Monday, November 28, 2011

One Big Family Circle

I walked into a supermarket today and bought the December issue of Family Circle magazine. I also bought a quart of milk and a Heath bar, but I've purchased those items many times without telling you, so why Family Circle?

Because they have great taste in literature!

(photo courtesy of my smartphone)

If that review has anything to do with my mom subscribing to Family Circle for many years, then thank you, Mom!

For those of you who live locally, Dave Congalton will interview me from 5-6pm on KVEC 920 this Wednesday, November 30. If you live out-of-range, you can still listen online and call in to ask me a question. For a short time in high school, I interned at KVEC, even delivering one on-air news report (thankfully, lost forever).

And if you live nearby, or happen to be traveling nearby this weekend, I'll be signing copies of The Future of Us and Thirteen Reasons Why at the San Luis Obispo Barnes & Noble this Saturday, December 3, beginning at 4pm. I worked at this B&N for a bit while writing Thirteen Reasons Why, but I mostly worked in the cafe where I messed up many drink orders. If you remember me messing up your mocha, latte, or iced coffee (I still blush over that one), stop by and I'll buy you another one.

And I promise to let the professionals make it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


If you've seen my last two posts, you know that Carolyn Mackler and I were in Chicago for a conference. This was the National Council of Teachers of English/Assembly on Literature for Adolescents conference, which means there were a whole lot of teachers who know their grammar. Which means I was constantly saying, "Sorry! That's why I have an editor!"

It was the first time we signed hardcovers of The Future of Us together, which was a moment we'd been waiting for! Our genius publicist (I don't think she sleeps), Elyse, is standing between us in this photo.

In terms of excitement, a close second to signing books and meeting readers is getting to meet authors for the first time. And NCTE/ALAN was great for meeting authors!

Ned Vizzini

Sarah Zarr

Michelle Hodkin

Megan McCafferty

That evening, Penguin held a delicious (delicious!) dinner, with even more authors.

Jacqueline Woodson

Stephanie Perkins

The next day, Carolyn and I attended a great YA author booksigning at Anderson's Bookshop. I think we should come up with a word to describe a group of authors. Something like a gaggle or a pride of authors. Not those, but something! Any ideas?

This signing featured the two of us, Coe Booth, Jeff Hirsch, Heather Brewer, A.S. King, C.J. Hill, Stephanie Perkins, Jackie Kessler, and David Levithan. David moderated the evening, asking each author very insightful questions. I would've attended this event even if I wasn't speaking/signing (thankfully, I was!). In a beautiful moment, after several authors expressed how difficult their time in high school was, David mentioned how supportive and warm the feeling is when YA authors get together at events like these. He commented on how wonderful it would've been to attend high school with each other, and all of us immediately realized the truth in that statement. Even if I only see these authors once every few years, they are my friends.

On our final day in Chicago, Carolyn and I spoke in front of a huge roomful of people about how we wrote The Future of Us and why we decided to work together. One day, hopefully soon, we'll speak in a town near you!

And now, I'm on my way to the airport to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

Hopefully my seatmate lets me sleep!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweet Satisfaction!

Carolyn Mackler and I wanted to physically see The Future of Us on bookstore shelves the first day of its release (which, y'know, is today!). Since we're both in Chicago for a conference, our lovely editor (and fellow author), Jocelyn Davies, found a store only a few blocks from our hotel.

Because we also wanted to sign whatever books they had in stock, we first made sure they had copies so we didn't embarrass ourselves. ("We're here to sign copies of The Future of Us. Oh, you don't? Have a nice day!")

But they did have copies. Lots of copies! Actual books. In an actual store! We flipped them open to also see the actual words. And then, much like how we wrote the book, we both wanted to monitor what the other one was doing.

Then we got down to business. Along with signing the new book, we also signed copies of Thirteen Reasons Why and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things.

But then I decided, even though I already had several free copies of The Future of Us at home, I wanted the joy of buying a copy.

Shortly after purchase, I flipped it open and told the very sweet person on the other side of the counter (Remember us, Christine?), that the dialogue sounded awfully familiar. I felt like I'd read the book before.

Christine said that was probably unlikely. "The book just came out today." But I was sure I'd read it, so I wanted to return the book. Although a bit confused, Christine returned it and gave me back my cash.

And Carolyn hid her face in her hands.

The real reason I did this is because I didn't want anyone else to have the sick satisfaction of being the first person to return a copy of the book. I wanted that person to be me!

Carolyn and Jocelyn left for previously scheduled meetings, and I stayed to browse. Within five minutes, a woman approached me. She was a teacher visiting from Minnesota, had just purchased a copy of The Future of Us, and was told I might still be in the store.

So thank you, Jennifer, for balancing out the first day sales!


I live in California. Carolyn Mackler lives in New York. By some perfect alignment of the stars, we're both speaking at a conference in Chicago on the same day that the The Future of Us is released.

And that day is...


A few minutes before midnight, I was almost ready for bed, wearing my pajamas and the cheetah robe that had been hanging in the closet. Carolyn called me down to join her outside the hotel where all of the Penguin authors are staying. It was time for the big countdown! Our editor, Jocelyn Davies, was there to capture the moment.

We're going to spend the morning hopping in and out of bookstores, signing any copies they have in stock. In the evening, we'll join some of our favorite authors at Anderson's Bookshop for a massive YA signing.

And throughout the entire day, I'm sure I'll have a giddy energy making me extremely hyper and happy. I know it'll be annoying to anyone within fifty feet of me, but...oh well!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Future Friday #13: Winner

Before I announce the winner, I want to thank all of you who entered any of the thirteen contests in our countdown to The Future of Us. Carolyn Mackler and I enjoyed reading every one of your comments. You've given us great suggestions for things to read and watch and listen to, made us laugh a lot, and brought tears to our eyes much more often than we expected.

Thank you so much for sharing with us.

And now...

Congratulations to Sabrina for being randomly selected to win the thirteenth and final round of Future Friday giveaways! To claim your goodies, send your mailing address to If you don't know who Emma Nelson is, you will when you start reading The Future of Us!

Heading into Thanksgiving, Sabrina is thankful for "all of the writing I've been able to do (and have published) this past year and all of the wonderful people I've been able to meet and network with."

For those of you didn't win, you'll get your chance to find out who Emma Nelson is (as well as her next door neighbor, Josh Templeton) when our book is released this Monday, November 21st!

Carolyn and I barely knew each other when we began working on this book, but we became great friends during the process. It was the best writing experience either of us have ever had, and we can't wait for you to read the story that came out of that experience.

When you do read it, please let us know what you think!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Future Friday #13: Thankful

To countdown the release of The Future of Us (November 21st...this coming Monday!), Carolyn Mackler and I have been giving away one autographed Advance Reader’s Copy every week. Along with that autographed copy (signed by both of us), we’ve been tossing in another goodie that's book-related.

For our thirteenth and final giveaway, we're tossing in six bonus items. Along with the signed ARC of The Future of Us, you'll receive signed paperback editions of all six of our previous books. (Yes, Carolyn's published a lot more books than I have. Lay off!)

That's seven books and eight autographs for the price of...nothing!

We'll randomly select one person who comments on this Future Friday post to receive all of those books. There’s no need to leave your email address, but do check back on Saturday to see if you’ve won.

Since our book comes out on Monday, and Thursday is Thanksgiving, we decided to break from what we've traditionaly done in these contests. We're not going to ask you about the past or the future, we simply want to know about the present. Right now, which is the most important time of your time, what are you most thankful for?

Here are our answers:

JAY: I'm thankful for my wife, who knows all of my dreams and refuses to let me think they're anything but possible realities. I'm thankful for my son, who has no idea how beautiful he makes my world. I'm thankful for my family and friends who know the complete me, including the not-so-fun stuff that I don't blog about, and still provide me with all the support and love I need. And finally, I'm thankful to any scientist currently working to prove that onions are the source of all evil and, therefore, should be wiped out of existence.

CAROLYN: I'm thankful for my family. Simple as that. I'm thankful that I have a wonderful husband who loves me, who supports me through tough times and cheers my successes. I'm thankful for my two beautiful boys who are, every day, miracles to me. I'm thankful for my parents, who love me fiercely. I'm thankful for my friends, who are family to me. I feel very lucky in my life to be surrounded by so much love.

JAY & CAROLYN: We're thankful for our readers!

While you wait to see if you've won, check out some of the cool press The Future of Us has been getting recently:
Los Angeles Times - review
New York Times - review
Entertainment Weekly - interview
Publishers Weekly - interview
MTV Hollywood Crush - blog post

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


When Carolyn Mackler and I had one week left to edit The Future of Us, we began to get a bit loopy. Too many late nights, too many donuts (for me), and too much staring at the computer screen was a little...too much!

One evening, during a late night barrage of back-n-forth emails with my cross-country co-writer, one of us had a fascinating realization. Our book is set in 1996. Our characters initially have no idea what Facebook is, though it magically appears on one of their computers. So, when they search for their friends and family members in the future, the profile pictures they see then would be the same pictures we'd see if we searched those names today.

Thus began an absolutely hilarious (especially when you're tired) email exchange, linking to the various Facebook profiles our characters would find. And sometimes, the pictures they'd find, which just might be their friends/family, would have freaked them out!

But you know what's making me loopy right now? Knowing that my next book comes out in just a few days!!!

Speaking of... If you haven't seen the exclusive yet, here's the official book trailer for The Future of Us.

Did you notice that little stuffed animal next to Emma's computer? That's Snort, a Beanie Baby that Emma could've actually owned. And how do I know its name? Because my parents still own it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The U.K. Edition!

(Reminder: The American edition debuts next week. Make sure you've got your copy pre-ordered today!)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Last School Visit as a Debut Author

This is my favorite time to speak at schools around the country. I get to see something that doesn't happen much where I live. The trees change colors and a whole bunch of leaves fall to the ground. It's crazy! It's beautiful! And for some ridiculous reason, I forgot to take any photos of it.

But you know what else is crazy and beautiful? A hotel decorated by the guy who created the Precious Moments figurines.

The hotel has a Precious Moments gift shop, and two Precious Moments paintings in every room. And while I do think those big-eyed toddlers are...well...precious, their images can be kind of scary to wake up to in the middle of the night. It felt like the beginning of a Precious Final Moments horror movie.

But when the lights were on, yes, it was a very nice hotel.

Carthage High School (in Missouri) was also very nice. And whenever I get to a school and see my name on the marquee, I get both nervous and excited.

My teenage self would freak out to know I fly around the country to speak at high schools about being an author. He'd think it was both cool and scary.

And it is!

But mostly just cool.

On my first full day in Carthage, I spoke four times at the high school. Here, you can see my first Powerpoint slide, which is the cover of Thirteen Reasons Why.

That evening, I gave a presentation open to the public, attended by students and book club members from private schools and surrounding cities. The next day, I was back at Carthage High School for four more presentations.

At some point, I realized that this was my last school visit as a debut author. The next time I give a school presentation, my second book will be out. And here you can see me telling the students about that book, The Future of Us.

And when I came home, after being gone only three days, Isaiah showed me a new skill his mommy had taught him.

Future Friday #12: Winner

Congratulations to Selenia for being randomly selected to win the twelfth round of Future Friday giveaways! To claim your goodies, send your mailing address to If you don't know who Emma Nelson is, you will when you start reading The Future of Us.

Selenia's favorite romantic comedy movie is Kate & Leopold. I've been meaning to watch this movie for a while, so now I'll bump it up to the top of my list.

See ya next Friday for your very last chance to win a signed Advanced Reader's Copy of The Future of Us!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Future Friday #12: Romantic Comedy Movies

To countdown the release of The Future of Us (November 21st!), Carolyn Mackler and I will give away one autographed Advance Reader’s Copy every week. Along with the autographed copy (signed by both of us), we’ll toss in another goodie that's book-related.

For our twelfth giveaway, the bonus item is a time-warp clock.

Yes, the clock actually works. And because we're so generous, we'll install a fresh battery and set it to your time zone before we mail it.

We'll randomly select one person who comments on this Future Friday post to receive both prizes. There’s no need to leave your email address, but do check back on Saturday to see if you’ve won.

This week, since we already asked you to tell us your favorite time travel movie and your favorite movie released in 1996, we want you to tell us your favorite romantic comedy. Here are a couple of rom-com lists to get you started.

And here are our answers:

It has to be When Harry Met Sally. It's perfect. I thought it at 16 and I think it now. Funny, heartfelt, quirky. It still holds up!

50 First Dates. I expected this movie to be funny, but I didn't expect it to almost make me cry. I said 'almost' because I don't cry at movies. I don't! It piece of popcorn in my eye. Buttered popcorn.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Playing...I Mean, Working...In Las Vegas

The past few days, I've been at the Vegas Valley Book Festival. I know most of the following pictures look like I was running around Vegas having a lot of fun. And yes, that is absolutely correct. But I was also there to work.

My first night in town, I attended the opening keynote by Max Brooks. He's the author of World War Z and is extremely funny. The entire time he spoke, I kept thinking, this guy should be a comedian. It wasn't until I got back to my hotel and did my research that I found out Max is the son of Mel Brooks.

Then I checked into my hotel, which had a shark tank!

Obviously, there are more than just card sharks in Vegas. (HA! HA! HA! HA! *ahem*) And that tube running down the middle? It's part of the waterslide! I so wanted to go down the slide, but like I said, I was there to work.

Of course, right outside my hotel was Fremont Street, which had some really cool coverbands playing. This one, called Arena, played the best hard rock songs from the 80s. Pour Some Sugar On Me. Bad Medicine. Runnin' With the Devil. Awesome!

And then there was an 80s pop coverband. Great songs and cheesy dancing!

And yes, I also worked. I spoke at two high schools. First, I spoke in an auditorium at Chaparral High School with a few hundred students, then a smaller room at Rancho High School where almost everyone in the room had read my book. Both visits were very fun...but they're still considered work!

That night, a flock/herd/pack of YA authors who were speaking at the festival were given complimentary tickets to see Blue Man Group. If you've never seen them, it is such an energetic, hilarious, insanely weird show (including Twinkie spewage)!

Here I am post-show Man Solo?

Here's a long-shot of Fremont Street later that evening. See those people hanging on wires? They're actually sailing overhead on ziplines. And yes, I did rock that zipline!

Okay, back to work. Saturday moring, I walked down to the festival hub, where I spoke on two YA panels. But first, I chatted with the amazing people representing the It Gets Better Project. I purchased a shirt from Ross and Stephanie, and then they threw in a smaller shirt for Isaiah.

On the first panel, we discussed writing realistic fiction for teens. From left to right are moderator Lindsey Leavitt, Emily Wing Smith, Daisy Whitney, Lisa Schroeder, Liz Gallagher, and me.

The second panel discussed fiction that included a paranormal twist. Since The Future of Us fits nicely into this category, I got to speak again! But I jumped off the stage near the end of the panel to take this photo of Crystal Perkins (who coordinated the YA author events), moderator Daisey Whitney, Cat Patrick, Suzanne Young, Lindsey Leavitt, and Heather Davis.

There were even more great authors at this event that I had the opportunity to hang out with, but I'm going to have to end the post here. Las Vegas wore me out. So now I'm going to get some shut-eye in the airport. Since I missed my connection due to weather, this place is my new hotel.

And while I am tired, if they had a waterslide that went through a shark tank, I would definitely ride it before bed!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Future Friday #11: Winner

Congratulations to Love Between Pages for being randomly selected to win the eleventh round of Future Friday giveaways! To claim your goodies, send your mailing address (and t-shirt size) to If you don't know who Emma Nelson is, you will when you start reading The Future of Us!

L.B.P. wants to read Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans (published in 1996), recently read Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, and is "counting down the days until the release of The Future of Us."

To help L.B.P. out, you only need to keep counting down for another sixteen days!

See ya next Friday for your second-to-last chance to win an Advanced Reader's Copy of The Future of Us.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Future Friday #11: Past/Present/Future Reading

To countdown the release of The Future of Us (November 21st!), Carolyn Mackler and I will give away one autographed Advance Reader’s Copy every week. Along with the autographed copy (signed by both of us), we’ll toss in another goodie that's book-related.

For our eleventh giveaway, the bonus item is a bookface t-shirt, as seen in the video below. The winner will get to choose the t-shirt size, so you can win it for yourself or use it as a gift. And I suppose if you really want the actual t-shirt that I'm wearing in the video (filmed last summer in the humid heat of New Orleans), that can be arranged. But...ewwww!

We'll randomly select one person who comments on this Future Friday post to receive both prizes. There’s no need to leave your email address, but do check back on Saturday to see if you’ve won.

This week's contest has three parts.

PAST: In Future Friday #3, we asked you to name your favorite book that was published in 1996 (it had to be a book you've read). Now, we want to know which book published in 1996 you want to read, but haven't. To help you along, here's a fairly good list of titles.

PRESENT: Tell us a book you're currently reading, or the last book you've read.

FUTURE: Let us know which book you're most excited about reading that hasn't been released yet, but will be released in 17 days, and was co-written by a woman in New York and a man in California.

Here are our answers:

PAST - Religious secrets and historical fiction? I have no idea why I haven't already read POPE JOAN by Donna Woolfolk Cross.
PRESENT - I was never into role-playing games, but have always been fascinated by them...and the people who play them. FANTASY FREAKS AND GAMING GEEKS by Ethan Gilsdorf explores both.
FUTURE - I've already pre-ordered my e-book of THE FUTURE OF US, but I can't wait to buy a hardcopy the day it comes out, too!!!

PAST - I never read THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks, and was just recently thinking that I should.
PRESENT - I just finished an advance copy of REVIVED by Cat Patrick and really liked it.
FUTURE - I am most looking forward to seeing THE FUTURE OF US hit the bookstores!!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Isaiah's First Halloween

Sometimes I wonder, as babies go through the seasons for the first time, if it's just one confusing moment after another. Just when they think they've got things figured out, here comes Halloween!

We decided to start things off slowly. A lot of people don't celebrate Halloween (cuz dressing up like Muppets is evil, or something), and we wanted to incorporate a harvest celebration, so we picked the very first veggie out of our garden.

I swear, I did not slowly tweak this cucumber in an attempt to get the garden to spell my name.

And if I did, I quickly realized how hard it would be to get an A or a Y.

Years ago, JoanMarie and I dressed up as Kermit and Miss Piggy for Halloween. This year, we added their offspring.

Then we were out the door. The reason for the season. Candy!!!

Isaiah caught on quickly.

After collecting a massive eight pieces of candy, he was satisfied and ready for bed.

Thankfully, eight pieces is easy to divide between Big Kermit and Miss Piggy.