Top Shelf Tuesday

April 19, 2011

What I’m reading and loving this week. Chime in with your own recommendations!

1. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart
2. Accomplice, Eireann Corrigan
3. How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff      


Today’s the day, people! Figment and readergirlz have partnered to promote the 2010 Rock the Drop celebration in honor of YALSA’s Support Teen Lit Day. Download a bookplate, slip it into a beloved YA novel, and “drop” that book for an unsuspecting reader to find! Snap a photo of your “drop” and send it to readergirlz or figment to be featured on the blog, and you’re entered to win a set of Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart.

What are you waiting for? Go rock the drop!

See what I did there?

Yeah, at the risk of being a broken record, this week is all about Rock the Drop.
Now that ALA’s list of most frequently-banned books has been released, why not consider dropping a BANNED book tomorrow? Way to make two times the statement about teen lit, and literacy!

Also, note that the winner of “most creative ‘drop'” will receive a complete set of Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart, the most recent of which, Real Live Boyfriends, was well worth the– ahem — wait.

I hope you’re as excited about Rock the Drop as I am! In the meantime, here’s some footage of myself and Ms. Jones being VERY stealth as we pulled off last year’s Drop:

Bookish goings-on and such.







*If you’ve been following the legendary self-publishing success of Amanda Hocking, you probably won’t be surprised to read about her monster book deal with St. Martin’s of last week. Details here. (WARNING: You might not want to read this unless you’re feeling REALLY confident about your own earning potential as a writer….)

Chasing Ray’s Colleen Mondoor has a thoughtful post up raising what are sure to be the bigger questions about Hocking’s deal, and what this does (or doesn’t) mean for the self-published author in the digital age. Though I can see quite clearly that e-book deals can (and will) be lucrative for a certain type of author – namely, those who write very commercial fiction, most likely serialized, who develop passionate, rabid fan bases – I don’t know that Hocking’s model is applicable to any old writer out there. I don’t begrudge Hocking her mondo-deal because, hey, live the dream, sister!, but I do see Mondoor’s point that a ridonk advance to one author means fewer smaller advances to other, more unproven (aka less-hyped) writers.

That’s a problem, no?

Fact is, to me, anything (including any book deal) that indicates that readers are jazzed about books is a-ok by me. But I do find myself frustrated by these ever-more-jaw-dropping mega deals being reported that essentially tell me what I’m going to LOVE in the upcoming season. Big books have always existed, and likewise, so has buzz. But buzz is different than hype, in that buzz is usually generated by legitimate enthusiasm, whereas hype is fanfare. By throwing wads and wads of cash at a book, a publisher is telling me, YOU WILL CARE ABOUT THIS. I mean, maybe I will. But being dared to, to the tune of zillions of dollars, makes me feel all itchy and twitchy inside.

How could any book possibly live up to that claim?

Give me a good sleeper hit, one that takes a few months to build a fiercely loyal following, and I’m there. I don’t want to get psyched about something just because someone in a corner office told me to.

(*Side note: Colleen also wonders if Hocking’s e-book fans are going to be willing to pay full price for her books rather than the reduced e-book rate they’ve grown to expect. We’ll see!)

*Oh! But there are other writers out there, too – including moi! I’m going to be presenting a workshop to a group of major-talented high school writers as part of this Long Island English Scholars Program on Friday! That’s tomorrow! We’re talking about breaking rules in our narrative form. Though I’ve been teaching grown-ups about young adult writing for almost three years now (there’s still room to sign up for the April session, by the way!), I have very little experience with working with actual, honest-to-goodness young adults. I can’t decide if I’m more nervous, or more excited. Bit of both, it would seem.


*Double Oh! Tonight is the release party for Sweet Valley Confidential. I. CANNOT. WAIT. Were you Team Elizabeth, or Team Jessica?

*Last but not least, the Children’s Choice Book Awards finalists were announced last week. Congrats, finalists!

Top Shelf Tuesday

March 29, 2011

What I’m reading and loving this week. Chime in with your own postcards from the stacks!








2. TENDER MORSELS, Margo Lanagan

3. ETERNAL, Cynthia Leitich Smith









Bookish goings-on and such.


*’s Featured Title of the week is the very excellent JULIAN GAME by Adele Griffin. I devoured this one.The theme of the month is Risk-taking; swing by and join the conversation!

*The inimitable @Literaticat (for those of you on twitter) offers a great post on how to proceed when your agent just isn’t feeling the love. Sounds like an icky situation that I’ve thankfully had yet to face, but her advice reads sound as ever.

*And speaking of twitter, last week’s twitter #kidlitchat was all about the evolution of self-publishing in the digital age. At my last check-in, folks were tearing up the keyboard; everyone’s got an opinion about this topic.

*On Tuesday night I went to a book release party for the very grown-up nonfiction title THE BLAME GAME by Ben Dattner. It was not unlike a typical YA book release party, except for how I was the only one there (to my knowledge) currently making a living writing YA books.

*Authoress and fellow Denizen of the Dark Side Sarah Darer Littman offers up a full recap of last week’s NYC Teen Author Fest, so now I don’t have to. Thanks, Sarah! And thanks for saying amazing things about my book in front of a room full of people!

*Ooh! Cover reveal for A BEAUTIFUL DARK by debut novelist (and former student/all-around cutie) Jocelyn Davies. Can’t wait!

*Finally, in honor of her forthcoming BFF BREAKUP, another former student and current fellow-author-and-friend (and cutie!) Taylor Morris is holding BFF Tuesdays on her blog.

Those are the highlights from these parts, people – how have bookish things been for you?

Top Shelf Tuesday

March 22, 2011

What I’m reading and loving this week. Chime in with your own postcards from the stacks!


2. SMALL TOWN SINNERS, Melissa Walker

3. DROUGHT, Pam Bachorz