Book Giveaway: THROUGH TO YOU by Emily Hainsworth

This contest is now closed! The winner is… Jessica! Thanks to all who entered, and stay tuned for new giveaways!

The weekend is almost here, and what better way to spend a weekend than curling up with a good book? Winning a good book, of course! To kick off Friday reads tomorrow, I’m giving away an autographed copy of Emily Hainsworth’s THROUGH TO YOU, an intriguing YA novel about the choices we make and the ones we leave behind.

Summary from Goodreads:

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.

If you’d like to win an autographed copy (U.S. mailing address only please), simply leave a note in the comments here telling us what you’d say to your other self if you crossed paths in a parallel world. I’ll select a winner at random tomorrow!

Dessen in Denver!

Update: The winner of the autographed copy of WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE by Sarah Dessen is Angela Huang! Thanks for participating, all, and for sharing your heartfelt stories.

Just got back from dinner following an awesome event at Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch with Sarah Dessen, on tour for her latest, WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE!

You all know about my Dessen-love from the early days, right? Well, in case you’re new around here, let me tell you, because it’s pretty simple.

She’s the reason I write YA. Without her books, TWENTY BOY SUMMER and FIXING DELILAH wouldn’t exist.

Sarah Dessen & Sarah OcklerNo, really. Her books THAT SUMMER and SOMEONE LIKE YOU, which were combined in the movie tie-in edition called HOW TO DEAL, were my first YA reads as an adult (because at the time, I was like, hey, two books for the price of one, with Mandy Moore on the cover? Sweet!), soon followed by Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK and Deb Caletti’s THE QUEEN OF EVERYTHING. After that, I knew I was born to write for teens. These lovely ladies are like my trifecta of fangrildom, and now I can honestly say that I’ve appropriately (or maybe inappropriately) fangirled all three in person. All that and I got to eat something called “adult mac-n-cheese” for dinner and bring home a whole container of chocolate chip brownies from my friend Meredith. Now I’ll spend the next two days reading Sarah’s WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, turing pages while alternately jamming brownies into my mouth.

Do you realize what this means? That even if the world ends next Saturday like all those crazies keep saying, I can go out with a smile and a sigh, because my life will be complete.

What Happened to GoodbyeHow can your life be so complete, you ask? Well, I can’t send you brownies, but tonight I snagged an extra autographed copy of WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE for one lucky reader!

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment here and tell us about a time you had to leave without saying goodbye. Take it as literally or as figuratively as you’d like — maybe you had to rush home after a party, or you got into a fight and stormed out, or you forgot. Or maybe you found yourself at a new place or a new part of your life and realized you never really let the old part go. Or maybe you ate the last brownie only didn’t know it was the last brownie, and your spouse was all, “I can’t believe you didn’t save me any brownies!” and you were all, “What? I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to that last brownie, and now they’re gone!” Not saying that the last one’s a true story or anything… just for illustrative purposes… *anyway*

Enter your comments below for a chance to win, and if you tweet, blog, or Facebook about the giveaway, mention that in your comments and I’ll give you an extra entry. Fine print: autographed book does not come with brownies. I can probably add some brownied fingerprints though, if you ask nicely. 🙂

Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen at Tattered Cover

Dessen Fangirls

Thanks again to Sarah Dessen for being so gracious in the face of my nervous and possibly borderline stalkerish babbling, and thanks as always to Jinx, Mickey, and the wonderful staff at Tattered Cover who make reading and writing in Denver so impossibly great.

Monster Cookie Malfunction: Tales from the 3rd Grade Archives

What do you remember most about third grade? Kate Messner, author of the newly released MARTY MCGUIRE, wants to know!

Marty McGuire by Kate MessnerFirst, let’s meet Marty:

Marty would rather spend recess catching frogs in the pond than playing dress-up with the other girls in third grade. So when her teacher casts Marty as the princess in the class play, Marty’s absolutely, positively sure that there’s been a huge mistake! But after a special lesson in the art of improvisation, Marty comes up with her own plan to improve the play. Why use a stuffed-animal frog onstage when a live one would be so much better?

In the end, Marty’s one-of-a-kind performance makes for an unforgettable show. Maybe Marty can live happily ever after, after all!

I loved Kate’s THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z and SUGAR & ICE, so MARTY MCGUIRE is going to the top of my list.

In celebration of Marty’s debut, Kate asks: “So… isn’t that at the heart of third grade? Improvising? Trying out new things (and winging it when something unexpected happens)?” In response, she’s encouraging us to dust off the archives and share a third grade memory of our own.

I’m sure I had a right colorful time of it (and Mom probably has the pictures to prove it), but only one event stands out in my mind as quintessential third grade moment…

Monster Cookie Malfunction

Eight years old. Feathered bangs. Future bride of Michael Jackson. Yep, it was the eighties, and I was ready to take on the world. Or at least the classroom. My teacher, Mr. Vuich (pronounced vyoo-itch), had a full beard but a gentle manner and an endless collection of pink ties, pink shirts, and yes, even pink pants. You could call him a trailblazer and you wouldn’t be wrong. I thought he was super old, like fifty, but he was probably only marginally old, like thirty.

Mr. Vuich was always planning clever little non-lame school activities for us which, as a creative person-in-training, I totally appreciated. One morning during Halloween season (yeah, it’s a whole season when you’re that age), Mr. V. surprised us with a new twist on the craft closet:

“Class, today we’re going to make…” he said, pausing for dramatic effect, at least that’s how I remember it, so, wait for it, “…monster cookies! Yeah!”

Yeah is right. Monster cookies? Yeah, yeah, hella-yeah!

Our wily brood spent the entire morning making sugar cookie cutouts in the likeness of our favorite scary monsters. And of course by scary I mean deformed, but you know, we were only eight. We put them on trays and then picked out our planned decorations from the sugary buffet before us. There was frosting — white, pink, yellow, and blue, but I swiped some additional red and blue food coloring to hand-tint my own special shade of screaming purple. There were black and red licorice ropes for hair, M&Ms and gum drops for eyes, candy corn which nobody liked but made the best pointy noses, and raisins which no one touched because Brian Sours (real name) told us they were dead flies with the wings pulled off, which unleashed a slew of “Hey Brian Sours, can we use your face as a scary monster mold?” jokes.

All in all, it was a great idea. Score one for Mr. V.!

He loaded trays of our raw cookies on an AV cart and shipped them to some mysterious place for baking — probably the school cafeteria which was filthy and smelled like Spaghettios — and then sent us out to the playground with another class for fifteen to eighteen minutes.

Sadly, during those precious few minutes, all of our monstrous hopes and dreams were dashed on the sad rocks of reality.

We returned from the playground, rosy cheeked and eager to decorate or creations. But as we filed into our seats, we noticed the classroom did not smell of fresh baked monster.

Mr. Vuich perched his pink-panted little bottom on his desk and sighed.

“I have good news and bad news,” he said. “The bad news is… our monster cookies burnt.”

Nearly thirty years later, I haven’t forgotten those four little words, the utter defeat in his voice, the guilt in his eyes, the despair on his shoulders like a yoke. The class gave a collective gasp. Mr. Vuich slumped further. And then he rose, crossing to the back of the room where a row of Super Duper (real name) grocery bags glistened on a windowsill in the high afternoon sun. Well, they more likely just stood there not doing anything because they were still brown paper back then, which doesn’t glisten. But in my mind they glisten.

“The good news is that we can improvise.” Mr. V. fanned his arms out over the stash, a smile finding its way home to his face. “I picked up some graham crackers and marshmallows, and even though we can’t cook them, we can still decorate and eat them. Yeah!”

Yeah is right. Yeah, yeah, hella-yeah! We spent the rest of the afternoon decorating and eating. Trading and eating some more. And laughing, because monster grahams? Win!

I still remember my square-headed, purple-faced monster grahams. And I still remember Mr. Vuich and how he saved the day with a little improvisation and quick thinking. That was probably one of the best lessons he ever taught us. So Mr. Vuich, if you’re still out there, I hope you know that I never forgot that. And I hope you’re still rockin’ those pink pants. 🙂

And readers? I hope you’ll check out more third grade antics, improvisation, and of course, charm in Kate’s new release, MARTY MCGUIRE! If you have your own third grade story to share, head on over to Kate’s blog for more details on how you can enter to win a signed copy of her latest book.

By the way, does anyone else want a monster graham now? I totally want to make them…

Wesley Scroggins Filthy Books Prize Pack Winners

236 people entered the Wesley Scroggins Filthy Books Prize Pack giveaway, each sharing their thoughts on censorship, each taking a stand for intellectual freedom. Wow. As you’ve all shown us, one man certainly does not speak for everyone.

The winners of the prize packs that include a copy of Speak, Slaughterhouse Five, and Twenty Boy Summer — along with some naughty dark chocolate to go with those oh-so-filthy books — are:

Katiebabs and mar g!

I’ve emailed the winners to request mailing addresses. Thanks to everyone who entered and helped promote the contest. Keep reading and keep speaking loudly against censorship!

Prairie Doggin’ for a Hot Minute

So I’ve been kind of blog-absent lately, busy with supercrazyfun Twenty Boy Summer launch stuff and revisions for my next book, Fixing Delilah Hannaford (more on my new BFF Delilah later). And don’t get too excited because this post isn’t going to be an in-depth one, either. 🙂 I just wanted to pop out of the ground for a minute to shake off the dirt, wave, and share a few guest posts / links / event news meant to substitute for a real, actual, thought-out blog post. Forgive me?

*Looks around and whistles while waving hands in a Jedi mind trick sort of way…*

You will accept and embrace the links in place of a real blog post…

Oh, hi! Hey! Check out these links and stuff!

  1. Woman Around Town article, Grown Up Girls Come Out of the YA Book Closet, in which it’s totally okay for adults to show some YA PDA.
  2. Featured Guest Nose for agent sister Sydney Salter, author of My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters, in which I whine about that one time in college when I broke my nose.
  3. Zoe’s Birthday Celebration guest post at Zoe’s Book Reviews. Pull up a chair for a story from my craziest birthday party ever, in which once again “emotions run high” as we kiss boys and commune with the dead. Er, not necessarily related…
  4. Sarah’s YouTube Channel. I totally forgot to mention this, but I plan to do lots more vlogs in the future. Like, the future where revisions are done and books are launched and videos can be made in a stress-free environment in which I am nice to Pet Monster and he agrees to make a few more cameos. If you have a YouTube account, you can subscribe to the channel and get… I don’t know. Good YouTube karma!


For those of you in the Western New York area, I’d love to see you in person at any of these upcoming events!

  • Girls Afternoon at B is for Books
    Thursday June 25, 2:00 PM
    6562 E. Quaker Street
    Orchard Park, NY 14127
  • Book signing at Barnes & Noble Clarence
    Friday July 24, 6:00 PM
    4401 Transit Road
    Clarence, NY 14221
  • Book signing at Barnes & Noble McKinley
    Saturday August 8, 1:00 PM
    3701 McKinley Parkway
    Buffalo, NY 14219

Okay, must return to revision underground…