Monday, October 10, 2011

Author Interview: Janet Gurtler of If I Tell

Today I have Janet Gurtler, author of I'm Not Her and If I Tell, on the blog for an interview! I really enjoyed IF I TELL and jumped at the chance to ask her a few questions.

1. Twitter style: describe IF I TELL in 140 characters or less.

How can I tell her this now? How can I trust anyone? Why do people let me down? How do I make it out of this hole? Can I believe in Jackson?

2. What are three things you must have for a productive writing day?

Coffee, Sleep, Protein Bars

3. I love IF I TELL’s cover and the way it compliments that of I’M NOT HER. Did you have any input on either and were you pleased with the final outcome?

Thanks for the cover love! I didn’t have anything to do with the amazing covers and the way they do complement each other, but I was really pleased with them!!

4. Who are some of your writing inspirations?


5. Can you tell us anything about your next project?

YES! I am part of an anthology called THE FIRST TIME. And! I have a new book coming out with Sourcebooks Fire. Here’s the blurb, but the title will be changing!

Janet Gurtler's JUST BREATHE, in which a girl struggles with boy problems and serious regret after accidentally killing a boy she barely knows when she kisses him after consuming a peanut butter sandwich, not aware he has a deathly allergy to peanuts.

Thanks, Janet, for stopping by bookmarked today! I love anthologies, so I'm really looking forward to The First Time. Be sure to check out the other tour stops for more interviews, guest posts, and reviews!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Character This or That: Eve from Eve (+ Giveaway!)

Today I have Eve, the main character from Anna Carey's Eve, for an interview of sorts! She is here courtesy of the Teen {Book} Scene blog tour. I LOVED Eve and was super excited about getting to know her better.

Summer/Winter The summers at School were my favorite. We had shortened days, and in the evenings the Teachers would let us eat our dinners on the grass by the lake.

Sweet/Salty Sweet

Chocolate/Vanilla Vanilla

Noise/Silence It depends where I am. At School, it was nearly impossible to find quiet—that’s why I loved the library so much. In the wild, especially when I’m alone, I crave noise. Those first few days after I escaped I was so desperate to hear another person’s voice.

Light/Dark Light. The dark can be terrifying.

Pancake/Waffle I’ve never had a waffle! What am I missing? I guess I have to say pancake…

Early bird/Night owl Early bird. Without power, I usually go to sleep shortly after the sun goes down.

Truth/Lies Truth, truth, truth. I believe people can sense it always, just below the surface of things. You may not be able to put it into words, or understand it, but you will feel that something is off.

Neat/Messy Neat. I only have a few things that I love, and I’d hate to ever lose them.

Past/Future Can I say neither? I spent so much time planning my future, only to find out I was imagining something that could never be. Looking back at the past can be too painful. I try to take each day one by one.

Thanks, Eve (and Anna) for stopping by bookmarked today!

Thanks to HarperTeen, I have a finished copy of Eve to give to a lucky reader! Fill out the form below for your chance to win. Entrants must be 13 years of age or older and a resident of the United States. Deadline to enter is Saturday, October 15, 11:59PM CST.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

If I Tell
Janet Gurtler
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Released: October 1, 2011
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 256
Source: Netgalley
Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?
Janet Gurtler first made it onto my radar earlier this year around the time of her debut release, I'm Not Her. The cover caught my eye, but the synopsis had me hooked. And while I still haven't gotten the chance to read it, I jumped on the opportunity to read her second novel, If I Tell. Jaz has a rough time fitting in at school - being the only biracial teen in town sort of does that to a person. Jaz's closest friends are Lacey, an older wild-child, and Simon, her mother's boyfriend. Lacey is in no place to judge her, and Simon, being black, understands what it's like to be surrounded by racial prejudices. But Jaz's world comes crumbling down when she finds the two people she's always turned to making out at a party.

Jaz finds herself alienated from the only two people who really "get" her. While Jaz's secret is certainly a large part of this story, it is more importantly a journey of self-discovery - which the synopsis unfortunately doesn't imply. If I Tell is more about Jaz's struggle with being different, being alone, and feeling betrayed by those closest to her, and not just Lacey and Simon.

This is the first book I've read that deals with a biracial teen and the struggles she faces. I think it's a very important point of view for today's teens, and I hope to see more of them. I would recommend this for anyone with a similar ethnic background, although one doesn't need to be mixed or even a minority to relate to Jasmine. She is a very empathetic character who would appeal to most. Her personal journey is pretty incredible - the growth she shows is great yet realistic. I was impressed by this story's authenticity - something that is ├╝ber important in contemporary lit.

Gurtler's writing is spot-on. She beautifully captures Jaz's self-loathing. I must admit this was laid on a little thick at times, but I just had to remind myself that teens are often dramatic and prone to pity parties. (I was.) I didn't love this story as much as I'd hoped, but it was an engaging read that brought light to some important issues. I'm still looking forward to reading I'm Not Her along with Janet's upcoming title, Just Breathe.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Radleys by Matt Haig

The Radleys
Matt Haig
Publisher: Free Press
Released: December 28, 2010
Genre: Paranormal
Pages: 366
Source: Accepted from publisher
Meet the Radleys:

Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in an English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content. But as their children have yet to find out, the Radleys have a devastating secret.

From one of Britain’s finest young novelists comes a razor-sharp unpicking of adulthood and family life. In this moving, thrilling and extraordinary portrait of one unusual family, The Radleys asks what we grow into when we grow up, and explores what we gain – and lose – when we deny our appetites.
Every year the ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) gives out a slew of awards highlighting the best in young adult literature. One of these awards is the Alex Award, which is given to ten books written for adults that appeal to teens. The Radleys was one of the 2011 Alex Award winners, which was what put it on my radar. I almost exclusively read YA, but when I was offered a review copy and spot in a blog tour, I thought I'd make an exception for this book.

Written in third person, an omniscient narrator focuses on one character at a time, allowing the reader to "get to know" each person individually. For some reason this style reminded me of the narrator on Pushing Daisies, and I heard that voice in my head the entire time I was reading. For whatever reason, this worked for me, and I really enjoyed the picture this painted.

I must admit I've been burnt out on paranormal, especially those centered around vampires. However, I felt like this story was as much about family and the difficulty of being different as it was about vampires. I also thought the parallels made to a few of my favorite paranormal YAs were comical - the Abstainer's Handbook reminded me a little of the how-to in Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, and Lord Byron made another appearance as a vampire in the Hex Hall series. Both of these little things made me smile, and whether or not the similarities were realized, I was glad the author included them.

The Radleys is a witty read that will appeal to adults and teens alike. And if you're a bit hesitant to pick up another vampire book, I assure you this one is worth it. The writing is flawless, the story is original, and the dry humor will keep you chuckling through the end. It certainly pulled me out of my paranormal slump and left me craving more (pun intended).

Be sure to visit the other tour stops this week!
Commenting on each blog post will enter you for a chance to win signed hardcover and paperback copies of The Radleys along with some blood-red hot chocolate!

The Radleys is now available in paperback and found wherever books are sold. Visit the book's website for more information including the quiz: ARE YOU A RADLEY?
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