Thursday, November 29, 2007

Authors: Check this out.

The PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship (via Fuse #8).

Flux's own Barbara Shoup was a recipeint of this fellowship for her novel Everything You Want.

Cheap Books Are Good

And we've got 'em here.

Not Your Mother's Book Club

Literaticat has emerged from her awesomeness-induced coma to post a report and a photo for Not Your Mother's Book Club's 2007 swan-song event, which featured Flux's own Brian Mandabach. Here's the photo. Don't miss the report.

That's Mandabach on the left (next to Jay Asher, Barry Lyga, and Ellen Hopkins and behind three club members), and, no, I have no idea how Brian autographs, but I may need to go to Colorado Springs to find out.
Or, if you're in Spokane, Washington, you can go see Brian for yourself.

Thanks, NYMBC for all you do.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How It's Done

I'll always have a bit of a soft spot for Christine Kole MacLean's How It's Done. Not only is it a terrific novel, but it's the first novel I acquired for Flux. I'm always excited to hear what readers have to say about it.

Recently, Christine got a request from Jillian Miller, a high school home economics teacher in Montana, for some classroom copies of the book. The teacher wanted to use them as part of her curriculum. We happily sent her a box of books. Unfortunately, the powers that be at the school apparently wouldn't approve the book for required classroom reading. According to Jillian, they found it "a bit racy and [thought it could] could put some parents on edge." The Bible verses were apparently a problem, too. So Jillian made it optional reading. I asked Jillian to forward me any reviews or reactions she got from her students. Here's the first one:


My name is Courtney and I go to Billings West High School. My sewing teacher, Mrs. Miller, generously let me borrow the novel How It's Done. I absolutely loved the book. I loved how it relates so much to my life as well as other teenage girls' lives. I loved the character, Grace. I loved how she finally stood up to her father. I thought the relationship between her and Michael was great at first until he made a mistake with Liv and just the fact that Grace and Michael did not connect as well as they did at the beginning of their relationship. Throughout the novel, Grace changed and grew and understood life more. She became more mature and just wanted to be free and she thought she was accomplishing that by being with Michael until she felt brought down by him. She realized who she was and she could not get married being so young and experiencing so little. She wanted to live life more and not be tied down and commit to just one person for the rest of her life. I love how she grew and became strong and started standing up for herself. And that is why I loved the novel.


More good ink

I'm just now back from Thanksgiving insanity, and I've been greeted with a pile of good reviews. Here we go . . .

Teen Book Review says The Second Virginity of Suzy Green is "a funny, engaging, and touching story that readers will surely love. Sara Hantz is great at creating realistic, memorable characters, Suzy of course being the best of them." YA Books Central reviewer Bria seems to agree. She writes "Reading this book is like hearing your best friend tell you the story of her like. It is fun, sweet, and hilarious. Sara Hantz really knows how to get into the teenage mind and tells us that we are okay just the way we are. Another great addition in teen chick lit and I hope to see more with this author."

Booklist offered a positive review of Varian Johnson's My Life as a Rhombus, saying, among other things, “…there’s wry humor here, and the sometimes raw dialogue is well done.”

Teen Book Review also got a chance to read Brian Mandabach's Or Not, and they dug it. "It’s a thought-provoking, extremely well-written first novel. Brian Mandabach’s debut is brilliant, and I am really looking forward to reading whatever this talented author writes next." Librarian Lisa Chellman in her blog Under the Covers has an extremely thoughtful and complimentary review of Brian's book. I particularly like this observation: "In Jay Asher’s big debut Thirteen Reasons Why, the main female character finds reasons not to go on living. Or Not, in contrast, is about Cassie’s discovery of reasons to live, even when she’s feeling weighed down by the tedium and sorrow of life. It’s about finding the resolve to hang on, even when she feels helpless and hopeless." She raises some excellent points, and I'll definitely be reading her blog again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kliatt Co-Founder Doris Hiatt

The most recent issue of KLIATT landed on my desk today and it has lovely obituary by editor Claire Rosser for KLIATT co-founder Doris Hiatt, who passed away in early October. As far as I can tell, it's not online anywhere, so I'm linking to this Boston Globe obituary, which features some of Claire's thoughts. It's worth tracking down the magazine, though.

I didn't know anything about KLIATT before I started this job (and until reading the obit today, the name of the magazine was a mystery to me, as I suspect it is to a lot of readers and authors who see it on back covers), but I've come to appreciate the comprehensive coverage of teen books that they provide. KLIATT is not the biggest or the flashiest of book publications by a long shot and I have certainly cursed a few KLIATT reviews, but in its thoroughness and its commitment to making all sorts of teen books accessible to librarians, KLIATT makes a significant contribution to the world of teen literature and we're better off for the creation of Doris Hiatt and Celeste Klein.


We got a nice batch of positive reviews from Kliatt today.

Of The Tree Shepherd's Daughter, they write: "Summers's book is one of those remarkable tales in which the reader becomes completely immersed. . . . [It] will be enjoyed not only in its own right , but will also have readers eagerly anticipating books two and three in this promising trilogy."

"Jimmy and Jen are complicated, sympathetic characters and Buchanan allows them to carry the story," says the reviewer about Paul Buchanan's Snapshots.

John Ripslinger's Last Kiss is "a page turner [that] keeps the reader engrossed with suspenseful scenes full of danger as he gets closer to finding the truth. The reader will be kept guessing into the last chapter."

Monday, November 19, 2007

A new blog is born

Barbara Shoup is not a new name in YA fiction. She's the author of several books for young adults, including Wish You Were Here, a novel that managed to garner an interesting variety of notoriety. It was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and it was among the most challenged books published in 1998 according to the ALA. When it went out of print, librarians and other readers voted it the book they'd most like to see reissued in a 2006 study by the the ALA and the CBC (Flux is very happy to listen to the voice of the people. We're reissuing it next summer). Her most recent novel, Everything You Want, won the Pen/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship (and we're publishing that one this spring). She also teaches and lectures widely on writing for young people.

Barbara Shoup is, however, a new blogger. I know I'm looking forward to reading her unique perspectives on books for young adults. I'm especially hoping she'll elaborate on why the Flux edition of Wish You Were Here will be the book equivalent of a "director's cut."


Cover designers and artists labor largely in anonymity in the book world, but occasionally they get a bit of well deserved recognition. Fantasy Art Now is a book the very best in recent fantasy art, and gracing the cover of the book is the cover image for Cure of Arastold by Jo Whittemore. Our own Gavin Duffy designed the cover, and the supremely talented Anne Stokes did the painting. Bravo to all!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Flux authors who need to contact Andrew

It appears that my regular Flux/Llewellyn email will be down until Monday. So, if anyone needs to reach me before then, give me a call or email my civilian email address (some of you may know it).


"I'm in love! His name is Jordan Catalano."

I heard a review of the new box-set editions of the complete Seinfeld, Twin Peaks, and My So Called Life on the radio show Fresh Air the other day. Among other things, the reviewer played an interesting clip of My-So-Called-Life producer Marshall Herskovitz commenting on the show's appeal.

"We always felt that this show would appeal to everyone. Because everyone wants to be a teenager, is a teenager, or was a teenager, and those years are so powerful and evocative--nobody forgets what they were like in high school."
This is particularly interesting to me. I am a couple months older than Claire Danes and the show ran roughly parallel to my own high school experience. I probably saw bits of every episode. I say "bits" because I hated the show and so did my friends. We called it my "So Called Like" because of what we thought was the inexcusably cliched and tone-deaf dialogue. But we still watched, even though we'd certainly rather be caught watching the other two shows in the review--both of which seemed worlds away from teenage experience and infinitely more sophisticated. (Are there ever any teens in Seinfeld? And, yes I know Laura Palmer was in high school, but please, that's not really the point, is it?)

I'm tempted to rent My So Called Life and watch it again now. I don't know if I could honestly evaluate the sincerity of my teenage reaction--did I hate it because it was bad, or did I hate it because it's right on?--but I do know that Herskovitz's quote above is basically what I say every time I try to explain or argue for YA as a genre.
The other interesting observation the reviewer makes is about how Claire Danes' age at the time of filming (15) meant she could only work five hours a day, and thus the writers had to work in lots of scenes with only the parents and the other supporting characters. I agree that that probably was a good thing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Kudos for Tim Carter

"Epoch by Timothy Carter is one of the funniest books I've read in years." Or so says The Book Connection. And I couldn't agree more.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Carrie Jones on HipWriterMama

Oh, I can hardly keep up. This is part of something called The Winter Blog Blast Tour, but suffice it to say, there's a good, wide-ranging interview with Carrie Jones here. Carrie is absolutely first class when it comes to giving good, honest advice.

And, upon further examination, it appears that Micol Ostow is on this tour as well. All the more reason!

UPDATE: Don't miss a Q & A with Carrie on the web site of award-winning author K.L. Going.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Brian Yansky interviews Sherman Alexie

At the Texas Book Festival, novelist and author Wonders of the World Brian Yansky interviews award-winning author and debut YA novelist Sherman Alexie. Fascinating questions abound. (Though I still get a tiny bit bent out of shape about Alexie's insitance that Flight is too violent to be young adult, despite its teen voice.)

I know of at least one Flux author who will be very excited to hear this interview.