This Whole #YAsaves Thing....

 I know, I know....I've been completely ignoring my blog lately.  I've decided...well, I'm just not much of a blogger.  I prefer to say what I have to say in 140 characters or less, thus my Twitter addiction.  So you're much more likely to find my musings there than here.  But like so many fans of YA fiction, I felt the need to address the recent "article" in the Wall Street Journal which has painted the entire YA genre with one big, overgeneralized stroke of ignorance.  

Many readers have shared courageous stories in which YA fiction helped them as teen readers (or even helped them relate as adults)--stories that brought tears to my eyes and a gigantic "amen" from the choir.  I'm so proud to be a member of the YA community, a circle of readers and writers who appreciate the importance of books, of stories light and dark, who realize that words can entertain, can inspire, can make you think and dream and wonder.
Looking back, I realize that I had an easy childhood--a fairly happy (if somewhat dysfunctional) home life-- upper middle class financial security; loving, involved parents; good schools; and, in general, very little strife.  I enjoyed my teen years, even though they were filled with the usual drama and angst associated with navigating the waters of young love. There was a lot of that, actually.  But whatever, it was part of growing up.  
Mostly, I was a goody-goody (at least, that's what we called it back in the stone age).  I was an excellent student, and for the most part, walked the straight and narrow.  I wasn't involved in any dangerous, illegal activities, didn't do drugs, came home by curfew.  
Thankfully, my mother wasn't anything like Meghan Cox Gurdon, the author of the above-mentioned WSJ article, or like the mother the article references (the one who couldn't manage to find *one* single book in an entire Bares & Noble that she deemed appropriate for her daughter to read).  Instead, my mother let me read, and read widely.  She was an educated, open-minded parent who trusted in my ability to process what I read, to know the truth between fact and fiction, to examine issues and find meaning in struggles that weren't necessarily my own. Questions about the material I read often led to thoughtful discussions with my mom--yes, sometimes about sex or drugs or other "dark" issues.  

The truth is, the books I read allowed me to explore issues like sex and drugs without the danger.  I didn't feel the need to experiment with drugs, because I'd experienced the horrors of a downward spiral into addiction through fiction.  I knew it wasn't something I wanted to experience first-hand.  I'd been inside the head of a teen who'd had sex before she was ready, seen countless fictional families deal with issues like loss and personal tragedy, abuse and depression.  I think I became a more empathetic person as a result.  

And despite Ms. Cox-Gurdon's claim that: 

"Yet it is also possible—indeed, likely—that books focusing on pathologies help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures."

...I can assure you that reading about things like self-inflicted harm or abuse did not in any way "normalize" them in my mind or encourage me to try some of those behaviors myself.  Give me a break--teenagers are not feeble-minded little moral weaklings, unable to tell the difference between right and wrong.

So thank you, mom, for being far more enlightened than Ms. Cox-Gurdon.  And thank you to the authors who came before me, exposing me to the entire world, not just the narrow little box that was my own life.  


Aidan's Playlist

If you’ve had a chance to read HAVEN yet, you might be wondering about that iPod that Violet gave Aidan for Christmas–what songs would be on his “favorites” playlist?  What kind of music would a guy like Aidan like to listen to?

So….I give you AIDAN GRAY’S OFFICIAL PLAYLIST!  Or, “music to read HAVEN by.”  Something like that!  Some songs on his playlist have real meaning for him (for example, “October” by Broken Bells–Aidan’s birthday is in October, and it’s also the month that he first meets Violet.).  Others are on his playlist simply because he likes them.  And others, well…you’ll figure it out if you’ve read the book!  But the songs–and their order–kinda tell a story.

Hope you enjoy it!

Oh, and I’ve listed it at iTunes–so if you follow the link, you can find the entire playlist at iTunes, listen to samples, buy a song or two or even the entire playlist!  Here’s the LINK.

1.  Waiting for the End — Linkin Park
2.  And She Was — Talking Heads
3.  October — Broken Bells
4.  Young Forever — Jay-Z (featuring Mr. Hudson)
5.  In the Aeroplane Over the Sea — Neutral Milk Hotel
6.  Should I Stay or Should I Go — The Clash
7.  Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) — Green Day
8.  Bodies — Drowning Pool
9.  Let it Bleed — The Rolling Stones
10.  The Only Exception — Paramore
11.  A Sky for Shoeing Horses Under — WHY?
12.  I Wanna Be the One — Fun
13.  Like Dylan in the Movies — Belle and Sebastian
14.  Bittersweet Symphony — The Verve
15.  Better That We Break — Maroon 5

Oh, and one more thing…if the song had been out at the time that Aidan made the playlist, he *definitely* would have added Mumford & Sons “Little Lion Man.”  My guess?  He probably would have stuck it in as track 8, before Bodies…but hey, what do I know?!  But if you feel like sticking it in there yourself and listening to it at that point in the playlist, I’d say that Aidan would approve (at some point I will actually get around to updating the playlist to include it!).

Feel free to discuss!
  • Current Music
    Little Lion Man, Mumford & Sons

RT Convention and Teen Day

 The annual RT Booklover's  Convention is coming up in Los Angeles in April, with a *huge* Teen Day event happening on Sat. April 9th from 11 am - 7 pm at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.  You can find a link to the day's schedule here or get more information on the RT Teen Day Facebook page or Twitter account

The RT Convention is always a lot of fun--a great chance for authors to meet readers, librarians, and booksellers in a really fun, laid-back environment.  This year is going to be particularly fun because of the Teen Day (it's not just for teens, but for all YA readers!).  The line-up of attending YA authors is mind-boggling (I'm going to feel like such a peon among the superstars!)--Melissa Marr, Cassandra Clare, Ally Carter, Richelle Mead, Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Carrie Ryan, Holly Black, Alyson Noel, Melissa De La Cruz....that's just a sampling; believe it or not, I could keep going!

Anyway, of the best things about RT is the parties!  I'm talking, themed parties where you get to *dress up*, which I have to admit, I love.  Dressing up, I mean.  I finally got around to buying my outfit for the Faerie Ball, which is apparently Venetian themed this year.  

I just bought this dress and mask--pretty, huh?!  I sure hope the dress fits.  


Anyway, if you live anywhere near Southern California, definitely think about coming.  The Teen Day pass is reasonably priced--$25, and that included admission to the *huge* bookfair, workshop/author panels, author speed dating/reading sessions, and a party with the authors.  Hope to see some of you there!  Oh, and make sure you follow the FB page and Twitter account, because they are giving away passes and even some VIP passes...

The HAVEN Launch Party!

 First off, I want to thank everyone who came out for the HAVEN launch party!  It was wonderful so see so many "familiar" faces--like fellow Elevensie Sheela Chari (author of the upcoming middle-grade gem VANISHED), the wonderful women of Good Choice Reading (Damaris, Wanda, and Lisa), Pam from Midnyte Reader, Rachel from Bookshelf Lust, Maria from the Serpentine Library....I'm sure I'm missing some people, but you were *all* appreciated!!   The store was filled with family, friends, bloggers, readers, and even my wonderful editor.   

The store looked amazing--a huge thank you to Francine, Rose, and Steve at The Voracious Reader!  When I left work on Friday, the store looked like it usually did, but when I showed up on Sunday, it had been transformed--the front window dedicated to HAVEN, plus an entire table with a huge banner over it!!  

I brought a huge tray of sushi rolls, plus four dozen enormous petit-fours from the La Delice downtown (a wonderful little pastry shop on Third Ave) and my mother-in-law's famous blondies....and I only brought home four petit-fours!

Lots of books were signed, goody bags were given out, HAVEN cookies were consumed, many photos were taken--it was pretty much the perfect day!  The only way it could have been better?!  If I could have shared it with ALL of you!  I gave my husband my camera to photograph the day, and he took exactly *three*--none of which were good!  So, all these pictures are courtesy of the folks who attended--if anyone else has pictures, please send them to me so I can add them to my collection!

Oh, and I have several goody bags (with cookie!) left over, so at some point in the near future, I'll be doing some sort of contest/giveaway for the leftovers, so stay tuned!

Meet the HAVEN "Scooby Gang"


Name:  Cece Bradford
Gift:  Astral Projection

Likes:  Extracurricular activities (tennis, drama, student council), movies, the New Orleans voodoo scene, the color pink, celebrity watching, a guy named Todd

Name:  Kate Spencer

Gift:  Telekinesis (macro)

Likes:  Hanging out with her boyfriend Jack, going to the theater, Johnny Depp, the color baby blue, and...hanging out with her boyfriend Jack some more.

Name:  Sophie Patterson

Gift:  Clairsentience--specifically, can sense what's physically wrong with someone (illness, injury, etc.)

Likes:  Academics, researching Ivy League colleges/universities, the color green, her family's beach house on Saint Bart's

Name:  Marissa Tate

Gift:  Empath

Likes:  Her own space, karaoke, movies, the color scarlet red, chocolate chip cookies

Name:  Jack Delafield

Gift:  Telekinesis (micro)

Likes:  Working in the chem lab with Aidan, football, track, rock music, hanging out with his girlfriend Kate

Name:  Joshua Simmons

Gift:  Shape-shifting (or something like that....)

Likes:  Alternative music, playing the guitar, chess, people who stand up for his friends