Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jandy Nelson is the type of author who writes stories that evoke all of her readers' emotions. When I started reading I'll Give You the Sun, I knew I'd just discovered my new favorite contemporary novel...and the book elevated Jandy into favorite author status, as well. I'll Give You the Sun is honest and full of heart and a book that you just have to experience for yourself to fully understand it. You can read more of my thoughts on the novel here. Today, though, I have the utmost pleasure in interviewing the author, who has gracefully provided us with more insight into the characters in her new novel.

By Jandy Nelson
In stores now!!!

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Order I'll Give You the Sun:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Apple | Kobo | Fishpond | The Book Depository

Here's the blurb:
A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

I’ll Give You the Sun Blog Tour
A Q&A with Jandy Nelson

I'm curious as to how your writing process for this book went. Rather than using flashbacks, you've written a dual perspective, but one perspective is told from a character in the past and one is told from a different character in the present. What made you decide to write the story in this manner? Did you write one character's "chapters" and then the other's? Or did you write it as the reader reads it? Was there an outline you worked from...as in, did you know how each characters' arc would come to fruition as you wrote the book?

I knew from the beginning that I wanted the novel to be told in alternating point of views and also from different timeframes because I really wanted the reader’s perspective on events to shift with the shifting narrators. Also, because there’s a mystery element to the story, I hoped this structure would add tension and propulsion. And, I hoped the reader would get immersed in both twins’ worlds equally and so their allegiances might change in different parts of the story. In terms of the process, I realized pretty early on the best way to write the novel would be to first write Noah’s story start to finish. Then Jude’s start to finish. It was kind of crazy—I’d lock one twin’s file when I was working on the other’s so I wouldn’t cheat because I really wanted each of their voices/their worlds to be distinct from the other’s. Then, after I had drafts of both stories—this was about 2 1⁄2 years into the process—I began braiding the narratives together (which was like writing a whole new novel—I think I cut 50K words) and praying a ton that it would work. And no, I didn’t work from an outline but always kept the trajectory of one twin in mind when writing the other’s—so yes, I had an idea of each of their trajectories from the beginning. Phew! That was a mouthful!

Oh, wow, that's pretty intense...though, knowing myself, I'd likely have to lock the files, too. I loved how you intertwined the twins' stories, and knowing the process makes me love it that much more.

Jude considers herself quite the Bible thumper, but not in the way you'd imagine. Where did you get the idea for Grandma Sweetwine's "Bible" and the passages within?

I grew up in a superstitious family where there were lots of nutty beliefs bandied about regularly. So, when making Grandma Sweetwine’s “bible,” I absolutely drew from my own family lore. I also did a lot of research—such fun research—on superstitions around the globe. There’s one two-volume book that was terrific called Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World edited by Cora Linn Daniels and C.M. Stevens. So occasionally I mixed and matched entries from that book. But mostly I made up the “bible entries” which was a lot of fun. On an emotional level, I felt like “the bible” was kind of a life-line for Jude, that she’d draw on it, both as a way to connect to her dead grandmother whom she loved dearly but also as a way to feel more in control (however illogical) of her life and less afraid in the world.

I definitely go that impression of Jude with her "bible"...that it was the one thing in her life that she could control, so she clung to it for that reason.

If you were to draw a self-portrait in the vein of those that Noah imagines for himself, what would yours be titled and what would it depict?

Great question. Well considering it took so many years to write this novel, I think it would be something like: (Portrait: Author and Her Characters Jump off Cliff). It would be of me holding hands with Noah and Jude and all of us jumping together off a cliff over the ocean on a really sunny day, and stopping mid-air, mid-fall, so we’re suspended in the blue sky.

That is perfect! I can really envision that after reading the book.

At one point, Jude and Noah are discussing how much their roles have changed over the last few years. Jude even says, "So can you believe how weird I've gotten and how normal you've gotten?" Did you plan this role reversal? Which perspective was harder to write, Noah's or Jude's? And which was your favorite to write?

I did have an idea that there would be a role reversal because of how each twin would respond to certain events. Also, there’s lots of mirroring going on in the book in general. No one will probably notice this but there are key scenes in each of the twin’s story that mirror each other. I really loved this mirroring idea when I was writing, both thematically and structurally, because the identities of the twins are so very much wrapped up in each other. Jude’s perspective was perhaps a little harder to write but not because of who she was, more because she’s carrying the weight of the three years between the stories on her shoulders. And I can’t pick a favorite! That’d be like asking a mother which child she likes more! But in all honesty, I loved spending time with both twins equally. They’re so different that it was really wonderful getting to go back and forth.

Okay, okay...that makes sense...Noah and Jude kind of are like your children in the way that you cultivated them into the individuals they are in the story. Forget I asked. :)

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Jandy!

About the author:

Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give You the Sun, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, was on multiple Best Books of the Year lists, was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, earned numerous starred reviews, has been translated widely, and continues to enjoy great international success. Currently a full-time writer, Jandy lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of The Sky Is Everywhere and I’ll Give You the Sun.

Find Jandy:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Prizing & samples courtesy of Penguin Books USA.

  • This giveaway is US only. The publisher will be providing the prize for this giveaway.
  • One entry per household. 
  • Entries will be verified. Any entry found to be falsified will result in disqualification of all entries for that participant. 
  • Winner will be notified via email. Winner will then have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Please check your SPAM folder!!! 
  • We are not responsible for lost packages. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll Give You the Sun is on shelves now! Signed/personalized copies are available from Books Inc.

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour, featuring guest posts, interviews, giveaways, and more!

Sept. 1 – Cuddlebuggery
Sept. 2 – Novel Sounds
Sept. 3 – Perpetual Page Turner
Sept. 4 – Forever Young Adult
Sept. 8 – The Young Folks
Sept. 9 – The Book Hookup
Sept. 10 – Grown Up Fangirl
Sept. 11 – Bewitched Bookworms
Sept. 15 – Candace’s Book Blog
Sept. 16 – Novel Novice
Sept. 17 – Alice Marvels
Sept. 18 – Icey Books
Sept. 22 – The Midnight Garden
Sept. 23 – The Starry-Eyed Revue
Sept. 24 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader
Sept. 25 – Katie’s Book Blog
Sept. 29 – GReads!
Sept. 30 – Anna Reads

Thanks for checking out this Q&A with author Jandy Nelson! I hope your interest in I'll Give You the Sun has been piqued and that you give both her novels a try!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. Apparently, they are overly fond of list-making and love to share their bookish lists with the rest of us book nerds.  =) We're game.

This week's topic is the Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read List.

April's Picks:

Like Jen, some of these titles made my spooky reads list for this year. I'm honestly nervous, because I have read absolutely nothing this past weekend, and now I'm heading into week to of the new job. Reading has become sparse, but these are the books I'm going to try and get to. Thank goodness for Audio and a bit of a commute! :)

Jen's Picks:

Some of these titles appear on my Spooky TBR, too, but their spots on this list, as well, just proves how excited I am about those particular novels. After October, I should really be able to make a dent in my TBR, especially with the promise of curling up by a fire when the temperatures start dropping. =) And because the hubby will be at the deer lease most weekends, which means Katie and I get to do pretty much whatever we want...which is to say, she'll be tucked into one corner of the couch with her Kindle, and I'll be in the other with mine. :D

What books are tops on your fall TBR pile? Be sure to share a link to your TTT post so we can visit!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Title: Burn For Burn
Author: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Series: Burn for Burn #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 18th 2012
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds.

But bad things can happen, even to good girls . . . and sometimes, the only way to make things right is to do something wrong.

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate.

Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person--her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he's going to be in big trouble.

Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far?

I bought Burn for Burn ages ago when it was on sale for kindle. I do that a lot, buy books and just let them sit. Jess asked me if I wanted to buddy read it, so I jumped on the opportunity to scratch it off my list.

It was good. Was it great? Nah, not really. It lacked that magic I usually feel when reading something by Jenny Han. It just didn’t stack up to her other works. I suppose that is to be expected because this was co-written with Siobhan Vivian. Burn for Burn is the first book I’ve read with her name on it.

I did like the story though. I liked that it was told from 3 point of views, that was different and it kept me on my toes. I wasn’t all that connected to the girls though. Their schemes for revenge were amusing for sure, but on a personal level, we just didn’t click.

They all had their issues, but the incident with Lillia made my stomach curl. It was kind of swept under the rug, and it just didn't sit well with me. Perhaps there will be more to that in future books, we shall see.

There is a bit of a paranormal twist to this book, which is was expecting. Back when Burn for Burn came out, I read a review mentioning this twist but I wasn’t sure what it was. Now that I know I’m kind of curious to learn more about it. .

While this book will not go down as a favorite, I was still entertained and plan to read more. I’m just not chomping at the bit to get to them.

Jenny HanAbout the author:

Jenny Han (Han like Han Solo, not Han like hand) was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. She went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) and she went on to graduate school at the New School in New York City, where she received her MFA in Writing for Children. She lives in Brooklyn.

Find Jenny:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About the author:

Siobhan Vivian is the author of THE LIST, NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL, SAME
DIFFERENCE, and A LITTLE FRIENDLY ADVICE. She also co-wrote BURN FOR BURN, the first novel in a planned trilogy, with her best friend JENNY HAN. She currently lives in Pittsburgh.

Find Siobhan:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stacking The Shelves #34

Sunday, September 21, 2014 with 7 comments
Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is a way to share with everyone all the goodies you've received through out the week. 

Just click the covers to be taken to their goodreads pages. 


I'll Give You the Sun

I've been patiently awaiting this one! :) Grabbed it on Audible this week. 


The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys made it onto my spooky reads list this fall, so when I saw the audiobook was available through my library, I grabbed it and decided to get a head start! :)

Reading has been pretty non existent for me this week so I'm glad I didn't get much. The new job has me exhausted in the evening, but the view from my office window is pretty awesome. Fair trade, right? 

I hope you all had a great week and will have an even better one ahead! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014 with 1 comment

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

September 21−27, 2014

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
For more information on getting involved with Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, please see Calendar of EventsIdeas and Resources, and the new Banned Books Week site. You can also contact the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4220, or bbw@ala.org.

(The above information comes directly from the Banned Books Week page on the ALA website.)

To view a full listing of the top ten books challenged/banned each year for the last decade, visit here or view PDFs of the lists in the BBW press kit.

To do my part to help support this worthy cause, I'll be giving away one of the top ten frequently challenged books from last year to one lucky winner. FYI, Looking for Alaska was banned or challenged for the following reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

  • This giveaway is international. As long as The Book Depository ships to your location, you are good to go. (You can double-check that here.) 
  • One entry per household. 
  • Entries will be verified. Any entry found to be falsified will result in disqualification of all entries for that participant.
  • Please note that if you use your Twitter account solely for giveaway entries and you enter using the Tweet about the Giveaway entry, that entry will be disqualified. Please remember that this entry method is to spread the word about the giveaway, not simply increase your chances of winning.
  • Winner will be notified via email. Winner will then have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Please check your SPAM folder!!! 
  • We are not responsible for lost packages. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now that you've entered here, be sure to check out all of the other stops on the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop:

Thanks to the ladies at BookHounds and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting!

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