Category Archives: Current Events

Happy release day, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US!

My second novel, The Impossibility of Us, is on sale today!

TIoU Cover

Here’s its summary…

The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village. When she meets Mati, the two quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town as well, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more. But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan. Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, The Impossibility of Us asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?

THANK YOU…

I am so fortunate to be part of the Swoon Reads family, where I feel at all times supported and celebrated. I’m grateful to Jean Feiwel and Lauren Scobell for cultivating this incredible community. Working with my editor, Kat Brzozowski, has been a dream. Her insight, wisdom, and warmth have taught me so much. And I can’t imagine doing this publication thing without my agent, Victoria Marini. Her guidance, expertise, and humor are invaluable.

Alison Miller, Temre Beltz, Riley Edgewood, and Elodie Nowodazkij are far and away the best critique partners a girl could ask for. Their combined intelligence, compassion, and generosity are inspiring. Big thanks to Rachel Simon, Jaime Morrow, and Lola Sharp for their enthusiastic beta reads of TIoU. I’m grateful to Arvin Ahmadi, Rania, and Silanur for their thoughtful feedback and generously shared personal experiences as they relate to this book. And thank you to Khalid Ahmad for his generous assistance with the Pashto translations. Thank you to my wonderful writer friends, especially Tracey Neithercott, Mandie Baxter, Liz Parker, Christina June, Jessica Love, Christa Desir, Sara Biren, Karole Cozzo, and Erin Bowman for the reassurances and celebrations. To the 2017 Debuts, thank you for sharing this journey with me. And to the authors known affectionately as the Swoon Squad, um . . . wow. What an amazing group of people!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my parents for their boundless support and infinite love, and for hand-selling my books to their friends. My brothers might not be fans of young adult romance, but they’re fans of me and really, isn’t that all that matters? 🙂 Thanks to the rest of my extended family, whose continued cheerleading means the world to me. All the hugs and kisses to my girlies for bringing me indescribable joy. And, finally, this book wouldn’t exist without my husband. His genuine excitement over my success makes me feel unstoppable. He’s still my happily ever after.

The Impossibility of Us in Review

What could have been a clichéd, tired romance novel will surprise readers with depth of character and a unique layout. The chapters alternate: Elise’s in narrative prose and Mati’s in verse. The protagonists share their cultural and language differences with each other, setting aside surrounding discrimination and prejudices. Elise learns about Afghanistan and Pashto, releases her resentment and intolerance, and finds healing as she grieves her brother’s death. Mati navigates how to fulfill his familial and faith obligations while staying true to himself and his passions. This book tackles several heavy subjects as the author explores religious and ethnic intolerance, bigotry, fear, and lack of fairness. Though Upperman uses traditional romance tropes, readers will find the story meaty, satisfying, and enlightening. This surprising and worthwhile romance is a solid choice to add to any teen collection.
VOYA

Elise is passionate and caring and inquisitive, and isn’t afraid to admit—and then change—when she’s ignorant or wrong. Plenty of people could take a page out of her book on how to be compassionate humans. Elise and Mati are quickly intrigued by each other, but because of Mati’s religious beliefs and his life back in Afghanistan, it takes a while before anything physical manifests. But this just means a graze or a glance is that much more charged. And it gives them an opportunity to get to the really sexy stuff: understanding one another emotionally and connecting deeper on an intellectual level. Upperman crafted a great summer romance, combining the headiness of finding someone and falling in love over just a few months with the bittersweet of knowing summer—and possibly that relationship—has a definite end. I devoured this book in an evening and it left me with a smile by the end.
Forever YA for Kirkus

Don’t expect the same story that you read in Kissing Max Holden. Sure, the characters faced impossible odds (hence the title) like in KMH, but Upperman explored different avenues of her writing. I fell head-over-heels for the love interest, Mati. One of my favorite parts of the book was his voice. Instead of prose, he told his story through poetry. It was eloquent and beautiful, and it perfectly encapsulated Mati’s essence. Your heart will break reading this book, but it will also soar. You’ll question everything you’ve imagined about difficult relationships, look at your own self in a new light, but you’ll also fall in love.
~ Moriah’s Musings

…an adorable story about falling for a boy and realizing what love really is, while also having to deal with your respective families and addressing the prejudices that they have against one another. If you’re looking for your next beach read that will grip you and have you flipping the pages quickly, laughing, crying, gasping and even swooning, then this is definitely the book for you!
~ TeenReads

There’s a lot to love in this beachy read about a summer romance, in which the two main characters face unusual complications due to circumstance, culture, and prejudice… I found myself rooting for Mati and Elise to make things work against all odds — and while the book is filled with plenty of heartache, I found it ultimately hopeful and uplifting.
~ Novel Novice

This sophomore offering was another huge hit from Katy Upperman, and at this point I’ll read anything this lady writes.
~ Pages and Pugs (this review’s GIF game is 👌🏼)

Katy Upperman has done it again. As much as I loved her debut novel, Kissing Max Holden, The Impossibility of Us has more depth, packs more of an emotional punch, and made a visceral impact that had me wiping away tears. Upperman managed to engage my mind and my heart in this beautiful tale of friendship and first love, tolerance and acceptance. She has deftly created a story that is timely and relevant and equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful. The Impossibility of Us is one that is not to be missed.
~ Girl Plus Books

The Impossibility of Us on Sale

::   The Impossibility of Us at Amazon   ::
::  The Impossibility of Us at IndieBound  ::
::   The Impossibility of Us at The Book Depository   ::
::  The Impossibility of Us at Barnes & Noble  ::
:: The Impossibility of Us at BAM  ::
::  The Impossibility of Us at Target  ::
::  The Impossibility of Us at Powell’s  ::

Or, order from my local independent bookstore, One More Page Books. They’ll ship you a signed, personalized copy of the novel from Arlington, VA!

The Impossibility of Us Interviews

With “So Few Books”

With Buried in a Bookshelf

Upcoming Events

My Local Launch Event ⇣IMG_4749

Also ⇣
Fountain Bookstore ~ Richmond, VA
Q&A + Signing w/ Christina June
Saturday, August 25, 2018, 2:00 PM

Thank you — yes, you!

Thank you for asking about my writing, for sharing my promotional tweets/posts/images, for asking me to come to your town for a signing, for passing out my bookmarks, and for reading and reviewing Kissing Max Holden. Thank you for preordering The Impossibility of Us, for requesting it at your local library, for talking about it with the readers in your life, for complimenting its cover, its summary, and its blurbs. Thank you so much for your tireless support.

Advertisements

Cavalcade of Authors West

I’m so excited to help my longtime friend, middle school teacher Kari Bradley, spread the word about a fantastic literary event: Cavalcade of Authors West.

COA West’s Mission: The Cavalcade of Authors West (COA West) is dedicated to providing the secondary students of our region access to some of the best YA authors of our modern era. Our special interest is to celebrate Pacific Northwest authors while introducing students to a variety of genres and subject matter and to promote reading and writing within our community. We provide for our participants an authentic writing conference experience where students can learn from the ultimate mentors: the authors of the books they are reading.  We work in conjunction with the sister organization located in the Tri-Cities area of Washington called Cavalcade of Authors.

Some of April 30, 2016’s Authors/Workshops: S.A. Bodeen and Quelching the Quit, Martha Brockenbrough and Help! I Can’t Finish This Story, Royce Buckingham and Writing Your Second Book, Justina Chen and You Had Me At Halo (and Hello),Carl Deuker and Fast Writing is Good Writing, Kevin Emerson and How To Plot Like a Pro,Colleen Houck and The Hero’s Journey, Lish McBride and Let’s Make Something Monstrous, Heidi Sschulz and Raise Your [Authorial] Voice!, Tamara Ireland Stone and Applying Screenwriting Structure To Your Novel or Short Story, plus more!

How you can help: To operate a program of this magnitude, COA West is looking to raise nearly $18,000. To reach as many students and schools as possible, donations of any value are welcome and appreciated. Funds will go directly to pay author honorariums, travel and lodging expenses, and meals, as well as for marketing and school outreach. COA West has worked hard to negotiate discounts and donations when possible; for instance, conference fees have been donated by PLU and many authors are donating travel expenses and autographed books. Whether you can contribute financially or not, please help COA West spread the word about this very worthwhile cause. They can be found on Twitter and Instagram (@cavalcadewest), and on Facebook (Cavalcade of Authors West). Please refer to their website for updates and information about this campaign and this project that are so important.

Donate to Cavalcade of Authors West

Currently…

(I plan to do a “Currently” post every other Tuesday, and I think y’all should join me… Find the origins of the idea HERE.)

Currently

Loving

This (incredibly easy) Chocolate Cake recipe. My favorite (free!) yoga videos: Yoga With Adriene. Washi tape — I am officially obsessed. Pura Vida bracelets. This fantastic “beYOUtiful raglan t-shirt,” of which 1/4 of the price is donated to First Descents, providing free adventure experiences for cancer fighters and survivors. And a recent Pub(lishing) Crawl post by Erin Bowman, all about how to support authors before, during, and after release day.

Reading

Jessica Park’s Flat-Out Love (NA at its most adorable), and Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap (one of the weirdest, most beautifully written books I’ve read in a long time). These two stories couldn’t be more different, but I loved them both, particularly Bone Gap — pure magic. Now, I’ve started All the Rage by one of my favorite authors, Courtney Summers. More about this recent release soon!

   

Watching

Guys, I finished Gossip Girl! I thought the series finale was quite satisfying — though I wanted more Chuck and Blair (always). I’ve just finished watching the first season of The CW’s The 100 which, as promised by many, has drastically improved since its fist few episodes. It definitely has its cheese-tastic moments, but it also has enough twists and romance to hold my attention. So far, so good. Hurry up and make season 2 available, Netflix!

Listening To

Echosmith‘s Bright, which is so damn cute. It’s the perfect theme song for my WiP, Stars Like Dust, too.

Thinking About

My Shiny New Idea! It’s in its very earliest brainstorming stages, but I’m *really* excited about it. I was at the dentist a few weeks ago and during my cleaning, two songs from the same movie soundtrack played — one of my favorite movies. I was suddenly super inspired, and I’ve been stewing over plot-ish things ever since. I’ve named my main characters, and I’ve made a mood board that’s now my computer’s desktop –> progress!

Anticipating

I can’t wait to randomly select the winner of my 5 Year Blog-iversary Giveaway! I’ve got YA books, notecards, a travel mug and Jelly Bellies up for grabs. If you haven’t already, enter HERE. The giveaway closes this Thursday, April 23rd at midnight, and is open internationally. Good luck!

Wishing

That the people who picked up the novels my daughter and I left around our community during last week’s Rock the Drop will love the stories they scored!

Making Me Happy

My family, always. ❤

What’s currently making YOU happy?

#RockTheDrop

I participated in Rock the Drop, a celebration of Support Teen Literature Day sponsored by ReaderGirlz, in 2012, 2013, and 2014. It’s been so much fun in the past, I couldn’t wait to drop books around my community this year, too.

This time around, I chose first books in dystopian and/or fantastical series — Strands of Bronze and Gold, Starters, Red Queen, and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. My little book elf and I dropped them at eateries around our town, and consumed a lot of calories in the process. 🙂 Hopefully the teens who picked these stories up will love them, and won’t be able to resist tracking down subsequent novels in these series.

Did you #RockTheDrop? 

Cavalcade of Authors West

I’m so excited to help my longtime friend, middle school teacher Kari Bradley, spread the word about a fantastic literary event: Cavalcade of Authors West.

COA West’s Mission: The Cavalcade of Authors West (COA West) is dedicated to providing the secondary students of our region access to some of the best Young Adult authors of our era. Our special interest is to celebrate Pacific Northwest Authors while introducing students to a variety of genres and subject matter and to furthermore, promote reading and writing within our community. We provide for our participants an authentic writing conference experience where students can learn from the ultimate mentors: the authors of the books they are reading.  We work in conjunction with the sister organization located in the Tri-Cities area of Washington called Cavalcade of Authors.

The basics: Who? Secondary students in Pierce County and their teachers and librarians. What? A literary/writing conference. The program is comprised of two components: 1) students reading novels by 15 featured authors and 2) a writer’s conference led by these featured authors. When? Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 Where? Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma, Washington

This year’s author line-up: Royce Buckingham, Kimberly Derting, Peggy Eddleman, Kevin Emerson, Kristin Halbrook, Kazu Kibuishi, Lish McBride, Mindy McGinnis, Richelle Mead, Marissa Meyer, Alyson Noel, Lisa Schroeder, Liesl Shurtliff, Terry Trueman, Leslye Walton, Staia Ward Kehoe, Jim Whiting

How you can help: While PLU is generously donating the facility and many of the authors are donating part or all of their appearance, there are still significant costs associated with running this conference for 450 students and their teachers. Please considering lending financial support to this fantastic event by visiting the Indie GoGo site below.

Cavalcade of Authors West

Visit COA West’s Website, Twitter, Instagram

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, or 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: Well… I finished Ashes to Ashesthe final book in the  Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. I can’t comment on it yet. Let’s just say… It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had such a visceral reaction to a novel, and I’m still kind of traumatized. I also read Unlit Star by Lindy Zart, which came highly recommended and turned out to be a super emotional romance. Such a pretty cover, right? Now, I’m reading Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays and it is aMaZiNg. Totally twisty and romantic and unputdownable. I can’t wait to see how it wraps up!

  

What I’m Writing: Nothing! Where Poppies Bloom (which I finally wrote a summary for and posted HERE) is all revised and beautiful. It’s in my agent’s hands. I’m hoping she loves it! I’m celebrating by beta reading for some buddies, and musing my next WiP.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Watching movies… My family and I saw Dolphin Tale 2 (cute but cheesy — not as good as the first) and The Maze Runner (exciting and unpredictable — we really liked it!). Plus, my husband and I watched 12 Years a Slave, which was brutal. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll recover. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it, but prepare yourself for heartbreak.


I’m keeping up with yoga, and I’m learning how to do inversions! I have never in my life tried to hold myself upside down, but I’m getting it. Don’t judge my form — I’m still practicing. Yay for progress! 🙂


I made my first pumpkin-y recipe of the season, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies. My husband: “These really do melt in your mouth.” 🙂

What Works For Me: This week I’m inspired by all of the excitement regarding intellectual freedom, diverse books, and Banned Books Week. I did a post on the topic HERE. Some of my favorite challenged/banned books? To Kill a Mockingbird, Speak, Looking for Alaska, Twenty Boy SummerThe Hunger Games, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the Harry Potter series. What are some of your favorite challenged/banned books?

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

Banned Books Week

From BannedBooksWeek.orgBanned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. 

As a writer of young adult fiction that’s intended for an older teen audience, book censorship is an issue that hits close to home. Books are most often challenged by people and groups who, at their core, have the best of intentions: To protect children from explicit and/or difficult material. Still, censorship in any form is wrong. Parents have every right and responsibility to educate their children as they see fit, and to keep them from material they deem inappropriate. Librarians, teachers, religious organizations, and politicians should not.

Still, year after year, people and groups continue to challenge books, most often for the following reasons*:

1. The material is considered to be “sexually explicit.”

2. The material contains “offensive language.”

3. The material is “unsuited to any age group.”

Vague and subjective, right? 

Most Challenged Books of 2013*:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey – Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence.
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison – Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence.
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie – Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James – Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age.
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins – Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group.
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone – Reasons: Drugs/alcohol, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit.
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green – Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky – Reasons: drugs/alcohol, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age.
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya – Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit.
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith – Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence.

And, a few Classics that have been challenged at one time or another*: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Ulysses by James Joyce, Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and 1984 by George Orwell.

How can we stand up to book challengers?

1. By defending our right to intellectual freedom — the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular. We can talk about the danger of restraining the availability of information in our free society.

2. We can voice the importance of the First Amendment and the power of literature.

3. We can support librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to who fight to keep “inappropriate” books in library and school collections.

4. We can continue to buy, borrow, loan, read, talk about, and recommend banned and challenged books.

Tell me: What’s your favorite banned book?
And, how will you celebrate Banned Books Week?

*Statistics and lists borrowed from the American Library Association’s Banned and Challenged Books page, as well as BannedBooksWeek.org. Please do visit these sites for more information.