Thursday, May 23, 2013

We need your feeback!

We hope you enjoyed the festival. Even though we were in gowns and tutus, we could not be more happy with the turn out... but more important than how we felt things went is how YOU think things went.

If you could take just a couple of moments to fill out THIS SURVEY, it would be brilliant. Especially if you are really interested in a certain author.

It is highly unlikely that we will get John Green to come, but even we would love that.

I mean, hello! Look at this video! Wouldn't that be fabulous?


Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Wasn't TBF incredible?! There were so many happy memories at the 8th annual TBF; Stephanie wearing a prom dress had to sing and dance during the opening ceremony, the TBF game show with host Guy Smiley (aka Charles Benoit) and the lovely 33 contestants, seeing our TBF mascot, Terry Trueman in a tutu, chatting, getting books signed, take pictures with the amazing authors and so much more!

So, tell us fellow readers what your favorite memory of TBF 2013 is by commenting below.

Now, Elizabeth and I would like to acknowledge: Thank you to the wonderful TBF sponsors; this special event would not happen without your support. Thank you to all of the publishing companies for sending awesome authors to Rochester; I can say that there's something exciting going on every year. Thank you to the TBF 2013 authors; you jumped on a plane and came all the way to Rochester. Meeting our celebrities was a dream come true. Thank you to all of the TBF volunteers; TBF would've have gone smoothly without you guys. Thank you to the TBF committee; you poured your heart and time to make this amazing, wonderful day possible. And lastly, thank you to everyone who followed the blog throughout the year.

Elizabeth and I will come back and chat about TBF 2014 once we have more details. There is already a set date for next year: Saturday, May 17, 2014.

Until then enjoy summer vacation and to read lots of books!

Miranda & Elizabeth

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

I hope everyone had a great time at TBF on Saturday! I know I sure did. Just because the Festival is over though doesn’t mean that you can’t still check out more books by TBF authors. One book that you should totally get a hold of is Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan.

Stephen has been cursed invisible since he was born – no one has ever seen him in 16 years, not even his mother (recently deceased) or his ever-absent father. That is, until he meets Elizabeth, who’s just moved to NYC, in the hallway of their apartment building – she sees him as plain as day. The only problem is that she doesn’t realize he’s invisible. When she finally does discover that Stephen is invisible, they both decide to try to figure out how to break the curse. But will they ever be able to find a way to do that?

I loved Invisibility. Initially you’re not quite sure how the story is going to turn paranormal/supernatural (although it’s clear it will), but when it finally does, it’s well worth the wait. Stephen and Elizabeth are also really fun to read, and are just plain interesting characters. I especially liked Invisibility because it was really different than either of the authors’ previous novels but still had the best aspects of their other works. I’d recommend Invisibility to fans of Andrea Cremer and David Levithan’s other books, as well as those who enjoy realistic fiction and fantasy, especially urban fantasy. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Interview with TBF author: Mark Shulman


The next author you can check off of our list is Mark Shulman. He is the author of Scrawl, Are You "Normal" and Attack of the Killer Video Book Take 2: Tips and Tricks for Young Directors.

Miranda Reads: In your book Scrawl, the narrator is a sympathetic bully. Did you ever experience bullying when you were a teenager?
Mark Shulman: I was absolutely part of the bullying world, but on the receiving end. The character Tod is an amalgam of bullies and semi-bullies I knew at East High School. When I was younger, I went to the homes of these kids. By high school they'd hardened, or at least were trying to harden, or most likely, were being hardened by circumstances. They'd do mean things, hurtful things, but not out of total malice. It feels like that was just what some kids did for fun, the way some people go hunting. I was a favorite target because, well, because I was destined to become a New York City writer type. Not the most common 70s East High kid.

MR: We know that bullying is not approved whatsoever. In your opinion, do you think that bullying in schools has gotten out of hand since you went to school?
MS: Are you kidding? Bullying nowadays is being stopped in ways that I never would have dreamed of. We didn't harass by cell phone and Facebook, which is a different experience, but for me there were real physical threats. At East we had a place where kids went to fight. By "fight" I  mean a tougher kid would goad a less-tough kid to go to the approved smoking area, by the huge antenna on Ohio near Main, which was never patrolled. You were chicken and tormented if you didn't go. You were beat up if you went, but at least the beating was relatively benign -- a few kicks and punches. If you rolled into a ball, you didn't get hurt so much. So, that was high school.

MR: One of your five fun facts says that you love animals…to eat. Is there any animal or insect that you wouldn’t dare eat?
MS: Oh, lots. I was just saying that to get attention. I am a happy omnivore. I won't eat bugs, cauliflower, house pets, Brussels sprouts, liver, goldfish (live or cheese-cracker flavored) or anything on the endangered list. I have eaten, but never myself killed, hippo, rattlesnake, ostrich, elk, moose, steer, butterfly, raccoon, chicken, shark, frog, and trout. Okay, I did kill the butterfly. It was an accident. The window was rolled down and I was going 60.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
MS: I'd like to be there when Marissa Meyer, Megan Miranda, and Michael Morpurgo meet each other.

Are you ready to cross off more authors? We have:
  • Gennifer Albin: author of Crewl
  • Coe Booth: author of Tyrell, Kendra and Bronxwood
  • Margaret Peterson Haddix: author of the Shadow Children series, the Missing series, Running Out of Time, Game Changer, Just Ella and so much more! To see what else Margaret has written click here.
  • Faith Erin Hicks & Prudence Shen: co-authors of Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
  • Robin LaFevers: author of His Fair Assassins trilogy, Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph
  • Marissa Meyer: author of the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Scarlet
  • Jennifer E. Smith: author of Comeback Season, Storm Makers, You Are Here, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like
Remember to check the blog for the last book reviews and author interviews!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

News, Annoucements & Interview with TBF author: Andrew Fukuda


Ok, several things to say in this post, so please bear with me.

First piece of news. Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen issue, Margaret Stohl will be unable to join us for TBF 2013. However, she will be attending TBF 2014. Our thoughts are with you, Margaret.

TBF tidbit: J.R.R. Tolkien once said, "So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” In the past we've had authors unable to attend TBF at the last minute. Sure, we can be disappointed but should we allow it to ruin a wonderful and exciting day? In my opinion: It's your decision. With anything that's going on in your life, only you can decide to turn this disappointment around or not.

Secondly, if you are bring a bus, please fill out this form. Less stress = more relaxation.

Lastly, our author interview. On our author list, we can check off Andrew Fukuda. He is the author of Crossing (under the name Andrew Xia Fukuda) and the Hunt trilogy (The Hunt, The Prey & The Trap).

Miranda Reads: TBF readers are dying for the last book in the Hunt trilogy, The Trap. How long do we have to wait for it to be released?
Andrew Fukuda: Thanks for asking! The Trap is due to be released on November 5, 2013 - not too far away! I can't wait for fans of the trilogy to get in on what is an incredible finale, if I do say so myself. There have been so many tantalizing secrets that I've had to keep to myself for the past two years and I've been chomping at the bit to disclose them. Just a few more months!

MR: The Hunt trilogy has been compared to the Hunger Games trilogy. Let's pretend that you are a tribute for the Hunger Games. What strategies would you use to be the last one standing? Would you pretend to be weak and take the other tributes by surprise? Would you team up with the Career Tributes or work alone?
AF: Hmmm... Since I always root for underdogs, there's little chance I'd team up with the Career Tributes. It'd be tempting to work alone given how introverted I am, but there's strength in numbers, too, especially when aligned with good people like Katniss, Peeta, and Rue. In the end, I think I'd grow to love the PARK (Peeta, Andy, Rue, Katniss) alliance so much, I'd end up heroically laying my life down for the good of the other three. May the odds ever be in their favor.
MR: One of your five fun facts says that you grew up in Hong Kong. What was it like living there? How long did you live in Hong Kong? How overwhelming was it to move to America?
AF: Wow, I could write a 500-page memoir and still not do justice to those questions! I lived in Hong Kong for twelve very formative years, and I couldn't have asked for a more incredible place to grow up. I lived in the crack between two worlds - the colonial British world and the local Chinese world. As difficult as it was to straddle these two very different worlds, it made me, I think and I hope, all the deeper and broader for it. Suffice it to say, Hong Kong has a very special place in my heart. Moving back to the States for college was a total blast, not overwhelming at all.
MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
AF: Probably Tom Angleberger. My sons LOVE his books and worship the man. If I can come home and say that I met the very author they worship and bow down to, my sons will never look at me the same way. I will no longer be just "Dad" to them but will forever be "the man who met Tom Angleberger."
You can also check off Tom Angleberger, author of the Origami Yoda series.
That's it for today. Come back to see more book reviews and author interviews as Elizabeth and I countdown to TBF!

Great article yesterday in Rochester's local newspaper "Democrat and Chronicle"

Yay for positive publicity! And an especially big YAY for Stephanie! You go girl. :)

Check out this article in Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle

Book writers, says author Terry Trueman, “spend a lot of time in little rooms quietly mumbling to ourselves and typing.”
But get teen readers together with the writers of books they like to read and it’s anything but quiet. At least the way the Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival does it each year at Nazareth College.
Think brass band, pep rally and karaoke party rolled into one and you have a close approximation. And that’s just the first hour or so of the event, which kicks off Saturday at 8:45 a.m. with a parade. Authors arrive by way of stretch limo or classic cars accompanied this year by Bush Mango Drum and Dance.
They make their way into the college’s Shults Center along a red carpet, and eventually into the gymnasium, where pumped up teens gather to cheer, laugh, listen and dote on an introductory program where all the authors and illustrators contribute in a giant panel discussion. Turnout is usually between 1,500 and 2,500; this year 33 authors and illustrators are participating.
Trueman, a Seattle resident who has been to all seven previous Rochester festivals and has become its official “mascot,” encouraged organizer Stephanie Squicciarini to create the festival after they met at a Houston-area teen book festival years ago.
The teens and authors alike share in the enthusiasm, Trueman says.
“There’s a not particularly subtle effort on the part of Stephanie and her team to treat (us) authors as though we’re rock stars,” he says. “The red carpet, the marching bands, the cheerleaders — we don’t bump into that very often.”
And teens don’t bump into authors that often, particularly those who write for them (though Trueman says most young adult authors are simply authors whom publishers decide to market to teens.)
Teens “don’t always feel safe saying they love reading,” says Squicciarini, a teen specialist librarian at the Fairport Public Library. At TBF Live! (as the festival is also known), book worms can emerge from their cocoons. “They’re all together, celebrating reading,” she says.

“The best part about Teen Book Festival is that it’s totally OK to be nerdy,” says Carly Maldonado, a Syracuse University graduate student who has blogged about TBF throughout her teens and early 20s.
Adds fellow organizer Laura C.S. Jones, a professor of literacy education at Nazareth: “They also get to talk with authors who at one time felt the same way.”
Indeed, after all the hoopla of the opening ceremonies, authors break for workshops. Though the event draws adults, teens get seating preference over their elders. During these workshops and in between, they have plenty of opportunities to ask authors questions.
“Over the course of the day, teens develop a good sense of what it takes to tell a good story,” Jones says.
And get to see Squicciarini’s sense of self-deprecation. To encourage school groups to raise money to help the festival remain a free event, Squicciarini sets a goal each year and offers a reward if they surpass it. Two years ago. the reward was dyeing her normally red hair a wholly unnatural shade of pink.
This year the kids met the fund-raising goal of $8,888, so Squicciarini will appear in a prom gown and sing. Though there’s some question as to whether the latter will be rewarding.
“I haven’t sung in public since sixth grade chorus,” says Squicciarini, adding that maybe it would be a good idea to practice before Saturday.
But then, spontaneous singing seems to be a thing at this festival.
Maldonado recalls one of her favorite moments was when authors were asked in an opening ceremony to name the Broadway musical they felt best described their life.
James Kennedy, when it got to be his turn, lept out his chair and sang the entire chorus of Oklahoma while running around the gym with the portable microphone,” Maldonado said. Kennedy, a Newberry-winning author, won’t be there this year, but you can bet the singing and enthusiasm will.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

When I read Megan Miranda’s new (and second) novel Hysteria, I was expecting it to be only all right – after all, a lot of authors’ second books are not as good as their first. But I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Hysteria was even better than Miranda’s already great first novel.

Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian, and she doesn’t remember it. It was in self-defense, but that doesn’t keep almost everyone in town (including her parents) uneasy around her. When her parents decide to send her to her dad’s old boarding school, Mallory isn’t sure what to expect – certainly not hallucinations of Brian. And when someone is found murdered (with all indications that she did it), Mallory realizes that she needs to get to the bottom of her own memories in order to figure out what’s wrong.

Hysteria is one of the best realistic fiction books I’ve read this year. And it isn’t your typical realistic read either, since it has aspects of a psychological thriller too. The writing is so vivid and gripping – I finished Hysteria in only 3 days, since I couldn’t put it down. I’d recommend Hysteria to anyone looking for a book that really gets in your head. And after you read Hysteria (or Fracture), come see Megan Miranda at TBF. Hope to see you there on Saturday!

Happy reading!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Interview with TBF authors: Mary Pearson & Matt de la Pena

4 more days!!! Who's excited?!

To celebrate, I've decided to post two author interviews!

The first author to check off on our list is Mary Pearson. She wrote the Jenna Fox Chronicles and stand alone novels like Scribbler of Dreams, The Miles Between and A Room on Lorelei Street.

Miranda Reads: Now that the Adoration of Jenna Fox trilogy has come to an end, are you working on a new project?
Mary Pearson: Yes!  I always have something going and now I'm working on The Remnant trilogy that will be out next year. It is 180 degrees from The Jenna Fox Chronicles--no modern technology!  I needed a new challenge.

MR: Back in 2008, you were one of the first YA authors to write a dystopia. Looking at YA books today, what do you think of the popular dystopian trend?
MP: Of course sci-fi/dystopia has a long rich history in literature going back to Frankenstein, Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, Lord of the Flies, and so many more, but it does seem to have surged in popularity in recent years and  I think that shows there was a intense interest and curiosity brewing among readers about what the future might hold.

MR: One of your five fun facts says that when you were 4 years old you stole a book. Do you remember what book it was? Do you still have the book?
MP: No, I don't remember the title--only the horrified look on my parents faces when they saw me in the backseat of the car with the book still in my hands. They marched me right back to the store and made me return it.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
MP: All of them! So many of them I know already (the writing world is small) so I'm excited to reconnect with old friends, but there are a lot I haven't met too, so it will be fun to make new friends.

The second author to check off is Matt de la Pena. He wrote Mexican White Boy, We Were Here, I Will Save You and Ball Don't Lie.

Miranda Reads: You have set a challenge to anyone coming to TBF this year; if readers can explain the reference to “Wha’chu talkin’ about, Mexico?” they will win a special prize. Can you clarify on how many answers you’ll be taking, where and when to tell you etc.?
Matt de la Pena: The special prize will involve the character from my forthcoming novel, The Living (though it won't be the novel itself, which doesn't come out until November). I will be giving the prize to the first forty people who have the right answer. The one rule: you have to tell me your answer in one of my sessions with Coe Booth.

MR: For a couple times now, you’ve been paired with Coe Booth during the author sessions. Have you thought about co-writing a book with her?
MdlP: It's interesting that you mention that . . . . We aren't planning to write a book together, but there may or may not be a special project in the works. I can't say any more, however, because I've been sworn to secrecy.
MR: One of your five fun facts says that you’ve been in four fist fights and refuse to fight again out of fear of dropping below .500.We’re talking about Matt de la Pena, right?
MdlP: I used to have a bit of a temper. Especially on the basketball court. Someone would pop off to me and I'd lose my mind. But I'm older now. And more mature. The only time I fight on a basketball court now is when I'm competing against middle school kids. Unless they look they lift weights a lot or something.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
MdlP: Jessica Brody. She splits her time between Los Angeles And Colorado? How the heck does she pull that off? She's living my dream! Maybe I could be her nanny or dog walker?

And this wraps up today's author interviews. Make sure you visit the blog as Elizabeth and I counting down to TBF!

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

As a musician, I LOVE to find books that relate to music. When I found out that Sara Zarr’s new book The Lucy Variations dealt with music, I was extremely excited to read it, and it didn’t disappoint.
At 16, Lucy’s glory days are behind her. She used to be a famous concert pianist with a promising career ahead of her before a sobering death led her to quit. Now she hasn’t played in eight months, and the weight of her family’s expectations and aspirations now rest on the shoulders of her 10-year-old prodigious brother Gus. After Gus’s piano teacher dies, Lucy’s family hires Will, a young but accomplished teacher, as a replacement. Will doesn’t only become Gus’s teacher, but also Lucy’s friend. Will Lucy be able to overcome her past and learn to really love music again?
The Lucy Variations is expertly written. Not only is the story vivid, but it is filled with amazingly real characters and just completely sucks you in. Sara Zarr captures emotions and music so wonderfully, and really shows Lucy’s growth throughout the novel. I finished The Lucy Variations in only 2 days, staying up late one night to finish it because I couldn’t put it down. I’d strongly recommend The Lucy Variations to anyone who loves music and to anyone looking for a fast, emotional read. I hope you’ll enjoy The Lucy Variations and come meet Sara Zarr on Saturday!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Interview with TBF author: Kate Brian

8 more days!!

The next author to cross out on our TBF check list is Kate Brian. She is the author of the Private series, the Privilege series, Fake Boyfriend, The V Club, Lucky T, Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys, Ex-mas, The Princess and the Pauper, Sweet 16 and Shadowlands, the first book in her paranormal trilogy.

Miranda Reads: You have written a ton of books; two series about high school drama that could rival Pretty Little Liars and stand-alone novels ranging from fake boyfriends to a lucky t-shirt. Now you have a paranormal series. What are the pros and cons to writing contemporary and paranormal?
Kate Brian: Paranormal doesn’t come naturally to me, so I when I’m writing something paranormal, it takes a lot more time and thought. Not that I don’t put thought into my contemporary work, but with those books it’s the plotting that takes up most of my time. Once I have a good outline, the voice usually comes easily. With paranormal, I spend a lot of time making sure it doesn’t sound false or cheesy or like it’s been done before, and I concentrate on making sure that the rules of the paranormal world I’m making up are adhered to. Writing paranormal is a challenge. A fun challenge, of course, but a challenge.

MR: For readers who don’t already know, you write under as “Kieran Scott”. How do you decide what pen name to use?
KB: I write for Alloy Entertainment under the pen name Kate Brian, so anything I work on with them is published under that name. Everything else is published under my real name, Kieran Scott. People have come to expect Kate to be a little edgier and mysterious, while the Kieran novels are sweeter and contemporary, so that’s usually how I draw the line if I’m deciding whether to pitch an idea for the Kate name or the Kieran name.

MR: Shadowlands is the first book in your new paranormal series. What inspired you to write it?
KB: I always wanted to write a story about the relationship between two sisters and how complicated that can be, and after Privilege my editor wanted me to write another serial killer (apparently people thought I created a likable, believable monster with Ariana), so we decided to meld the two together. I wasn’t sure how long I could sustain a girl-being-stalked-by-a-serial-killer story, so we brainstormed about how to make it into a three-book arc, and that’s when the paranormal angle came up. I can’t give away the ending, but I can say that when the idea was pitched everybody just lit up. We all thought it was a cool place to go.

MR: There are some authors that can or cannot listen to music when they write. What is your personal preference?
KB: I almost always listen to music when I write. It keeps me energized. There are a few albums I always go back to, for whatever reason. I feel like they’re good writing music. One is the Felicity Soundtrack from back in the day. I also listen to Some Nights by fun, How to Save a Life by the Fray and the Glee Soundtracks.

MR: One of your five fun facts says that your favorite thing to write about is a first kiss. Why?
KB: I always get giddy writing the first kiss scene, as if I’m one of the characters involved. It’s the moment when the two characters realize there’s something there between them, something real. What better feeling is there than the moment that you become one hundred percent certain that the person you like, likes you back? I feel like once I’ve written the first kiss scene, everything for those two characters is going to be all right.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
KB: I’m excited to meet Margaret Stohl because we have the same agent and I’ve heard so much about her, but we’ve never met. I finally read Beautiful Creatures and I thought it was so interesting. That’s an example of a seriously developed paranormal world! I’m also excited to meet Sara Zarr because we’ve been communicating on twitter for what feels like forever and this will be the first time we meet in person. A lot of the authors participated in a fundraiser I did last year after Hurricane Sandy hit my home state of New Jersey particularly hard. I know a few of them personally, but many of them communicated with me via email (we did an online auction), so I’m psyched to thank them in person!

Thanks Kate. See you soon!

Make sure you check out all of the book reviews and author interviews!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TBF Tidbit: Terry Trueman

Check out this free download of Terry Trueman's Class Clown.


Interview with TBF author: Dan Krokos

10 more days until TBF!!!

The next author to check off our list is Dan Krokos. Elizabeth has done a book review for False Memory.

Miranda Reads: What inspired you to write False Memory?
Dan Krokos: The idea came about from several different ideas that kind of merged together. I wanted to write a story about a girl named Miranda North, who didn't know who she was. That's all I had to start with. I was intrigued by the idea of our memories making us who we are. Are we made up of our past experiences, or are we more than that?

MR: When will the second book in the False Memory trilogy be released? Do you have a release date for the third and final book yet?
DK: False Sight comes out August 13th of this year, so pretty soon! The final book comes out a year later, August 2014.

MR: One of your five fun facts says that you were an extra in The Avengers. Were you able to get pictures and autographs with some of the actors?
DK: No, because we were working the entire time. I didn't want to be unprofessional, and they basically warned us to not be fans and actually do our jobs, since they were paying us. But I did get to hang out with them in between takes. Tom Hiddleston is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and so is Stellan Skarsgard. Getting to stand a foot away while Joss Whedon gave direction to Loki is too cool for words.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
DK: I've met almost all of them at different cons and fests, so I have to say I'm just excited to see my friends again. I can't wait to see Margaret Stohl, Alex Bracken, Stacey Kade, David Levithan, Jessica Brody, and Lisa McMann again. I'm excited to meet for the first time: Lauren DeStefano and Sara Zarr among others!

Thanks Dan. See you soon!

Alright, we're going to check off some more authors. You cross off the following authors and their books:
  • Margaret Stohl: co-author of the Caster Chronicles (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption). Icons is the first book in her new trilogy.
  • Alexandra Bracken: author of Brightly Woven and the first book in her new trilogy, Darkest Minds.
  • Stacey Kade: author of the Ghost and the Goth series (The Ghost and the Goth, Queen of the Dead and Body & Soul) and The Rules, the first book in the Paper Doll series.
  • David Levithan: author of Every Day, Boy Meets Boy, Realm of Possibilities, How They Met and Other Stories, Wide Awake and more. David also co-wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares all with Rachel Cohn. He recently co-wrote a book with TBF author Andrea Cremer, Invisibility. Since David has a never ending list of books he wrote or co-wrote, you can look up all of his information on Goodreads.
  • Lisa McMann: author of the Dream Catcher trilogy (Wake, Fade and Gone), Unwanteds series, Dead to You, Cryer's Cross and Crash, the first book in her new series the Visions.
  • Lauren DeStefano: author of the Chemical Garden trilogy (Wither, Fever and Sever)
  • Sara Zarr: author of Story of a Girl, Sweethearts, How to Save a Life, What We Lost (previous title, Once Was Lost) and her latest book, The Lucy Variations.
Whew! What a check list!

Come back to see more book reviews and author interviews.


False Memory by Dan Krokos

I personally love getting a hold of fast-paced novels. Yes, slower ones can be good too, but getting that rush of adrenaline and anxiety from a book is a pretty great feeling. But really good books like this can be hard to find. I was lucky to be able to pick up Dan Krokos’ novel False Memory and find that it was everything a fast-paced novel should be – and more.

Miranda wakes up on a bench near a mall with no memories to speak of. When she tries to get help, a near-disaster occurs. That’s when she meets Peter, who says that he knows her, knows what she is, and how to help her. Left without much of a choice, Miranda goes with Peter, and begins to gradually regain her memory. But what she discovers along the way (both old and new) is disturbing. And now that she knows, and they know she knows, her life is at stake. Will she be able to escape and prevent what she’s discovered?

I cannot get over how good this book is. The cover leads you to believe the novel might be sci-fi, but it’s written in such a way that the sci-fi is believable, woven expertly in with the rest of the storyline. False Memory doesn’t plunge the reader into the world either – as Miranda discovers new things, so does the reader; it’s perfectly paced. I absolutely loved this fast-paced, action-packed novel, and it’s going to be agonizing trying to wait patiently for its sequel False Sight which comes out in August. I’d definitely recommend reading False Memory and coming to see Dan Krokos at TBF, which is only 11 days away now!

Happy reading!

Monday, May 6, 2013

You by Charles Benoit

Only 12 more days until TBF! I’m really excited to meet all the authors on the 18th, although I was really lucky to be able to meet Charles Benoit, the author of You, last Friday when he visited my school. I was really excited because not only is Charles Benoit an amazing speaker, but his books are amazing too.

Your name is Kyle Chase. Even though you’re only a 15-year-old high school sophomore, it seems is wrong. How did you get to be here? Was it in middle school when you stopped trying? Or was it when you made your new friends? But you’re sure you’ll be able to turn it around at some point. And then you meet Zack, who somehow has everyone wrapped around his finger. You figure he couldn’t be too bad of a friend to have, especially after he helps you out. But what will the consequences be?

I first read You at the suggestion of my best friend last year. Golly, is this book good! It is the only book written in second-person that I’ve actually been able to get through, and, not only that, really enjoy a ton. You just grabs you by the throat and won’t let go – I actually stayed up into the wee hours of the morning so I could finish it. And the ending is certainly not one you’d expect – months later, I’m still thinking about it. You will not only captivate you, but it’ll hold on to you well after you’re finished. I’d strongly recommend Charles Benoit’s enthralling novel You to anyone looking for a gripping read; and on top of that, it’s not too long, so you’ll definitely be able to finish it before TBF. Hope you’ll come meet Charles Benoit at the Festival!

Happy reading!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Interview with TBF author: Jessica Brody

13 more days readers!!!

Just a couple of reminders about TBF. First, Michael Morpurgo the author of War Horse, will be presenting one author session 1:15-2:00 pm in the Chapel. Unfortunately, he will not be able to autograph books but there will be autographed bookplates available. If you really want to meet him, I suggest you block off Session III for Michael.

Second, there are 35 authors including Michael coming to TBF this year. It's easy to forget what authors or books you were planning on reading. So I'll help you by going through a check list as I continue to post author interviews.

Jessica Brody is one author you don't want to miss. She wrote the Karma Club, My Life Undecided, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and her latest book, Unremembered.

Miranda Reads: What inspired you to write Unremembered?
Jessica Brody: A few years ago, I read a newspaper article about a teen girl who was the sole survivor of a plane crash. I was instantly fascinated by the story. Namely because they had no idea why she survived when no else did. I started brainstorming reasons as to why she was so lucky. One particular reason (a rather intricate, science-fiction-inspired one) stuck in my mind and refused to leave. It continued to grow and blossom until I had an idea for an entire trilogy. A trilogy that starts with a mysterious plane crash and a single survivor.

MR: What was it like jumping from contemporary to science fiction?
JB: Well, I’ll start off by saying that I definitely didn’t abandon the contemporary genre. It’s still a genre I adore writing and I actually have another contemporary standalone book coming out in Summer of 2015 that I will write after the trilogy is finished. But the idea to try my hand at science fiction was really about flexing my creative muscles and seeing how far I could take a character outside of “normal teen life” and still create a compelling emotional journey. In the end, all my books (regardless of genre) tell stories about discovering who you are and dealing with what life brings you. In UNREMEMBERED, all I did was insert this struggle into a science-fiction setting where I could exaggerate the “who am I” question. As a writer it’s fun to be able to create an extraordinary world, drop a character in, and see what she does.

MR: From 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, how many of the 52 jobs did you have in real life?
JB: LOL! Great question. I had a few, but certainly not 52! My parents owned a restaurant all through my teen years so I did every single job there was to do there. We had horses growing up so I had to muck stalls quite a bit! But one thing I’d never done and really wanted to do before I wrote the book was work in a fast food restaurant. Who doesn’t want to work the drive-thru for a day? My friend owns a Taco Johns in Denver and so I asked if I could go “undercover” and train as an employee for the day. It was a lot of fun. No one knew what I was really doing. I felt like a spy!

MR: Excluding a British accent, what type of accent do you think is attractive?
JB: I happen to love accents. I wish I could speak in a different accent every day! I do really love the Irish accent, it’s so pretty and musical. But if that’s too close to a British accent, then I’ll have to go with French. I lived in France for a year in college so hearing a French accent always makes me nostalgic for Paris!

MR: One of your five fun facts says that you secretly wanted to be a Spice Girl. Which Spice Girl were you the most jealous of?
JB: Another great question! I’m going to go with Posh Spice on this one. Not only because she’s married to David Beckham (although that doesn’t suck) but mostly because she’s so glam and put together all the time. I, on the other hand, will go for days without changing out of my sweat pants.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
JB: There are SO many amazing authors attending this year, I’m getting a little giddy. I have some great author friends that I’m looking forward to hanging with again, but in terms of an author I haven’t yet met, I guess I’ll say I’m really excited about meeting Ellen Hopkins. But let’s hope I can keep it together and “be cool.” (Not my strong suit.)

Thanks Jessica! Check off Jessica Brody and returning TBF author, Ellen Hopkins on our check list. Ellen is known for her poetry novels Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect and Tilt.

TBF quick tip: When you meet your favorite author, don't worry about trying to "be cool". Instead, you should be an enthusiastic fan. Authors love to hear what their fans have to say about their books. Your reaction will not only make them warm and fuzzy inside but they will continue to write for their fans.

More authors to check off our list soon!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Interview with TBF author: Kevin Emerson

16 days until TBF!!

Before I share my interview with Kevin Emerson, author of The Lost Code, I want to give a happy birthday shout-out to TBF author Susane Colasanti! You can wish Susane a happy birthday on her Facebook page or on her blog.

I'm assuming a lot of you read The Lost Code because it's beautiful outside. Readers, if you haven't read it yet, hop to it! TBF is right around the corner.

Miranda Reads: The Lost Code is the first book in your new series, The Atlanteans. Can you tell us what this series is about?
Kevin Emerson: The Atlanteans is about teens in a distant future who are connected to the ancient past, and may be able to save the dying planet. Owen, age 15 and an unlikely hero, is awakening as an Atlantean, one of three. He lives in a future that has been ravaged by climate change, and there is little hope. The Lost Code takes place at Camp Eden, inside a biodome where the habitat is much like now. There is something hidden beneath the lake, and Owen must discover it, and the powers inside himself, before sinister forces can.

MR: How many books in the series are you planning on writing?
KE: This will be a trilogy, unless something unexpected happens. The second book comes out in May (The Dark Shore), and book 3 will be out in 2014.

MR: If you could choose one author (dead or alive) to co-write a book with, who would it be? Why?
KE: This is hard. Right at this moment I'm re-reading Hitchhiker's Guide, and I think it would be amazing to write a book with Douglas Adams. Not only was he funny and sharp, his science fiction ideas were fantastic.

MR: I heard a rumor that you were on a book tour with our TBF alumni, Cat Patrick. Is that true? If so, what has she told you about TBF?
KE: It's true! Cat and I are part of a YA tour called You Are Next, which we created with two other Seattle YA authors (Sean Beaudoin and Martha Brockenbrough). Cat says that TBF is amazing!

MR: In one of your five fun facts, it says that you play the drums and guitar with your band.  You also mentioned that you have toured across the US and England. How do you balance being in a band
and writing books?
KE: I'm too busy! Seriously, though, both writing and music feed off each other. When I'm stuck in a story, I go play some music and it frees my brain up.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 8th annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
KE: I can't pick one! There are a few that I already know who I'm excited to see, and then so many cool people to meet!

Visit the blog again for more book reviews and author interviews.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Hey readers! Only 17 more days until TBF! I know it’s beginning to get busy for many of us, what with AP exams and finals. So a short, light, fun book is probably in order for most of us, in which case I’d strongly recommend David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy.

Paul lives in a rather idealic small town where everyone seems unafraid to be themselves – Paul was the third grade’s first gay class president, his friend Infinite Darlene is the school’s quarterback, and the cheerleaders ride Harleys instead of waving pompoms. Paul soon meets Noah, who just moved to town, and Paul can’t help but like him – a lot. And when they start going out, Paul thinks things can’t get any better. But after a misunderstanding arises between them, Noah dumps Paul. Will Paul be able to prove to Noah that he’s worth it, and will they ever get back together?

I can’t really accurately express how much I love this book, but I’ll try. Boy Meets Boy is 10 years old this year, but it’s still just as great, although hopefully not as groundbreaking, as it was then. The story and the writing are so charming and enchanting, and just draw you in; not to mention the incredibly full characters and the rich, perfect setting. Everyone I know who has read this book loves it, whether they’re straight or gay or whatever. Boy Meets Boy is simply amazing, and I’d definitely recommend reading I before coming to TBF. And after you’ve finished Boy Meets Boy, why not try Marly’s Ghost, Every Day, How They Met and Other Stories, or his newest book (with Andrea Cremer) Invisibility?  I hope you'll enjoy Boy Meets Boy as much as I did!

Happy reading!