Friday, June 4, 2010

First line Friday: Round 3

Here's another round of first lines for you (I know, I know, you're probably getting sick of them. But humor me once more, please):

I felt like I was trapped in one of those terrifying nightmares, the one where you have to run, run till your lungs burst, but you can’t make your body move fast enough. -- Stephaenie Meyer, New Moon.

I was thirteen when my dad caught me with Tommy Webber in the back of Tommy’s Buick, parked next to the old Chart House down in Montara at eleven o’clock on a Tuesday night. -- Sara Zarr, Story of a Girl.

I taped the commercial back in April, before anything had happened, and promptly forgot about it. -- Sarah Dessen, Just Listen.

On January 1, I made two wishes. -- Lauren Henderson, Kiss Me, Kill Me

There are places where kids like me go. Rachel Ward, NUM8ERS.

So Mom got the postcard today. -- Rebecca Stead, When You Reach Me.

There were only two kinds of people in our town. -- Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Beautiful Creatures.

I have had more than a dozen so-called mothers in my life. -- Ashley Rhodes-Courter, Three Little Words.

Julia was killed on Labor Day on her way home from a party. -- Jennifer R. Hubbard, The Secret Year.

One more rainy season and our roof will be gone, says Ama. -- Patricia McCormick, Sold.

Later, I would think of it as crossing over. -- Joyce Carol Oates, Freaky Green Eyes.

When I look into a mirror, it is her face I see. -- Ellen Hopkins, Identical.

Some of these work for me, and some of them don't. An blah-looking first line won't keep me from buying a book if I'm excited about the storyline, but if I'm only so-so, the writing in the first paragraph has a huge effect on me. What about you?

Friday, May 28, 2010

First line Friday: Round 2

How important are first lines? For me, very. Often times, they set the mood for the entire story. Here are a few that I enjoy:

- Once you’ve been taken, you usually have twenty-four hours left to live. Edward Bloor, Taken.

- They promised me nine years of safety but only gave me three. Laura Wiess, Such a Pretty Girl.

- Blood fills my mouth. Bree Despain, The Dark Divine.

- It is the counting that saves him. Lisa Mangum, The Hourglass Door.

- Sirens and lights welcomed me back to the suburbs of Chicago. Stephanie Kuehnert, Ballands of Suburbia.

- Life was good before I met the monster. Ellen Hopkins, Crank.

- On Sorry Night, just a few days before Christmas, you have to snuff the lamps, douse the flames in the fireplace, and spend the night in the cold and dark. Simon Holt, The Devouring.

- The day I killed my brother’s girlfriend started with me handpicking leaves off our front lawn. E.R. Frank, Wrecked.

- I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves. Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver.

- He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air. James Dashner, The Maze Runner.

- Gray slats of light slipped between the bars, only to be swallowed by blackness. Heidi Ayarbe, Freeze Frame.

- When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games.

- Kaye took another drag on her cigarette and dropped it into her mother’s beer bottle. Holly Black, Tithe, a Modern Faerie Tale.

- The white boy, the skinny, tall boy with shocking white hair sneaks behind the stone bench and leans against the tree trunk. Julie Anne Peters, By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead.

- I am sitting at a desk in the middle of a hallway, and all of the lights are off. Julie Halpern, Get Well Soon.

- The day begins in the middle of the night. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

- I was born with water on the brain. Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

So, what do you think: too tense, not tense enough, exciting, boring, totally brand new, been-there-done-that? Do any of these make you curious enough to read on, or would you move on to the next book on the shelf?

Monday, May 24, 2010

YA: the newest celebrity trend

Move over, UGGs, little dogs in big purses, and reality TV shows. The newest celebrity hotness? Pen your own YA series!

I have to say, I was pretty upset when I saw Lauren Conrad's books on the shelves, but I thought: Well, okay ... She's basically famous because her parents are rich and MTV decided to film a show about rich people's kids, and, well, at least the book is about rich kids who get filmed and are famous because TV made them that way. It's basically the Hills in book form. (And since I was still watching the Hills at that point, I couldn't be all hypocritical and complain about it.)

But then Hilary Duff got bored with acting and singing and being ridiculously skinny and decided to give it a go, too. And I thought: Okay, okay ... this is pretty scary, but at least she's almost a teen, and she's kind of a globe-trotter, like her character, so maybe it won't be so bad ... right?

But then I saw the latest: Tyra Banks, queen of the smize, has jumped on the bandwagon, too, with a forthcoming 3-book series about models at an academy for pretty people with Harry Potter-like abilities. As for this one ... well, I don't even know what to say. Because Tyra? She may know a lot about modeling, but the girl's downright, batshit crazy.

I think it's time for celebrities to move on to a new craze, before Paris Hilton decides she needs to write a YA series and, in turn, brings about the apocalypse ...

Friday, May 21, 2010

First line Friday: Round 1

The Blood-Red Pencil did a post recently about infusing first lines with conflict, and it really made me think. Not only about my own WIPs, but also about books that I pick up off the shelf.

Fair or not, I typically make my decision on what I'm going to buy based on the following: (1) word-of-mouth and/or recommendations from people I trust, (2) book covers that catch my eye, (3) an exciting book jacket synopsis, and (4) the writing in the first few sentences.

So I went on a field trip to my library (a.k.a. the little hearth room at the front of my house), pulled down book after book, and wrote down the first line of most of them. I ended up with quite a few, so I think I'll split them up over a few posts.

Here's the first round:

When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he’d caused it. -- Ingrid Law, Savvy.

Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker. -- P.C. Cast and Kristin Case, Marked (a House of Night novel).

Everyone’s seen my mother naked. -- Elizabeth Scott, Something, Maybe.

Mother spent $700 on a treadmill “from Santa” that I will never use. -- Suzanne Supplee, Artichoke’s Heart.

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. -- Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go.

A piece of advice from me to me: better brace yourself, loser. -- Sonya Sones, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know.

On a Saturday morning in November, Alex finds himself alone for the weekend, so he decides to break a few rules. -- Martin Wilson, What They Always Tell Us.

So what do you think? How do these first lines make you feel? Did you laugh, squint your nose, roll your eyes? Did you want to read on, or were you so bored you nodded off? What's your take on how important (or not) adding conflict in first lines really is?

Monday, May 17, 2010

To prologue or not to prologue?

That's my question of the day.

Almost all the "How To" blogs I've seen say prologues are a no-go, that they're just a backstory/info dump, that whatever you need to say can and should be said in the first chapter. In fact, many industry-types think the real start of your story is somewhere around what you currently call chapter 3-4.

But if prologues are dead, and agents/editors/publishers truly don't want to see them, then why do so many recent YA books (and some very popular, mind you) still have them?

Here are a few examples (sorry, I'm too lazy to include the links):
Becca Fitzpatrick--Hush, Hush
Bree Despain--The Dark Divine
Lauren Oliver--Before I Fall
Rachel Hawkins--Hex Hall
Simon Holt--The Devouring
Sara Zarr--Story of a Girl
E.R. Frank--Wrecked
Lisa Mangum--The Hourglass Door
Stephanie Kuehnert--Ballads of Suburbia
And, of course, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn ... all by some girl no one's ever heard of.

I admit, I have a soft spot for prologues. Always have. But do they add to the story, or are they just a cheap plot device for a story that falls flat in chapter 1?

My personal opinion? Sometimes prologues work, sometimes they don't (immensely helpful, I know). But as for me, I think I'm going to take the advise of someone whose opinion really matters: my 15-year-old cousin-in-law, Jenna (who reads like a crazy person and is way too pretty for her own good).

When I loaned Jenna Hush, Hush (which she loved), I asked her if she thought the prologue was a little weird. She said, "Oh, I don't read prologues. I just skip over them and start with the first chapter. I figure if it's that important or if I get confused or whatever, I can come back to it later."

I don't know about you guys, but that's all the information I need.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Truthful Tuesday (or, the post where I shamelessly objectify pretty boys).

I know it's unhealthy. I know I should know better. (I'm not a kid anymore, right?) But I can't help it. Bad boys, they still get me.

It may have something to do with the fact that they look like this:

And like this:

And (OMG) like this:


(Sorry ... Damon was just telling me how I want to get lost in his eyes. Must be that creepy, vampire trance thing...)

Even when they're sweaty:

And all dirty:

Or maybe it's because they clean up so nicely:

Or because they pack heat underneath those football jerseys:

(If you haven't seen Taylor in The Covenant, go do it. Now. Trust me: you'll forgive him the Speedo.)

And inside those tattered jackets:

Or maybe it's because they drive girls crazy with their confidence:

Or because they drive these:

Or it may be because they fight against the demons living inside of them:

So they can be good enough for the girl who makes them crazy:

Even if she's sort of bland and doesn't seem to deserve all the fuss:

(Yeah, I know. These 2 are about as bad ass as a flea, but the abs deserved to be included. And he's 18 now, so it's totally cool. Right?)

Or it may be because they make for really hot love triangles:

Or maybe it's because, no matter how bad ass and untouchable they seem, they always, always, have a weak spot. And that weak spot? It makes them human:

(Or as close to human as they can be if they're, ya know, a vampire.)

Whatever that little piece of magic is, all I have to say is keep 'em coming. Pretty, pretty please, keep 'em coming.

p.s. If this isn't a good example of why it's important to show, not tell, I don't know what is! :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The English language has stumped me. Please help!

I admit: I'm one of those people. The ones who spot errors in books and pretend to be all annoyed but get this sick satisfaction with finding imperfection. The ones who get unreasonably annoyed when people use the wrong their/they're/their or its/it's or you're/your. The ones who find it way easier to edit for grammar than for content. The ones who delete blog comments b/c of one, tiny typo.

(For everyone who thinks I'm crazy, I'm not alone. Just check this post for more about white people and their grammar issues.)

But, much to my dismay, I still don't know it all. Like, for instance, I sometimes hesitate when spelling grammar. A part of me thinks it should be grammer instead. (I won't even get into how long it took for me to accept that there is no "a" in definite.) And when I'm writing and I can't remember whether to use lay or lie or sit or set, I just pick another word.

And now, when I don't know whether to italicize the punctuation directly after a word that is also italicized.

Normally when I'm stumped, I can Google the answer, but I don't even know where to start with this one. So I'm putting this to a vote. Which one of the 2 choices below do you think is right?

(a) "What were you thinking?"
(b) "What were you thinking?"

(In case it's not clear, I'm asking whether I italicize the question mark.)

Thanks, peeps!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

If it walks, talks, and acts like a duck ... is it?

My current WIP is actually an older WIP that I'm trying to convert from women's fiction to YA. Voice-wise, it's always belonged in YA. And I'm totally loving the changes.

But here's the deal: I have 2 sisters as narrators. Originally, they were 22 and 25. Now, they're 17-18 and 20-21.

It feels like YA. It sounds like YA. It walks, talks, and acts like YA. But, well, can it really be YA when only one of my 2 protagonists is a teen?

What do you think? Be honest. I'd rather not look like an asshat when I query the thing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear YA cult: we have a new convert.

I've been trying to get my little sis to read YA for, well, ever now. She would read the occasional one (mostly out of necessity when she was staying at my house), but she always went back to the adult ones.

And then finally, this week she calls me and says, "So ... All I want to read lately are kids' books. I've been looking through Amazon, and it keeps showing me all these other books I might like, and when an adult one comes up, I'm like, 'Ehhh ... I don't care about your lame adult problems.' I want to read about teenagers, damn it."

My evil plan for total YA domination has taken root. Now, I'm off to convince my husband that there are other great kids' books in the world besides Harry Potter ...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Words of wisdom from the Query Shark

Posted Saturday, on #156:

Really good novels don't have everything on the page. Really good novels are like spiderwebs: the filaments, words, are important but the space they create, the unspoken, is what makes it beautiful.

You must trust your readers to make intuitive jumps with you and to know some of why things happen. They'll be able to do this easily if you write it by SHOWING, not telling.

Beautifully wonderful advice I thought I'd share, in case any of you don't follow the Query Shark blog. Which you absolutely should. So get over there. Now. You can thank me later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why spell check just isn't enough.

In case you needed another reason to edit, edit, and edit some more, here's one from my Publisher's Lunch email:

"As for the strangest and most embarrassing international news story, Penguin Australia reprinted 7,000 copies of the PASTA BIBLE due to a horrible typo. A recipe mistakenly called for 'salt and freshly ground black people' instead of 'pepper.'"


Monday, April 19, 2010

Pretty Pink Ribbons

They're soft. They're girly. They wrap things up all clean and pretty. Sometimes, that can be nice, preferable, even. And other times, well ... Other times I just want to shred the pretty pink satin to slivers.

Clearly, I'm not talking about actual ribbons here. I've gotten nothing against the frilly things. But when it comes to books and movies and television shows, I could stand a few less of them.

Or, if you're set on pink ribbons (hey, they definitely have their places), at least slice them up, let them fray at the edges. Because happily-ever-after perfection can get a little tired, a little cliche. Plus, it's not that realistic.

Yes, I read for a release, for an escape from the real world. And yes, I know it's fiction. But I'd still like to be grounded somewhere on this planet. I'd still like to feel, "Hey, I know these characters. And I believe what they're going through, because this is something that would happen in the real world."

What about you? Do you like your ribbons new, sliced, or completely absent?

Monday, April 12, 2010

If I Stay: A book that broke my heart, in the best possible way.

I love YA. I do. But it's been a long time since a book really got to me--made me stop and think or laugh and cry, made me feel something, long after I read the final pages. A couple of YA books have come close, but something didn't completely click. For whatever reason, I wasn't as sucked in as I wanted to be.

But then this weekend, I took the very good advice of Jodi Meadows and finally read a book that's been in my TBR pile for months: If I Stay, by Gayle Forman.

And can I just say ... Wow.

I don't know what took me so long to read it, but I'm glad I finally did. It's written in first person present tense, but it was so well done, I didn't even notice. By page 14, I was so devastated I wanted to put it down, or throw it against the wall, or something. But I couldn't. Because I couldn't stop reading long enough to do any of those things.

I can be a bit of a baby, I'll admit, but I haven't cried over a book since ... geez, maybe back in Nicholas Sparks' better days. But If I Stay didn't just make me cry over the characters; it made me think--about love, family, music, and loss. And while I was thinking, I bawled like a little girl.

It reminded me that those books, the ones that are powerful enough to stop and start your heart, they're still out there.

If you haven't read it yet, you should.

That is all.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Endings, Shmendings ...

Sorry for disappearing for a million years. I've been working and reading and working and working and reading some more. The working part is boring. Let's talk about the reading instead.

I just finished Before I Fall, a new YA novel by Lauren Oliver.

First thing's first: this book is huge. Like, size-of-my-head, beat-yo-mama huge. Second thing's second: I devoured every single page of it, racing through the story like my life depended on it.

This book had things I loved (vivid descriptions, metaphors that made you stop and think, a fun love interest, a great premise, voice), things I didn't love (repetition I'm not certain was intentional, somewhat cliched mean girls, issues that felt important but weren't fully addressed), and then one other thing.

The ending.

Some people will love it, some will hate it, and others will love to hate it. As for me? I wanted to love it, or to love to hate it, or even just to like it.

But I didn't. Not even kind of. In fact, it pissed me off so much--gave me this "Wait ... What the marshmallows?!?!?" moment--that I wanted to throw it against a wall. (I didn't, of course. It's a big book; could cause serious damage to the plaster.) I wanted to scream, "No! This is wrong, wrong, wrong! One more day, please!" I waited a few days before posting this, b/c I thought maybe the last 2-3 pages would grow on me. They still haven't. I can't explain it any more thoroughly without giving something away, so I'll just say Lauren's choice (or Samantha's choices, technically) didn't sit right with me.

All that said, Lauren Oliver has taken an intriguing premise and created a movie-worthy story with it. She has demonstrated that interesting characters aren't perfect, that even narrators don't have to be likable so long as the author is skilled enough to pull them off (which Lauren totally is). And I would ABSOLUTELY recommend you pick this book up. Despite its flaws, Before I Fall stands out in an increasingly popular genre.

This very well-written book reinforced what I already suspected: endings are tough stuff. No matter what you do, not everyone's gonna love it.

So let me know: have any of you read Before I Fall? (If you haven't, you should. Now.) What did you think of it? And what about that ending?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Query + First 10 Pages--last chance to enter!

Okay, so this is ridiculously last minute of me, but if you haven't entered Weronika's contest, hurry up and do so! You've still got about (okay, a little less than) an hour. Here are the rules, pulled from Weronika's site:

The contest will be open over two intervals: TUESDAY, MARCH 2ND, FROM 7AM EST - 9AM EST and 6PM EST - 8PM EST. Emails outside of these intervals will be deleted unread.
Email all queries and pages EMBEDDED IN THE EMAIL to weronika (dot) janczuk (at) gmail (dot) com.
Put the word QUERY in the subject line.
Do not submit from an email address that requires any confirmation, etc.
You're welcome to submit with an unfinished manuscript. If I offer to forward your query, I'll just have to wait until the book is done!
All critiques will be sent by Sunday, March 7th, 9pm EST.

AWESOME, right? So get your butts over there now!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's get to the point.

Here's my Tuesday truth, a day late and a few dollars short: I'm halfway into my rough draft, and I haven't made any progress.

Okay, so that's not exactly true. I did revamp my plot, fine-tune my conflict, kill off a few darlings (sorry, my dears!), come up with a pretty wicked outline (thanks to the ladies over at Plot This and an amazingly helpful plotting device), and draft a preliminary query and synopsis (jumping the gun, I know, but it helps me focus).

But now that I've done all of the above, I realize the first third of my book is backstory. Which is precisely why I'm stuck, why I've been staring at a Word document for the past 2 weeks without making any progress.

I love my characters. I love their story. But no one else will if I can't shut the hell up and say what I mean, already.

So I'm starting from scratch. Except, I like to think of it as cooking brownies from a box: I have all the dry ingredients. Now I just have to thicken them up, blend them together, and make them sweat.

Or something like that.

What about you?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Have you ever gotten the bug?

You know the one. It's the Shiny New Idea sickness. When it strikes, you have to drop everything you're doing because this idea? It's OMG The Next Big Thing and no one has EVER done anything so cool before and it will make you famous it's just that good ... except it isn't. And discovering that? Well, it sucks something hard.

Jim Benton said it best, I think. Here are his wise words, reported by the SCBWI blog team (and I'm still super jealous that I missed out on this conference ...):

Jim talks about the rush of getting a new GREAT idea that you drop all other projects for to work on RIGHT NOW. And then... once you've worked on it a bit you realize it is AWFUL. Don't be paralyzed by your stupid ideas, you won't know they're stupid at first, just let all ideas in and eventually the good ones will make themselves known.

Genius, isn't it?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Damn you, Elizabeth Scott!

Have you ever read a book and thought, "Wow ... Now that was the epitome of teen voice. I mean, damn ... Why do I even bother when I have to compete with this level of awesome??"

It's a strange feeling, to be so in love with the voice of a book that you immerse yourself in it, live it eat it breathe it need it love it. I've had this feeling before, for instance, when I read LHA's Wintergirls. But there was something about Elizabeth Scott's Love You, Hate You, Miss You that grabbed hold of me and punched me in the gut.

The story was simple. Not a whole lot going on: girl's friend dies; girl goes to treatment center to get better; girl deals with the aftermath and finding her way in a world without the only thing in it that ever made sense to her. But what made this book for me was Amy's voice--how she spoke, how she acted, how she felt, her nonverbal cues ... It was all very real, authentic, raw, honest. Very teen, without all the "ya knows" and "likes."

If you haven't read it yet, you should. (Plus, it's so cheap on Amazon right now that it'd be crazy to pass it up!)

Now. I'm off to kidnap Elizabeth Scott, tire her up, and make her tell me her secrets.

(Elizabeth: If you've somehow stumbled upon this post, please know I mean you no harm. I'll feed you lots and make sure you watch all your favorite shows. Plus, I have tons of board games--Scrabble, Boggle, Clue, Monopoly ... If you're into that sort of thing. And of course I'll give you a pen and some paper, b/c the world would be a less lovely place if you stopped spreading your words with everyone. See? Told ya. Not bad for being kidnapped.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

142 pages is my limit.

So there's this book. It's YA, and you've probably heard of it, even if you haven't read it yet. Here are a few of the stats:

1) The cover? Gorgeous. It's why I had to learn more about the story.

2) The description? Fun, spooky history + love story + first in trilogy + mystery = trip to my local Borders to pick it up, pronto.

3) The story itself? ... And here's where things get a little ugly.

-- At about 40 pages in, I set the book down for a couple of weeks, because it wasn't that interesting yet. But no way was I giving up on such a big, fat, beautiful book that easily.

-- At 92 pages, I set it down again, because, well ... still not that interesting. Where was the story? What was the point to all the "I did this today and this the next day" Bella antics? Surely it was building up to something, but what? And when? How much longer would I have to wait? The 40-or-so other books in my TBR pile(s) were calling to me--and the call was strong--but dammit, I was seeing this one through.

-- At 122 pages, I stopped again, and decided to read some reviews. Some people loved it, but many reviewers said the same thing I was worried about: There was no story, at least not until the last 20 pages or so. Of a 400+ page book.

-- I decided to give it one more shot. And then, at 142 pages, I closed the book, marveled over its dark, spooky cover one more time, and did something that broke my heart: I threw in the towel.

This reading experience really gave me a new perspective when I opened up my own WIP. It made me think, "Am I into the meat of the story yet, or am I diddly daddly'ing around because I love my characters and their world too much to let them go?" This is something I'll address more in the editing phase, but it's also helped me to pick up my first-draft-writing pace as well.


(Most) readers are not impatient people. We love books. We love falling into world after world after world. And we will stick with you through 700+ pages if that's how long it takes to tell your story. (If you don't believe me, just ask Steph Meyer.) But, you must give us a reason first. Mundane, day-to-day activities, at least in my humblest opinion, does not a reason make ... even if you throw us a bone and introduce us to The Love Interest. It is not necessary that you plunge us headfirst into scenes with blood, guts, and drama (in fact, that can be a little overwhelming when we have no concept of who these people are yet), but you must give us something to hang on to, something to make us care. And don't wait until Book 2 of the series to bring it. We don't have Book 2 in our hands yet. And, if we can't connect with Book 1, we probably never will.

With muchest love,


Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Madness (a.k.a. random awesomeness for writers)

First off, Steph Bowe over at Hey! Teenager of the Year is hosting an amazing contest. Steph is giving away 5 (or maybe more) first page critiques to aspiring writers. So get your butts over there and sign up, if you haven't already! (For those of you who don't know her, Steph is a 15-year-old YA novelist with her debut novel coming out in 2010. So she's not only someone I'm totally jealous of; she's also my target audience!)

Now, on to random nuggets of wisdom that I saved in a draft ages ago and forgot to share with you all. Perhaps it'll be a nice refresher.

1) Janet Reid, wise as ever, tells everyone here how to get no more rejections, EVER. Seriously, never ever ever get rejected again. The solution is simple as store bought chicken pot pie: All you have to do is stop writing. That's it. Presto. Doesn't sound appealing, does it? Then do what Janet suggests, and learn to take the good with the bad. Rejections aren't fun, but they're part of being a writer. So we can (a) suck it up, or (b) quit writing. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm putting on my big girl pants and sticking with (a). (Janet really has a way with words, so definitely check out her post, if you haven't already.)

2) Have you ever wondered whether you've committed some fatal error in your WIP that will make teens stop reading? If so, then go here. As I mentioned above, Steph Bowe knows teens well. She doesn't just write for them, she is one of them. Which makes her an amazing resource. Her list of what makes her stop reading a YA book is very thorough and a great resource for anyone coming up on an editing phase of a WIP.

3) Awhile back, Lauren (over at Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf) had an amazing guest post from author L.M. Preston. The subject? Whether teens can really fall in love. The answer? Love isn't reserved for old farts like me. Teens feel it, too, with an intensity that will probably keep me reading YA until my eyes fall out. Not only is teen love real, but if it could be bottled, Preston would call it "Love Potion #9." (Dangerous idea, bottling teen love. It could send the world into a frenzy.)

Wishing you all a Monday full of madness, but only the good kind.

Monday, January 4, 2010

In my wrapping paper (and in other places)

My husband reeked of awesomeness this Christmas. Don't believe me? Here's what he got me (granted, I gave him a wishlist with all of the books in it, but still!):

Willow by Julia Hoban
The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
Need by Carrie Jones
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
Secrets, Lies, and My Sister Kate by Belinda Hollyer
David Inside Out by Lee Bantle
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer
The Devouring by Simon Holt
Cracked up to Be by Courtney Summers
Wake by Lisa McMann
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Okay, so I bought this one for him, but my reasons were at least half selfish, so I'm adding it to the list.)

And then, when my mother-in-law asked what she should get me, he told her about these:
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

AND ... if that wasn't enough, I ordered a few from Amazon (I know, I know, I definitely already had enough, but I realllly wanted Beautiful Creatures, and it was half off at Amazon at the time. Half. Off! I couldn't resist. Of course, I couldn't just get that one, because I needed to qualify for free super saver shipping. You understand. Right?):

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Midnight Twins by Jacquelyn Mitchard
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

And, pre-Christmas, I bought a few from Borders (their coupons always get me!):
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (got tired of waiting and waiting for the paperback and finally decided to bite the bullet)
The Everafter by Amy Huntley
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (may be the coolest title ever, and the first page is hilarious)
Paper Towns by John Green
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

ANDDDD ... if all that wasn't good enough, I won a signed copy of:
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga

And that's about it! Well okay, not really. Not even close, actually. In truth, I have several more on my bookshelf upstairs that I haven't had the chance to read yet, but if I add those, I'll just look like some book buying crazy that needs an intervention.

I must warn you all: if you come to my house and try to take my books away and say that you're doing it because you love me, expect retaliation.

Happy New Years to all!