A new venture and a giveaway to celebrate!

This blog has been pretty well tumbleweeds for a while now. I’m not much of a blogger, I guess. But I still want to be able to share with you guys some longer thoughts (beyond the 140 characters on twitter … or the epic twitter rant), so I’ve decided to create a newsletter! I’ve been working hard on the first one, and I’ve got big plans to do some fun things with it (interviews! exclusive content! giveaways! news!).

To celebrate this fun new venture, I’m giving away a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card to one lucky subscriber from the US or Canada. All you have to do is click this link, sign up, and you’re entered. I’ll pick a winner on September 1, so don’t delay!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

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CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

My 2016 Reading Resolution

I’m going to admit something here. Real talk? Here we go. Over the last couple of years, I’ve really given in to my book-buying addiction. Part of it is that I visit a lot of indie book stores, and I refuse to walk out without buying something. Part of it is that I know a bunch of incredible authors, and I want to support them and read their books. And part of it is just that, well, I FREAKING LOVE BOOKS.

Unfortunately, I’ve been buying books faster than I can read them. Which means my TBR pile became a tower, then a shelf, and then I built a new bookcase (only 2 shelves!) next to my bed to hold it … and then I stacked two-deep.

I know. I have a problem.

I was combing through my shelves today picking out titles for a friend who’s collecting books to start a library at a girl’s home in Atlanta, and I realized how much I have that a) I haven’t read and b) I’m really freaking excited about. So I started pulling books and putting them in a “read this soon!” pile. And then that pile got big. And then it almost tipped over and injured me.

Well that settled it. My 2016 reading resolution? Read the books I already have, dammit!

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Can you believe that haul? If someone deposited all those books on my doorstep at once, I’d probably fall over from the excitement. Well I’ve got them all on my shelves, and yet I’m not reading them! It feels wasteful. It feels overindulgent. It feels wrong.

My other 2016 reading resolution is to get better about passing books along, either to friends (I’m a book pusher) or through donation. There are so many readers out there without access to these kinds of titles who would LOVE to get their hands on them. And so I’ll be keeping my absolute favorites, my signed books, or books I’m pretty confident I’ll read again. But otherwise, I’ll be passing them along, even books I loved. Because books are meant to be read (Pixar, I know you’re working on Toy Story 7 or something that’s all about sad unread books, and I’m already crying about it).

In case you’re wondering, yes, I’ll still be buying some new titles. Like I mentioned in my 2015 Book Superlatives post, I’ve got 5 titles I’m already jonesing for. And the haul in the picture is only 26 books, so I’ve got room to add more (though I’m a huge supporter of my local library, so lots of slots will get filled that way).

So be sure to follow along as I revisit the hype (Six of Crows! Bone Gap! The Wrath and the Dawn!) and dig into some backlist (Tiger Lily! Legend! We Were Here!) with my 2016 reading list. And this time next year, hopefully I’ll have absolved myself of being a filthy book hoarder who acquires and doesn’t read.

2016 Reading List (so far!)

(left-right)
Symphony for the City of the Dead by MT Anderson
Illuminae by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Juba! by Walter Dean Myers
Anything Could Happen by Will Walton
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
George by Alex Gino
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Hit by Delilah Dawson
Another Day by David Levithan
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
First and Then by Emma Mills
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Don’t Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche
(top-bottom)
Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas
We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
We Were Here by Matt de la Pena
Legend by Marie Lu

2015 Book Superlatives

It’s that time of year, when people are making their top 10 or 20 or 200 books of the year. As of now, I’m at 64 books read (though I’ll probably add another 1-2 before the year ends). Less than in recent years, but hey, this was my first full year taking care of a tiny human. Not as much unadulterated reading time as I used to have! So instead of a top whatever list, I’ve decided to do my 2015 reading superlatives (along with some 2016 anticipated books). If you see something on the list you haven’t read, well, you should.

Most Feminist YA

THE CURE FOR DREAMING
Cat Winters

The genre of Cat Winters novels are not my usual cup of tea, and yet I’ve added her to my auto-buy list. Her sophomore novel, The Cure for Dreaming, weaved together some magical realism with some feminist AF narratives. Throw in some amazing historical details, and I was ALL IN.

Book I Evangelize the Most

VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Katie Coyle

PLEASE READ THIS BOOK. It’s funny and smart and subversive and so so important in our political landscape. The sequel, Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle, has one of the best laugh-out-loud finales I read this year.

Best Series Ender

IN THE AFTERLIGHT
Alexandra Bracken

Again, The Darkest Minds trilogy is not something I’d usually be into, but these books are so well written and well-develped. I recommend this trilogy to anyone who says they know a reluctant teen reader.

Quietest YA

DEVOTED
Jennifer Mathieu

This category is a shoutout to the #QuietYA hashtag. What if I told you this story was a loose version of if one of the Dugger girls got woke? What I love most about this novel is the respect Mathieu has for Rachel’s faith. In a lesser author’s hands, this story would have taken the easy way out and given Rachel some kind of Rumspringa-esque rebellion. But this is a gentle story about faith and family and finding yourself, and I want more people to read it.

Sweetest Read

ROLLER GIRL
Victoria Jemieson

This graphic novel was so happy-making, I think I sighed and hugged it when I finished. Perfect for rebels and outsiders and athletes and junior riot grrrls, or just the girls who are looking for a place and finding middle school to be less than perfect.

Most Important

ALL THE RAGE
Courtney Summers

This needs to be in the hands of every high schooler, male or female, across this country. It’s raw and honest and just such a good book. There’s a reason I’ve auto-bought everything Courtney’s written since I first picked up Cracked Up to Be in 2008.

Best Audio

UNBROKEN
Laura Hillenbrand
Narrated by Edward Herrmann

RIP Richard Gilmore … this incredible story was made even better by the late Herrmann’s narration. I could just imagine him telling Rory that he’s read the most extraordinary book and pressing it into her hands. You wouldn’t think a book where more than a hundred pages are spent floating lost in the Pacific could be gripping, but it so is.

Best Romance

HELLO, GOODBYE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
Jennifer E. Smith

A novel about a couple on the night before they leave for different colleges, retracing their relationship and trying to decide if they’re going to stay together or break up. I loved it all the way through, but that ending really sealed it for me. Jen writes contemps that feel so real. I’ll read anything she writes forever.

Most Un-Put-Downable

THE ROYAL WE
Jessica Cocks and Heather Morgan

I loved the Fug Girls’ YA novels (Spoiled and Messy), so I was going to read this no matter what. But when I found out that it was a Will-and-Kate-style rom com? YES PLEASE! This book is a beast at over 500 pages, but I read it in a weekend. I’m pretty sure I neglected my husband, child, and all responsibilities to finish it.

Most White-Knuckle Read

WRITTEN IN THE STARS
Aisha Saeed

This one was a major surprise. I knew it was going to be great (everyone told me it would), but I didn’t expect it to be such a tense page-turner! This is another one I couldn’t put down, and again, in the hands of a lesser author, the ending wouldn’t have been nearly as delicate and strong. This book is important, but that doesn’t mean it’s not also incredibly readable.

Favorite Character

Willowdean from DUMPLIN’
Julie Murphy

I think I literally fist pumped while reading this book. The moment where Willowdean is giving her friend a pep talk while a douchebag taunts her from the parking lot, and she pauses only to yell “Eat shit!” and then returns to her pep talk is maybe the most triumphant moment in writing this year. I loved Willowdean for her complexity and her heart, and you will too.

Book Boyfriend

Will from BEAUTIFUL PLAYER
Christina Lauren

Yes, I discovered Christina Lauren in the last quarter of 2015. Yes, I read them all (in a row). Yes, it was hard to choose (Max! Finn! Ansel! Not-Joe!). But in the end, I went with Will. Maybe it was the running? I don’t know … it worked for me.

Biggest Surprise

THE CARNIVAL AT BRAY
Jessie Ann Foley

Ok guys, maybe this book was a big deal, but it’s possible I missed that because it came out right when I had a baby (it was definitely a big deal, because it was nominated for the Printz, I was just wildly out of touch, ok?). Regardless, this summer I discovered a paperback copy for sale while I was shopping at my local Kroger and figured, hey why not? Color me shocked when a book I’d never heard of turned out to be one of my favorite stories of the year. This is the book I wish I’d had when I was in high school.

The Novel That Wrecked Me

A LITTLE LIFE
Hanya Yanagihara

All I have to say about this is WHY DOES ANYONE TALK ABOUT FRANZEN WHEN HANYA YANAGIHARA IS WALKING AROUND ON THIS BEAUTIFUL EARTH? Oh Jude and Willem and Malcolm and JB. These were the most fully realized characters I’ve ever come across. It gave me the hardest crying jags I’ve ever experienced while reading. It was brutal to read, but also beautiful. I mean, don’t just trust me. It was a National Book Award finalist, after all.

Book That Changed My Life

BIG MAGIC
Elizabeth Gilbert

Two things: 1) I usually can’t get through a self-help/inspirational book without a million eye rolls and 2) I DNFed Eat, Pray, Love because #whitewhine. But Big Magic? Big Magic made me fall in love with writing again after a very hard year writing-wise (that’s a post for another day…). Thanks to Big Magic, I’m writing again for fun. I’m remembering why I do this. Some people keep the Bible on their bedside table? I have my marked up, be-stickied copy of Big Magic. If you’re a creative type, you need to read this.

Series I Binged

GALLAGHER GIRLS
Ally Carter

I highly recommend picking one series next year that’s complete that you missed and binging it. It’s so fun! After a million recommendations, I finally picked up the first from my local library, then returned to check out the remaining 5 all once. Two weeks later, I’d had a fun and exciting ride with Cammie and the Girls.

Favorite 2016 Book

THE SERPENT KING
Jeff Zentner

I loved this book for focusing on the kinds of characters we don’t often see in YA. There’s also a *thing* that happens in this book that had me sending a slightly hysterical DM to Jeff midway through. I’ve never been so mad at an author ever (but in a good way, I promise). Put this book on your TBR, though if early reviews are any indication, you already do. I predict everyone and their dog is going to be reading this next year.

2016 Books I’m Dying to Get My Hands on

Are you a publicist? Do you have these galleys? Because watch out, I might be stalking you. These are my 2016 auto-buys!

THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING by Morgan Matson

Her books always rank amongst my favorite reads. This might be the only book I’ve already pre-ordered, and it doesn’t come out until May!

SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS by Stephanie Perkins

Another Perkins anthology! I loved My True Love Gave to Me (which I bought WHILE I WAS IN LABOR you guys; remind me to tell you that story!). If I were in the Hunger Games and this book was in the cornucopia, I’d make a run for it.

YOU KNOW ME WELL by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

A Levithan/LaCour teamup set during the Pride Parade in San Fran?! I mean …

THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD by Siobhan Vivian

I loved The List, Vivian’s last solo-novel, and I can’t wait for this one.

PASSENGER by Alexandra Bracken

The only non-contemp on this list, but what can I say? Bracken is an incredible writer, and I’ll get my hands on anything she publishes

Top 6 Ways to Support Your Favorite Author

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It’s getting close to release time! You know how I know? Because I had a nightmare last night that my launch party was a disaster, and I have to physically restrain myself from visiting review sites. Just one week until The Trouble With Destiny hits shelves, and the thing that comes up most often in conversation with family and friends is “what can I do to help?” So in that spirit, I put together this handy list of the top six ways to help an author launch a book.

1. Pre-Order The Book

Preorders help authors enormously by convincing their publisher’s that there’s an interest in the work. Bonus? Preorders often come with fun surprises (if you preorder The Trouble With Destiny from Little Shop of Stories, your copy will be signed and include fun swag!), and at some online retailers, you can get special pricing.

2. Purchase In-Store During Release Week

The first week of sales are a big deal for authors. Again, they show the publisher that there’s reader enthusiasm and author support out there, which can mean extended print runs, bigger publicity pushes, and even author events and tours. Does it matter where you order from? Not for the author. All sales are equal. Most of us hope you’ll order from a local shop, but we understand that a) there might not be one in your area or b) online retailers work better with your budget.

3. Ask Your Local Library to Order It

Ok, so you can only order so many copies of a book (unless you’re my grandmother, who ordered 10 … thanks Grandma!). But if you want to really help an author, stop into your local library (and branch libraries!) and ask them to order the book. A lot of times readers wonder if checking a book out of the library hurts the author. No way! Each book in a library represents a sale for the author, and enthusiasm for one book means the library might stock multiple copies, or order it for all its branch libraries, or order copies of the author’s backlist (ie, previously published titles). One request to your local library can result in lots of sales for an author!

4. Ask Your Local Bookstore to Stock It

Not every book arrives in every store, and that can especially be true for smaller indie shops without a lot of shelf space. They want to order books that they know there’s local enthusiasm for, so if you ask or order from your local indie, it’s more likely that multiple copies of that author’s books will appear on the shelves. And maybe that author might end up stopping into the shop to visit/sign/read!

5. Recommend It

This one is easy and free, and if you’ve ever recommended someone’s new favorite book to them, you know how awesome it can be. So it’s practically a selfish enterprise to recommend a book! A personal recommendation means the world to a reader, because they know they’re in for a treat. But know your audience when you go for a personal rec. For example, The Trouble With Destiny is a great read for younger teen readers, particularly ones involved in band, orchestra, theater, choir, etc. Readers who love slapstick comedy and romance. Readers who are looking for a happy ending. Readers who love books by Elizabeth Eulberg, Susane Colasanti, or Jessica Brody’s contemps.

6. Talk it up

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat (no, I don’t know how Snapchat works, but I believe if you’re younger than me, you probably do!). Instagram a shelfie! Tweet your current read! Share a quote on Facebook! Tell your favorite forum, or talk it up at your knitting circle or your church group or out with friends. You never know who might remember that mention and pick up a copy.

 

Well there you have it, six easy ways to support an author you love (and only a few of them involve actually purchasing the book!). Don’t forget that The Trouble With Destiny hits shelves on December 8th, and if you’re in Georgia, you can celebrate with me at the Macon Barnes & Noble on December 10th (Thursday at 7pm) and at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur on December 12th (Saturday at 6:30pm). 

Pre-order from Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, The Book Depository OR call Little Shop of Stories at 404-373-6300 to get a signed copy with swag!

 

Countdown to THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY!

Buckle up guys, ’cause it’s about to get real promote-y around these parts. But that’s only because my third YA novel, THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY comes out on December 8th, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Wanna join in on the release day fun? There’s tons of content, contests, and parties for you to participate in, whether you’re in my ‘hood (or Georgia) or scattered around the globe.

Remember, you can order a signed copy of The Trouble With Destiny from my launch party at Little Shop of Stories! Your package will include TWD swag, so be sure to pre-order by December 10th to make sure your order gets in. Call 404-373-6300 to place your oder.

Events

Hometown Event
December 10th 7pm
Barnes & Noble
Macon, Georgia

Come celebrate the launch of The Trouble With Destiny with my hometown crowd! (book sales and signing)

Launch Party!
December 12th, 6:30pm
Little Shop of Stories
Decatur, GA

Here it is, the big launch party! We’ll have food and surprises and fun and prizes, so don’t miss it! (book sales and signing)

Author Appearance
December 17th, time TBA
Washington Memorial Library
Macon, GA

I’ll be talking books and writing with the library’s Teen Advisory Board, and there may be some special guests as well! (book signing only)

Giveaways

There’s a current Goodreads giveaway for a signed hardcover of The Trouble With Destiny that’s open to US and Canadian residents. Go enter (just one click!), and while you’re at it, make sure you add Destiny to your to-read shelf!

Blog Tour

This year, Hannah at the Irish Banana Review is hosting an incredible promo-palooza to celebrate the launch of The Trouble With Destiny. There’s a lot of fun behind-the-scenes info and content on the tour, along with some reviews. Check out the lovely bloggers who volunteered to host me. Share a click or a comment and join in the fun! [I’ll be updating the links directly to the posts as they go live]

Week 1:

11/23 – Swoony Boys Podcast
11/24 – Such A Novel Idea
11/25 – Chapter By Chapter
11/26 – Andi’s ABCs
11/27 – Stuck In Books

Week 2:

11/30 – No BS Book Reviews
12/1 – Book Addict’s Guide
12/2 – Forever Bookish
12/3 – Intellectual Creation
12/4 – Mundie Moms 

Week 3:

12/7 – Supernatural Snark
12/8 – Cindy’s Love of Books
12/9 – Paperback Princess
12/10 – Books-A-Blog
12/11 – Lili’s Reflections 

Week 4:

12/14 – Reading W/ABC
12/15 – FictionFare
12/16 – Resch Reads and Reviews
12/17 – A Book and a Latte
12/18 – One Night Book Stand 

On Grace and Gratitude, or, Mr. Rogers is the Greatest Human Who Ever Lived

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Hiya Neighbor! How are you today? Today is a special day, because today we’re going to talk about Mr. Rogers.

Jeffrey Erlanger became a quadraplegic at 7 months old, after a tumor on his spine severed the nerves. At age ten, he was due to have a spinal fusion, a very painful surgery that in the early 80s was also dangerous. Jeffrey’s parents asked him what he’d like to do before he underwent the surgery, and he said he wanted to meet Mr. Rogers. So off they went to Pittsburgh to visit the set, and when Jeffrey was there, Mr. Rogers asked him if he’d like to be on the show. Well, sure, of course! And so, without rehearsal or scripts or any coordination, they filmed this segment:

Fun fact: all the music on Mr. Rogers was played live … the piano player is just out of the frame noodling around!

Anyway, I was already a puddle watching that, because honestly, Mr. Rogers is just the greatest guy to ever walk the planet. He always cited this moment as one of his own favorites on his show, and it’s one of mine, as well (right up there with the visit to the Crayola crayon factory).

But then my husband pointed me to this, from Mr. Rogers’ induction into the TV Hall of Fame:

Did you see that? How, as soon as Mr. Rogers laid eyes on Jeffrey, he leapt out of his seat and onto the stage? Did you see that smile? If you’re not crying, then you can exit stage left to attempt to locate your heart, Scrooge McMisery.

Mr. Rogers passed away from cancer in 2003, but Jeffrey was at his Pittsburg memorial service. And while his show is no longer on in reruns, just this month Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood became available on Netflix, bringing his sweet-yet-honest take on the wonder of childhood to a whole new generation. I know I can’t wait to introduce Freddie to it (and it’s no secret that my kid is named after three of my favorite Freds: my grandfather, Freddie Mercury, and Mr. Fred Rogers).

Jeffrey grew up to become an advocate for people with disabilities and chaired Madison, WI’s Commission on People With Disabilities. He passed away from complications related to his condition in 2007, at the age of 36.

Why am I sharing this? It’s not to make you cry, though sometimes we all need a good one of those. No, I’m sharing it because I think no one in television has done more to teach us about gratitude, about grace, about loving your neighbor and finding the joy in small moments quite like Mr. Rogers. There are days when I get bogged down by minutia, or distracted, or frustrated. There are days when I stop remembering what life is really all about. And we can’t stop those days from coming. But when they arrive, I’m going to try to remember Jeffrey and Mr Rogers singing “It’s You I Like,” and the sight of a 71 year old man lighting up and leaping on stage at the sight of his neighbor.

And finally, I leave you with this, from James Poniewozik‘s obituary of Mr. Rogers …

To cynics and parodists, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a namby-pamby zone of pint-size feel-goodism, and Mister Rogers himself a wimpy Stuart Smalley for tots. But part of what made Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood great and unique is that, for all its beautiful days in the neighborhood, it was also the darkest work of popular culture made for preschoolers since perhaps the Brothers Grimm. Mister Rogers was softer than anyone else in children’s TV because so many of the messages he had to impart were harder. That your parents might someday decide not to live together anymore. That dogs and guppies and people all someday will die. That sometimes you will feel ashamed and other times you feel so mad you will want to bite someone. He even calmed fears that may seem silly, but to a child are real and consuming — like being afraid to take a bath because you might be sucked down the pipes. Mister Rogers gently sang, “You can never go down/ Can never go down/ Can never go down the drain.” … Mister Rogers spoke softly, but he never soft-pedaled. And he knew how to be both compassionate and authoritative. He was “Mister” Rogers, after all, never “Fred.” He wore a tie even when dressed down. He also respected children’s intelligence, and while he used the Land of Make-Believe to teach lessons, he never puffed up kids with false promises of fantasy. There is no more un-Disneyfied sentiment in children’s pop culture than the title of his song Wishes Don’t Make Things Come True.

YA Deep Cuts

If you spend any time at all on YA social media (Twitter, Instagram, and sometimes Facebook), chances are you’re inundated with book recommendations. And because everything is so of the moment, they’re probably things that either JUST came out, or worse (if you want to read them now right now) won’t be out for another couple months or (gasp!) years. In fact, everything is so RIGHT NOW or COMING SOON, that often stuff that just came out a couple months ago is long since forgotten. But I need some new book recommendations other than what’s staring out at me from the bookstagram every day. So yesterday on Twitter I asked this question:

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And boy did I get some great responses. So many, that I wanted to share them with you!  (I probably got a lot of YA contemporary because people know it’s my favorite;  sorry for the imbalance!) If you’d like to add to the list, have at the comments below!

YA Contemporary

You Don’t Know Me by David Klass
The Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block
All The Rage by Courtney Summers
Willow by Julia Hoban
Hold Still by Nina LaCour
King of the Screwups by KL Going
Endangered and Threated by Eliot Schrefer
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Millions by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Play On by Michelle Smith
These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Kissing in America by Margo Robb
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
White Lines by Jennifer Banash
Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Trafficked by Kim Purcell

YA Adventure/Fantasy/Mystery

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Every Breath by Ellie Marney
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin
The Art of Wishing and The Fourth Wish by Lindsay Ribar
The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Are You Experienced by Jordan Sonnenblick
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Adult

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly Creight
What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson
The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose (nonfiction/memoir)
Columbine by Dave Cullen (narrative nonfiction)

The Love List: Announcements! Updates! Excitement!

Oh today is just chock full of love, because I have some really exciting bookish announcements!

Decatur Book Festival

DBF has long been my favorite book event since the first time I attended in 2012, but something tells me the 2015 festival is going to be my very favorite because … I’ll be in conversation with Sarah Dessen! Yup, that’s right, Saturday at 10am at the Teen Stage I’m moderating the Queen of Contemporary YA herself, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I met Sarah for the first time in 2011 when I was visiting Cape Cod and she happened to be at Eight Cousins in Falmouth. She could not have been nicer when I told her Meant to Be was getting published (I’m SURE I was a trembling, giggling fan girl, but she thoroughly ignored it). Then then THEN I got to be on a panel at Southern Festival of Books in Nashville along with Jennifer E. Smith, which was a blast. So I absolutely can’t wait to be on stage with her asking her all kinds of questions about books, writing, and Twitter. Speaking of, if you’ve got questions you think I should ask Sarah, leave ’em in the comments. I might use them!

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Meeting Sarah Dessen for the first time in 2011 at Eight Cousins in Falmouth, MA

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Jennifer E Smith, Sarah Dessen, and ME at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville 2013

Signed Preorders!

More excitement? We’re less than 4 months away from the release of The Trouble With Destiny, my 3rd novel (no, I can’t believe it either). I’ll be doing my launch party at my very favorite indie (who also happens to run the Children’s and Teen stages at DBF), The Little Shop of Stories on December 11th at 7pm. You guys are ALL invited, but that’s not even the best part. For those of you who can’t make the party, you can order a signed, personalized copy of The Trouble With Destiny (as well as my first two books, Meant to Be and Being Sloane Jacobs), by calling Little Shop and preordering a copy. All orders placed by December 11th will be signed, and the first 25 preorders will get swag, including this set of  super awesome TWD buttons.

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Give Little Shop a call at (404)373-6300 to order your signed copy today, before we run out!

 

The Love List: #ShelfTour Edition

Are you guys following me on Instagram? Because if you’re not, you should! This week I’m sharing photos of my bookshelves (and my wonky organizational system that’s half genre/half whim-of-Lauren). I’ve already showed off some of my fave contemporary romance picks

 

And what I’m calling my Modern Classics.

 

See any favorites? Got any to add? Comment below or over on Instagram, and join in by sharing your shelfies with the hashtag #ShelfTour.

The Love List: Vacation Reading Edition

Last week we were off visiting my husband’s parents in Key West, which meant lots of swimming time for my little water baby. We had a great trip (though the return flight was the closest I’ve ever come to vomiting on an airplane … holy turbulence!). So I’m just getting around to a new post for the newly named “Love List,” aka things I think that are awesome.

Infinite In Between
by Carolyn Mackler

I snagged an ARC of this one from Little Shop of Stories (thanks LSoS!) and decided to bring it for some vacation reading. Yes, I had to wrangle a tiny person for the first time ever on vacation, but I figured there would be plenty of time the grandparents would want to wrangle the tiny person. And thankfully that turned out to be true, because I sped through Infinite In Between. The novel follows 5 students from the first day of their freshman year of high school all the way through graduation. It really reads like a beautiful collection of vignettes, with lots of interwoven narratives as the characters bump into each other and just generally rotate through one another’s orbits. I really REALLY loved it. The perfect book to read for back-to-school, it’s out September 1st from HarperTeen. Get a copy!