Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking Forward to "Forever"

Happy Holidays, Readers!

I hope that you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season thus far.  Today I present you with a late Christmas and Hanukah present (or early New Year’s present, depending on how you want to think of it) … a sneak peek at Melissa Kantor’s newest book, “The Darlings Are Forever.”

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of “The Darlings Are Forever” (thank you Stephanie!) and when I, in turn, lent it to another awesome TBF planning committee member, I described it to her as “reminiscent of ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.’”  There are no traveling pants.  In fact, there are no traveling items of any sort, but that idea of growing up, and more importantly, growing up with great friends, is omnipresent in “Darlings.” 

Jane, Victoria, and Natalya have been friends for years.  As the novel opens, the girls are optimistic about their upcoming freshmen year – even though they’ll be at different schools for the first time.  The year, though, is not without its challenges.  Jane is crushing on her (much) older drama director.  Victoria is struggling with life in the public eye as her father’s political campaign takes off.  Natalya is making friends with the coolest girls at her new school – but unsure of whether it’s really her that they like.

“The Darlings Are Forever” is an all-around great book.  It’s about growing up, and change, and first relationships, but most importantly, it’s about friends.  Put “The Darlings Are Forever” at the top of your To Read list – you won’t regret it!

P.S. You can read the first chapter of “The Darlings Are Forever” right here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Get To Know Julie Halpern Soon ... Really Soon ... Now!

Hello Readers!
Finals week is upon me, and so this post will be brief, but wonderful.  Brief, because I should be studying, and wonderful because I have an interview with Julie Halpern to share with you!  So without further ado …

Carly Reads: I read that “Get Well Soon” is based on your own teenage experiences.  Would you say that you’re Anna? Did you base the other characters off people that you knew as a teenager?
Julie Halpern: I think Anna is a combination of high school me, current me, and someone that is not me at all.  Pretty much all of the characters in “Get Well Soon” were based on real people that I met while I was hospitalized.

CR: Have you kept in touch with people that you met while at the hospital? Do they know that you have written this book based on your experience?
JH: I kept in touch with some of them for a little bit of time after I was out, but as you will see in the sequel (which I am writing right now), life is very different being out of a mental hospital than in.  None of the people I was hospitalized with know I wrote a book about them.  I don't think.  I'm afraid they'd be upset, although I fictionalized every one of them.

CR: Are you currently working on any projects (aka new books) that you can tell us about?
JH: So there's the sequel to “Get Well Soon,” which should be out in a couple years, but this May I have a book out called “Don’t Stop Now.”  It's about a pair of frustratingly platonic best friends, Lillian and Josh, who go on a road trip together to find their friend who faked her own kidnapping.

CR: What was your favorite book as a teenager?
JH: I wasn't a huge independent reader of books.  I read mostly comics, like Calvin and Hobbes, or horror ones like Tales from the Crypt.  But I did love Roald Dahl and really got into his short story collections in high school.

CR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Sixth Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
JH: I'm pretty excited to meet all of them!  I'm even trying to read one book by each author before I go.  Since “Runner” is hugely popular at the school library where I work, I'm going to have to say I'm most looking forward to meeting Carl Deuker.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Julie! We can’t wait to meet you at TBF in May!