Tag Archives: Beth Revis

How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr

14 Jun

Coming October 18, 2011 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Is it possible to give a book six stars?

This book…this book, you guys. I don’t really know where to begin about it. I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian novels lately, among other plot-driven novels, and novels with paranormal elements to them. It was refreshing to read a novel that was straight-up contemporary. But, by “refreshing,” I do not mean refreshing like a trip to the spa, or a day at the beach, or something else lighthearted and fun.

By “refreshing,” I mean this book made me feel, moved me to compassion and understanding in ways I haven’t felt in a long time (if ever, possibly). Sara Zarr has this utterly incredible talent for writing about the world in ways that are just so real, ways that shine light on life—even the most common, mundane things—in a way you’ve never noticed before.

My favorite books are always the ones that tend to rock my world in some way. The Hunger Games trilogy did that—after Mockingjay, sad as it was, I felt hope. Across the Universe helped me appreciate sunlight, Earth, stars, fresh air, freedom. The Harry Potter books, due to—how do you sum THAT up? Their magical epicness, I guess—were the books that pushed me over the edge toward “I want to write my own novel,” something that has changed my day-to-day life in a very real way. Divergent was an adrenaline rush that made me think about human nature, about the impossibility of perfectionism, the prevalence of flaws in humanity, and the importance of bravery.

How to Save a Life reminded me to assume the best in everyone, and hammered home the notion that there are a lot of broken people in the world who would give anything for a hug, or someone who will listen to them, someone who won’t break their word. Also, it strengthened my appreciation for my amazing parents, wonderful husband, the baby I’ll give birth to in September, and all the little things I tend to take for granted.

Here’s a link to the Goodreads page, where you can read the blurb for this book and put it on your to-read lists.

Want to Win (the FABULOUS) Across the Universe?

10 Jan

Last week, I wrote a (very long) blog post about three of the best books I read last year.  One of them—Beth Revis’s fabulous debut, Across the Universe—comes out TOMORROW, 1-11-11!

If you’re still unsure about this book, no matter how much people have hyped it—or, possibly, because people have hyped it—I have ideas for you.


First, you might want to learn a little bit more about it.  If so, here is a link to The League of Extraordinary Writers, a blog featuring posts by five debut authors who write YA dystopians.  The link above will take you to a post with a gorgeous trailer for the book, a summary about it, ISBN numbers for both hardcover and audio versions, and a list of other noteworthy links you might want to check out.


After you check that out, and you’re STILL not convinced you want to run out to the store tomorrow, buy it, and read for the rest of the day, you can enter to win it on Liza Kane’s blog!  In honor of her birthday (and mine, really, since it IS Birthday Season this month), she’s holding her first contest—and, yes, it’s open internationally—so, go check it out here! (Contest open until January 17, 2011)


If you already plan to buy the book in stores, and haven’t heard of Beth Revis’s Epic Launch Giveaway Extravaganza (not its official title, but it totally should be…), you must check it out.  There are a TON of chances to win, and the prizes are awesome—sweet looking water bottles, signed hardcover copies of the book, buttons, an iPod touch nano, for example.  For official information on how to win, click here.  (Contest open until January 25, 2011)

Good luck and happy reading to you all!

I ♥ Books

5 Jan

The holidays are over, and the New Year is here.  What does that mean?¹

Well, many of you are writerly types.  Which, by necessity, means you are also readerly types.  And, being writerly-readerly types, your stockings may have been filled with gift cards to Barnes and Noble (because they’re cheaper than the infinitely more dreamy MacBook Air, which—not coincidentally—wouldn’t fit into a stocking, anyway).

So, what is a writer/reader to DO with all those gift cards?

Buy AWESOME books.  Like these:

Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins

This book came out in December.  I had HUGE expectations (and slight hesitation), because everyone was buzzing on Twitter about how much they adored it.

Well…it lived up to the hype.  This story—about Anna, who attends boarding school in Paris and meets the übercharming Étienne St. Clair—looks simple on the surface.  BUT.  Stephanie Perkins is a fabulous writer.  Her work is so subtly woven together, and it has depth.

I am a fan of depth.  And charm.

This has both.  Read it, love it.

Across the Universeby Beth Revis

(out in LESS THAN A WEEEEEEK!) (Specifically, out on 1-11-11)

I read this book back in October, around the time I wrote this post (the one with my cover of the Beatles’ song of the same name).

OH MY WORD.  It’s finally, finally, FINALLY (almost) in bookstores.

This book was so good, it inspired me to scour Goodreads for a few hours just to track down a copy for Melissa to read.

Why was it so good, you ask?

Well.  First of all, the entire story intrigued me.  Cryogenically frozen people?  Check.  Spaceship?  Check.  Girl unfrozen and woken up fifty years early—before her parents, and before they land on the new planet?  Check.  As if those elements weren’t enough to make me go, “Huh.  This seems different…and interesting…and awesome…” Beth‘s first chapter was online.  It’s amazing, and it hooked me, and I read the whole book as soon as I could get my hands on it.

Also, I loved the way this book was written.  Even now, three months after I read it, it STILL resonates with me.  It was a beautiful, satisfying read, from the first page to the last.  It made me look at life, and the world in which we live, with newfound appreciation.


Happy reading!

¹OTHER than the fact that it is Birthday Season, I mean. (FYI, Birthday Season = January. My grandmother and I have always celebrated the whole month, and now, I’m including lovelies Liza Kane and Anna Caro in this celebration, too…)

Big Bowl of Crazy

4 Nov

Why, hello, November!  You are bright and shiny (read: dark and rainy and cold and AWESOME), and I’m so glad you’re finally here—just one question.

When did you arrive, and how did I miss you?

(Oops.  Two questions.  My bad.)

Somehow, the number at the bottom of my screen tells me it is already the fourth.  Wha?!  This would not usually be a daunting number, except that it’s November.  Not that I’m doing NaNo, but still.  My November is turning into one big fat bowl of crazy.  I need every day I can get.

So…isn’t a non-NaNoWriMo November supposed to be calm, lovely, smooth, and entirely stress-free? (HA.)  Turns out, that only happens when you treat November as merely November.  If you replace NaNoWriMo with your own combination of NaNoBlahBlahBlah, all sorts of crazy is possible.

For example, here are all the NaNos I’m n̶a̶ï̶v̶e̶l̶y̶  bravely taking on this month:


NOT the pull-out-your-hair, scribble-till-your-arm-falls-off 50K version.  More like the 500 words per day version that I invented merely to get WIP #2’s first draft rolling.  It’s nice to have a no-pressure outlet purely dedicated to creating something fresh.  So far, I’m reaching this goal about every other day.


The lovely Beth Revis invented this one, and the Rev is for revision.  (Note that Beth has a distinct advantage, since the entire revision process is practically named for her.  If only it was called Olsonision…or Olsonion? Alas.  It isn’t.)  This is the Big Project.  The still-needs-work-but-it’s-kind-of-almost-there project.  It’s going well so far.  I’ve figured out a process that works for this draft (the fourth)(funny how everysinglepart of this process requires a new system, no matter how well your old ones work) and am excited and encouraged about the upcoming changes.  Some are significant, some are minor.  All are needed.


This is what Natalie Whipple is doing this month: a ton of reading.  She plans to burn through her tall stack of to-be-reads.  My stack of want-to-reads is ever growing, but for November, I’ll be happy if I get through one—two at most (James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade).


This is fun to say (imagine Sun’s harsh Korean father on LOST saying this like it’s an order to one of his subservient minions), and I made it up two seconds ago.  It stands for Kayla’s November Gym Month.  Yep: self-explanatory.  My sitting to moving ratio isn’t pretty at the moment, and I am dedicated to getting back into good habits.  Even if that only looks like a 30-minute walk on the treadmill—I’m mostly just aiming for consistent effort right now.


Linda came up with this one last year: National House Cleaning Month.  Though I sort of need to participate, I hadn’t planned on it.  I mean, look at my November plans, y’all!  They’re…daunting.  Possible, but daunting.  To add cleaning to the mix seemed useful, but not ultimately important enough to shove my other goals aside.  Until now…


No, I’m not talking about peaches. (MoMo = もも = peach in Japanese, FYI.)  Nope—it’s Kayla’s November Moving Month.  We’ve had some life transition goals in the works for a while (meaning we’ve been dreaming/praying about them and wondering how/when to actually try to act on them).  Well, turns out November is THE month!  Things have fallen into place quickly and perfectly, and we’ll be making a major move before the first of December.

As you might imagine, this last thing could flatten the rest of November to the ground.  Stack of books to read?  Flattened.  Shiny new WIP?  Pancake.  Revisions?  Roadkill.  If that happens, whatever.  Life happens.  And this transition?  Certainly counts as life.  December will be there, if all else fails.

However—I’m going to try to keep the impending transition from steamrolling over my goals.  Forward progress, discipline, and a calm spirit: those are my only REAL goals for November.  If I can accomplish those, I’ll be happy.

So?  Four days in—how are you guys doing with your various sets of lofty goals?  Updates, please!


25 Oct

Unless you have eyes like an…um…something that can see really well and is not a cliché, you might want to click on this to make it bigger.  The whole blog post is on that beautiful orange index card, yo.

PS: Special thanks to @bethrevis and @LizaKane who totally talked me into this software. (Not that I needed much convincing. Just a little nudge.)

PPS: You can check Scrivener out here.  Be warned: if you don’t have a Mac, you might be investing in one once you see this software. (UPDATE! Don’t despair or go broke just yet!  Check out the comments – the ever-awesome @melissaiswrite has provided a link for the soon-to-be-released version for PCs!)

Across the Universe

14 Oct

I’m taking a brief break from all things reading and writing in order to jump on a bandwagon.

Yep.  You read that right.

This bandwagon is called the HECK-YEAH-I’m-excited-about-Beth-Revis’s-ACROSS-THE-UNIVERSE! bandwagon.  It comes complete with a theme song (uh, also known as the Beatles song by the same name…) and a GORGEOUS picture to ogle.  (See also: the gorgeous, ogle-worthy picture of her book’s cover right next to this very paragraph.  I know.  You’re probably ogling already.)

The book itself won’t be out until January, but you can get a sneak peak at the first chapter.  And trust me, if you haven’t already?  You totally want to.

You might be wondering why I’m blabbering on about this, so I’m going to direct you to four places right now.

ONE: Melissa’s blog post about how awesome this book looks, based on the first chapter and the cover.

TWO: The first chapter itself, which is online.  You can either click over from Melissa’s blog (which I would recommend, because her enthusiasm is both warranted and fun to read) or just click here.

THREE: This fantastic post about first chapters, written by Beth Revis herself.


FOUR: If you’ve checked out all the other links and find yourself looking for more ways to pass the months until January rolls around, feel free to click here for my You-Tube cover of “Across the Universe.”

Hope you enjoy the links!  What other books you guys are looking forward to reading?