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, October 17, 2013

Exclusive interview with Alison Cherry!

What if you lived in a town where redheads reigned supreme? That's the premise of Alison Cherry's satirical new novel Red, set in the fictional town of Scarletville. Felicity St. John has hair to die for - rather to dye for. You see, her mom has been getting Felicity's strawberry blonde hair dyed since she was little, determined to make her daughter popular and powerful. Now Felicity's in high school, about to participate in the Miss Scarlet Pageant, much to her chagrin and her mother's delight. Then a series of anonymous notes appears in Felicity's locker: someone knows the truth about Felicity's hair and is threatening to reveal all unless she does what they say. How far will Felicity go to protect her roots? Will she do what her mother wants, or will she finally be able to just be herself?

Author Alison Cherry, a natural redhead, stopped by my blog Bildungsroman today. Check out our discussion about society, conformity, and individuality, as well as the writing process.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

rgz Newsflash: Happy Book Birthday, Stephanie Guerra!

Today we're toasting Seattle Host Stephanie Guerra on the launch of her latest book! Billy the Kid is Not Crazy is a hilarious middle-grade novel about a kid who gets in trouble so frequently that his parents send him to a psychiatrist. 

Billy March has been grounded for 63% of the past month. Every time he almost gets his parents’ trust back, his mind wanders off, and he causes another disaster! Like the time he and his best friend Keenan decided to play droid war in a parking lot—and ended up launching a shopping cart into a car. . . . Now Mom and Dad are threatening to send Billy to a psychologist. They may even make him take brain drugs! But deep down, Billy really worries that Dad wishes he had a different son. He’ll never be as perfect as his sisters. Maybe he doesn’t belong in this family at all. But maybe, just maybe, talking to a “shrink” won’t be as terrible as Billy thinks. With generous black-and-white illustrations in every chapter and ton of heart and humor, readers will be cheering for Billy as he struggles to find his place in the world—and discovers his true talent in the process.

Wanna know the whole the story behind the book? Check out this post on From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors.

 And here's some great early buzz from Amazon Vine:

“My son is a reluctant reader, but Billy the Kid is Not Crazy is the first book he ever read with enthusiasm on his own. He laughed out loud a few times, and could really relate to the main character.” –Scott Sherman

“I'm considering buying ten copies to have on-hand as my friends' children age. This is great for kids and parents. It's about a boy who is totally NOT crazy. He's a typical dreamer who often makes bad decisions because...he's still a kid!” –Mage

“My third grader loves this book. It is filled with heart and humor… I love the jokes that are mixed in and the heart felt moments. Junie B watch out.” –Edward Walker

“The author has done such a wonderful job with these characters… The artwork is a great addition, delivering tons of laughs. Combine that with some truly witty dialogue and you get a book that is in turn hilarious, thoughtful, and very real.” –J. Prather

“The artwork in the book is great, lots of fun. Really adds a lot and speeds up reading--illustrations in books are almost always a plus! Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommended!” –K. Davis

“I got this book for a boy who is diagnosed with Asperger's… He sped-read through the book once and liked it so much that he's reading it through again but more slowly. He says the title character is "just like" him.” –J. Tant

Congratulations, Stephanie - we can't wait to get our hands on Billy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cover Stories: For Darkness Shows the Stars

Diana Peterfreund tends to have great covers, and when I saw For Darkness Shows the Stars (a post-Apocalyptic take on Jane Austen's Persuasion, hello!), I fell in love with the starry sky. So I asked her about it, and here she is:

"I always have an idea in mind for my covers, but since I’m not an artist it’s probably best that my publishers ignore me. They did ask me to send inspiration pictures, though. I sent in a lot of pictures of harsh seascapes and rocky cliffs and beaches beneath a sunset/sunrise and a starry sky. Sometimes there were forlorn women standing on these beaches. I think Harper and I were totally on the same page about the direction we wanted to go in, which mostly makes me feel like I’m finally getting a hang of this imagery thing.

"I asked for something very lush and romantic, to fit the feel of the book. Also, because this book has such a distinctive title that bucks the trend of the one-word YA book titles, I asked for a fun font treatment that really highlighted the title..."

Read the rest of Diana's story at melissacwalker.com.