Thursday, September 26, 2013

BOOKANISTAS: This Song Will Save Your Life

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.


Ok, so when I see that a book is about music in some way or another, I know before I even start reading that it is a Jess Book. (I once read a book where the main character actually didn't like music and I have never related less to a character in my entire reading life.) Also, I've heard so many fantastic things about Leila Sales's writing. I haven't read her other books, but they have been on my radar...and even more so now that I read and loved this one!

Now, Elise is a flawed character. She's not super easy to like all the time. She does some extreme things for all the wrong reasons, she's a complete hypocrite sometimes, she does and says some things that make you want to punch her. But she'd also honest and earnest and really wants to figure out who she is and her place in the world. She's REAL, and that's what I love about her. Because, yes, it's great to read a book and think, wow, I love this character, I would totally be her friend. But, let's be honest, if you spent time inside the thoughts of anyone, even your best friend in the world, you'd find out she did things for the wrong reasons, was a hypocrite sometimes, and thought some things that made you want to punch her. That's how real girls are, even the most awesome girls. So this is why I loved Elise as a character...I loved her FOR her faults, because that's what made her such an awesome character to me. 

So, music + flawed main character = you know Jess is in love. This book had gorgeous writing, too, so it was one that just got me in a way that not a lot of books do. 

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today...


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An Empty Plate (But Only For A Minute)

Did you hear that? That was the sound of PUSH GIRL leaving my plate for the time being and heading off to greener pastures.

Oh man. That feels weird.

So, does this mean I can actually have some free time again?

Hahaha! Yeah, right. I have a quick research trip coming up and then I'm diving back into IRL head first. You know me, I hate free time...even when it comes to my writing life.

And, let's be real, not worrying about the actual writing/revising of PUSH GIRL doesn't mean I'm not worrying about the book at all. Oh no. Now that it's out of my hands, I have nothing to do with myself BUT worry about it.

I've realized through this whole process that I am a total paranoid stress case about everything. Yes, I stress about big things like my (gorgeous) cover and blurbs (gah), but I'm even freaking out majorly over small, dumb things like my author website and facebook page. Every email that arrives in my inbox, even the spam, causes me to flail and tear out my hair. It's unhealthy, yo, and I'm hoping I can learn to handle the immense pressure, stress, and drama of the coming months.

I think I'm going to need lots of CrossFit, lots of naps, and lots of chocolate. And hopefully the last thing doesn't cancel out the first thing.

It's just so weird when everyone talks about publishing/their debut process taking so LONG. So many rounds of editorial revisions, so many months (or even years!) between deal and pub date, all this time to wonder if anything is actually happening or if it's all been some surreal dream. My experience, from beginning to end, has been so totally and completely opposite. Yes, it still feels like a surreal dream, but more because things have been moving at the speed of light. So quickly, in fact, that it's almost been too fast. I want to borrow that time from those other debut authors who are waiting around twiddling their thumbs. I need it!

So, PUSH GIRL comes out in less than six months. And for the next six months, instead of lunging around drinking mai tais, I'll be running around in a hot panic, screaming frantically every time I get a new email. I'm going to be a treat to be around, you guys. An absolute treat.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

BOOKANISTAS: The Dream Thieves

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

I LOVE THESE BOOKS. 

I fell so hard for The Raven Boys, and I was practically drooling in anticipation of the second installment. This one did not disappoint, and I was so excited to be thrown back into this crazy world. 

While all of our favorite characters are featured in this book, the story focuses on Ronan. Oh, Ronan. I have so many feelings about Ronan. I want to give him a hug and I might make out with him while we're hugging it out. And then I might punch him in the face, too. I don't know. He goes through A LOT in this book, and he comes out the other end a different kind of guy. And, oh, his journey. Oh, the things he goes through.

And there are some moments in this book, you guys. OMG, the moments. I don't even want to tell you about them, but there were two parts that made me so fluttery inside. I'm smiling all huge just thinking about them.

There are some new characters here, too, and I'm dying to see how they are going to play out in the rest of the story. 

Oh, and the writing. The beautiful, evocative writing. 

I know this review doesn't actually tell you anything about this book...it's just me flailing around and saying things that don't really make sense. I just find Maggie's books so difficult to talk about. They are weird as hell, but she makes it work SO WELL. So just read them if you haven't already, ok? Then we can flail around together.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to...

Friday, September 13, 2013

PUSH GIRL has a cover!

If you've been hanging out in my Twitter or facebook-sphere over the past couple of days, you know that on Wednesday this little surprise popped up on the Push Girls TV show facebook page:


I LOVED that they were doing something interactive with the cover and getting people involved in creating it. The voting was happening for one day only - people could pick their favorite color combination for the cover of the book and the winner would be announced the following day.

(Yes, I totally voted. I voted for A because I will always vote for hot pink. And I liked how the bright colors popped.)

Then, yesterday, not only was the color winner announced, but the gorgeous cover of PUSH GIRL was revealed on the show's facebook page. That's right, I have a cover and it's absolutely beautiful.


So, as you can see, my favorite color combo didn't win. But I'm totally in love with these colors and I think they look perfect, so it all worked out. I think this cover will appeal to both fans of the TV show and people who have never heard of it and just want to read an awesome YA novel. And I think it will totally stand out on the shelf. It's gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, and I couldn't be happier about it!

Oh, and you know what? Six months from right now this beauty will be on the shelf for all to see. (And buy! And read! Meep!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

BOOKANISTAS: Fangirl

From the author the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


So, I loved Eleanor & Park, but I think I loved Fangirl a little bit more. 

First of all, that cover. I am just madly in love with Noelle Stevenson's art (are you guys reading Nimona? If not, get on it), and I love to see it on this book cover. It's just so awesome and so perfect for a book about fandom. 

Second, I really saw myself in the pages of this book, as I think a lot of people will. For me it wasn't so much the fandom stuff, for me it was Cath's extreme introversion and anxiety about her new situation. If you know me at all, you know I can get some major anxiety in unfamiliar social situations, so I saw myself in Cath right away. There's one particular thing she does that is just SO ME that I couldn't believe that Rainbow Rowell wasn't spying on me at some point in my life. (Granted, it's not something I actually did, but it's absolutely something I would have done.) This book just nails life as an introvert and life for someone with social anxiety, and I felt so at home while reading it. 

And, of course, this book has more of the lovely writing that I fell in love with in Eleanor & Park. I wanted to live in these pages while I was reading...so much heart and humor and truth is captured in this book. I hope I can write like this some day. 

This book will appeal to people in fandoms, introverts, fans of Eleanor & Park, people who like a sweet, slow-burn romance, and basically anyone who likes good writing. 


Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to...

Tracey Neithercott is haunted by THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater

Christine Fonseca is intrigued by THIS IS W.A.R by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

(For details on What’s Up Wednesday and to join in, click here.)

What I'm Reading
Reading is on hold for a little bit right now, which is too bad because I have this enormous TBR pile. I checked out WINGER and SEPTEMBER GIRLS from the library, I bought LOSING IT at the used bookstore, and my newly approved list of books on NetGalley is long, long, long. I have so many good books waiting for me, and I can't wait to dive into them. I just need to get through...

What I'm Writing
Revising PUSH GIRL. Deadline is looming, and I'm spending every free second on trying to polish it to a brilliant. Book comes out six months from today, but I'm not freaking out or anything. (LIES.)

Brainstorming for IRL. Dying to get back to it. 

Working on my 2nd semester of my MFA, which requires lots of critical essays. Not very sexy. Also involves doing some work on IRL and also on something new

Project overload, you guys. But that's how I do things. 

What Else I've Been Up To
School started back up again for me, and I have been exhausted. Almost every day when I get home from my very long day, I just face-plant on to the couch and fall asleep for around two hours. I sleep like the dead, too. It's one of those naps where you wake up all confused about where you are and what time it is and what is even happening. I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things, but it's no easy feat.

Luckily my school year is going so much better this year than last year! I don't want to jinx it or anything, but I have some really rad students and I'm excited to get to know them this year. I still have ridiculously large classes, but that's not really going to change. I'm just excited my classes are full of some really great kids. 

What Inspires Me Right Now
There's something about a looming deadline that is unbelievably inspiring!

Aside from that, I made some goals for my personal life that are keeping me moving right now. I made a goal to keep my personal space in my classroom organized (I'm VERY ADD, and my desk often looks like the inside of my head), and just thinking about that goal daily has made this a priority. My classroom is looking super cute, I can find the things I need, and I've been keeping up on this. I even told my students to go ahead and yell at me if it starts to get messy.

I also made a goal to go to CrossFit 4x/week, so that's been inspiring me to get up and work out even if I don't really want to. My membership is REALLY expensive, and I hate to waste money, so I need to make sure I'm making it worth it. But there's nothing more inspiring than results, and the more I go, the more I can tell in my body and endurance. So, even though I want to sleep after work, I drag my tired butt off the couch (well, usually after one of those naps I mentioned), pound a Rockstar, and lift some heavy things. 

I promise a proper blog post soon, you guys. But for now...how are you doing? I miss you! xoxo


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

YA Book Club: Second Chance Summer



It's YA Book Club day! The YA Book Club is hosted by the lovely Tracey Neithercott, and today we are discussing Morgan Mattson's Second Chance Summer.


"But, Jess," you say. "I've been reading your blog for a long time now, and I swear you've talked about this book here before."

You know what, dear reader? You're right. I totally have. (And that's quite the memory you have, there!) I wrote up a Bookanista recommendation for Second Chance Summer last year. You can check it out here.

"And, you know, I think I even remember you posting about it over on YA Confidential."

Wow, you really pay close attention, don't you? You're right. I talked about Second Chance Summer on a YAC post about beach reads. You can check that out here.

"Well then, Jess. Since you've already posted about this book twice, do you have anything new to add to the conversation? I mean, I doubt you went back and re-read it just for the book club."

Wow, you're getting a little snippy aren't you? Jeez.

But, you're right. I don't have anything new to say, really. I loved Second Chance Summer. It made me laugh and cry, and I totally think everyone should read it. And, really, I haven't blogged in forever and I really wanted to play along with the book club fun. *waves to everyone*

Who else read Second Chance Summer? What did you think about it? And be sure to head over to Tracey's blog to visit the other posts participating in book club today!