Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two YA Events For The Philly Area

For any of our awesome blog readers who live in or near Philadelphia and LOVE reading or writing YA books, I have two really awesome events coming up in the next few months.

This event is FREE and open to the public!
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 from 5-7PM.
Location: Arcadia University, Glenside PA in the Rose Room of Grey Towers.

Moderator: Frankie Diane Mallis

Amy Garvey

E.C. Myers

Jeri Smith-Ready

Maria V. Snyder

K.M. Walton


And...onto event two!

YA Writing Workshop

I'm partnering with Arcadia University and  Musehouse to bring you this one night talk with...well, with me.

(Copied from the Musehouse catalog/website)

Writing the Young Adult Novel 
One-Day Workshop Are you writing a young adult novel? Or considering writing one? This workshop is for you. We'll look at not only what makes a book a young adult novel, but what makes it successful. Savvy writers who want to break into the young adult industry need to know how to navigate through this ever-changing field. So we'll also be looking at current trends in the market and how to understand the trends, but still write the story of your heart. The process of querying, signing with an agent and networking in the young adult industry will also be covered, along with personal tidbits from the instructor’s journey to publication. Get ready for a crash course in the young adult novel and how to bring your own YA book out into the world.
Date: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Time: 7 — 8:30 p.m.
Fee: $40
Instructor: Frankie Diane Mallis

Frankie Diane Mallis is a young adult fantasy writer in the Philadelphia area, represented by Laura Rennert. She is a professor of composition and creative writing at Arcadia University and currently teaches the popular Writing For Children class. Frankie also runs a small children's library in Elkins Park. When not writing or teaching she is often blogging or tweeting. You can learn more by visiting her website www.frankiediane.blogspot.com. 

Hope to see some of you at one or both of these events!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Rewind: The Disney Princess Hunger Games!

In honor of tomorrow's DVD release of The Hunger Games, here's a re-post of what I consider the most hilarious post ever written on this blog, courtesy of Sara, who's currently on blog maternity leave.


Thinking about how long I would survive a dystopia got me wondering: How long would some of our favorite non-dystopia characters survive??

Without further ado, I give you...

The Disney Hunger Games!!

We all know our favorite Disney characters have some spunk. Ariel straight up betrays her father and makes a deal with a sea witch, Belle shoves Gaston in with the pigs, and Mulan pretends to be a boy and joins the army!

But what would happen if we took them all and threw them into a dangerously animated arena?

Roll Call: Disney Princesses!

Why she'll survive: She's a mermaid, so she can hold her breath underwater for an infinitely long time. All she has to do is swim to the bottom and wait everyone else out.
Why she'll die: Her hoarder tendencies will make her backpack too heavy to carry.


Why she'll survive: She's smart AND skilled, and unnatural talking creatures don't freak her out. Plus, she's so nice and genuine, it would be like killing a puppy.
Why she'll die: Her love for beast-like creatures will lead her too close to an actual beast.


Why she'll survive: She's already befriended a tiger and proved that she can jump roof-to-roof just as well as Aladdin. She refuses to stand down when someone threatens her, and can handle herself on flying furniture.
Why she'll die: Girlfriend got herself trapped in an hour glass. Also, she has Lois Lane vision--make one little change to yourself and she won't recognize you. So just disguise yourself as a walking bush and she'll believe you're a lovely bit of magic.


Why she'll survive: She's one of the only Disney princesses that has actual battle skills, and unlike most other Disney princesses, where it's ultimately up to the man of the story to kill the bad guy, she's ready to go out and do this thing herself.
Why she'll die: Her mad skills will make the other princesses nervous and they'll gang up on her.


Why she'll survive: Her fairy Godmother will be sending her silver parachutes day in and day out.
Why she'll die: She'll use the silver parachutes to make a ball gown for herself.


Why she'll survive: She's one with nature, dresses in natural camoflauge, and can paint with all the colors of the wind.
Why she'll die: When it comes time to kill for food, she'll refuse to say an animal's life is less than hers and will end up weak.


Why she'll survive: She's really good at hiding. Plus, like Cinderella, she's got a fairy godmother. Three of them, in fact.
Why she'll die: The fairy godmothers will tell her not to do ONE THING. And then she'll do it.

Snow White

Why she'll survive: She's got seven little men who will give their lives for hers.
Why she'll die: She'll gladly accept strange gifts from strange people.


Why she'll survive: She's learned to live--and survive--in a man's world, and has a work ethic like nobody's business.
Why she'll die: Get turned into a toad and eaten for lunch.

Now that we've met all our tributes...let the games begin!

This is how I imagine things playing out:

In the race for the Cornucopia, I predict that Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana will come away with the best loot. Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine will get some useful items, but not as many. Aurora, Snow White and Cinderella won't even make it to the Cornucopia, instead heading directly for the comfort of the forest so they can sing to the animals there.

I think Aurora, Snow White and Cinderella will form an alliance, while the rest are too plucky and will go solo.

There will definitely be a multitude of singing.

And this is the order that I think they'll go in:

Both Snow White and Aurora will take themselves out, Snow White by eating posionous fruit (obvi) and Aurora by doing whatever the ONE THING her fairy godmothers told her not to do.

Cinderella's next--silver parachute ball gown is poor camo.

From here, it's a toss up. I think Jasmine might go next (magic carpet runs out of magic), and then Ariel (her hoarding slows her down.)

And as much as it pains me to say it (since Belle is my favorite), I think Belle goes down next.

That makes my final three Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana.

I know who I think would win.

But what about all of you? Who do YOU think would win the Disney Hunger Games? One of my final three? Or did I discount someone? Is Cinderella secretly a ringer? Can Sleeping Beauty's killer voice do exactly that? Let me know!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Recommendation pay-it-forward: SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman

During my last visit to Children's Book World, I stopped to chat with bookseller-of-awesome Heather, and she raved about a new book called SERAPHINA by a debut author. I'd never heard of it, but Heather's rec was enough to put it on my TBR list.

Fast forward another week: I was in my local library, feeding my audiobook addiction in the YA section, when lo and behold, I see SERAPHINA displayed with the new releases. I didn't need another sign.

Description from Goodreads:
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

It's no secret that I'll read a book from any genre as long as I connect with the main character.

With SERAPHINA, I appreciated the deft world-building of the high fantasy and the plot in which Seraphina unintentionally becomes part of an investigation into a royal murder that could lead to a revolution. I enjoyed the shape-shifting dragons and their difficulties adjusting to human emotions. But Seraphina herself hooked me.

She's passionate but unsure of herself and her talents. She's an honest person who's been forced to lie all her life. She wants to do what's right in spite of the danger to herself. Seraphina has the potential to change her world, and she begins to learn that it's something to embrace, not fear.

And she's clever. I'm such a sucker for a clever heroine. Her narration can be quite witty, and I actually laughed out loud — and hard — for a good, long minute at one of her observations.

Ok, I should talk a little bit about the plot: first off, the stakes are high and very real. The complexities of the human-dragon truce and the inequality and prejudice in Goredd authentically represent how difficult it is to create (and maintain) peace and understanding between two drastically different cultures — especially when everyone isn't on board in the first place. It's a complicated situation with plenty of gray areas, and Hartman does a great job not only establishing it in the present but also lending weight to its past.

Bonus points: There's a budding romance with a very swoonworthy guy. (Seraphina and Lucian are presented as equals. EQUALS. And he respects her opinions and instincts. Like I said, worthy of the swoon!)

Overall, SERAPHINA is an excellent addition to YA high fantasy, and a stellar debut. I can't wait to see more from Hartman, and to return to Seraphina's world in the sequel. I was lucky enough to have this book recommended to me, and now I'm paying it forward. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Serial killers, zombpires, and pranks (oh my!) — Three mini recommendations.

Here's a quick recommendation for three books I've read and enjoyed recently:

TEN* by Gretchen McNeil
(Balzer & Bray, Sept. 18, 2012)
You remember that time you and your friends went to an exclusive island party and got trapped there during a raging storm and were murdered one by one for reasons unknown? No? Well, Gretchen McNeil's TEN harkens back to the days of SCREAM and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. Like real life, only better ... because you're not actually on the hit list of a serial killer.

(Harlequin Teen, Apr. 24, 2012)
If you like your vampires bloodthirsty and conflicted, this is the book for you. Love the mix of traditional vampires and a post-apocalyptic society that's been decimated by a disease that's created the "rabids" ... basically, zombpires. Complete ending, with plenty of potential for this Blood of Eden series to develop.

(Hyperion, Mar. 25, 2008)
In the world of YA, Frankie Landau-Banks has staying power. This clever, engaging novel covers a year of a secret society's pranks at a prestigious boarding school, but it's really about Frankie's struggle to discern her place in the world (the eternal conflict between what she feels, what she wants, and what society tells her to be). She figures it out by questioning everything, pushing boundaries, and sometimes screwing up royally ... but she never stops being relatable and awesome.

* I got these books at BEA!
**I've owned this book for years and finally got around to reading it — actually, I listened to the audiobook, which was excellently narrated.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

10 ways YA novels leave you totally unprepared to be an actual adult.

As someone in my mid-20s, I still fancy myself a "young" adult — but reading YA novels hasn't exactly prepared me for the more adult side of life.

Slowly but surely, I'm learning the correct solutions to the everyday problems my friends and I face, but I much prefer the YA answers. Here's why:

Problem 1: 
The creepy guy at work watches your every move.

Actual Answer: Restraining order.
YA Answer: He's a sexy paranormal being who wants to love you forever. Kiss him!

Problem 2: 
You have too many bills and not enough money.

Actual Answer: Sell everything you own on Craigslist. Beware of serial killers.
YA Answer: Ask mom and dad for an advance on your allowance.

Problem 3:  
There's a really difficult test coming up for your master's class.

Actual Answer: Spend two weeks with your head buried in your textbook. (Despite this, you may still fail.)
YA Answer: Study for five minutes — or better yet, not at all! No worries, you'll pass!

Problem 4: 
Mythical creatures approach you, begging you to help them.

Actual Answer: You may require medication.
YA Answer: You're the one person in all the world who can save their magical realm.

Problem 5: 
That guy you're dating is a real jerk.

Actual Answer: Break up with him. Stat.
YA Answer: Despite his troubled past, he'll soon reveal that he's a romantic, considerate guy who's perfect for you.

Problem 6: 
Even though you moved out three years ago, your parents won't stop telling you what you're doing wrong in life. (AKA everything.)

Actual Answer: Move far away, and/or change your cell phone number and email address.
YA Answer: Aren't parents those people who live in your house and never interfere as you gallivant off into life-threatening situations?

Problem 7:  
Your college loans are killing you ... and you can't get a job related to your major.

Actual Answer: Do you want fries with that?
YA Answer: But doesn't everyone get a full scholarship to a super selective, likely-Ivy-League school, followed by a dream career?

Problem 8: 
You know that guy you just met and exchanged five words with? You're in love! Can it be true?

Actual Answer: It's not love; it's beer goggles. Drink some water, sleep it off, and in the morning, realize your perfect 10 is a perfect 2.
YA Answer: You're meant to be!

Problem 9: 
You've already spent thousands of dollars being a bridesmaid for numerous weddings ... and half your friends are still single.

Actual Answer: Time to make some enemies. And eat ramen like you're still in college.
YA Answer: Awesome! It's like senior prom ALL OVER AGAIN.

Problem 10: 
Two great guys like you, but you have to choose between them.

Actual Answer: Pssst — one is married, and the other one is forty and still lives in his parents' basement.
YA Answer: After months of debating and stringing them both along, you'll pick the one who's OBVIOUSLY meant for you, but the other guy will totally be cool with being your BFF. Awesome!


*** Updated: I just discovered the perfect blog for any 20-somethings who read this post and found it a little too true — F*ck! I'm in my twenties.
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