The Way I Used To Be

The Way I Used to Be is by Amber Smith and will be out March 22.  Click here to add it to your Goodreads.

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.”

Why I’m excited:

This sounds like a worthy successor to this year’s All the Rage by Courtney Summers (which I LOVED) and I love the aspect of it showing how it affects her over the course of high school.  A lot of times, we see things that deal with the immediate aftermath to traumatic events, but not how they can continue to stay with you.

Interviewing Marisa Reichardt

Marisa Reichardt was nice enough to stop by and talk about her new book, Underwater (out Jan. 12).

Underwater is your debut novel.  Is anything about the publication process different than you imagined?

Oh, so much. I think the thing that has been the most different from what I expected was how collaborative the editorial process has been. I feel like I won the lottery with my editor, Joy Peskin, who is so very generous and genuine in all of our editorial interactions.

 Who would you cast to play Morgan in a movie or TV show?  (Depending on your ideal medium for Underwater on a screen.)

This might be a cop out but I feel like the actress would have to be a complete unknown. I can’t think about casting Morgan because she’s so visually clear in my head but as a completely made up person. But I’d love to hear whom others would cast as Morgan. J

 What was the inspiration behind Underwater?

Underwater was inspired by my own struggles with anxiety. I wish I’d had a book like Underwater and a character like Morgan to read when I was in high school.

 Can you share the first sentence/paragraph?

I just moved. Not from one town to another, but from one end of the couch to the other end.

If you could make one book mandatory, what would it be and why?

Oh, wow! What a fantastic question. You are really putting a former literature major on the spot here! Do I go classic or not? Okay, I’m just going to go with the book that is nearest and dearest to my heart and say Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld because I want everyone to love it as much as I do.

 What are your five favorite books?  You can do authors, if that’s easier.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld; Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov; Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell; The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson; The Tribes of Palos Verdes by Joy Nicholson.

 What 2016 books are you most looking forward to?

I have been lucky enough to read many ARCs by the super talented Sweet Sixteens authors and all I can say is 2016 is going to be an incredible year for debuts. At the moment, I’m still looking forward to Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn landing in my mailbox, but maybe I’ll have gotten that ARC into my grabby hands by the time this interview posts… Fingers crossed!

Thanks, Marisa!




Underwater is by Marisa Reichardt and is out Jan. 12.  Click here to add it to your Goodreads.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.”

Why I’m excited:

I love emotional contemps, especially ones dealing with grieving.  I would love to learn exactly what happens, why Morgan feels responsible and how she ultimately forgives herself (if she does).

We’re Thankful Tour

Click here for a giveaway!


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What Amy Giuffrida is thankful for:

First and foremost, I am thankful to my writer friends. It’s them who helped me to whip my first novel, The Bleeding Heart, into shape and supported me while I self-published it. They have also been ridiculously supportive of my working on novel #2, while working two jobs, taking care of two kids, beginning an internship, and writing for The Midnight Society. Plus, these lovely ladies from BGP welcomed me into their fold. I know that 2016 will be another whirlwind of a year, with more changes to come. I’m thankful that these same friends will continue the journey with me.


Amy Giuffrida teaches language arts to teens by day, while working nights as supermom, bookseller, and author. The teen in her is never far away, calling to her to crank the tunes and write stories about the darkness that surrounds us all.

Amy is known for taking the path less traveled, but can always be found on Twitter @kissedbyink or online at one of her haunts:,, or

Amy’s Links:

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Twitter: @kissedbyink

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What Jenny Adams Perinovic is thankful for:

New beginnings. 2015 has been a crazy year for me in every respect–I released my debut novel, grew my freelance business, started BGP with some amazing ladies, quit my job, moved from DC to Philadelphia, started a new job, and became a full-time graduate student! And through it all, I dealt with some pretty scary health issues, so I’m definitely thankful that I’m finally back to feeling like myself.

Most of all, I’m so thankful for all of the people who’ve supported me through all the upheaval–from the readers who loved A Magic Dark and Bright to the friends who never let me give up. My family, who have always believed in me. And my husband, Eric, who’s been beside me on every step of the way. I’m so excited to see what we do next.


Jenny Adams Perinovic has always loved books. By day, she’s a full-time graduate student and library outreach coordinator, and by night, she writes YA fantasy, romance, and horror about brave girls, the boys who love them, and their battles against dark forces (also, kissing). She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2010, where she wrote papers about monsters in medieval literature (yes, really!). She lives in Philadelphia, PA with her very patient husband and tiny menagerie. On twitter, she’s @JennyPerinovic. You can find her online at and


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What Sarah Kettles is Thankful for:

Obviously, first of all, I’m thankful for the opportunity to share The Old Creek Bridge with the world, and for the many people who helped me along the way. I’m thankful for the support of my friends and family not only with regard to publishing but in relation to the many wild/wonderful things going on in my life at the moment. I’m thankful for all that I’ve got to look forward to in the next year (and it’s a lot – let’s leave it at that!) and for all that I experienced this past year. Life is difficult and painful sometimes, but I’m thankful for the strength that fighting through all the hardship and stress and worry has given me, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do it all better next time.


Sarah Kettles is an American married to a Scot and living in Ireland, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin in 2012. She’s been writing since she learned to read and playing with words since long before that. When she’s not working on her next book, she works as a freelance editor and illustrator. Online, you can find her at and @sfkettles on Twitter.





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Danielle New

What Danielle Ellison is Thankful For:

It’s been a really big transition year for me – lots of upheaval, lots of first, lots of fantastic stuff. I’m thankful for these amazing new experiences! With major transition, for me anyway, comes major instability. I’ve been really fighting my way through the year and fighting to enjoy the things I’ve been given. In all of these, I’m beyond thankful for the fantastic friends I have in my life. They have really support me, listened to me, challenged me, and let me cry on their shoulder all the while cheering me on. I’m thankful for them more than they know. I’m also thankful for my agent, who has been so patient and kind during all of this when I had to repeatedly answer that “what are you working on?” question with no reply. I’m thankful for readers who love my books, tell others about them, and ask when something new is coming–and their patience. I’m thankful for my family and my boyfriend who constantly believe in me and show me that each day is a just another opportunity. I’m thankful that failure, hardship, stress, worry, insecurity, and doubt are not the end of anything; they are merely the beginning of something new. And tomorrow, I get to try all over again.









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Danielle Ellison spent most of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It’s probably the reason she can’t divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next adventure. It’s also probably the reason she’s had so many different zip codes and jobs.

Danielle is also the author of the YA duology, Salt and Storm, about a snarky teenage demon-hunting witch without any magic that’s been called ‘Buffy meets Supernatural meets Charmed.’

When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.



Interviewing Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn was nice enough to stop by today and talk about her new book, Firsts (out Jan. 5).

What is the Twitter pitch for Firsts?

Oooh, great question! I happen to think writing a good Twitter pitch is even harder than writing a whole book. Here’s one I just came up with for FIRSTS:

Mercedes gives virgin classmates the chance to get their awkward first times over with- but what happens in her bedroom doesn’t stay there.

If Firsts were a movie, which would it be?

FIRSTS has been compared to Easy A, which absolutely thrills me, because I love that movie! There are similar themes of reputation and rumors and sexual agency, and a girl who thinks she is doing something good for people… only to have her plans blow up in her face and make her question everything.

What was the inspiration for Firsts?

Honestly, I have no idea where the idea came from! I had been writing an NA contemporary and suddenly got struck with the idea for FIRSTS. I knew I had to write it as soon as possible. I didn’t plot or outline or even think much about it—I just wrote. It was a much different writing process than the two NA contemporaries I previously wrote and queried. With FIRSTS, I didn’t give myself the luxury of stewing over plot points or
character arcs. I poured everything in my head down on the pages. As I wrote, I thought more and more about the double-standard that exists for teenage girls when it comes to sex, and how often labels get tossed around. I wanted to write something that rips into the unfair shaming that goes on and hopefully turns it inside out.

Can you share the first sentence/paragraph?

I’d love to! I’ll leave you with the first line (which never changed at all from the first draft)!

“Tonight, I’m doing Evan Brown’s girlfriend a favor. An awkward, sweaty, fumbling favor.”

If you could make one book mandatory, what would it be and why?

Hmmm… there are so many books I’d like to make mandatory! I think everyone should read LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott. Such a classic, with timeless themes about what it’s like to be a girl: a sister, a daughter, a mother, a friend, a lover, an artist, writer, a dreamer. I remember being a little girl and wanting very badly to be Jo March’s partner in crime. (Okay, I still do.)

What are your five favorite books?

This is such a tough question! I love so many books… to make it more manageable, I’ll narrow it down to my five all-time favorite YA contemporary books.

TEASE by Amanda Maciel: An incredibly powerful, gut-wrenching book that looks at bullying and slut-shaming from an unlikely perspective: the girl doing the bullying. So, so insightful and raw and important.

THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE by Jennifer Mathieu: A totally engrossing look at how damaging rumors can be, and how they change shape and become increasingly dangerous as they get passed around. I love how this book is from the perspectives of the people around Alice: friends, enemies, acquaintances.

SEX & VIOLENCE by Carrie Mesrobian: A fearless, intense look at the aftermath of a brutally violent attack—and the connection between sex and violence for the main character, Evan. I don’t think anyone does boy POV as well as Carrie Mesrobian. Her writing completely enraptures me.

SOME GIRLS ARE by Courtney Summers: I love anything by Courtney Summers, but this one is my all-time favorite (although I’m reading ALL THE RAGE right now and that title may be eclipsed). SOME GIRLS ARE is such a probing look into girl friendships and rumors and lies and trust and betrayal.

BEAUTIFUL by Amy Reed: Heartbreaking and stunningly written. This book is such an unflinching account of how far girls will go to fit in and feel loved, and how damaging friendships can be to self-image.

What 2016 releases are you excited for?

ALL of them! Seriously, I cannot wait to read ALL of the debuts. My CP, Emily Martin, wrote a book called THE YEAR WE FELL APART that everyone needs to read. It’s gorgeous and swoony and funny and deep and everything else you could ever want in a book. Two contemporary debuts I’m eagerly coveting are The GIRL WHO FELL by Shannon M. Parker and SUFFER LOVE by Ashley Blake. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a good chunk of 2016 with my nose in a book, and I couldn’t be happier about that!

Thanks, Laurie!


Firsts is by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn and will be released January 5.  Click here to add it to your Goodreads.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 absentee 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 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.”

Why I’m excited:

It was compared to Easy A.  Also, how amazing does this sound? I can’t wait to read this book; it sounds like it’s absolutely perfect.

Thicker Than Water (Harper Teen Winter 2016 Blog Tour!)


Before we get to Thicker than Water, let’s discuss prizes, shall we?

Guys, this is important:  There is a giveaway and one of the things you have to do is find every blog’s secret word.  Mine is Harper.

So more about the giveaway.  There are actually two, both awesome.

The first: win almost all the YA titles in Harper’s winter 2016 catalog (exceptions: The Siren by Kiera Cass, Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard).  Click here to enter that.

The second: Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Winter 2016 Tour (a total of 45). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to:  (again, my secret word is “Harper.”)

The winner of that will win five finished books from their fall catalog (The Lies About Truth, Walk On Earth a Stranger, Dreamland, Dumplin’ and Da Vinci’s Tiger).

Good luck!

The link for every blog stop on this tour is at the bottom of this post; visit the others to get the other secret passwords.

Prize Rules:

1.)    Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize

2.)    Winner must be over 13

3.)    Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.

4.)    Only a completed phrase will be accepted as an entry – do not email each word/phrase daily. Wait until you have the complete saying and then email in.

5.)    All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 11/30/2015.

6.)    Winners will be selected 12/1/2015 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected.

7.)    Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher.

Now on to the book! :)

Thicker Than Water

Thicker Than Water is by Kelly Fiore and will be released January 5.  Click here to add it to your Goodreads.  I’m so excited to be featuring Kelly on my blog! We went to the same college and I have been a huge fan of hers since her first book, Taste Test!

I interviewed Kelly yesterday; you can read that here.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.

Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.

Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.

Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes.”

Why I’m excited:  I’ve read and loved everything she’s written so far, and this seems like a major departure from her usual style.  I’m a huge fan of her books already, but this looks like something that will absolutely break my heart.  (And I trust Kelly to do it right.)

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Kelly Fiore

Kelly (Edgeington) Fiore has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Poetry from West Virginia University. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2005 and 2009. Kelly’s poetry has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. Her first young adult novel, Taste Test, was released in August 2013 from Bloomsbury USA, and her second, Just Like the Movies, again from Bloomsbury, was releasted in 2014. Forthcoming novels include Thicker Than Water from HarperTeen in 2015.

Kelly taught high school English for ten years and college composition for five. Now, she writes full time and lives in Virginia with three children, two dogs, one hedgehog, and a very patient and loving boyfriend. You can connect with Kelly at her website (, on Twitter (@kellyannfiore), on Tumblr (, or on Facebook (

Linky List:

This is the Harper Winter 2016 Tour!


Interviewing Kelly Fiore

Kelly Fiore was nice enough to stop by and discuss Thicker Than Water!

Did you do any research for Thicker Than Water?
I did a MASSIVE amount of research for THICKER THAN WATER. It was absolutely essential for me to tap into all phases of an addiction, as well as all the players involved in navigating it – parents, friends, suppliers, doctors, etc. When we’re talking about an addiction in a teenager, it can be an interesting juxtaposition of isolation and immersion – the teen may feel completely alone, despite the fact that their parents or friends, etc. are all around them, begging them to seek treatment. More than anything, I wanted the journey of the addict and the addict’s family to feel authentic.
This seems a lot more serious than your first two books.  Was this harder to write?
It was harder, yes. It took longer. I was more careful with word choice and I labored over small moments more. Frankly, it reminded me more of writing poetry than prose – in this book, ever word was selected intentionally and the weave of the narrative is a lot tighter and more strategic than my previous books.
What was the inspiration for Thicker Than Water?
I spent most of my 20’s living in a family invaded by Oxy Contin addiction. Once my family member found sobriety, I felt equipped to write this story. It took recovery though – my family’s and my own – to get to that place. When an addict gets sober, everyone enters recovery together and that was essential for the success of my family member’s sobriety and, frankly, this book.
Can you share the first sentence/paragraph?
First sentence(s):
This is the truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth.
If you could make one book mandatory, what would it be and why?
For writers? Bram Stoker’s DRACULA. It taught me everything about tight prose, intensity, suspense, and mixing genres.
For readers? Norton Juster’s THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. It teaches amazing lessons to all ages about what it means to take a journey, to compromise, to build friendships, and to take risks.
What are your five favorite books?  You can do authors, if that’s easier.
Well, so, the two books I just mentioned are also my favorite books, so… :)
DRACULA by Bram Stoker
VELOCITIES by Stephen Dobyns (This is poetry and it’s STELLAR. Narrative, emotional, tight, and slightly edgy.)
PRODIGAL SUMMER by Barbara Kingsolver (My favorite Kingsolver book of all time – it is so incredibly evocative and it’s a master class in writing prosaic metaphor.)
THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold (Again, I feel like all my favorite books are ones I chose because of their craft and their influence on my craft – this one is a fantastic example of how one draws a narrative back together through carefully and strategically placed threads. It’s gorgeous and brutal, which are two of my favorite things.)
What 2016 releases are you excited for?
This is hard – there are so many – but I’d love to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the upcoming LGBT books coming out next year!
THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp
MY NAME IS EVERETT by Dahlia Adler

Thanks, Kelly!

Interviewing Lisa Schroeder

Lisa Schroeder was kind enough to stop by and discuss The Girl in the Tower (out March 29).

What’s the twitter pitch for The Girl in the Tower?

 A fairy-tale about a girl, Violet, who grows up in a tower, banished there by an evil queen, and what happens when the queen decides Violet should become a princess, with one condition: she can never see her mother again.
If this were a movie, what would it be?
Rapunzel meets The Princess Diaries
You write many different styles of books. Is there one that feels easier (or less hard)?
Generally, I find middle grade a bit easier to write than YA. Not because it’s any “simpler” of course. I think it’s because my writing voice leans more toward MG, so it’s just a bit more natural for me. I also find verse novels flow more naturally for me, for some reason. I hope to someday write another full-on verse novel. I miss writing that way! It’s just not every idea works in verse, for me anyway.
What was the inspiration for The Girl in the Tower?
I read Kate DiCamillo’s THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT and I loved it so much, I opened my idea journal and wrote down the things I would want to put in a fantasy novel. An evil queen, a pretty garden, a girl that needs help and birds that love her and want to help her. It took about six months for me to find my way into the story, but eventually I did, and I’m so glad.
Can you share the first paragraph?
As Violet hovered in that reflective space between asleep and awake, she reached up to feel for her nose. Thankfully, it was still there. Practically numb, but there. She burrowed deeper under the blankets. Not quite ready to face another day in the dreary tower, she squeezed her eyelids shut. Perhaps she could delay the inevitable by drifting back to sleep and returning to the garden of her dreams.
What were your favorite 2015 releases?
I have a huge stack I’m trying to get through right now, but here are a few I’ve read so far that I loved.
MG: THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, A HANDFUL OF STARS by Cynthia Lord, A NEARER MOON by Melanie Crowder,
YA: ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers, THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH by Martha Brockenbrough, AUDACITY by Melanie Crowder, EMMY AND OLIVER by Robin Benway
What 2016 releases are you excited for?
Thanks, Lisa!

The Girl in the Tower

The Girl in the Tower is by Lisa Schroeder and will be out March 29.  Click here to add it to your Goodreads.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Ever since she can remember, ten-year-old Violet and her mother have been locked away in a tower by the evil Queen Bogdana, who has the kingdom under her spell. The queen has everything she wants except for one thing — beauty. Violet possesses this beauty. She also has a secret: although she is very small, both her spirit and her heart are mighty.

When Violet is summoned by Bogdana to start training to become a real princess, it seems as if her life might be taking a turn for the better. But hope quickly fades when Violet’s mother is banished from the castle, and she and Violet are forbidden to see each other ever again. With everyone’s lives in the balance, it’s up to Violet to break the spell and reunite her family.”

Why I’m excited:

It’s a new Lisa Schroeder book.  I have read all of her books and they are all brilliant and wonderful and heartbreaking and sweet AND I NEED ALL FUTURE BOOKS NOW PLEASE.

Also, this book sounds AMAZING and I cannot wait to give it to my goddaughter for her birthday.  (Don’t tell her.)