Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday with YA Highway

This morning, I'm diving into the weekly blog carnival hosted by YA Highway.  For this week's Road Trip Wednesday, the ladies of the Highway want to know:  If your WIP was a song, what would it be?

For my latest project, there is a full-on playlist, but this is the one song that really sums up the whole story:  Bon Jovi's (You Want to) Make a Memory.


Hello again, it's you and me
Kinda always like it used to be
Sippin' wine, killin' time
Tryin' to solve life's mysteries

How's your life? It's been a while
God it's good to see you smile
I see you reachin' for your keys
Lookin' for a reason not to leave

If you don't know if you should stay
If you don't say what's on your mind
Baby just breathe
There's nowhere else tonight we should be

You wanna make a memory?

I dug up this old photograph
Look at all that hair we had
It's bittersweet to hear you laugh
Your phone is ringin' I don't wanna ask

If you go now, I'll understand
If you stay, hey, I got a plan

You wanna make a memory?
You wanna steal a piece of time?
You can sing the melody to me
And I could write a couple lines
You wanna make a memory?

If you don't know if you should stay
And you don't say what's on your mind
Baby just breathe
There's nowhere else tonight we should be
We should be

You wanna make a memory?
You wanna steal a piece of time?
You can sing the melody to me
And I can write a couple lines

You wanna make a memory?
You wanna make a memory?

Now, follow the link above to the YA Highway and enjoy the song stylings of all the other Road Trippers this week.

Do you have a WIP theme song?

- Liz

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Recommendation: Stay by Deb Caletti

STAY by Deb Caletti

Summary:  (from the publisher)

Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.
Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

Click here to order a copy of your very own from Barnes & Noble.

My thoughts:

I had the privilege of reviewing a galley of this book, and I could not have been luckier. This book is amazing. A bit slow to start but after ten pages or so I was in so deep I didn't want to put it down. 

The story reads as if it is really Clara telling her story. Her voice is impeccable, and smart, even when she's making decisions that drive you crazy. I liked the very adult language and the relatable imagery. I'm not normally one for a lot of poetic language, but Caletti's imagery and introspection were so real, so...right, I found myself wishing she'd explain the world to me. 

Clara and Christian's relationship is all too recognizable, and such an important and underexplored area in Young Adult literature. Despite the poisonous nature of the relationship, I found myself 100% in Clara's corner. I could understand every step she took deeper into the dangerous waters of Christian. 

The subplot between Clara and her father, while not inconsequential by any means, didn't distract from the main story. I wanted to know how both threads wove together in the end. 

An atmospheric story of love, loss, coping, growing up and forgiveness. Read it in the rain, and probably not by yourself. There are moment of genuine creep-out intertwined with moments of genuine joy. One of the best contemporary YA novels I've ever read. I'll be catching up on Caletti's back catalogue post-haste. 

Recommended for:

Anyone who loves contemporary YA.  Anyone who has been in, or been friends with someone who has been in one of those poisonous relationships.

If you read and enjoyed, Jandy Nelson's THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, Sarah Ockler's TWENTY BOY SUMMER, Gayle Forman's IF I STAY, or Kirsten Smith's THE GEOGRAPHY OF GIRLHOOD, you will devour this book.

Come back and tell me what you think when you're done, okay?

- Liz

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Intern: a frightful confession

If you are not already following The Intern on her blog, you should go do it right now.

If you are not already following @internspills on Twitter, you are missing out.

Go read this, and feel better.

The Intern: a frightful confession: "INTERN has a frightful confession to make, and here it is: When one of INTERN’s writer-friends publishes a beautifully-crafted short story,..."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where I Make You All Jealous

I'm not normally one to brag, but I had to share what I got in the mail.

It even had pretty packaging!  

I've wanted to read this book since I turned the last page of IF I STAY
SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Thank you, Gayle!!!

The links:
Get your own copy of Where She Went
Read If I Stay, first, ya heathen!
Visit the delightful Gayle Forman at her website.
Stalk, er, follow her on Twitter.  You never know when she'll give away another book!

*Loses all interest in finishing blog, due to reading awesome book featured**

- Liz

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From the Depths of The Slog

I had a lovely conversation over the weekend with some fellow writers.  One of them mentioned a blog post she'd read about the Four Stages of Writing Development.  We didn't have computer access at the time, so I wasn't sure I'd ever find the meme in question.  But as is so often the case when I find myself wont of something, I give out my battle cry, "To the Google!"

And my trust search engine steed once again led me straight to my quarry.

Mary Carroll Moore's blog was the home to this particular tidbit, which she calls "Unconscious Competence."  I implore you to read the whole article right now.  I'll wait.  You know I'm good at waiting for you people.

Ah, you're done?  Excellent.

This is the part that spoke to me:
This isn't a fun stage, even though it turns out better writing than any of the other stages so far.  It's what my MFA teachers used to call the "slog."  We slog through the writing now, not really lifted up by it, not really energized.  But, at the end, we have something pretty darn good.

I am Atreyu, and my first draft is the Swamps of Sadness
These days, I find myself deep in Stage 3.  Slogging my way through a first draft and wishing like hell it was my third.  But still, the words come...sometimes only 100 at a time, but they come.  And if you add enough 100's together, you eventually find 70,000, right?  And then you're not so deep in the morass any more.
Falcor, a.k.a. Unconscious Competence

Stage Four, I'm coming for you.

- Liz

Monday, April 4, 2011

Book Recommendation: The Last Little Blue Envelope


Summary: (from the publisher)

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.

Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

Due out:  April 26, 2011  Click here to preorder from Barnes & Noble.

UPDATE:  Right now, you can preorder (in Kindle format) the first book  in Ginny's story, THIRTEEN LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES for FREE.  That's right--FREE.  Maureen Johnson is giving it away from April 12-26, 2011.  Other formats will be available starting the 12th of April.  Don't miss out--FREE BOOK, PEOPLE!!

My thoughts:
It was pure pleasure to go back to Ginny's world, and the ride was just as dizzying and wonderful this time. I really enjoyed the character development in Ginny. She greeted this journey with so much more confidence. She was really the kind of girl you wish you could be in high school. It was also interesting to the see the changes in Keith. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, so I'll leave it at this:  English boys are still sexy.

If anything, the descriptions were even better this time around. As rich as Ginny's experience was the first time she traveled through Europe, this one made me feel like I was really there with her. And I want to go to the Coo Coo Clock. Like now.

At the end of the book, all I wanted to do was be fifteen years younger, with a disposable income and a zany treasure hunt of my own. Definitely the kind of book that reminds me why I read and write YA. 

Recommended for:
Anyone who likes contemporary YA, but you absolutely must read the first book first. You'll want to know all of Ginny's story before you dive into this one, and the wait will be totally worth it.

If you haven't read any of Maureen Johnson's books, you're definitely missing out.  Don't let her girly covers deceive you.  She has all the depth and honesty you could want from a YA writer, and then for added lovability, she's the best Twitter personality I know.  Go follow her.  No, seriously.  Go.

So, how'd I do for my VERY FIRST BOOK REVIEW (on my blog)?

- Liz