Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Winner is...EVERYBODY

I'm sorry if the title of this post was misleading. Not everybody won my most recent contest. But to enter, you had to tell me (in some cases, it seemed more like admit to me) which artist you saw at your first concert. The randomly selected winner saw the Backstreet Boys in 1998, which is the tour featured in the video below.

Here they are, everybody, the Backstreet Boys singing Everybody.

And the winner of these seven autographed YA novels...


Tara Lenhoff

Congratulations, Tara! To let us know where to send your books, email a shipping address to, the working email address of a character in The Future of Us. None of your books were pre-signed, so if you want to give any as gifts, let us know who each book should be made out to. And if they should all be personalized to you, that's great, too! (Personally, that's what I would do. But I'm selfish like that!)

And thank you, Kristina McBride, Elizabeth Scott, Jennifer Bosworth, and Cat Patrick, for donating  copies of your amazing novels to this contest.

If you entered but didn't win this contest, I urge you to read every one of the books pictured above. When you do, there's no need to email me your thoughts because I'll respond to you right now: You're welcome.

Monday, June 25, 2012

So Many Autographs, Just One Winner

It's time for another book giveaway! This contest involves five authors autographing books for one of you. Before I tell you how to enter the contest (it's so easy), let me tell you why I'm holding a contest for these specific books.

One of the coolest parts of being an author is being asked to offer quotes for soon-to-be released books. It's a huge honor! For this contest, we're giving away four books that I've blurbed. Three were debut releases from Jennifer Bosworth, Kristina McBride, and Cat Patrick. One is from an author who's been a favorite of mine for years: Elizabeth Scott. Each author has generously donated an autographed copy of their book that I blurbed for this contest. And since Kristina and Cat recently saw the publication of their second novels, they donated autographed copies of those as well!

Here are the covers of all the books you'll win, beginning with the author with the most recent release. How recent? One Moment's publication date is...tomorrow! (Struck, Miracle, and Revived all came out within the past two months.)

And because I'd love to see one of my books included in the same post as those above, I'll also autograph and send you a copy of The Future of Us:

So how do you win these seven autographed books? I'll randomly select one person (must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada) who comments on this blog post. In your comment, tell everyone about your first concert. Who did you see? If you haven't been to a concert yet, who would you love to see?

All comments must be submitted by 11:59pm (PST), June 27th. That's this Wednesday night. There's no need to leave your email address within your comment, just check back on Thursday to see if you've won. In that post, I'll let you know how to send me your mailing address.

My first concert? Well, I have two answers for that. The first group I actually saw perform was the cast of Kids Incorporated, back when I was a kid myself. That's right! I saw Stacy Ferguson before she was Fergie. Kids Incorporated played on a stage set up mid-field at Santa Anita Park (they race horses there when not hosting future members of The Black Eyed Peas).  But my first "big boy" concert, which I went to in high school on New Year's Eve with my friend and his sister, was Poison. It was during their Flesh & Blood tour (shown below).

That's right. Kids Incorporated and Poison. So? What's yours???

Here are the descriptions of all six books being given away in this contest.

Maggie remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party. She remembers climbing the trail with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below–dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

Two years ago Noelle disappeared. Two long years of no leads, no word, no body.

Since the abduction, Tessa, her best friend, has lived in a state of suspended animation. She has some friends, but keeps them distant. Some interests, but she won’t allow herself to become passionate about them. And guys? She can’t get close—she knows what it is like to really lose someone she cared for.

And then, one day, the telephone rings. Noelle is alive.

And maybe, just maybe, Tess can start to live again, too.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency's true goals, she realizes she's at the center of something much larger -- and more sinister -- than she ever imagined.

Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come.

When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.

Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved....

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long--at least, up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto Facebook . . . but Facebook hasn't been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates--it's all there. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right--and wrong--in the present.

(I know, that last one sounds particularly awesome!)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ithaca, NY

This past weekend, I spoke at the first annual Teen Author Fest in Ithaca, NY.

When I announced that speaking engagement, I was bombarded with messages saying I was going to love that town. And now that I've been there, I wish I had arranged to stay an extra day. Ithaca has so many beautiful creeks and waterfalls, quirky shops, and great places to eat.

Of course, I still got to meet three great authors!

We each spoke and answered questions for about 90 minutes. First up was Elisa Ludwig...

then Madeleine George...

then Shawn Goodman.

I spoke last, but between Madeleine and Shawn, a great student band played during lunch. Introducing...B├╝mph!

After the Author Fest, I strolled through The Commons in downtown Ithaca. As you may already know, I'm kind of a space geek. But I didn't know Carl Sagan had been a professor at Cornell (in Ithaca). In his memory, they built a scale model of the solar system, which begins downtown with the sun, and leads to the Sciencenter.

Here I am at the sun.

The hole in the structure represents the size of the sun. Over my left shoulder, you can sort of see the structure representing Earth (Mercury and Venus are out of frame). That structure also includes a sun-size hole, with a to-scale dot representing Earth placed in the middle. The structure itself is the to-scale distance between our planet and the sun. This solar system continues out to Pluto. Thankfully, they put too much work into the installation to remove Pluto when those dang scientists decided it wasn't a planet.

Then I took a trip to the Ithaca City Cemetery as research for a possible future writing project. As with anything spooky, it looks much better photographed in black-and-white.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Have you read through the nearly 200 comments left on my last post? If not, do yourself a favor and take the time. When you all told me about your favorite childhood toys, I was reminded of so many toys I had loved but nearly forgotten about. Some of your stories and descriptions were hilarious, and some very touching.

And seriously? There was a doll you could put in light to give her a tan?

Apparently so.

And the person who won all 10 bestselling children's paperback novels is...

Going to have to wait a moment.


If you're near Ithaca, New York this Saturday, I'll be speaking at their library's Teen Author Fest. Check out this website for more info. It's a full day of authors speaking (as opposed to writing, which is rather boring to watch), answering questions, and signing books.

Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

The winner of One Direction: Dare to Dream, Divergent, The Book Thief, The Lost Hero, Thirteen Reasons Why, Matched, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Out of My Mind, Between Shades of Gray, and Turtle in Paradise is...

(hopefully not your real name)

Gallaghergirlxox (if that is your real name, I was only kidding) had a glow-in-the-dark Care Bear as her favorite toy. If she couldn't sleep, she held onto that Glow-A-Lot for protection. And Gallaghergirlxox's (I'm starting to enjoy typing that!) Care Bear loved having stories read to it.

To claim your prize, send your mailing address to (which is actually the email address of one of the main characters in The Future of Us, but she's letting me use it for this contest because she's awesome like that).

As a reminder, there will be another multi-book contest later this month. And for that contest, four authors will be autographing books for you.

Gallaghergirlxox!!! (I just had to type it one more time.)

Saturday, June 09, 2012


To celebrate Thirteen Reasons Why making it on the New York Times best sellers list for its 113th week (65/hardcover, 48/paperback), it's time for another giveaway!

This will be a random drawing, so there's no reason not to enter. None! Especially because the prize is something we all love...


The winner will receive a copy of every book on the latest Children's Paperback best sellers list:

One Direction: Dare to Dream - Divergent - The Book Thief - The Lost Hero
Thirteen Reasons Why
- Matched -
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Out of My Mind - Between Shades of Gray -Turtle in Paradise

You may already own some of these titles (supposedly, they're all selling very well), but that makes the timing of this contest even better. Books make great gifts, and the holiday season is only six months away. I will, of course, sign your copy of Thirteen Reasons Why to whoever you'd like. And if you want me to sign any of the other books, that's cool, too. (How many people can say they have a copy of One Direction: Dare to Dream autographed by me? Those things are rare!)

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post, letting me know your favorite childhood toy. Then check back Tuesday morning to see if you've won. There's no need to leave an email address, just your name. If you win, I'll give you info on how to send me your mailing address.

Entries must be posted by this Monday at 11:59pm (PST).

If you don't win, keep checking back. There will be another contest later this month involving four authors and five books...all autographed.

Good luck!

Oh, and my favorite childhood toy?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Letters About Literature

Each year, the Library of Congress runs a Letters About Literature contest, asking students in grades 4 through 12 to write letters to authors. The students are to tell the authors how one of their books affected them. For this contest, the letters aren't actually mailed to the authors (which makes sense, because the rules state that the authors can be deceased), but the winning letters are posted online.

And one letter is to me!!!

(Thankfully, I still have the ability to read my letter
due to the fact that I'm not a deceased author.)

Almost 70,000 students from across the country submitted letters this year. Two letters from each category (grades 4-6, 7-8, 9-12) were selected as winners. Each winner got a $500 giftcard to Target (which partners with the Library of Congress for the contest), and each winner also got to choose their favorite library, which will receive a $10,000 grant.

What an amazing contest!

I've already reversed the contest and written to Amber-Nicole Watty to tell her how much her letter means to me. You can read her winning letter here. And if you're anything like me, you'll be crying by the time you reach the end.