Book News: Awards and an Evolution of Young Adult

Today, I’m highlighting three different articles that I found interesting in the news today concerning our favorite subject: books. (Did you think I would say something else?)

Winner of Man Booker Prize

On Tuesday, Eleanor Catton became the youngest person to ever win the Man Booker Prize for her book, The Luminaries. I have seen advertisements for the book but I hadn’t really taken much notice. But not only is the author the youngest at the age of 28, but the book is the longest to have won as well. This description from The Guardian makes me both want to read the book and feel automatically intimidated:

“Her second novel, a great doorstopper of a murder mystery set against the New Zealand gold rush of the 1860s… She does not make things easy for herself: she has organised her 800-page epic according to astrological principles, so that characters are not only associated with signs of the zodiac, or the sun and moon (the “luminaries” of the title), but interact with each other according to the predetermined movement of the heavens, while each of the novel’s 12 parts decreases in length over the course of the book to mimic the moon waning through its lunar cycle.”

Like *explicative* wow. That’s amazing and scary.

The Man Booker Prize has historically only been for contemporary fiction written by authors from the British Commonwealth and Ireland. But next year, Americans will be allowed to compete, which is already causing some waves of uneasiness by the others (will Americans overshadow the rest of the world?). It’s interesting, and I don’t really have an opinion on that, but I will be interested to see how it plays out.

Shortlist for National Book Awards

The list is getting shorter for the contenders for the National Book Awards. But here’s the thing: I haven’t heard of any of these books. I would have thought that I would at least recognize one book in the list for “young people’s literature”. But, I don’t. This year, probably for people just like me, the National Book Foundation is offering an eBook with excerpts from the finalists. It might be a good way to figure out if any of those books are worth checking out (okay, they’re finalists so obviously they’re worth checking out, but for I mean for me personally).

Evolution of Young Adult Literature

I always get both excited and a bit envious when I stumble upon a book news article quoting book bloggers. It’s a little dream of mine for that to happen to me (I’m being very transparent right now, be honored). This week CNN posted an article about the brief history of young adult literature. In it, two bloggers were quoted and linked to: Lisa from Read. Breathe. Relax. and Erin from Y.A. Book Addicts! It’s an interesting article about some of the different trends and evolution of young adult fiction.

 What have you taken note of in the news this week?

Book Blast & Giveaway: The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr

This is one of those books that I had looked up a while ago when I was trying to become more aware of some books coming out this year. It’s very interesting and I am excited to be able to highlight it.

CuttingRoomFloorBlast

17393014 (1)The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr

Published: October 8th 2013 by Flux
Genre: Young Adult mystery
Pages: 305

Buy it! Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Synopsis:

Behind-the-scenes secrets could turn deadly for Desmond and Riley.

Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she’s publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.

Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn’t know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go too far, Dez’s web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.

About the Author:

Dawn Klehr began her career in TV and though she’s been on both sides of the camera, she prefers to lurk behind the lens. Mostly, she loves to get lost in stories –in film, the theater, or on the page – and is a sucker for both the sinister and the sappy. She’s currently channeling her dark side as she works on her next book.

Dawn lives in the Twin Cities with her funny husband, adorable son, and naughty dog. The Cutting Room Floor is her debut YA novel.

Twitter | Facebook | Website

Giveaway!

dawnkTOUR

2 Winners will each receive a $25.00 Gift Card to Amazon.com

Must be 13+ to enter | Open Internationally

To enter, head on over to this rafflecopter! Good luck!

Giveaway and Interview with Lenore Appelhans, Author of The Memory of After

Debut Authors Bash at yareads.com

Lenore and I!

Lenore and I!

So YAReads has organized this amazing 2013 Debut Authors Bash. I am super excited that I was paired with Lenore Appelhans. I listened to the audiobook of The Memory of After (when it was named Level 2) and really liked it. It was one of those audiobooks that I sat out in my car for longer than necessary to keep listening.

Then, Lenore was awesome and in town and joined the YADC group (a lovely group of people in the DC Metro area that enjoy books, specifically young adult) at a dinner in DC.  I was able to meet her and even had a picture taken! I am slowly coming to the realization that authors are just people too, but I don’t think I will ever get over the excitement of meeting an author, especially one of a book I enjoyed. It really does take a lot to write and finish a book.

Haven’t heard of The Memory of After? Here’s some information on it before we get to the interview.

The Memory of After by Lenore Appelhans

Published: September 3rd 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published January 15th 2013 as Level 2)
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Dystopia
Pages: 304
Buy it!

12614754Synopsis:

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost-family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian-a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life-comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

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And, keep your eye open next year for the sequel, Chasing Before!

So, without anymore preamble, here is my interview with Lenore!

I have described the setting of Level 2 as ‘a kind of dystopian purgatory’. How would you describe your book’s setting in five or less words?
Your setting description is pretty accurate. I’d probably say “Memory chambers in the afterlife” since the memory chambers are the hook of the setting.

Which memory would you revisit the most if you were a resident of Level 2?
I would compile top 10 lists like Felicia did. So my top 10 travel memories, top 10 concerts, top ten family vacations, that sort of thing. I like the idea of being able to organize memories into playlists.

I’ve read that you like playlists for books. What is your Level 2 music playlist?
Yes! See? Obsession with playlists! You can see my entire Level 2 playlist here (link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYf-ELpNqYRBOBsa03NXsepn2xbuoVULI )

I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do have certain songs I’ll listen to before writing scenes that help me get into the right mood. Music has such power to convey emotion, and I really try to bring some of that atmosphere into my writing.

I just turned in revisions for the sequel, Chasing Before, and two days before the deadline, I downloaded Bastille’s debut album Bad Blood. It is insane how many of the themes their songs share with Chasing Before. I am convinced we are sharing a muse.

Felicia’s mother is a Foreign Service officer, which means that her family moves to different countries every few years. What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to or would want to travel to?
I’m very sloth fixated at the moment, so I really want to go to the sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica.

Ruins of ancient cultures fascinate me and some of my favorite places to visit have been Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Tikal in Guatemala (well, all except for the killer mosquitos). I also love visiting natural wonders and was blown away by Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), the fjords of Norway, black sand beaches of Iceland, the natural rock labyrinth of Gory Stolowe (Poland), and gosh I could go on and on.

As far as urban areas, I love NYC!

The structure of Level 2 definitely seems to be closely modeled after internet and social media trends. Is there someone you think would have the most popular memories?
I recently wrote a guest post for Authors are Rockstars about why there are no celebrities in Level 2. (link: http://scottreadsit.blogspot.de/2013/08/lenore-appelhans-is-rockstar-giveaway.html ) So aside from celebrities, I think the most popular memories would be from people who take joy in life.  Even the most spectacular sites or unique experiences would not be much fun to relive from a jaded, bored and/or grumpy perspective.

The story alternates between Felicia in Level 2 and the memories that she experiences. Did this require you to outline the story or did the story just come together as you were writing it?
I had an outline of the memories because they were the most complicated part of the story (two separate timelines and not always in chronological order).  Adding tags and memory numbers to each memory was a way to give them more structure.

I free wrote the Level 2 sections in the first draft and let the characters guide me. Of course there had to be a reason for Felicia to view a particular memory at a particular point in the story, and it was a great exercise to have to figure out those reasons.

Giveaway!

Lenore is also offering one paperback copy of The Memory of After! And thanks to the awesome timing of our dinner, I have signed The Memory of After bookmarks to give out to even more potential winners! This giveaway is for US only. To enter, please go to this rafflecopter! Good luck!

FYI: Local Author Panel

So if you haven’t read the ‘About’ page, I live in the DC area. In Old Town Alexandria, there is a children’s bookstore that hosts quite a few cool author panels. Last Saturday I went to my first one there (which I’ll be writing about in a couple of days) and really enjoyed it. It’s awesome to support independent booksellers in this age of monopolies-without-using-the-word-monopolies-conglomerate-companies.

I say all this because the bookseller, Hooray for Books, has a few events coming up in the next week that if anyone is nearby might want to check out.

Their calendar is up-to-date, so I won’t completely rehash it here, but I know I’m particularly interested in their Young Adult Author Panels. There is one tomorrow from 3:30 – 5 pm titled “Life is Messy.” There will be 3 authors and their books there (Elizabeth LaBan, Jennifer Hubbard, and Katherine Marsh). From what I experienced last week, I’d definitely recommend attending if you can. The venue is intimate, which allows for a great dialogue between the audience and the authors. The signings afterwards are low-key, allowing for additional dialogue. There is another Young Adult Author Panel next Saturday with lots of events in between.

I feel a little ashamed that I am just now discovering all of this. One of my (many) goals is to become more aware of local book events to attend and promote. I went to Book Expo America this year, and while that was fantastic, it made me realize that I also need to take advantage of local events and opportunities. So if you know of any other great venues or events, please let me know!

Review and Giveaway: Fortress of Mist by Sigmund Brouwer

Fortress of Mist by Sigmund Brouwer (Merlin’s Immortals #2) Published: February 19th 2013 by WaterBrook Press Format/Source: Paperback from LibraryThing Early Reviewers Genre: Young adult medieval fantasy Synopsis: For readers of medieval fantasy like Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time … Continue reading