Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog Tour: Spotlight on Andrew Smith

I am so pleased to, visit web yet again, approved bring the official Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour to What A Nerd Girl Says and other amazing Southern California bloggers! This event is one of my absolute favorite events of the year and I’m sure this one is going to be just as great, even not better, than previous years!

When:

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

9:30 am to 5 pm

Where:

Colony High School Branch Library
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free! Also, keep scrolling to find a giveaway held by us bloggers!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Once Upon a Time Bookstore :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Once Upon a Time by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event.  Check out the full blog tour here!

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 22nd – Spotlight on Andrew SmithWhat A Nerd Girl Says

February 23rd – Spotlight on Alexandra MonirThe Consummate Reader

February 24th – Spotlight on April TucholkeAdventures of a Book Junkie

February 25th – Spotlight on Alexis BassA Traveling Book

February 26th – Spotlight on Marissa MeyerRead Now Sleep Later

February 27th – Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth SantanaMovies, Shows and Books

February 28th – Spotlight on Robin ReulRecently Acquired Obsessions

February 29th – Spotlight on Katherine KottarasiFandoms Collide

March 1st – Spotlight on Stephanie DiazMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 2nd – Spotlight on Virginia BoeckerThe Reader’s Antidote

March 3rd – Spotlight on Mary McCoyBook You Very Much

March 4th – Spotlight on Brad GottfredSeeking Bazinga

March 5th – Spotlight on Michelle LevyMy Fangirl Chronicles

March 6th – Spotlight on Elana K ArnoldRead Now Sleep Later

March 7th – Spotlight on Kristin HalbrookWhat A Nerd Girl Says

March 8th – Spotlight on Jessica BrodyThe Windy Pages

March 9th – Spotlight on Nicole MaggiNite Lite Book Reviews

March 10th – Spotlight on Jay AsherA Bookish Escape

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Today’s Spotlight Is:

ANDREW SMITH 

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Grasshopper Jungle (2015 Michael L. Printz Honor, 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Carnegie Medal Longlist) and Winger. He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. The Alex Crow, a starred novel by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, is his ninth novel. He lives in Southern California.

His Website / His Facebook / His GoodReads / His Twitter / His Instagram

His Books

There are actually so many that he’s written, and all of them are absolutely fabulous. I encourage you to follow him on GoodReads and add ALL of the books. However, I am spotlighting Stand-Off since its his most recent release :)

It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.

Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?

Find His Books at Your Local Bookstore of the Following Links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Book Depository

*****

The Interview

*****

Nerd Girl: Tell us about your current work in progress. What can we expect from you in the future? 

Andrew: I just submitted a novel to my editor, and I’m not really allowed to give specific details about it at this time, but I can say it’s a crazy speculative futuristic space opera-ish kind of thing. With a giraffe in it. I put the giraffe character in the book as a nod to my friend Jandy Nelson.

 

Nerd Girl: Your most recent release is STAND OFF, the sequel to Winger: what made you decide to continue Ryan Dean’s story?

 

Andrew: Probably it was pressure from readers. I still get emails every day from people of all ages, all over the world, about WINGER. Also, I really missed those characters, and writing STAND-OFF was so fun.

 

Nerd Girl: Ryan Dean struggles a lot with anxiety and PTSD in the second book in STAND OFF, after what he experienced in WINGER. As someone who struggles with similar mental issues, it felt very realistic and relatable. Was it hard to write him with this change in his personality, and did you have to do any research in order to write it the way you did?

 

Andrew: Ha ha! Been there, done that, too. Also, I never actually used terms like PTSD or anxiety in the book, I only wanted to key in on the feelings Ryan Dean was going through, and I think that made those experiences more relatable on a broad level for readers.

Nerd Girl: What is your writing process like? How do you balance writing full length novels with working your job as a teacher? How do you keep yourself motivated?

 

Andrew: Whenever I teach writers, I stress that self-discipline is an invisible but perhaps most important ingredient in what we produce. It’s easy to talk about craft, mechanics, and technique, but if you don’t get off your butt and hit the keyboard, absolutely none of that matters. It’s very difficult at times, and time exists in finite quantities, so you just have to make sure what you’re doing is going to get you where you most want to be. But as far as my personal writing is concerned, I motivate myself by building puzzles into my stories, and by always trying to do something I’ve never tried, and something that nobody else is doing. At least, I try.

 

Nerd Girl: Seeing as this is a teen book fest, I’d like to ask what were some of your favorite books as a teenager? Also, what are some of your favorite current teen reads?

 

Andrew: I read a wide range of thick, weird books when I was a teen. I remember reading–on my own–books like MOBY DICK by Herman Melville, THE IDIOT by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov.

Current YA that I’ve enjoyed (and I hope you know my favorite author is A.S. King, so I’ll spare you the expected list of all her titles): THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER by Tim Federle and THE MEMORY OF THINGS by Gae Polisner. But I don’t think those are out yet.

 

Nerd Girl: What is one thing you learned about writing that you didn’t learn until after you got published?

 

Andrew: Like most people who get published, I didn’t know ANYTHING about the publishing industry when I got published. But, as far as writing goes, I think that working with the amazing editors I’ve had the opportunity to work with has taught me to recognize some of the common mistakes that young writers make in terms of craft, and this has definitely helped me to be a better, more efficient, writer.

 

Nerd Girl: You get the phone call that you’re getting published: what is your reaction? How did you celebrate?

 

Andrew: I kind of passed out, I think. And nobody in my family knew I’d been writing all those years. So I took my wife and kids out to dinner and told them what was going to happen.

 

Nerd Girl: You’ve often said that you don’t necessarily write books FOR teens but ABOUT teens…so why did you choose to write about teens? And why do you think its important to make the point that your books aren’t necessarily just for teens?
Andrew: Some of my favorite books ever have adolescent protagonists: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain, ‘SALEM’S LOT by Stephen King, and Cormac McCarthy’s ALL THE PRETTY HORSES and THE CROSSING. I’ve always liked writing about the adolescent experience for two main reasons: First, adolescence is universal; it’s something we’ve all gone through, and second, I think we all look back on our teenage years as being some of the most significant, shaping years in our lives; times we tend to think about every day.

 

Nerd Girl: What is one of your favorite moments from when you were a teen?
Andrew: Stealing my dad’s car, ditching school, and driving to the beach.

 

Nerd Girl: Last question, who is your fictional crush?
Andrew: Oh gosh. I’d have to say Buffalo Bill from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

*****

The Giveaway!

One winner will receive an official Ontario Teen Book Fest poster signed by ALL attending authors!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*****

Book Review: Stand-Off by Andrew Smith

Genre: 

Young Adult, see Contemporary

Pages: 

416 pages

Part of a Series?:

2nd book in the Winger series

Release Date: 

September 8th, more about 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Ryan Dean West is back to his boarding school antics in this bitingly funny sequel to Winger, information pills which Publishers Weekly called “alternately hilarious and painful, awkward and enlightening” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.

Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?

My Review:

 

I can’t believe that it has taken me so long to review this novel! I literally picked this up ON release day and READ it on that day and I still haven’t reviewed it. So much disappointment in myself right now.

But I’m here now! Reviewing. Talking. Doing my thing. You know, the whole point of this blog haha.

Straight up…Andrew Smith writes another amazing novel. Seriously. I spent so much of this book just laughing my ass off. The character Ryan Dean…he’s just amazing. I love everything about him because he seems SO damn real. Sometimes I forget that he’s not real. The way he narrates the story, and tells you what is going on in his life feels like a text message from your best friend and you alternately want to laugh and also punch in the face at the same.

I love that we see some of the same people from the previous book like Annie and those guys but I also absolutely love the new ones we meet too. Even the smaller ones from the last book that become more important, more prominent were great too. Sam Abernathy? I can’t…I can’t even begin to explain how much I absolutely adore him and how much it made me laugh when Sam drove Ryan Dean insane.

But I also love how Andrew Smith is able to write such a great, amazing, funny book about something so serious. Ryan Dean is going through some serious stuff in this book. Dealing with Joey’s death from the previous book and taking his place on the rugby team, and being afraid of losing his friends, of not being able to talk to Joey’s brother, of losing Annie, all of that..it felt so real and raw and while you’re laughing, you’re also incredibly emotional as hell and the fact that Andrew can do that, just blows my mind. There’s also the fact that Andrew writes panic attacks so well…when Ryan Dean wakes up, paralyzed in bed, having a hard time breathing…it hurt. As someone who struggles with that, its a visceral feeling to read a scene written so well like that.

Straight up, another amazing book by Andrew Smith. I could go on and on and I’m, like, the unofficial president of the unofficial Andrew Smith fan club and I love everything he does and Winger is one of my favorite books ever, and I was very excited for this book and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Plus Andrew said that we are getting more books, with Sam Abernathy, so I’m just stoked on life ;)

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Stand-Off by Andrew Smith

Genre: 

Young Adult, information pills Contemporary

Pages: 

448 pages

Part of a Series?:

Book #2 of Winger series

Release Date: 

September 8th, page 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.

Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?

My Review:

While this review will remain spoiler-free, there is no guarantee that there will not be spoilers for Winger. Please click here for that review. 

 

I was so unbelievably excited to get my hands on this novel. It took so long, to me, for this book to finally hit the shelves. I’m also pretty sure I drove everyone insane by trying to get my hands on an ARC, which inevitably failed. Sigh. So I had to wait like the rest of you for this book to hit shelves.

I went to the book event at the Grove to go see Andrew and get my hands on it. He read aloud from it, and from beginning to end, I laughed. I knew exactly what I was in for once I started this book.

And yet I didn’t know. Let’s be honest, from the beginning, this is definitely an Andrew Smith book. It made me laugh, and it had that sort of randomness, that quirkiness that just makes me so happy when I read his books. Ryan Dean is still random and smart as hell and full of random thoughts. I love his drawings and I love the relationship that he has with Annie. That is absolutely beautiful. I love that it progresses and its not all sunshine and rainbows, but there’s work to it, like any relationship. I love that realism. I love the humor. The “friendship” between Ryan Dean and the Abernathy just had me cracking up the entire book, especially every time Ryan Dean told him to stop talking. It made me laugh so hard.

But what I love about this book is how much we see Ryan Dean change and grow up and deal with the things that happened to him in Winger. With Joey’s death brings a lot of problems for Ryan Dean West, and its interesting to see a character you know so well deal with that. He’s not the same person. He’s lost a bit of his goofiness, and he’s afraid to befriend anyone, because of what happened to his best friend. I think Andrew has a way of capturing it that’s just great. You’re laughing, like always, but you’re also right there with Ryan Dean, experiencing the same things that he is, and the panic attacks felt incredibly real. I experience them periodically and those scenes hit me hard.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to the sequel. I was just glad to have Ryan Dean back. Winger is one of my favorite books period. I definitely expected a lot of laughs, and a lot of randomness and a lot of really cool comics and drawings. All of that was delivered. But the super human story of Ryan Dean and his relationship with Annie and his relationship with his roommate, Sam, and dealing with all the things that are piled up on top of him…that was unexpected but completely beautiful. Because that’s one of the things that makes Andrew the incredible writer that he is; he’s able to be funny and emotional and romantic and a hundred of different emotions at the same time, and bring it all together for a really well-written, character-driven, fantastic story. Another absolute winner, and is now sitting on my “favorites” shelves, right alongside Winger.

Basically…the whole book made me feel like this…

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

 

Let’s Talk About…Andrew Smith and Sexism

Today, patient an interview came to my attention, ambulance an interview concerning one of my favorite authors, more about Andrew Smith, who just released his newest book, The Alex Crow, yesterday. The interview seemed to be going quite well until the last question. And then things seemed to sort of…implode. Take a look.

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So basically what happened is this: Andrew Smith answers this question in the same way that he writes his books: with complete honesty. And what emerged was a ton of outrage and claims that Andrew Smith is sexist. He doesn’t write female characters, he doesn’t write books that females can read, and he doesn’t want to try.

One particular response that I read (which I refuse to link because honestly she doesn’t deserve the views), points out Andrew writes science fiction and fantasy. How is it that he can write about horny grasshoppers and that sort of thing but he can’t contemplate writing about girls? “The fact that he can do this — because he has a great imagination — suggests that women are more alien to him and to the context of white men in America than are giant bugs and pedophiles”.

And I fumed up. About this response and the many responses to this.

One, I think this was taking completely out of context.

Two, the lady who wrote that above. She’s only read one of Andrew’s books and she admits it was years ago. Good one. Keep writing about things you don’t know, honey.

Three, this question is already negative. It says right in that first sentence “there isn’t much of a way into your books for female readers”. They’re calling Andrew out already before he’s even had a chance to respond, and they’re completely wrong too.

There isn’t much of a way into his books for female readers? Says who? Because the main characters are male? Sorry to be so ineloquent about this but seriously, that’s complete and utter bullshit. I don’t care about the gender of the main characters when I read novels. I care about how well the book is written, how good the storytelling is, and how well I connect with the main character. When I read Ryan Dean’s story or Austin’s or Finn’s or Ariel’s, I’m not sitting there, thinking, “I can’t connect with them because they’re boys”. Of course not! I’m sitting there and going, I’m so Ryan Dean because I get his obsessed with rugby (baseball for me), and I get Austin because he’s struggling with his sexuality. And so forth. To suggest that females need female characters in order to read a book is the sexist remark here. I actually frequently enjoy reading male characters in YA because its so rare that we get to anymore.

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This picture (credit to Katie Ferguson) was taken at the Pasadena Teen Book Fest last April. This is Andrew Smith, signing his books, and yes, that’s me in the background. But let’s see…there’s no way for females to get into his books and yet…this entire line is female. Every. Single. One. You still wanna tell me that its impossible for girls to read his book? Really? Tell me more…

Four, Andrew’s answers. He immediately says: I spent my life around boys, I am a boy, I don’t have a lot of experience with girls, not until my daughter, so I write about boys. Yeah, he’s saying “I don’t really get girls”. Not “I don’t want to understand girls” or any of that. I’m a writer and one of the biggest writing things we’re told over and over and over again is to write what we know and what Andrew Smith knows is teenage boys. Makes sense to me. One thing that has always stood out as a major reason that I love Andrew’s books so much is that his character’s voices are SO real and raw and genuine, more so than any other characters I’ve read before.

But people take this out of context, like he has no desire to learn about females, because they’re so complex when compared to grasshoppers, etc. That’s not what he meant at all.

Look, I’m a writer. I write 100% female protagonists. Why? Because that’s what I feel comfortable with. The very last chapter of my science fiction novel is told from the male lead’s point of view and a few time in my current work in progress has some point of view insight from that male lead. And even though both of those are so small, I don’t feel 100% comfortable with it. I don’t know that my voices for those characters are authentic enough. I don’t think I’ll ever write a novel with a male protagonist. I don’t feel comfortable with it, I won’t feel like I’m writing a strong enough character.

Look I don’t know exactly what was going on when Andrew answered this question. I can only read it. Maybe if I had been in the room, I could have read his facial expression or read his tone. Perhaps he was being serious and is saying, look I write what I know. I know teen boys and I know their voices and that’s what I’m going to do. Perhaps he thought it was a stupid question (which straight up, it is) and he gave a stupid answer. I don’t know. I do know that he said he was “trying to be better” and he even talks about how a core thing in The Alex Crow is about the failure of male societies. Doesn’t sound that sexist to me…

I do know this. I’ve met Andrew Smith on several occasions. I’ve interviewed him, and read several of his books, and feel confident enough to call him a friend. We’re not super close or anything but we’re on first name basis, and I know him well enough to say this…he’s the last person I would call sexist. He’s the last person that I would lump in with white American males, bla bla bla. He’s one of the kindest and funniest people I’ve met, and I’m always happy to talk to him. He’s an incredible writer and storyteller. He has shown nothing but absolute respect for me, and has done nothing but encourage me in my own endeavors to become a writer.

In fact, once I wrote a FB status, saying that I wasn’t sure if I was going to write a baseball novel, because I wasn’t sure if it was going to work and honestly I didn’t know if people would even care to read about it, especially in YA. But Andrew basically commented on my status and was like, I’d read it, just write it, screw everyone else, just write it. And I took that to heart. He’s a great person, who loves his family (his wife, his son and his daughter), he’s great with his students and he’s always available to his fans and bloggers and aspiring authors. I would never, even for a moment, think of him as sexist. I read that answer above, and it just made sense to me. He creates natural, relatable, genuine teenage boys in his stories and I can’t really imagine him writing as a girl. Doesn’t seem to fit to me.

Look, I’ve written more than I meant to. Basically, it comes down to this: Andrew is one of most genuine and kindest people I’ve ever met. He’s a kickass storyteller and he’s honest as he can be and today that bit him in the ass in a way that he doesn’t deserve. His comment is taken out of context, and frankly, by someone who doesn’t have much say in it anyway, having only read one of his books. It seems to me as another avenue to attack someone in the name of “feminism”, but the sort of feminism that is more male-hating, less about equality.

Andrew writes male characters. No big deal. No one is getting in Cassandra Clare’s face or Veronica Roth’s face or Suzanne Collin’s or any other popular YA author who writes female characters and demands to know why they aren’t writing male voices. It only happens because its switched. Andrew doesn’t write females….well, must mean he’s sexist. Um. No. He writes what he knows and well, he does it pretty damn well. And most of the people that I know who have read and loved his books and are huge fans of his…yup, you guessed it right, they’re female.

It hurts me to see this happening, especially when its so unwarranted. He’s a talented writer, and an awesome guy. He’s deleted his social medias, whether in response or not, I’m not sure, and I already miss him for sure. He doesn’t deserve any of that. I wasn’t going to read this stuff, I wasn’t going to get involved but I honestly had to. When I saw fellow YA authors ganging up against him as well, I just couldn’t handle it. Yeah, maybe it should have been worded differently. Maybe you had to be there. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But anyone who KNOWS Andrew Smith knows that this is NOT the person he is nor is he the person that puts females below males at all. Sometimes I think these people are also forgetting the high regard that he has for fellow authors like AS King and Laurie Halse Anderson, etc. He’s honestly the last person I would even think this of, and I can’t believe the incredibly ridiculous response to it.

I don’t much want to write anything else, mostly because I’m still fuming and I just can’t understand how people can jump to this sort of conclusion. I can only assume that they don’t know Andrew Smith, haven’t read his books, or are the sort of person that loves to make quick judgements about men in general, assuming that they’re all anti-feminist. But meh, what do I know? What I do know is that I adore Andrew, I support him and his books and I hope that my fans and friends will do the same.

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Tuesday Top Ten – Fictional Characters I’d Invite to My Birthday Party!

I really actually wanted to write this post, generic because in just a few days, viagra 40mg its going to be my BIRTHDAY!

And I’m quite excited about that. I have an awesome day planned with a ton of my super awesome friends (and by a ‘ton’, I mean, like, all five of them!) and I’m getting really excited for it.

But it helped me come up with this week’s topic: characters I would invite to my birthday party. You know, if I could.

10. Simon Lewis from The Mortal Instruments

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When I think Simon Lewis, I think…he’s gotta be one of the best boyfriend there is. He tells you the story of Star Wars while you’re falling asleep? Come on, that’s amazing. Which means that he’ll be such an awesome party planner. He’ll throw the nerdiest party and he’ll get you the best gift. Hands down. Plus if its Robbie Sheehan as Simon, I’m sold.

9. Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians

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Two words: Blue. Food. COME ON. Blue Coke and Blue chocolate chip cookies and just BLUE food. I love the color blue and something about blue food just makes me so happy haha. Plus Percy is hilarious and he’ll probably invite Annabeth and Grover and the rest and we know those Greeks know how to throw a party.

8. Ryan Dean West from Winger

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Winger is one of the funniest books that I’ve read and that comes down to Ryan Dean. He’s hilarious and real and he seems like he would be the greatest friend to have. Sure, he would make stupid mistakes or say stupid things but aren’t all best friends like that? I think so. But I think he would throw the most terrific party and he would come up with a great gift and he would make sure you had the most wonderful time.

7. Gandalf the Grey

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FIREWORKS! I’m just saying. Gandalf will bring his party favors and it’ll be wonderful. Gandalf just seems like he would be an epic time. He sure made Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday pretty awesome so I’m sure he’ll make my 27th pretty cool too.

6. Sirius Black

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Okay, I know that sounds kind of weird because the Sirius Black we knew was mostly kind of moody haha but he partied pretty hard when everyone spent Christmas at Grimmauld Place and I just feel like…he would be down for an epic party. Like, if I knew Sirius Black when he was a teenager at Hogwarts, I bet he’d be the guy that knew where all the cool parties were taking place and knew where to sneak some firewhiskey and all that fun stuff. He would be THAT guy but I think I want THAT guy at my birthday party.

5. Adrian Ivashkov

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Its my party and I’ll do whatever I want. And what I want is a pretty boy to make out with ;) And there’s no better pretty boy to make out with at your party than Adrian Ivashkov. And let’s face it, boy knows how to throw a party. He knows the good stuff. He put together a seriously fast wedding for him and Sydney that was seriously awesome so I totally believe that he’d throw me a pretty awesome birthday party.

4. Mia Thermopolis

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The first thing I thought of when I was making a list of fictional characters to come to my birthday party was Mia and her birthday party that she threw in one of the books. She wanted to be all grown up so she did a sexy dance and wore a beret or something and drank, like, three sips of a beer and it was just awkward and a disaster. That sounds exactly like the kind of party I would throw haha. Like, I would just want to throw a party with friends and it would become THAT. So that’s why I want Mia at my party. Because she’d just get me.

3. Rose Hathaway

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Okay can we just talk about how absolutely beautiful Zoey is in this GIF. MYGOD.

Rose is awesome, she’s badass, she knows how to have fun, she’s beautiful as hell (both fictionally and adapted by Zoey Deutch) and I just want her at my party. I would find a way to make her my girlfriend by the end of the party. I would dress in my best party dress and I would convince her by the end of the party that she likes me way more than she likes Dimitri. LOL. Plus, let’s think about it: she’s an awesome character, I feel like she and I would legitimately get along in real life, and she could teach me some badass moves. And if anything were to happen at my party, she could totally protect me.

2. Jace Wayland Morgenstern Herondale Lightwood

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He’s my boyfriend. My fictional boyfriend. So he needs to be at my birthday party, at my side, making me look good. LOL. And remember in City of Bones when he talks about eating faerie food or something…hold on, let me find the quote. AH, found it:

“Don’t order any of the faerie food,” said Jace, looking at her over the top of his menu. “It tends to make humans a little crazy. One minute you’re munching a faerie plum, the next minute you’re running naked down Madison Avenue with antlers on your head. Not,” he added hastily, “that this has ever happened to me.”

Do I really need to say more than that?

1. The Doctor

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Bananas. Ties around his head. Dancing all crazy at Amy and Rory’s wedding. I could go on. The Doctor is a party animal and I completely approve of that. He NEEDS to be at my birthday party. He’s hundreds of years old so he’s been to a lot of parties which means he knows how to party. He brings bananas to parties and he’s just awesome. I want the Doctor there. Plus maybe after my birthday party, he’ll whisk me away on an epic adventure. That would be a pretty fabulous birthday present.

Also, yes, yes I do have two number one answers. Its my birthday (almost) and I’ll do whatever I want)

1. Magnus Bane

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Magnus Bane threw an absolutely amazing and fabulous birthday party….for his CAT. So you know, I feel like he would throw a pretty damn awesome party for my birthday. He’s fabulous as hell, he’ll throw glitter all over the place and have yummy drinks that hopefully don’t have the weird quality of turning people into rats haha. But come on! Magnus Bane is one big party even when the entire world is going to shit. He’s awesome. He keeps things going. He’s been around for years, and he got to party during the most awesome times, like the 1920s, and so I trust him to bring a super great party to my birthday!

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Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite YA Contemporary Novels

Now this is something that I’ve done before. I did this exact post for the Tuesday Top Ten on April 30th, dosage 2013, so a good year and a half ago. In that nearly two year period, Ive spent a LOT of time reading new books. A TON of time. So, of course, my favorite YA contemporary novel list has changed.

This blog has been around for two and a half years now and so that means that I will be doing repeats of old Tuesday Top Tens because things change, because the beauty of this blog that I’m constantly reading new books and being introduced to new authors so I’m finding new favorites. When you get down to it, this list is probably going to chance in a week or two anyway.

But I digress. Here are my top ten favorite YA contemporary books.

Side Note: Can I just say how proud I am of myself for posting this? Seriously. I rock. Moving on…

10. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

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The first time I read this book was back in 2001, when I was 12 years old. I had seen the movie, thought it was cute and immediately went out and bought the book. Now, the book is SO incredibly different from the movie, SO different and I immediately fell in love with it. Mia felt so close to the person that I am: awkward, shy, failing math, in love with my best friend’s brother (it worked out SO much better for her than me), loving writing, etc. She felt awkward for being tall, with no boobs; I felt awkward for being really short with huge boobs. Because this entire series is written in diary format, you are in the mind of Mia the entire time. So it feels real and authentic and like reading a note from your best friend. It feels genuine and it always made me laugh and cry and feel relatively sane. Mia is constantly being paranoid and worrying and doing all these fun teenage things and it makes me feel relatively normal, especially when I was a teen!

9. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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For the longest time, Lola and the Boy Next Door was my favorite from Stephanie Perkins because I loved the quirkiness of both Lola and Cricket. But as soon as I read Isla, I knew this one had easily passed it up. What I love about this book is …well, a lot of things. First off, Isla felt closer to me than Lola and Anna. She was happy, she got the boy, but she doubted it, she felt insecure, she always felt like she might screw it up. That sort of insecurity has been with me for ages and even after a relationship, I still sometimes feel like that, like anything that I say or do can tip the scale, both with potential boyfriends/girlfriends and with just friends alone. Plus Josh was the dreamiest of the boys in all the books, his graphic novel drawing and writing skills were swoon worthy. But I think what I love about this book is that its not the beautiful happily ever after we always expect. It tells us that relationships and love is wonderful but it doesn’t come without work and struggle, which is SO true. I love everything about this book. Plus Stephanie Perkins is just plain awesome.

8. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

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First off, I love the main character’s name, Auden. I love that this has the love story and the beauty of summer, as does most of her books, but I think I love that it focuses a lot on the relationship between Auden and her parents. I know what its like to be forced to grow up quickly and to have that reality that parents aren’t perfect thrust on you. I’ve dealt with parents who have run from their mistakes instead of facing them head on. I’ve dealt with that fear that things were my fault. I think Sarah really captures a lot here. A lot of her characters are growing up as a teenager, becoming adults, that sort of thing, but in this book, Auden is just growing up, period. She’s experiencing things that you learn from just being a child, like riding a bike and bowling and that sort of thing. And I think that’s beautiful. I think I like Auden transforming from this closed off person to someone who accepts that she’s imperfect, that she makes mistakes and that she can open herself up to new things and new people.

7. Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

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The first time I read this book was quite a few years ago. I had just bought my first e-reader, and I was looking through top sellers, but cheap, and this one caught my eye. It sounded kind of juicy and I liked the premise of it, so I decided to buy it. And I’m so so glad that I did. Tammara writes a four part series following the story of Reid Alexander, an actor who is hot, charming, and totally full of trouble. These books are sexy, and fun, and kind of make me wish that Reid Alexander was real so, 1. He could play Jace Wayland in a City of Bones adaptation and 2. So I could just date him, period. But what surprised me is the emotional depth of these books. The characters were all real to me, and the character development of Reid over the course of the four books just absolutely blows my mind. I love these books SO much, I reread them all the time.

6. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

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The Secret Life of Prince Charming was actually the first Deb Caletti book I ever read, and I’m so glad I did because it turned me on to an author that just literally blows my mind every time she releases a new book. She writes so beautifully, against the north west coast of the United States. She captures the setting, the story, the emotions, the people, everything so well that it always sticks out in your mind. I don’t often have a hard time recalling her books because she’s just such a beautiful writer. I thought that this book was so unique in compared with other contemporary romance YA novels. I think that Quinn learns a lot about love, in that, its a great and wonderful and awesome thing but its also complicated and difficult and it has its ups and downs. That’s the beauty of this book. It doesn’t gloss over the hard parts, and it doesn’t glorify the hard parts. Relationships, love, breaking up, moving on, all of that is SO hard and its all in this book and I love every bit of it.

5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I love everything Gayle Forman touches. She’s an absolutely incredible writer and she writes stories that are so unique but real. I love If I Stay and I loved the movie as well. But the minute that I finished Just One Day, I knew I had read something that was amazing and I wouldn’t forget it. Just One Day is about adventure, about that incredibly rare idea of adventure and love and throwing caution to the wind, that sort of thing. And I just loved it. Who wouldn’t want to spend a crazy day around Paris, with a super charming and sexy guy? I know I would. But the book goes beyond that, beyond just the adventure. It follows Allyson for a year after this experience, seeing how it changes her, and her life and the way she views life and I think that’s just…incredible (even though I’ve repeated that word in this post about, oh, about a thousand million times). Its just…beautiful. Its full of SO MANY FEELS. And its nice to think that one day, just one day, could change everything.

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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I grabbed this book because it was on the shelf next to Sarah Dessen’s current release. I liked the cover, and it was next to Sarah and the back cover sounded pretty interesting. Now Morgan is one of my favorite authors and I love getting to see her as often as possible, because she is just an incredible author. The story follows Amy and Roger, as they go on this road trip across the US to new homes, to places where they don’t really want to go. Its supposed to be a straight shot to the destination until they decide…screw this, let’s have an adventure. Did I mention that I like adventures? I like the possibilities of adventure, the idea that you’re making up every step of the way on a whim, and I think that’s what Amy and Roger love about it, the idea that anything is possible, when things have gone so wrong in both of their lives. Plus, its a road trip books, and road trip books are fun and make me want to get in my car and have a road trip, and Morgan talks about all these cool food places to eat (god I love food) and she has playlists throughout the book and she has a great taste in music. Okay, now I want to go read this book again…

3. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

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This is my favorite Sarah Dessen book ever and I think it all boils down to that there was so much about Remy that I wanted to be, especially in high school. She’s beautiful, smart, in control, confident. She knows what she wants, who she wants and when she wants it and she knows how to get it. She’s brilliant. Of course, she has no idea how to love someone, and she has no idea how emotions help not hinder you and hold back. She has to learn that she can trust others and that trusting others is not the end of the world. But I wanted to be her. I wanted to be that confident and to hold my beauty (possibly) as a weapon, and to be as in control as she seems to be. I was always so messy and emotional in high school and I wanted so hard to be in control of all of that and I never felt like that. Plus I just love Dexter, the male lead of the book. He’s a musician and goofy and genuine and just hilarious. I want a boy like Dexter. Can someone find me something like that? haha.

2. Winger by Andrew Smith

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There are so many wonderful things about this book that I am not even sure where to begin. This book made me laugh so hard I cried, and made me cry because I was so sad. It is one of those books that made me stop and think, this is a teen voice. This is completely the voice of the character. There are so many authors that write in the voice of a teenager but none of them ever seem to get it as much as Andrew Smith does when writing in the mind of Ryan Dean West. Andrew is an incredible writer, and I hadn’t heard of him before this book, to be completely honest, so when I did, I was just blown away by this book. I had never really read anything like it before so it has been stuck in my mind since then, and it easily became my favorite book. I’ve read it two or three times since then and it just blows my mind every single time. It makes me laugh so much and I wish I could write a book this good, one that I want to buy a million copies of and shove it into every single person’s hands.

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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This has become one of my favorite books in the entire world. When I first heard of it, I thought that the title was super cute because being a fangirl is a huge part of my life, and Cath’s obsession with Simon Snow in the description of the novel sounded so familiar. What I didn’t know is that I would read this book that literally felt like it walked into my very soul and knew it. That sounded really cheesy, wow. Wow. But its true. Cath is exactly the way I have been and the way I still am. She loses herself into these books, escapes into them, because they make her happy, they make the bad things go away. She’s afraid of the world outside of books, she’s anxious about new things, she likes to be alone and fan fiction and the internet are her friends. There’s something about Cath being thrown into these new situations, solo, so outside of her comfort zone that just makes me feel so familiar. It makes me feel happy to know that, even though this is a fictional character, there’s someone who understands how I feel. Cath is so me, its scary. She says things that make me laugh and cry and literally reaches into me and makes me want to say “OHMYGOD YES”. It has become, easily, one of my favorite books ever.

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What are some of your favorite contemporary YA novels? Share them in the comments!