Saturday, May 23, 2009

In My Mailbox


Hey everybody!

I had a good week this time and I'm super excited to start reading the books.
Too bad I read my books in order of release date and so these aren't super high on my list no matter how much I want them to be...
But soon I'll have plenty of time to read and catch up on my TBR pile since schools out in 8 DAYS!!!! (and its technically only 2 "real" days since 4 of them are dedicated to finals and the other 2 are only class parties)

Now on to the books......

This week I got-




1. Another Faust By: Daniel and Dina Nayeri

2.The Univited By: Tim Wynne-Jones

3.Once Was Lost By: Sara Zarr

4. Jennifer's Body By: Audrey Nixon

5. How It Ends By: Laura Wiess

Initiation

By: Susan Fine
Release Date: May 1, 2009


Summary:
...I had no idea what could come of packing all those boys into one school building...how the competition would play out in relentless insults, the constant sorting out that went on every day, all day, to determine who was okay and who was worthless. The halls of St. Stephen's reek of money, secrets, and desperation. Competition to be top dog at the Manhattan private school is fierce. But Mauricio LondoƱo—Latino, middle-class, and new to the brutality of prep school life—just wants to survive ninth grade. Apartments the size of a city block...Vacations in the Hamptons... Being near all this extravagance, intellect, and beauty is a thrill. But navigating their sparkling world is another story. When two warring freshmen use the Web as a weapon, Mauricio gets burned in the online crossfire and learns firsthand how the privileged don't always play by the rules. (From Amazon)


Review:
Character Development:
6/10
Originality: 4/10
Plot/Storyline:
4/10
Ending:
9/10
Voice: 5/10
Recommendation: 5/10
Total Score: 33
Grade: C+

Written Review:
-It never got me hooked. That was the problem. The writing was gorgeous and for a person who can read a book purely based on the writing then this book would be great but for me I need more relatability. It had great descriptions and metaphors and “flow” but it never really got me hooked and like I said above that’s what made it such a problem. The voice lacked a certain emotion or relatability. I’m thinking that this was probably because I’m not a boy and this novel was written in the male perspective but what throws that idea out is that I’ve read other books in a guy’s perspective and those didn’t bother me a bit.

-Another reason may be because the story is kind of old – “Poor middle class” kid goes to a “rich” school and is shocked at their power and privileges. To me there wasn’t a really unique spin that made it new and got me interested. It wasn’t boring per se because there was a plot but ½ the book was fantasies of Mauricio and his victim of love stalking. Elizabeth. Again I’m not a guy so I don’t think like one. Therefore I don’t want to read stuff like that either. But of course that was part of the character and I doubt it could be left out without taking it away from the character.

-OK now let me make this clear right now—Susan Fine is a GREAT author. I’m not trying to bash her. Just her book. And there is a huge difference. Trust me. And it wasn’t a bad book. It just wasn’t the one for me because I can’t read a book without a relatable voice. So to sum it up this is a book to check out if you are looking for great writing but not necessarily a fast read, great plot, or (if you’re a girl) much to relate to.

-I still recommend this book though just not as one that you have to go out and get right this second because it’s such a must read. I would describe it as “put-downable”. It was written with intensity and all about hierarchies and such so if you are into that I totally recommend this book. I just didn’t like it.

P.S. Can you tell I hate writing bad reviews? I tried to avoid it as best I could because I want y’all to remember (as if y’all don’t already know) just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean it isn’t a good book. Opinions differ. So challenge me and read this book. See if you can prove my review wrong.

thanks.

-Jill

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fairest of Them All



By: Jan Blazanin

Check out the trailer I did HERE

and my excuse for not posting this on schedule: It's all my teachers fault!
No seriously....we have 2 weeks left and this is the time they decide to assign various projects and essays! Anyway hopefully I'll have more reviews up soon after this one though I can't promise anything....
______________________________________________

By: Jan Blazanin

Summary:
If life were a fairy tale, Oribella Bettencourt would have a "happily ever after" kind of future ahead of her. A Hollywood producer has come to Des Moines in search of a perfectly modern Princess Rapunzel, and Ori -- a model, dancer, and star of the beauty pageant circuit -- lands the part. And why shouldn't she? With her hardworking, self-sacrificing mother guiding her career, Ori is stunning, dedicated, poised...and then there's her hair. Breathtakingly lustrous blond hair that sets her apart from all the other girls at school. So what if she doesn't have any friends her age, or anyone to talk to other than her mother? She's on the verge of having everything she's ever dreamed of.

But in this fairy tale, the beautiful princess wakes up to her worst nightmare -- when almost overnight, Ori begins to lose her hair.... (From Amazon)

Release Date: April 21, 2009

Review:
Character Development:
7/10
Originality: 9/10
Plot/Storyline: 6/10
Ending:
9/10
Voice: 6/10
Recommendation: 7/10
Total Score: 44
Grade: B+

One Sentence Summary:

A beauty queen must face many challenges (like losing her career, her mom, and her sense of belonging) after losing her hair to alopecia disease

One Sentence Review:

This book addresses a unique topic with strong characters and originality.

Recommend To:

Girls who love their hair or anyone looking for a lighthearted/fast read that still possesses a good and entertaining storyline

Written Review:

If someone asked me to describe Fairest of Them All in as few words as possible I would say that it is a book about strength. Strength in situations you don’t have control over. Not just having strength but not having it or losing it. Oribella thought she owned the world. She acted confident and strong in all situations until her hair was gone and along with that her strength left her too so she must rebuild it. Her mom loses all her strength when Oribella loses her hair. Her new friends learn to share some of their strength to help Oribella. And her agent must hold on to the little strength she has left after losing her best client. This was a theme that works and it truly made the novel enjoyable to me.

At the beginning Oribella has a whiny voice that makes her sound conceited and shallow and I could barely stand to read it. Once she’s past that she mellows out a ton and it made the novel so much better. I was amazed at Oribella’s mom most of the novel. I just didn’t find it believable that a mom would put THAT MUCH PRESSURE on their child. But maybe I just can’t understand it because I lucked out with a fantastic mom.

This novel was exactly a light read like I expected. It definitely had some depth and wisdom to it but it wasn’t a remarkably deep novel either. It’s kind of right in the middle. It was a fast read but it didn’t lack in the characters or plot line too much.

Overall, I enjoyed Fairest of Them All. Beauty Pageant stories aren’t old but a “backward beauty” story was something new for me to read and it definitely kept me hooked.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In My Mailbox

OK so this is for this week and the last week.
I had another great couple of weeks and I'm super grateful for them.
And just so I don't have to say this on a new post let me just quickly remind you of my schedule for next week.
-Monday-Fairest of Them All Review
-Tuesday-Initiation Review
-Wednesday-Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks Review
-Thursday-Birthday Month continues with Jackson Pearce
-Some time after that-Shrinking Violet Review
-then a little after that my 2nd attempt at a book trailer
-and in case you missed my first attempt you can check it out here
-and if you missed a better trailer I didn't make but I did post about click here
OK and now for the actual IN MY MAILBOX post
Last Week I Got:

This Week I Got:
That's it
I can't wait to start reading them all.
thanks.
jill
___________________________________________________
*I was a little bit dumb and forgot I left some of my books in my sister's roon so I kinda forgot about them while I was typing up my IMM post but now I'm hear to add them to the list*

OK
Now that really is all.
Sorry for the confusion.
*O and I was just noticing......4 of the covers invole feet/legs in general, 3 of them are legs hanging over something, and 3 of them involve the back(s) of people. How cool that I get all of these "similar" covers in the same week (kinda)*
thanks.
jill

How Cool Is This !?!?

Ok So I may just be the last person to get the memo about this book so I could be sharing this for nothing but I saw this trailer and it got me hooked and I can't wait for this bookish thing!

Watch the trailer and tell me what you think.
Please.
and Thank You.


video

......soooooo...what did you think......pretty awesome right?

I just think that's a cool idea for a story and way of getting the readers involved.

In a way it's like the SKELETON CREEK idea taken to a whole new level.

To find out more information go

Here,

Here,

or Here

thanks.
jill

O yea just so people don't come after me and all I'll make this known publicly that I take absolutely no credit in this project or the making of that trailer.

Happy Birthday to Laura Wiess (Guest Blog)

Laura Wiess is the author of the critically acclaimed MTV Book SUCH A PRETTY GIRL and LEFTOVERS. Her new book HOW IT ENDS comes out on August 4, 2009. Visit Laura at www.laurawiess.com for more info.

************************************************************

I love that I get to guest here today. Reading really IS bliss.

I've been celebrating my birthday all month (yes, I'm another one of them. I cheerfully admit it and urge others to claim their birth months, too) and so far it's been a blast. May 16th is my actual day though, and I'm going to a party with a bonfire and maybe a band, all sorts of food and friends, talking and laughing. The weather promises a perfect mix of sun and clouds, warm breezes and possible showers, and I absolutely cannot wait.

Today I'm going to dance till I drop.

Maybe it's because everything sparkles so in spring - soft skies, fresh clover, violets and peonies, birds and animals galore, hope, rebirth and regeneration shimmering to life all around - or maybe it's just a mindset (pure joy? great expectations? blithe idiocy?) but I get impossibly exuberant and as a side effect, good things always seem to happen this month:

Long, lovely, indulgent conversations with family and friends.

The first swallowtail flitting past, its wings a rich, mink color in the sun.

A sudden, unexpected surge of creativity that sends me racing to the computer to write.

Making my new Things To Do Before My Next Birthday goal list.

Being the only one out enjoying the road, driving with the windows down and the breeze warm, shades on because the sun is so brilliant, favorite song cranked, and the sweet scent of lilacs making me dizzy.

Finding the perfect new coffee mug with an artist's design that enthralls me.

Plant shopping for daisies and roses, grapevines and raspberry bushes, and then, when I've worked hard enough to make that cool, bottled water seem like heaven, cleaning up and heading out to break in that funky new pair of Betsey Johnson sandals.

Taking the time to curl up with a brand new stack of books, cats on my lap, snacks within reach, and someone very special smiling, and lounged out beside me.

Knowing that it doesn't get any better than this.

So happy birthday, Jill, and all you other splendid May people.

Sparkle on!


******************************************************


Happy Birthday Laura!
I hope your day is great and filled with cake, ice cream, presents, and the ones you love!
Have a great day!
And thanks for helping me celebrate birthday month on my blog.
-Jill

*Please leave birthday wishes and comments below*

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters

Sorry for the lack of posts lately but I'm back. I have 4 reviews ready to post and a guest blog but I don't want to overwhelm you with it all now or post it all now and make you wait another day or two again for the next review since I just started SHRINKING VIOLET and after these 4 I'm caught up on reviews and won't have one to post or anything until I'm done with SHRINKING VIOLET and I don't know when that will be.
OK now I'm rambling so I'll stop now...

Also can you help me out by telling me in the comments below what helps you the most about my reviews. (The outlined review and which part, the rating, other, the "One Sentence", or the written review.

Thanks so much
And sorry again.
-Jill
____________________________________________________________



By: Sydney Salter

SUMMARY:

It’s the end of junior year, and summer is about to begin. The Summer of Passion, to be exact, when Jory Michaels plans to explore all the possibilities of the future--and, with any luck, score a boyfriend in the process. But Jory has a problem. A big problem. A curvy, honking, bumpy, problem in the form of her Super Schnozz, the one thing standing between Jory and happiness. And now, with the Summer of Passion stretched before her like an open road, she's determined for Super Schnozz to disappear. Jory takes a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for a nose job at the end of the summer; she even keeps a book filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. But nothing is ever easy for accident-prone Jory--and before she knows it, her Summer of Passion falls apart faster than the delivery van she crashes. In her hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel, Sydney Salter delivers a story about broadening your horizons, accepting yourself, and finding love right under your nose. (from Amazon)



OUTLINED REVIEW:

Character Development: 6/10
Originality: 5/10
Plot/Story Line: 5/10
Ending:
8/10
Voice: 7/10
Recommendation: 8/10
Total Score: 39
Grade: B

RATING:
Cussing:
6/10
Drugs, Alcohol, Etc.: 4/10

Violence and such: 0/10
Sexual Content: 6/10
Aimed at: 13 and up

OTHER:
# of pages:
345pg.
Written in:
first person narrative, teen girl
Released on:
April 16, 2009
Tone: “beautiful” and funny

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:

Jory decides to spend the summer earning money for a nose job but she must first learn to cope with her clumsy self while searching for love

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW:

Written with humor, this is a novel that exposes the truth about beauty through the life of a clumsy, big nosed senior with confidence issues.

WRITTEN REVIEW:
This book was perfect for me to read at this time. After so many stories of death or other harsher subjects, reading MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS was the perfect light read. Humor filled every page. There were times when I was seriously laughing out loud at Jory’s clumsiness or obsessions or just her daily happenings. The characters were developed as much as you’d think a light summer/spring read would be. I couldn’t figure out her 2 best friends. They were unsupportive and judgmental. I almost think Jory was over exaggerating them to make us feel more sympathy toward her “pathetic” life since her mom seemed overly judgmental also. Though this book was light and cute and funny and everything you’d expect from a perfect beach read it also had a layer of depth I wasn’t expecting. It went beyond “I’m so ugly” comments you expect in a beauty story and actually explained through Jory’s distinctive voice why this problem started (AKA friends and mom who are totally unsupportive or body obsessive) and it got more into self image and confidence issues we all face but Jory’s version had a lot more humor with it than an average person would. Or at least I hope…

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to Jennifer Brown! (Guest Blog)

I'd like to wish many birthday wishes to Jennifer Brown (author of HATE LIST) as she celebrates today and also helps me celebrate birthday month today with a guest blog about her yearly birthday plans.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNIFER!
Hope you had an Amazing Birthday!!!
___________________________________________
I'll admit it: I've always thought I had the best birthday ever! The weather's beautiful, things are happening, there aren't any other major holidays to compete with it (well, except Mother's Day, but since I always sort of considered myself the Ultimate Mother's Day gift, it works for me). It's the best!

Not to mention, my birthday hosts one of my most favorite traditions of the year: our family's first annual trip to the zoo!


Every year we do the same: pack up a picnic lunch, pile into the van, and head to the zoo for a beautiful spring day (and some rotten rainy spring days) of trekking through exhibits of lions, tigers, and yeah, you guessed it... bears (oh my!). We laugh. We hold hands. We goof off. We eat cheese and crackers by the sea lion exhibit and we feed the Lorikeets. And we... relax.

A couple years ago, my husband surprised me with a Scavenger Hunt birthday. The hunt took me all over the city, and while the hunt was fun, it sort of bummed me out because I thought it meant we wouldn't be going to the zoo. If I'm being honest, I was kinda wondering what the man was thinking, messing with tradition like that without consulting the birthday girl first! But, after following clues and pit-stopping for about three hours, I eventually followed the trail to... you got it... the zoo. There, at the gate, was my family, holding gifts and eager to get inside and play!

Over the years we've mixed it up a bit -- sometimes visiting our own zoo in Kansas City; sometimes traveling to Omaha to visit the zoo there. I've eaten birthday cake in hotel rooms, out of picnic coolers, even in a nursing home (pit stop #4 on the scavenger hunt, where my father-in-law had a clue tucked in his shirt pocket). I've worn flip-flops and shorts, sweatshirts and jeans, even rain slickers. I've spent the day with monkeys, with elephants, and with donkeys. And with my favorite animals of all -- my family.

And every year it's been wonderful. Go, May birthdays! Go to the zoo!!!
_____________________________________________
What a fun tradition!
Once again, Happy Birthday!
thanks for stopping by.
-Jill

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gentlemen

By: Michael Northrop

SUMMARY:
Micheal, Tommy, Mixer, and Bones aren't just from the wrong side of the tracks--they're from the wrong side of everything. Except for Mr. Haberman, their remedial English teacher, no one at their high school takes them seriously. Haberman calls them "gentlemen," but everyone else ignores them--or, in Bones's case, is dead afraid of them. When one of their close-knit group goes missing, the clues all seem to point in one direction: to Mr. Haberman. (From Amazon)

OUTLINED REVIEW:

Character Development: 6/10
Originality: 10/10
Plot/Story Line: 6
/10
Ending:
5/10
Voice: 7/10
Recommendation: 6/10
Total Score: 40
Grade: B

RATING:
Cussing:
5/10
Drugs, Alcohol, Etc.: 5/10

Violence and such: 7/10
Sexual Content: 5/10
Aimed at: 15 and up

OTHER:
# of pages:
234pg.
Written in:
first person narrative, teen guy
Released on:
April 16, 2009
Tone: fast paced, rough, and suspenseful

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:

Three friends suspect their English teacher has helped in the disappearance of their friend and decide to find the truth as they search for clues and test the strength of their friendship.

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW:

This novel is written with brutal honesty and an intense voice as it takes the reader on a journey of strength, suspicion, and guilt.

WRITTEN REVIEW:

GENTLEMEN reminded me of THE OUTSIDERS with its gritty voice, rough neighborhood, and harsh situations. But outside the setting the similarities end. This novel moved really quickly. The plot never slowed down and kept you entertained until the end. Micheal narrates the story with an honest, tell it like it is voice. It bugged me at times that he was talking TO me rather than TELLING me a story. I don't know if that makes any sense but I think it's just my personal reading preference to have a story told to me rather than a one-sided conversation (almost). I liked how it compared the situation to their English class and its discussions; He mentioned the main character in our reading assignment felt guilt maybe that connects to Mr.Haberman and he feels guilty...hmmm. That's obviously just a bad paraphrase but throughout the whole novel Micheal sees everything as a clue to finding out where his friend is. His voice is so real that you become convinced that Mr.Haberman killed Tommy. The ending was OK. It did conclude the novel and there was a twist but I think it could have been concluded a little better. Overall this is a novel that searches for truth. Truth about real friendships, real relationships, and the real truth about what happened to Tommy. Michael Northrop has written an excellent novel that tests the boundaries that separate suspicion from action. I recommend it to anyone looking for a quick and daring read with good characters and an intriguing plot.

-Jill

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kathryn Williams' Birthday Week (guest blog)

Hey guys!
Let's all give a warm welcome and lots of birthday wishes to Kathryn Williams, author of THE DEBUTANTE and THE LOST SUMMER, as she celebrates her birthday with us
.
_________________________________________
Happy Birthweek to me! Intentionally or not, I’ve always found myself celebrating the day I was born for a full week. I think it started in elementary school, when, if my birthday fell on a weekday, my family would celebrate the day of and save the big balloon clown-scavenger hunt-aerobics party (yes, I had an aerobics-themed birthday party -- it was the eighties) with my friends for the weekend.

When I went to college, my birthday in May always seemed to fall during final exams. At first this seemed like a bummer -- until I figured out I could use that as an excuse to stretch the celebrations out, telling my friends to jump in whenever their test schedules allowed. My 21st bday turned into “Kathrynpalooza,” a term my friends still (lovingly, I hope) call the five to seven days surrounding May 3 each year. Starting a few days before May 3, I start to get text messages, emails, and Facebook posts asking me how I plan to celebrate this year and wondering if Kathrynpalooza has already begun. It makes me feel pretty loved.
You’d think by the tender age of 28, I’d be over the need to celebrate myself for a quarter of a month. You’d be only halfway right. This year, I decided enough was enough. People are busy, money is tight, and birthdays, unfortunately, seem less cool as you get older -- that is, for most people. I still get excited. And despite my repeated proclamations that my birthday would be low-key this year, I found myself celebrating for my Sunday birthday on Thursday with a cook-out with friends, on Friday at a special fancy dinner with my mom, on Saturday with my extended family and another birthday girl, and now on Sunday with more calls, emails, and texts from friends around the country. As a stubborn Taurus, I guess old habits die hard. My dad is coming to visit me in a couple weeks, and I’m already trying to figure out how to drag my birthday out until then… Like I said, Happy Birthmonth to me!
If you want to help me celebrate, the best birthday present ever (other than a trip to Spain, maybe) would be to check out my first novel, THE DEBUTANTE, and my new book (coming in July), THE LOST SUMMER! Thanks! You shouldn't have;)________________________________________________
Thanks so much for doing this Kathryn!
I personally think you've got this whole birthday thing right. It should totally last a whole week!
And happy late birthday!
-Jill
(leave your comments and birthday wishes below. Thanks)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birthday Month


Hey
OK I finally have time to update you on birthday month.
Actually I don't really have time so I'm gonna do this fast.
Tomorrow I'll do more..........hopefully.
Anyway
Birthday Month has started
I have 4 authors + me who are going to share some birthday tales they have and why being born in May is super spectacular!!!
Below is the list of guests and their birthdays/dates of guest post
-Kathryn Williams (May 3)
-Jennifer Brown (May 11)
-Laura Wiess (May 16)
-Jackson Pearce (May 21)
-Me (but I'm not really a guest. I'll just be closing off birthday month.) (May 2)
OK
So that's what birthday month is. All of these authors are fantastic and they each have a new release coming soon so look out for that and more birthday awesomeness starting with Kathryn William's post about her very own birthday month. I'll post that tomorrow. (Sorry Kathryn! I know we agreed on the 3rd but my schedule has been thrown off because...well there are a lot of reasons. I'll post it tomorrow)

So start getting excited
May is an amazing month!
Thanks
-Jill

Sunday, May 3, 2009

In My Mailbox and Birthday Gifts








So Yesterday was my 15th birthday.
And what a brilliant day it was.
I had tons of text message birthday wishes and a few phone calls,
A 2 lb. bag of twizzlers and 2 packages of shockers and a box of gushers (those are my favorite things in the world by the way).
I got money from my grandparents.
I found out school is canceled for all next week because of the swine flu

The best neighbors in the world are taking me on an all expense paid trip to Disney World with their family for 10 days. I totally cried when they suprised me with this. (I babysit for their young kids Joley (6), Jadyn (4), and Jaxon (2) so I'm also going to help out but still!!!)






For the trip my mom is taking me on a shopping spree to buy me all new clothes for the trip.
And finally the most thoughtful and tear worthy gift for reasons most probably won't get...
my sister gave me a (SUPER CUTE!!!) take on bag for my plane trip complete with the gushers and shockers from above, coloring pages, crayons, Sudoku (with little personal notes throughout that I'm not allowed to look at until the trip), a purple pencil, and 37 songs for my IPOD with a personl note about them (that I'm not allowed to read until the trip!!!)
This present also shocked me.
These presents just make me 100x more excited for June 15 (the day we leave)



________________________________
Now for the books....
Last week I got:
























This Week I got:





So that was my last 2 weeks
I'll add titles later but I'm about to go eat a one day late birthday lunch so I've got to go.
A review will be posted later this afternoon and I'll update you on awards and birthday month later to when I have more time.
Thanks for everything!
-Jill

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm Not Dead and I want your opinions on the Swine Flu Please

I've been very slow lately on reviews and keeping up with everything and I'm so sorry about that. That's not usually not how I am.
Not to make excuses but........
I've been reading. A lot.
I've got about 5 books I need read by May 10th and I finish 1 book around every 5-7 days therefore I need to read a lot more than usual and so that's what I've been doing.
With TAKS (my standardized tests) last week and this Swine Flu craze now (there's a great chance my school will be canceled ALL of next week giving me lots of free reading time) so I should be back up to speed soon.
I have 3 books ready for review and I'm about ready for a 4th one so next week and this weekend should be review crazy. So Get Ready to be exposed to some great new books.
Now I need to stop talking and keep reading. I just thought I'd fill you in first.

O and by the way tomorrow's my 15th birthday! And my brother Jason's 9th birthday!(we're cosmic twins)

Tomorrow kicks off birthday month.
Hopefully I have time to let you know more about that tomorrow along with a little opinion post by me and a review of Fairest of Them All.

Little Discussion Question (Please Comment Below)
Is the Swine Flu as big a deal where you live as it is here in TX?
Are your schools closing?
What are your overall opinions on it? Is it being Overexaggerated or not?
I'm just wondering because here everything is canceled. Prom, regionals, meetings, school, EVERYTHING!!!
So what are your feelings on this?

Now I really am done.
Bye for now!
And keep washing your hands to stay healthy and praying for those who aren't!
Thanks!
-Jill

Young Passion (A guest blog by Cyn Balog)

Today Cyn Balog joins us with an inspiring guest blog

Enjoy!

______________________________________________________

First, I want to thank Jill for having me as a guest on her blog. I thought a bit about what my guest post would be about, and lately I’ve been thinking about how many young adult novels are written by people, like me, who are not young adults (ok, so I’m not hobbling about on a cane, but you get the idea). Why is that? Of course there are a few exceptions, but why is it that the group of people who is most uniquely qualified to write about this age group is not heavily represented in the vast pool of published young adult authors?

I can speak from my experience, since I finished my first novel when I was 14. I guess you can say I always knew I wanted to be a novelist. But I had no clue where to turn to get it published. I didn’t have a mentor, and though teachers would say, “You should try to get this published!” that was the end of that; I had no idea where to learn more about the process. The internet didn’t exist back then, and the only help I had was a very outdated copy of The Writer’s Market, given to me by an uncle. At the time, YA wasn’t really a “thing”, either, unless you counted Sweet Valley High. So I just assumed that I was too young and decided to invest my energy into getting into a good college, like all my friends were doing.

I now consider that to be a mistake. Because here’s the thing: You are NEVER too young to find your passion.

Despite what you may be told, your talent does not follow the same growth-curve that your age does. I’ve met some incredibly smart 13-year-olds, as well as some fifty-year olds who don’t know a thing. I’ve read books by teens that would smash to pieces anything written by adults. And the great thing about the internet-age is that if you are concerned about age discrimination (which I know does happen) you don’t have to reveal your age to an agent until after they sign you. Just do your research, learn how to be professional, and give it a shot. Most agents wouldn’t turn down a brilliant manuscript just because it was written by a 13-year old. And I know that there is a lot of brilliance among that age group. And I’m not just talking about young writers, either. There is brilliance all over, everywhere.

If I could go back to my younger self, and if I could say anything to the youth of the world, it is: Do not let your age hold you back. If you want something bad enough, start working for it today. Don’t listen when people tell you that you are too young. Don’t assume that you’ll be more knowledgeable when you are older, or that you’ll be better equipped to chase your desires. Sure, you very well may be, but by then you may be saddled with kids to raise, bills to pay, and a whole host of responsibilities that make following your dreams difficult, if not impossible.

So why are you still reading this?

Follow your passion. Do it now. If you love it enough, no matter who you are, you can make your dreams come true.

____________________________________

Thanks for being here Ms. Balog!