end of the year + favorite books + thank you

December 30, 2014 § 4 Comments

I really don’t know what to write about 2014 except that it was tough and wonderful and emotional and disheartening and full of new things. My first book was published and it’s been out for eight months and I still can’t believe people are reading it. I was lucky enough to be named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start in the spring and see Pointe named a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, Book Riot, the Chicago Public Library, and the Los Angeles Public Library. And I got the chance to be a part of some incredible library panels and bookstore events where I hung out with old and new author friends and met lots of great teens and readers.

I am so incredibly grateful to all of you who talked about and recommended Pointe, whether in person or online or via carrier pigeon. Word of mouth was very helpful to my book, and it means the world to me that anyone connected with it and talked it up. Thank you so much for making my debut year such a dream.

This was also the year I went back to work full-time, as a copy editor for a weekly magazine. And while I love my job, my reading suffered for it. I read only 18 books compared to 64 in 2013, but I also copyedited 24 books as freelance projects and that counts as reading so not all is lost. (Btw, when I was like eight years old I said I wanted to be an author and hang out with my spelling workbook all day and I think I am living the dream, guys.)

I enjoyed just about everything I read this year, but of course certain books won’t let me stop thinking about them and here is what you need to get your hands on immediately if not sooner:

Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

(Yes, I have some catching up to do with books actually released in 2014.)

My critique partners each have a book coming out next year and everything they write is my favorite. So if you’re looking for more books to preorder and/or put on your list for 2015, I read the following novels earlier this year and highly recommend them all because I have super talented CPs/friends:

All The Rage by Courtney Summers (April 2015)

Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu (May 2015)

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn (June 2015)

I’m also looking forward to 2015 because I have several trips and events planned! I’m speaking at my old high school (!!!) in February in Missouri,  and will be on a panel at the AWP conference in Minneapolis in April with authors I greatly respect. I can’t say more about the other events just yet, but suffice to say I am quite excited and more details to come.

Oh, this was also the year I discovered jumpsuits and perhaps now own too many and show no signs of stopping, but that’s another post for another time, friends.

conversations and a beautiful review

May 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

For someone who claims to never leave the house, there are a couple of opportunities to see me this month, if you are so inclined:

This Wednesday, May 14, I’m thrilled to be taking part in the LAPL Teen Author Reading Series with the lovely Carrie Arcos at the Exposition Park branch at 4 p.m.!

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And I’m incredibly excited that I’ll be at Mrs. Dalloway’s in Berkeley on Saturday, May 31, in conversation with my friend Stephanie Kuehn! Steph is my critique partner, one of my favorite writers, and author of the gorgeous Charm & Strange, as well as the thrilling upcoming novel Complicit, both of which I absolutely love. We’ll be talking about writing dark YA, diversity in publishing, and much more, so if you’re in the Bay Area, I hope you’ll join us!

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Finally, I am so touched by this beautiful review of POINTE in the Los Angeles Review of Books, which dissects my book in a way that I, the writer, never could, and says, “Pointe is a startlingly beautiful novel, singular in its voice and vision, and executed with unabashed honesty.”

Hope to see you at one of my events this month!

pointe is here!

April 10, 2014 § 9 Comments

I have a book out in the world, as of today.

Surreal doesn’t seem like the right word, and yet. I started the first draft of POINTE in 2009, sold it in 2011, and it is now officially published, in 2014. Publishing a book takes a long time, and some take longer than others, but the wait was worth it.

From my agent to my editor to my critique partners, friends, and family, I have so many good, loyal people in my corner, and I’m very grateful for all of you. To anyone who has encouraged me and/or spread the word about my book in any way: thank you. Your support means the world to me. I’ve wanted to have my fiction published since I was seven years old, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this process has been an absolute dream.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of POINTE, you can find it here, here, and here. Libraries are great, too!

And to any writers stuck in the beginning, querying, and submission stages—do not give up. Don’t. Your publishing journey might take longer than you think, and it might not go exactly as you thought it would, but someday, someone will publish your little book about abduction and ballet and sexual abuse and relationships. And you will be very glad that you worked so hard.

ARCs are here! And a giveaway!

July 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Blogging twice in one month? I know.

Just had to let you know that I’m hosting a giveaway to celebrate the arrival of my ARCs (!!) and to share the lovely blurbs two authors gave to POINTE.

Go! Enter! Huzzah!

absence makes the heart grow fonder

July 24, 2013 § 8 Comments

Hello!

I’m alive! And still not blogging regularly! So, pretty much everything is in order.

Some good things have happened since I last posted, which generally occurs when you take five-month breaks between blogging.

First, I finished all my edits for POINTE and now it’s being turned into an almost-book! The interior was designed and now it’s at the printer, being made into an advance reader copy. I’m not sure when ARCs will make their way to me, but I’m thinking within the next couple of months, so stay tuned!

Second, I revealed my cover, synopsis, and release date on the fantastic YA Highway, but if you don’t feel like clicking over, I’m just going to post the pretty cover here too, because why not?

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Gorgeous, yes? It’s hard to express how much I love my cover and how pleased I am with the amazing people at Penguin who worked to get it just right. Also? My book is available for preorder here!

And third, I’ve been rambling about writing and books and whatnot in a few places around the Internet, so I’m linking to those below in case you wanted proof that I’m blogging for other people and not myself:

Author Spotlight on YA Highway

Interview on the Writing Pad blog

So You Want to Read YA? on Stacked

Finally, I received truly amazing blurbs from two authors who inspire me to no end, and as soon as I get my ARCs, I’ll be revealing those blurbs and hosting a giveaway (one of my ARCs and each of their debut novels) on the Thirteeners blog. So stay tuned AGAIN! Maybe not here, though. Maybe best to keep up with me on Twitter or Tumblr, since I seem to update those more than four times a year.

I also want to say a huge thank-you to everyone who’s expressed excitement about POINTE, whether it was on Twitter or Waiting on Wednesdays or by adding my book to your Goodreads shelves. It’s been a long process and I still have about eight months to go, but knowing that people are looking forward to reading my book (people who aren’t my parents or BFF!) makes the wait absolutely worth it.

same book, new title, happy me

February 20, 2013 § 16 Comments

Boring confession: I am horrible at titling things.

I came up with the title of my book just before we sold it, and while I never hated A POINT SO DELICATE, I was always sort of meh about it. Though I’ve gotten used to saying and writing it for a while now, it continued to feel like a placeholder. I do think it captures the nature of the book — a girl dealing with a number of obstacles that could (might?) push her over the edge — but while it’s a pretty title, it always seemed a bit overly precious to me.

So when I learned we had to come up with a new one, I was mostly excited but also daunted. I begged for help from a few very patient friends who are much better at this process than me. I spent a very long day with a word cloud. I submitted a whole slew of titles and bounced them around with my editor and agent and they just didn’t work.

Then I got an email from my editor with a title that she thought might be The One. And then another email with a title that was absolutely The One. Which left me thinking: 1) She’s brilliant. 2. (Obviously.) And 3) How did I not think of this from the start? Because my new title is …

[are you ready for this?]

[now I’m just being a jerk]

 

POINTE

 

Not so super far from the original and yet quite different. I like that it’s succinct, that you look at it and instantly know the story has roots in the ballet world. And it also plays nicely on “pointing the finger” as guilt and blame comprise a large theme of the novel.

I can’t wait to share more about the book (!!) but in the meantime, you can add POINTE here on Goodreads. If you are so inclined.

my favorite books of 2012

December 31, 2012 § 4 Comments

I did it!

I reached my goal of reading 55 books this year, a whole 20 books more than last year. Definitely a challenge for this slow reader who sometimes gets distracted by things like the copyright page (not even kidding, I am going to nerd out over that so hardcore when I see it in my book) and the page that describes the history of the book’s typeface. [Is there a name for this page? Please advise.]

Like last year, I have a disclaimer that these aren’t necessarily books published in 2012, but my favorite of the novels I picked up for the first time this year. I’ll also add that I was lucky enough to read several really, really great books being published in 2013, but I won’t be including them on this list. Which is as follows:

THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers

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I’m not into zombies. That’s what I first thought when I read the premise of Courtney Summers’ newest book. I mean, I knew I’d read it. I’m clearly a huge and vocal fangirl of her books. But would I love it as much as her last three novels? In a word? YES. It’s not a zombie novel. I mean, it is. There are zombies and blood and some deliciously gory scenes. But it’s mostly a really wonderful character study that skeeved me out in all the best ways and made me stop saying I’m not into zombies. It’s nearly impossible for me to choose my favorite Courtney Summers novel, but this one is definitely in the running.

LEVERAGE by Joshua C. Cohen

leverage

I like books about really tough situations. The more depressing the topic, typically the more interested I am in the book. LEVERAGE is the most honest book I’ve ever read about bullying. It goes where you think it might go and then further than that. Rock bottom. It’s also a sports book and I’m not into sports, but there are some beautifully crafted descriptions of football plays and gymnastics moves that even I appreciated. I really admire books that remind me to be an honest writer, no matter how difficult the subject, and LEVERAGE is at the top of that list for me.

LOVE & LEFTOVERS by Sarah Tregay

love and leftovers

I’m a sucker for a good verse novel, and this is one of my favorites. I love Tregay’s writing and though the book was shorter due to its format, I felt as if I’d read a prose novel when I’d finished. So much depth conveyed in so few words, and the story felt very authentic. It’s one of those books I can’t really explain in detail why I like so much and generally tell people, “Just read it!” I found it really inspiring and it will likely go in my very small pile of books that I reread once a year or so.

HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr

how to save a life

I mean, it’s Sara Zarr. That should say enough. But really, I didn’t expect the connection that I had to this book. It was the same feeling I had with her book SWEETHEARTS. Her characters are always incredibly real but these are achingly so. I really felt for them. So many emotions for my stone-cold heart. [Also: I know I said I wouldn’t put 2013 books on this list, but I got an early read of THE LUCY VARIATIONS, Sara Zarr’s next book, due out in May 2013, and it is fantastic.]

BLANKETS by Craig Thompson

Okay, this book was published almost a decade ago, but let’s just pretend you all recently discovered it like I did. I read quite a few graphic novels this year and this was the most surprising. I was heartbroken by the sixth page (and this is a memoir, which made some of the scenes even more upsetting), but the story was also funny at times and beautifully told through all 592 pages.

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What are your favorite books of the year? Or feel free to link to a post you’ve made in the comments section!

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