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!

2009, Archive

December, 2009

Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce

Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce
Alianne, sole daughter of Alanna the Lioness, does not want to become a knight like her mother. She's more like her father, George, "the king of thieves." After a fight with her mother, Alianne attempts to run away but is kidnapped and sent to the Copper Isles to toil as a slave for an exiled royal family. Alone in a foreign land, Aly will need both her father's wit and her mother's courage to navigate a royal court rife with political intrigue and murderous conspiracy.

Aly's adventure continues in Trickster's Queen, when she must keep the potential teenage queen and her younger siblings safe. But Aly, who is usually adept at anticipating danger and changes, is in for a few nasty surprises.

Download this month's poster and bookmark.

"In Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen, the much-lauded Tamora Pierce gives us a fantastical adventure full of intrigue, espionage and heart. Aly is a perfect example for our rgz of a witty, headstrong, and powerful female warrior. We're thrilled to welcome Tamora this month!" - Melissa Walker, rgz diva

"Aly is easily among the most interesting of Pierce's heroines. Thrilling fun." - Kirkus

"Aly arrives fully formed, a snarky, talented über-heroine. Cameos of old favorites complement a rich cast of new characters." - Kirkus Reviews

"Pierce deftly weaves an unforgettable story...The plot sweeps readers along in a whirlwind of court intrigue, deception, murder, and romance." -School Library Journal

"A complex and rewarding tale." - KLIATT
Tamora Pierce
On the nightstand: THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL by John le Carré, PRICE OF HONOR by Jan Goodwin, THE HUNDEFRÄULEIN PAPERS by Kathy Mac, THE MAGIC THIEF by Sarah Prineas

Favorite drink while you write: Water

Favorite bookstores: Books of Wonder in NYC

Favorite library: The NY Public Library

Pets: 2 parakeets, 8 cats in general population, 1 cat in my office, 1 in the mud room for winter, 1 in the basement for winter, 3 feral kittens in the garage for the winter and 1 cat in my husband's office

Place to write: My office at home

Inspiration: Books, music, television, movies, things I see in different places in the present and the past, comments others make, myths and legends, history, photos I see online, the news

Dream book tour: Maine (I've only been there once); Halifax, Nova Scotia; Jackson Hole, Wyoming (love it!); Boulder, Colorado; Rapid City, South Dakota (my sister lives there and I love the Badlands); Calgary; Tucson; New Mexico, San Francisco; Seattle; Victoria, BC; Vancouver, Alaska; New Zealand; Australia (both coasts this time); and then I'll fall over, because I couldn't even do a third of this without getting very tired!

Writer buddies: Bruce Coville, Esther Friesner, Nancy Werlin, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Holly Black, Maureen Johnson, Cassandra Clare, Josepha Sherman, and I'd like to think Sherwood Smith and Kristin Cashore (we did a conference recently and they were great!)

Cure for writer's block: Talking it out with my spouse-creature, Bruce (Coville), or my editor, making something happen, introducing a new character, taking a walk, washing the dishes, thinking in the shower or during a medical test (one where you just have to lay there), changing point of view, changing voice from first person to third or vice versa.

Favorite outfit: Jeans and unusual T-shirts or soft fluffy shirts for winter.

Laptop or longhand? Desktop. I can work some on a laptop (notebook, actually) if I'm away for a long time, but I really need to be set at my desk for any serious inroads to be made.

Stilettos or Uggs? Gah! Sneakers. Comfortable flats for such dressing up as I do.

Next up: MASTIFF (last of Beka Cooper trilogy), a short story collection, and the next CIRCLE OF MAGIC book. Also, I'm helping to produce a Tortall companion book.

Author idols: Mark Twain and Louisa May Alcott.

Read Reflect Reach OutAmnesty International
Since 1961, Amnesty International has made a world-wide effort to stop the abuse of human rights. In their own words, Amnesty International is "a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity."

Want to start up a chapter of Amnesty International at your school? Check out theStudent Center at the Amnesty International website, where you may register your AI student group and receive an activist toolkit for your group.

For more information, visit amnesty.org


The following tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
Gamelan Gong Kebjar: Hudjan Mas by Bali Golden Rain
One of Us by Joan Osborne
Gendhing Tadhak Saking by Java Court Ensemble
Sembayang Pagi by Jalan Jalan
Learning to Fly by Pink Floyd
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Opening Music by Geoffrey Burgon & the Philharmonia Orchestra
Horud Baling by Batak
Come Away With Me by Norah Jones
Now We Are Free by Lisa Gerrardi
Bridge Attack by Bill Whelan, Roots of Riverdance
Lotus by Jalan Jalan
Midsummer by Heather Dale
One of Us by Heather Dale (to represent Aly's mother, Alanna)

1. Aly is the daughter of Alanna, the protagonist of Pierce's first novel and subsequent series, the Song of the Lioness quartet. Can you imagine what it would be like to be the child of a famous person? How would that help or hinder you?

2. In Pierce's world, the only Immortals who can speak to humans are those with human faces or characteristics - except the dragons that are scholars. Which creatures would you love to communicate with, and how?

3. Like father, like daughter: Aly wants nothing more than to be a spy, and she's learned a great deal from her father's work. Do you hope to follow in the footsteps of either of your parents? What makes you want to pursue a career similar to that of your mom or dad?

4. Aly's full name is Alianne of Pirate's Swoop. If you were a character in a Tamora Pierce novel, what would your name be?

5. What did you think of the way slavery and racism were depicted and discussed in these novels? What about the controversy regarding mixed lineage and the line to the throne?

6. Aly is charged with protecting the Balitangs, who, unlike other royals or members of the upper class, treat their servants and slaves well, ultimately declaring Aly to be like family. What did you think of the way they ran their household? Who are the members of your household? Do you have people who aren't related to you directly by blood that you consider family members?

7. Let's discuss the differences between the Balitangs daughters: young, quiet Dove, a very observant girl, and her older sister Sarai, the romantic ingenue with unlikely strength. Which one do you resemble? Do you have sisters? If so, is your relationship like Dove and Sarai's?

8. The Trickster in the title is Kyprioth, the god of tricksters in Aly's world. Have you read other myths or novels related to tricksters?

9. In Trickster's Choice, Dove tells Aly, "Everybody needs heroes...Everybody. Even grown women. Even slaves." Do you think this is true?

10. Aly's work for the Balitangs starts somewhat forced but also seems fated, with the trickster's interference and all that follows. Do you believe in fate?

11. Even as a slave, and even under the trickster's watchful eye and 'deals,' Aly asserts her independence. How do you define independence? What's the difference between freedom and independence?

12. Nawat changes from a crow into a human in order to protect Aly and be close to her. Would you make such a huge transformation to take care of someone you loved? Would you give up all that you've ever known? 

Party it UP!
Planning your own book group/get-together for this book? Here are some party ideas from the author.

Invite: Decorate with crows and crowns.

Food: Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, or Chinese in a pinch; mangos, papaya, star fruit

Décor: Swaths of colorful silk, posters of Indonesia

Movies: Richard Lester's Three Musketeers and Four Musketeers starring Michael York, Oliver Reed, Faye Dunaway, Christopher Lee, and Charlton Heston - Tamora said, "I swiped one of the ways I write sword fighting from these." Also watch A League of Their Own for, as Tamora put it, "women being active and themselves."

His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat by Meghan Carle and Jill Carle
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council 
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner
The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
Flora Segunda and Flora's Dare by Ysabeau S. Wilce
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede 
Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat by Meghan & Jill Carle with Judi Carle

November, 2009

Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell

Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell

In prose poetry and alternating voices, Sweetgrass Basket tells the story of Mattie and Sarah Tarbell, two Mohawk sisters from upstate New York who are sent to an off-reservation school after the death of their mother. Subject to intimidation and corporal punishment, with little hope of contact with their father, the girls are taught menial tasks to prepare them for life as domestics. After Mattie is falsely accused of stealing, and subsequently runs away, Sarah feels helpless and alone. How Mattie and Sarah protect their culture, memories of family life, and their love for each other under this forced assimilation makes for a powerful, unforgettable historical novel.

Download this month's poster and bookmark.

"In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, it is an honor to spotlight Marlene Carvell's novel Sweetgrass Basket. In beautiful free verse, Marlene sensitively relays the struggles of two girls clinging to their Mohawk heritage in the midst of forced assimilation. This is a book that should be read and treasured." - Lorie Ann Grover, rgz co-founder

Winner: Jefferson Cup Award (2006)
A Jane Addams Peace Honor Title
CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book
IRA Children's Book Award Notable
IRA Notable Book for a Global Society
Marlene Carvell
On the nightstand: Quicksilver (Book One of Neal Stephenson's Trilogy)

Favorite drink while you write: Green tea in the morning, decaf coffee in the evening

Favorite bookstores: Locally, Colgate (University) Bookstore. Out in the world, just about any Barnes and Noble.

Favorite library: So many libraries have been very nice to me; I think I'll be diplomatic and avoid answering this specifically.

Pets: Growing up, I had dogs and cats and horses; while my two sons were growing up, two cats, one which acted more like a dog; none currently

Place to write: At a computer in the study in my home in the town by the stream near the woods on a hill . . .
Inspiration: Family and personal experiences with students from when I was teaching.

Dream book tour: I like to write, and I love to talk about my work, but, while I do school visits and conferences, I have no dream tour in my head. When I travel, I frequently stop in unexpectedly at libraries to chat and sign my books. I've had some very interesting conversations that way; it's enough of a dream tour for me.

Writer buddies: Hmmm. . . I'm very much a loner when it comes to writing. Feedback from my husband (who has a great understanding of young people), my agent, and my editor is enough for me.

Cure for writer's block: While my husband often has to listen to me think out loud on long walks, real stumbling blocks have generally been hurdled over pizza and beer at a couple favorite locations.

Favorite outfit: My closets and dressers look like I have a split personality. Jeans and tank tops or sweatshirts for most days and a closet full of glittery dance dresses for those nights out at ballroom/Latin dance venues.

Laptop or longhand? Thank heavens for the invention of the computer. I usually have a tiny notebook somewhere handy when I'm out of the house for those ideas I don't want to lose, but that would be the extent of any writing I do in longhand.

Stilettos or Uggs? Neither. Sneakers and sandals, plus low-heeled, sequined pumps to go with those glittery dance dresses.

Next up: Two novels are currently in the hands of my agent and/or my publisher, one where the protagonist is the older brother of the two girls in Sweetgrass Basket, and the other where a teenage girl who lives in a foster home thinks she hates everybody and everything.

Author idols: Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, Theodore Geisel

Other YA Novels: Who Will tell My Brother? (Hyperion); Caught Between the Pages (Dutton)

Chat with Marlene Carvell at readergirlz on November 24th

New Moon chat at readergirlz on November 21st

Homecoming at readergirlz on November 30th 

In Sweetgrass Basket, Mattie and Sarah long for family. The two sisters would probably agree with Alex Haley, who said, "In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future."

Link with your family on Saturday, November 21st for National Family Volunteer Day. Volunteering as a family is the perfect way to spend quality time with your loved ones while doing meaningful work in your community.

Visit http://www.serve.gov for a searchable database of volunteering opportunities near you and encourage the whole fam to get out and make a difference!


The following tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield
Lift Me Up by Kate Voegele
Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson
Angel by Sarah McLachlan
I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
Homeless by Paul Simon
Believe in Me by Lenny Kravitz
Stronger by Demi Lovato

Sarah is overwhelmed with homesickness. Have you ever been homesick? How did you deal with it?

Sarah and Mattie's ability to preserve their Mohawk heritage is threatened as soon as they arrive at the school. Does family heritage/ethnicity play a strong role in your sense of identity? How so?

Young women of the early 1900s had few career options compared to young women of today. However, Indian women had even fewer opportunities: most in the boarding schools were trained to be servants. Has anyone ever told you or implied to you that you couldn't do something because you were a girl?

Despite being sisters and having the same life experiences, Sarah and Mattie have very different personalities. With which one do you identify?

Do you know anyone like Mrs. Dwyer? How do you deal with that person?

While Mrs. Dwyer, both literally and symbolically, is depicted as the enemy, most other adults in the novel fare much better. Which adult character do you like the best? Why?

Ida is another young Indian girl at the school. How might you explain her meanness? Have you ever known anyone like her?

A major point in the plot occurs when Mattie is falsely accused of stealing. Have you (or someone you know) ever been accused of doing something you didn't do? Would you (or did you) handle the situation differently?

Friendship plays an important role in the story, but Mattie's friendship with Gracie causes jealousy in Sara. Have you ever found yourself frustrated or angry because a friendship seemed to be invaded by someone else?

Mattie feels betrayed by Gracie, yet she understands Gracie is not as strong-willed as she is. Have you ever felt betrayed by a friend? Were you able to forgive that person?

Have you ever felt like running away? Should Mattie have run away from the school?

When Sarah finds the brooch, she is faced with an ethical decision. Did she do the right thing? Why or why not?

Party it UP!
Planning your own book group/get-together for this book? Here are some party ideas from the author.

Invite: An invitation in the shape of a basket; Mohawk baskets are unique in that they usually have a lid. The lid could lift to show the details of the party.
Food: Pumpkin muffins or zucchini bread (squash is one of The Three Sisters) and apple cider.
Décor: Mattie's treasured possession is the basket her mother made for her. Party participants could be asked to bring a favorite basket to help set the mood.
Movies: Rabbit-Proof Fence
Craft: Print bookmarks with the Hiawatha Belt design found on the cover. have participants choose a word that they associate most closely with the book. Write that word in English on one side and in Mohawk on the other.

Moccasin Thunder anthology Rain is Not a Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Native Time: A Historical Time Line of Native America by Lee Francis
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council, in celebration of Native American Heritage Month: 
Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today, an anthology edited by Lori Marie Carlson
Rain is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell
The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie 
          Native Time: A Historical Time Line of Native America by Lee Francis

October, 2009

Beth Kephart   Beth Kephart   Author-in-Residence   Beth Kephart   Beth Kephart

Please join us in welcoming our first Author-in-Residence at rgz: Beth Kephart! Beth will be in house through the end of 2009, popping into the blog, chats, and posting video blog entries on the writing life throughout her visit. We are honored to have her among us. Learn more about Beth Kephart and our author-in-residence position.

Teen Read Week 2009

We are ready to Read Beyond Reality with YALSA, rgz! The divas will host nine young-adult authors - eight of whom are nominees for the Teens' Top Ten - at the rgz blog throughout Teen Read Week. The week's chats will culminate with an online gala celebration, where Sylvia Engdahl, a pioneer in young-adult science fiction, will be hosted and honored for her contributions to the literary landscape. Watch for signed book prizes and swag from iHeartDaily.com.

* Monday, October 19th: Beyond Imagination
rgz diva Justina Chen Headley (NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL)
Alyson Noël (EVERMORE)

* Tuesday, October 20th: Beyond Hardship
rgz diva Lorie Ann Grover (HOLD ME TIGHT)
Elizabeth Scott (LIVING DEAD GIRL)
Lynn Weingarten (WHEREVER NINA LIES)

* Wednesday, October 21st: Beyond Daily Life
rgz diva Holly Cupala (TELL ME A SECRET)
Lisa McMann (WAKE)
Cynthia Leitich Smith (ETERNAL)

Thursday, October 22nd: Beyond Our World
rgz diva Melissa Walker (LOVESTRUCK SUMMER)
Cassandra Clare (CITY OF ASHES)

Friday, October 23rd: Into Our Beyond
rgz diva Dia Calhoun (AVIELLE OF RHIA)
It all happens at the rgz blog, October 19rd-23rd at 6 PM Pacific/9 PM. Eastern.
Spread the word with the press releaseposterbanners, and trailer.

Do you love YALSA's Teen Read Week? Post blog or vlog (video blog, then send the link with the subject line set up like this: Your name, TRW Tribute. Tell us about your recent release, or a book you love dearly, and then give a shoutout for Teen Read Week. We'll collect all the contributions and post them at the rgz blog in a 24 hour time span on October 23rd, 2009.

October, 2009


The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

It's been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy and discovered her ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs deep. Now, enemies old and new will stop at nothing to take the magical power bound to her. With the fate of realms and her Victorian world hanging in the balance, her London debut approaching, her friendships on the line, and her relationship with the mysterious Kartik taking a new, forbidden turn, Gemma will face her greatest - and most dangerous - trial yet, one with consequences beyond imagining.

Download this month's poster and bookmark.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray Rebel Angels by Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

To date, Libba Bray has written three books about Gemma Doyle:
A Great and Terrible Beauty
Rebel Angels
The Sweet Far Thing

"Byron could have penned his immortal line 'all that's best of dark and bright' in praise of Libba Bray's The Sweet Far Thing, for in this fantasy novel, the dark and bright powers limning Gemma's passage from girl to woman enthrall the reader's heart from beginning to end." - Dia Calhoun, rgz co-founder and author

"A huge work of massive ambition." - Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A rare treat that offers...romance, magic, history, Gothic intrigue..." -People
A #1 Book Sense bestseller
New York Times bestseller
A 2008 New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
"Boy, it's really long." - Libba's mom

Libba Bray
On the nightstand: Seven partially read books. My son's artwork. A pink Post-It that says, "don't forget!" which is not so helpful.

Favorite drink while you write: Coffee or tea with cream and sugar. Water.

Favorite bookstores: I love you all, bookstores. You are beautiful. And you smell fantastic.

Favorite library: The one with the books and the awesome librarians. Fortunately, I've found that there are many libraries which meet my stringent standards for favorite.

Pets: My cats, Little Squeak (who is mammoth) and Cocoa (who is insane)

Place to write: In a forgotten corner of a funky coffee shop staffed by eccentric baristas with eclectic musical tastes.

Inspiration: Every. Single. Thing. And music twice.

Dream book tour: Surreal bus tour of college towns with Monty Python who would act out my book passages and serve blancmange.

Writer buddies: Robin Wasserman, Maureen Johnson, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Justine Larbalestier, Rachel Cohn, E. Lockhart, Scott Westerfeld, David Levithan, Jo Knowles, Shannon Hale, Sara Ryan, Natalie Standiford, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Barney Miller, and many more. I am really, really lucky. Plus, I blackmail them.

Cure for writer's block:
1. Without censoring yourself, free write for twenty minutes about something that doesn't seem to matter till you hit something that does.
2. Dance around your living room to very loud music.
3. If all else fails, imagine your computer in its underwear.

Favorite outfit: Jeans, sneakers, concert tee. I also rock a cow suit.

Laptop or longhand? Mostly laptop. But I keep a notebook with me always.

Stilettos or Uggs? Chucks.

Next up: A candy bar. Oh, and also Going Bovine, which came out September 2009.

Author idols: George Saunders. John Irving. Kelly Link, Stephen Sondheim (author with music), Joss Whedon (author with TV), among many others.

Other YA Novels: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and Going Bovine

Denim Day 2009

In Gemma Doyle's time, corsets were all the rage. Now, it's all about denim -- especially October 2nd, with Lee's National Denim Day, a cause that has raised more than $75 million for the fight against breast cancer and unites nearly one million supporters nationwide each year.

Breast cancer survivor Christina Applegate is participating as the Ambassador for the program. You can too, rgz! It's as easy as donating $5 and wearing jeans on October 2nd.

To register, visit www.denimday.com.


The following tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book. You must have Flash to see the playlist below. Click here to open the playlist in a new window.

1. The Killing Moon by Echo & the Bunnymen

2. Silly Boy Blue by David Bowie

3. Anywhere on This Road by Lhasa de Sala
4. Get Out of My House by Kate Bush
5. Leave It Open by Kate Bush
6. Sugar by Tori Amos
7. Ba Ba by Sigur Rós
8. Dögun by Sigur Rós
9. Track 4 by Sigur Rós
10. In Dulce Decorum by The Damned
11. The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin
12. Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd
13. I Fell Deep by The Dears
14. Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
15. Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim
16. Come What May by Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack

"Holy cow. This is a depressive's dream soundtrack. No wonder I felt so morose while writing this book." - Libba Bray


The Victorians had pretty strict ideas about a woman's place and what was expected of her. Do you think that the way we view women has changed? How so? What issues are we still grappling with in 2009?

Gemma thinks she can use magic to alter the lives of her friends and family. Have you ever felt manipulated into solving someone else's problems for her/him? Can you ever really change somebody else's life?

What would you say is your own personal kind of magic?

The characters often make surprising and sometimes bone-headed choices. Are there choices you've made that you regret?

With which characters do you most identify and why?

Okay, if any of the characters in The Sweet Far Thing had her or his own band, what would be the name of the band, what instrument would said character play, and what would be the band's defining song? You may choose any character you like. (Zippo lighters optional.)

Let's talk about love and romance. There are several romances that take place in this book. Do you believe people have only one true love or can they have more than one over a lifetime? How do you define love? Is that different from romance?

If you had the magic of the realms for a day, what would you do with it? What would you hope you wouldn't do with it?

The novel deals a lot with the question of identity -- the process of finding and defining yourself as opposed to letting others (society, family, friends, romantic partners) do so. Why do you think this is so hard? What pressures do you face in your own quest to be a more authentic you?

One of the themes in the book is about fate versus free will. Gemma believes in free will while Kartik believes in fate. What do you believe?

Gemma makes a sort of Faustian bargain with her enemy, Circe, at one point. Do you think this was a good idea? Why or why not? What would you have done in her place?

New dress code: You have to rock a piece of Victorian clothing. What do you wear and how do you wear it? Describe your ensemble. Make it work, people!

There are issues of class, race, and sexuality in the book. How have these issues changed in the last 100+ years? How have they not?

Everybody has some, um, feelings about the ending. What do you think about how the book ends? Would you have done it differently? 

Does a satisfying ending have to be a happy ending?

Party It Up! 
Planning your own book group/get-together for this book? Here are some party ideas from the author. 
Invite: Victorian high tea or London debutante's ball OR an evening in the Realms. The first could have an invitation in calligraphy on cardstock, wrapped in a velvet ribbon. The second could be an evite or webpage with flashy-flash bits so that it looks magical and creepy. (Really, you can be both magical and creepy. I promise.) 
Food: Scones, cream tea, cherry punch, finger sandwiches. But not with real fingers. 
Décor: Could be fashioned after Felicity's tent at Spence, with dramatic curtains of damask or velvet. Peacock feathers (or homemade peacock wallpaper). A Victorian-style portrait of Eugenia Spence. 
Movies: A Room with a View, A Little Princess, Great Expectations, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Forsyte Saga, Moulin Rouge 
Craft: Make personalized fans, ostrich feather “crowns,” your own fortune-telling deck or Order pendants, paint mendhi designs on your hands, illustrate maps for the Winterlands/Borderlands.

 East by Edith Pattou A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb Impossible by Nancy Werlin So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane City of Bones by Cassandra Clare Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman Chill by Deborah Reber
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council 

East by Edith Pattou

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

Impossible by Nancy Werlin
The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane (starting with So You Want to Be a Wizard)
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (starting with City of Bones)
Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman 
Chill: Stress-Reducing Techniques for a More Balanced, Peaceful You by Deborah Reber

September, 2009 

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him
When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po's friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Download this month's poster and bookmark.


"Action, adventure, love . . . all rolled up in a fiercely independent heroine who learns how to govern her gift and trust her heart. How could we not become smitten with Graceling?" - Justina Chen Headley, rgz diva and author

Winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature
Winner of the SIBA Book Award, YA category
Indies Choice Book Award Honor Book
Morris Award (ALA) and Andre Norton Award (SFWA) finalist
Starred reviews in KirkusPublishers WeeklySchool Library Journal,Booklist

 Kristin Cashore
On the nightstand: A teetering pile of books; post-it notes; earplugs; one of those relaxing eye pillows; my Swiss Army knife

Favorite drink while you write: Fair trade organic English Breakfast tea!

Favorite bookstores: Porter Square Books and The Harvard Bookstore, both in Cambridge, MA; The Bookmark in Atlantic Beach, FL

Favorite library: That's easy! The beautiful main branch of the Jacksonville Public Library.

Pets: I'm currently petless, but dream of the perfect cat.

Place to write: In one of various comfortable armchairs in my home.

Inspiration: Books, people, long walks, daydreaming

Dream book tour: How about a tour in which I stay in one city for about two weeks? How about if the city is Rome? How about if my hotel is right next to the Pantheon?

Writer buddies: Well, I have some, but I hate name-dropping :o)

Cure for writer's block: I don't know if I get writer's block, exactly, but I do have trouble writing sometimes because I'm pushing too hard and need a daydreaming/resting break. The cure at those times is to STOP WRITING.

Favorite outfit: Oh, that's easy: flannel PJs.

Laptop or longhand? Longhand.

Stilettos or Uggs? The only thing I would ever use a stiletto for is self-defense.

Next up: A prequelish companion to Graceling, called Fire, comes out October 5th, 2009.

Author idols: Tamora Pierce; Robin McKinley; Margaret Mahy

Human Rights First
Human Rights First recently launched two films that explore the way Hollywood portrays interrogation and torture on TV and how that can unrealistically influence soldiers.

1. Watch the 14-minute Primetime Torture film(split into two video segments).

2. Share the videos on Facebook, MySpace, or your blog.

3. And if you feel compelled, sign the I do not support torture pledge.


The following tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book. You must have Flash to see the playlist below

No Ceiling by Eddie Vedder
No Mermaid by Sineád Lohan
Fighter by Christina Aguilera
Private Universe by Crowded House
Rise by Eddie Vedder
Love Is a Rose by Neil Young
Cold As It Gets by Patty Griffin
This Year's Love by David Gray
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
If You Love Somebody Set Them Free by Sting

Katsa feels stuck in an identity that isn't really hers - that someone else has imposed on her. Has that ever happened to you?

Do you like Katsa's fantasy world? If you lived in the seven kingdoms, which kingdom do you think you would live in? What would your job be?

Which of the secondary characters in Graceling - characters other than, say, Katsa, Po, Bitterblue, or Leck - would you most like to know personally? Why?

Katsa feels completely betrayed by Po's lie. Have you ever felt that way? What would you have done in Katsa's situation?

What do you think it would be like if someone you loved could read your mind?

Katsa breaks a lot of rules about how girls in society should behave. Which rules do you admire - or not admire - her for breaking? Are there rules in our society you'd like to break?

What do you think Bitterblue sees when she looks at Katsa and Po? If you were Bitterblue, what would you have thought of your two rescuers?

Katsa is upset about the way King Leck dies because it shows that even with all her power, there are things in life she can't control. Is this something you've encountered in your own life? Does it upset you, too?

Which character in Graceling would you most like to be, and why?

If you had a Grace like Po's, what would you do with it?

What kind of Grace would you like to have? What kind of Grace do you think you do have?

Imagine you are Katsa at the end of Graceling. The whole world is before you. What would you do next?

Party It Up! 

Planning your own book group/get-together for Graceling? Here are some party ideas from the author. 
Invite: Design something that incorporate swords, daggers, and two-colored eyes. 
Food: Hm. Go out and catch your own mountain lion? No? How about homemade bread, cheese, and fresh fruit. 
Décor: Two-colored eyeshadow and medieval garb. 
Movies: Crouching Tiger, Hidden DragonBuffy the Vampire Slayer (okay, I'm cheating, that’s a TV show, not a movie - but it is disturbingly hard to find movie girls who are both kick-ass and self-reliant!);Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (an anime movie by Hayao Miyazaki)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock The Thief by Meghan Whalen Turner The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier In Their Shoes by Deborah Reber and Lisa Fyfe

Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Princess Ben by Catherine Murdock
The Attolia books by Megan Whalen Turner
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier


In Their Shoes: Extraordinary Women Describe Their Amazing Careers by Deborah Reber 

August, 2009 

Kendra by Coe Booth

Kendra by Coe Booth

Kendra's mom, Renee, had her when she was only 14 years old. Renee and her mom made a deal - Renee could get an education, and Kendra would live with her grandmother. But now Renee's out of grad school and Kendra's in high school . . . and getting into some trouble herself. Kendra's grandmother lays down the law: It's time for Renee to take care of her daughter. Kendra wants this badly - even though Renee keeps disappointing her. Being a mother isn't easy, but being a daughter can be just as hard.

Download this month's poster and bookmark.

"readergirlz is proud to host Coe Booth and discuss Kendra this August. We were enthusiastic to discover this Bronx teen girl, working through abandonment, restriction, and physical attraction. Our community will engage with Kendra and the realistic cast that surrounds her. Brava, Coe!" - Lorie Ann Grover, rgz co-founder and author

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 2007
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
NYPL Stuff for the Teenage
"Booth delivers dynamic characters and an engaging story." - School Library Journal
Coe Booth
On the nightstand: A whole bunch of books I'm reading at the same time!

Favorite drink while you write: French vanilla coffee

Favorite bookstores: Strand bookstore

Favorite library: NYPL Bronx Library Center

Pets: When I was growing up I had three dogs, Mutsy, Ben, and Sable, but right now I don't have any pets.

Place to write: I like writing in small, independent coffee shops in Manhattan or Brooklyn – places with good coffee and yummy treats!

Inspiration: Eavesdropping on people, especially on trains. Also, people-watching around the city. 

Dream book tour: Traveling around the country in a rock-star-type tour bus!

Writer buddies: All of The Longstockings (Jenny Han, Daphne Grab, Siobhan Vivian, Lisa Graff, Lisa Greenwald, Caroline Hickey, and Kathryne Alfred); Leslie Margolis; Justine Larbalestier; and Neesha Meminger.

Cure for writer's block: Loud music, Häagen-Dazs Caramel Cone ice cream!

Favorite outfit: Broken-in jeans and pretty tops.

Laptop or longhand? Laptop. But when I get stuck, writing long-hand sometimes helps.

Stilettos or Uggs? Ugh. Neither. I'm a flip-flops kind of girl!

Next up: The sequel to Tyrell (fall 2010)

Author idol: Zora Neale Hurston, Judy Blume

Other YA Novels: Tyrell

Other Interviews: TeenReadsThe Brown BookshelfVOYA

Website: www.coebooth.com

Kendra's mom wasn't alone in having a baby at the age of 14. In the U.S., statistics show that three out of every 10 teenage girls will get pregnant at least once before turning 20.

Visit www.stayteen.org for more teen pregnancy statistics, along with information about abstinence (the only 100% effective way not to get pregnant) and contraception.

If you haven't already watched MTV’s new 16 and Pregnant series, catch up by downloading full episodes here. The hour-long documentaries offer an eye-opening view of teen pregnancy that complement Coe Booth's fabulous book,Kendra. Join in on teen pregnancy discussions on MTV’s message boards.

The following tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.

A Girl Like Me by Rihanna

Chasing Pavements by Adele

Never Too Much by Luther Vandross
Torn by Natalie Imbruglia
Breakable by Ingrid Michaelson
I Decided (Part 1) by Solange
Teenage Love Affair by Alicia Keys
Halo by Beyonce
From My Heart to Yours by Laura Izibor


Renée had Kendra when she was only fourteen years old. What do you think are some of the challenges of being such a young mother?

Throughout the book, Kendra wishes to get closer to her mother. Do you wish you were closer to one of your parents? What steps can you take to strengthen this bond?

Nana is very overprotective of Kendra. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this for Kendra?

What are Kenny's strengths and weaknesses as a father?

Although she has always had a habit of doodling house designs, Kendra discovers a whole new creative outlet when she joins the stage crew. What talents do you have? Is there a new way you can use these talents that you haven't explored yet?

Have you ever been in a position where you wanted to do something you knew would cause problems between you and a good friend? How did you resolve that issue?

What do you think of the choices Kendra makes, especially regarding Nashawn? If you were her friend, what advice would you give her?

What do you think will happen after the end of the book – between Kendra and Renée?  Kendra and Adonna? Kendra and Nashawn?

Party It Up!

Invite: Playbill-designed evites, inviting guests "Backstage at the Theatre!"

Food: Kendra has a bit of a sweet tooth, so serve her favorite snacks: Chick-o-Sticks, small cups filled with dry Lucky Charms and other sweet cereals, and (of course) Devil Dogs!

Décor: Hang large sketches and blueprints of set designs. Place wooden miniature models of various theatrical sets on tables all around the room.

Movies: High School MusicalFame, and the TV show Glee

Craft: Provide paint, paintbrushes, and artist smocks. Have partygoers paint the model sets during the party.
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis Violet by Design by Melissa Walker So Not the Drama by Paula Chase GirlForce by Nikki Goldstein
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council 
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis
Violet by Design by Melissa Walker
So Not the Drama by Paula Chase 
GirlForce by Nikki Goldstein

July, 2009

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

The Plain Janes written by Cecil Castellucci; art by Jim Rugg When Jane is forced to move from the cool confines of Metro City to Suburbia, she thinks her life is over. But there in the lunch room at the reject table she finds her tribe: three other girls named Jane. Main Jane encourages them to form a secret art gang and paint the town P.L.A.I.N. - People Loving Art In Neighborhoods. But can art attacks really save the hell that is high school?
The art attacks continue in the sequel, Janes in Love, when the clique of misfits plays Cupid and becomes entangled in affairs of the heart. P.L.A.I.N. goes global when the art gang procures a spot in the Metro City Museum of Modern Art Contest. The Janes will discover that in art and love, the normal rules don't always apply.
Download this month's poster and bookmark.

"The rgz divas are psyched to share a graphic novel with our community in July. I was delighted to find The Plain Janes and Janes in Love and even more excited when Cecil wrote and said the works are still available. Here's to the wonderful pair, Cecil and Jim, and the fabulous contribution Minx made to graphic novels for girls. We celebrate you this month!" - Lorie Ann Grover, readergirlz diva

"This graphic novel for girls feels like a teen movie and teaches young women the joy of being original." - USA Today on The Plain Janes, Best Graphic Novels of 2007

"Castellucci clearly knows what goes on in the lives in many teens." - School Library Journal

"Castellucci gives voice to a memorable teenage narrator." - Publishers Weekly starred review

Cecil Castellucci
Things to Know
  Cecil Castellucci

On the nightstand: Books, glass of water
Favorite drink while you write: Some kind of espresso drink
Favorite bookstores:
Skylight Books, Los Angeles
Books of Wonder, NYC
Shakespeare and Co., Paris, France

Favorite library: My local library, Los Angeles Public Library – Los Feliz Branch.
Pets: Scout (cat)
Place to write: My porch. A café.
Inspiration: The whole wide world and beautiful true people with good hearts.
Dream book tour: Me and Jack Kerouac.
Writer buddies: Cylin Busby, Jill Murray, Jo Knowles, Carolyn Kellogg, Edan Lepucki, Lisa Yee, Dana Reinhardt, David Levithan, Kara Lareau, Siobhan Vivian (and a shout out to my LA peeps, like the LAYAs)
Cure for writer's block: Chocolate cures everything. So do bubble baths.
Favorite outfit: A ball gown. But that is not practical, so it's jeans and a Gama-Go T-shirt.
Laptop or longhand? Laptop, then longhand.
Stilettos or Uggs? Neither. I say, clogs or Chuck Taylors.
Next up: Rose Sees Red (Scholastic, 2010)
Author idol: Jane Austen
Other YA Novels: Boy Proof, The Queen of Cool, Beige, Geektastic
Other Interviews: Talking with Tim, PinkRaygun
Website: misscecil.com

Art Saves

How do you think Art Saves? In July, we challenged readers to show us their answer to that question. Holly Cupala, readergirlz diva, created a downloadable Art Saves template so that readers could print it out and decorate it however they liked. People then scanned or photographed their creations and sent them in to us via email.
We posted contributions at the readergirlz blog all month long, then archived them here at the site. (See the special gallery below!)
Even though the month is over and our project is done, you should continue to seek and create art in your school and neighborhood! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Take a picture of your favorite bookstore, your best friends, or your pets.
- Piece together a tote bag made out of old clothes.
- Draw with chalk on your sidewalk. (Try making shadow outlines like those in Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian, one of this month's rec reads!)
- Gather with friends, dress up as the Janes, and recreate the book cover.
- Set up a park or beach clean-up day.
- Run/walk a marathon for a good cause and sing or dance every time you finish a lap.
- Go to an animal shelter, ask if you may take pictures of the critters and make posters to help get them adopted.
- Volunteer at a local library or hospital during arts-and-crafts time.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the Art Saves project. Click any thumbnail below to see a bigger image of the art.

Art Saves Sarah Miller   Art Saves Aquafortis   Art Saves Beth Kephart   Art Saves Cecil Castellucci  
Art Saves Crissa-Jean Chappell   Art Saves Ellen   Art Saves Holly Cupala   Art Saves Jeanie  
Art Saves Kiba Rika   Art Saves Lorie Ann Grover   Art Saves Lauren   Art Saves Lisa Ann Sandell  
Art Saves Liz Gallagher   Art Saves Little Willow   Art Saves Melissa Walker   Art Saves MaryAnn  
Art Saves Piper   Art Saves Realm Lovejoy   Art Saves Shelf Elf   Art Saves Siobhan Vivian  
Art Saves Tanita   Art Saves Tom Sniegoski 

Thanks to Jim Rugg for this art gallery, especially the never-before-seen pages  
Janes Go Summer, which Cecil & Jim had started working on before the  
Minx line of comics was cancelled. Click any thumbnail to see full-sized images. 

Janes art   Janes art   Janes art 
Janes art   Janes art   Janes art   Janes art
Janes art   Janes art   Janes art   Janes art 
Janes art   Janes art   Janes art 

These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book. In fact, she built an entire iTunes playlist which you may download by clicking below! Even if you don't have iTunes, you should be able to listen to a 30-second clip from each song for free. Make sure to check out the track by Cecil Seaskull -- Guess who that is?


1. Little Bombs (iTunes Originals Version) by Aimee Mann
2. You Learn by Alanis Morissette
3. Carpe Diem by Aldebert
4. How Am I Doing (Single Version) by Anna Waronker
5. Beautiful Life by Anna Waronker
6. Plumb Line by Archers of Loaf
7. Gamble Everything for Love by Ben Lee
8. What I'm Looking For by Brendan Benson
9. Unsteady Ground (new version) by Catherine Feeny
10. Beautiful Everything by Cecil Seaskull
11. Armageddon by coco rosie
12. Freak Scene by Dinosaur Jr.
13. One Two Three Four by Feist
14. I Am a Tree by Guided By Voices
15. Die Vampire, Die!
16. For Good by Idina Menzel & Kristin Chenoweth
17. Our Lips Are Sealed by Jane Wiedlin (from The Go-Go's)
18. Bad Reputation by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
19. Enjoy Yourself by Jolie Holland
20. Universal Heartbeat by Juliana Hatfield
21. Kids in America by Kim Wilde
22. Walking and Falling by Laurie Anderson
23. The Rainbow Connection by Sarah McLachlan
24. This Is Not a Test by She & Him
25. Into the Morning by The Weekend

What is your favorite kind of street art?
Have you ever made any street art? If so, what was it? If not, what would it be?
The Janes are all misfits. How do you feel you are a misfit?
Main Jane was in a terrorist attack and it changed her whole world. Has something big or small ever happened to you that made you see everything differently and change the way you deal with the world?
Many of the townsfolk think that what the Janes do is vandalism. What are your thoughts about street art? Where is the line for you? What is art? What is vandalism?
Main Jane rejects the cool kids, why do you think she does that? What does cool mean anyway?
All the Janes have a specific passion for something: art, theater, science, sports. Do you have a passion for something? What is it?
Which Jane character do you think you are most like?
The Janes don't seem like they are going to be friends at first, because they are so different. Do you have friends that are very different from you? What do you love most about them?
The Janes invite James into their misfit group because he is alone. How do you extend a welcome hand to people who are left out or different than you?
How do you express yourself best?

Party it UP!

Invite: Art postcards from different artists.
Food: Cheese and crackers, a mixed fruit salad, and mini cupcakes that you decorate yourself!
Décor: Bouquets of flowers (mums mean hope!) and art posters.
Movies: Footloose, Pump Up the Volume, Rushmore, Ghost World - or films about great artists, like Frida, I Shot Andy Warhol, Camille Claudel, Lust for Life, Pollack (maybe watch these movies with your parents - they might be R-rated since, you know, artists lead very fraught and dramatic lives!)
Craft: Obviously plan an art attack! Like chalk drawings on your sidewalk! Submit something to our Art Saves project. Scroll up to the Read, Reflect, Reach Out section for details.

Suggested Reads from the Postergirlz

The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Rolston Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith

Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher
A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell
Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Rolston
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian

Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith

June, 2009


Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also each other's only friend. So when Cameron disappeared without warning, Jennifer thought she'd lost the one person who would ever understand her. Now in high school and known as Jenna, she is popular, happy, and dating -- everything "Jennifer" couldn't be. When Cameron suddenly reappears, they both are confronted with the memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken. Sweethearts is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.
Download this month's poster and bookmark.

"We are honored to have National Book Award Nominee Sara Zarr at readergirlz this month to celebrate the theme of Truth with her beautiful novel, Sweethearts. When Jenna's childhood friend Cameron walks back into her life, Jenna must face the fragile self she has left in the past as well as the life-altering memory she shares with Cameron. I think her journey will resonate with readergirlz of all ages as we consider the truth of who we are, and who we want to be." - Holly Cupala, readergirlz diva

A 2008 Cybils finalist 

An Oprah Book Club Kids Reading List pick 

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

Starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, VOYA

"...wistful prose and skillfully layered characters." - Horn Book

Sara Zarr

Things to Know
  Sara Zara

On the nightstand: A biography of Patricia Highsmith, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (which I just found out won the Pulitzer!), Everything Is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis
Favorite drink while you write: Water! Gotta stay hydrated.
Favorite bookstore: The King's English in Salt Lake City - comfy store, great selection, amazing staff.
Favorite library: The Salt Lake City Public Library, main. (Named 2006 Library of the Year! Booya!)
Pets: One very talkative parakeet named Peanut.
Place to write: Usually the office I rent away from home, but sometimes home, sometimes the library.
Inspiration: Music.
Dream book tour: The Lake District in the UK, Venice, and then a special appearance on a cruise ship going up the Inside Passage to Alaska...
Writer buddies: So many! My in-person writing crew: James Dashner, Anne Bowen, Emily Wing Smith.
Cure for writer's block: Time, discipline, walking.
Favorite outfit: Jeans, sneakers, comfy shirt.
Laptop or longhand? Laptop, usually.
Stilettos or Uggs? Actually, I pretty much never take off my ecco sneakers!
Next up: A short story in Geektastic this summer. Then, my third novel, Once Was Lost, coming in October.
Author idol: Anne Tyler.
Other YA Novels: Story of a Girl
Other Interviews: Archived at Sara's website
Website: sarazarr.com
Roundtable: readergirlz divas and postergirlz discuss Sweethearts

The BullyBust 2009 STAND UP Pledge
Support those around you who are being bullied or victimized
Tell a friend, teacher or parent when you see someone being bullied
Ask yourself, "How would I want to be treated?"
Note where and when bullying occurs (bathroom, playground, online) and
Do something when you see someone being bullied – be an UPSTANDER
Understand why bullies bully
Practice being a good role model for your fellow students and share "STAND UP to bullies" strategies

In Sara Zarr's Sweethearts, Jennifer Harris is haunted by a childhood where she was cruelly ridiculed by her classmates.
Sadly, her story of growing up being bullied is a common one. Last month Oprah profiled 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera, whose recent suicide was blamed on bullying. More than likely, you or someone you know has been bullied at some point, too.
Common or not, there is something you can do about it! In fact, it's important to do something about it in order to stop bullying. The worst thing you can do is ignore it, said Dr. Susan Lipkins, an expert who appeared on Oprah's show.
Visit www.bullybust.org and sign the STAND UP pledge.
Stand up against bullying, rgz!


hese tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
Born by Over the Rhine - Sara calls this Jenna's theme song
You're All I Have by Snow Patrol
Satellite by Guster
Mission of My Soul by Peter Himmelman
Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens
Downpour by Brandi Carlile
The Great Salt Lake by Band of Horses
A Long December by Counting Crows
When A Heart Breaks by Dave Barnes
All At Sea by Jamie Cullum 

One of the major themes of Cam and Jenna's friendship is loyalty, even in the face of change. What do you think makes a loyal friend? Should loyalty have limits?
Between 4th grade and high school, Jenna transforms herself into a different person physically and socially. Have you ever wished you could reinvent yourself? Why?
Jenna gains some things by reinventing herself, and loses others. What are some of the pros and cons of reinventing yourself?
Jenna's mom makes some mistakes when it comes to dealing with Jenna's past and current issues. What do you wish parents would do differently when you confide in them?
Near the beginning of the book, Jenna thinks, "Life wasn't what you made it. You were what life made you." Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Jenna and Cam's relationship isn't really romantic, and it isn't really platonic. What is challenging about that kind of friendship?
In the book, Jenna's friend Katy complains that Jenna hasn’t been a very good friend since starting to date Ethan. Have you ever felt ditched by a friend who spends a lot of time with a boyfriend or girlfriend?
The story is all about the bond between Jenna and Cam formed in grade school. As teens, the bond is there but the friendship isn't perfect. A lot of friendships don't survive the transition from childhood to adolescence, even if no one moves away. Why do you think that is?
Have you ever had a Jenna or a Cameron in your life? Are you still in touch?
Jenna uses food for comfort when she's anxious or unsure. Why might this be kind of a bad idea?
The controversial ending: Love it or hate it? Discuss it! :) 

Party it UP!

Invite: Heart-shaped cards if snail mail, pictures of cookie hearts, or heart-themed Evite
Food: Frosted heart cookies, NECCO sweetheart conversation candies, and French fries with fry sauce (a Utah specialty Jenna mentions - mix mayo and ketchup about 50/50 - yum!)
Décor: More hearts. T-shirts that say, "I survived childhood and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." Toy rings to honor the ring that Cameron leaves in Jennifer's lunch box.
Movies: Slumdog Millionaire (main character forges bond with girl through childhood, and devotes his life to finding her). Also, the TV show My So-Called Life was all about this teen girl shedding an old identity and looking for a new one, but people and things from her past self keep intruding on her efforts to be different.

Suggested Reads by the Postergirlz

The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart Purge by Sarah Darer Littman Hold Me Tight by Lorie Ann Grover Peeled by Joan Bauer The Year We Disappeared by John and Cylin Busby

Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Purge by Sarah Darer Littman
Hold Me Tight by Lorie Ann Grover
Peeled by Joan Bauer

The Year We Disappeared by John and Cylin Busby 
May, 2009


Red Glass by Laura Resau

Red Glass by Laura Resau
One night Sophie's family is called to a hospital, where five-year-old Pablo is recovering from dehydration. He was the sole survivor of a group of Mexican immigrants crossing the border. Sophie's family takes him in and comes to love him. A year later, Sophie must take a roadtrip with an unlikely group of people to Pablo's hometown in Mexico. Full of fears at first, she ends up opening herself to adventure and growing closer to Angel -- a boy her age with a secret. When Sophie dares to travel alone into Guatemala to save Angel, she explores whether love is worth the risk of loss.
Download this month's poster.
Download this month's bookmark. (PDF, big JPG or small JPG)

"I was very excited to discover Laura Resau's Red Glass which garnered multiple starred reviews. This exquisite literary work brings a story to light that will touch our rgz and possibly broaden worldviews. We are so happy to be celebrating Latina Book Month with Laura!" - Lorie Ann Grover, readergirlz diva

"Rich, poetic language . . . a captivating read." - School Library Journal starred review

"A vibrant, large-hearted story." - Publishers Weekly starred review

International Reading Association Young Adult Book Award Winner

Americas Award Winner

Cybils Award Finalist 2007

Laura Resau
Things to Know
  Laura Resau

On the nightstand: Orange ChapStick, notebook to record dreams, The Hunger Games (amazing book!)
Favorite drink while you write: Hot tea with lots of honey and milk
Favorite bookstore: All my local independent ones - especially The Tattered Cover.
Favorite library: The Northwood Enoch Pratt library in Baltimore City, where I spent countless hours as a kid. Still remember exactly how it smelled . . .
Pets: Half-corgi-half-lab named Luli. She's short and long and bratty - she gets lots of laughs.
Place to write: My *sweet lil fifties rig* - a cozy silver trailer in my driveway
Inspiration: Places I travel, people I meet there, caves, waterfalls, rivers, leaves, sunshine, the moon . . .
Dream book tour: How about a series of candlelit readings in remote caves around the world? Getting there would be an adventure for everyone.
Writer buddies: The fabulous Colorado crowd - Todd Mitchell, Ingrid Law, Lauren Myracle, Victoria Hanley, Denise Vega, Teresa Funke, and many more...
Cure for writer's block: Walking along a river, sitting under a tree, dancing (to kumbaya, meringue, salsa), reading poetry
Favorite outfit: A très chic strapless silk dress I discovered last summer at a street market in Aix-en-Provence, France. Always looking for excuses to wear it — not easy here in Colorado -- the land of Polarfleece and Tevas.
Laptop or longhand? Laptop unless I'm in a forest, on a beach, or under my apple tree - then it's a small spiral notebook.
Stilettos or Uggs? Uggs. I'd destroy stilettos in two minutes flat (and be sprawled on the ground moaning in pain).
Next up: The Indigo Notebook (in October 2009) - the first novel in a travel-adventure series.
Author idol: There are so, so many! Lately I've been discovering the wonders of Jerry Spinelli.
Other YA Novels: What the Moon Saw
Other Interviews: TeensReadToo, Yat-Yee Blog, SCBWI (scroll to part 8)
Website: lauraresau.com
Audio clip: Listen to a clip of Red Glass, read by Emma Bering - Full audio download or CD available from Random House

Roundtable: readergirlz divas and postergirlz discuss Red Glass


All over the country, young students are being forced to give up on their dreams of a college education because of their immigration status. Many states deny in-state tuition benefits to students who entered the U.S. illegally, even if they've been here since they were young and have spent their entire school lives in America.
Right now, Congress is considering The Federal DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), which would provide undocumented immigrant youth in America with conditional residency and a chance for citizenship if they came to the U.S. before they were 16, graduated from high school or obtained a GED, attended two years of college or joined the military, and have no criminal records.
If the act doesn't pass, "another entire class of outstanding, law-abiding high school students will graduate without being able to plan for the future, and some will be removed from their homes to countries they barely know," says DreamACTivist.org on its site, which is dedicated to the passage of the DREAM Act. "This tragedy will cause America to lose a vital asset: an educated class of promising immigrant students who have demonstrated a commitment to hard work and a strong desire to be contributing members of our society."
Throughout May 1st and 2nd, there will be several "May Day" marches across the country to help raise awareness of the DREAM Act. To participate in a city near you, visit United We Dream for the complete schedule. 


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
Siguiendo la Luna by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
Mis Ojos by Mana
La Camisa Negra by Juanes
En el Muelle de San Blas by Mana
Perdoname la Vida by Los Inquietos del Vallenato
Guantanamera by Buena Vista Social Club
Bracero Fracasado by Lila Downs
Ojala by Silvio Rodriguez
A donde vas amor by Banda XXI
El Relampago by Lila Downs

Sophie's trip to Mexico and Guatemala makes her see herself - and her life - differently. Have you ever taken a trip that changed you or your life somehow? Is there a trip you want to take someday? How do you think it might change you?
The main characters of Red Glass have to overcome past traumas or fears on order to connect with each other. For example, Sophie has to get over her fears in order to become close to Angel and ultimately, to help him. Have you had any fears that you feel proud of overcoming? How has your life changed now that you can deal with the fears? Do you have more fears that you hope to overcome one day?
One theme in The Little Prince quotes in Red Glass is that what's essential is invisible. Can you think of a time in your life when you had to look past surface appearances to find what was most important? Have you ever made an assumption about a person, and then, after you've gotten to know him or her, had a different impression?
Sophie's new white dress and coconut jewelry make her feel like a different person. Do you have any special clothes or jewelry that makes you feel different somehow?
Each of the characters has an eccentric behavior - Dika holds her red glass, Angel carries his box, Sophie squeezes lime juice . . . Do you or someone you know have unusual behaviors? What might be some deeper reasons behind the behaviors?
Sophie encounters an extremely gross bathroom on her solo trip into Guatemala. She runs outside and ends up laughing hysterically. Why do you think she does this? What's the most shocking (or grossest!) place you've encountered? How did you react? Have you ever had a completely unexpected reaction to something?
What do you think will happen to Sophie, Angel, Pablo, Dika, and Mr. Lorenzo after the story ends?

Party it UP!

Invite: Star-shaped invitations with The Little Prince quotes Under the Same Moon, Like Water for Chocolate, El Norte, The Motorcycle Diaries
Food: Mangos, fruitcake (um, if you're not into fruitcake, how about quesadillas?), red Jell-O - and lime juice squeezed over EVERYTHING!
Décor: Scatter around little white flowers and hard corn kernels, red glass beads or marbles, chicken feathers, a map of the US, Mexico, and Guatemala (to trace Sophie's route)
Movies: Under the Same Moon, Like Water for Chocolate, El Norte, The Motorcycle Diaries
Craft: Learn to dance salsa, meringue, or cumbia; make corn tortillas

Postergirlz' Suggested Reads

Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa by Micol Ostow Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle Estrella's Quinceanera by Malin Alegria Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico by Malin Alegria  Red Hot Salsa Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States edited by Lori Marie Carlson
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa by Micol Ostow
Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle
Estrella's Quinceañera by Malin Alegria
Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico by Malin Alegria

Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States edited by Lori Marie

April, 2009

Operation TBD

Last year's first-ever Operation Teen Book Drop (TBD) rocked - so we're doing it again! Through the efforts of readergirlz, GuysLitWire, YALSA, and publishers, teen patients in pediatric hospitals across the United States will receive 8,000 new young-adult novels, audiobooks, and graphic novels on Support Teen Literature Day - April 16th, 2009.
We invite all of you teen readers and YA authors alike to participate in Operation TBD. Help spur reading on a national scale! Leave a book in a public place on April 16th, then join us for the TBD Post-Op Party, a live chat at the rgz blog (http://readergirlz.blogspot.com) at 6 PM Pacific/9 PM Eastern.
Click here for full information, bookplates, bookmarks, and more.
Download the press release.
Rock the drop, rgz!


Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act - suicide. In one instant three young people decided enough was enough. Vanessa's beloved blade cut just a little deeper. Tony downed a bottle of pills with a fifth of whiskey. Conner chose the gun. But fate - or loved ones - intervened. Now they have a second chance, and maybe with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life. But only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.

Download this month's poster.

"I am personally so happy to finally feature Ellen Hopkins for a month at readergirlz! Impulse is a wonderful selection to highlight National Poetry Month and Operation Teen Book Drop '09. Ellen's raw, edgy writing is inspiring in its truth. I'm looking forward to amazing discussions this month!" - Lorie Ann Grover, readergirlz diva

"Sharp, searing free verse . . . fast, jagged, hypnotic." - Kirkus Reviews

"A riveting, fast-paced story of teenage hurt and healing." - VOYA

2008 ALA Best Book For Teens

2008 Georgia Peach Award

"Impulse saved my life. Not in a metaphorical sense, it literally saved my life." - a reader

Ellen Hopkins
Things to Know
Ellen Hopkins

On the nightstand: A unique fern and ear plugs (my husband snores!)
Favorite drink while you write: Coffee, with nonfat half and half and raw sugar.
Favorite bookstore: Sundance Bookstore, Reno
Favorite library: San Antonio Public Library
Pets: Yukon and Arson (German shepherds); Toby (cat)
Place to write: My beautiful new office
Inspiration: The view out my windows
Dream book tour: Small-town America by train
Writer buddies: Susan, Suzy, Susie, Jim (they can’t ALL be Susans!)
Cure for writer's block: Exercise. The brain kicks in when the body works.
Favorite outfit: Nice jeans and a scoop-neck sweater.
Laptop or longhand? Laptop.
Stilettos or Uggs? Uggs.
Next up: Tricks
Author idol: Stephen King
Other YA Novels: Crank, Burned, Glass, Identical
Other Interviews: Powells, Publishers Weekly, The Paper Movie Project, Mrs. Magoo Reads
Website: ellenhopkins.com
Audio clip: Listen to a clip of Impulse, available from Highbridge Audio
Roundtable: readergirlz divas and postergirlz discuss Impulse

Operation TBD
Are you ready to rock the drop? You can easily participate in Operation Teen Book Drop (TBD) on April 16th, 2009. Simply pick a book you like, stick a TBD bookplate inside the front cover, and leave it somewhere in your community where it will easily be found by an eager reader. Drop it on a table in a coffee shop, leave it on a bench in the park, put it somewhere at your school or favorite hangout, and know that you are taking part in something awesome - a worldwide release of books, with publishers donating thousands of books to local pediatric hospitals on the same day.
Operation TBD is brought to you by readergirlz, YALSA, GuysLitWire, and all of you fabulous readers, authors, publishers, and activists!
YALSA   GuysLitWire


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
She Talks to Angels by The Black Crowes
Crazy on You by Heart
Never Tear Us Apart by INXS
Drops of Jupiter by Train
Love Hurts by Incubus
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Candle (Sick and Tired) by The White Tie Affair

Conner's parents push him to be perfect. What does "perfect" mean to you?
Some call suicide the ultimate act of cowardice. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Conner, Tony, and Vanessa all tell their stories with signature poetic styles. Why do you think the author chose each style? How do they define the characters?
Tony deals with his painful past through humor. How can humor be used as a coping mechanism?
Vanessa finds her mother overdosed on the kitchen floor, but doesn't call 911. What would you have done in that situation?
In a surprising twist, Tony and Vanessa fall in love. Has love ever surprised you?
A central theme of the story is the power of friendship. If one of your friends was on the brink of suicide, what would you do?
Special note: In July 2008, we put Jay Asher's novel Thirteen Reasons Why in the spotlight, which led to many serious discussions about suicide prevention. One of our postergirlz, Jackie, then created this list of suicide prevention resources. Since Impulse also deals with the topic of suicide, we wanted to again bring this list to your attention.
Party it UP!

Invite: Text-message blast. MySpace bulletin. Facebook event invite.
Food: Veggie platter; crackers and cheese; popcorn
Décor: Scatter words cut from magazines or newspapers in the center of the tables. Find words signifying hope, despair, perfection, stress, depression, mania, etc. Use for craft (below). Also votive candles in glass bowls, signifying hope.
Movies: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; King of California; A Beautiful Mind
Craft: Use words cut from magazines to create poems. Glue them on construction paper.

Postergirlz' Suggested Reads

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab Candy by Kevin Brooks Thirst by Mary Oliver Smashed Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb
Alive and Well in Prague New York by Daphne Grab
Candy by Kevin Brooks
Thirst by Mary Oliver

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas

March, 2009


The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Identity. Where does it lie? In a face? A voice? A bundled string of events we call a lifetime? Who am I? Can anyone ever know for sure just what it takes to be who we are? We all search for our place in this world and how we fit in, but for Jenna Fox that search reaches dark new dimensions when she wakes from a coma and can't remember who she is. Worse, she doesn't remember the people who claim to be her parents. There is something curious about them, about the house they all live in -- in fact, curious describes her whole life, as she attempts to unlock the secrets of who she was, and who she has become. The Adoration of Jenna Fox is about Jenna's search for identity, a quest as old as history, but as startling as the future.
Download this month's poster.

"Stunning in the questions it raises about what it means to be human, I think The Adoration of Jenna Fox will spur breathless discussions as teens follow Jenna's amazing journey to find answers. This book will keep readergirlz everywhere up all night as they, too, struggle with the question: Who am I?" - Dia Calhoun, readergirlz co-founder and author

"Outstanding examination of identity." - Kirkus, starred review

"Gripping...seamless..." - School Library Journal, starred review

"Expert plotting." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Quite literally breathtaking." - Kliatt, audio starred review

Optioned by 20th Century Fox for a feature film

Mary E. Pearson
Things to Know
Mary E. Pearson

On the nightstand: Chapstick and the book What I Saw and How I Lied
Favorite drink while you write: Currently, green tea with honey.
Favorite bookstore: My closest indies - Yellow Book Road, Warwicks, and Mysterious Galaxy - but I love them all!
Favorite library: Carlsbad Dove Library.
Pets: Brody and Hunter -- 160 pounds of slobbery, golden love.
Place to write: My office mostly, which is quiet and dark with a big leafy tree just outside my window. Sometimes I take my laptop down to the Four Seasons and write in the lobby. Big comfy chairs and no Internet!
Inspiration: People. Everything about the way they act and interact.
Dream book tour: All my writer friends get to go along with me and sign their books too. And let's throw in Paris since it's a dream tour.
Writer buddies: Too many to name. I couldn’t write without them!
Cure for writer's block: Long walks, music, and driving.
Favorite outfit: Jean skirt, tank, and flip-flops (though I sometimes I love getting all dressed up too)
Laptop or longhand? Laptop. But recently giving a shot at long-hand.
Stilettos or Uggs? Au naturel! Bare feet all the way!
Next up: The Miles Between, out this fall from Henry Holt BYR.
Author idols: I'm blessed to know so many awesome authors. One whom I don't know but greatly admire is Sonya Hartnett.
Other YA Novels: A Room on Lorelei Street, Scribbler of Dreams, and David v. God
Other Interviews: Click here for the list
Website: marypearson.com

Technologies in genomics, stem cell research, and cloning are advancing fast—so fast that the laws have had trouble keeping up. Earlier this year, a couple in Florida welcomed the first cloned dog into their home, making the once sci-fi pipedream of human cloning a real possibility for the near future.
As a result, many states are quickly drafting bills aimed to create ethical standards in bioethics. Last month Texas filed a bill that would make human cloning a first-degree felony, and other states are following suit. Regardless of how you feel about the hotly-debated topic of human cloning, it's important to voice your opinions to legislators while bills are being drafted and discussed. Grassroots letter-writing campaigns are still one of the most effective tools you have to voice your support or opposition to pending laws and influence change. For tips on writing powerful and professional political letters, click here. Then visit www.Congress.org to identify and contact elected leaders, post letters online, read others' letters, and more.


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.

Building a Mystery by Sarah McLachlan
Hold On by Sarah McLachlan
I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
Path of Thorns by Sarah McLachlan
Fear by Sarah McLachlan
Sweet Surrender by Sarah McLachlan
Angel by Sarah McLachlan
In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins
Canon in D by Pachelbel (piano only)
Shepherd Moons by Enya

On the cover of The Adoration of Jenna Fox is the question, "How far would you go to save someone you love?" Did Jenna's parents go too far? How far would you go?
Jenna is self-conscious about what she says and does around her friends, wanting to fit in so badly. Is there something you are self-conscious about around your friends?
Jenna faces living two hundred years or even more. Would you want to live forever?
Jenna seems to be able to hear better because of the changes she has undergone. Is there one thing you wish you had superhuman abilities to do?
There is a "gray page" titled Pieces where Jenna describes working so hard to give pieces of herself to others that she has nothing left for herself. Do you ever feel that way? Why?
On page 212, Jenna defines herself. If you could define yourself with just three words, what would they be?
Party it UP!

Invite: Decorated with the image of a blue butterfly or a brain
Food: "Nutrients" = chocolate chip shakes, blue sugar cookies
Décor: "Biogel" bracelets (the glow-in-the-dark kind), blue butterflies, and black "back-up" boxes with attendee name labels. Fill with blue M&Ms.
Movies: Frankenstein
Craft: "Blue Goo." Mix 1 cup cornstarch with approx ½ cup water and several drops blue food coloring (add slowly, just until gooey but not too watery). Goo is solid if you hit it quickly, but oozy if you slowly put your fingers in it. Lots of fun and not too messy.

Postergirlz' Suggested Reads

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Graceling by Kristin Cashore Undercover by Beth Kephart Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Undercover by Beth Kephart

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure
Walden by Henry David Thoreau 

February, 2009


No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia

No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia
Even though they were born in different countries, Akilah and Victoria are true best friends. But Victoria has been acting strange ever since she returned from Nigeria, where she had a special coming-of-age ceremony. Why does proud Victoria, named for a queen, slouch at her desk and speak in a whisper? Why won't she laugh with Akilah anymore?
When Akilah learns Victoria's terrible secret, she has even more questions - but they might not have answers. Readers will identify with headstrong, outspoken Akilah, whose struggle to understand what's happened to Victoria reveals a painful truth in an honest and accessible way.
Download this month's poster.

"When I read No Laughter Here, I knew it had to be one of our readergirlz picks. Powerful, compelling, and gorgeously written, Rita Williams-Garcia's No Laughter Here is an important must-read for girls today. One that will make girls think about our rights as women. About what makes us women. About what we can do to advocate for those without voices." - Justina Chen Headley, readergirlz diva

"[A] richly layered . . . skillfully told, powerful story." - Booklist, starred review

"Eye-opening and grounded . . . Unapologetic, fresh, and painful." - Kirkus, starred review

Texas Tayshas List

One of Booklist's Top 10 Black History Titles for Youth

ALA Best Books for Young Adults

Rita Williams-Garcia
Things to Know
Rita Williams-Garcia

On the nightstand: 2 pairs of glasses, phone, Bible.
Favorite drink while you write: Hot, hot coffee - half full-strength, half-decaf with a Hershey's kiss thrown in.
Favorite bookstore: Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills, NY
Favorite library: Jefferson Market in West Village and now defunct Donnell with most excellent Teen room.
Pets: I'm grandma to Chase, my daughter's German Shepherd.
Place to write: Any outdoor bench under the sun.
Inspiration: Fried catfish, nachos with cheese. Can't write hungry.
Dream book tour: To all of the states with 75 degree weather.
Writer buddies: The most excellent Jacqueline Woodson, Cynthia Leitich-Smith
Cure for writer's block: Hitting speed bag with boxing gloves
Favorite outfit: Brown Old Navy skirt with gladiator sandals during the summer. Will wear three days in a row. Change top, of course!
Laptop or longhand? Long-hand first. Then laptop.
Stilettos or Uggs? Stilettos. Killer legs. Thanks, Mom.
Next up: JUMPED. A knows B will jump C by the end of the day. Alas, if only A cared or C knew.
Author idols: Jacqueline Woodson, Toni Morrison
Other YA Novels: Every Time a Rainbow Dies, Like Sisters on the Home Front
Other Interviews: The Brown Bookshelf, Children's Book Council Magazine
Website: www.ritawg.com
Roundtable: readergirlz divas and postergirlz discuss No Laughter Here

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines female genital mutilation as the range of procedures which involve "the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reason." Approximately 138 million women around the world have undergone FGM. Every year, another 2 million girls are at risk of the practice. To learn more about female genital mutilation, watch this YouTube video. Then visit FORWARD (The Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development) to find out ways you can help.


These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
No Air by Jordin Sparks featuring Chris Brown
Big Girls Don't Cry by Fergie
Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae
Family Reunion by Jill Scott
Miss You by Aaliyah
Forever by Chris Brown
Unpretty by TLC
Daughters by John Mayer
Keep Holding On by Avril Lavigne

At what point do you tell a secret?
Without getting too personal, what was your worst fall-out with friend? Was it fixable?
Akilah's mother is open with her about puberty, etc. How comfortable are you with talking to your mother figure?
What coming-of-age rituals do you find interesting?
What is it about crushing on your best friend's older sibling?
Akilah and her mother are so much alike. Anyone dare to admit to similarities with their mother figures?
What would you do if your culture demanded that you did something that would change you forever?
Party it UP!

Invite: A handwritten letter sent in the mail, as letters are so important to Akilah in the book. Decorate the letter and envelope with moons.
Food: Like Akilah and her mother, serve tea and crumpets and raspberry tea.
Décor: Use a dish of pineapple Lifesavers for a centerpiece.
Movies: The Day I'll Never Forget, American Girl: Kit Kittredge (for the "girl power"-ness of it all), Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Craft: Everyone knit a seven-inch by seven-inch square in shades of pink and red, and then join them together to make a quilt to commemorate “V-Day” to stamp out violence against women and girls. 

Postergirlz' Suggested Reads

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli  Swollen by Melissa Lion  A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd  Chandra's Secrets by Allan Stratton  My Forbidden Face by Latifa
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Swollen by Melissa Lion
A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd
Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton

My Forbidden Face by Latifa 

January, 2009


A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder.
Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this astonishing novel weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and wholly original.
Download this month's poster.

"We are especially thrilled to welcome author Jennifer Donnelly to kick off our 2009 calendar, and to be reading A Northern Light to celebrate our January theme, Courage. A Northern Light takes place a hundred years ago at the turn of the last century, but her story could be equally true today - 16 year-old Mattie, a writer at heart, must overcome timeless obstacles to pursue her dreams and do what she is meant to do. We hope readergirlz will join us in welcoming Jennifer and talking about courage, dreams, and destiny." - Holly Cupala, readergirlz diva
Winner of the Carnegie Medal
Winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize
Winner of New York State's Charlotte Award
Printz Honor Book
ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
Note: In the UK, this book is published as A Gathering Light.

Jennifer Donnelly

Things to Know
Jennifer Donnelly

On the nightstand: Wodehouse and Beckett. The first makes my laugh till I cry. The second makes me cry till I laugh.
Favorite drink while you write: Castleton Estate's First Flush Darjeeling
Favorite bookstore: All of them. Every single one on the planet.
Favorite library: Tivoli Free Library, Tivoli, NY
Pets: My beloved greyhound, Scotty.
Place to write: My quiet, serene, light-filled office in a cottage on a horse farm in the country. No phone, no e-mail, no FedEx or DHL or UPS. Bliss!
Inspiration: The brawling, sprawling, appalling mess that is history.
Dream book tour: One that starts in the Balkans and ends up in Tibet.
Writer buddies: Just met Valerie Martin. She's so cool. She's scary-smart, but for some reason, she still hangs out with me.
Cure for writer's block: Writing. Cringe, cry, swear, scream, threaten suicide, but keep on writing.
Favorite outfit: Levi's and Blundstones. And a shirt of some nature.
Website: www.jenniferdonnelly.com
Roundtable: readergirlz and postergirlz discuss A Northern Light

When young girls like Grace go missing, the search isn't all up to the cops. Search parties often include volunteers, too—-people like you, with a passion for getting involved, a desire to help others, and endless faith in a happy ending. (Does that describe rgz or what?!) If pitching in on a search and rescue (SAR) team sounds like something you're suited for, check out the National Association for Search & Rescue website: http://www.nasar.org
They offer loads of classes and conferences throughout the U.S. to train volunteers - usually ages 15 and older. You can also contact your local police department, as many communities have SAR programs and welcome all the help they can get. 

These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book.
Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
Amazing Grace by LeAnne Rimes
Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant
If I Should Fall Behind by Bruce Springsteen
The Wind by Cat Stevens
Everything Not Lost by Coldplay
Get Behind the Mule by Tom Waits
Mary Jane's Last Dance by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Beautiful Day by U2
Let Down by Radiohead
The Infinite Sadness by Mellon Collie 

Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey is at a crossroads in her life when A Northern Light opens. Have you ever been at a crossroads in your life? How did you handle it? How did you decide which road to take?
Mattie promises her dying mother that she’d always take care of her father and younger siblings. Do you think this was a fair request? Would you keep such a promise even if it meant sacrificing your own dreams?
Mattie promises to marry dull, handsome Royal even though he doesn't seem to love her, as an escape from her life. What would you advise a friend who did this?
Mattie and her friend Weaver have language duels. Do you think girls can be friends with boys without any romantic involvement? Do you have boys who are good friends?
Do you think Mattie was right to read the letters that the murdered woman asked her to burn? What would you have done?
A Northern Light is set in 1906. Would you have enjoyed living during that time? Or do you think all the restrictions on women would have made life too difficult?
Jennifer Donnelly was inspired to write A Northern Light by an actual crime. Are there any other movies or books based on real events that you've enjoyed? Is there a current event you'd like to see turned into a novel? 

Party it UP!

Invite: Tea-stained parchment, old-fashioned copperplate font, tied with a blue ribbon
Food: Lemonade, ice cream, pie . . . and fiddleheads!
Games: Language duels
Décor: Japanese lanterns, daisy chains, vases of wildflowers
Movies: An American Tragedy, A Place in the Sun

Postergirlz' Suggested Reads

What Happens Here by Tara Altebrando  The Creek by Jennifer L. Holm  The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman  The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante  Oxford Dictionary of English
Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council
What Happens Here by Tara Altebrando
The Creek by Jennifer L. Holm
The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman
The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante

Oxford Dictionary of English 

The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Jennifer Donnelly's first novel, The Tea Rose, now has a sequel: The Winter Rose. During London's Victorian era, India Selwyn Jones begins her career as a doctor in a poor neighborhood clinic. Caught between her fiancé and a crime lord, India negotiates her freedom through England and Africa. Filled with infectious energy, the book will leave the reader cheering for India and the man who has her heart.

No comments: