February 05, 2016

Aquafortis, Oh, My Word, It's Our Blogversary.

(AF, If we were married, we would totally FAIL this anniversary thing. How did we miss 10 years last year????
Well, if you're having fun, you must not notice where the time goes. Or something like that. Happy Blogversary.)

Turning Pages Reads: THESE VICIOUS MASKS, by Tarun Shanker, Kelly Zekas

Welcome to another session of Turning Pages!

Synopsis: Jaded, bored, and sarcastic, Evelyn Wyndham, at an eminently marriageable age, is deeply disinterested, and thought to be the tiniest bit odd both by her parents, and by well-bred Bramhurst society at large. She's indifferent to their opinion, however, because she's mostly indifferent to everything that isn't her envious and wistful attention to her friend Catherine's travels on the Continent - oh, if she could only GO! - her younger sister, Rose, and Rose's prospects of being a doctor someday. The Wyndham girls have become well-known throughout their community for seeing associates through the frightening fevers and terrible consumptions which plague England and sending them on their way to health, and now at Sir Winston's ball, given in honor of his nephew Sebastian Braddock, even before the dancing even begins, Rose is being stared at and whispered about, although Mr. Braddock is the worst, the way he stares like a loon, makes mention of her miracles ... then basically runs away.

The ball is as tiresome as Evelyn suspected it would be, but for Mr. Kent, an old friend who always provides her entertainment. Seeing a large stranger peering into the drawing room from outside worries Evelyn tremendously. When Evelyn finds Mr. Braddock furiously ordering the large man away from Rose, her curiosity edges into dismay ...! Who is he, and what does he want? Rose assures Evelyn that the man has an ill sister, but Evelyn is more worried by the way Mr. Braddock snarls at the man, acting as if Rose is his possession to which the stranger has no right. When he mentions her "powers," in such an odd way, Evelyn is on edge. Certainly, Rose is beautiful and good, and of course, as she's now marriageable age, the gentlemen will be interested, but all Rose needs is to start collecting attention from odd men. Gathering her oblivious sister, Evelyn insists that the family cut their time at the ball short.

The morning after the ball, Rose is gone, her room shows signs of a disordered exit, and a scribbled note saying all the wrong things is all that's left. Now Evelyn is convinced it's not Rose's medical skills that were in demand -- it was Rose herself, and that she's been kidnapped to London. Evelyn, against her parent's expressed wishes, heads for London -- on foot, until Mr. Kent happens upon her -- to the rescue. Her first clue along the road to finding Rose? Mr. Braddock, who seemed to have known the giant who asked her to see to his sister. Surely, that enigmatic and odd man must know something. But there are secrets, evasions, and mistakes ahead - and there's too much at stake for anyone to lose focus, or fall in love.

The novel concludes the sometimes worrying, sometimes frustrating search with a rather abrupt ending which leaves a clear gateway to the next novel.

Observations: This was a novel which for me was, by turns, entertaining and frustrating. Evelyn is hilariously deadpan, but her snarkiness is of a decidedly modern bent; it's hard to imagine a well-bred and high class Victorian girl as defiant and mouthy as she. There are bits and pieces of the novel which are picked up - and then discarded. The first is Evelyn's best friend Catherine, who is on the Continent -- her trip is everything Evelyn wants, at first, and then... she's not mentioned again, nor do the girls write, when letter writing and household arts seem to have made up most of how a young Victorian woman spent her time. Evelyn's parents are at first deeply concerned for their progeny's launch into society, and then when Rose disappears, they seem to vanish -- while it's believable that they would want to protect their family name, not even mounting a search for a disappeared younger daughter who is only seventeen seems a trifle beyond belief. To avoid spoilers, I'll only say that the conclusion is a gut punch that leaves a great deal to be desired and will frustrate some.

Some readers seeking to see themselves within the novel and within the fun setting of Victorian London may be disappointed; the authors leave no space for diversity, which, as there were Victorians of many ethnicities, is both inaccurate and unnecessarly, since this recreated Victorian London already has people with unheard of fantasy powers - apparently diversity is too far a stretch?

Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas met in a writing class, and began writing this book a few years later. Tarun is one of the few guys writing YA speculative fiction romance; I can't tell which is his perspective vs. his co-author's, but it's nice to welcome another guy into the field, and we can only wish him good things and hope to hear more from them both.

Conclusion: Some have called this book "X-Men meets Jane Austen;" to me it more resembles that frothy confection of a film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a beautiful movie with enormously enthralling effects, breathtaking cinematography, and an incomplete plot coupled with flawed and problematic storytelling. For those fans of snark and sisterhood, there's a great deal of potential to this debut book, and the series looks to have enormous teen appeal and will most likely be swallowed whole by some, but there are a few details yet to be worked out for those with a little more discriminating palette.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of Swoon. After February 9th, you can find THESE VICIOUS MASKS by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

February 04, 2016

Thursday Review: SECRET CODERS by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

Summary: I've been meaning to review this one for an embarrassingly long time. I had looked forward to reading it ever since first hearing about it—we are huge fans of our own (relatively) local Gene Yang here at FW and have not only interviewed him but have reviewed nearly all of his wonderful graphic novels (see a roundup of that here, on our post about his appointment as Children's Literature Ambassador).

Anyway, The Secret Coders--the first book in a new series that promises lots of fun and adventure (and CODE)—did not disappoint. And, especially as it comes during a time when a lot of effort is being put into STEM education for girls, and there are groups out there like Girls Who Code and so forth, it made me very happy to see this adventure into the world of programming being led by a (mixed race!) girl, Hopper.

It's not just about coding, though. This book is about the perennially relatable theme of being the new kid in school—and it just happens to be a school where something SUPER CREEPY is going on. Why is the shed door padlocked? Why is the janitor so crabby about them going near it? (MUST be something interesting in there.) Why do all the birds have FOUR EYES? Hopper is confronted with all of these questions at the same time that she's trying to make new friends at her new school, where nobody seems to be amused by her cool robot voice. Luckily, she does manage to find a friendly face, and her new friend Eni even helps her decode the secret of the four-eyed birds. But when the two of them find out what's in the locked garden shed, all craziness breaks loose…very, very slowly…

Click to embiggen
Peaks: Like many of us who were kids in the 1980s, in grade school I learned to use a computer program called Turtle Graphics that taught a programming language called Logo. At the time, we had exactly TWO computers in my 4th grade classroom and you mainly got to use them as a reward for getting your other work done. Your "reward" was learning how to direct an onscreen cursor to draw really boring pictures really slowly using text commands. (That's how I remember it, anyway.)

Much as I thought at the time that this was a terribly inefficient way to draw pictures, it was one of the earliest opportunities for kids in school to start learning very simple programming. I'm sure it set the right tone for me, many years later, to be unafraid to try tackling HTML and CSS. And this graphic novel brings back those memories and provides some actual coding—and decoding—fun for a new generation of readers, with try-it-yourself coding problems that you can solve right along with the characters.

Of course, this book isn't all about learning how to translate numbers in binary and learning how to command a so-called turtle (imagine the disappointment! the "turtle" was a mere triangle!) to draw geometric shapes. Hopper is an appealing and funny main character, and one of the hilarious parts of the story is watching her make friends with Eni, who then teaches her the secrets of binary and logo. Appropriately (since many a 1980s computer had those green-on-black screens), the book is printed in green and black, but don't let the simplicity of the color choices fool you: there's plenty of fun stuff going on here, and just as the story brings us to an exciting peak with robots and angry janitors and the ultimate test of the kids' coding skills (and yours, if you choose to follow along)—you're left with a cliffhanger. Until next time, kids.

So easy, a monkey could do it!
Valleys: Don't be silly. There are no valleys here, unless you don't like books that are mildly educational. This would be a great title in or out of the classroom—I could easily see my dad handing me a copy of this way back when in his unsuccessful attempts to get me to become an engineer. It might have been more effective than good old Computer Tutor Junior over there…

Conclusion: This will surely appeal to fans of other graphic novel series where kids solve the mystery of a creepy school—e.g. Gunnerkrigg Court—as well as existing fans of Gene Yang's work.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of First Second Books. You can find SECRET CODERS by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

February 02, 2016

Turning Pages Reads: OF BETTER BLOOD by Susan Moger

Welcome to another session of Turning Pages!

Synopsis: One day she's leaping in the waves near the family's Paradise-by-the-Sea beach home, the fittest of the fit, dreaming of finishing Little Women and having a new best friend; the next moment her lower body is numb and unresponsive and she's so terrified that she can barely breathe, and cannot speak... polio in the 1920's stole many children's lives and liveliness just that quickly - but it stole didn't just steal Rowan Collier's legs, it stole her family - because the Colliers are charter members of the Betterment Council, an organization which encourage people to come in and fill out information about their family histories, their family trees, and see if they're "fit" to breed. Rowans father and sister have made their mark on society, writing eugenics articles and doing research regarding the burden of the feeble-minded and the unfit on American society. As Colliers are nothing but fit, Rowan now simply cannot be one. The disease steals her name, as her father abandons her to be taken into a hospital for orphaned children for care.

No name, no home, no hope -- Rowan withdraws into a silent bubble of shame and pain in the hospital until a caring physician comes along, who revives her spirit, and reminds her to take care of herself. She flourishes under his care, but her older sister, Julia takes even that away from her, in the name of sending her to a Betterment Society doctor... who pressures Rowan to be sterilized. Now, at sixteen, Rowan's not heard a word from her father in five, long lonely years. Her "livelihood" - a cot in a tent and at least two meals a day - is earned through work as an actress in a play. She lives the role of Ruthie the unfit cripple who drops the baby. At night, she is imprisoned with the group of the "unfit," locked away as a sideshow freak for the Betterment Council's traveling show. Dorchy, an orphan carney girl who is employed by the leaders of the freak show, thinks "fit to breed" is a crock. She's determined to use her con-woman skills to find her uncle, and restart her life on the Midway. With nowhere to go, and without the protection of her father's name, Rowan must escape from an uncomfortable situation with the show which rapidly becomes dreadful. When Rowan and Dorchy go on the lam, Dorchy revives her con-artist carney ways to get them money and leverage, but Rowan fears that the two girls are too different to go the same direction. They make a plan, a pact, each giving the other courage as needed. The two of them find themselves working as staff at an island summer camp in Maine. Camp Loup is a Betterment Society camp for orphaned unfit children -- but though the Betterment Council representative makes many promises, it quickly becomes apparent that this situation is worse than their last. An influenza has swept through, and many of the campers have died -- and still more are dying, of the 'flu, or of the cold-eyed doctor's so-called cure? Rowan and Dorchy must survive the camp's directors, the island, a storm long enough to escape, and let the world know the truth about what's going on at Camp Loup. At the last Rowan must stand - on her own two, polio-weakened two legs - against how she was raised, and decide how she wants to use what she knows to make a difference.

Observations: The information in this novel about eugenics, "fitness" and "betterment" movements throughout the United States through the 1920's-30's is a little explored region of pseudoscience, and it's usually only dug into in YA lit in reference to how it was practiced in Germany during the Jewish genocide. However, it's an American science, and it's something which informs the historical treatment of the poor and those with mental health issues in this country, and should shape how we respect those populations today. There are myriad German doctors who make appearances in the novel, but the author is unstinting in her revelations and lets no one off the hook - everyone who was of a privileged or upwardly mobile class was interested in eugenics, and everyone - even Civil Rights activist and N.A.A.C.P. founder W.E.B. DuBois - believed that Americans should be somehow better. DuBois wrote eloquently about "uplifting" the race, chiding African Americans to be aware of and rejecting of the unfit within their own race. Eugenics wasn't a German mistake, it wasn't merely the furtive study of some mad scientists in a Frankensteinian laboratory somewhere: this was mainstream supremacist ideology supported by thinkers such as Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Margaret Sanger, Linus Pauling, Marie Stopes, Robert Heinlein, HG Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, Woodrow Wilson, and George Bernard Shaw. It was virally infectious in a country which feared contagion from the lower classes, from other nations and the pollution of their ideas as well. There's plenty of history here to sink one's teeth into in this work of historical fiction, and readers may come away wanting to find out more.

With that in mind, the narrative aspect of this novel - of Rowan and Dorchy - is less arresting, as the girls' emotional resonance doesn't have as much time to develop. Still, Rowan's many falls and her dependence on her crutches, her weariness with her disabilities and her occasional despair rings all too true. Readers may find it unbelievable that there was no one to whom she could go for help. Still, Dorchy's strong friendship, and the risks and terrors of the girls' escape catches the heart, and will help readers identify more personally with the history and information that they read.

An author's note at the end of the novel emphasizes a strong takeaway message about ignorance and the abuse of power masquerading as "thought" and theory, "I wrote Of Better Blood to emphasize the danger of policies in which people are categorized, isolated, and eliminated for political ends," the author writes. This is a timely reminder in an election year, for sure.

Conclusion: A horror story told in matter-of-fact prose, the story of eugenics, "fitter families," and "better baby" contests is a history that led American medical health facilities to atrocities like the Tuskegee Experiment, forcibly sterilizing women in mental institutions and a wave of negative attitude and abuse against poor families with many children. It is the shame of medical history that we at times abused the poor and weak and those who needed help and support the most. This novel clearly shows what evil happens when good people do nothing, and will give a horrified shudder to a science-minded reader, and be a good jumping off place for a lot of discussion.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of Albert Whitman Teen. After February 1st, you can find OF BETTER BLOOD by Susan Moger at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

February 01, 2016

Monday Review: A MAD, WICKED FOLLY by Sharon Biggs Waller

The cover even LOOKS like a Libba Bray book...
Summary: England in the Edwardian era…Besides bringing to mind a whole slew of fabulous Edward Gorey drawings, it was a time in which society was still stumbling out from under the long shadow of Queen Victoria; a time when women were still constrained both by corsets and by the strictures of a paternalistic era. But things were about to change, and big-time. Even before the terrifying upheaval of the Great War decimated a generation of young men with horrible new weapons forged in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, women were starting to feel the pressure, and the class system was showing signs of withering. It was the time of steamships and locomotives, the time of suffragettes urging votes for women, and it was the time of the Impressionists and Pre-Raphaelite painters.

Against this backdrop of extremely rapid change, our narrator Victoria Darling embodies some of these radical departures from the norm. As the story begins, we see her in her art atelier, which she attends when she isn't going to finishing school in France. That day's session, alas, is without a figure model…and, after some trepidation, Victoria decides to take her turn. The young men in the class have had to do it from time to time, after all, so why not her?

Why not indeed. Part of the reason there are so few female Impressionist painters who have made the history books is that they were usually prevented from drawing from the live model—and yet drawing from the live nude was a necessary prerequisite to being a serious artist. Painting still-lifes and domestic scenes was a mere hobby for young ladies. Women had to resort to dressing as men and sneaking into art classes, or they had to have the support of a husband or father to gain art training, and even then, it was not a "suitable" pursuit for a young lady, but rather a mad, wicked folly.

Plus, you couldn't go about on your own or consort with people of the lower classes if you were someone like Victoria. But she's determined to be a serious artist. Even when her father finds out about her scandalous disrobing and brings her home to London to be married off, Victoria plans to try to gain admission to the Royal College of Art. While implementing her plans, she meets suffragettes campaigning for the vote (getting her in further trouble), a handsome young constable (SO off limits), and continues to be dogged by scandal—and of course, at a certain point she ends up having difficult choices to make, between her family and her social position and her own goals and what she thinks is right.

Peaks: This is a great period piece for showing the incredible social and technological change that was taking place at the time, but it's also a story of a character whose moxie and determination will appeal to contemporary readers. There are multiple love interests, there's Victoria's fascination as she discovers what life might be like if women had more power, and there are very real repercussions to her actions, ranging from family disappointment to a frightening night in jail. The characters are varied and well drawn, and the contrast is made stark and clear between the older generation represented by Victoria's staid parents and the changes taking place before their very eyes. The fact of her mother's frustrated artistic inclinations makes this particularly poignant.

Valleys: Victoria does have a tendency to rush headlong into things without thinking about what might happen, and that was a bit frustrating as well as discomfiting, especially when she lands in trouble through very little fault of her own, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And yet, for all the times she lands in trouble, the results were hardly ever grievous. I found myself the most excited when her explorations finally result in her having to make a major change in her life (I won't give away spoilers) but this part of the story wasn't developed quite as much as the earlier portions.

Conclusion: Besides the minor pacing issues, I really enjoyed (for obvious personal reasons) this story of a young woman determined to be an artist in a world that is dead set against her…but which is in the process of changing. The fact of it being a time period of upheaval and change keeps Victoria's character from feeling anachronistic, and she meets plenty of like-minded sympathizers in her journey. Readers who enjoy stories set in the Victorian era or the early 20th century (e.g. fans of Libba Bray) will want to check this one out.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of my library's ebook collection. You can find A MAD, WICKED FOLLY by Sharon Biggs Waller at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

January 29, 2016

Turning Pages Reads: THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US, by Emily Skrutskie

Welcome to another session of Turning Pages!

Synopsis: Cassandra Leung is a Reckoner trainer-in-training, which means she knows her place -- as far less important than the giant beasts she trains, and apt to get benched in disgrace if she screws things up. She's been given her first job -- taking Durga, the genetically engineered five-ton behemoth - part sea turtle, part iguana, all dangerous - into the NeoPacific to the cruise ship on which Durga has imprinted, to oversee the animal as it guards against pirates. Durga is a killer, and Cas has worked hard to handle her. All is well, until Durga becomes ill with nothing she's ever seen before. Calling home would be only helpful if her mother in the lab had answers - she doesn't. Cas is on her own, and has known this from the moment her father handed her the EpiTas pill tucked into the collar of her uniform. EpiTas is half of the Spartan phrase E tan e epi tas - "with your shield, or on it." When the pirates strike, instead of being gunned down with the rest of the crew trying frantically to protect the passengers on the boat, Cas is taken hostage and her suicide pill slapped from her hand. Her job? To train a tiny new replacement for Durga, who died so horribly - and to give the pirates of Santa Elena's ship a fighting chance to claw their sovereignty from the major corporations who now own the waves and the sea. Despite herself, Cas falls in love with the murderous Reckoner despite herself - and finds the camaraderie of the ship a world away from the lonely world she inhabited. A prisoner held captive has only one duty - but can Cas do her duty? And what exactly, in this case, is it?

Observation: Cas views herself as unimportant - to her family, and to the industry which supplies their livelihood. It's a little ironic that with all of her resentment she never seems to twig to the fact that she was hand-picked for her abduction, which meant that someone saw her value, even if for the wrong reasons. Readers accustomed to being able to easily determine for whom to root in a narrative will struggle to find their feet in this novel in a good way. Cas is eager and nervous at the novel's beginning, then morphs into a girl furious, resentful, and -- reasonably cowed by the swaggeringly tough Santa Elena and her hand-picked crew. There is literally nothing she can do to save her help herself, and small rebellions are punished with incredible prejudice aboard the Minnow. The captain is slightly deranged and cruel, and Cas herself is no fighter, not really. And yet -- somehow she begins to like the crew.

The novel spends little time on the genetic engineering as a science which creates the behemoths with with Cas works, which is unfortunate, as it's easy to see that her family is fairly well-off for a post-apocalyptic civilization. The story hints at social injustice and political maneuvering which has left populations both vastly rich and vastly poor. There is brief mention that after the waters rose and the country boundary lines changed, some flotsam of former nations were left with no recourse but to come together in gigantic flotilla villages and turn to piracy and salvage in order to survive. Teen readers accustomed to reading critically about social inequality and financial injustice will pick this up. Unfortunately, there's not much more than a hint and readers may feel a need to fill out the details and help it to make sense. Much is implied and obscured, less is explained, which nevertheless won't prevent readers from being riveted by the action and tension.

There is a romance -- and while no one jumps into lust, which is a nice change from insta-love -- it troubles me, as romances rooted in inequality always do. For a change, all parties acknowledge that there can be no relationship when both parties are not on equal footing, however, in the usual blissfully dumb romantic way, choices and sacrifices are still made favoring a relationship. It's not quite clear to me why, and I guess that's because for all that I'm intrigued I'm never quite sold on the romance, or on a non-pirate falling in with the cutthroat ways of pirates aboard ship. If the novel had spent more time "before" with Cas in her natural environment, it would have been easier to see what type of person she was, to observe her place in the world, and make sense of why she and piracy would be a good fit, but we have to trust the author for a great deal, which, since the narrative is at times light on detail, is sometimes hard to do. Readers are left wondering at the novel's conclusion whether Cas has won or not -- a clever hook left by the author to reel readers back for the doubtless action-filled sequel.

Conclusion: The first in a planned - and apparently already penned - duology, THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US is a slightly uneven, unsettling, and unexpected book featuring hard-as-titanium lady pirates, a romance which doesn't quite get off the ground as far as it could, a hardcore series of deep loves and deep betrayals, and a twist at the end. Readers looking for queer fiction with a believable love story will be all in favor; readers in favor of tough girls who draw blood and take no prisoners (except one) will take savage joy in this as well. I'll be interested to see how the whole thing ends, and what the larger issues of right/wrong turn out to be.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of Flux. After February 8th, you can find THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US by Emily Skrutskie at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

January 27, 2016


Hey everyone! It's Multicultural Children's Book Day, and in honor of that, I will be posting what I think is my FIRST EVER picture book review. First, though, I'd like to sincerely thank all the organizers of MCCBD, especially Mia Wenjen (Pragmatic Mom) and Becky Flansburg. This has been a fun and well-organized online event, and it is a GREAT cause—promoting multicultural books for kids. I also want to thank Author Sponsor for MCCBD2016 and co-founder of GIFT Family Services, Gayle Swift, the author of ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book for kindly providing me with an ebook review copy.

Summary: Cross-cultural and transracial adoption is a great topic for a children's book, and families who have chosen to be open about adoption from the very beginning will be pleased to see an addition to the small but growing shelf of books for young children that address this topic. It's something that we as a society are increasingly aware of—and yet there is shockingly little statistical information available. According to ChildWelfare.gov, a program of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

"There are no national statistics on the number of children who are living in transracial adoptions; that is, children who are living in an adoptive family in which they differ from at least one of their adoptive parents in terms of racial/ethnic characteristics. In statistics drawn from FY 2000–2004, about 28 percent of the children placed with public agency involvement were placed transracially, as defined above. Many intercountry adoptions are also transracial adoptions."

I was floored to read this, considering how many people I have known throughout my life from families with transracial or transnational adoptees. As we know, though, kids need books in which they can see their own situation reflected. ABC, Adoption & Me provides families with very young children that mirror in which they can see their own family as part of the varied spectrum of happy, loving families.

Peaks: The cute, happy cartoon illustrations by Paul Griffin put a smile on my face. There is a wonderful variety of families and children depicted in this book, in various permutations of race and ethnicity. At the same time that it shows adoptive families as normal, happy families, though, the great thing about this title is that it also gives kids and parents the opportunity to talk about adoption and encourages kids to ask questions and feel whatever it is they feel, positive or negative. For instance: "Q is for questions. It's OK to have questions about what being adopted means." Some pages have simple and clearly worded facts about adoption and adoption-related terminology (e.g., birth parents, open adoptions) while others provide affirmations that it's OK to miss your birth parents or wonder about who you will look like when you grow up.

Valleys: I had a few quibbles with the design/layout of some of the pages, but the fact is, the strength of this book lies in the chance it provides families to talk and laugh together, and address a topic that can be very difficult to bring up. Adoption in general can be an uncomfortable discussion for families, let alone the specific questions that come up in regard to transracial or cross-cultural adoption. This book addresses many of these questions, and provides helpful strategies for parents who are wondering how they might use the book as a discussion tool and a way to bring their family together.

Conclusion: It's no surprise this book has won various awards and accolades (see the author's website here). You can find it on Amazon, where it has earned an impressive 5 stars, and you can view the rest of the wonderful MCCBD blog reviews over at the #ReadYourWorld linky.

January 26, 2016

What I'm Doing Besides Reading for Cybils, Catching Up on Reviewing and Stuff...

Skyway Drive 335

I'm told the candy does NOT, in fact, taste like peas or carrots. Bummer.

People expecting copies of PEAS AND CARROTS, those are going out this week. People who want a chance to win a copy, along with a lunch bag and a little magnet -- please stay tuned to the February 9 release date --

February is not just when the groundhog emerges (albeit with a LOT of help from people pulling it) from its hole to find its shadow - it's apparently the month when introverts Make An Effort (also with a LOT of help from people... pulling). I'll be booktalking, and being visible this February here and there - first, I'm presenting a webinar February 2nd for The National WWII Museum on Mare's War as part of their WWII emphasis this year. Teachers and families who do homeschooling, you'll want to jump on this! The week following, I'll be on the blog STACKED and then the tumblr Size Acceptance in YA; at BN Teen Blog's Open Mic project sometime next month, and on John Scalzi's WHATEVER blog's Big Idea project on February 9th, which is the same day that PEAS AND CARROTS has its book birthday.

I'm grateful to everyone who asked me to show up and hang out next month, and given me the opportunity to talk about what I do and how I do it.

Skyway Drive 336

X-posted from {fiction, instead of lies}