonderful in your hands.

The encouragement to present food beautifully and use pure, fresh ingredients is easy to act upon. I recently cooked the cover dish, Tomato and Three Bean Salad, for an elegant party. It was hard to decide which dish to share, but I can say, this one was very well received. I can't wait to try more, like Garbanzo Bean and Tomato Soup, Pistachio Olive Oil Cake, and Hazelnut Halvah!

readergirlz, take charge of your diet and health! Pure Vegan will lead the way so easily.

Pure Vegan
by Joseph Shuldiner
photographs by Emily Brooke Sandor and Joseph Shuldiner
Chronicle Books

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

rgz HOST "Better Late Than Never" FORSAKEN Special Edition!

Apologies for the delay, rgz readers - August was a flurry! Without further ado:
You've read her cover story, now here's a shot of author LIsa M. Stasse celebrating her spanking-new novel, THE FORSAKEN!

The event: SCIBA Summer Tea Party
Date: July 22, 2012
The location: Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop  in La Verne, CA (an awesome indie bookstore that hosts tons of great events)
The details: A really fun gathering of some authors and independent booksellers!
The authors: Lisa M. Stasse (THE FORSAKEN)--that's Lisa, signing above!, Lissa Price (STARTERS), Bethanie Murguia (ZOE GETS READY), Elana Arnold (SACRED), and Scott Speer (IMMORTAL CITY). Scott also directed the recent dance movie STEP UP: REVOLUTION and his girlfriend Ashley Tisdale of High School Musical fame was kind enough to come to the event and listen to all us authors talk about our books.
The pics: The first photo is one of me signing a copy of THE FORSAKEN. The next photo is one of us authors onstage presenting our books. Lissa Price is in the center, and I'm to her left in the photo.
It was a really fun time, with lots of treats (lemonade and finger sandwiches) and books galore! :)

Thanks, Lisa! We're excited to keep the FORSAKEN buzz humming along!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cover Stories: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Lisa M. Stasse's debut young adult novel, The Forsaken, has a cover that seems to me to be a throwback and something from the future all at once. COOL. She talked to me for B&N's Unabashedly Bookish blog, and here's an exerpt from our conversation:

"The final cover of The Forsaken far exceeded my expectations! I always wanted something that reflected the sci-fi/thriller aspects of the novel, and captured the ominous feel of the book (in which the heroine is sent to a mysterious prison island). But I didn't have anything specific in mind. I just wanted something that would look really gorgeous and unique on the shelves.

"They didn't really ask for much input. But they told me early on that Lizzy Bromley would be designing the cover, which made me really excited. I had seen some of Lizzy's other covers (including Wither by Lauren DeStefano, right) so I knew that I loved her work. There are some really cool covers on her website (including a great one for the upcoming novel Level 2  by Lenore Appelhans, left)...

Read the rest of Lisa's Cover Story at Unabashedly Bookish, and check out our own Little Willow's interview with her too, where you'll find out about being a Holographic Librarian.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Go, Rachel Crow!

Kudos to Rachel Crow! Recognize her from The X-Factor? This powerful 14-year-old singer released her first EP earlier this summer. We're really digging the first track, Mean Girls, which Rachel co-wrote. Check out the video, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Have you ever been bullied? How did you deal with it?

If you can't see the video player below, click here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Whatcha Reading: Kindle at the Beach?

Just back from Kauai, readergirlz! I was a bit reluctant to take my Kindle to the beach. How about you?

Now that I'm back home, the top of my to-read stack is Libba Bray's Beauty Queens and a celebration release of M.T. Anderson's Feed. Can't wait to get to both! What's on your stack this last month of summer?

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Joe Golem and the Drowning City by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden

Run - don't walk - to get Joe Golem and the Drowning City by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, especially if you like steampunk.

I've recommended Christopher Golden's books here at readergirlz many times, and for good reason: his stories rock, and they often feature a strong female protagonist. In the heart of Manhattan, you'll find 14-year-old Molly McHugh. Described as "all freckles and red hair and youthful vigor," Molly is a force to be reckoned with. The girl's got moxie, and she can certainly hold her own. She trusts her gut, which has helped her to survive in the Drowning City.

Just what has happened to the once-glorious city? Here's a little backstory:

Fifty years ago, earthquakes shook Lower Manhattan, submerging the city and forever changing the landscape and livelihood of all who lived there. As the years passed, the gap between the classes widened: the wealthy live and thrive in Uptown, where they grow wealthier, as the poor people in submerged Downtown try desperately to survive in what is now known as the Drowning City.

It is in Downtown that aging magician Felix Orlov resides. Molly, his energetic and devoted assistant, lives the floor above him. Dark dreams, a seance, and an attack lead to Orlov's abduction and cause Molly to run away - and enlist the help of Simon Church, an investigator, and Joe Golem, the bodyguard to end all bodyguards. If Hellboy were mixed with Eliot Spencer from Leverage and dressed in clothes from some classic Warren Beatty films, he might just be Joe Golem.

Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola make me want to live in the Drowning City, to meet the wonderful characters they've created and help them defeat the monstrous villains. They've also offered up a short story, Joe Golem and the Copper Girl, but I still want more. Mignola's black-and-white illustrations are, as always, memorable. One only hopes that the movie, which is currently in development, captures the spirit and intensity of this book. The submerged city, falling buildings, and fight scenes need to be Inception-level awesome on screen. This captivating story deserves all of that, and more. I also recommend this novel to fans of Fringe. (Hello, Manhattan and alternate history!)

Want to know more? Read my full review at my blog, Bildungsroman.

Monday, July 23, 2012

rgz Everett HOST: Carole Estby Dagg & others LIVE, this Friday!

How many times do you get to visit with nine teen authors at one event? If you live in the Seattle area, don’t miss this event Friday, July 27, at 6:30 P.M. Find your new favorite summer read among these new, well-reviewed titles:
Megan Bostic, Never Eighteen 
"Bostic writes this graceful, affecting tale without pretension...Perhaps it's because of that simplicity that the story concludes with such a powerful emotional punch." --Kirkus
 Jennifer Shaw Wolf, Breaking Beautiful 
Part romance, part mystery...a persuasive  portrait of guilt and recovery.”--Publisher's Weekly.
J. Anderson Coats, The Wicked and the Just 
"This debut novel reverberates with detail, drama, and compassion."--School Library Journal, *starred review
Carole Estby Dagg, The Year We Were Famous 
"The journey in itself is amazing, but Dagg's tender portrayal of a mother and daughter who learn to appreciate and forgive each other makes it unforgettable."--Publishers Weekly, *starred review
Helen Landalf, Flyaway
"Watching Stevie, a loving person at heart, struggle with her freshman year, family, friendships, and her future during her time at her aunt’s in Seattle is ultimately encouraging.”-- Booklist
Kendare Blake, Anna Dressed in Blood 
"Abundantly original, marvelously inventive and enormous fun, this can stand alongside the best horror fiction out there.”—Kirkus Reviews, *starred review
Diana Renn, Tokyo Heist
"A van Gogh heist, a trip to Japan and a yakuza attack: Could there be a better summer? . . . A proficient caper spiced up by Violet's eye for art." --Kirkus Reviews
Marissa Burt, Storybound
“Readers who love fantasy may see an opportunity to snuggle up with a cup of cocoa and unravel the plot, which twists and turns in on itself, with happy surprises.” --Kirkus Reviews

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times for Teens, Megan Fouch, etal.  
This collection will encourage, comfort, and inspire teens, showing that, as tough as things can get, they are not alone.