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!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cover Stories: In Honor by Jessi Kirby

I had the chance to hang out with Jessi Kirby in Houston last year, and I can confirm that she is fantastic and fun and smart and all the things she seems to be. Also, her book, In Honor, contains a Tim Riggins type. SOLD. (Read a review from A Book and a Latte.)

Here's Jessi to talk about the cover:

"My publisher asked for input before they got to work on the cover, and I said 'It’d be really great if you could somehow include the car, (which is a 67 Chevy Impala), and Honor in her dress and red cowboy boots.'

"When I saw the cover, I absolutely LOVED it.  Truly, madly, deeply loved it. From the font, to the car, to the boots, it was EXACTLY what I was hoping for..."

But of course there were a couple of changes! Read Jessi's full story on melissacwalker.com.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Watch for It: Rock the Drop!

Remember this most awesome label from last year? We are working on the new one for you. It's coming soon, along with all the info. And of course, everyone will be dropping their favorite YA books in a public place in celebration of Support Teen Lit Day on April 18th!

Watch for the details and Rock the Drop!

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Watch for It: Lawless

Yes, the protag is 12, but I have to post this at rgz! Jeffrey Salane's Lawless is so fast-paced and fun, you will race from the beginning to the end before your sibling has a chance to pick up the book.

M Freeman is an only child, a homeschooled daughter of thieves. Accepted into the boarding school, Lawless, she finds her way through the maze of the institution, first friendships, and her own past. The discoveries fly faster than M scrambling over the roof of a subway train.

Here's an excerpt:

"Ms. Freeman, I'm going to go off-record for a moment, which is why I've excused Ms. Smith from this room. If you repeat anything I say from this moment on, I will deny everything. I knew your father. I knew him very well. You are your father's daughter, and I hope you'll understand in time why I'm telling you this. Forget the Lawless School. Forget everything that just happened. Walk out that door, do not talk to Ms. Smith, get in your car and go home. Do not open that envelope I've handed you. Burn it. And scatter the ashes."

Watch for this page turner, read Lawless, and find you are waiting with me for Book 2!

by Jeffrey Salane
Scholastic Press, April 1, 2013

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rgz Salon: Lyn Miller-Lachmann on POISON by Bridget Zinn

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 discusses Poison by Bridget Zinn (Disney-Hyperion), a debut author gone too soon:

"As a Rgz Salon blogger, I specialize in books that focus on diversity—authors and characters of color, characters with disabilities, and characters who live in poverty (such as the protagonist of My Book of Life by Angel, the book I reviewed last month). Still, I have decided to take part in the blogging effort on behalf of Bridget Zinn’s YA fantasy Poison as one of several Readergirlz bloggers who are doing so.

"Even before selling her first novel, Bridget was an active participant in the community of librarians, teachers, book bloggers, and writers. She gave much to the community through her blog, which highlighted new books and gave advice and encouragement to other struggling writers. She realized her life’s dream when her Poison sold to Disney Hyperion late in 2009, with a tentative publication date of summer 2012. By that time, though, she had been diagnosed with cancer, and in 2011, at the age of 33, she lost her battle. She never had the chance to see her novel in print.

"Poison was eventually published on March 12, 2013, and Bridget’s family and friends put together a blog tour to make sure her work would be remembered and appreciated. Because authors these days have to handle so much of the marketing themselves, and Bridget is no longer here to do the work she would have done so well and with so much enthusiasm, many friends and admirers have volunteered to do it for her.

"I never knew Bridget personally, though I did read her blog sometimes. My decision to join the blog tour for Poison comes out of my own experience of having a disability and needing help to do things that would be difficult or impossible for me to do myself. Like the protagonist of my forthcoming novel Rogue, I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, and have struggled all my life with social interactions and social cues. Without the efforts that other people have made for me, and the accommodation that I have received, I would not have been able to receive my MFA degree, find an appreciative audience for my small-press-published YA novel Gringolandia, or have the opportunity to publish a second novel based on my own experiences of growing up on the autism spectrum. Having been the recipient of so much kindness and generosity, I feel it is important to pay it forward in whatever way I can.” -Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cover Stories: See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles

Jo Knowles is here to talk about her latest novel, See You at Harry's. (Read a rave review on Stacked, and note that it got a star from Kirkus!)

"I think I imagined [the cover as] an image of the restaurant described in the book [as I was writing]. Or the family posing for their annual Christmas card. But… nothing really concrete. I was just hoping whatever it was, I would love it.

"My publisher didn't ask for input. But I gave a few suggestions when I was arguing to keep the title, which is another whole story.

"When I first saw the cover, I felt... Relief! I thought the image was perfect. I liked that the background was blue, not pink. I liked that it wasn’t an image of a sad or lonely girl. I loved that the empty dish had two spoons, not one. I felt that the image captured the mood of the book just right, without giving too much away..."

Read the rest of Jo's Cover Story, and see the cover that a big book chain didn't love, at melissacwalker.com.

Monday, March 18, 2013

NYC Teen Author Festival 2013 Starts TONIGHT!

We're so excited for the 2013 NYC Teen Author Festival! It starts tonight. The full schedule is below:

Monday, March 18 (Mulberry Street Branch of the NYPL, 10 Jersey Street b/w Mulberry and Lafayette, 6-8): 
I’ll Take You There: A Change of Scenery, A Change of Self

Description: In their recent books, each of these authors have plunged their teen characters into new places as a way of revealing their true selves. We’ll talk about this YA journey narrative – where it comes from, and what it can lead to.

Gayle Forman
Kristen-Paige Madonia
Bennett Madison
Jennifer E. Smith
Melissa Walker

moderator: David Levithan

Tuesday, March 19 (WORD Bookstore, 7-8:30, 126 Franklin St, Greenpoint):
The Only Way Out is Through: Engaging Truth through YA

Description: Pain. Confusion. Loss. Mistakes. Revelation. More mistakes. Recovery. One of the things that makes YA work is its desire to engage the messy truths of both adolescence and life in general. Here we talk about what it’s like to engage this messy truth, and how to craft it into a story with some kind of form.

Crissa Chappell
Tim Decker
Ellen Hopkins
Amy McNamara
Jessica Verdi

moderator: David Levithan

Wednesday. March 20 (42nd St NYPL, South Court room, 6-8): 
Imagination: A Conversation

Description: It’s a given that authors’ minds are very strange, wonderful, twisted, illogical, inventive places. Here we talk to five rather imaginative authors about how they conjure the worlds in their books and the stories that they tell, along with glimpses of the strange and wonderful worlds they are creating at the present.

Holly Black
Lev Grossman
Michelle Hodkin
Alaya Johnson
Robin Wasserman

moderators: David Levithan and Chris Shoemaker

Thursday, March 21:
SOHO Teen night, 6-9pm (Books of Wonder, 18 W18th St)

Celebrate the launch of SOHO Teen, featuring readings by Jacquelyn Mitchard, Joy Preble, Margaux Froley, Elizabeth Kiem, Heather Terrell & Ricardo Cort├ęs, and Lisa & Laura Roecker.

Friday March 22, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL, Berger Forum, 2nd floor, 2-6)
2:00 – Introduction

2:10-3:00: He Said, She Said

Description: Not to be too mysterious, but I will email these authors separately about what I’m thinking for this.

Ted Goeglein
Gordon Korman
Lucas Klauss
Michael Northrop

Susane Colasanti
E. Lockhart
Carolyn Mackler
Sarah Mlynowski
Leila Sales

moderator: David Levithan

3:00-4:00: Taking a Turn: YA Characters Dealing with Bad and Unexpected Choices

Description: In each of these authors’ novels, the main character’s life takes an unexpected twist. Sometimes this is because of a bad choice. Sometimes this is because of a secret revealed. And sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice at all, but rather a reaction. We’ll talk about following these characters as they make these choices – both good and bad. Will include brief readings illuminating these choices.

Caela Carter
Eireann Corrigan
Alissa Grosso
Terra Elan McVoy
Jacquelyn Mitchard
Elizabeth Scott
K. M. Walton

moderator: Aaron Hartzler

4:00-4:10: Break

4:10-4:40: That’s So Nineteenth Century

Description: A Conversation About Playing with 19th Century Archetypes in the 21st Century

Sharon Cameron
Leanna Renee Hieber
Stephanie Strohm
Suzanne Weyn

Moderator: Sarah Beth Durst

4:40-5:30: Alternate World vs. Imaginary World

Description: Of these authors, some have written stories involving alternate or parallel versions of our world, some have made up imaginary worlds for their characters, and still others have written books that do each. We’ll discuss the decision to either connect the world of a book to our world, or to take it out of the historical context of our world. How do each strategies help in telling story and developing character? Is one easier than the other? Is the stepping off point always reality, or can it sometimes be another fictional world?

Sarah Beth Durst
Jeff Hirsch
Emmy Laybourne
Lauren Miller
E. C. Myers
Diana Peterfreund
Mary Thompson

Moderator: Chris Shoemaker

Friday March 22, Barnes & Noble Reader’s Theater/Signing (Union Square B&N, 33 E 17th St, 7-8:30)
Eireann Corrigan
Elizabeth Eulberg
Jeff Hirsch
David Levithan
Rainbow Rowell
Nova Ren Suma

Saturday March 23, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL, Bergen Forum, 2nd Floor, 1-5)
1:00 – Introduction

1:10-2:10 – Defying Description: Tackling the Many Facets of Identity in YA

Description: As YA literature evolves, there is more of an acknowledgment of the many facets that go into a teenager’s identity, and even categories that once seemed absolute now have more nuance. Focusing particularly, but not exclusively, on LGBTQ characters and their depiction, we’ll discuss the complexities about writing about such a complex experience.

Marissa Calin
Emily Danforth
Aaron Hartzler
A.S. King
Jacqueline Woodson

moderator: David Levithan

2:10-2:40 -- New Voices Spotlight

Description: Each debut author will share a five-minute reading from her or his work

J. J. Howard
Kimberly Sabatini
Tiffany Schmidt
Greg Takoudes

2:40-3:30 – Under Many Influences: Shaping Identity When You’re a Teen Girl

Description: Being a teen girl is to be under many influences – friends, parents, siblings, teachers, favorite bands, favorite boys, favorite web sites. These authors will talk about the influences that each of their main characters tap into – and then talk about what influences them as writers when they shape these characters.

Jen Calonita
Deborah Heiligman
Hilary Weisman Graham
Kody Keplinger
Amy Spalding
Katie Sise
Kathryn Williams

moderator: Terra Elan McVoy

3:30-3:40 – Break

3:40-4:20 – Born This Way: Nature, Nurture, and Paranormalcy

Description: Paranormal and supernatural fiction for teens constantly wrestles with issues of identity and the origin of identity. Whether their characters are born “different” or come into their powers over time, each of these authors uses the supernatural as a way to explore the nature of self.

Jessica Brody
Gina Damico
Maya Gold
Alexandra Monir
Lindsay Ribar
Jeri Smith-Ready
Jessica Spotswood

moderator: Adrienne Maria Vrettos

4:20-5:00 – The Next Big Thing

Description: Again, not to be too mysterious, but I will email these authors separately about what I’m thinking for this.

Jocelyn Davies
Leanna Renee Hieber
Barry Lyga
Maryrose Wood

Saturday March 23: Mutual Admiration Society reading at McNally Jackson (McNally Jackson, Prince Street, 7-8:30):

Sharon Cameron
A.S. King
Michael Northrop
Diana Peterfreund
Victoria Schwab
Nova Ren Suma

hosted by David Levithan

Sunday March 24: Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder (Books of Wonder, 1-4): 
Jessica Brody (Unremembered, Macmillan)
Marisa Calin (Between You and Me, Bloomsbury)
Jen Calonita (The Grass is Always Greener, LB)
Sharon Cameron (The Dark Unwinding, Scholastic)
Caela Carter (Me, Him, Them, and It, Bloomsbury)
Crissa Chappell (Narc, Flux)
Susane Colasanti (Keep Holding On, Penguin)
Zoraida Cordova (The Vicious Deep, Sourcebooks)
Gina Damico (Scorch, HMH)
Jocelyn Davies (A Fractured Light, HC)
Sarah Beth Durst (Vessel, S&S)
Gayle Forman (Just One Day, Penguin)
Elizabeth Scott (Miracle, S&S)

T. M. Goeglein (Cold Fury, Penguin)
Hilary Weisman Graham (Reunited, S&S)
Alissa Grosso (Ferocity Summer, Flux)
Aaron Hartzler (Rapture Practice, LB)
Deborah Heiligman (Intentions, RH)
Leanna Renee Hieber (The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart, Sourcebooks)
Jeff Hirsch (Magisterium, Scholastic)
J. J. Howard (That Time I Joined the Circus, Scholastic)
Alaya Johnson (The Summer Prince, Scholastic)
Beth Kephart (Small Damages, Penguin)
Kody Keplinger (A Midsummer’s Nightmare, LB)

A.S. King (Ask the Passengers, LB)
Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14, Macmillan)
David Levithan (Every Day, RH)
Barry Lyga (Yesterday Again, Scholastic)
Brian Meehl (Suck it Up and Die, RH)
Alexandra Monir (Timekeeper, RH)
Michael Northrop (Rotten, Scholastic)
Diana Peterfreund (For Darkness Shows the Stars, HC)
Lindsay Ribar (The Art of Wishing, Penguin)
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, St. Martin’s)
Kimberly Sabatini (Touching the Surface, S&S)
Tiffany Schmidt (Send Me a Sign, Bloomsbury)

Victoria Schwab (The Archived, Hyperion)
Jeri Smith-Ready (Shine, S&S)
Amy Spalding (The Reece Malcolm List, Entangled)
Stephanie Strohm (Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, HMH)
Nova Ren Suma (17 & Gone, Penguin)
Greg Takoudes (When We Wuz Famous, Macmillan)
Mary Thompson (Wuftoom, HMH)
Jess Verdi (My Life After Now, Sourcebooks)
K.M. Walton (Empty, S&S)
Suzanne Weyn (Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters, Scholastic)
Kathryn Williams (Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous, Macmillan)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cover Stories: So Much Closer (paperback) by Susane Colasanti

Susane was here last year to talk about the original hardcover (pictured below) and now she's back to discuss the brand spanking new paperback version (left):

"Can I just say how much I adore the shiny new paperback cover of So Much Closer?

"This is the first time one of my book covers changed from the hardcover to paperback edition. I loved that the photo shoot for the So Much Closer hardcover was done on the High Line. The High Line is my favorite place here in New York. It plays a big role in the book and has a really unique energy. But my publisher received feedback that the original cover (right) was too street..."

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cover Stories: Belles by Jen Calonita

Jen Calonita shared a fun Cover Story here a while ago, for Reality Chick, and she's back, yay! The first book in the Belles series is, well, Belles. Here's Jen to talk about the cover:

"Designer Tracy Shaw has worked on all my Secrets of My Hollywood Life covers and did Sleepaway Girls as well so to be honest, I wasn't really worried about the design--I knew she'd come up with something beautiful.

"The team is always nice enough to tell me what they're thinking, and I figure they know best so go with it! The only concern I had when they were doing this cover was who the cover model was going to be. I had hoped she'd resemble one of the two protagonists--Mira or Izzie. This cover definitely feels like Mira to me--a true Southern belle. There will be four books in the Belles series and each cover will feature a different girl from the series. Hopefully Izzie will get her turn at some point! The Winter White cover (Belles 2, out this October) features a girl who looks like Savannah, Mira's best friend (well, best friend when we start out in book one!).

"The girl on the cover is a real model! I know that because she actually friended me on Facebook and told me this was her first photo shoot..."

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

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cover Stories: Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

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..."

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

And read about her newly redesigned paperback cover here!

Congrats to Elizabeth on her new release, Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality! Read her amazing twitter #GreatPersonality roundup.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School

Attention, fabulous teachers and poetry fans! Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have compiled poetry and written accompanying teaching aides for middle schoolers. I'm happy to say I was included in the collection. Yay! So check it out, recommend it, and enrich your Poetry Fridays with this beautiful release.

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School
by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong
Pomelo Press, 2013

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz