So, this is totally cheating because I technically already did Twilight -- what? Oh.
-waits patiently for Twilight bashing to occur-
Okay, moving on --
I realize these are just for marketing. I realize they are totally dumb. I realize that the UK, land of pretty boys and accents (my apologies to any UK people I may be offending), is also a marketing genius for selling these.
And yet I love them.
Seriously. I think these are SO pretty. The better pictures are here.
Sorry for the cop out; I was having issues finding stuff this week. Normally, I'd do what I was reading, but this week that consisted of Dante's Inferno, Frankenstein, and a book on the fall of the Spanish Armada.
It is EXACTLY as interesting as it sounds.
(Though, on the upside, I'm at 17k on my new shiny story, which is fun. Hoping for 25k by the end of the weekend.)
Release Date: It's out. -shrugs- I'm not actually sure when it was technically released.
Amazon says: After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.
First, a disclaimer. The Percy Jackson books are some of my all time favorites.
That said, this (the companion series/kind of sequel) wasn't as good. However, it could be soon.
The Lost Hero is setting up a saga. Dude. It's setting up something that could be freaking epic. It isn't quite there yet -- maybe because so much world building had to go on -- but Riordan's classic humor and great characters were enough to make this book worth reading. I love, love, love all of the characters -- he does a fantastic job of making three dimensional and flawed teenagers. You want them to be your friends, and if you're me, you basically want to write like this.
There's a lot of talk about diversity in YA lately. I loved this book because it did a great job of having a diverse cast without preaching about it -- the kids were just kids. Well. Kids with gods as parents. Seriously, I think this is the best example of a diverse cast that still maintains a story line that doesn't highlight how great diversity is. Plus, the girls in this series? They totally kick butt.
The twist is easy enough to figure out; you're given heavy handed hints through the entire story. Still, the end of the novel left me drooling for the sequel. The cliff hanger is worthy of Hunger Games and the story, while not as fast paced as the Percy books moves fast enough that you can't wait for more.
I think my main problem came from the point of view. There are three different characters who the POV switches between, and while that was interesting, I did kind of miss the first person narrative -- only because Mr. Riordan does such a fantastic job with it. That said, I'm excited for the next book.
Oh -- and this is in the same world as the previous Olympian books. Annabeth shows up, and Percy seems to have a major role in the next one. This is planned to be a five book series, and quite honestly, by the end of it, I imagine it will be just as good as the Percy books.
Oh again -- on a random note, the cover lies. This book isn't as middle grade as the first few Percy books. The kids are all fifteen and sixteen, I think, and they act like it. I'm not sure why the cover regressed a few years, but hey, it actually fits the book pretty well. The steampunk elements are kind of awesome; I'm glad it came out on the cover.
All in all, worth your time.
But how the heck are we supposed to wait an entire YEAR??
I am a firm believer that girls can do anything guys can. Dude, it's never even seriously occurred to me that we couldn't. And I hear comments like this every day. 'No means Yes.' Sure. Yeah. When a girl says no, she really is saying yes. Of course. Comments about rape are thrown around the classroom daily. Girls are demeaned and boys are smacked and life goes on.
Debate rounds lost? The people were 'raped.'
A girl gets pregnant? 'Slut.'
And if a guy gets a girl pregnant? Player.
It's not news. It's a double standard, blah, blah, feminist crap, whatever. Right? That's what a teacher said once. Feminist crap. Double standard -- just means women need to work harder to prove it wrong.
And don't get me wrong.
Girls can do everything guys can. Working hard will reverse a double standard; I believe that fully. Maybe I'm naive or young or whatever you want to call it, but I believe that girls have every opportunity in the world.
That doesn't, however, mean that they should be treated like that. A double standard is one thing, but this? This is blatant disrespect, flagrant idiocy. At Yale, of all places. A place where the smartest are cultivated to be smarter. Right?
A slap on the wrist. Is that really what those boys deserve? No. But they don't deserve expulsion either, because come on -- what would that fix? It's not their fault we live in a society where movies, musics and television tell us this sort of thing is okay.
No. Let them read Speak, The Mockingbirds, let them go to sessions where crushed and hurt girls tell their stories. Let them talk to their closest female friends, their sisters, their girlfriends.
Not just these particular boys.
All of them. Hell, all of the girls too. Because we don't get how dumb we are sometimes. We've trivialized something that should never been made littler than it is.
Y'all, take a minute. Breathe deep. Now. Get ready for a freaking ton of awesome.
Because guess what?
It's almost November.
And that, my dears, means one thing.
No. Not Thanksgiving. This is better than turkey.
No -- not Nanowrite. Really, guys?
I'm talking something EPIC BEYOND WORDS.
Yeah. You got it.
Dudes. I could paper every inch of my walls with these. Not even joking. They would go right over my Japanese fans and pictures of my friends and all the other junk I've nailed up. Just google the posters. There's TONS.
Midnight release, anyone?
After all -- who really needs public American school? Hogwarts is totally better.
Zomg, guys. It's the weekend, and I'm NOT at a debate tournament. Do you realize the epicness of this? No? Well. To put in perspective, this will be one of the last -- no seriously, one of two open weekends -- I have until February. That doesn't include Christmas, but really, school shouldn't be considered for those latter weeks of December.
(Technically, I should be at a tournament. My coach offered, but I wanted to hang with my sister. She's bringing pie; obviously this means I need to give her a due amount of worship.)
I read several very ninja books this week and will have reviews up later -- except for Linger, which I took a day to reread (it involved ignoring three of my teachers, one of whom was mildly offended that I thought the book was more interesting than the notes) -- as well as some other random. But for now, Abby over Above Waterhas given me an award!
Abby is pretty much epic, y'all. She's a mom, which automatically makes her way more ninja than average, and works at the library, which in my book is on par with working at like, a store that sold candy and sparkles and Harry Potter paraphernalia.
Anyway, to accept the award, I get to answer this question:
If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in my life, would I and what would it be?
-blinks- -shifts uncomfortably- Mm. Well. I can think of a few things. Not freezing at debate districts comes to mind. Researching more thoroughly before I jumped into querying the first time. And then there's a boy. (Isn't there always?) -ponders- Yeah. The boy thing wins. I wish I could deal with it way more ninja like. See, everyone talks about how I'll look back on that fondly and be like BOOM, Sarrah Dessan-esque book deal, but now? It still stings. Even if he is one of my best friends, I wish I could go back and be all suave and chill and just do things different. For instance, taping my mouth shut would have been a GREAT idea. At the very least, I wish I could go back and stop myself from crying. It kills me that I cried over it. -wrinkles nose in distaste- Oh, WAIT. There's also the timeI ran over that snake.Dude. I wish I could have stopped that. Sigh. All in all, I suppose everything I've gone through has made me who I am today. For a 16 year old girl, I'm pretty okay with myself. -shrugs- (I still wish I hadn't killed the snake.) Anyway. Giving the award to five people now:
Maggie, because I plan on living on her fame when I'm old and decrepit. Cipherqueenbecause she is very good at cheering me up. Aspen because holy crap, that girl can edit like no other. Sarah because there is no one better to talk books with. (Even though I don't think she technically always does awards. Hmm.) Katharine because she's basically what I was at 12. Cept, you know, way smarter.
All right, farewell, friends! I'm off to go pull my sister's hair and steal her clothes watch Social Network with my family. More later!
Okay, all. I loved this book. If I could marry this book, I might. (Maggie, shut up. I can have as many book spouses as I want.) It's snarky and clever and basically wonderful. Here is the author's website: Below is the original US cover.
I actually couldn't bring myself to pick up that cover. I don't know why; it just never caught my eye. I think it's a little bit too 'Hello, I am hot and brooding' which is so not what the book is about.
This is the newer US cover.
Still not my favorite cover, but I'm still fond of it. It's pretty and dark, but the guy looks a little bit too old to be a teenager. Actually, he really reminds me of Paul Wesley.
Anyway, this is the French Cover.
Still old looking, but hey, props for the fire.
Here's the Indonesian cover.
I actually like this better than the US one. Why? Um, well, it has purple on it. Plus, he doesn't glow.
This is the Ukranian version. And, um, I am kind of in love with it.
It has FIRE.
Here's the UK cover.
I'm kind of fond of it. It looks a little cartoony, but in a good way.
Debate season has started. For me, this means a couple of things. For one, I will start looking worse and worse. For another, I'm probably going to be freakishly bi-polar. It also means I need to be prewriting the Foreign Fridays and setting the timer publisher thing, because there just isn't enough time Friday morning. (I'msorrydon'thateme.) But most of all, it means that I'm going to get competitive.
See, I'm not competitive in sports. I'm more the kid that's like Oh, look, there's a ball coming -- DUCK! There's no point in me being competitive at that, because the public school system doesn't acknowledge that ducking is a pretty impressive reflex and should be awarded as well. I personally would accept this trophy.
But that doesn't happen. So I become competitive at academics.
Debate, in particular, is what I tend to focus on. And guess what? I'm actually kind of good at it. I came into Junior year excited, because for the first time, I would have the ultimate edge of age.
Yeah. Funny, huh? Earlier this week my couch put me in something called Champ debate. It's more oriented toward seniors. Which means I would be among the youngest competing. For the third year in a row.
My partner and I prepared more than we ever have before. We knew the topic backward and forward. We spent hours and hours working on it, and we actually felt pretty good. I mean, we'd done well before with odds against us.
Like, serious, the worst I've ever done.
And every time something went badly, I'm just sitting there horrified. I mean, I'm supposed to be good at this. Why do I keep losing? Was there like, essence of suckage in my coffee that morning? Oh, god, I'm going to end up a failure at life and have to like, be a trophy wife or something. (You see, even in panicked states, I am indeed thinking about trophies.)
Truth time? We prepared, but we prepared for the minor leagues. We didn't think about the big stuff - what could we trick people with, how could we trap them. Plus, we went up against the best. Every single team we hit -- every single flipping team -- was in finals. Every. Single. One.
I wasn't sure whether to be amused or not.
It's depressing to lose. If it wasn't, then we wouldn't want to win so freaking badly. (Also, those trophies are sparkly. That helps too.) In writing, it's the same way. I've talked to a lot of people who queried for maybe a month or so, got nowhere, and gave up. I've read blogs where people continually lament their losses.
And yes. I get it. It hurts. You do want to give up.
Yes, it's depressing.
But your first time out, you are the underdog. If you don't prepare properly, nothing matters. Preparation alone isn't enough; you have to pour yourself completely into it, think in ways no one else has, and still, sometimes, you just don't win. You keep getting reviews, but that doesn't really matter to some people. It's still miserable. And dude, does it suck.
Guess what, though?
Next tournament, I know what I'm doing. Next time, I know the competition. Next time, I am going to get a pretty shiny trophy.
And maybe for you, when it comes to writing, you'll get that shiny trophy your next time. Even if you don't, you will eventually. You just gotta keep trying.
Seriously, I promise.
The trophies are definitely worth it.
YOU GUYS. Bounce and cheer and clap with me, because I have an interview for you today that is kind of fantabulous. Seriously.
Ms. Daisy Whitney has been so awesomely nice to do an interview! Just so you know, I bounced -- a lot -- when I got her 'yes' in my inbox. Seriously, you guys, The Mockingbirds is gonna be BIG. If you can get a hold of it, read it. You won't regret it. Plus, Daisy is incredibly, totally ninja and wrote a wonderful amazing and super duper fantastic book (which you can read about and pre-order here) but also has like a jillion other awesome sounding jobs like Reporter and other fun kind of intimidating stuff. And because she's way more entertaining than I am, I'm gonna let her talk now!
Without further ado, Ms. Daisy Whitney!
The Mockingbirds deals with a subject that is close to a lot of girls. Do you have any advice to someone who's going through what Alex did -- who has experienced rape?
For starters, please know that you aren’t alone. It’s sad and alarming how prevalent date rape is among teens. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), 1 in 6 women will be a victim of sexual assault during her lifetime and girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Also, half of the reported date rapes occur among teenagers, according to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Knowing that, I would tell girls that there is always someone there to listen. Please talk to your parents. Or talk to a teacher. Or talk to an adult who will listen to you and stand by you. At the very least, talk to a friend. Rape is a horrible thing to experience — you will need support and there is healing in talking about it, even with a close friend.
What was your road to publication like?
I wrote three chick lit novels that were repped but never sold. When I switched to writing for teens, I finally broke through and landed a book deal! But suffice to say, it was a long road paved with many rejections and I have the stack of rejection letters to prove it. But I am a big believer in perseverance so I kept writing and I view those first 300,000-plus unpublished words as writing school in a way.
You have awesome characters. Every one of them have so many facets, and they just kind of leap of the page. Do you have any tricks for making them so three dimensional?
Thank you! When I develop a new character I often first ask myself “What is his or her passion?” I believe that interesting characters always have some core, deep passion and by tapping into what this might be as the writer, we can better understand and build out the character. In The Mockingbirds, the characters’ passions are so tied to elements of the story and how the secret society works that it was essential to find a key passion for each character. And I think finding that also helped flesh each one out.
There's some awesome music in The Mockingbirds. Any suggestions on bands or songs?
Like Alex, I do love Beethoven! Ode to Joy from the Ninth Symphony is a pretty rocking piece of music. In fact, it was the song I walked down the aisle to at my wedding. I also adore Arcade Fire. I am in mad love with that band! I also like Coldplay, David Ford, Adam Pascal, Matt Nathanson and Pearl Jam. And I should also mention that my first musical love is and remain Broadway show tunes! I love the soundtracks to Rent, Chess, 42nd Street, Billy Elliot, Les Mis and others.
What advice do you have a teenager who wants to be writer?
Write, write and then write some more! Writing is a discipline and like exercise; it’s best when done daily.
No. I haven't read the book. I've had two people who's book taste I generally trust that kind of ruined it for me. -youknowwhoyouare-
I probably will read it. Why? Because I need to see the movie and I don't like watching book movies if I haven't read their book. And the reasons why I need to see the movie? Well.
Reason Number One: I like YA books to movie. I support this. -shrugs-
Reason Number Two:
I am an unashamed Gleek. Seriously. I love it. So the fact that Dianna Agron is in the movie can't hurt.
Reason Number Three:
I know nothing about his acting capabilities, but Alex Pettyfer is very pretty.