Win an ARC of UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT by Mike Jung!

Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike JungI was lucky enough to get my paws on an advance copy of my friend and agency-sibling Mike Jung‘s new middle-grade novel, Unidentified Suburban Objecta few months back. It comes out on April 26, but here’s your chance to read it early, because I am giving my ARC away this week! Details about entering are below.

This delightful, category-defying book has already received rave reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly (and from me!). Here’s the blurb:

The next person who compares Chloe Cho with famous violinist Abigail Yang is going to HEAR it. Chloe has just about had it with people not knowing the difference between someone who’s Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. She’s had it with people thinking that everything she does well — getting good grades, winning first chair in the orchestra, etCETera — are because she’s ASIAN.

Of course, her own parents don’t want to have anything to DO with their Korean background. Any time Chloe asks them a question they change the subject. They seem perfectly happy to be the only Asian family in town. It’s only when Chloe’s with her best friend, Shelly, that she doesn’t feel like a total alien.

Then a new teacher comes to town: Ms. Lee. She’s Korean American, and for the first time Chloe has a person to talk to who seems to understand completely. For Ms. Lee’s class, Chloe finally gets to explore her family history. But what she unearths is light-years away from what she expected.

And here’s my own review on Goodreads.

Unidentified Suburban ObjectUnidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Is any middle-grade author better at pulling off the jaw-dropping plot twist than Mike Jung? I didn’t think I’d ever read another twist as clever as the one in GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES, but that was before I’d picked up his latest. Add to that a stellar narrative voice and conversation-starting themes, and UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT is a true winner.

View all my reviews

GIVEAWAY ALERT! You can enter to win an ARC of Unidentified Suburban Object by leaving a comment on this post. You can also earn up to two extra entries by posting about this giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook. (Please mention or link your follows and extra posts in your comment to get credit for them.)

Sample Tweet:
Win an ARC of @Mike_Jung’s excellent new MG novel, UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT! http://bit.ly/1UTqiSr #giveaway

Sample FB status:
Win an ARC of Mike Jung’s excellent new MG novel, UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT! http://bit.ly/1UTqiSr #giveaway

I‘ll announce a winner at 9 am Mountain Time this Friday, 4/1. 

(Oh, and if one giveaway isn’t enough for you, there are also currently giveaways for signed copies of my books The Stars of Summer and Stars So Sweet up on Goodreads. Click the titles to enter, and good luck!)

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Two awesome books you should read

Greetings, friends!

Colorado is for writersFirst, I hope that you’ve been enjoying my new Colorado is for Writers interview series. Thanks so much to all who’ve participated so far, and to the readers who have commented and shared links! I’ve got another interview coming up next week with debut young adult author Kristi Helvig, and then even more in October and November!

But I also wanted to share a couple of book recommendations. Two of my fellow EMLA clients have recently released their debuts, and I can’t say enough good things about both of them.

This week at the Emu’s Debuts blog, we’ve been celebrating the release of Carol Brendler‘s middle-grade novel Radio Girl–and today is actually the last day to enter to win a signed copy by commenting on one of the blog posts, so I suggest you hurry over and do that! Yesterday I interviewed cover artist Michael Koelsch, which was really interesting (and commenting on that post also enters you to win).

Here’s my Goodreads review of Radio Girl:

Radio GirlRadio Girl by Carol Brendler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not always a huge fan of historical fiction, but Radio Girl captivated me quickly with its humor and its heroine. Cece is adorable and adventurous as she defies her family’s wishes and pursues a weekend job in radio.

The book’s many period details immersed me in the world of 1930’s Newark and New York City, and I especially enjoyed learning the slang of the day (“Nerts!” may be my favorite new-old expression). Celebrities like Orson Welles make cameos, and the secondary characters (especially Cece’s hilarious best friend Bev) are very well drawn.

I didn’t want Radio Girl to end, and would love to see a sequel. I’d recommend this book for anyone aged 9 to 90!  🙂

View all my reviews

And a few weeks back I also participated in the launch of Sophie’s Squash, the debut picture book from Pat Zietlow Miller. This story about a girl and her pet butternut squash has to be one of the best picture books I have ever read, and I defy anyone not to love it.

Here’s my review:

 
Sophie's SquashSophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is absolutely delightful. Whimsical, funny, and ultimately meaningful, it would be at home on any shelf. Hooray for Sophie and Bernice!

View all my reviews

What have your favorite reads been lately? Any recommendations? I’m always looking to add to my to-read mountain pile…  🙂

Advice for writerly types

Hello, friends! It seems to be time for my monthly blog update.

First of all, I have a new post up today at EMU’s Debuts called “Wisdom from the 2013 EMLA Retreat.” The title pretty much says it all: It’s filled with great bits of advice that I picked up from other writers at the recent retreat for clients of Erin Murphy Literary Agency in Montana.

Also, on my Facebook page yesterday, I shared a few tips that have been helping me speed up my drafting. I’m planning to expand this into a blog post soon (I swear!), but if you want to check them out now, you can find them in the comments here.

In ALL FOUR STARS news, I’ve seen a preliminary sketch of the cover, and it’s amazing. I cannot wait until I have the final art to share with you! I’ve also been working on writing acknowledgements and even taking a stab at jacket copy (the summary of the book that goes on the inside flap or back cover), which has been only slightly nerve-wracking.

I’ll leave you now with a few pictures from the EMLA retreat, which was definitely one of the more fun and informative weekends of my writing career.

Lovely ladies of Colorado!Here I am with my Colorado-dwelling buddies Jeannie Mobley and Cindy Strandvold on Ugly Sweater Night. None of us won an ugliest sweater prize (mine was deemed “too cute” by one of the judges–bah!), but Cindy was a finalist for ugliest ensemble!

The EMUs!I finally got to meet a bunch of my fellow bloggers from EMU’s Debuts in person! From the top left, we have Christine Hayes, Kevan Atteberry, Pat Zietlow Miller, Laurie Ann Thompson, and Joshua McCune, then in the front row are Carol Brendler and me.

Tara at the waterfallSome of us took a hike to a local waterfall near Big Sky. I am sporting my new EMLA T-shirt, which I won for having been to the most countries. That round-the-world honeymoon just keeps paying off. 🙂

Hope your July is going well!

Back on the radar!

Fair Coin

One of my favorites of 2012!

I have a new blog post up at EMU’s Debuts today: EMU’s Best Under-the-Radar Kids’ Books of 2012!

If you’re looking for a couple of book recommendations–or have some of your own to share–we’d love to have you stop by.

Remarkable

Another of my favorites of 2012!

As you may have noticed, this blog has been under the radar a bit lately, too. I have approximately 400 excellent excuses for that, but rather than bore you with them, I’ll just say that once my current round of edits on Gladys Gatsby get done (probably in March), I do have big plans for some exciting new features here. In the meantime, you can always catch me on Facebook or Twitter…and here are a few posts I’ve done elsewhere over the last couple of months:

Bring on 2013! @ Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire

Bouncer Interview with Tara Dairman @ Cupid’s Literary Connection (where I was “Bouncer Myrtle” in the still-ongoing Blind Speed Dating event)

It’s Launch Week for BLAZE! @ EMU’s Debuts (Seriously, check out BLAZE by Laurie Boyle Crompton, a terrific new YA book!)

I hope that the new year has been treating you well so far. 🙂

Kidlit authors gone wild!

To celebrate the launch of NERVE by Jeanne Ryan, the EMU’s Debuts (the group of kidlit debut authors I blog with) challenged the Friday the Thirteeners (a group of YA authors debuting in 2013) to a dare-off.

Well, today the video results are posted, and holy moly, you have GOT to go check them out!

The EMUs, for example have an interpretive dance about dead chickens, a romantic ode to a doorknob, the world’s most painful conference critique section, and even yours truly stuffing her gullet while reading from MATILDA. 🙂 (Happy belated birthday, Mr. Dahl!)

And The Thirteeners, for example, have a novel scene performed by condiments, an all-original movie trailer in which Bella Swan hooks up with The Count (yes, that Count, from Sesame Street), and the funniest story I have ever heard from the perspective of a carrot.

Seriously, why are you still here? Click! Go! And leave comments on both blogs for two chances to win a signed copy of NERVE!

Launch week for Flying the Dragon!

Just a quick note to say that it’s now officially LAUNCH WEEK (woohoo!) for my friend and agency-mate Natalie Dias Lorenzi‘s lovely middle-grade book, Flying the Dragon, over at the EMU’s Debuts blog. Today I have coauthored a post with another writer named Tara, in which we interview editor Emily Mitchell and agent Erin Murphy and give away a signed copy of the book. Come check it out! (And come back every day this week–we’ll have new posts up daily to celebrate this book’s release.)

If you’d like to know more about the book before you leave this page, here’s my review from Goodreads:

Flying the DragonFlying the Dragon by Natalie Dias Lorenzi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every time the characters in this book had a meal, I got hungry for Japanese food–to the point where I actually ran down to the Asian grocery store for ingredients and made myself some yakisoba. =)

More seriously, this was a lovely, sweet read about the challenges of trying to live between two cultures. The two main characters, Japanese Hiroshi and his American cousin Skye, were so easy to connect to; you could really feel their frustration as they tried to learn each others’ languages and as Hiroshi struggled to adapt to life in America. The author did a terrific job of making the most mundane American actions–like eating spaghetti with a fork, or calling a teacher by her last name–feel foreign to Hiroshi. And when Hiroshi shows up at school wearing a face mask because he has a cold, Skye’s mortification for her cousin is almost palpable.

Clearly, I loved many little moments in this book and look forward to its release so that others can enjoy it, too!

View all my reviews

Hooray for Ann!

Just a quick post to say CONGRATULATIONS to my good friend, fellow Dartmouth alum (yeah, class of ’01!), and awesome critique partner Ann Bedichek, who is now officially my agency-sibling, too! Hurrah!!

I knew from the moment I read Ann’s fabulous middle-grade novel, Scientastic SuperGirls, that she would not be unagented for long. It’s always nice to be proved right, especially when the agent snapping your friend up is the wonderful Tricia Lawrence at your very own beloved Erin Murphy Literary Agency. 😀

So pop on over to Ann’s blog to read her success story and congratulate her yourself! And here’s to seeing the SuperGirls on a shelf soon!