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John Green is nice

My teen-author drinks night pal John Green, author of the Printz-winner Looking for Alaska, described Fly on the Wall on his blog the other day in a way that made me LAUGH OUT LOUD.

He also sent me this email after reading the book, which he was then nice enough to say I could use for all my dastardly self-promotional purposes. Really, it is so awesome I want to cry. I hope he was telling the truth.

"I think this might be the best YA novel, as in a book published for young adults and also written for young adults, that I've ever read. Because it's a reworking of Kafka, and it's this crazy brilliant upending of all the sexual stereotypes we've ever had--particularly in YA lit, and it's hilarious, and it's so very smart. I mean, I'm serious... It's really amazing."

Addendum to BEA report

Oh, I forgot one particularly exciting YA books person I met at BEA! Because I literally met her the last ten minutes I was there. Gabrielle Zevin, author of Elsewhere and Margarettown! She was there to accept the Borders award which I have googled and weirdly doesn't come up. But suffice it to say, Elsewhere won it.

Don't you love the cover?

My own copy is burning a hole in my pocket so to speak. I am just compelled to finish my murder mystery first.

Yay Students!

Hurrah for students in Township High School District 214, a Chicago-area suburb. They are taking action to protest a single school board member’s attempt to ban seven books from the curriculum.

There's more at the As If site, in an article by Rosemary Graham. She writes:

"One student launched an on-line petition, which has over four hundred signatures and comments. Some students are wearing tape that reads “censored” over any writing that appears on their clothing and many plan to attend the school board meeting..."

It turns out the school board member hasn't even read the books in question -- only the scandalous bits. The books:

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, by Michael Pollan

Anyway, the board meeting was last night (Thurs) so hopefully we'll have more news soon. But whatever the outcome, those students are GREAT, and a model for taking action should the repression of certain titles turn out to be an issue in YOUR community.

Create a petition
Attend Meetings
Find a form of visible but non-disruptive protest
and Tell the papers you've done it!

Shanna Swendson's Boyfriend List

Onceuponstilettos_1Shanna Swendson is on the GCC with me and her sequel to Enchanted Inc. is finally here. It's called Once Upon Stillettos and here's what I can tell you. Manhattan career girl works for giant magic corporation because she has a special immunity to magic. Hunky wizards. Romance. Magical sleuthing. High heels.
What's not to love?

Romantic Times Bookclub says: "Swendson offers a fresh spin on a genre in this exceptional Manhattan fairytale."

So anyway.
Shanna's boyfriend list reads like a catalog of superheroes. You gotta love that. The Incredible Disappearing Man! Lingerie man! Jabberjaws! Sleeping Bag Guy!

My list of bad almost-boyfriends
by Shanna Swendson

I haven't had a lot of real boyfriends, mostly because I manage to either
weed them out before they become real boyfriends or because they disappear
on me before they become real boyfriends. So here's my list of bad
almost-boyfriends. Names have been changed to protect the guilty (or because
I don't remember them).

1) The Incredible Disappearing Man #1 -- He might have actually made it to
boyfriend status, but it was hard to tell because he kept disappearing for
weeks at a stretch, usually right after doing something that convinced me he
really might have been a real boyfriend. After he finally disappeared for
good, I ran into him at a wedding reception a year later, and he not only
acted like nothing odd had happened, he acted like we'd never been more than
acquaintances. I suspect alien abduction.

2) Sir Galahad (Not!) -- I'd had a crush on this guy for years, and then
just as I'd given up on him, he noticed me. We went out for a couple of
times before I had to have knee surgery. A week or so after the surgery,
when my knee was still swollen to about the size of a basketball, I was
still on crutches, and I was living in a third-floor apartment so that I had
to really, really want to go out before I made the effort, he called to ask
me out on a date. I explained to him that I didn't really feel up to going
out on a date, seeing as how I was on crutches, my knee was swollen, I was
on heavy painkillers, etc., and he said, "When I'm dating someone, I like to
actually go out with them." It apparently never crossed his mind that this
was his chance to be a real hero and show up with a take-out dinner and a
movie rental and then wait on me hand and foot. I'd just taken one of the
heavy painkillers, so I don't remember what I said to him in response, but
it must have been good because he avoided me after that.

3) Sleeping Bag Guy -- I met this one at an out-of-town conference. We
really hit it off, hung out together through the whole conference, and
exchanged e-mail addresses. We e-mailed back and forth a few times, then he
announced that he'd be on vacation in my area and he'd like to see me. We
made plans to get together for some sightseeing, and I invited him to my
place for dinner. Very late that night after dinner, I was starting to make
the "it's getting late" hints, and he said, "I brought a sleeping bag. Can I
crash at your place?" It turned out that my house was his planned hotel for
his "vacation." I ended up kicking him out after two days and never heard
from him again.

4-6) Incredible Disappearing Men #s 2-4 -- I went through a phase where I'd
meet really great guys, have fun first dates, have great second dates where
we seemed to truly connect, and then he'd end those second dates by talking
about how much he wanted to get together again, going so far as to plan the
next date except for the exact time and specific logistics. And then I'd
never hear from him again. When it happened several times in a row, it kind
of gave me a complex.

Enchantedinc_17) Lingerie Man -- I met this guy soon after Thanksgiving, so we'd only had
a couple of dates before it was Christmas time. I was still pondering
whether a card might be too much so soon when he announced that he had a
gift for me. I got suspicious when he said I had to open it when we were at
home alone and managed to avoid such a situation. Good thing, because his
gift turned out to be the ugliest, sleaziest get-up from Frederick's of
Hollywood. It was so not me it wasn't even funny. He did try to pass it off
as a joke, saying he'd just wanted to see my reaction (red flag #1). Later,
when he started calling me to ask me out on Friday afternoons and accused me
of avoiding him if I'd already made other plans or if I was sick (I even had
a doctor's note), more red flags came up and I dumped him.

8) Jabberjaws -- I met this guy at a party, and he was a fun
conversationalist. But then when we went out, he told the same stories
again. And then again on our next date. I'm a good talker, myself, and I
couldn't get a word in edgewise. All he could talk about was himself and his
experiences. He couldn't even discuss the movies or concerts we'd seen
beyond "That reminds me of the time I ..." I actually fell asleep once
during a date, and he didn't even notice, he was so busy with his monologue.
I didn't go out with him again after that.

9-10) The Planners -- Another weird streak. Two different guys I dated
within months of each other did almost the same thing. They asked me out to
see a specific movie. Then they suggested getting dinner beforehand. As we
were coming out of the restaurant, they said, "Let's go see if the movie is
playing at that theater over there." It turned out they hadn't bothered to
find out where or when the movie they'd invited me to see was playing. With
one guy, I ended up driving from theater to theater (he claimed car trouble)
to see if that movie was playing, only to find out it had just started at
each of those theaters, so then we went back around to all the theaters to
see what else was playing, until I got tired of it and called it a night.
With the second guy, once we found that the movie he'd asked me to see
wasn't at the two closest theaters, I called it a night. I'm all for
spontaneity, but I feel like if you invite someone to do a specific thing,
you should at least find out where and when that thing is happening.

P.S. Shanna's blog is here, on LJ. And it is very fun reading.

Not Your Mother's Book Club

Hello people in the San Francisco area!
I am going to be at the fantastic Not Your Mother's Bookclub on June 8, 2006
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan!

all three of us
7 pm
Books Inc.
Laurel Village
3515 California Street
San Francisco
phone: 415-221-3666

The event is free and open to the public.

If you don't know Cohn and Levithan, you should! Together they co-authored Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Individually, Cohn wrote Gingerbread and Shrimp, and Levithan Boy Meets Boy, Are We There Yet?, Marly's Ghost and others.

Here's the poster. (There's one all about them, too. This is the one all about me.)

Kittens Challenge

which I have read and it is as squeaky clean as it could possibly be
(the title is just the names two posses of high schoolers use for themselves)
made it onto a list of ten books that a school board in Florida wants to ban from the high school library.

Details on Maryrose's blog, and there's more at the AS IF! site, with smart commentary by Rosemary Graham.

Maryrose writes:
People sometimes assume that these sorts of ban attempts arise "naturally" from conservative parents, but this incident is a great example of how that's not always the case: a conservative radio station instigated this by calling a school board member to complain about the school's book order. She then went to some of the fundamentalist websites that list "books that should be banned" and used that to make a list. No one read the books, no one researched the books, the head of the school board, the school principal and librarian all opposed it, but with TV cameras running this school board got manipulated by fundamentalist media forces outside their own community into striking these ten books from the high school library's purchase order until they could be reviewed by "a committee."

BEA report

Got back from BEA (Book Expo America) last night so tired I could barely see.
(Warning, serious YA-lit name-dropping ahead. Please forgive or enjoy, whatever.)

First, the books. My most excellent scores were new books by John Green, Jordan Sonnenblick, Gail Carson Levine, and M.T. Anderson. I was sad I didn't get David Levithan's new one, or Meg Cabot's, or K.L. Going's -- but they are all coming out, people. Get ready!

Boyproof_5On Friday when I arrived, I scoped the convention floor for a couple hours (and visited with Sarah Mlynowski, who was signing her new book on how to write chick lit, See Jane Date) -- then Literaticat took me (it was totally like a blind date!) to a party for Cecil Castelluci, M.T. Anderson and other Candlewick writers. (Ms. Cat, by the way, has posted a great BEA report on Not Your Mother's Bookclub). I got to meet Mr. Anderson (author of Feed, Thirsty, etc. etc. and the upcoming Octavian Nothing) though not without first mistaking someone else for him and having to scuttle off with my tail between my legs and a blush on my face. (This would never have happened if I had stuck near Literaticat, but I had finally ventured out from under her protective wing).

We got to meet Celia Rees, whose new book The Wish House sounds fantastic (and who tells a really good story!), and lots of booksellers as well. Kate DiCamillo was there! I rode up in the elevator with her and was all gaga. Miss Cecil looked amazingly foxy and seemed happy I was wearing my Queen of Cool nail decals.

Then I had dinner with Holly Black and her lovely husband and webmeister Theo. We ate fancy cheese! It was a swank tasting menu and they poured our soup into our bowls at the table.

Then (and by now it was way past my bedtime) we went to YA author drinks night (the DC mix). Several of the above people were there, plus I got to meet Sarah Dessen and Andrew Auseon, both of whom I had long wanted to meet.

I had to go home in order to function the next day, but the teen authors were going strong as I left, Holly bedecked with beautiful yellow flowers that I don't know where they came from.

Next morning, I was wandering the convention center trying to find coffee that wouldn't be a 30 minute wait, when I zoomed past novelist Lara Zeises, whom I was supposed to meet later anyway. Yippee! We ran around the floor with Laura Bowers, who has a YA novel coming out next year called Beauty Shop for Rent. We got galleys, so many galleys. It was a little bonkers, really. The new Gail Carson Levine (Fairest -- a follow-up to Ella Enchanted, set in the same world but reinventing Snow White) was packaged in a special glitzy box with a giveaway mirror. Ooooh!

We went to see Elise Broach sign her new book Desert Crossing, and got to meet Douglas Rees!

The_boy_book_6Then I had a signing for The Boy Book, which was very fun, and not only did Lara and Laura come, but also YA novelists Erin Downing (whom I had never met before) and Jen Bryant (with whom I toured last month)!

I had amazing tapas with my editor, ran around like a maniac, and then went to a big Random House party at the Library of Congress where I met so many booksellers my head was spinning. I wore zebra striped high heels and a glittery brown dress. I met Tamora Pierce! I met Patricia McKissack! David Levithan was there and we sent messages to each other across the room because we were somehow never talking to one another!
And best of all, there were COOKIES with our book jackets on them. Which was seriously extremely exciting.

More rich food, a night spent regretting the excesses I had consumed, a morning doing business and finally, back to New York in a semi-coherent state.

My digital camera. Is. Broken. So I have no pictures to share.

A pointless girlie survey

A girlie survey, for no good reason.

01. Eyeliner or mascara?
Neither. I think they just make people look funny.

02. Disney films or gore films?
I like me a nice old 1940s comedy.

03. Skirts or jeans?

04. Singing or Dancing?
Must I choose?

05. Hoodies or jackets?
Jacket with hoodie

06. Heels or sneakers?

07. Straight or curly hair?
something in-between

08. Hoop or dangling earrings?
no earrings, unless it's fancy

09. Side bangs or one lengthed?
I don’t even know what side bangs are

10. Your fav colors:
blue and gray

11. Victoria Secret or Bath and Body?
The Body Shop

12. Smoothies or lattes?
black coffee

13. Diet or regular sodas?

14. Water or daquiris?
a Bloody Mary, please

15. Diamonds or pearls?

16. Marykate or Ashley Olsen?

17. This or That?
no, the other one

18. Ipod or cell phone?

19. Friends or family?

20. Lip gloss or chapstick?
Bobbi Brown lipgloss in Cherry

21. Manicure or pedicure?
Pedicure. Manicure chips in a single day on me.

22. Love or peace?
Peaceful love

23. Sunglasses or purses?
Shades in a funny color like green

What you have:
[x] an MP3 player/ipod/anything like that
[ ]tiffany's jewelry.
[x] computer.
[x] a cd player.
[x] a stereo.
[ ] a spice girl cd.
[] a cosmo magazine.
[x] a teddy bear.
[] a build a bear.
[] an Aeropostale purse.
[] a hot topic shirt.
[] an aeropostale shirt.
[] the mean girls dvd.
[] a TV in my room.
[x]diamond earrings
[x] a pearl necklace.
[x]a homecoming/prom dress
[x] a book.
[x] a myspace
[x] perfume.
[ ] g-unit sneakers
[x] a black shirt
[ ] abercrombie shirt
[] pink nail polish

Girl Knowledge:

*Do you know exactly where the blush goes? Yes

*Would you say you know how to put on make up? Yes.

*Do you know how to french braid? Yes.

*Do you wash your face at least once a day? no, I just splash it with water, otherwise my skin gets very dry.

*Do you know what kind of lip gloss can make your teeth look whiter? no, I am not interested

*Do you use an eyelash curler? I think these make eyelashes look unattractive.

*Do you use waterproof mascara? I don't like mascara, either.

*How much do you pay for make up? Too much. But I save big by eschewing the liner, curler and mascara.