Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wavering Faith

It is so rare to find a book about religion that avoids preaching, but Melissa Walker’s newest novel "Small Town Sinners" is far from preachy.  “Small Town Sinners” introduces the reader to Lacey Anne Byers, a teenage girl raised by parents firmly rooted in their deep Christian faith in a town where the large fundamentalist church is the cornerstone of society.  Good girl Lacey is the opposite of a rebellious teen – she doesn’t object to her early curfew, she actually enjoys hanging out with her parents, and one of her greatest desires is to play the role of “Abortion Girl” in her church’s annual Hell House.  However, a series of events – a long-lost childhood friend, Ty, moves back to town after being away for several years and Lacey’s best friend’s sister, a girl Lacey always idolized, becomes pregnant – causes Lacey to begin to question her steadfast faith. 

Walker has crafted "Small Town Sinners" in a way that avoids leaning towards either a religious or anti-religious perspective.  “Small Town Sinners” is an intriguing and well-done exploration of faith and what happens when life causes you to question everything you’ve ever believed.  Walker’s latest is a must read, regardless of your belief system. 

(And as a bonus: how awesome is that cover? Love it!)

“Small Town Sinners” will be released on July 19.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A New Page

Hey Readers,

I just put the finishing touches on the newest "page" of Carly Reads.  Scroll down and look on the right-hand toolbar for the square that says "The Authors."  Click on the square and it will take you to a page that shows you how you connect with the TBF 2012 authors online through their personal websites, blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds.  There are also short author bios and pictures.  Check it out and let me know what you think! As authors are confirmed for TBF 2012, I'll add them to the page, so keep checking back for the latest.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TBF 2011 Blog Recaps

Hi Readers!

I’m back!  And in the time that I’ve been gone, I’ve been collecting blog posts that other bloggers have written about TBF 2011.  So, if you don’t yet have your TBF 2011 fill (and, really, who’s had their fill yet?), check out these posts!

Author A.S. King blogs about TBF here.

Author Julie Halpern blogged about TBF in five parts.  Check them out here:

Maya blogged about TBF on her blog Not on Shelf.

Jen blogged about TBF on Girls Just Reading.

And Jordan, who was a guest blogger a few months ago, blogged about TBF on her blog Sleep.Eat.Read.

So readers, while I get ready to start blogging about TBF 2012, reflect back on TBF 2011.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Looking Back at TBF 2011

Hey Readers!

TBF 2011 is over and it was awesome, wasn't it?  Here's my photo recap of the weekend ...

On Friday night, there was the annual author dinner.  This year's dinner took place at Artisan Works on Blossom Rd. in the city.  Here's James Barry and Kathleen Duey outside of Artisan Works with a giant red gorilla. (Which, trust me, was not even the coolest piece of art there.)

Artisan Works is INCREDIBLE. There is art on every surface, including the ceiling.  This picture gives you a glance at what the entire warehouse is like.

Charles R. Smith, Jr., Terry Trueman, Torrey Maldonado, and Carl Deuker got to know each other better at Friday night's author dinner.

Author Torrey Maldonado took on committee member Olivia in Scrabble after dinner at Artisan Works.  Torrey won, but there was a rematch the next night ... Olivia won that game.

As many (if not all) of you know, Stephanie dyed her hair pink and orange because teens raised more than $6,666 for TBF 2011.  To which we say, TBF Runs on Dunkin?

Just like last year, the Eastridge High School Marching Band led the authors onto campus for their red carpet entrance. 

The authors arrived in style in a vintage restored bus and classic cars.

Heather Brewer was psyched to arrive at TBF 2011.

After breakfast on the day of the festival, the authors took pictures with the mascots from the Monroe County Library System's upcoming Summer Reading Program.  Jackie Morse Kessler, A.S. King, and Heather Brewer pose with three of the mascots.

Charles Benoit poses with the Red Reader - the Fairport Library's Summer Reading Program mascot.

Terry Trueman.  No further caption needed.

As teens waited for the Opening Panel to start, they shopped for books at the Barnes & Noble book sale tables. 

The Mercy High School Show Choir also provided pre-Opening Panel entertainment.

Terry Trueman crowned Stephanie "Queen of TBF" as James Barry and the other authors (not shown) bowed down to her.  

Terry Trueman and Carl Deuker combined resources for a packed third breakout session that filled the hallway with TBF fans.

The line for an autograph from Ellen Hopkins was out the door of the gym, but fans waited patiently for the chance to meet Ellen in person. 

Eric Luper signed autographs for adoring teen fans.

Melissa Kantor, like the other TBF 2011 authors, signed books, t-shirts, tote bags, and autograph books for TBF attendees.

The gym was packed for the autographing session at the end of the day.

So readers, it was an amazing day.  I'm so sad that it's over, but there's good news: only 367 days until TBF 2012.

Better Late Than Never!

Hey Readers!

Well, this post was supposed to go up on Friday night, but unfortunately, Blogger decided to go down for DAYS and I’ve been unable to post until very recently.  So, please accept my apologies for the delay and enjoy reading my interview with Garret Freymann-Weyr.

Carly Reads: You say on the homepage of your personal website that you do not fully understand Y.A. and that it’s your perception that the majority of your readers are women in their twenties or gay men.  However, your books feature teenage characters and I see “After the Moment” and “My Heartbeat” (the two books of yours that I’ve read) as containing messages and characters that have the power to make an impact on many young adults. Therefore, I’m curious: do you write your books with teenagers in mind?  And do you believe that teenagers can benefit from reading your books?  If not, for whom do you write your books?
GFW: I write my books with a character or an image or a vague idea in mind.  I suppose I write because I love to and because I am curious.  For example, in “My Heartbeat” I was curious to know what it was like to be the younger sister of a boy that you loved but didn’t know.   I wrote “After The Moment” because I knew so many women who had been terrified that after 9/11 a draft would be put in place.  It wasn’t, but I was curious to know what it felt like to be a boy in this country who didn’t go to war. 

I NEVER think of my audience.  That would be paralyzing.  I would also, as it happens, despise myself (or any writer) who set out to write a novel with a message.  I have no idea if teenagers can benefit from reading my books.  I think everyone benefits from reading, but novels are not therapy.  Neither are they instruction manuals.  They are, amongst other things, a passport to your imagination.  They are pure pleasure and to treat a book as a message delivery system is, I think, a crime.   

Carly Reads: “After the Moment” is told from the point of view of a teenage boy who’s trying to find his way in the world and trying to discover what it takes to grow into good man. Were there unique challenges that arose when it came to writing a book from a boy’s point of view? If so, what were these challenges?
GFW: I wanted to be respectful of what I didn’t know.  And even though I write about young women whose lives and personalities are foreign to my own, a shared gender gives you the illusion of commonality.   So there’s a certain comfort level when approaching a female character that was missing when I began spending time with Leigh.  I know a lot of smart, interesting and thoughtful men, but you don’t see them very often in YA novels.  Instead, you see geniuses or video-playing lunkheads. 
 I wanted to explore what it was like to be a young man, thoughtful, and battling one’s own surging hormones.  I’m not a huge fan of Caitlin Flanagan but she makes a good point in her article Love, Actually (published in The Atlantic in June. 2010 and available here).

“The wishes of girls, you have to remember, have always been among the most powerful motivators in the lives of young men. They still are.” 

Leigh really wants to meet Maia’s wishes and as he struggles with his inability to do so, he becomes both more and less of himself.  My challenge was to capture that struggle in a way that wove itself into the story.    

Carly Reads: Your first picture book will be released in December 2011.  What was it that inspired to you to venture into the picture book world? How did writing a picture book differ from writing a novel?
GFW: They are actually going to market this as a middle grade book.  I’m not sure what that means.   Maybe that the readers should be 8-12?   Not sure.  Anyway, I just wanted to tell the story about two ducks who learn that sometimes happiness contains some sorrow.   It happened that their story fit into one that went well with pictures.  

Carly Reads: What five books are on your list of “Books I Couldn’t Live Without”?
GFW: “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, “Mary Poppins” by P.L. Travers, “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton, “A Room With A View” (actually, I would take “Maurice” or “Howards End” if need be), “Rumors of Peace” by Ella Leffland

Carly Reads: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Sixth Annual TBF?
GFW: Everyone and anyone!

Thanks so much for your thoughtful answers, Garret.  It was such a pleasure meeting you this weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yup, Another Makeover

Ummmmm ... Hi Readers!

Can you tell that I'm one of those people that moves around the furniture in their bedroom on a monthly basis? Yup, this blog has undergone a makeover - AGAIN! I felt like the last one was really girly (was it guys?), and I was ready for a change, so I went in a completely different direction.  Thoughts?  It's not completely finished yet (older posts still have the "old" signature), but the basic structure is in place.  

I hope you all love it as much as I do!

Two Days and Jon Skovron!

Guess what, readers?

2 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes.  I’m way too exhausted to write any more of an intro, so let me say only this: enjoy this interview with Jon Skovron!

Carly Reads: Music was such a huge part of “Struts & Frets.”  I imagine that music must be a huge part of your life, as well.   What role does music play in your own life and how did this influence your decision to make music such a huge part of Sammy’s life?
Jon Skovron: Music has always been a huge part of my life. My grandfather played piano and one of my earliest memories is of me sitting next to him on the piano bench watching him play some old Billie Holiday song. At his urging, I started to play trumpet in 4th grade, and moved to guitar in middle school. I was in a bunch of bands in high school, and it's those experiences that I drew heavily from when writing “Struts & Frets.” I still play guitar, although not nearly as often as I would like. Mostly I'm just a big music fan now and probably spend way too much money buying albums. But sometimes I miss that part of my life. The camaraderie of a band, getting loud and crazy on stage in front of a bunch of people. I suppose writing “Struts & Frets” allowed me to reconnect to that missing part for a little while. From the very first line I wrote, that book was always about Sammy's passion for music.

CR: This line appears in the description of “Misfit,” your newest novel due out in August 2011, on your website: “Steeped in mythology, this is an epic tale of a heroine who balances old world with new, science with magic, and the terrifying depths of the underworld with the ordinary halls of high school.”  I just completed a course in mythology this semester so I’m interested in knowing, what kind of research, with regards to mythology, did you do in order to write “Misfit?”
JS: I'll be honest, I am OBSESSED with mythology. And not just the Greco-Roman stuff (although that's cool, too). There's a lot of different kinds of mythology from all over the world that appears in “Misfit.” From Haiti, West Africa, India, the Middle East, the British Isles. And then there are the cultural permeations that spring up around modern religions. The Catholic Church has a ton of this strange, unofficial mythology. Things my Polish grandmother used to tell me when I was growing up that I later found out were probably more based on local Polish folklore than any sort of sanctioned Catholic theology. My favorite thing is how all these crazy stories from all these different places overlap, interconnect, and compliment each other.

As far as research goes, I feel it's really important to get your hands on the source material whenever possible. Rather than reading a book that analyzes the Old Testament, read it yourself and draw your own conclusions. In some cases, there is no official source material. For example Haitian Voudou. So then the best thing to do is to talk to people who are a part of its oral tradition, and read as many different perspectives on it as possible. For the parts that feature Voudou, I spoke with several Haitians, both practicing and not, read “Go Tell My Horse” by Zora Neale Hurston, “Serpent and the Rainbow” by Wade Davis, and “American Voudou: Journey into a Hidden World” by Rod Davis, and probably a few others I've forgotten.

CR: You say that you write books for “teens and the troubled at heart.” Did you always know that you wanted to write for this audience?
JS: Um, no. I kinda stumbled around for a long time. In high school, I was going to be a rock star. In college was I was going to be an actor. Then after I graduated, I actually wrote a couple of adult books that never got published. I was really struggling, full of doubt, wondering what I should do next, when my agent suggested I look at Young Adult. This was back in 2005 when YA was just starting to take off. I picked up “Valiant” by Holly Black and “Elsewhere” by Gabrielle Zevin, and I knew I'd found my place.

CR: What was the last book that you read for pleasure?
JS: “The Lover's Dictionary” by David Levithan. This book is a magnificent, poignant snapshot of modern love written in the form of dictionary entries. At times hilarious, at times heartbreaking, it is a perfect distillation of everything I love about David's writing. To get a sense of it, check out the twitter feed at

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these interview questions, Jon!  Readers (and Jon!), I also LOVED “The Lover’s Dictionary” and David Levithan is a TBF alum, so be sure to stop by your local library or bookseller to pick up Jon’s book and “The Lover’s Dictionary”!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Super Post #3: Elizabeth Scott and the end of Would You Rather

Hey Readers!

Super post number three and TBF is only # days away!  Woo hoo!  Let’s start off with an author interview … my interview with Elizabeth Scott.

CR: You are most certainly a prolific YA author, tell me a little bit more about your books.
ES: It's so funny because when people say I'm prolific, I'm really not. What happened is that I wrote three young adult novels before I thought I'd give finding an agent a try (and that was, quite honestly, so my friends would stop bugging me about it!).

So, I signed with my first agent in 2005, and she sold my first three young adult novels. The first one, “Bloom,” came out in 2007, the second, “Stealing Heaven,” in 2008, and the third, “Love You Hate You Miss You,” in 2009 – so with gaps of two, three, and four (!) years between purchase and publication, I had plenty of time to write. So me being "prolific" is just the result of how my first three novels were scheduled for publication!

CR: You have two new books coming out in the next few months (“Between Here and Forever,” due out May 24 and “As I Wake” due out September 15).  What can you tell us about those novels?
ES: I'm super excited about “Between Here and Forever” – for those of you who've read my first novel, “Bloom,” some characters from that book show up – but in a very unusual way!

“Between Here and Forever” is about Abby, who long ago accepted that she can't measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.

Until the accident.

Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby's life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.

She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she'd never seen.

Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...

As for “As I Wake,” I have to say I never thought a story that was inspired by my love of modal realism, my fascination with the Stasi and East Germany in the late 1980s, plus – of course! – true love, would ever get published, but it is, and I'm thrilled. Here's a little more:

Ava is welcomed home from the hospital by a doting mother, lively friends, and a crush finally beginning to show interest. There's only one problem: Ava can't remember any of them – and can't shake the eerie feeling that she's not who they say she is.

Ava struggles to break through her amnesiac haze as she goes through the motions of high-school life, but the memories that surface take place in a very different world, where Ava and familiar-faced friends are under constant scrutiny and no one can be trusted. Ava doesn't know what to make of these visions, or of the boy who is at the center of them all, until he reappears in her life and offers answers … but only in exchange for her trust.

CR: Did you always want to be an author?  What was your journey to published author like?
ES: I did not! I didn't like the creative writing assignments I was given in school, and when I went to college I went out of my way to avoid any classes that had a fiction-writing component to them. I loved writing papers and actually thought I'd end up teaching. Instead, I wound up with a series of interesting jobs (except for that stint!) and was working at a university when one afternoon, during a meeting, I ended up writing a story instead of taking notes. I was 27 and I still remember looking at what I'd written and thinking, "But I thought writing wasn't fun – and it IS!"

After that, I was off and running – I wrote short stories for about five years for fun and then, after a great group of my closest friends kept nagging – er, I mean asking super nicely! – me to try and get published, I wrote a query letter for my first novel, “Bloom” and saw an agent's blog post about email queries. I sent it off, though, "Perfect! I'll get rejected, and can tell my friends I tried, and that'll be that."

But then the agent wrote back and wanted to see the first three chapters, and then, about an hour later, the whole book – and I signed with that agent the next day. It was so unbelievable. And then selling books I'd written? I was in shock for most of 2005, let me tell you!

I also realize how amazingly lucky I am, and I wake up every day grateful that I get to do something I love so much.

CR: What was your favorite book when you were a teenager?
ES: I read constantly, but I never had a favorite book. (I still don't – there's too many amazing ones out there for me to only pick one!)

CR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Sixth Annual TBF?
ES: I can't wait to see Melissa de la Cruz again. I met her at BEA when it was in Los Angeles, and she was so funny and sweet and down-to-earth – I adore her. (And her books? LOVE!!!)

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these interview questions for us, Elizabeth.  We can’t wait to meet you in person in only a few days!

Hmmm so I hope you’re not getting bored with them yet, readers, but there are more Would You Rather survey results to reveal!

Would you rather eat an ice cream cone or a cupcake?

Dark purple = ice cream cone
Light purple = cupcake

Would you rather own a dog or a cat?

Dark orange = dog
Light orange = cat

Would you rather be fluent in a foreign language or an expert at calculus?

Teal = fluent in a foreign language
Light teal = expert at calculus

Okay readers, that’s all for now! Stop back tomorrow for the fourth super post… 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Super Post #2: Charles R. Smith, Jr. and More Would You Rather

Hello Readers!

It’s time for super post number two!  Let’s get started right away with my interview with Charles R. Smith, Jr.

CR: You’ve written children’s books, poetry books, photography books, and, of course, a YA novel.  How does your writing process differ depending on what type of book you’re creating?
CS: Ultimately, writing is problem solving so I just focus on what works best for what I want to say about a particular subject. When it comes to biographies, I feel that since I’m a poet, I should take advantage of that and use poetry to form the narrative. For my picture books, sometimes I may focus more on the visual and let the photos dictate what I write. As for the novel, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could do it. And I did.

CR: What made you decide that you wanted to write a novel for teens? 
CS: Most authors will say that you have all your life up until your first novel to write it. For me, I wrote what I knew so I focused on one of the biggest transitions in a teenage boy’s life: going from junior high to high school. Where did your inspiration for “Chameleon” come from? The idea mostly came from my upbringing in Compton and Carson, California, same as Shawn in the book. I personally dealt with some of the things that Shawn dealt with like the gang situation and alcoholism, but Shawn had far more fun than I did since I wasn’t allowed to venture out past our block and my friends lived further away.

CR: Although I feel like I should be asking you a more “teen” related question, I really do feel as though readers of all ages would love your photography book, “My People,” which won the 2010 Coretta Scott Kind Award for Illustration.  It’s a beautiful book of photography set to a Langston Hughes poem.   What was the process of creating “My People” like?
CS: It was a challenge because the poem only has 33 words total and a standard picture book is just 32 pages. That meant about one word per page! But since no words are wasted, I decided to strip the images down to the basics; facial expressions. The “people” Langston speaks of are his fellow black people, so I photographed a variety of black faces, old and young, dark and light, wearing black against a black background using black and white film. That way, when the light hit each face, that would be the only thing you see. Simple as the words.

CR: What five books are on your list of “Books I Couldn’t Live Without”?
CS: That’s a very tough one because I’ve read so many great books. But there are a few that stand out. They are “Tao Te Ching,” “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole, and “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”

CR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Sixth Annual TBF?
I’ve been at numerous events with Ellen Hopkins so I’m always happy to see her, but I do look forward to meeting Carl Deuker. He writes about sports as do I and as you can see, the guys are outnumbered.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these interview questions for us, Charles.  We can’t wait to meet you in person in only 5 days!

Okay, readers! Here are some more “Would You Rather” survey results …

Would you rather fly to China or drive across the United States?

Dark blue = fly to China
Light blue = drive across the United States

Would you rather sleep in a tent or stay in a hotel?

Dark green = sleep in a tent
Light green = stay in a hotel

Would you rather have the superpower of invisibility or super strength?

Dark red = invisibility
Light red = super strength

Okay readers, that’s all for now! Stop back tomorrow for the third super post …

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Super Post #1: Melissa Kantor, Would You Rather, and Pink Hair

Hello Readers!

Six days, 12 hours, and 29 minutes! Ah! And I still have SO much stuff to share with you guys.  Therefore, I am beginning a series of super posts on the blog.  From now until the day before the festival, I will be posting interviews, pertinent TBF info, and goodies!  Are you ready?!?! I’m SO ready!

Part 1 of today’s super post is my interview with Melissa Kantor …

CR: You write realistic fiction with very sincere and relatable protagonists.  How do you get into the head’s of your protagonists and where do you draw your inspiration for these characters?
MK: The emotional lives of my characters are very much connected to my own feelings and experiences, especially the feelings I had when I was growing up.   It's not that my characters ARE me, but they have a lot of the emotional responses I would have.  One of the major challenges of writing “The Darlings Are Forever” was writing a novel with three characters who had some of my emotional makeup but who weren't identical--to me or to each other.  I think what ended up happening (though I wasn't conscious of doing this) is that each of the characters in the book has some of my qualities.  Jane, for example, blurts out things she then regrets saying.  And Natalya (who's a really good student and gets a scholarship to a fancy private school) feels confident in a classroom but not necessarily at a party.  Victoria avoids confrontations.  Those are definitely all qualities I have.   

CR: My favorite part of “The Breakup Bible” was Jennifer’s younger brother and their relationship. I have a 13-year-old brother so I could certainly relate to their relationship.  Do you have siblings? And if so, did you draw on your relationship with your sibling(s) when writing about Jennifer’s relationship with her brother?
MK: I have siblings who are much, much younger than I am, and I definitely drew on some of my experiences with them when I was writing Jennifer's relationship with her brother.  We tease each other a lot even now that we're adults.  When my siblings were younger, I was really careful not to hurt their feelings, though, because they were still kids (or teenagers) when I was already in my twenties.  Jennifer isn't quite as nice as I was.    

CR: I know that “The Darlings Are Forever” was just published, but are you working on anything new at the moment? (Can you tell that I’m waiting anxiously?)
MK: “The Darlings in Love” (book two in the series) is finished!!!  And it comes out in January.  And now I'm working on the third book.  It's so much fun to have all this time with these characters instead of having to say goodbye after one book.  

CR: What was the last book that you read for pleasure?
MK: Oh my god, I am obsessed with the Hex Hall series.  I just finished both “Hex Hall” and “Demonglass” in about two nights.  I'm dying for book three.  I also read a dark but beautiful book called “Never let Me Go” by a writer named  Kazuo Ishaguro.  I think he might be one of the world's most brilliant living writers.  

CR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting and/or seeing at the Sixth Annual TBF?
MK: I've been emailing with the writers I'm doing a panel with (Julie Halpern and Garret Freymann-Weyr) and I can't wait to meet them!  

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these interview questions for us, Melissa.  We can’t wait to meet you in person in … 6 days, 12 hours, and 24 minutes!

But wait, readers! This super post isn’t over yet … remember all the way back to last year. I asked all of the TBF authors “This or That” questions and posted their answers on the blog.  This year, I decided to go a slightly different route and ask the authors “Would You Rather” questions. I’m going to share some of the results with you, but I also want to drop a little hint for all of you loyal readers.  I’ll say only this, if you enjoy this post, then you’re definitely not going to want to miss the Opening Panel at TBF 2011.  So readers, be there or be square.  May 14 at 10 a.m.!

Would you rather read or write?

Blue = read
Red = write

Would you rather climb a mountain or lay on a beach?

Dark purple = climb a mountain
Light purple = lay on a beach

Would you rather read a hardcover or a paperback?

Dark orange = read a hardcover
Light orange = read a paperback

There’s still more, readers! (This may be a bit extreme, but I have so much stuff to tell you guys!)  All of you teen readers who took part in any of our TBF fundraisers know that if teens raised $6,666 in honor of the 6th Annual Teen Book Festival then the TBF committee members would be dying their hair.  Well, the teen readers did it!  And so, on Tuesday morning (bright and early!) the TBF committee will be at Lari James Salon in Webster having their hair dyed on Channel 13 News.  Be sure to tune into the morning news to see Stephanie go pink! (At least I THINK she’s going pink …)

Alright readers, that’s it for the first super post. Come back tomorrow for another one!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Vampires of a Different Color

Hola Bookworms!

Okay, as someone who’s just not a fan of vampires, I feel like I’ve written a lot about them in the past year.  First, there was my confession that “Hex Hall” made me not hate vampires so much.  Then, I reviewed “Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side” by Beth Fantaskey (who will be joining us for TBF 2012).  And today, I’ve got another vampire book review for you.  However, this vampire book is a little bit different than your traditional vampire story because, in this vampire book, the vampires don’t seek blood.  Instead, they’re after tears.  And what better place to find tears than at a high school?

In “The Tear Collector” by Patrick Jones, Cassandra is a teenage vampire who seeks human sorrow in order to sustain not only her life, but her family members’ lives.  She acts as a friendly shoulder to cry on for her classmates and works at the hospital where she can interact regularly with the grieving.  However, Cassandra is beginning to tire of her vampire lifestyle and beginning to wish that she could just live a normal human life.

So, for those of you who are seeking a vampire book with a twist, pick up a copy of “The Tear Collector”!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Diaries and Unicorns

Hi Readers!

Kathleen Duey’s books and I go way back.  I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life.  As a child, I loved series of books because I knew that if liked one of them, I was likely to enjoy the others, as well.  And I loved historical fiction.  Therefore, Kathleen’s “American Diaries” series was one of my all-time favorites.  I can still remember going to library each week hoping that there would be an “American Diaries” book on the shelf that I hadn’t read yet.  (Although I certainly wasn’t against re-reading.  I think I read the “American Diaries” books about Josie Poe and Evie Peach about fifty times each.)    

However, since this is the official TBF blog, and the “T” stands for “teen,” I’ll stop boring you with my trip down memory lane and get on with the review of Kathleen’s contribution to the “Zombies vs. Unicorns” anthology.  (Side note!  “Zombies vs. Unicorns” is edited by Holly Black, TBF alum 2010, and also contains a story by Libba Bray, TBF alum 2008.)

In the great, age-old debate of zombies vs. unicorns, Kathleen represents Team Unicorn by contributing her story, “The Third Virgin.”  I’m finding it quite challenging to develop a synopsis for the story – it’s so hard to condense a short story, seeing as they’re already short! – but let me say this: “The Third Virgin” is not your typical sparkles and glitter unicorn story.  It’s creepy and bloody, but it’s worth reading.