10.31.2014

Happy Halloween!

9.16.2014

Out Today: 9/16/14 My Picks For New YA Fiction


09/16/14 
I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN
by Jandy Nelson
ISBN-13: 978-0803734968
Publisher: Dial
Pages: 384
AmazonB&NGoodreads
---------------------------
A luminous story of first love and family loss for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell.

Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, impassioned, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for the both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways...until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. Life before the event that divides them is Noah's story to tell. Life after it is Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that each only have half the story, and if they can just find their way back to one another, they'd have a chance to remake their world.



09/16/14 
BLACKBIRD
Blackbird Duology, Book One
by Anna Carey
ISBN-13: 978-0062299734
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 256
AmazonGoodreads
------------------------
This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her. 

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined. 

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.



09/16/14
ECHOES OF US
The Hybrid Chronicles, Book Three
by Kat Zhang
ISBN-13: 978-0062114938
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 368
AmazonB&NGoodreads
---------------------
All Eva ever wanted was the chance to be herself. But in the Americas, to be hybrid—to share your body with a second soul—is not tolerated past childhood. Now Eva and Addie, her sister soul, are constantly on the move, hiding from the officials who seek to capture them. But the tide is changing. A revolution is brewing and people are starting to question the hybrids’ mistreatment. Then Marion, an ambitious reporter, offers Eva and Addie a daring proposal: If they go undercover and film the wretched conditions of a hybrid institution, she will not only rescue them, she’ll find a way to free Jackson, the boy Addie loves. It’s risky, and Eva will have to leave Ryan and her friends behind, but if she succeeds, it could also tip the scales forever and lead to hybrid freedom. As Eva and Addie walk into danger, they cling to each other and the hope of a better future. But the price they might pay is higher than they ever could have imagined.



09/16/14
THE INFINITE SEA
The 5th Wave, Book Two
by Rick Yancey
ISBN-13: 978-0399162428
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Pages: 480
AmazonB&NGoodreads
---------------------
The riveting follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.



09/16/14
MADE FOR YOU
by Melissa Marr
ISBN-13: 978-0062011190
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 368
AmazonB&NGoodreads
--------------------
Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.




09/16/14
THE PERILOUS SEA
The Elemental Trilogy, Book Two
ISBN-13: 978-062207326
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
------------------
From acclaimed author Sherry Thomas comes the striking sequel to The Burning Sky, book two in the Elemental Trilogy, for fans of Cinda Williams Chima, Rae Carson, and Kristin Cashore.

After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

Sherry Thomas brings her trademark blend of dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and exciting action in this striking sequel to The Burning Sky.




09/16/14
SWAY
by Kat Spears
ISBN-13: 978-1250051431
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 320
AmazonB&NGoodreads
-------------------
In this hilarious and often poignant debut YA, a young man who avoids emotional connection at all costs, is forced to open his heart when he meets the girl of his dreams. 

High school senior Jesse Alderman, or Sway as he's known, could sell hell to a bishop. He also specializes in getting things people want-term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs. It's all business with Jesse. He has few close friends and he never lets emotions get in the way.

But when Ken, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things. While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget's younger brother who's belligerent and self-pitying after spending a lifetime dealing with cerebral palsy. Suddenly Jesse is visiting old folks at nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him. The tinman really does have a heart after all.

A Cyrano De Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse's point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion--until Bridget's presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel SOMEthing, again.




09/16/14
THE WITCH'S BOY
by Kelly Barnhill
ISBN-13: 978-1616203511
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 368
AmazonB&NGoodreads
---------------------
A lightning bolt erupted from the cloud and aimed directly at Ned’s heart. He couldn’t cry out. He couldn’t even move. He could just feel the magic sink into his skin and spread itself over every inch of him, bubbling and slithering and cutting deep, until he didn’t know where the magic stopped and he began.

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of his family’s cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it's Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

In the meantime, in another kingdom across the forest that borders Ned’s village lives Áine, the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” But when Áine and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over?

With a deft hand, acclaimed author Kelly Barnhill takes classic fairy tale elements--speaking stones, a friendly wolf, and a spoiled young king--and weaves them into a richly detailed narrative that explores good and evil, love and hate, magic, and the power of friendship.




09/16/14
IN THE AFTERLIGHT
Darkest Minds, Book Three
by Alexandra Bracken
ISBN-13: 978-1423157526
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Pages: 496
AmazonGoodreads
-----------------------
Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. 

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IANN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.




09/16/14
EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN
by Lindsey Lane
ISBN-13: 978-0374300609
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Pages: 240
AmazonB&NGoodreads
-------------------
When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. Tommy was adopted, so maybe he ran away to find his birth parents. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in his own thoughts about particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pull-out off the highway, so maybe someone drove up and snatched him. Or maybe he slipped into a parallel universe. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it is possibly true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.

Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy and third-person chapters about people who find the things Tommy left behind—his red motorbike, his driving goggles, pages from his notebook—Particles explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.




09/16/14
THE VAULT OF DREAMERS
by Caragh M. O'Brien
ISBN-13: 978-1596439382
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pages: 384
AmazonGoodreads
-------------
From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast­paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own. 

The Forge School is the most prestigious performing arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives are televised as part of the 
insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the ridges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

9.09.2014

EAT-SLEEP-READ: YA Book Club August/September- The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas





THE BURNING SKY
The Elemental Trilogy, Book One
Available Now!
Publisher: Balzer + Bray//Pages 480
Find it on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, SDCL
---------------------------------------
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.


The Incredible Sherry Thomas!
This is the EAT-SLEEP-READ- YA Book Club Selection for August! SDCL Book Club members will get to Skype Chat with Sherry Thomas on September 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm PST. If you are in town this is a must attend event. Order your copy today!

A Quick ReviewA wondrous imaginative and completely uniquely fantastical brain-meltingly wonderful book. I devoured this book in slow meticulous bites, uncovering a deeply thought out world. And none of the world building would matter if not for Titus & Iolanthe being incredible characters. Incredible, nothing else can describe how I think of Titus. Self-sacrificing, powerful, honorable, devious, genius, a liar, incredibly brave, and dreamy. And Iolanthe is pretty awesome too.... She's prickly, independent and that rounds out her otherwise too perfectness- beauty, power, and wickedly smart. This seemingly doomed romance between Iolanthe and Titus is kinetic, and their contencious partnership is constantly in peril of falling apart. The only thing keeping them together is Titus's underhandedness and ruthlessness- he is such a wonderful liar. I LOVED THIS BOOK!

9.04.2014

What I'm Excited About: Sublime by Christina Lauren


SUBLIME
by Christina Lauren
Coming 10/14/14
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BYR 
Pages: 336
Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads
Ask your local library to order or stock this item!
-------------------
Alternating chapters from each of their perspectives, Lauren imbues each character with a distinct lyrical quality—Lucy’s chapters are surreal and dreamlike, while Colin’s point of view is harder and sharper. The poetic writing and shared viewpoints of these two damaged souls seamlessly flow together in this spooky, sexy romance, dripping with heady sweetness.
Stacey Comfort, Booklist/The American Library Association

True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read".

When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

Christian Lauren are a little hit or miss for me, I was underwhelmed by their juggernaut hit Beautiful Bastard- a very adult series, but melted with love for their New Adult book Sweet Filthy Boy- book one in the Wild Seasons series. Adding the Tahereh Mafi seal of approval I am so excited to get my hands on Sublime!

9.03.2014

Yelena & Velek are coming back in Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder






SHADOW STUDY
Study Series, Book Four
Publisher: Mira // 384 pages
Coming February 24, 2015
Find it on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
Catch up on the series- check it out from SDCL.org
------------------------------------------------------
New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue. 

Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job—and his life—are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret—or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is—while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous…

When I heard that Maria Snyder was going back to Yelena and Valek's story I almost had a heart attack. Nothing was more amazing than those two in Poison Study- and yes the rest of the trilogy was insanely excellent- but it all started with the explosion of awesome that is Poison Study. Now we are going to be able to concentrate on Yelena and Valek- and I NEED A LOT OF VALEK please. A lot.

8.19.2014

The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas

THE HIDDEN BLADE
The Heart of Blade Duology, Book One
260 pages
Available Now
Find it on: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
------------------------------
In the waning days of the last dynasty, in a quiet, beautiful corner of imperial Peking, a young girl's blissful ignorance is shattered when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an English adventurer and a Chinese courtesan. What future is there for such a girl? But a mysterious figure steps forward and offers to instruct her in the highest forms of martial arts--a path to a life of strength and independence.

Half a world away in England, a young boy's idyllic summer on the Sussex downs implodes with the firing of a single bullet. Torn from his family, he becomes the hostage of a urbanely sadistic uncle. He dreams of escaping to find his beloved friend--but the friend is in China, ten thousand miles away.

The girl trains to be deadly. The boy flees across continents. They do not know it yet, but their lives are already inextricably bound together, and will collide one fateful night when they least expect it.

'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' meets 'Downton Abbey,' this remarkable tale of friendship, danger, and coming of age will stay with you long after you have finished the last page.


A prequel to MY BEAUTIFUL ENEMY.

My review:

This novel length novella and prequel to My Beautiful Enemy and is a lushly detailed gem. Detailing the backstory for characters Ying-ying and Leighton it creates incredible momentum and desire for readers to immediately need to continue with My Beautiful Enemy. It weaves this incredible story of Leighton in England crossing wits with a cruel uncle set on controlling him, and Ying-ying in Peking secretly training as a martial artist. I cannot wait to get the two characters on the same page and see how this backstory colors their actions and reactions to one an other. Sherry Thomas has delivered another incredible couple, story, making it as Epic as I was hoping for.

7.06.2014

Must Have in 2015: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


THE RED QUEEN
Coming February 10, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0062310637
Publisher: HarperTeen // Pages: 400
Find it on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
Make sure to ask your local library to stock this book!
------------------------------------------------------
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own--an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard--the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince--and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

7.05.2014

An American Duchess by Sharon Page


AN AMERICAN DUCHESS
Coming 09/30/14
Publisher: Harlequin HQN // Pages: 384
Find it on: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads 
Request your local library to stock this book!
---------------------------------------------
At the height of the Roaring Twenties, New York heiress Zoe Gifford longs for the freedoms promised by the Jazz Age. Headstrong and brazen, but bound by her father's will to marry before she can access his fortune, Zoe arranges for a brief marriage to Sebastian Hazelton, whose aristocratic British family sorely needs a benefactor.

Once in England, her foolproof plan to wed, inherit and divorce proves more complicated than Zoe had anticipated. Nigel Hazelton, Duke of Langford and Sebastian's austere older brother, is disgraced by the arrangement and looks down upon the raucous young American who has taken up residence at crumbling Brideswell Abbey. Still reeling from the Great War, Nigel is now staging a one-man battle against a rapidly changing world—and the outspoken Zoe represents everything he's fighting against. When circumstances compel Zoe to marry Nigel rather than Sebastian, she does so for love, he for honor. But with Nigel unwilling to change with the times, Zoe may be forced to choose between her husband and her dreams.


IB Teen Reviews An American Duchess 


I knew when I read the synopsis for An American Duchess that I was going to be reading something special. A romance that was going to marry my love of Downton Abbey, aviatrices, Mr. Darcy, and Miss Phryne Fisher. I could not wait to curl up in bed and devour this romance!

And from the very start I was not disappointed! Zoe jumped off the page with daring and humor and modernity, while Nigel galloped heroically onto the scene with ice cold cutting disdain and white hot attraction. I was quickly swept up in the Hazelton family and the Brideswell Abbey. Nigel was clearly suffering from PTSD from serving in The Great War and it affected every aspect of his life and family. Zoe came in and brought the Abbey back to life, brought Nigel back to life. Their chemistry was scorching, and their scenes whether they be banter, clashes, dares, or sizzling passion were absolutely addicting. This romance felt epic, the story was so big, and the relationship goes through serious trial and tribulations. I wish this was the start of a series, or that I could reset my brain and read it afresh, but this is a story that should not be missed! Bravo Sharon Page, you have made a fan out of me!

6.06.2014

The Girl Who Never Was Tour Stop: Interview with author Skylar Dorset & Review

Romantic, suspenseful, and witty all at once–Alice in Wonderland meets Neverwhere.” –Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the Evernight series

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS
Otherworld, Book One
Available Now!
ISBN-13: 978-1402292538
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire // Pages: 304
Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads
-------------------------------------------------------------
THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.



Get to know Skylar Dorset:

Skylar’s first story was a tale of romantic intrigue involving two feuding factions of squirrels. Think “Romeo & Juliet” but with bushy tails and added espionage. She was seven.

Since that time, Skylar’s head has been filled with lots of characters and lots of drama. She is delighted to be able to share some of it with all of you now, because, honestly, it was getting pretty loud and crowded in there.


Skylar is a born-and-bred New Englander, which is why Boston was a natural setting for her debut novel, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS. Skylar shares her home with a cardboard cutout of the Tenth Doctor, lots of Mardi Gras beads from the time she spent living in New Orleans, and a harp she’s supposed to be teaching herself to play. She’d like to get a dog.

Facebook     Tumblr     Twitter   pinterest  





IB Teen chats with The Girl Who Never Was author Skylar Dorset: *In which I reveal my obsession with a particular Goblin...

*This question contains SPOILERS-
IBT: In Selkie’s mind Ben was her unspoken quasi-boyfriend, or at least her imaginary unrequited true love. Can you tell us did Ben consider Selkie his girl from the very start?

SD: No. That crept up on him. He considered her his responsibility from the very start. He didn’t expect to feel as affectionately toward her as he ended up doing. It caught him completely by surprise when he realized it. (In fact, he was in denial about it for a very long time. It was Will who really had to point it out to him.)

IBT: Mothers are a huge theme in Girl Who Never Was- specifically absentee mothers and the children who will go to any length to reconnect with them. What was it about Selkie and Ben that make them look for who they are by seeking their mothers out?

SD: I think for both of them the search for their mothers is part of a larger search for who they are in general. Where Selkie is concerned, no one ever talks to her about her mother, she knows almost nothing about her, she is an enormous black hole of non-information. And Selkie feels like she doesn’t have much of an idea of who she is, and thinks that’s because she doesn’t know her mother. It becomes almost a matter of convenience for her: I’ll know what to do with my life if I can just find my mother; she’ll have all the answers. Selkie turns out to be right about that in one way but very wrong about that in another way. I like to think that what Selkie has to learn is that she already knows who she is, she always did, that knowing who you are does NOT mean having all the answers and in fact really means accepting that you never will. 

Ben has almost the opposite problem of Selkie: He’s talked to about his mother constantly. I think Will has a line about how Ben is “relentlessly compared” to his mother (and if Will doesn’t, he should, or he did, or something). So Ben never knew his mother but he *feels* like he knows her, and he feels like he knows he will never measure up to the myth of her. Ben defines himself by this unknown figure everyone keeps telling him about, and the idea of getting to *meet* this figure basically rocks his world. And it’s part of Ben’s journey to learn the same lesson Selkie learns, just from the opposite direction: Who you are isn’t a matter of who anyone else is. 

IBT: Fathers were also a significant theme. Selkie’s father is a loving parent, but they are kept apart- literally and figuratively- by his mental illness. Ben’s father resides in a different realm, and is currently “personifying a rat”. Both father figures are unconventional to say the least. Why did you put so many barriers between parent and child?

SD: This is one of those situations where you realize as an author that a lot of YOU is showing. I actually have a very large, very close family. So I wrote entirely about characters who *don’t* have that, mostly because I wanted to explore that. Who would I be without my family? Well, who are Selkie and Ben? The answer is: They’re themselves. In a way, I used this book to teach myself the same lesson I taught Selkie and Ben: who we are is who we are, whether your family is large or small, whether you have a few very close friends or you’re a social butterfly. 

*This question contains SPOILERS-
IBT: The prophecy regarding Ben- in which he is foretold to betray Selkie, and then die soon thereafter- has he set it in motion by leaving the group? Leaving Selkie? 

SDAh, you’ve hit upon the central conflict of THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME! Selkie certainly thinks so. But Ben would disagree. And what, after all, does the prophecy really say? STAY TUNED. 

*This question contains SPOILERS-
IBT: Isn’t it fair to say that Ben was betrayed by Selkie and Will when they kept news of Ben’s mother from him? They omitted the information to serve their own goals. At that point the trust was broken. Why is it then a “betrayal” for Ben to leave? Sure I don’t want him to separate from the group- that means I won’t see him on the page- but isn’t it understandable, even if it is selfish?

SD: The decisions people make on behalf of the people they love are always tricky and complicated and difficult to categorize (which is, incidentally, why prophecies are so maddeningly impossible to untangle: What does “betray” mean, after all?). I really wanted, with Ben’s decision at the end of the book, to leave the reader in exactly the position you’re in: You can understand why Selkie begs him not to leave, but you can also understand why Ben felt like he had to. I wanted you to be split. I didn’t want either one of them to be entirely *right* in how they were behaving (just as I didn’t want either one of them to be entirely *wrong*). Because they’re in a messy situation and there really is no right or wrong. Will and later Selkie keep the knowledge about Ben’s mother from him partly out of protectiveness, partly out of caution, partly out of helplessness. If they’d told him sooner, would Ben have left sooner? Would the prophecy have fallen apart sooner? All questions for THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME, but, honestly, all questions that are almost impossible to answer, because worlds with prophecies can actually be harder to navigate than worlds where you never have any idea what’s coming. 

IBT: I’m extremely curious about those gorgeous Goblins. Hello! Will we meet Tall-Dark-and-Smoldering-Handsome Crown wearing Goblin in the Library? He jumped off the page with a mere mention. (But also they were the tool the Seelie’s used in the genocide of the Travelers- so maybe I shouldn’t be so eager?) Help! Are Goblins good bad-boys or bad bad-boys?
Available December 2, 2014

SD: Goblins are, like all truly excellent characters, a little bit of both. You will indeed meet Tall-Dark-and-Smoldering-Handsome Crown wearing Goblin in the Library in THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME. In fact, you’ll be spending a lot of time with him. Hopefully you’ll continue to love him. Come back to me after THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME comes out, and we’ll chat a ton about him. ;-)

IBT: If Selkie’s “superpower” is for Naming things and people, could she Name someone back into existence after they’ve been named by a Seelie and drifted?

SD: Unfortunately, naming doesn’t work that way. She can name someone and improve their condition, but once they’ve been named out of existence, they’ve become irretrievable. 

As far as *naming* is concerned. 

TO BE CONTINUED. 

IBT: Are gnomes really moving Aunt True & Aunt Virtue’s possessions by inches at a time?

SD: Hahaha! This is one of my favorite central unresolved questions of the books. I leave it up to the reader, but in my head: Yes. They are. They’re very pesky, those gnomes!

IBTWill is quite the Lothario, is it that Wizard’s by nature are rather romantic, or is it specific to Will? He seems to leave a trail of broken hearts wherever he goes.

SD: Nope, that’s specific to Will. Most wizards are actually loners by nature, secretive and combative. They don’t make friends or build alliances easily. Will, however, craves friends. He’s prone to loneliness and is constantly trying to surround himself with people. He’s also a severe romantic, as you note. He falls in love easily and passionately and he means every minute of it. Although he also falls out of love just as easily. While it’s true that he leaves a trail of broken hearts, he doesn’t mean to do it in a malicious way; he just doesn’t understand why everyone else doesn’t fall in and out of love as easily as he does. 

IBT: Is redemption or reconciliation for Selkie and her Mother possible?

SD: I like to live in a world where redemption and reconciliation are always possible, and nothing is ever hopeless. But what does all that mean for the prophecy??

IBT: Thanks Skylar! I cannot wait for THE BOY WITH THE HIDDEN NAME! I have sooo many more questions about what happens next!




IB Teen reviews Girl Who Never Was and Girl Who Kissed a Lie:



Beautifully written, lushly detailed, fantastical first book to a wonderful new series!

The Girl Who Never was goes deep into the imagination to bring us an action packed tale full of quests, romance, and the search for identity. Selkie Stewart is determined to find the mother she never new, and in doing so completely unravels the fabric of her reality. Enter in Faeries, Goblins, Wizards and intricately woven new worlds. Fantasy and romance readers should run, not walk to get your hands on this delicious book.


I usually don't love faerie stories. Faeries tend to be scarily powerful, but with rules so convoluted and nonsensical- plus faeries keep too many secrets. And while GWNW has all of that, it is enriched by vividly realized storytelling. Colors, locations, characters are all brought to life with almost tangible detail. The quirkiness of the characters is terribly endearing with the added bonus of serving a purpose. There is a reason that Selkie is a bit of a magpie, she picks up the oddest bits and puts them in her pocket, "Just in case". And there always is. There's a reason why Ben is covered in odd layers at all times. There's  a reason why Aunt True & Aunt Virtue are constantly paranoid & complain about gnomes. There is a for Selkie Father's madness.

Within the pages of this book, and Girl Who Kissed a Lie, you'll find a human bestfriend in Kelsey. If you haven't yet read the FREE novella "Girl Who Kissed a Lie", then do so immediately. DO it so that you may:

A: feel the full power of Kelsey's AMAZINGNESS as a bestie. 
B: Feel the Ben love and tension between him and Selkie all the more acutely.
"...Ben is- I think- older than me in a way that always makes me feel very young, but I don't think he does it on purpose, the way college guys do when we cross paths on the T ...  Ben is effortlessly older than me."
"...I don't even remember having to tell Ben my name, why should I have to tell him that we're kind of dating, even if he doesn't know it and has never kissed me? He should just know." --Selkie about Ben.

Ben. He's weird, secretive, beyond mysterious, bossy, and loathes getting wet- but he is WONDERFUL. This lovely and trembling imaginary love affair Selkie has going on in her head with Ben, the older guy who is all hers (meaning she doesn't tell anyone about him) is EPIC- and seemingly unrequited. Seemingly. Yet Ben acts so peremptorily towards Selkie, not always overtly, but he is accustomed to a certain dynamic between them, and it throws him when Selkie deviates from their relationship pattern. It's confusing to her, and intoxicating, and completely 
empathetical because we have all at one time in our lives been the Queen of our own all consuming and completely imaginary love affair. Anyway, at least it begins all in her imagination.
" 'Selkie,' he bites out, "I am the only thing that has ever made your life make sense. Do you trust me?"..."But I need you now, just for a minute more, just the way you usually do, and come with me." --Ben to Selkie.
Adventure, romance, intrigue, quests, impossible tasks, terrible Mothers, torture, Kisses, sexy Goblins, player Wizards, paranoid ogres, lunatic fathers, time is not time, and reality which is not reality, evil Seelie Faeries, and more mythical creatures than I can list. What is not to love?


    
  
My reactions for Girl Who Never Was:




My reactions for Girl Who Kissed a Lie: