YA Superlatives Blogfest Winners

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Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who participated in 2013’s YA Superlatives Blogfest. My To-Read list has grown by leaps and bounds because of all of you! Jessica Tracey Alison , and I had so much fun reading posts, commenting, and meeting new bloggers. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Superlatives Blogfest. 🙂

As promised, we have randomly selected four bloggers (from those who posted superlatives lists on all four days of the blogfest) to win a 2013 book of their choice. Those lucky winners are…

Rachel (Beauty and the Bookshelf )
Rebekah Faubion
Sophia L
Stephanie Allen 

Winners, please email the title of the 2013 book you would like, as well as your mailing address, to katy(dot)upperman@live(dot)com. We’ll have your book in the mail as soon as possible. Congratulations!

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2013 YA Superlatives :: Best in Show

The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest (hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me) runs Monday, December 16th through Thursday, December 19th. All of our fantastic participants will highlight favorite books published in 2013 using a variety of fun superlative categories. The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest is all about promoting the extraordinary young adult books published this year, so if you haven’t already, draft a post and sign up to participate at the end of this post. We can’t wait to see your favorite reads of 2013!

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My Books Pubbed in 2013 Reading List (starred books are 2013 debut novels): Shades of Earth, *The Tragedy Paper, Just One Day, *If You Find Me, *Nobody But Us, *Taken, Through the Ever Night, Eleanor & Park, Requiem, *Pretty Girl-13, *Uses For Boys, This is What Happy Looks Like, Quintana of Charyn, *The S-Word, The 5th Wave, *Nantucket Blue, *The Sea of Tranquility, Golden, *Strands of Bronze and Gold, Where the Stars Still Shine, Dare You To, All I Need, Out of the Easy, *OCD Love Story, The Dream Thieves, *Canary, The Truth About You and Me, Fangirl, *My Life After Now, September Girls, *Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Dead Silence, Invisibility, Just One Year, *Fault Line, Allegiant, *How to Love, The Beginning of Everything, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, *Unteachable, Dangerous Girls, and *Reclaimed (Covers link to Goodreads pages!)

Here are my selections for Best in Show

Favorite Cover 

       
Erin Bowman’s Taken, Leila Howland’s Nantucket Blue, Katie Cotugno’s How to Love, and Bennett Madison’s September Girls all struck cover gold as far as I’m concerned. (Maybe I have a thing for teal?)

Cutest Couple 

   
Is Rainbow Rowell capable of writing a not-cute couple? I adore both Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park (duh) and Cath and Levi from Fangirl.

Most Likely to Succeed (Pick a Printz Winner)

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys is exceptional. It has the “literary merit” the Printz committee looks for year after year. It’s beautiful in every way.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime

    
I stayed up way too late reading all three of these. Leah Raeder’s Unteachable, Katie Cotugno’s How to Love, and Katja Millay’s The Sea of Tranquility are all absolutely unputdownable.

Best Repeat Performance (Favorite sequel or follow-up.)

   
I enjoyed both of these follow-ups even more than their predecessors, if that’s possible. Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves and Gayle Forman’s Just One Year added so much to their characters’ stories. Loved them both!

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel


Shades of Earth by Beth Revis is everything I need a series conclusion to be. It answered my questions in a satisfying way while still introducing new twists and characters, and it ended in a way that left me feeling content — thank goodness!

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath

I mean… Is there any other answer? Unteachable by Leah Raeder is far and away the most graphic YA-classified book I’ve read. The main characters have major chemistry and their encounters are described in detail. In fact, if this story’s writing wasn’t so gorgeous, I’d call it smut.

Breakout Novel (Favorite book by a debut author.)

     
  How to Love by Katie Cotugno and OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu are stand-outs of all the books I read this year, not just those by debut authors.

Best Old-Timer (Favorite read of the year published BEFORE 2013.)

      
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Fire by Kristin Cashore, and Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta are all books I’ve thought about often since reading them, in some cases even months after finishing. All three have lovely writing, dynamic main characters, and fantastical worlds. I highly recommend them all.

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry

Fault Line by Christa Desir broke me off. That had a lot to do with the fact that it’s a story about rape told from a male’s point of view. Watching Ben struggle to make sense of his girlfriend in the aftermath of her assault shattered me.

Most Pleasant Surprise (Book I didn’t think I’d like, but totally did.)

The Truth About You & Me by Amanda Grace (Mandy Hubbard) is the story of a student/teacher tryst, subject matter I usually steer clear of. But this story was incredibly well done, full of gray areas and imperfect characters that left me reeling. I think the second-person narration was a stroke of genius.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle

I can’t give away too much about Sarah Guillory’s Reclaimed for fear of spoiling it, but let’s just say this is a take on the oft-utilized love triangle that I’ve never, ever seen before. My mind is still turning circles about how it all worked out.

Sleeper Hit (Book so awesome, I wish it had been hyped more.)

        
How to Love by Katie Cotugno, OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu, The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, and Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller are not exactly under-the-radar books, but in my opinion, they’re so awesome that any and every YA fan should read them.

Favorite Outlier (Favorite picture, middle grade, or adult 2013 book)

   
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini is deep and rich and compelling. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, is clever and colorful and highly entertaining. Loved them both!

And…Katy’s Superlative Category: 
2014 YA Release You’re Most Anticipating

   
Into the Still Blue (Veronica Rossi) / Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Laini Taylor)

   
Panic (Lauren Oliver) / Isla and the Happily Ever After (Stephanie Perkins)

   
Frozen (Erin Bowman) / The Eighth Guardian (Meredith McCardle)

   
Push Girl (Chelsie Hill & Jessica Love) / Open Road Summer (Emery Lord)

   
Bleed Like Me (Christa Desir) / Complicit (Stephanie Kuehn)

   
Side Effects May Vary (Julie Murphy) / The Secret Sky (Atia Abawi)

Among many, many more! 🙂

Don’t forget to link your Best in Show post so I can visit!

Also, Trace, Jess, Alison and I will be randomly selecting four names from those who’ve participated in all four days of the blogfest. Those luckies will each win one 2013 YA book of their choice. Please make sure you’ve added your link for each day of the blogfest you participated in. Stay tuned… Winners will be announced soon!

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2013 YA Superlatives :: Elements of Fiction

The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest (hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me) runs Monday, December 16th through Thursday, December 19th. All of our fantastic participants will highlight favorite books published in 2013 using a variety of fun superlative categories. The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest is all about promoting the extraordinary young adult books published this year, so if you haven’t already, draft a post and sign up to participate at the end of this post. We can’t wait to see your favorite reads of 2013!

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My Books Pubbed in 2013 Reading List (starred books are 2013 debut novels): Shades of Earth, *The Tragedy Paper, Just One Day, *If You Find Me, *Nobody But Us, *Taken, Through the Ever Night, Eleanor & Park, Requiem, *Pretty Girl-13, *Uses For Boys, This is What Happy Looks Like, Quintana of Charyn, *The S-Word, The 5th Wave, *Nantucket Blue, *The Sea of Tranquility, Golden, *Strands of Bronze and Gold, Where the Stars Still Shine, Dare You To, All I Need, Out of the Easy, *OCD Love Story, The Dream Thieves, *Canary, The Truth About You and Me, Fangirl, *My Life After Now, September Girls, *Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Dead Silence, Invisibility, Just One Year, *Fault Line, Allegiant, *How to Love, The Beginning of Everything, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, *Unteachable, Dangerous Girls, and *Reclaimed (Covers link to Goodreads pages!)

Here are my selections for Elements of Fiction

Most Envy-Inducing Plot 

   
It’s a toss up between Abigail Haas’s Dangerous Girls and Jessi Kirby’s GoldenBoth books are exceptional contemporaries. I love the twists and sense of unknowing in Dangerous Girls, and I envy the way Jessi Kirby so seamlessly weaved past and present story lines into Golden.

Most Formidable World

   
Another toss up… The ether storms in Veronica Rossi’s Through the Ever Night terrify me, and the idea of a world without love as depicted in Lauren Oliver’s Requiem is equally horrifying. Come to think of it, there’s not a dystopian setting I’d want to visit.

Wanderlust-Inducing

I’ve not been to Nantucket, but Leila Howland’s debut Nantucket Blue made me want to book a summer house there. She describes the beach and the town and the people and the foods so clearly. I could feel the sand beneath my toes.

Loveliest Prose

I’m not usually fan of dialect in novels, but Emily Murdoch pulls it off beautifully in her debut, If You Find Me… My sister don’t talk much. When she does, it’s only to me, in moth-winged whispers, and only when we’re alone. The entire story is  this gorgeous and evocative.

Best First Line

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: My mother’s a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She’s actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute.

Most Dynamic Main Character

Reena Montero from Katie Cotugno’s How to Love is one of my favorite protagonists ever. She’s can be irresolute which makes her  relatable, but she’s also strong and funny and loving and smart. I’d be her friend in a heartbeat.

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending

I could go with Allegiant, Dangerous Girls, or Shades of Earth here, but the final lines of Katja Millay’s The Sea of Tranquility gave me actual, physical chills. Breathtaking and moving… I loved it.

Best Performance in a Supporting Role

Dee from Gayle Forman’s Just One Day. I had so much fun reading the scenes he shared with Allyson, and I appreciate how he’s more than just the fun best buddy type. He’s got depth and does his own growing as the story progresses.

Best Use of Theme

I love Trish Doller’s Where the Stars Still Shine for its characters and intense emotionality, but I also love it for its messages regarding forgiveness and family and kindness and love, and how it’s possible to recover and start over.

Don’t forget to link your “Elements of Fiction” post below!

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2013 YA Superlatives :: Popularity Contest

The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest (hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me) runs Monday, December 16th through Thursday, December 19th. All of our fantastic participants will highlight favorite books published in 2013 using a variety of fun superlative categories. The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest is all about promoting the extraordinary young adult books published this year, so if you haven’t already, draft a post and sign up to participate at the end of this post. We can’t wait to see your favorite reads of 2013!

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My Books Pubbed in 2013 Reading List (starred books are 2013 debut novels): Shades of Earth, *The Tragedy Paper, Just One Day, *If You Find Me, *Nobody But Us, *Taken, Through the Ever Night, Eleanor & Park, Requiem, *Pretty Girl-13, *Uses For Boys, This is What Happy Looks Like, Quintana of Charyn, *The S-Word, The 5th Wave, *Nantucket Blue, *The Sea of Tranquility, Golden, *Strands of Bronze and Gold, Where the Stars Still Shine, Dare You To, All I Need, Out of the Easy, *OCD Love Story, The Dream Thieves, *Canary, The Truth About You and Me, Fangirl, *My Life After Now, September Girls, *Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Dead Silence, Invisibility, Just One Year, *Fault Line, Allegiant, *How to Love, The Beginning of Everything, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, *Unteachable, Dangerous Girls, and *Reclaimed (Covers link to Goodreads pages!)

Here are my selections for Popularity Contest…

Villain I Love to Hate

There’s a lot of gray when it comes to “villain” in Abigail Haas’s Dangerous Girls, which is why it’s an incredible read. Most of the main characters have seriously deplorable moments, and the real bad guy isn’t revealed until the very end.

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star

Park from Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is so music-obsessed, I think he’d make a perfect rockstar. Plus, he wears black eyeliner, which is pretty much a rocker prerequisite. (Art by the brilliant Simini Blocker.)

Favorite Parental Figure

Callie’s dad, Greg, from Where the Stars Still Shine is such a loving and supportive and patient father. I loved the scenes he and Callie shared, and the way he helped her learn to trust again.

Mostly Likely to Start a Riot

Ronan from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves. He’s passionate and damaged and a total loose cannon. Plus, there’s the whole dream thief thing — just imagine the craziness he could commence! (Sketch by Maggie Stiefvater, who is way too talented.)

Biggest Flirt

Alex from Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller (I borrowed this image from her WtSSS Pinterest page, which is awesome). Alex may not be the biggest flirt, but I definitely think he’s the best flirt. *sigh*

Coolest Nerd

Toby from Robin Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything. He’s a fun, adorably dorky guy (captain of and spark behind the debate team) who has a knack for awesomely witty puns. My favorite character from this story.

Fashion King and/or Queen

Dee from Gayle Forman’s Just One Day. He’s generally awesome, plus, he’s got gumption and personal style for days. I wish I’d had him for a friend during my freshman year of college. (Art by the amazing Simini Blocker.)

Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF

Josie from Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. She’s clever and driven and fiercely loyal. She’s got street smarts (and friends in low places) and a kind heart. I’d love to hang out with her in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School

Josh Bennett from Katja Millay’s The Sea of Tranquility because he’s so sweet and protective of the people he cares about. Even though he’s sad, he’s got an enormous patched-together heart. Plus, he’s good with his hands. 😉

Most Likely to Become President

Gansey from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves. He’s my favorite of all the boys, and I think he’d be an excellent president. He’s got the breeding and he’s incredibly diplomatic, yet he’s absolutely sincere, too. (Art by Cassandra Jean.)

Quirkiest Character

Bea from Corey Ann Haydu’s OCD Love Story. Even if you don’t consider her OCD symptoms, Bea’s still an eccentric girl who doesn’t care about what anyone else thinks of her. Love that.


Don’t forget to link your Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest “Popularity Contest” post below! 

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2013 YA Superlatives Blogfest :: Head of the Class

The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest (hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me) runs Monday, December 16th through Thursday, December 19th. All of our fantastic participants will highlight favorite books published in 2013 using a variety of fun superlative categories. The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest is all about promoting the extraordinary young adult books published this year, so if you haven’t already, draft a post and sign up to participate at the end of this post. We can’t wait to see your favorite reads of 2013!

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My Books Pubbed in 2013 Reading List (starred books are 2013 debut novels): Shades of Earth, *The Tragedy Paper, Just One Day, *If You Find Me, *Nobody But Us, *Taken, Through the Ever Night, Eleanor & Park, Requiem, *Pretty Girl-13, *Uses For Boys, This is What Happy Looks Like, Quintana of Charyn, *The S-Word, The 5th Wave, *Nantucket Blue, *The Sea of Tranquility, Golden, *Strands of Bronze and Gold, Where the Stars Still Shine, Dare You To, All I Need, Out of the Easy, *OCD Love Story, The Dream Thieves, *Canary, The Truth About You and Me, Fangirl, *My Life After Now, September Girls, *Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Dead Silence, Invisibility, Just One Year, *Fault Line, Allegiant, *How to Love, The Beginning of Everything, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, *Unteachable, Dangerous Girls, and *Reclaimed (Covers link to Goodreads pages!)

Today’s Categories for Best in Show…

Favorite Dystopian

   
I couldn’t narrow this category down to one. Both Through the Ever Night and Taken have amazing worldbuilding and beautiful prose. Love them both.

Favorite Science Fiction

The end of this book almost killed me, but… phew! I thought it was a fitting and fantastic conclusion to a trilogy I’ve followed since its release.

Favorite Fantasy

I read this trilogy over the course of a few weeks last spring, and I’m still in awe. I’ve never cared so much for such a huge cast of characters. Brilliant high fantasy.

Favorite Contemporary

   
Because this is actually one story, right? Allyson and Willem really did give me all the feels, not to mention a wicked case of wanderlust.

Favorite Action/Adventure

This one’s sci-fi as well, and it’s intense. Expertly plotted and full of action and twists. I couldn’t put it down!

Favorite Historical Fiction

I adore this gritty but beautiful glimpse into life in a 1950s New Orleans brothel. Protagonist Josie is one of my favorites of the year.

Favorite Comedy

This is a stretch, but I don’t read traditional comedies, and Fangirl actually does have several funny moments. It’s also deep and thoughtful and romantic. Love.

Favorite Mystery

This book kept me guessing until its final pages. It’s raw and twisty and bold, a scary look at foreign legal systems and the ruthlessness of friendship and love.

Favorite Romance

   
I couldn’t pick just one! How to Love and Eleanor & Park are stories of challenged but genuine devotion, and they both gave me all the first love tingles.

Favorite Paranormal

This book is surreal and atmospheric and totally weird, but I dig it. The writing is lovely and the symbolism is fascinating. Plus, look at that cover!

Favorite Family Drama

    
Two heartbreaking but hopeful stories with similar themes of love and devotion and healing. Both protagonists have exceptional fathers, too.

Favorite Genre Bender 

This book is a trip, and I could not put it down. I’m such a Gansey fan… I’d read a story about him grocery shopping if Maggie Stiefvater published it.

Tell us about your favorites, and make sure to link your post with all of the other Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest posts…

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What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Carol Rifka Brunt’s Tell the Wolves I’m Home and I thought it was a beautiful story. That said, it’s not a book that would have normally attracted me, so I’m incredibly thankful for Corey Ann Haydu’s recommendation. I loved this novel! Now I’m (slowly) reading Lauren DeStefano’s Perfect Ruin. So far, I’m super impressed with the worldbuilding, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the story plays out.

What I’m Writing: I’ve slacked on my revision over the last week, and I’m so bummed about it. I’ve just been so busy with the holidays and my husband’s upcoming grad school graduation and our impending move. I haven’t had time to sit down and focus on what my manuscript needs. Boo. I keep picturing myself all comfy on the couch in our new Florida home with my story document opened in front of me… Can. Not. Wait. In other news, I finished my blog posts for the Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest, which begins this Monday! Looking forward to sharing my favorite 2013 books with you, and to reading about the books you’ve fallen for this year!

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What Else I’ve Been Up To: Blah. Need you ask? Organizing, purging, packing. The moving truck comes Friday. We’re loading all weekend. We sign out of our house next Wednesday. I can’t wait to be done with this nonsense.

   
Some girlfriends and I hosted a graduation party for our husbands this weekend. Of course I put myself in charge of desserts. I took a break from packing and instead spent two full mornings baking. I was so happy!


I got the cutest winter mug for #SipSwap a few mornings ago. As soon as I unwrapped it, I fixed myself some tea and ate some M&Ms. Because I am a grown up. Thanks so much to Simon Clark for sending such an adorable mug!

   
My girl is *almost* as graceful as I am. Last week at school she hurt her face on the jungle gym (I still don’t completely understand how), but she’s healing quickly. When I told her to not to pick at the scab on her forehead because it would leave a scar, she got all excited and said, “Really? Like Harry Potter?!” And then I was the proudest mom ever.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: I watched The Descendants over the weekend, and I absolutely loved it. I’d heard it was good from several people and I’ve been intrigued by the trailer since I saw it ages ago (plus there’s the whole Oscars thing), but it’s one of those movies that somehow slipped by me. It’s finally on HBO (yay!) and I couldn’t pass it up. Oh, it was so, so good. Flawed but incredibly likable characters. Poignant, but with moments of perfect humor (Sid! The best!). A gorgeous setting (Hawaii!). And Shailene Woodley — what a talent. She’s going to rock Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars. If you’ve yet to see this one, I highly recommend it. Amazing and inspiring storytelling. Here’s the trailer…

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading:  I’m still working on Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, which is truly beautiful literary fiction. Here’s the summary from Goodreads1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life—someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart. At Finn’s funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he might be the one she needs the most.

What I’m Writing: I’m still plugging away at my revision. It’s slow and tedious, and I’m constantly jumping between being desperately in love with this story, and thinking it’s the most ridiculous bit of fiction ever. #WriterAngst During my revision breaks, I’ve been writing blog posts for the Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest. I can’t wait to share my favorite 2013 books with you, and read all about the books you’ve fallen in love with this year!

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What Else I’ve Been Up To: Packing, packing packing. It’s so dull and physically exhausting. I won’t bore you with the details, but yeah… Stuffing boxes with our worldly possessions is eating up my time and making me a little grouchy.

   
In more cheerful news, last Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with a lovely afternoon filled with friends, laughter, and too much food. My favorite culinary venture was a Slab Apple Pie I made, which looked delightful and was very tasty. I used this recipe for the crust, and this recipe for the filling. Recommend!


Also, we saw Frozen! I’m a die-hard Disney fan, but to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t super pumped about this movie, initially. The trailer didn’t do much for me and Olaf, the little snowman, seemed cheesy. But after watching, my opinion changed completely… I loved Frozen! It was absolutely adorable. Heartwarming and beautifully animated, and Olaf turned out to be my favorite character of all.


Finally, we went ice skating. Every year a little ice rink goes up right next to the Monterey Bay and on Sunday we decided to take advantage. I’m a horrible skater (balance is not one of my gifts), but my husband is very good and he managed to teach our girl a thing or two. I love California; it’s fun to skate in t-shirts. 🙂

What’s Inspiring Me Now: The quote below, which makes me think of my husband and my daughter and my parents and my friends, not to mention my immensely talented and supportive CPs and beta readers. ♥

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

WUW

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Sarah Guillory’s Reclaimed. Just when I thought I had it all figured out… Mind = Blown. I had to give up on my Fire audiobook, but only because I’m not in my car enough to get anywhere with the story. Luckily, I own a physical copy of the book, and I finished reading it yesterday. Fantasy is not usually my genre of choice, but I adore Kristin Cashore’s characters and writing and worldbuilding, and Fire is just so unbelievably, indescribably good. If you haven’t read the books of the Graceling Realm, you must. Now, I’ve started Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (an adult/YA crossover). So far, I’m mesmerized by the beautiful writing. I think this one’s going to be lovely.

What I’m Writing: Oh, you know… Still working on my revision. It’s a slow and tedious process, but I *think* it’s coming along. Only time (and feedback) will tell, I suppose. My savvy agent Victoria Marini tweeted this yesterday: Drafts: 1. get all the bulls**t out of your head. 2. figure out what you meant to say. 3. figure out how to say it. 4. properly. A great reminder that early drafts aren’t supposed to be perfect. Reassuring, because mine definitely are not.


Notes I leave myself while revising: I don’t like you, Scene. You are cheesy and you do not feel effortless. I finally had to let this one go and move on. Here’s hoping my CPs can help me fix it eventually.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: I’ve packed some things. Not many, but there are a few full boxes in my house. Baby steps. Also, we’re hosting Thanksgiving this year. My husband and I are making the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and some pies (obviously). Some of our favorite neighbors are coming over with plenty of their own culinary contributions (more pie!). We’re not near family this year, so we’re extra appreciative of our awesome friends.


I’ve been on a bit of a baking hiatus, but this weekend my girlie and I were craving a warm and sweet breakfast, so we made Homemade Cinnamon Rolls. While they do include yeast and require some rising, they’re relatively quick and they tasted incredibly yummy. Recommend.


I saw Catching Fire on Friday. Guys, I loved this movie! I thought it was better than The Hunger Games, and very true to the book. J-Law rocked, the pacing was awesome, and I was truly moved by several scenes. I want to see it again!

Superlatives ButtonI’ve also been gearing up for the Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest, which begins December 16th and continues through December 19th. I’m co-hosting with Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller for the 3rd consecutive year, and I can’t wait for the fun to begin. Four days, more than forty categories, and tons of fantastic book recommendations! Click on the button above for all the details. We’re hoping you’ll join us and help spread the word!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: A post by called 4 Writing Tips to Show and Not Tell. It’s packed with timely reminders, particularly for those of us stuck in the throes of revisions. Also, some fabulous thoughts from YA Highway‘s Emilia Plater in a post titled In Defense of Solipsistic Teenage Girl.


I always feel inspired by my girl, but I’m especially thankful for her around the holidays. I found out I was pregnant with her on Thanksgiving seven years ago, so this particular holiday is an extra special time for my husband and me. Sadly, some of our closest friends are in the midst of an incredibly tragic loss, and I am beyond devastated for them. Their experience makes my heart hurt so badly, and it makes me want to scoop my daughter up and hold her close always and forever. Give your loved ones hugs and kisses every chance you get. ♡

Happy Thanksgiving to all who will celebrate tomorrow.
Tell me… What’s up with you today?

Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest

It’s time for the 3rd Annual YA Superlative Blogfest! Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Alison Miller, and I hosted this fun and interactive blogfest in 2011 and 2012 as a way of highlighting our favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements, and we can’t wait for another week dedicated to promoting awesome young adult books, as well as getting to know new bloggers.

Superlatives Banner

The Class of 2013: YA Superlative Blogfest will run Monday, December 16th – Thursday, December 19th and will highlight favorite young adult books published in 2013. We’ll conclude the week by giving away 2013 books to a few lucky blogfest participants (more info soon!).

Here are this year’s categories:

Monday, December 16th: Head of the Class
Favorite Dystopian
Favorite Science Fiction
Favorite Fantasy
Favorite Contemporary
Favorite Action/Adventure
Favorite Historical Fiction
Favorite Comedy
Favorite Mystery
Favorite Romance
Favorite Paranormal
Favorite Family Drama
Favorite Genre Bender 

Tuesday, December 17th: Popularity Contest
Choose characters who fit each topic from ANY YA book!
Class Clown
Most Likely to Become a Rock Star
Mostly Likely to Start a Riot
Biggest Flirt
Fashion King and/or Queen
Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF
Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School
Most Likely to Become President
Quirkiest Character
Villain You Love to Hate
Favorite Parental Figure
Coolest Nerd 

Wednesday, December 18th: Elements of Fiction
Most Envy-Inducing Plot (The plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)
Most Formidable World (Setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)
Wanderlust-Inducing (Setting you’d happily travel to.)
Loveliest Prose
Best First Line
Most Dynamic Main Character
Most Jaw-Dropping Ending
Best Performance in a Supporting Role
Best Use of Theme

Thursday, December 19: Best in Show
Favorite Cover
Cutest Couple
Most Likely to Succeed (Pick a Printz Winner.)
Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you couldn’t put down.)
Best Repeat Performance (Favorite sequel or follow-up.)
Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel
Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath
Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.)
Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year published BEFORE 2013.)
Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry
Most Pleasant Surprise (Book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.)
Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle
Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)
Favorite Outlier (Favorite picture, middle grade, or adult 2013 book)
Your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end today’s list. Blog hoppers will drop by and vote for their pick in your comments!

Remember, The Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest is all about promoting extraordinary novels. Don’t worry if your 2013 reading list is on the short side, but HERE is a comprehensive list of 2013 YA titles in case you’d like to fit in a few more books before December 16th. And don’t worry if you don’t have a book/character/cover/element for each of the categories. We just want you to jump in and participate any way you can!

Superlatives Button

Please do help us spread the word by grabbing our banner and/or button (both designed by Tracey Neithercott, who is brilliant and crazy-talented!).

We hope you’ll join in on the fun!

What’s Up Wednesday (And Superlatives!)

Before I get to my What’s Up Wednesday post, I’d like to take a moment to feature one of my favorite annual blogging events — one that’s coming up soon!

For the last two years, Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and I have hosted The YA Superlatives Blogfest, an interactive way to highlight our favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements of the year. (My previous Superlative posts are HERE and HERE.) We’ve had a fantastic group of bloggers sign on to participate in the past, and it’s so much fun to hop from blog to blog to find out how our friends awarded their superlatives.

Jess, Tracey, Alison, and I have had such a great time talking about awesome books and getting to know new bloggers through this blogfest, we’ve decided to do it again! There will be lots more information about the specifics of the The Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest in the coming weeks (I can tell you that it will take place during the third week of December), but we wanted to give you a heads up now, so you have plenty of time to beef up your books-published-in-2013 reading list (there’s a comprehensive catalog of titles HERE).

Just like 2011 and 2012, the The Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest will be all about FUN and promoting fantastic novels! Don’t worry if your 2013 reading list is on the short side, or if you don’t have a book/character/cover/element for each category; we just want you to jump in and participate any way you can! Happy reading! 

Autumn WUP

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to. And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Bennett Madison’s September Girls, and now I understand why this is such a polarizing novel. It’s graphic and it’s haunting and it’s obviously not for everyone, but I loved it. It’s a surreal, trippy sort of story, beautifully written, and with a setting that felt both dreamlike and entirely real. Plus, main character Sam’s voice… Wow. Now, I’m reading April Genevieve Tucholke’s debut, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a novel with one of the best settings I’ve seen in a while. I would love to visit Echo and the Citizen!

What I’m Writing: My WiP! You know how when you take an extended break from a project, it’s really had to pick it back up again? Well, my WiP and I have had a bit of a hiatus over the last few weeks, and I was dreading that moment when I’d have no more excuses and would have to sit down and attempt to recover the groove I once had. Last week I finally bit the bullet and dove back into the story and guess what? My groove has been recovered safe and sound! I’ve written about 6,000 words over the last seven days, and I’m thinking I have about 10K left to go.

My story is told in a rather untraditional format. Most of it takes place over the course of a year, but there are scenes from one transcendental present-tense night sprinkled throughout, a now-and-then structure, if you will. I am *almost* done with the “then” scenes (which make up about 85% of the story) and I can’t wait to get started on the “now” scenes. Progress!

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Mostly, I’ve been reading and writing and hanging out in the kitchen. This week I made Lentil Soup, a family favorite, plus Snickerdoodles and a Hootenanny (a really easy melding of a pancake and French toast that bakes in the oven). I also indulged in another fall dessert…


Apple Crumb Cake, which I thought was tasty and my daughter loved. She even ate it for breakfast (there’s fruit in it — why not?). My always-honest husband, on the other hand, declared this “not a favorite” of the treats I bake. He’s a peanut-butter-and-chocolate kind of guy, though, so let’s take his opinion with a grain of salt, shall we?


I’ve also been hanging with this girl, who plays soccer like her mama used to — timidly and lackadaisically. Contact sports have never been my thing (I swam in high school and now I run), and I’m pretty sure they won’t be my daughter’s either. Nevertheless, my husband and I have been working on the fundamentals of soccer with her. We’re trying to teach her how to be aggressive without being a jerk. It’s a pretty fine line when you’re six.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: The incomparable Laini Taylor‘s thoughts on Writing and “Found” Objects and Beachcombing, or why it’s awesome to be a plotter and a pantser all at once, as well as 2014 debut author Sara B. Larson‘s honest and thoughtful post On Overcoming Doubt…

Oddly enough, television has also been inspiring me. I don’t watch TV much, but I’m a faithful fan of a few shows — Breaking Bad being my favorite. Sunday night was the series finale, and I can’t express how anxious and sad I felt in the hours leading up to that last episode. I’ve grown so invested in Walt and Jesse and Skyler and Marie, and I’m continually blown away by the show’s amazing writing and no-holds-barred take on storytelling. There will be no finale spoilers here, but I will say that I was extraordinarily satisfied with the way the series wrapped up. For me, it was perfection. And on the other end of the television spectrum, the Uppermans have started watching The Voice, which is one of those rare shows that’s perfect for family viewing. My daughter loves it for the singing and the young talent, and I love it because it’s positive and clean and stresses the importance of hard work and perseverance. Even my husband, who was skeptical at first, is charmed by the humor of the coaches. I totally recommend The Voice if you’ve been living under a rock (like me) and have yet to catch an episode.

Tell me: What’s up with you today?