Thursday, March 28, 2013

Interview with TBF author: Jennifer E. Smith

Hello readers!

Spring break is just around the corner! Vacation time is the best time to sit down and read tons of books. If you haven't already read Jennifer E. Smith's books, this is the golden opportunity. Jennifer is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Look Like.

Miranda Reads: In the Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight I must admit that Oliver is quite the charmer. Is Oliver based on someone you know?
Jennifer E. Smith: He’s not, actually, though I have a good friend with an accent whose middle name happens to be Oliver, and he likes to tell everyone that the character is based on him!

MR: Do you believe in love at first sight? Why?
JES: I believe in connections at first sight – a spark of interest and a feeling that you want to get to know a person better.  In spite of the title, I’m not quite as convinced by the googly-eyed, swoony version of love at first sight, though I’m both an optimist and a romantic, so I guess it’s nice to believe it’s at least possible.  You never know…

MR: Your latest book, This is What Happy Looks Like will be released in April. Can you tell us what it's about?
JES: It’s about what happens when an email goes astray, sparking an unlikely relationship between two very different teens from opposite ends of the country – a girl from a small town in Maine, and a boy from California who happens to be a movie star.  Like Statistical Probability, the story explores the idea of fate quite a bit.

MR: In YA literature, it seems that almost every book has some sort of an “epic love triangle” (ie. the Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle from the Twilight Saga; the Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle from the Hunger Games trilogy). Readers love them or don’t like them. What’s your personal opinion about “love triangles”?
JES: You know, I really do enjoy them in other books, but I’ve never actually included one in any of my own.  In some ways, I guess it feels like an artificial conflict, and so far, I’ve been more interested in exploring other obstacles that face two people in a relationship.  But I’m a sucker for reading about them in other books, and I’d love to potentially try one at some point.

MR: One of your fun facts says that you went to St. Andrews in Scotland and missed Will and Kate by 1 year. If you were at St. Andrews the time that Will and Kate were there, what would you say to them? Would you ask for their autographs?
JES: It would have been really cool to meet them, though I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had the nerve to say anything at all.  A friend of mine who was there at the time once asked William if she could borrow a pen during class.  That’s probably about as far as I would have gotten too!

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
JES: It’s a great line-up this year, and there are so many authors I really admire, and others who are good friends, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.  But the person I’m most excited to meet is definitely Michael Morpurgo.  I was first introduced to his work when I was living in the UK, and I absolutely loved Private Peaceful, and of course, War Horse, as well.  So I’m really looking forward to meeting him.

Thanks Jennifer!

Make sure you enter the giveaway by suggesting an appropriate song (in the comment box) for Stephanie should sing at TBF. The grand prize is 10 door prize tickets. The giveaway ends April 22.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Yes!! Another TBF giveaway!!

53 days until TBF! Isn't that crazy? It seems only yesterday that we had our TBF Read-a-thon fundraiser. Elizabeth and I are super excited for TBF that we decided to have one last giveaway of this year.

Giveaway: 10 door prize tickets! With these door prize tickets, you will have a chance to win a stack of books and other prizes as well.

How to enter: in the comment box below, suggest a song Stephanie and the other TBF committee should sing at the opening ceremony. Please pick an appropriate song with no swear words.

Giveaway deadline: April 22nd


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan

David Levithan’s How They Met, and Other Stories is a collection of short stories, many of which were written as Valentine’s Day gifts for his friends and family. There’s a whole array of these love stories – or as David Levithan calls them, “stories about love.” There’s at least one story here for everyone, no matter what you’re looking for.

I just checked this book out from the library less than three days ago, and once I started reading it, I finished it incredibly quickly – less than a day later! I thought it was a really great anthology; normally I might read most of the short stories in one, but I read every single one in How They Met. What makes this book especially cool (besides David Levithan’s amazing writing) is that it actually includes several stories that he wrote as a teen, and those stories are just as good as the ones he wrote an adult. It’s really cool to see how some of our favourite authors really just started out like us.

Check out David Levithan’s website at . There's tons of cool stuff on it, and while you're waiting for TBF, you can read one of his numerous other books, like Boy Meets Boy, Marly's Ghost, or Every Day.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guest Blogger- Jeffrey Taccetta

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2001


       Hello all!! My name is Jeffrey Taccetta and I am currently a Graduate student in the Literacy Education Program at Nazareth College of Rochester. I am an avid reader that constantly looks for that new book to pick up and delve into. I recently read Terry Trueman’s novel Stuck in Neutral for an assignment in my Young Adult Literature class and really enjoyed it. Upon finishing the book, I told myself that I had to read the next book, Cruise Control to find out how the rest of the story unfolded. I really enjoy reading Young Adult Literature because of the way the genre opens your eyes as a reader to understanding how challenging and rewarding life can be for a young adult. In my future career as an educator, I plan on using and implementing more and more young adult literature novels into my curriculum because I believe there is a Young Adult Novel waiting for every student in every class, waiting to be read and enjoyed. 

 "I watch his chest rise. It's as though he is lifting himself up one last time. A final stand? I see the pillow in his lap. He pauses and takes a deep, slow breath. Has it all come down to this?"
                                              -Stuck in Neutral

These quotes have been cemented in my brain, just as they are now a fixture to this blog. I feverishly finished Terry Trueman’s Stuck in Neutral and needed more than what was offered (Thanks, Mr. Trueman). Fortunately, my voracious appetite would be soothed by the companion book (not the sequel) Cruise Control.
*Monroe County Library link for Stuck in Neutral-

For those of you that have not read Stuck in Neutral, the story of Shawn, I highly suggest reading this incredible perspective of a young man that has a severe brain condition, cerebral palsy, which leaves him without any muscle movement or ability to communicate. The ending will leave you wondering, and Cruise Control has been tasked with satisfying you, or so I thought.

      I really enjoyed reading Stuck in Neutral, so when I started the second book I naturally anticipated it to be a good read. Cruise Control follows the same storyline but throws a curve ball and puts the reader in the point of view of Shawn’s brother, Paul, the high school senior that happens to be the best athlete in his neck of the woods. Paul’s perspective will open your eyes, grip your heart, and inspire you as he tells you about his struggle as the stud basketball player and the brother of a disabled younger sibling. Not only does Paul battle with himself, he also has to deal with his father, who he refers to as “a piece of butt fluff named Sydney McDaniel.” As you may be able to tell from this lovely introduction, Paul hates his father for leaving the family years back. By the way, silly of me to forget to mention the “anger management problem” Paul has. In order to find out how this volatile concoction will blend, you will have to pick up a copy of Terry Trueman’s Cruise Control.

      I have to be honest, I was hoping for more from this book. Maybe I ask too much of the books I read and this is just another example of that. My original hope was that Cruise Control would pick up where Stuck in Neutral left off, but it tells the same story, only through the eyes of another character. Although, I did enjoy reading the novel and appreciated reading the same story from two different character’s perspectives. Having admitted this, it is important that I recommend reading Stuck in Neutral, Cruise Control, and the actual sequel, Life Happens Next to maximize your enjoyment of this incredible tale of family and the sacrifices we make for it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Instead of March Madness, it's Swoon Madness

Attention TBF readers!

Ethan from the Caster Chronicles (by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl) along with Oliver from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (by Jennifer E. Smith) need YOUR help! On the blog Paper Lanterns Lit, it's Swoon Madness! It's a fun tournament featuring favorite YA literature heroes. Ethan and Oliver are up against some tough swoon-worthy YA heroes. Help Ethan and Oliver win the "Sweet Sixteen" round by voting on the Paper Lantern Lit blog. The polls are closed this Wednesday! So vote for these two swoon-worthy heroes!

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Hello TBF readers,

For TBF 2013 our fundraiser challenge was to raise $8,888. I'm happy to announce that we did it! Whoo-hoo! Huge thanks to all who contributed to the fundraiser. Now, we can all see Stephanie in a prom dress and sing to the authors at TBF 2013!

Getting back on track, I read the first book in the Touch series, Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz. She is also the author of Blue is for Nightmares series and stand-alone novels, Bleed and Project 17.

Until three months ago, everything about sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at an art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes far from ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe he's trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead she's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help – but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something...but he's not the only one with a secret.

What an intense and thrilling novel. A new guy at school who might possibly be a psychopath: check. Receiving creepy love tokens from a sketchy secret admirer: check. Have several people on the suspect list who could be the love stalker: check. Deadly Little Secret is the type of book that you promised to read one more chapter and before you know it, you finished. It was brilliantly written. Readers who like to read paranormal, suspense, mystery and romance will love Deadly Little Secret.

Keep checking the blog. There might be another giveaway soon....


Canvas Literary Journal

A big HI there TBF Fans from your fan Stephanie!

While everyone is counting down the days to TBF (62 of them!) I thought I would share this pretty amazing opportunity for those of you who are also writers!  Below and attached you will find information about a new TEEN driven online magazine, Canvas, through Writers and Books here in Rochester.  Take a look!  And share the info with others you think might be interested!  I know we have a lot of TBF fans who are writers…so this is perfect.  One of these days I just know we are going to have an author featured at TBF who came to TBF as a teen :)  And you can talk about your participation in a magazine!

If you have any questions about the magazine, please contact Kristen King at Writers and Books: Writers and Books ( will also be at TBF again this year…presenting TWO mini writing workshops.  So you can also stop by their table at TBF and ask all about Canvas :)

I will have to wear a prom dress to TBF and sing to our authors during the opening session because we met our fundraising goal!  Thanks (I think LOL) to all who contributed to TBF or who helped us reach our goal in some way!)

Now from Writers and Books!

Poster with more info

Writers & Books recently received a grant to initiate an online teen magazine both for and by teens - Canvas Literary Journal. Our idea is that the literary publication will exist as it’s own website available to the public and will be available for free downloading on e-readers. The ebook will be published quarterly, and we will accept submissions from any teen between ninth and twelfth grade residing in the greater Rochester area.

Not only will Canvas contain submissions exclusively from teenagers, it would also be run by an editorial board of local high schoolers to insure that each publication is representative of, and faithful to, the voices of Rochester youth. The editorial board is responsible for choosing the general guidelines for each submission, the length of each publication, which submissions to accept, themes for each issue, and the general layout of each publication. We have chosen an editorial board, and they are hard at work on our first publication. 

Now we need submissions. 

We are seeking writers between the ages of 13-18 to submit up to two pieces in the following categories: fiction, poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. Each submission must be accompanied by a short author bio including age, grade, and contact information as well as an optional photo. Interested parties can submit pieces in two categories per publication. Submission guidelines are as follows:

  • Fiction – Please limit submissions to 2,500 words
  • Poetry – You may submit more than one poem, but please do not exceed five pages worth of poetry.  
  • Creative NonFiction – Please limit submissions to 2,500 words. 
  • Flash Fiction – You may submit more than one flash fiction story, but please do not exceed five pages worth of flash fiction (with a maximum of 500 words per story).
The deadline for submissions for the premiere edition is Wednesday, April 10th, 2013.  For more information, or to submit your piece(s), please email Kristen Zory King at

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Trailer: Icons by Margaret Stohl

Hey readers!

Have you finished reading the Caster Chronicles by co-authors, Kami Garcia and TBF author, Margaret Stohl? If not, start with the first book, Beautiful Creatures. Here's my review. After reading  Beautiful Creatures, the next book is Beautiful Darkness, (in between is e-novella, Dream Dark) third book is Beautiful Chaos and the fourth and final book is Beautiful Redemption.

Mourning about the end of the Caster Chronicles? There's good news! Margaret Stohl has a new series called Icons. The first book will be released on May 7th, just in time for TBF! Yay!

P.S.--More good news! Kami Garcia also has a new series called Legion. The first, Unbreakable, is expected to be out October 1st. So many books to look forward to this year!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel had been sitting by my bedside table for almost a month before I had the time to start reading it. After I began reading it, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t started it earlier, and I couldn’t put it down either.

 Every girl wants to grow up to be a Spinster, one of the beautiful women who spin the fabric of life. It’s either that or working as a secretary. Once every girl turns 16, they are tested to see if they have the gift to become a Spinster. But Adelice’s parents have told her that she musn’t be chosen; so she tries to fail. But she knows that they will be coming for her. And the life of a Spinster isn’t exactly all fun and games. So how will Adelice escape this life that her parents tried to have her avoid?

Crewel is definitely not what I was expecting, in the best possible way. When the story begins, you think it’s a dystopia, but you’re not completely sure whether it’s sci-fi or fantasy. (I won’t spoil it for you.) As it goes on, you eventually figure it out, but not in the way you were expecting. The characters are also incredibly real, and aren’t just your normal cast – there are things that set them apart from your typical YA characters. The descriptions and the story itself are absolutely enthralling – once I picked up Crewel, I had an incredibly hard time putting it down, and I finished it within just a few days.

I would totally recommend Crewel to everyone; also look at Gennifer Albin’s website at . I hope you’ll not only read Crewel but come and see Gennifer Albin at TBF! (Check out our interview with Crewel’s author, Gennifer Albin.)

Happy reading!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Interview with TBF Author Gennifer Albin

I recently had the oppertunity to ask TBF author Gennifer Albin, author of Crewel (review coming soon!), some questions for our blog. Check out her responces!

Elizabeth Reads: Why did you want to be an author?

Gennifer Albin: It was as close as I could get to being a rockstar with no musical ability. Okay, that's not entirely true (although authors are pretty frickin' awesome, if you ask me). I really love stories. Always have. Always will. And I'm lucky enough that I'm better with words than mathematical equations.

ER: What inspired you to write Crewel?
GA: A painting by Remedios Varo where girls in a tower and embroidering the world. I wanted to tell the story of one of those girls.

ER: How did you dream up Adelice’s world in Crewel?
GA: It all started with the concept of Spinster. In Arras, you want to be a Spinster because they seem to have lavish lives and power. From there I started wondering what that world would look like and it took on this Mad Men vibe, so naturally I wanted everything to have that glamourous feel of the 40s and 50s.

ER: Who was your favourite author as a teen? Were you always a big reader?
GA: That's hard because YA didn't really exist when I was a teen, save for Judy Blume. Most of my teen reading was for class, but we read great books! Honestly! Fitzgerald, Huxley, Dickens, and Shakespeare. I was so very into Shakespeare with I was a teen. I read about Renaissance theatre and made notes in the margins. I guess Shakespeare was my favorite author in high school.

ER: What’s the part about TBF that you’re most excited for?
GA: I hear there's Jell-O wrestling.

ER: What book(s) are you reading now or recently?
GA: I just read ALL THAT GLOWS by Ryan Graudin, which is a lovely spin on a fairytale romance. It comes out next year. I'm about to start THE HOLLOWED ONES by Laura Bickle and I've also been reading MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE.

ER: When's the next Crewel book coming out?
GA: OCTOBER 29, 2013! It will be here before I know it.

I for one am totally excited about meeting Gennifer Albin at TBF. I ADORED Crewel (as I'm sure you will too), and I cannot wait to read its sequel. (Check back for a review of Crewel in a few days!) I hope you'll be able to come and meet Gennifer Albin at the festival in May! (Just over 70 days left!!!)

Also, don't forget that we're only $200 away from meeting our goal of $8,888. Ask your family and friends to donate so that we can see all the board members (including Stephanie) in prom dresses!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What's your music of choice?

When you're reading your favorite TBF authors, what music do you listen to? Is there a certain kind of music that you listen to for different authors?

For example:

When reading: Ellen Hopkins I listen to: The Cure Disintegration
When reading: Tom Angleberger I listen to: They Might Be Giants Here Comes Science

I'm sure that I'll think of more, but why don't you send us some suggestions of what you listen to! OR why not guess as to what you would think the authors' listen to!

Friday, March 1, 2013

And Our Giveaway Winner Is...


Congradulations! Bookworm4ya, email me at so we can get you your prizes.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered. Check back soon for another giveaway and another chance to win!

Happy reading!