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Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Rain by Ian Pople

September 14th, 2018 (06:00 am)
awake

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: The Golden Girls score music

A lexicon of words that were not
said in childhood, and all of those
that were, were said beside
an upturned boat, lapped
planking of the creosoted shed,
were said into the wind on
tussocky ground, by farm-rust vehicles.

The buildings I could not complete
without my father's help, the wind
in which I was at sea. Rain blooming
in August that moved the land
and over land toward the autumn,
sliding through the gates of summer,
feeling for the bone inside the wrist.

- Rain by Ian Pople

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Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: To the New Year by W. S. Merwin

September 7th, 2018 (06:00 am)
optimistic

Current Mood: optimistic
Current Song: I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

- To the New Year by W. S. Merwin

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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Little Willow [userpic]

Interview: Courtney Summers

September 4th, 2018 (06:00 am)
determined

Current Mood: determined
Current Song: Liar and the Lighter cover by Gabrielle Aplin



I've been reading the works of Courtney Summers since her first novel, Cracked Up to Be, was released. Today marks the release of her latest book, Sadie, a story that offers both a first-person narrative and podcast transcripts as alternating chapters follow Sadie's search for the person she believes is responsible for the death of her little sister and the search for Sadie, who told no one where she was going nor who she suspected.

I read the majority of this book in one sitting (it would have been all in one sitting if I hadn't been interrupted!) and loyally listened to the every week. Now, as part of her blog tour, I got to ask Courtney a few things about Sadie and her story.

Tell us the story behind Sadie's name. Her middle name, Lera, has importance, and I'd love to know if her first and last name do as well!

When I have to settle on a character’s name, I go through a list of them (usually on Nymbler), until I see one and feel a "click." I came across the name "Sadie" and I just knew in my gut it belonged to her. Her last name, Hunter, is a little bit of a nod to what she’s set out to do, and . . . a bit of a nod to Sam and Dean Winchester. :)

Throughout the book, Sadie visits many towns. Do any of them resemble your own hometown?

I think all of the towns in the novel start with aspects from places that are familiar to me, personally, in my life, but through the course of writing the novel those fictitious places are built upon and evolve until they become something that is wholly their own, and maybe - hopefully - a little familiar to everyone.

The following questions and answers are part of the general blog tour.


Did you experience more difficulty writing one or the other, or did you like writing in one form more?

I enjoyed both of them. Writing Sadie’s perspective was very familiar to me because all of my books feature an intensely close first person, female point-of-view. Writing West’s perspective, the podcast format, proved a little more challenging. Not so much because of the way it was written (scripts) but because each episode had to propel Sadie’s narrative forward and give us a different way of looking at the things she went through.

How much of the novel did you write in chronological order, and how much did you jump around?

So far, I’ve only ever been able to write in chronological order!

Was this how you always envisioned the book or did it change as you wrote it?

Regina Spektor said something really interesting about writing songs that I’ve always loved and related to as an author. She said, “[A]s soon as you try and take a song from your mind into piano and voice and into the real world, something gets lost and it’s like a moment where, in that moment you forget how it was and it’s this new way. And then when you make a record, even those ideas that you had, then those get all turned and changed. So in the end, I think, it just becomes its own thing and really I think a song could be recorded a million different ways and so what my records are, it just happened like that, but it’s not like, this is how I planned it from the very beginning because I have no idea, I can’t remember.”

I feel something similar when writing - the heart of my idea remains intact, but the way it takes its ultimate form is always a little different (or even a lot different) than I might have been expecting, which makes it difficult to recall the starting point. But that’s okay as long as the heart is still there and you’re satisfied with and believe in what you’ve created.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters? Which of your characters do you most identify with, and why?

When I first started Sadie, I was extremely skeptical of West - he had to prove himself to readers over the course of his narrative and given the nature of his job, I was curious to see where writing him would take me. I really loved the way his arc unfolded. I wasn’t necessarily surprised by it, but more gratified by it than I realized I would be.

I identify with little pieces of all of my characters, but I like to keep those to myself because I don’t want risk readers thinking about me while they read. I like my role as an author to be invisible.

What gave you the idea for the novel?

One of the things that inspired Sadie was the way we consume violence against women and girls as a form of entertainment. When we do that, we reduce its victims to objects, which suggests a level of disposability - that a girl’s pain is only valuable to us if we’re being entertained by it. But it’s not her responsibility to entertain us. What is our responsibility to us? I really wanted to explore that and the way we dismiss missing girls and what the cost of that ultimately is.

Do you have a favorite scene, quote, or moment from Sadie?

My favorite moment is a spoiler, but my favorite quote is this: “I wish this was a love story.”

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I used to have an answer for this kind of question but the older I get, that’s changed. I wouldn’t tell her anything. Her experience as a writer unfolded the way it was supposed to and I like how it’s turning out.

~ ~ ~

A little more about the book:

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray - a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America - overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Read an excerpt of Sadie by Courtney Summers.

Listen to THE GIRLS podcast on or . The Girls podcast is a full cast audio drama that contains much of West McCray's part of the story. Sadie's chapters are not included in the podcast, so you should read the book to get the full story!

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Interview: Courtney Summers (2015)
Interview: Courtney Summers (2008)
Book Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Book Review: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Book Review: Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
Book Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
What Makes Courtney Summers Smile
So You Want to Read YA? Booklist by Little Willow at Stacked

Little Willow [userpic]

Best Books of August 2018

September 1st, 2018 (11:01 am)
awake

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Reckless Heart by Jessie Early

August: 6 books and scripts read

My top read this month was Sadie by Courtney Summers, which comes out Tuesday, September 4th. I've also been faithfully listening to The Girls, an audio drama based on Sadie. Drop by Tuesday morning for more about the book and the podcast + a new interview with Courtney!

Little Willow [userpic]

Books to Read (Forthcoming Releases)

September 1st, 2018 (07:00 am)
thoughtful

Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Song: Without a Trace theme song

September 2018
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
Sadie by Courtney Summers

October 2018
Blackbird comic by Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

November 2018
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Half-Hazard by Kristen Tracy

December 2018
The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

Sometime in 2018
Dear Miss Sweetie by Stacey Lee
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

April 2019
The Pandora Room by Christopher Golden

Fall 2019
Magic Camper by Courtney Sheinmel and Bianca Turetsky ‏
The Survival List by Courtney Sheinmel

Summer 2019
We Are the Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: a light like mine by rupi kaur

August 31st, 2018 (06:00 am)
pleased

Current Mood: pleased
Current Song: Fringe score music

you can imitate a light like mine
but you cannot become it

- Rupi Kaur

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: the art of growing by rupi kaur

August 24th, 2018 (06:00 am)
determined

Current Mood: determined
Current Song: Heaven/Hell by Chvrches

i am not a mannequin in the window
of your favorite shop
you can't dress me up or
throw me out when i am worn

- an excerpt from the art of growing by Rupi Kaur

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: Set in School and Transition Times

August 19th, 2018 (08:30 am)
nerdy

Current Mood: nerdy
Current Song: Four Years by Jon McLaughlin

My friend Claire asked for a list of YA books which focused on school life. After giving her some recommendations, I typed up this list, and kept adding more and more titles until I had a booklist populated with characters in various grade levels going through all sorts of transitions.

Elementary and middle school:

The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary - Follow Ramona from age 4 to age 10.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson - While Astrid spends the summer before junior high at roller derby camp, she can feel her best friend drifting away. Great graphic novel with a sporty punch!

Sixth Grade Secrets by Louis Sachar - Classic girls vs. boys story that also encourages honesty and inspires laughter.

Standing for Socks by Elissa Brent Weissman - Entering middle school, and searching for individualism.

... and, of course, The Baby-Sitters Club. Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey are in seventh grade when the series begins. After a handful of books, they are promoted to eighth grade, at which time they gain two additional members, Jessi and Mallory, who are sixth graders. The girls stay in middle school for the remainder of the series. The original four girls finally graduated from eighth grade at the end of the final series, Friends Forever.

Between middle school and high school:
Transitioning from middle school to high school can be exciting, scary, difficult, and overwhelming. The following stories include middle school graduations and/or the summer between middle school and high school.

The Summer I Saved the World...in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz

Lucky by Rachel Vail (the first in a trilogy about sisters)

Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Sherri L. Smith

Freshman year of high school:
I highly recommend all of the titles on this freshman list. They get it, they really do.

The True Meaning of Cleavage by Mariah Fredericks - The separation of two best friends. Highly recommended.

Nothing but the Truth by Avi - This documentary novel chronicles the life of a ninth grade boy whose minor disturbance in class leads to a major media story.

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar - A fantastic story, a well-written book.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - School factors heavily into this incredibly memorable story.

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson - In this case, the freshman is the protagonist's younger sister, Hannah.

So Not the Drama by Paula Chase - Four friends navigate the high school hallways. The first in a series.

Perfect Girl by Mary Hogan - A first crush, a worldly aunt, and so much more.

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith - Grieving and healing, a girl and a boy, alone and together.

Looks by Madeleine George - One of the two main characters is a freshman, the other a sophomore.

A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell - A freshman girl, still reeling from the loss of her older brother, must enter high school without him there to help her.

Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas - The only member of her family to escape her father's abuse, a quiet girl enters high school, finds her place on the volleyball court, and finds her voice.

Deep in the Heart of High School by Veronica Goldbach - Three best friends - three very different girls who play different instruments in the school marching band and have totally different families - march through their freshman year of high school.

Boarding school and/or private school - for elementary and middle school readers:

The Ballet School Diaries by Alexandra Moss - This cute and fun series for kids is set at a ballet boarding school in the UK.

Accidentally Fabulous series by Lisa Papademetriou - The fashionable protagonist goes to a private middle school on scholarship.
- Accidentally Fabulous
- Accidentally Famous
- Accidentally Fooled
- Accidentally Friends

Boarding school and/or private school - for teen and adult readers:

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - Tracing the roots decades-old struggle for power between three types of kids - Jellicoe School (boarding school) students, local Townies, and Cadets from a school in Sydney - and climbing the family tree. Published as On the Jellicoe Road in Australia. Highly recommended.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - An all-boys school goes co-ed. Recommended.

Looking for Alaska by John Green - Coming-of-age at a modern-day Alabama boarding school. Highly recommended.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart - A fresh take on secret societies, with a young girl thwarting some smirky boys. A great book set a modern day boarding school. Highly recommended.

Breathless by Jessica Warman - After something happens to her older brother, Katie's parents send her off to boarding school, and she is surprised by how much she loves it there. The book follows her from sophomore year through graduation.

The Poison Apples by Lily Archer - Three girls at boarding school bond over their family situations: each has recently acquired a stepmother. Though it uses the fairy tale metaphor, this book isn't a fantasy, nor is it magical realism. It is realistic fiction, and it is really good. Modern day.

A Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy by Libba Bray - Historical fantasy set in a Victorian girls' boarding school. Incredibly imaginative and intriguing.
- A Great and Terrible Beauty
- Rebel Angels
- The Sweet Far Thing

Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman - Two best friends consider Pride & Prejudice and get involved in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Modern day. Recommended.

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg - A modern-day retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, set in boarding school.

Headlong by Kathe Koja - When a new girl transfers to The Vaughn School, a private school for girls, a lifelong Vaughn student starts to see her school - and her life - differently.

The Gallagher Girls books by Ally Carter - A top-secret modern-day spy school for girls.

The Love series by Emily Franklin - Love starts going to New England boarding school when her dad becomes the principal. Modern day.

The end of senior year:

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando - One week before they graduate from high school, Mary and her friends take part in their school's official-unofficial scavenger hunt.

The summer following high school graduation:

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

The Story of Us by Deb Caletti

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Return to Me by Justina Chen

Making it through your first year of college:

The Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala - In the first book, Body Bags, protagonist Jenna Blake is just about to enter college. The first line of the first chapter: "It was a beautiful day to grow up." There are ten books in this series, following Jenna through a good chunk of her college life.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour - Marin suffered a tremendous loss the summer before her freshman year of college. The book goes back and forth between one winter weekend three months into college and May/June before.

Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn - An intelligent but technology-addicted young woman has a difficult time balancing school and fun during her freshman year at Columbia University.

Additional stories in which school is a supporting character:

Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters - The main characters start seeing each other before school. Literally.

Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn - Oh, the scenes in the lunchroom! I love this book so much.

Swollen by Melissa Lion - Your perceptions of your classmates may differ from the truth. From their truths. From your truths.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - I wish all schools were this open and accepting. I wish all people were this open and accepting.

Follow a girl through elementary school, middle school, and high school in the Alice McKinley books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. The series has over twenty titles. The Agony of Alice was the first book and is set in middle school. The author has since written prequels, making Starting With Alice (third grade) the earliest story on the timeline. The Grooming of Alice describes the summer between her eighth grade and ninth grade years. Alice Alone starts off her freshman year. For the full breakdown of titles and grades, please click here.

Barthe DeClements had fun with her grade-oriented dramadies for young readers:
- The Fourth Grade Wizards by Barthe DeClements
- Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements
- Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You by Barthe DeClements
- How Do You Lose Those Ninth-Grade Blues? by Barthe DeClements

Classics:
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Good-Bye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

For even more stories set in school, please refer to the categories of academic cheating and teacher influence within my Tough Issues for Teens booklist.

Also check out my After Graduation booklist.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: Accent by Rupi Kaur

August 17th, 2018 (06:45 am)
okay

Current Mood: okay
Current Song: Sweetness by Jimmy Eat World

there are some things in the world so infinite
they could never use a full stop

- an excerpt from Accent by Rupi Kaur

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Little Willow [userpic]

Poetry Friday: you won't get those hands on me by rupi kaur

August 10th, 2018 (06:00 am)
awake

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Light by Sleeping at Last

many tried
but failed to catch me
i am the ghost of ghosts
everywhere and nowhere
i am magic tricks
within magic within magic
none have figured out
i am a world wrapped in words
folded in suns and moons
you can try but
you won't get those hands on me

- Rupi Kaur

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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