My Sneak Peek at “Into the Dim”

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When’s the last time you read a fantasy/mystery/time-travel book about the middle ages? “Never!” you say? Me either, that is until I read an advanced copy of Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor.

I’ll save my full review for when the book comes out on March 1, 2016, but here’s a teeny-tiny sneak peek. Into the Dim tells the story of a homeschooled teenage girl named Hope who thinks her mother is dead. Actually her mom is a member of an elite time-traveling society and is trapped in the 12th century. In order to rescue her mother Hope must face her deepest fears, blend into the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and match wits with the evil Thomas Becket.

Not only did I adore this book, my fifth grade son did too. It’s just barely PG enough that I felt comfortable with him reading it. He stayed up until 10:30 p.m. to finish it, which was way past his bedtime.

Into the Dim is worth missing sleep for!

by Jennifer Bardsley, aka The YA Gal.

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn shares the cover of FIRSTS

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Hello, Sixteen to Read fans! I’m absolutely thrilled to share the cover for FIRSTS with you. My first (pun intended) reaction when I saw the cover? I was floored. The insanely talented cover designer, Danielle Christopher, captured the essence of FIRSTS perfectly. It’s bold without being too provocative, edgy without being too suggestive. The color palette took my breath away. I was lucky enough to have the wonderful Amanda Maciel, an author whose work I greatly admire (TEASE is one of my all-time favorite young adult books), provide a blurb that makes my heart beat faster whenever I read it, and having her words on the cover is such an honor.

The first time I saw the cover turned into the second time. And third time. I whipped out my phone to check it while I was at work, oh, probably a hundred times. (I think I walked into a wall one of those times….)

4_28_FirstsCoverFIRSTS is a story about a lot of things. It’s about sex and rumors and secrets and slut-shaming. It’s about mistakes and friendship and lust and love. There’s laughter and tears and heartbreak and at the very core, a girl who is slowly learning that the only way to find the control she craves is to stop looking for it. And in one image, I think this cover conveys all those things.

I hope you all love it as much as I do! ❤

 

Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press
Genre: YA Contemporary

FIRSTS
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Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation- and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

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You can find out more about Laurie Elizabeth Flynn by following her on Twitter or Instagram.

 

THE GIRL WHO FELL Cover Reveal

 Shannon M. Parker Shannon M. Parker

Shannon M. Parker

Hi Sixteen To Read fans! I’m so excited to share the cover for my debut YA novel THE GIRL WHO FELL. It is a powerful and surreal experience to see one’s written work translated into visual art and the designer’s interpretation for GIRL took my breath away. No exaggerating. I gasped. Had a little trouble breathing. Okay, a lot.

My book’s characters deal with love and identity, power and control. What it means to follow the rules and how easy it is to follow your heart. Lines are drawn. Lines are crossed. So when I saw the lip color running outside of the lines I thought, YES! I hope you’ll see the same depth within the art. And I hope you’ll agree there could be no better cover for this dark kissing book! thegirlwhofell_comps_006

Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary

THE GIRL WHO FELL
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A Peek Inside: “He whispers to the deepest part of my heart, the part I didn’t even know was there until now. A secret even to me. I hold him there. In this place that is the beginning of everything.”

HIS OBSESSION.
HER FALL.

Zephyr Doyle is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and—most importantly—Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.
Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and . . .

Terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty, or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

thegirlwhofell_comps_006

Find out more about Shannon M. Parker by following her on Twitter or Instagram.

UNDERWATER Cover Reveal

Marisa Reichardt

Marisa Reichardt

I’m so thrilled to share the cover for my contemporary YA novel, UNDERWATER (Macmillan/FSG 1/12/16). I think one of the best emails I ever opened was the one with my cover. I got goosebumps and lost my breath, then instantly shoved my laptop into my husband’s face so he could gush over it as well. It was an amazing moment to see how perfectly the cover designer, Andrew Arnold, captured the essence of the book. Above all else, I like that the cover retains the same sense of hope that UNDERWATER does. underwater cover hi-res

Publication date: 1/12/16
Publisher: FSG/Macmillan
Genre: YA contemporary
UNDERWATER

 

Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.

underwater cover hi-res

Find out more about Marisa Reichardt by following her on Twitter or Instagram.

Meghan Rogers shares her inspiration for CROSSING THE LINE

Meghan Rogers

Meghan Rogers

I saw The Avengers.

Really, that’s how this started.

It was May of 2012, and I had just graduated from my MFA program. I was working on the final revisions for another novel I was prepping to query and I took a break to see The Avengers with my sister and cousin. While I’m really not a comic book person, I have always loved the core stories. The medium itself just never grabbed me. So, I had no expectations or background for this movie going in. But, as a massive Joss Whedon fan, I was fairly confident I would leave happy. In the end, I was right—just for a surprising reason.

About halfway through the movie, I became fascinated with the character of Natasha. In the movie, her character is a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. (a.k.a. the good guys, if you missed this particular pop-culture train). However, it becomes pretty clear that this wasn’t always the case—that there was a time where she actually worked for one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s enemies. I thought that must have been such an interesting transition— to go from an enemy to a fellow agent. And that concept became the backbone for CROSSING THE LINE.

I spent most of the summer character and world building while I finished the other book I was working on. (Fun facts: I am a major planner and outliner. I am also generally, working on two projects at the same time). By September, I had started querying the other book, and I was ready to make CROSSING THE LINE my main focus.

One thing I’ve learned about myself when it comes to writing is that I really can’t do two things at once—I can’t think about the story and write the story at the same time. So, I spent September thinking, researching, planning, and outlining. This included serious brainstorming sessions with my cousin, who knows things I don’t about spies, weapons, and the world in general. When I was contemplating who the enemy agency should be, I was leaning towards Russia or the Middle East. He was the one that said, “No. You want North Korea.”

By October, I was ready to write the first draft. When I get to this point, I have a pretty standard process, and CROSSING THE LINE didn’t really deviate from it. I tend to draft quickly and frequently, and I almost never let anyone read my first drafts–mainly because at that stage I can pick up and work out a lot of the bigger issues on my own. I also rely heavily on new perspectives, so I hate to burn a first read for someone until I need help and feedback. I usually reach that point after the second draft. That’s when I start sending it out to my first reader and my critique group. Then I workshop and revise based on their killer thoughts and suggestions, and repeat as needed. I also add a new reader every complete draft or so, which helps give me a sense of how the draft stands on its own and not compared to a previous draft (related: I’m seriously lucky to have so many literary-minded friends).

It took me a little over a year to move CROSSING THE LINE from conception to “Query Ready.” When the time finally came, I had a list of agents I thought would be a good fit, but my first choice was Michelle Wolfson. She had sent me a helpful and encouraging response to project I’d queried months before I even had the idea for CROSSING THE LINE. She also said I should keep her in mind for the future (I guess it was technically a rejection, but I really never considered it to be). My favorite thing about that response was that she seemed to be able to see what I was trying to do, even though I wasn’t really doing much of anything yet. She just got me and my work. I remember reading that email and saying out loud, “That’s my agent.” So I was ecstatic when she loved CROSSING THE LINE as much as I hoped she would.

From there, Michelle matched me with Jill Santopolo at Philomel/Penguin. Jill’s notes have been an inspiration from the start. I can honestly say this story could not be with better people, or in a better place.

There was, of course, a lot more that went into CROSSING THE LINE, but that’s a basic overview of how the book came to be! I can’t wait to share it with you next year!

Find out more about Meghan by visiting her website or following her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.