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Archive for the ‘teen fiction.’ Category

The angels are back…

* Spoiler alert *

Well the sad time has come…I have finished Angel Fire; the second installment from the epic ‘Angel’ trilogy. It’s been a long time coming and the anticipation for this book has been huge. Was it worth the wait? In a word, yes.

When I first received the big parcel from Usborne I was very excited. I would finally learn what was to become of Willow and Alex…in 700-odd glorious pages. As i sat down to read this book (usually in the bath because it was too heavy to carry around in my bag all day) I realised I had forgotten a lot of what happened in the first book but as I got to know the characters again, it all came flooding back.

I was hesitant with ‘Angel Fire’ being such a long book. At 700 pages could it really keep me interested and could Alex and Willow’s story develop anymore? With the introduction of Seb, the elusive other half-angel with a shady past ‘Angel Fire’ created a whole new dynamic. For the first time, L. A. Weatherly let the characters loose with other characters and the results is a hugely compelling, action-packed romantic thriller which I couldn’t put down.

I loved it from start to finish. I knew I would because I have every faith in Lee Weatherly as an author. From blog perusing and twitter stalking it dawned on me that a lot of people had a problem with the introduction of Seb and how Willow and Alex would react. After all, the one thing they could always rely on was one another and with Seb, their whole understanding and reliance on one another completely shifted. But I was never apprehensive about Seb. In fact, I loved the introduction of his character and the new possibilities he created for the storyline and you know what? I think Alex and Willow are even stronger for it. Their lives are still at risk and they’ve still got a hell of an ongoing battle to fight against the angels, but they’re not alone and I look forward to the character devlopments book three will bring.

I’ve been recommending ‘Angel Fire’ to all my customers, making sure they pick up a copy of the first book but it’s also so encouraging to have people come in and ask for the new book because ‘they loved Angel so much’.

And you should have heard the squeals when I told two teenage girls that film rights have been optioned…

‘Angel Fire’

L. A. Weatherly

9781409522010

£7.99

Usborne

October 2011

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To celebrate the paperback release of the fantastic book ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’ the author; Annabel Pitcher is doing a blog tour and today it’s my turn and I’m hosting the lovely Annabel as she talks about the character of Jasmine.

If you haven’t already heard about this absolutely beautiful, haunting book (which was longlisted for the Guardian first book prize award) check out the book trailer to find out more

“Ten-year-old Jamie Matthews has just moved to the Lake District with his Dad and his teenage sister, Jasmine for a ‘Fresh New Start’. Five years ago his sister’s twin, Rose, was blown up by a terrorist bomb. His parents are wrecked by their grief, Jasmine turns to piercing, pink hair and stops eating. The family falls apart. But Jamie hasn’t cried in all that time. To him Rose is just a distant memory. Jamie is far more interested in his cat, Roger, his birthday Spiderman T-shirt, and in keeping his new friend Sunya a secret from his dad. And in his deep longing and unshakeable belief that his Mum will come back to the family she walked out on months ago. When he sees a TV advert for a talent show, he feels certain that this will change everything and bring them all back together once and for all.”

 

THE FLOWERING OF JASMINE…

 

 

Before I could write about Jasmine, I had to figure out Rose’s character. That had to come first because Rose was born first and definitely the leader of the pair. As twins, I imagined them as two sides of the same coin, so it was impossible to know Jasmine’s traits without first defining Rose’s. In my head, I pictured Rose as the bolder, more dominant and moodier twin, and it is therefore apt that she is named after a red flower with thorns. There was certainly something spiky and dramatic about Rose’s personality! In comparison, Jas was softer and more innocent as a child, which explains her choice of flower: jasmine petals are white and delicate. Jas explains that, in the absence of Rose, she feels like ‘a shadow without a person’, and I often imagine Rose to be running ahead with Jas tagging behind, far more biddable and far less brave, very much like Rose’s shadow.

 

The fact that the two are both named after flowers is, of course, no coincidence. I wanted to reflect the strength of their bond, running deep, connecting the two, sort of like roots underneath the ground. There is something claustrophobic about this image too, which perfectly reflects how Jasmine feels: close to her dead sister but also suffocated by her, as if Rose’s roots are wrapping around her own, preventing her from flourishing. Obviously, all this changes on Jas’s fifteenth birthday. When she cuts off her hair and dyes it pink, Jas finally emerges from the shadows, severing the link with Rose.  

 

In the first draft, Jas was a far more minor character. Though I knew a lot about her due to the planning I had done, I was so focused on Jamie’s story that all that really emerged about Jas in my first attempt was the fact she had pink hair, didn’t eat, liked punk music and rejected anything mainstream (in reaction to her parents, who had tried to keep her looking young and childlike and rather ordinary for many years). In the rewrites, I attempted to bring out her relationship with Jamie. I invented her obsession with astrology, which seemed appropriate for a girl who was scared of the unpredictability of the future after what happened to Rose, and used it to create some tender moments with her brother. Jas shows Jamie the ‘lion in the sky’ – the constellation for his star sign, Leo – to comfort him and give him a sense of protection. Jamie refers to this lion all the way through the novel, highlighting the importance of his relationship with his sister. Again, it is no coincidence that Jas’s boyfriend is called Leo, named after the constellation. One of the major themes of the novel is Jamie’s search for identity, particularly his search for courage and masculinity, and he looks both to the lion in the sky and Jas’s boyfriend for answers so I created that parallel through the name.

 

Like the rest of the novel, I wanted Jas to seem real and three dimensional, rather than blandly idealised.  She is often impatient with Jamie, snapping at him and calling him ‘a bastard’ throughout, and she puts herself before her brother when Leo comes on the scene, often coming home late. Hopefully, this stops their relationship becoming overly sentimental. Jas is there when it counts – on Jamie’s birthday, at the football match, comforting him after parents’ evening – but most of the time I tried to show that she’s just an ordinary girl, a big sister very much like mine – sometimes grumpy and far from perfect and, I hope, more real and likeable for that very fact.

MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE

ANNABEL PITCHER

9781780620299

£6.99 / Indigo / £6.99 / September 2011

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Here’s what’s coming up on the My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece blog tour. Join me here on Friday 14th October as author Annabel Pitcher describes the character of Jasmine and how she came to live. It’s all in the flowers…

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Today the Angel Fire blog tour is stopping here and it’s about time we find out more about the elusive (and gorgeous Seb) and just why Willow is so drawn to him…

But first, a little more about the Angel Trilogy and why it’s just so amazing. I was first made aware of ‘Angel’ by L.A. Weatherly last year when I did some work with Usborne. Ever since reading it on my commute to and from London I’ve been hooked and it’s been a long year waiting for this sequel ‘Angel Fire’. It’s 700+ pages of pure YA drama and I’m torn between finishing it as quickly as possible or saviouring the feeling of reading something for the first. time.

The blog tour began over at My Favourite Books http://myfavouritebooks.blogspot.com/2011/10/angel-fire-blog-tour-in-depth-interview.html Liz spoke to Lee Weatherly all about the new book and the writing of it. What a fantastic start to the blog tour, and now it’s about time we have a little chat about Seb!

ANGEL book cover

CHARACTER FOCUS: SEB 

Sometimes in writing you get a lightning-flash that you know instantly is right – Seb was one of them. Playing around with ideas for book two, Angel Fire, I suddenly wondered what would happen if Willow met another half-angel. More than that, what if she met a boy half-angel? The thought sent shivers through me – because, of course, this boy half-angel would be able to understandWillow in a way Alex couldn’t. The potential tension and drama this posed were irresistible. (Writers LOVE tension, so long as it’s fictional!)

 

At first, I had it in my head that Seb was a charming rogue – a user. An early scene I wrote had him breaking out of a young offenders’ facility, but refusing to help a younger boy; another had him using his flirtatious charm to scrounge food in a marketplace. I quickly realized that I didn’t like this Seb very much – and more importantly, I couldn’t imagine Willow liking him, either.

 

Back to the drawing board. This time, I let Seb himself take the lead, and a wholly different character emerged: quietly determined; a teasing sense of humour; a complex mix of sociability and introvert. Despite Seb’s difficult past, all that mattered to him was finding his phantom half-angel girl. When he finally meetsWillow, it’s like he’s discovered the other half of his soul.

 

Ah. Now this was a Seb I could imagineWillow being very drawn to.

 

Probably the most difficult part about bringing Seb into the mix was that I myself became a little too enamoured with him! At times I had to work at getting the balance right, because of course Alex is still very much the story’s hero. What’s lovely about having Seb in the series is that it means the tension will continue … because I rather imagine that we haven’t seen the last of the love triangle yet.

 

What can I say?Willowis a very lucky girl!

 

– L. A. Weatherly

It’s so interesting to find out about characters; how they were created and what drives them. It seems in this case, Seb was true to his character and took control of the situation. He’s created a whole new dynamic to the book opening it all up to so much possibility. Whether people will be accepting of Seb stepping on Alex’s toes is another thing altogether. So, are you Team Seb or Team Alex?

Next up on the Angel Fire Blog Tour is http://withoutabookshelf.blogspot.com/ on Thursday ‘From Mexico, with Love’.

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JACK THE RIPPER FAN WALK

To celebrate the publication of Maureen Johnson’s new YA thriller The Name of the Star, HarperCollins Children’s Books is offering 10 lucky readers the opportunity to accompany Maureen Johnson on a private Jack the Ripper walk in London on Thursday, 13th October 2011.

 

The walk begins at 5:00 PM and will carry-on for two hours into the night! Visit the haunting sites of Jack the Ripper and hear first-hand from Maureen how they inspired her new book The Name of the Star.

 

To enter, simply email nameofthestar@harpercollins.co.uk for a chance to attend the event with a friend.

 

Disclaimer: Entrants must be 13 or over. Please ensure that you are available to attend the event on Thursday, 13th October from 5.00pm to 7.00pm before entering. Winners will be informed on Friday, 7th October, and will be provided with further instructions then.

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ANGEL book cover

The angels are back…and they want revenge. But in the second installment of the fantastic Angel trilogy by L.A. Weatherly, Willow and Alex have got help.

To celebrate the publication of Angel Fire on 1st October, I am taking part in the Angel Fire Blog Tour. Starting tomorrow the blog will cover evwerything from Q&A with the lovely Lee to finding out about the mysterious Seb (trust me, you really want to know more about him).

The blog tour stops at mine on Tuesda. You will have to wait for the review…the book is over 700 pages long. But for now here is the blog schedule. Enjoy and do let me know what you think.

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“The only good Angel, is a dead Angel”

ANGEL book cover

Last year I couldn’t stop talking about the fantastic new YA title published by Usborne called ‘Angel’. Written by the lovely L.A. Weatherly, ‘Angel’ was the first in a trilogy all about the love affair of Willow, a half Angel and Alex, an Angel killer. And so began my obsession.

The first book did so well and I got as many people hooked on it as possible and now after months of waiting and anticipation, publication day is almost here of the second in the trilogy. Called ‘Angel Fire’ we pick up where we left off at the end of ‘Angel’ and Alex and Willow must begin to train new AngelKillers for their battle against the Angels. You see, unlike Willow, Angel’s aren’t actually that nice. In fact, they’re killing human’s and draining them for energy.

Sound intrigued? Then get yourself down to a bookstore and buy a copy of ‘Angel’ today, and whilst your at it, pre-order ‘Angel Fire’, published 1st October, just in time for Halloween.

Look out for ‘L.A. Weatherly’s blog tour coming soon.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read a preview chapter which arrived this morning!

Angel Fire

L.A. Weatherly

Usborne Books

9781409522010

£7.99

www.angelfever.com

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First of all. Happy publication day to Alyson Noel. ‘Everlasting’, the final book in the Immortals series is out today! I am very excited about meeting Alyson next week at the Macmillan Blogger’s Brunch and will be telling you all about it.

Today is day two of the blog tour and I kick off the festivities with Alyson sharing her thoughts about publication day and how she feels about the Immortals series finally coming to an end:

Having written 7 stand alone novels before I began THE IMMORTALS series, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how I’d feel once it was over. I imagined a moment of complete jubilation, where I’d leap from my desk chair and engage in my own version of the Snoopy Dance—infused by the thrill of having completed a very long journey—when in truth, it was nothing like that. The moment was bittersweet.

I’ve watched Ever grow from an insecure, grief-stricken young girl who always second guesses herself, into a mature young woman who’s more than capable of facing her biggest challenge yet—who’s willing to do what she knows in her heart and her soul to be right, even though she risks losing everything she cares about.

It’s been an incredible journey for both of us—and I hope that you’ll enjoy EVERLASTING as much as I enjoyed writing it!

The following letter is an extract from the book in which Alyson writes to her readers and gives us a five minute brief on the fantastic Immortals series:

Dear Friends,

Now that my work on The Immortals series is done, I’m often asked which of the six proved the most challenging to write, and the answer is: all of them—though each in their own unique way.

When I started writing Evermore, I was so focused on telling that particular story that I didn’t see it as the start of a series. I was just doing what I always did—attempting to make sense of my own life experiences under the guise of fiction. Ever’s grief over losing her family was directly channeled from my own grief over losing my loved ones, and as I began to find my way out of the darkness, Ever did too. It wasn’t until I’d reached the end of the story that I realized it was really just the beginning, she had a much bigger journey ahead of her, there was so much more still to tell.

 

In book two, Blue Moon, Ever faces a heart-wrenching decision between the past and the present, and to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure which path she’d choose until I stood on the precipice right alongside her. It was also around that point that I realized the true scope of her journey—the sacrifices she’d be required to make—and exactly how the series would end.

Shadowland, the third book, provides a major turning point for the series. Not only are the stakes raised to a whole new level, but events that seem simple on the surface—the arrival of Jude, the flip-side of immortality, the Shadowland itself—ultimately bear powerful repercussions that’ll reverberate in later books.

With Dark Flame I made a conscious effort to take Ever’s journey in a much . . . well, darker direction. It’s her struggle with the dark side of herself that allows her to locate the light in the person she once considered her enemy. It’s a powerful moment for Ever—one that redefines everything she once thought she knew about herself.

A lot happens in the penultimate book in the series, Night Star—relationships change, serious decisions are made, and everything is put into motion for the grand finale to come. While getting all those pieces lined up sometimes felt like a very tricky game of chess, at its heart, Night Star is a story of friendships—or, more accurately, the fragile nature of friendships. How they can shift and change into something wholly unrecognizable—and how their dissolution can be just as devastating as any romantic break-up.

As for Everlasting . . . well in an effort to avoid spoilers, there’s not a lot I can say except that it was a very bittersweet moment when I typed “The End.” I’d lived with these characters for the last few years, and probably spent more time talking to them than I did my own husband. They became almost real to me—like imaginary playmates—and I have to admit that saying good-bye was no easy task. Even now, as I continue my work on the spin-off Riley Bloom series, as well as my upcoming YA series, Soul Seekers, I occasionally find myself thinking about Ever and Damen, and Miles and Haven, and Ava and the twins, and Roman and yes, even Drina—wondering where they are, what they’re doing, and if they’re happy with the ending I gave them. Mostly, I hope that they’re happy.

Alyson

 The Immortals_ Everlasting

By Alyson Noel

£6.99

9780330528122

7th July 2011

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Today, the Alyson Noel blog tour kicks off!

Alyson_Noel_-_blog_tour_button[1]

Check back here tomorrow for an exclusive letter extract from the final book in the Immortals series: Everlasting. Alyson Noel also shares with me her thoughts on the final book and I post my review of the book.

http://www.alysonnoel.com/immortals/ 

 

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I have been anticipating this book for months and months following the publication of Keris Stainton’s first teen book ‘Della says OMG!’ And the waiting paid off because what Jessie Hearts NYC is, is a finely written, understanding and substantial teen book. That’s not to say this book is long, far from it. What I mean is, it’s a book full of great warmth and humour but one which also deals with real problems and angst which many teens go through. I’m starting to see Keris as the new generation Jacqueline Wilson (I really hope you like Jackie W, Keris!)

I’m currently promoting this book as the hero title of our ‘Summer fiction we’re excited about: Romance’ at work and I really hope Keris is enjoying her moment in the spotlight because it is so deserved. In fact, I’ve already sold out of her book and have had to order more in!

So what’s it all about? Jessie decides to go to New York for the summer to visit her Mum, whom she feels estranged from due to her Mum putting her career first. Taking her best friend Emma with her for summer fun in the city, Jessie knows this summer is going to be a good one.

In a second narrative, we follow the lovely Finn who lives in New York and is hung up on his best friend and similarly to Jessie; dealing with family issues. Cleverly, the author initially connects the two protagonists lives just through the narrative as opposed to having them meet each other from the very start and it works very well, giving the story a real ‘anything can happen’ feeling.

Keris Stainton is really in touch with her audience which is why I liken her to Jacqueline Wilson. She knows what teenagers like; their loves, hates and worries and this book works. It’s a wonderful balance of summer frivolity and romance with family and relationships.

Now, Keris I think you should reward your hard work with a trip to New York …for a sequel?

Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton,

£6.99,

Orchard, 

978-1408304280

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