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, February 26, 2013

ebook release day: Loose Threads and On Pointe!

Oh, happy news! Loose Threads and On Pointe are released today as ebooks! Many thanks to my agent Elizabeth Harding and my publishing house Simon & Schuster. I appreciate their work in this venture. May both books wing into the hands of just the right readers.

To recap Loose Threads:

In a household of four generations of women, Grandma Margie discloses that she has a lump in her breast. Told through forthright and perceptive poems in teenager Kay's own voice, Loose Threads reverberates with emotion and depth and will leave no reader untouched. (flap copy)

Booklist named Loose Threads a Top Ten First Novel for Youth and gave it a starred review:

"Like Virginia Euwer Wolff's free verse novels, Grover's book balances vivid emotional scenes with plenty of space between the words. Readers, especially those who know illness up close, will connect with Kay's secret worries and deep sadness, and will admire her strength."

The work was also a Washington State Book Award finalist, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, a Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, and a Rhode Island Teen Book Award Nominee.

And to review On Pointe:

On Pointe soars with emotion as it explores what it means to reach for a dream -- and the way that dreams can change as quickly and suddenly as do our lives. Clare learns to dream and then dream again. 

On Pointe was a Girls Life Top Ten Summer Read.

"The teen's voice rings true. This finely written novel touches on contemporary themes such as body image leading to bulimia, overly ambitious parents, and aging grandparents who can no longer live alone." School Library Journal

The work was also a Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Nominee and a Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year.

Thanks for celebrating with me today and helping to spread the news. With my love!

Loose Threads
On Pointe
Simon & Schuster, 2013, ebook release

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Cybils, 2012

Many thanks to the judges for their investment and time in awarding the 2012 Cybils! The list is wonderful. You all so got it right. :~)

Congrats to all the winners! Click here for the full report.

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Gift from Online Author Visits

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love is in the air, and Online Author Visits is celebrating with a contest that gives you the chance to win books not only for yourself, but also for your library! The winner will get to choose 3 books from among works by our incredible pool of authors, which includes Janet Lee Carey, Dia Calhoun, Deb Lund, Martha Brockenbrough, Joan Holub, Suzanne Williams, Lisa L. Owens, Claire Rudolph Murphy, and Trudi Trueit.

In addition, a collection of books will go to a U.S. library selected by the winner. There’s even an ARC (Advanced Reviewer’s Copy) in the mix from author and readergirlz co-founder Dia Calhoun, so don’t miss out!

Read the full report and find the entry form here.

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

rgz Seattle HOST: Stephanie Guerra at ALA Midwinter!

Stephanie Guerra is here to report on the details from the 2013 ALA Midwinter conference, which took place in Seattle: 

Hi girlz!

The 2013 ALA Midwinter Conference took place in Seattle recently. For days, the city was overrun by literally all of my favorite people: authors, editors, agents, publishers, teachers, and most of all, librarians. The energy, humor and passion of these literacy professionals made for an exhilarating and transformative gathering. I had a chance to meet some of my favorite authors and illustrators, as well as some impressive new talent. I’d like to introduce you to three debut YA authors who will be making a splash in the spring. To give you a taste of what’s to come, I’ve asked each to share a few words about a writing topic close to her heart. Meet Leslie Stella, Lindsay Moynihan, and Olivia Samms.

PERMANENT RECORD by Leslie Stella is the story of a bullied Iranian-American teenager, and the unorthodox way he retaliates against his tormentors. This dark comedy explodes with an edgy attack on post-9/11 fears.
Leslie Stella on her first writing inspiration:

My mother gave me a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, illustrated by Ruth Ruhman, when I was four. She said I taught myself to read from that book. That may be; I remember lying on the bed in the room I shared with my sister, the book open on my pillow, “reading” the pictures with my fingers. Yes: reading the pictures. It’s a gift small children have, to extract knowledge through their fingertips. The book wasn’t textured, no pop-ups, nothing unusual from a tactile sense, yet with that open curiosity that kids have—not knowing that reading pictures with your fingers was “wrong” or didn’t make sense—I drew my hands across Ruhman’s illustrations, and that brought me to the setting of each Stevenson poem. The riverbank sands of “Where Go the Boats?” and the Indian mother’s sari in “The Sun Travels” and the cold garden walls and howling dogs of “The Moon”; all of these set my imagination turning in ways I could not explain then, and really can no longer understand now that I am grown. But I felt the slick silk of the mother’s sari in my fingers—I really did!—and it made me dream of India; what was the weather like there? Were the windows open all the time? Were the mothers like mine? I touched the leaves in “Autumn Fires,” and I smelled the wood-smoke from English bonfires thousands of miles away and a hundred years before. It’s a magical ability that all children have, natural and unbounded. It was the first step in my writing history, the first step for any writer: Transport yourself. This is simple; this is beautiful; this is reading.

THE WAITING TREE by Lindsay Moynihan is about a young gay man in rural Louisiana who is “outted” to his family and community and examines his own beliefs about what love means and who he is as a person.

Lindsay Moynihan on plot and character development:

At A.L.A, I was asked some interesting questions about why I had made certain decisions regarding the plot and characters. People were intrigued. Why did I make a character this and not that? Why did I have this person go here rather than there? It got me thinking about my writing process in general. While I managed to come up with intelligent answers (well I thought so anyway), the whole time I was thinking to myself, I’m really not sure why I did that…I just did! Not to say that there was no method to the madness here. I am very aware of the message I intended this book to present to the reader and made every effort to see to it that it happened. In terms of certain character or plot details, however, I don’t always have a reason for the decisions on the tip of my tongue. Some things just feel right. That’s what I love about writing, though. You spend all this time creating people and places and lives that you know better than your own family. Then you send them out into the world so that the reader can get to know them, too. It’s exhilarating…and frightening. Maybe the next time I’m asked a “why this and not that” type question I won’t give them my own opinion. I’ll ask for theirs. After all, The Waiting Tree is in your hands now.

SKETCHY by Olivia Samms is the story of Bea, a seventeen-year-old artist with the disturbing ability to see—and then draw—images from other people’s minds. Can Bea use her talent to take down a local killer before he strikes again?

Olivia Samms on her main character:

SKETCHY (April ’13) deals with a seventeen year old edgy, artistic, recently sober girl, Bea. I firmly believe that the most sensitive, important people in society carry around demons in their back pocket, sometimes secretly, sometimes openly, and the struggle of keeping those demons at bay fuels passion, art and great inventions—and has throughout time. Bea struggles daily with “the beast” but with her newfound sobriety, discovers she has the uncanny ability to draw the truth out people . . . literally. I love Bea—her core imperfections—her being empathic and an HSP (highly sensitive person). And I love that she uses her “power” to help others.  My hopes and dreams with this series are that it resonates with those struggling—and informs others to think before they judge. Sometimes bad stuff happens to good people. And sometimes that bad stuff is the impetus for great stuff.

Thanks for all of the fun intel, Stephanie! Maybe next year we'll see you there! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rgz Salon: My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt, Reviewed by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Rgz SALON member Lyn Miller-Lachmann has been the Editor-in-Chief of MultiCultural Review; the author of the award-winning multicultural bibliography Our Family, Our Friends, Our World; the editor of Once Upon a Cuento, a collection of short stories by Latino authors; and the author of Gringolandia, a young adult novel about a refugee family living with the aftermath of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Her most recent novel, Rogue--a spring/summer Junior Library Guild selection for middle school--is out in May.

We're honored to have Lyn here as part of the rgz SALON, a feature where top kidlit experts clue us in to the best YA novels they've read recently. Today, she reviews My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt (Margaret Ferguson Books):

"Angel’s friend Serena used to attend church every Wednesday night, where she would welcome the homeless men nobody would go near—just as she tried to protect Angel when their pimp, Call, and the other men abused her. Now Serena has disappeared along with dozens of other sex workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. When Serena vanishes, 16-year-old Angel starts her 'book of life' where she describes how she ended up addicted to heroin and selling her body for Call, initially believing him to be her boyfriend and then too dependent on him to escape. With Serena still missing, Angel slides into despair until 11-year-old Melli arrives and she realizes she must become stronger than Serena ever was if she wants to save Melli. Defying Call may put her single father and her beloved younger brother at risk. However, if Angel’s own faith is strong enough, and if she can endure the painful process of kicking heroin, she may be able to plot a way out for both her and Melli.

"In powerful verse, Leavitt gives voice and dignity to the young women, many of them teenagers, who work in Vancouver’s notorious sex trade. Since 1983, more than 65 female sex workers in this Canadian city have disappeared or been found dead, most of them traced to a serial killer arrested in 2002. Leavitt’s effort to learn about these women and to honor their lives has resulted in this eloquent and memorable story of a young woman who, through her courage and her desire to be heard, becomes more than the bleak circumstances of her existence.” -Lyn Miller-Lachmann