Thursday, January 15, 2015

Free ebook: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Kiera Cass's The Selection is currently* free on UK Kindle and Kobo.

Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals…

It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s love.

Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.

Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret – one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.

*Update 21.1.15: Not free any more.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Two Instances of Prufrock

T S Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", commonly known as "Prufrock" has popped up twice in my reading recently. I hadn't come across it before, having studied no poetry except for Chaucer at school - that I can remember at least.

The first time I noticed it, I didn't realise it was "famous" - and it was on the cover of Ally Condie's Atlantia:

Human Voices Wake Us,
And We Drown

however I'm currently about halfway through The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and lead female character Hazel has been  quoting the whole poem and when she used the lines mentioned above I got googling.

So I've learnt something. Plus I knew Val McDermid had borrowed the title The Mermaids Singing from Eliot but I hadn't realised it was this poem.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Age of Miracles (Redux)

Karen Thompson Walker's fabulous The Age of Miracles has just been re-released as a Young Adult Edition by Simon & Schuster:

I first read The Age of Miracles when it came out in 2012 and I loved it. It still haunts me and I really look forward to Ms Walker's next book.

The accompanying paperwork to my copy suggests 14+ as a guideline - though the protagonist Julia is around eleven. In my review I felt that the book would appeal to older readers ie adults more than teenagers, so I'm eager to have feedback from younger readers.

I shall be popping a copy on my upcoming 'Crossover Fiction' display at work (library).

My original review is here.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Favourite Read of 2014

My favourite read of 2014, across all the genres I read - crime, SF and YA - and the only one to get a 5 star rating on Good Reads was ... Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I absolutely adored this book and yet it took the film coming out to nudge me to read it. I watched the DVD and didn't want it to end. I immediately read the Free Four knife-throwing scene then hunted out my copy of Divergent the book. Though there are some differences I think the film captured the book very well and the casting was good (more on this in a moment). Of course once I'd finished Divergent I had to immediately read Insurgent and similarly then Allegiant and finally Four.

Tris alone narrates the first two books however Allegiant is split between Tris and Four and unfortunately this didn't work for me at all. The voices were similar and Four becomes a weaker character and this is where Theo James as Four will have a lot of work to do to carry it off. In the Divergent film he (is and) seems older and wiser than Tris and yet the roles become reversed in Allegiant.

For me the series went from 5 (Divergent)  to 4 (Insurgent) to 3 (Allegiant) stars - nonetheless I'm glad to have read it and wonder what Ms Roth will write next.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Maze Runner Prequel Announced

In today's Booktrade, James Dashner is to write a prequel to The Maze Runner:
Chicken House Publishing Ltd. will publish the fifth novel in James Dashner's #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, which has sold 7 million copies worldwide, as announced today by publisher Barry Cunningham.

THE FEVER CODE reveals the time directly before The Maze Runner and will tell the story of how Thomas, Teresa and the Gladers found themselves trapped in the Maze and how it was created. Dashner's The Maze Runnner movie will be released in cinemas in the UK on 10th October. It opened last month in the USA at #1 at the box office.
The second movie based on the series, entitled Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, is scheduled to release on 18th September 2015.

'From the very beginning, I've always wanted to write a prequel about Thomas, Teresa, Newt, Minho, Alby and all the Gladers that leads up to the very moment Thomas enters the Box. There are so many things hinted at that will be fun to reveal in depth. For years, fans have made it abundantly and enthusiastically clear that they want the same thing, so now seems like the perfect time to give readers the story of how the Maze began.' JAMES DASHNER
Read the whole article here

Sunday, October 5, 2014

News: Egmont USA & 2 Publishing Deals for Hot Key Books

Some more YA news from Friday's Booktrade: Egmont USA is up for sale, and details of two publishing deals by Hot Key Books:
Norse fantasy and dark psychological thrills abound in two exciting debut acquisitions for Hot Key Books: BIRDY by writer Jess Vallance, and THE YELLING STONES by twenty-six-year-old historian Oskar Jensen.

BIRDY is a troubling and deliciously dark thriller about the all-consuming friendship between two teenage girls. Vallance works as a freelance writer and has written articles on everything from business accounting to embalming a body. Hot Key acquired BIRDY in a two book deal.

In a very different genre is Oskar Jensen's Nordic fantasy THE YELLING STONES. Set in the Danish court of Jelling, Astrid, a Viking princess, and Leif, a brave poet, must unravel the mysteries of their ancient land in order to protect it from a dangerous force. Rich in historical detail, THE YELLING STONES echoes Rosemary Sutcliffe's classic storytelling and Rick Riordan's sense of adventure. Jensen's Danish heritage inspired him to write THE YELLING STONES. He has spent the past seven years at Oxford, reading three successive degrees in History, and is now a post-doctoral researcher in the Music Department of King's College London.

Oskar Jensen says: "I wrote The Yelling Stones because of two stones I once saw standing in a Danish graveyard. This is a world of beauty and of poetry, magic and death all mixed together. It's a world that really existed, and it thrills me to the core that I get to share it."

THE YELLING STONES will be published in paperback in April 2015, with BIRDY following in paperback in July 2015.
Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Publishing Deals - Lauren Blakely and Lyla Payne

Bloomsbury Spark has given publishing deals to Lauren Blakely and Lyla Payne. From today's Booktrade:

Bloomsbury is thrilled to announce the acquisition of two novels and two novellas for the Bloomsbury Spark imprint from bestselling authors Lauren Blakely and Lyla Payne.

Daisy Whitney, writing as Lauren Blakely, will publish two projects with Bloomsbury Spark in 2015: 21 Kisses, a New Adult novel coming in Spring 2015, and an untitled crossover novella with a holiday theme, coming in Autumn 2015. Both books will be part of the new Wrapped Up in Love series that is a spinoff of Lauren Blakely's successful Caught Up in Love series. Her self-published October release, Stars In Their Eyes, kicks off the new series that will continue with Bloomsbury Spark's 21 Kisses.

Whitney has written several critically-acclaimed, award-winning young adult novels, including The Mockingbirds, The Rivals, When You Were Here, Starry Nights, and The Fire Artist. As Lauren Blakely, she has had five New York Times bestsellers and eight USA Today bestsellers. 21 Kisses is the perfect book to unite her young adult and adult readerships, featuring a tantalizing forbidden love and full of intense family drama.

Trisha Leigh, writing as Lyla Payne, will also publish two upcoming projects with Bloomsbury Spark: The Historians, a young adult novel coming in Spring 2015, in which a seventeen-year-old girl travels back in time to document important events to prevent them from being repeated, and Mistletoe and Mr. Right, a Christmas New Adult novella, coming in December 2014.

Leigh is the author of the young adult series The Last Year and The Cavy Files. As Lyla Payne, she is the USA Today bestselling author of New Adult novels, including Broken at Love, By Referral Only, Be My Downfall, Staying on Top, and the Lowcountry Ghost Story series.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New UK Prize for YA Fiction

Exciting news in today's The Bookseller:
The Bookseller is to launch the first ever prize for Young Adult books in the UK and Ireland.

The decision to create the prize was made after The Bookseller reported on the deficit of YA book prizes for British and Irish authors, a matter highlighted by many of the publishers interviewed.

Nigel Roby, publisher and chief executive of The Bookseller Group, said: “From the very first meetings with publishers and retailers it has been crystal clear that the prize is much needed and that The Bookseller is ideally placed to deliver it. We have one simple desire that underpins everything we do: we want more readers reading more books. The YA Book Prize gives us a wonderful opportunity to put that desire into practice.”

Any YA title written by an author living in the UK or Ireland, published between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2014, is eligible for the prize. It will be judged by a group of teenage readers alongside leading industry experts such as World Book Day director Kirsten Grant, Waterstones children’s books buyer Melissa Cox, and Rosianna Halse Rojas. vlogger and assistant to YA author John Green.

The winning author will receive £2,000.

Submissions are now open, and a shortlist of eight to 10 titles will be announced in early December. The shortlist will reflect the wide breadth of YA literature that is available—from dystopia and fantasy to comedy, drama, horror and real-life stories.

The prize is sponsored by story-sharing start-up Movellas. Its c.e.o. Joe Cohen said he wanted to get involved with the prize because Movellas users were inspired by YA literature as much as they were by other mediums, such as music, TV, YouTube and Tumblr.  

“The Movellas team wanted to help launch the award because of our community’s relationships with teen books,” Cohen said. “If we can help raise the profile of YA authors and their books, we’re playing a small part in helping our community—and all young people—to engage with great writing.”

The winning title will be announced at a ceremony at Foyles’ flagship store on Charing Cross Road in central London, on 19th March 2015.

Full submission details can be found online at

Friday, September 19, 2014

Publishing Deal - Amy Alward & James Dawson on Diversity Monitoring

In today's Bookseller, news of a publishing deal for Amy Alward (aka Amy McCulloch):

Simon and Schuster Children’s Books has acquired a new title from Amy Alward, author and editorial director at Puffin.

The Potion Diaries is about a girl called Samantha Kemi who dreams of going to university to study potions. She has absolutely no magical talent but her instinct for putting together a potion is second to none. When the city’s princess is accidentally poisoned Samantha sets off on an adventure to find all the ingredients.

Elv Moody, fiction editorial director, and Jane Griffiths, commissioning editor at S&S Children’s UK, acquired the world English rights from Juliet Mushens at The Agency Group in a six figure pre-emptive deal.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything that feels as fresh as this,” said Moody. “With pulse-pounding thrills, a contest to save a princess (who is much more Kate Middleton than Rapunzel) takes place in a whirlwind of paparazzi and social media – with just a touch of perfect romantic chemistry.”

The book, described as "a clean teen title for readers aged 11 plus", will be published in paperback in summer 2015.

Also in The Bookseller, James Dawson speaking about diversity:

YA author James Dawson has called for “diversity monitoring” from children’s publishers.

The author proposed the idea as he delivered the annual Patrick Hardy lecture to the Children’s Book Circle in London last night (17th September). In the speech, Dawson said children’s and YA books should feature characters of different gender, sexualities, faiths, abilities, ethnicities, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Children’s books are actually quite diverse but it’s hard to know for sure either way,” he explained to The Bookseller. “It would be a big job to monitor for diversity but it would come down to publishers. It they kept track of diversity they would have actual statistics. They would keep on top of good practice as well.” He added: “There’s always the risk of ticking a box then moving along. We want to track the industry to check that we don’t get a situation where, for example, suddenly it’s been 10 years since they last published a title with a gay character.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Awards News: Longlist Announced for NBA Young People's Literature 2014

The longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature 2014 has been announced:
Laurie Halse Anderson -  The Impossible Knife of Memory (Viking/ Penguin Group (USA))

Gail Giles -  Girls Like Us (Candlewick Press)

Carl Hiaasen -  Skink—No Surrender (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers/ Random House)

Kate Milford - Greenglass House (Clarion Books/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Eliot Schrefer -  Threatened (Scholastic Press)

Steve Sheinkin -  The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
(Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan Publishers)

Andrew Smith -  100 Sideways Miles (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster)

John Corey Whaley -  Noggin (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster)

Deborah Wiles - Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two (Scholastic Press)

Jacqueline Woodson -  Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Group (USA))

The Guardian fleshes out the list.