About Jennifer Bardsley

Jennifer Bardsley is the author of GENESIS GIRL and DAMAGED GOODS, published by Month9Books. She lives in Edmonds, WA where she writes a newspaper column for The Everett Daily Herald. You can find Jennifer online at http://JenniferBardsley.net and http://TeachingMyBabytoRead.com. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JennBardsley or on Facebook as TheYAGal.

THE GIRL WHO FELL Chosen as an Amazon Top 20 YA Book in 2016 So Far!

We are so thrilled to share that Amazon has chosen Shannon M. Parker’s YA debut, THE GIRL WHO FELL, as a Top 20 YA Book for their their mid-year list of 2016. There are so many incredible books on this list and it is such an honor to see a Sixteen to Read author among them!

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In this gripping debut novel, high school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense and volatile relationship—by the new boy in school.
His obsession. Her fall.

THE GIRL WHO FELL was also chosen as a Goodread’s Top 5 YA Book for March and named one of PASTE Magazine’s Top 10 New YA Books of March. You can pick it up wherever books are sold.

 

Visiting Author Series: Jamie Ayres

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We are thrilled to have Jaime Ayres join us today! Jaime is the talented author of three YA novels in her “My So Called Afterlife” series: 18 THINGS, 18 TRUTHS, and 18 THOUGHTS. Jamie joined Sixteen to Read author, J. (Jenny)Keller Ford, to talk about her debut experience, the inspiration for her “My So Called Afterlife” series, and how being a teacher helps to shape her stories and her personal life.
J. Keller Ford

Jenny Keller Ford

Jenny: Hi Jamie! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat. Because Sixteen to Read is a group of debut authors, we’d love to know more about the beginning of your writing career.  First, where did you get your ideas for your series of 18 Things, Thoughts, Truths?

Jaime Ayres

Jaime Ayres

Jamie:  My cousin’s son was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. These types of tragedies remind us that life is short, and it prompted me to write a bucket list. At the top of that list was to write a novel. After crossing off running a marathon, I felt like I could tackle anything! In the summer of 2009, I wrote my first draft, so I figured I might as well get it published. That process took a little longer. In the early part of 2012, an editor for TOR suggested I put a paranormal twist to make 18 Things more original and to turn it into a trilogy, since those were all the rage in YA at the time. I listened, and by June, I had a publishing contract!

Jenny:  How long did it take you to write each story? Did they flow? Did you ever lose inspiration? If so, how did you get it back?

Jamie:  Since I have summers off, I take about two months to write a novel. I only write five pages a day, then I edit what I wrote the next day before I write my next five. Sometimes I lose inspiration because let’s face it, the muse is as dependable as the Florida weather. But I just take the dog for a walk, listen to music, or watch a movie. Then I sit my butt back down in the chair, no matter what. Although, I’ve had a few days where I spent hours ‘writing’ and all I accomplished was a new Spotify playlist and spending another $50 buying books on Amazon.

Jenny:  You are a teacher who educates teens. Do you find your job as a teacher made you a better YA author?  Do you think being a YA author has made you a better teacher?

Jamie:Absolutely! When 18 Things released, I still taught elementary school (third grade). The following school year, I moved to middle school, where I teach eighth grade English Language Arts. Even though I helped with middle/high school youth ministry at church every Wednesday, that’s a totally different setting than being around that age group day in and day out all the time. It made me understand my characters a lot better. Now I cringe at some actions and dialogue in 18 Things because I know it’s not realistic, but at the same time, I’ve yet to read a perfect book!

Jenny.  Are you writing anything else right now? Can you talk about it?  🙂

Jamie:  I wrote another novel last summer, but my school year has been so busy, I haven’t had any time to edit. It’s still a coming of age YA, but a stand-alone and no paranormal twists. And since everyone keeps telling me they want to know what happened to Olga, Nate, and Conner, I plan on writing a novella that shows them at their ten year high school reunion, then releasing it as an ebook for 99 cents. Hopefully it’ll be ready before 2016 is over.

Jenny: Who is your favorite author today?  (If you’re like me that changes on a regular basis. :-))

Jamie:  J.K. Rowling . . . Sometimes when I’m feeling a bit of writers block, I watch JK Rowling “A Year in the Life” on YouTube, and all is ‘write’ with the world again (HA–I’m so punny!)

Jenny: And now for some fun because readers always like to know these tidbits from lightning rounds. Ready? 

M&Ms or skittles? M&Ms! (The answer is always chocolate, no matter the question!)

Cats or dogs? Dogs . . . We have a basset hound, but I do love those Grumpy Cat Memes!

Harry Potter or Katnis Everdeen? Oh, gosh! I’m all about girl power, but Harry Potter is a book I can read over & over again!

Flip flops or sneakers? Flip flops; I’m a Florida girl.

Dragons or unicorns? Just for you Jenny, dragons!!

River or creek? Creek, since we live on one (where we sometimes see osprey, otters, & alligators, oh my!)

Fave color? Red

Jenny:  One final question, Jamie. Knowing what you know now about the publishing process, marketing, etc., what advice would you give to debut authors facing this strange, new and sometimes scary world of publication?

Jamie:  I won’t claim I’m an expert. Even after almost four years of being in this world of publication, I still find it strange and scary. Almost nothing turns out the way I thought . . . sometimes it’s better, sometimes worse. I often go back to a speech I heard literary agent Donald Maass give at the RWA (Romance Writers of America) national conference in 2010. I was just starting out, and he talked about how much of publishing is up to luck and perfect timing. So write your heart out, market to the best of your ability (especially those six weeks leading up to your release and the six weeks after), then sit back and enjoy the ride. I haven’t made the Times Best Seller list, haven’t made a ton of money . . . but the unexpected thing that’s happened is I hear from kids all the time who say they never liked a book until they read mine or they were inspired to write their own life list (or even a novel!). Most surprisingly are those meetings and letters I get that say my book changed their life, or even saved it. So I guess my advice would be to remember WHY you write in the first place because honestly, for most, this business is a bumpy road and you won’t be scoring six figure deals that appear in Publisher’s Weekly. But there are some rewards you can’t put a price tag on. This business will humble you (which IMHO, is always a good thing).

P.S. I hope you don’t read this and think, Oh no–my book isn’t ‘deep’ enough to change anyone’s life! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a book and the pure entertainment of it lifted me out of a dark pit.

Jenny:  Do you have any pictures you’d like to share so other debut authors can see what it’s like to be a published author? J

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Jamie:  Sure! This is the banner my publisher sent me after my third book came out.

Jamie Recording

This one is of me recording some special part for my audible books.

Read Fest

This one is when I was a featured author at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival.

THANK YOU SO MUCH TO JAIME AYRES!

Jaime Ayres

Jamie’s books:

18 things 18 Thoughts cover 18 truths

Jamie’s links to her social media and books:

Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Goodreads  Instagram

Book Links:

18 Things  18 Truths  18 Thoughts

Happy Book-Birthday to “Summer of Supernovas!”

SOS BirthdayBring on the cupcakes and don your flirtiest dress because we’re celebrating the release of “Summer of Supernovas” by Darcy Woods!

Fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Jenny Han will fall in love with this heartfelt and humor-laced debut following one girl’s race to find the guy of her cosmic dreams.

When zodiac-obsessed teen Wilamena Carlisle discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love.

But when Wil falls for a sensitive guitar player hailing from the wrong side of the astrology chart, she must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her dead mother’s legacy and the very system she’s faithfully followed through a lifetime of unfailing belief.

Darcy Gams

Here’s what readers are saying about “Summer of Supernovas.”

This story is everything. It’s humor and heart and risks and disappointment and self-discovery. It’s fear and chance and comedy and tragedy and regret and forgiveness. Most of all, though, it’s about different kinds of love. –Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of “Firsts”


Wil is unlike any protag I’ve met in the pages of contemporary YA and positively addicting. Readers will love Wil’s passion and confused heart. She’s hilarious, with all the idiosyncrasies that make her endearing and relatable. — Shannon M. Parker, author of “The Girl Who Fell”


I love Darcy Wood’s writing style. She had me engaged from the first page and I fell in love with all of the characters immediately, even set-in-her-ways grandma. There was humor, heartache, and a shattering of beliefs. –J.Keller Ford, author of “In the Shadow of the Dragon King”


Click on an icon to order your copy of “Summer of Supernovas” right now!

SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS

Happy Book-Birthday to Three New #SixteenToRead Titles!

The sun is shining, birds are tweeting, and readers everywhere are racing to their local bookstores to discover three new Sixteen To Read books entering the world today: SUMMER OF SLOANE, by Erin L. Schneider, SUFFER LOVE by Ashley Herring Blake, and THE WAY BACK TO YOU by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scotti.

Here’s what people are saying:

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“SUMMER OF SLOANE is the kind of book with the power to take your mind somewhere warmer and more exotic. But don’t mistake this for an airy beach read. It’s a story that tackles so many things with grace, humor, and truth.” –Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of FIRSTS

“I was hooked from the very first line of SUMMER OF SLOANE and Schneider kept me entranced with Sloane’s flirty summer romance and the lovely, lush Hawaiian backdrop.” –Shannon M. Parker, author of THE GIRL WHO FELL


 

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“I tore through this book. I couldn’t help it; Hadley’s story and Sam’s story just sucked me right in.” –Sonya Mukherjee, author of GEMINI

“My head is still spinning from the emotional highs and lows that the author deftly takes us through as we follow Hadley and Sam’s romantic, star-crossed journey.” –Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP


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“THE WAY BACK TO YOU was a book that kept me up until midnight burning through a box of tissues. At the end I felt like I knew all of the characters really well, especially the one who was no longer there. If you enjoy a good tear-jerker, this book is for you!”–Jennifer Bardsley, author of GENESIS GIRL

“This book was SUPER swoony!! It was heartfelt and emotional and so well done!” –Jennifer Maschari, author of THE REMAKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRINCE


How many Sixteen To Read books have you read so far?

Take our quiz to find out!

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Sonya Mukherjee shares her inspiration for “Gemini”


A few years ago, I watched a documentary about Abigail and Brittany Hensel, twin sisters who are conjoined in a side-to-side position, sharing just two arms and two legs. At the time, they were high school students living in Minnesota. The documentary showed quite a few different aspects of their lives, from the medical concerns when they were born to how they shopped for clothes. But through it all, there was a strong sense that despite being conjoined, these two girls were basically very typical, all-American teenagers—normal, well-adjusted, and comfortable with themselves.

Sonya Mukherjee photo

I was immediately impressed with the Hensel twins, and with their family, who clearly had done an amazing job of allowing them to become independent, confident, and well-integrated in their community. And a few years later, when Abby and Brittany starred in a reality TV series that showed them finishing college, I was, if anything, even more impressed with their transition to adulthood. They were driving a car, playing volleyball, and interviewing for teaching jobs, and they were doing it all with confidence and grace.

That first glimpse into the Hensels’ lives got me thinking a lot about their situation, and feeling very curious about what it would be like. I also found myself thinking that in many ways, Abby and Brittany seemed more like my image of regular teenaged girls than I had ever felt myself to be in my own teen years.

In adolescence, I often felt awkward, odd, and unsure of myself. I am actually a pretty average, typical person, residing in a pretty average, typical body. But unlike the Hensels, who cheerfully describe themselves as being “just like everyone else,” I never felt that I was just like everyone else. And I actually had very mixed feelings about that. While one part of me feared being too weird, another part rebelled against normalcy, feeling that I wanted to be unique, and that normalcy represented stultifying conformity and convention.

To be clear, I have not met the Hensel twins, and their documentary and reality series are all I know of them. For all I know, one or both of them may also have a complicated relationship with normalcy. I’m sure they have private thoughts and feelings that they didn’t share on camera, and I have no way of knowing what those might be. I only know the personalities that they presented to the cameras.

Those public personalities, though, form a stark contrast to the confusion of self-doubts, insecurities, and internal rebellions that I felt as an outwardly very ordinary teenager. And so, in watching them, I started to wonder: What if someone more like my teenage self—congenitally anxious about being too weird, and simultaneously chafing against the requirement to be normal—were in the situation of being a conjoined twin? What would that be like?

That question was the beginning of the inspiration for Gemini. It put me on the road to researching much more about this condition and the experiences of many different people who have lived conjoined lives. Not surprisingly, their personalities have varied a lot, and their experiences have, too.

In writing this story, I’ve tried to be true to what I’ve learned about those experiences, and to the feelings that real conjoined twins have talked about, while also creating two distinct protagonists who are not based on any specific real people—except that each of them, of course, has some of me in her.
I can only hope I’ve done justice to their story.

Gemini

Marisa Reichardt interviews Amy Spalding

Vector Blank Traffic Sign isolated on whiteAmy Spalding is the talented author of four YA novels, The Reece Malcolm List, Ink Is Thicker Than Water, Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys), and her latest, The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions). Amy joined Sixteen to Read author Marisa Reichardt to talk about her debut experience, getting from Book 1 to Book 4, and how her love of musical theatre helps shapes her stories.

Marisa Reichardt

Marisa Reichardt

Marisa: Hi Amy! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat. Because Sixteen to Read is a group of debut authors, we’d love to know more about the beginning of your writing career. Can you think back to your querying process and tell us what it was like for you? How about your first call from your agent, Kate Testerman?

 

Amy Spalding

Amy Spalding

Amy: I was terrified of the querying process since I had spent about six months leading up to querying researching it. I kept seeing tiny percentages of partials and fulls actually requested, so I figured I was signing myself up for a hopeless venture. I am very delicate and thin-skinned so I was not in any way looking forward to the deluge of rejections I pictured zapping themselves toward me. Then I began the process and, very quickly, received my first rejection, and I realized 1) I was fine, and 2) the process worked! And then, not too many days later, I received a partial request from my top agent pick, Kate Testerman! I couldn’t believe it.

To save time, I won’t go through every detail, but the short version is that I ended up revising my manuscript based on notes from another agent, and it prolonged the process a bit. Luckily it must have gone well, because I was offered representation! I was in shock but my call with Kate went extremely well, and I knew nearly right away she was definitely the agent for me. She was friendly and I assumed we’d get along well, but more importantly she knew the business, had connections, and had smart notes on the manuscript. Sometimes, honestly, I still can’t believe it.

Marisa: Do you have a day job or are you a full-time author?

Amy: I have a day job. I am a big believer in the day job! It has health insurance! And different things work for different people, but for me, it is very important to leave my apartment every day and have to put on clothes that aren’t t-shirts and sweatpants and talk to people who are not my pets. Sometimes I hear people worry aloud that you’re not a “real writer” if you still have a dayjob, but “real writers” come in all varieties.

Marisa: You are involved in improvisational comedy in Los Angeles. Have you found ways that improv has influenced your writing?

Amy: Absolutely! I think improv helps you get better at making decisions and justifying them, because that’s what all improv scenes are. You’re literally making things up and then justifying them with your subsequent moves. I think it makes you more open to changing scenes as you write them, v. how you initially pictured them. I also think improv teaches you to start as late in a scene as possible and to get out on a high note, which hopefully can make you tighten your writing more and learn to self-edit more on the page. I think it teaches you just how creative you can be out of nowhere, which means with writing when you actually have time to think you can bring even MORE to it.

Marisa: Music tends to play a big role in everything you write. Do you have a musical background? Band? Theater?

Amy: I played piano and sang in choir when I was a kid and teen, and play around with the guitar a little. I really wanted to get into musical theater but growing up I felt like, unless you were societal-conventionally BEAUTIFUL or had one of those voices that STOPPED TRAFFIC you might as well never try. And since that wasn’t me I just didn’t. In recent years I’ve really regretted not putting myself out there more, which is something I really discovered doing improv, because I love being on stage. This is one reason I had a one-woman cabaret show last year, to let myself live that dream for one night! So even though this wasn’t exactly my background, I have so much love and enthusiasm for it, I love writing characters who’re living it.

Marisa: Can you share your writing routine? And has it changed over the years as your writing career has developed?

Amy: I’m not sure I really have a routine. Or if I do, it changes day by day, even minute by minute. I’ve outlined, I’ve written as I’ve gone, I’ve ended up with first drafts so messy I have to fix them before even a friend sees them, and I’ve written first drafts that go almost untouched straight to my agent. I write during pieces of free time, and I also write when I’ve carved out chunks of my day specifically for it. I think I expected my process to really get fine-tuned the more books I’ve written, but each book is its own thing, and I sort of have to find my way to each one anew.

Marisa: Does one of your books have a very special place in your author heart? If so, why?

Amy: The Reece Malcolm List was a book that was a part of my life for many years before its publication, because in many ways it was the book that taught me how to write a book. I’m so glad it ended up being my debut novel because I wanted it to have this really special place in my life.

Marisa: Do you have any advice to those going the traditional publishing route?

Amy: Be patient; this business takes forever. (Except when your copy edits are due.) This is a marathon, not a sprint, but since running is HORRIBLE, let’s say it’s a marathon of eating nachos, not a sprint of eating nachos. Don’t worry about how long it’s taking everyone else; focus on your own path. You’ll get there.

Marisa: Your fourth novel just hit shelves. Can you talk about similarities and differences between putting Book 1 out into the world versus Book 4?

 Amy: Putting out Book 4 is way more chill. I recommend it! I still care deeply about this book and about it finding readers, but I’ve done this before! I know I can come out alive! So it’s much easier now in so many ways. But, again, each book is its own thing! So I still have my own very specific wishes and dreams about readers loving Jules and Alex and this story, the way I’ve wanted this for the characters in all of my books. And when I hear from readers, it still means as much each and every single time. It’s like the newness of that refuses to wear off.

Marisa: We’d love to hear more about your newest release THE NEW GUY (AND OTHER SENIOR YEAR DISTRACTIONS). What should our readers know about this next amazing book of yours?

NewGuy jkt des.1.inddAmy: My main character Jules has been described as “a teenage Leslie Knope” and “a nice Paris Geller” which I think tells you what you need to know about her. But also! Cute dogs! A former boyband member! Descriptions of donuts! And of course lots of kissing.

Amazon,   Barnes & NobleIndiebound

 

 

 

Lightning Round Questions:

 

  1. Your favorite time to write?  WHENEVER I CAN! When it’s flowing easily, that is my favorite time.
  2. Favorite place to write?  WHEREVER I CAN! (Sense a theme?) I write a lot on my couch but I’m also in favor of coffeeshops and lunchbreaks at my desk.
  3. Favorite writing snack?  I can’t really snack while I write so I’m usually drinking water or chai.
  4. Last book you read?  Robin Talley’s wonderful What We Left Behind.
  5. Favorite book?  BOOK? SINGULAR???? Fun Home, Middlesex, A Summer to Die, A Little Life, Borrowed Time, Tell the Wolves I’m Home, The Secret History, Wild, the Betsy-Tacy series, When You Reach Me.
  6. If you could live in a fictional world, what world would it be?  Well, not the Hunger Games world because I’d get killed immediately trying to snag a Diet Coke at the Cornucopia.
  7. If you could be a character from a book for a day, who would you be?  Lola from Lola & the Boy Next Door if only just for the outfits and wigs!!

Thank you so much for stopping by, Amy! It was great to get your perspective! Be sure to look for Amy’s latest book, The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions), available wherever books are sold!

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Happy book-birthday to “Crossing the Line” by Meghan Rogers!

CROSSING THE LINEThe Sixteen To Read sisters would like to wish a very happy book-birthday to CROSSING THE LINE by Meghan Rogers!

If Jason Bourne were a teenaged girl…

Jocelyn Steely was kidnapped as a child and raised in North Korea as a spy. When her agency sends her to the U.S. to infiltrate the very group her parents once worked for, Jocelyn jumps at the chance to turn double agent and finish off her kidnappers once and for all. She convinces the head of the American spy agency to trust her, but it’s not quite as simple as that: Jocelyn has to fight the withdrawal symptoms from the drug that the North Koreans used to keep her in line, and her new fellow spies refuse to trust their former adversary. Worst of all, there might be some new information to uncover about her parents – if she even wants to find out.

Here’s what some of us are saying about this kick-ass spy novel featuring a teenage girl heroine.


Michelle Cross

What a thrilling read! I was hooked from the start and couldn’t put it down. I loved Jocelyn and the whole cast of characters (looking at you, Travis!); they were so much more than I expected. If you like stories with intensity and high stakes, be sure to pick this up! –Michelle Andreani, author of THE WAY BACK TO YOU


crossingtheline2In Crossing the Line Meghan Rogers creates a teen heroine who puts her integrity first, beyond all of the men, boys and institutions that want to control her. Jocelyn Steely is a powerful role model for YA readers of all genders to look up to. –Jennifer Bardsley, author of GENESIS GIRL


jenn di Crossing

As Jocelyn struggles to come to terms with her past and gain acceptance in her new organization, Rogers creates an undercover world so realistic that I could easily picture every step of this thrilling adventure. –Jennifer DiGiovanni, author of MY SENIOR YEAR OF AWESOME


 

Laurie cross

As a heroine, Jocelyn is a total badass. I don’t just mean that because she’s a highly trained spy who literally kicks ass—she struggles with serious inner demons and has more emotional baggage than most people who live a whole lifetime. I totally loved her relationship with Scorpion, which was fraught with tension—at first, just distrust, then some intense chemistry. –Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of FIRSTS


ORDER NOW: Amazon, Barnes & Noble,  Books-A-Million,  Indiebound, and more!

 

Say hello to “Poppy Mayberry, The Monday!”

FINAL COVER WITH BLURB (1)

Over here at Sixteen To Read, we are beyond-the-moon excited to share the gorgeous cover of Poppy Mayberry, The Monday, by Jennie K. Brown.

What if your teacher could read your mind just because she was born on a Thursday? Or the kid next to you in class could turn back the clock just because he was a ‘Wednesday”? In the quirky town of Nova, all of this is normal, but one thing is not—Poppy Mayberry. As an almost-eleven-year-old Monday, she should be able to pass notes in class or brush her dog, Pickle, without lifting a finger. But her Monday telekinesis still has some kinks, and that plate of spaghetti she’s passing may just end up on someone’s head. And if that’s not hard enough, practically perfect Ellie Preston is out to get her, and Principal Wible wants to send her to remedial summer school to work on her powers! It’s enough to make a girl want to disappear…if only she were a Friday.

– Coming September 13, 2016 from Tantrum Books!

Add to Goodreads or preorder on Amazon.

Jennifer Bardsley Reviews GEMINI by Sonya Mukherjee

GeminiWhen Gemini debuts on July 26, 2016 it will tug at your heart because Sonya Mukherjee has crafted a book that will make you feel everything from elation to despair. Clara and Hailey desperately wish they could ask their crushes to the Sadie Hawkins dance without it being a big deal. But of course, it is…because they are conjoined twins.

Clara is the practical one, who wants to live her life without being noticed. Hailey is the artistic twin, with pink hair and dreams of traveling the world. Together, they are forced to act in unison at every moment, even while going to the bathroom

Told in alternating points of view, Gemini brings you into lives unlike any other. It poses deep questions like “What does it mean to be normal?” and “Is there someone in your own life holding you back?” As Clara and Hailey struggle with big issues and little ones, they remind readers to enjoy life and live fearlessly.

Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions and review.

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Jennifer Bardsley Reviews FIRSTS

4_28_FirstsCoverThere are ONLY 16 DAYS until our first Sixteen to Read book releases. And, appropriately, this is Laurie Elizabeth’s YA debut, FIRSTS. Jennifer Bardsley reviews it here!

On the surface Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn is about seduction and sex, but this book digs deep. Firsts tackles tough questions while at the same time delivering a story line that will keep teens reading more. I got an early peek at an Advanced Review Copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinions and review.

Mercedes Ayres is a seventeen-year-old girl that the other girls at high school don’t really notice. She’s a whiz at science and besties with the ultra-religious Angela. But what most people don’t know is that Mercedes has her own after-hours tutoring program going on. She teaches virginal high school males how to give their girlfriends the perfect first time.

Where’s the line between altruism and harming your own inner-self in the process? And what’s the real reason motivating Mercedes to “serve?” Laurie Elizabeth Flynn handles a weighty subject matter with a deft touch. This is a book that will make your jaw drop.

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