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December 2006

YA authors in the Gaylord Opryland

At long last, I have got it together to post a couple photos from NCTE/ALAN -- which is a big conference of English teachers and young adult authors that I posted about earlier. And here, as well.

Yaauthorsgroup_1These are from an evening celebration, after hours, with other people who write for teenagers. Click to enlarge.

Me, David Levithan, Jordan Sonnenblick, MT Anderson, Cecil Castelluci, Lauren Myracle.

Their books (one each, skipping me):
Wide Awake, Notes from the Midnight Driver, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Queen of Cool, TTYL.

Lauren and I, wearing matching necklaces. We are writing a book together with Sarah Mlynowski.

Yaauthors4crazy_1 John Green (An Abundance of Katherines) held the camera and we all squeezed in next to him. Only Cecil, maybe not so much. That's me, Lauren Myracle, and they eyes of Ms. Castelluci.

That's all, folks!

Kyra Davis dated some eccentric men

Kyra Davis wrote the lighthearted mysteries Sex, Murder And A Double Latte and Passion Betrayal And Killer Highlights -- but her new book is based on her own experience being married to a man with bipolar disorder.

SO MUCH FOR MY HAPPY ENDING asks: What happens when the man you love and subsequently marry turns out to be someone entirely different from the man you dated? How do you recognize the difference between mental illness and the usual marital problems that afflict all couples?

But never fear, Davis doesn't leave her wit behind. Romantic Times called it both entertaining and horrifying at once…hopeful and even wildly funny at times."

You can find Kyra's blog here on myspace , read her fly survey for Passion, Betrayl and Killer Highlights here -- and of course, when it came to writing a boyfriend list, she gave us the weirdest guys she ever dated!
(My favorite is the last).

Kyra Davis's ECCENTRIC boyfriend list

1) Jason---this guy lived in a warehouse with a bunch of friends. His “bedroom” was a self-built loft and he had to climb a ladder and then carefully walk across a plank of wood in order to reach it. If he needed to get down quickly there was a “fireman pole.”

2) David---He imported iguanas from Nicaragua so he could kill them and sell them as Iguana-jerky (I swear I’m not making this up—in my defense I didn’t know this until I went out with him which is why we only had one date).

3) David #2---He would stop and talk to people on the street in hopes that they might know some guy named Gary-the-homeless advocate. He never actually met Gary but there were times when he could “feel his presence.” (this was another one date deal).

4) Mark---Ah, Mark. Nice, cute, athletic, employed…unfortunately he had pictures taken of himself while he was playing lacrosse, had the pictures blown up, laminated and made into placemats.

Dramarama iMix

Dramarama isn't out until May 2006, but this post is for BOOKSELLERS and LIBRARIANS who might well have an advanced reader's copy by now. All the songs from Dramarama are here, on an iMix.

You click on the link above and iTunes will open straight to the mix. Listen before you read Dramarama to make sure you get every little musical reference. Listen afterwards to get a sense of Sadye and Demi's musical world.

In any case, these are some of my favorite showtunes of all time. Songs from Rent, Wicked, Guys & Dolls, Cabaret, Chicago, Bye Bye Birdie, Oliver!, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Jersey Boys, Grease, Fame, Sweet Charity, Little Shop of Horrors, and more.

New Yorkers, come on out

So if you missed the NYPL events
if you want to get all your holiday shopping for people under the age of 18 done in a single early swoop,
please come out to Books of Wonder
December 5th -- New York City
I am reading with some of my favorite teen authors!

5 PM - 7 PM
Books of Wonder on 18th between 5th and 6th

COE BOOTH for Tyrell, a story of a homeless African-American teenager struggling to avoid following in his father's footsteps and ending up in jail;
JOHN GREEN for An Abundance of Katherines, about a washed-up child prodigy who's been dumped by 19 girls named Katherine and this time is determined to get it right;
MAUREEN JOHNSON for Devilish, about a Catholic highschooler who makes a deal with the devil and the friend who risks everything to save her;
E. LOCKHART for The Boy Book, sequel to The Boyfriend List, where Ruby discovers there is life after a boyfriend breakup and the loss of all her best friends for not following The Rules for Dating; and
DAVID LEVITHAN for Wide Awake, a story of two gay teenagers campaigning to keep the first gay Jewish President-elect from being cheated out of his election results.

more on the ALAN conference

Sarah Dessen blogs about the madness of NCTE/ALAN (translation: big conference of English teachers and YA authors) with cute photos -- and also talks about how you really shouldn't steal books.
Which makes me kinda blush because of this.
But they wouldn't let us have anything!
And they were there to be given away for free, anyhow!
And they didn't belong to any particular person!
And the box was OPEN and looted already!
And I will blog about every book I got hold of, which was only two, anyway!
And we wanted them so bad!!

Okay, enough. I am a bad, bad woman and now you all know my shame.

I loved the ALAN conference. I could go on and on but I will just give a few highlights. And some photos, later in the week when I get digitally functioning.


William Sleator. I have read lots of his books so was quite chuffed to meet him and he gave a great speech.

David Levithan on the romance panel, explained how his books are about people finding connections with each other in a world that encourages artifice and manufactured experiences. And that we need well-written romance to help us find models of genuine connection, in all its messiness. He was funnier than that and more articulate, but I think that is the gist.

Tamora Pierce spoke about making audio books -- both full-cast and single-reader, and she was really interesting and self-mocking and delightful.

I was on a humor panel with Lauren Myracle, Greg Leitich-Smith and Jordan Sonnenblick. I was very nervous and we each read our favorite bits of other people's work. I read a scene from Leitich-Smith's Tofu and T-Rex which is a very very very very funny novel and I highly recommend it. Lauren read a NAUGHTY BIT from Fly on the Wall and she did it so very well. Much better than I could have done. I was happy but also embarassed no end.

I finished the panel saying the following ridiculous sentence: "PG Wodehouse is my best friend!"
which sounded stupid, yes
but what I meant was that funny books are like wonderful and reliable friends. They cheer you on dark days. They send you to bed feeling like there is joy in the world. I think they are important.

I got to meet a lot of people I had long wanted to meet and catch up with old friends. I can't even name them here, so many.

I went to some parties and wore an outfit involving Roo-like fishnets.
There was almost no vegetarian food.
I got a deep tissue massage.
There was dancing.
There was intellectual discourse.
I am still in recovery.


Het Jongensboek


Ik ben zo blij het Het Jongensboek in het Nederlands is verschenen. Het is het gevolg aan de 15 Jongens, 4 Kikkers & Ik, en daarin, confronteert Ruby Oliver
het geheim over Noel,
jongen-spreken de geheimzinnige nota's van Jackson,
de interpretatie van, villainy van Cricket,
de verschrikkingen van de schoolterugtocht,
en de benutting overal van joekels.
Er is fruit broodje.
Er zijn hoger-regionen.
Er zijn zo vele jongens om te kiezen van!
En er zijn pinguins.

(Deze vertaling werd gemaakt met de website Babelfish -- zodat ben ik droevig als het teveel in het Nederlands niet! steek houdt)

I love seeing foreign editions of my books -- and this cover is especially adorable, I think.
And for you American and British readers: now we know the Dutch equivalent of the USA boob euphemism hooters. It's joekels!

Nashville report

I am in Nashville, at the NCTE/ALAN conference. I signed Dramarama for the first time, which was very exciting (it doesn't come out until May) and also The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book.

But more importantly, I am at the Gaylord Opryland, which is such an insane hotel. I heard it can sleep 11,000 people. And I'm not surprised. There is a RIVER in it. And like a zillion shops. And piped in Christmas music. And Holiday decorations everywhere (Christian only). And a spa. And -- well, it is just absolutely bonkers. Go here to see pictures.

The YA writers are RUNNING WILD, and you can read about it here in Cecil's very amusing post. And Sarah Dessen's. And Professor Nana's take (not about authors running wild; actually about the conference).

I have a lot of urge to name drop ridiculously -- but it will just be annoying to read and I will post photos when I get home. (Can't wait? check out CFaughnan's blog).
For now, I will just go with this tidbit: I have danced to the Ramones with a National Book Award winner.

I have to go take a nap.

xxo from the road,

Presents for Teenagers

The ALA has a list of good books for holiday gift-giving for kids from pre-k through grade 8.
But I know what you really need to know.
What do you give a HIGH SCHOOL GIRL for Hannukah or Christmas or whatever winter holiday you celebrate?
Because you can't buy her clothes. Really, you can't.

Here are my recommendations. I figure, in making these recommendations, that you want to:

give the teenager something she will LIKE and think is fun and not "good for her"
give the teenager something she has not already read
give the teenager something that is of high quality and not just trashy stupidity
give the teenager somethingher parents will not be all nervous about if they pick it up, something without much sex or drugs or profanity
give the teenager something with a positive girl-power vibe

A couple shiny hardcovers that are new this season. One or two makes a perfect gift.
•Devilish, by Maureen Johnson -- it's a Faust tale set in a Catholic girl's school that is very very funny and innovatively done.
•The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, by Jaclyn Moriarty -- hilarious and thought-provoking; a highly unusual, highly intelligent girl suspects (and maybe rightly) that someone is out to kill her.
• Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love, by Maryrose Wood -- so so funny, and despite the title, very wholesome. Brainy teenagers at an avante garde high school create science experiments to discover the secrets of attraction.
• I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You, by Ally Carter. Girls at a select boarding school train to be Spies. So fun.
• Bad Kitty by Michelle Jaffe. Smart cookie solves a mystery in wild and crazy Las Vegas.
• Magic or Madness, by Justine Larbalestier. For the fantasy reader. Set in Sydney and New York City, both wild and scary and full of rogue magic.

The last two (Bad Kitty & Magic or Madness) have mixed-race protagonists, by the way. I think it's nice to know because it can be so important for teenagers to see themselves (and heroines who look like them) in fiction.

Happy shopping!

EDITED TO ADD: I just found out that Maureen Johnson will send you a sparkly holiday card and signature you can put in Devilish (or any of her other books) if you are giving them as gifts. Go to her myspace page and then click on "MJ signing workshop" in the blog.


Hey there adults. Going to NCTE/ALAN? I will be there, and I'd love it if you'd come and see me.

Saturday, Nov 18 at 1PM - 2 PM in the Random House booth, singing The Boy Book and probably the paperback Boyfriend List, if they've got it around. Oh, and something else, too. :)

Sunday, 10 AM - 10:30 AM in the Hyperion booth, signing Dramarama.

Monday, 4PM-4:40 pm
PANEL: “I Laughed So Hard, I Cried: Opening Minds And Hearts Through Humor In YA Books”
Lauren Myracle
Jordan Sonnenblick
and Greg Leitich Smith
(and we have plans to be funny)

Hurrah for teachers of English! I was one for years!