Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

The following is my annual Easter re-post.

Every so often, a reader tells me their impression of something I wrote in a way that deepens my own understanding of my own words. Someone in Florida once told me how a decision one of my characters made helped her illustrate a sentiment she'd been trying to get across to her friends.

Here's what she told me:

In the past, I've had to help friends realize that life goes on even after you've made a poor decision. Not because you move on or get over it, but because you grow as a result of it. You build something new, something with a higher purpose, using what you've learned as one of your bricks.

When I read that, my heart leapt! Since there was no way I could say it any better, I immediately knew I'd be using her words in future speeches...and blog posts.

So what does this have to do with Easter?

One of the most beautiful ideas surrounding this holiday is that we're all given an opportunity to make corrections if we find ourselves traveling down a road we don't want to (or shouldn't) be on. In fact, we're given this opportunity to change every day. Every second! But sometimes we need a calendar to remind us.

Refresh. Repair. Rebirth. Whatever you want to call it...

Renewal is a wonderful blessing!

Easter 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

10th Anniversary Edition: THIRTEEN REASONS WHY

hardcover anniversary edition
includes special additional content

On sale: December 27, 2016

Thirteen Reasons Why up-to-date:
  • #1 New York Times bestseller
  • over 2.5 million copies in print in the U.S.
  • translated into 35 languages worldwide
  • in production as a 13-episode series for Netflix (Tom McCarthy, director of Spotlight, recipient of the Academy Award for Best Picture, will direct the first two episodes; Brian Yorkey, Pulitzer Prize winning writer of Next to Normal, is the series creator and lead writer; executive producers: Steve Golin, Selena Gomez, Kristil Laiblin, Tom McCarthy, Diana Son, Michael Sugar, Kristen Teefey, Mandy Teefey, Joy Gorman Wettels, Brian Yorkey)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ontario Teen Book Fest: Part 2

There's something going on in Ontario!

I was all set to proclaim yesterday's visit to the Ontario Teen Book Fest one of my best days as an author, but then I reviewed the post about my my previous visit in 2012. Apparently (and now I fully remember), that was also one of my best days as an author.

Yesterday began when I woke up at 3am, and then drove to family friend (oh, and amazing author) Mary Weber's to begin a 4-hour car ride. Sitting behind Mary in the photo below is her daughter, Rilian. Behind me is Rilian's friend, Jenna. Despite what our faces say, the coffee was delicious and necessary.

The book festival has grown a lot since my visit four years ago. For example, hashtags and selfies are much more common. In fact, many of the pics I'll post below were found using #OntarioTBF. And if you were a reader attending the festival who wanted selfies with authors, even if they were speaking you could get one!

A few times, unlike the photo above, actual versions of the authors could also be found in the same place.

Virginia Boecker, Kristin Halbrook, Mary McCoy, B.T. Gottfred, Robin Reul,
Jessica Brody, Stephanie Diaz, Sara Elizabeth Santana,
Nicole Maggi, E. Katherine Kotaras, Marrisa Meyer

The organizer of the event was the extraordinary Courtney Saldana. Any continuing awesomeness of this festival is due to her work, and the volunteers she brings aboard.

The conference began with keynotes by me, Marissa, and then Andrew.

And I think we did rather well!

There were three panels that attendees could attend in the morning. Unfortunately, I only got to attend one. Fortunately, I got to be on it!

Lunch, which followed this panel, was provided by Panera. And I was happy to find no onions on my sandwich! Thank you, Panera.

Full bellies make authors very happy.

Not an accurate depiction of our height difference.

Not an accurate depiction of the hair on Jessica's chin.
(She doesn't have any.)

Unfortunately, I could only attend one of the afternoon's three panels. Fortunately, I was on that one, too!

During the massive book signing, Mary and I had the chance to sign another author's book...and it wasn't even vandalism!

Bonus material from Cress by Marissa Meyer.

And look at this reader's homemade shirt!!!

Thank you, OTBF, for another wonderful festival. And thank you for this wonderful tag, which featured the cover of my next book. (A copy of What Light is headed your way, Courtney!)

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Spring 2016 Children's Books

Browsing through the Spring 2016 Children’s Books issue of Publishers Weekly, these are the recently released (or soon-to-be released) middle-grade and teen novels that most grabbed my attention:

The Head of the Saint by Socorro Acioli, trans. by Daniel Hahn. A Brazilian boy who lives in a giant, hollow, concrete head of St. Anthony can hear people’s prayers—and decides to answer them.

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando. Eleven years after six kindergartners went missing without a trace, five of them return—not knowing where they’ve been.

The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott. Two teens take a road trip to meet three people who received their late best friend’s organs.

The Parent Agency by David Baddiel. Tired of his strict parents, Barry makes a wish that transports him to a world where kids choose their own parents.

Some of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby. Grieving her older brother’s death, Tallie tries to track down the recipients of his donated organs.

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin offers a look at the days leading up to the tragic events and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers in different part of the country.

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw. A teen finds an outlet for her fanfic writing by posting a fanfiction narrative about her schoolmates online.

The Classy Crooks Club by Alison Cherry. AJ discovers that her strict grandmother’s “bridge group” is actually a club of crooks.

The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine. After her boyfriend breaks up with her, Cassidy falls for a paralyzed fellow counselor at a summer camp.

Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper. A girl who has a rare disorder that makes words people say about her appear on her body finds ways to accept who she is.

Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn. Shiels falls for the first-ever interspecies transfer student at her school.

Breaker by Kat Ellis. The death count on campus rises after Kyle, son of an executed serial killer, arrives at his new school.

The Secret Destiny of Pixie Piper by Annabelle Fisher, illus. by Natalie Andrewson is the first of a duology about a girl descended from Mother Goose.

Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire by Sundee T. Frazier. Inspired by a woman entrepreneur on TV, Cleo launches a tooth-pulling business at school.

Twisted by Hannah Jayne. When her father is accused of being a serial killer, Bex becomes the ultimate bait in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

The Deadly 7 by Garth Jennings. An ancient machine pulls the seven deadly sins from a boy’s soul, turning them into creatures who help find his missing sister.

Dreamology by Lucy Keating. After Alice falls in love with the boy who has long appeared in her dreams, he shows up at her new school.

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, photos by Jill Wachter. Penelope curates a mini-museum dedicated to all the different heartbreaks—love and friendship— in her life.

The Sleepover by Jen Malone. Three friends try to piece together the evidently outrageous antics of their sleepover the night before, when they may have been hypnotized.

Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer. A girl who’s been adrift since her mother vanished suspects that Kurt Cobain is still alive—and that he’s her father.

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather. Sam discovers she’s at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting anyone with ties to the Salem witch trials.

Nowhere Boys by Elise McCredie. After four boys spend a stormy night in the bush, they return home to discover that no one knows them.

26 Kisses by Anna Michels. After a break-up, Veda finds the perfect solution to heal her heartbreak by embarking on a summer-long quest to kiss 26 boys—one for every letter of the alphabet.

Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee. The story of 17-year-old conjoined twins is told in alternating perspectives, marking Mukherjee’s debut.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand. Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it’s time to make the greatest zombie movie ever.

The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian. Keeley and her friends make the most of their remaining time together after a storm floods their hometown and everyone is ordered to pack up 
and leave.

Demon Dentist by David Walliams, illus. by Tony Ross. Is the new dentist in town responsible for the creepy crawlies appearing under kids’ pillows in place of coins from the tooth fairy?

Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West. After a high-school actress fractures her skull, she’s afraid to admit that she’s hallucinating about Shakespeare.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016


Last week I spoke at the Yorba Linda Public Library. It was my first author talk since before Thanksgiving, so my nerves were hitting hard. But I knew it was friendly territory because Amy, the teen librarian who set this up, used to work at the San Luis Obispo Public Library. And that's where I used to work!

So we're basically family.

I love seeing book displays at libraries and bookstores based around topics. Or, if there's an author visit, a display of books that touch on similar themes.

I gave my first author talk eight-and-a-half years ago, so it's rare to see something done for the very first time. But at this library, they labeled the refreshment stations after places in Thirteen Reasons Why! The coffee table became Monet's Garden...

...and if you wanted a root beer float, you went to Rosie's Diner.

The audience was great, which isn't unusual...thankfully!

But I was especially grateful to have such a good audience for this visit. This was my first talk where I was able to mention two exciting career developments. As you can see by the screen behind me, I can now talk about three books: Thirteen Reasons Why, The Future of Us, and What Light, which comes out this October!

It takes a long time for me to figure out the best way to describe a book, so this was my test audience for What Light. And I totally messed it up! But like I said, I was happy they were a great audience.

Here are members of the library's book group, as well as Amy on the far left.

The second development I was finally able to discuss publicly was the upcoming Thirteen Reasons Why Netflix series. The lucky audience in Yorba Linda also had the chance to meet, get pictures with, and speak to some of its producers and writers, who came out from Los Angeles to attend the event.

Maybe the next time I speak I'll have even more news to share!