I’m over at YALSA’s The Hub blog today, sharing some of the debut novels coming out in March. I’d love if you’d check it out — bet you didn’t realize this month was the month of featuring a girl with a weapon on your cover.
If you haven’t already heard, today was the big announcements of the 2011 Cybils winners. You can see the list right here. If you’re interested at all in kidlit, these are the books (and apps!) you want to START with this year, if you haven’t already enjoyed them. They marry literary merit with reader appeal. Both Kim and I served this year in different capacities, but speaking for myself, I could NOT be happier with the YA Fiction winning title, Geoff Herbach’s Stupid Fast. It was one of my favorite reads last year. All of the finalists in my category were strong, but this one held a special little place in my heart.
Today I’m over at The Hub talking February debut novels, too. If you get a chance, hop over there and drop a comment or two.
I don’t usually share interesting links from the week, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about posting on an (irregular) basis. It was just good luck there was a lot of great stuff to share this week when all I really intended to post about was an upcoming feature on the blog.
This month, we didn’t do our regular Twitterview because we’re doing a two-week long series at the end of the month featuring the young adult debut authors who are part of the Class 2k12. Each of these authors has done a mini-Twitterview and shared a guest post for us from a pool of topics we brainstormed, ranging from serious to the completely ridiculous. You’re in for a treat. And don’t worry — we have some of our own content to post those weeks, as well, including our favorite books from the year.
(And if anyone’s interested in making a graphic for this two-week feature, let me know).
Onto some of the interesting links this week:
- Cecil Castellucci shared a fantastic book list for young readers that features teens involved in protests. It’s a timely list and a topic I hadn’t thought a whole lot about as a reader, but I can see the great possibilities here for displays and discussion.
- Liz Burns talks about the recent issues raised when William Marrow sent a letter to bloggers outlining changes to their reviewer program through these three posts. As someone who received this letter, I was less put off by the idea — getting fewer unsolicited books is actually great — but I was rubbed wrong by the poorly-worded suggestion blogging is a job. This is something the three of us here at STACKED talked about this time last year.
- Kirkus and School Library Journal released their “Best of” lists for 2011 this week. I find the cross over titles pretty unsurprising, but what struck me were the titles that were clear outliers in the best of lists. I’ve read a lot of books this year, and many of these sort of came as shocking choices as “best of” when other titles were left off. Noticeably missing from these lists, (but not the Publisher’s Weekly list)? John Corey Whaley’s Where Things Come Back which I think is a front runner for not only the Morris Award, but it has serious potential for the Printz, too. What’s most interesting to me about these lists is that we as outsiders never know what the criteria are that go into selecting the titles. What qualities are the list creators looking at? Are they looking at literary merit (and then I question some choices) or are they looking at appeal (and then I question some more choices)? We don’t know. “Best of” lists are so subjective, and that’s what leaves me fascinated. How is it some books continue to be “best of” titles and how do others fail to make any lists when they meet as many criteria as possible?
- That question leads me right to another one I have from a blog I hope other people are reading as regularly as me: how is it that Nova Ren Suma’s Imaginary Girls is not on the list of contenders for the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list? This is a book that we have praised right here, as well as a book we think has serious potential to be a Printz contender. Best Fiction titles come from committee nominations, as well as field nominations. Those field nominations need to be seconded by a committee member to join the list for consideration at ALA Midwinter, where the final list is determined. I’m really shocked and disappointed that this title didn’t make the cut. That’s not to say it’s the committee’s fault, but it’s a head scratcher and a disappointment. These selection lists help librarians in making purchasing and reader’s advisory decisions, so it’s a bit disconcerting to not see a title like this one even being considered.
- Are you a librarian or teacher who needs books for your school or classroom library? Your budget’s been cut or you have no budget? Get in touch with Maureen Johnson. She wants to help you. Watching Maureen this morning as she learned how few budgets exist for books in the library/school world has been interesting, and she’s dedicated to making some sort of impact about this. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to another Twitterview here at STACKED. This month, we’re talking to Carrie Harris, debut author of the recently released zombie comedy Bad Taste in Boys (reviewed here). Carrie and I met while serving together on the 2009-2010 Cybils judging panel, and it’s been such a blast to be in contact with her as she’s prepared for and finally released her first book. She’s one heck of a busy woman.
Here, she’ll talk about her unique writing inspirations, what it’s like to be in charge of the Class2k11, and there’s a giveaway of a signed copy of her book at the end.
Pitch BAD TASTE IN BOYS in 140 characters.
Science geek learns that football players are taking steroids…that turn hot gridiron hunks into flesh eating zombies! Gotta find a cure!
What inspired BAD TASTE IN BOYS?
I got the idea after watching the movie Beetlejuice (with the dead football players) and reading Frankenstein. I love me some weird science!
I like my monsters campy, and there’s nothing sillier than a bunch of shambling corpses. Especially if they’re on roller skates.
Why not vampires?
I don’t have anything against vamps. They are also funny on roller skates. If you don’t believe me, watch Fright Night Part 2.
Kate, your main character, is a geek in the best sorts of ways. Was she inspired by anyone/thing in real life?
I have some major geek-of-all-trades tendencies. Kate’s more of a dedicated science geek, but we do share that obsessive stubbornness.
What should readers walk away with from BAD TASTE IN BOYS?
Above all, I want them to have FUN. Sometimes you just need a laugh, & I think that’s just as valuable as books that say something profound.
Talk about your book trailer — how’d it come to be? Favorite moment in filming?
It was a labor of love for me and some fabulous friends. My eyes popped out of my head the 1st time Kate threw the zombie into the locker.
Biggest surprise that came up in the writing process?
The original bad guy got cut out of the manuscript entirely, and one of my favorite characters ended up being implicated instead.
What about the biggest surprise in the post-publishing process?
People cite things in the book that made them laugh–but it’s never the same thing twice! Sometimes it’s something I didn’t even find funny.
This is your first published novel. What’s been your experience as a debut novelist?
The kidlit community as a whole is SO AWESOMESAUCE! I can’t get over how nice people are, even when I’m squealing in their faces.
You’re also the president of the Class2k11. What’s that been like?
Tremendous amounts of fun punctuated with episodes of crazy making workloads. But ultimately one of the best things I’ve ever done!
You’ve been actively involved in the blogging community for a while — what’s been your fav blogging experience?
It was a heckload of fun to have Richard Simmons announce my book deal on my blog. Okay, so it REALLY wasn’t him, but close enough.
Who or what do you write for?
My goal is to crack myself up. I think if the writer’s having fun, that really shows & it can be infectious. Only not like a zombie virus.
Why do you choose write for a teen audience? Is it intentional or led by the story itself?
I haven’t really matured since junior high. At least not in terms of my sense of humor. So YA is really a natural fit for me.
Who are your top three writing influences?
Stephen King, Scooby Doo, and the Muppets. Honestly, everything I’ve learned about comedy, I learned from the Muppets.
Who do you believe is breaking ground in YA right now?
I went pretty crazy when I read BLOOD RED ROAD. It’s a voice that I honestly can say I’ve NEVER heard before, and that’s frawesome.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Gwendolyn Brooks once told me to be myself. I’m not sure she realized “myself” was a monster-crazed snarf addict. But I run with it anyway.
What’s your best writing advice to give?
No way I can top Gwendolyn Brooks! I’m a monster-crazed snarf addict; what do I know?!?
What’s your writing routine?
Write whenever my kids will let me & sometimes when they won’t. I always reread a couple of pages before I leap in to get into the voice.
What gets you jazzed to write?
It’s FUN! At the end of the day, I think that’s the only and best reason to do it. If it’s not fun, it’s time to rest and come back fresh.
What’s next for you?
The paperback of BAD TASTE IN BOYS will be out next summer, followed by the next Kate Grable adventure, BAD HAIR DAY, in the fall!
Favorite ice cream?
Amaretto cherry, naturally. And now I’m hungry for it despite the fact that it’s 10 AM.
And most importantly, how would you survive the zombie apocalypse?
I married a ninja. That’s the ultimate in zombie survival techniques. I can hide behind him and yell helpful things like “AIM FOR THE HEAD!”
For your launch, you hosted “Night of the Giving Dead” to raise money for U of Michigan Hospital’s Giving Library. What inspired the idea?
Cynthea Liu did a similar launch party a few yrs ago. My husband is a cancer survivor and kids’ cancer physician, so it’s close to my heart.
How much did you raise for the event?
We raised over $7000 in kids’ books for the hospital. In many cases, that’s one of the only normal things these kids can do–READ!
Favorite zombie book and why?
Right now, I’m in love with HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER. It has potato hockey and disembodied heads and ZOMBIES. What’s not to love???
Favorite zombie film and why?
It’s a toss-up between ZOMBIELAND and SHAUN OF THE DEAD. I laughed so hard at them that it’s impossible to pick without my head exploding.
Last and most importantly: fast zombies or slow zombies? I’ll leave it at that for you to interpret.
Slow zombies! I like my zombies snarfy, and it’s hard to laugh when an undead blur is knocking you over and eating your liver.
I’ve been posting at YALSA’s new blog, The Hub, for the last three months. I’m writing up a monthly feature on the debut novels that month — so you can read my posts from March, April, and the one I posted today on May debut novels.
It’s a nice way to spread the word about debut authors to the wider librarian audience and to those who are ya book lovers looking for a new author to try.