April 1st, 2007


Readergirlz: April

I am a readergirl! Are you?

April is National Poetry Month. This month, Readergirlz spotlight On Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover.

A hopeful ballerina named Claire discovers that she may be considered too tall to pursue her dream. This book details grief, eating disorders, and family matters, all realistically explained. Most importantly, it is all conveyed with a sense of hope.

The novel is written in verse and flows as eloquently as the classical music Claire dances to, with a steady rhythm and pacing. All of the scenes that take place in a rehearsal studio and on stage feel incredibly real. The author herself was a dancer for years, and you can tell.

Please drop by readergirlz.com and check out the current issue. After reading On Pointe, drop by the readergirlz forum to discuss the book with other readers - and with the author herself!

Learn more about readergirlz by reading the press release and my Q&A with the readergirlz divas. Also read my interview with Lorie Ann Grover and listen to her podcast at Just One More Book! Last but not least, visit the I am a Dancer booklist.

Interview: S.T. Underdahl

The Other Sister by S.T. Underdahl tells the tale of a family. The parents have been happily married for two decades. Their middle child and only girl, almost-16-year-old Josey, thinks everything is fine. Then her mother reveals a family secret: They had a daughter when they were in college - ten years before Josey was born. Audrey, now all grown up, wants to meet her biological parents. She has no idea that her parents are still together and have had three subsequent children. While the parents are thrilled and the boys adjust fairly well to the news, Josey feels displaced. She is no longer the only girl. She is no longer the middle child. She is now the other daughter, and she is not quite sure how to act around her newfound sister.

The Other Sister is a deeply personal story for S.T. Underdahl, better known as Susan. We discussed her story and many others in a recent interview.

Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, The Other Sister. How long was it from inspiration and first scribblings to completed novel and book deal?

Thank you so much! I wrote "The Other Sister" for a contest in 2005, which it did not win (or at least I think it didn't win - I never heard [the results]!) After the contest ended, it occurred to me that maybe someone else might be interested in publishing the book, so I started sending it around, and sent it to a publisher in Minneapolis called Llewellyn Worldwide. After I sent it, I realized that most of what they published was books on metaphysical topics like tarot card reading and astrology and the paranormal, and I thought, "Oops, I don't know why I sent it there!" But there must have been some kind of cosmic forces at work, because it turns out there were just getting ready to launch a line of 'edgy young adult fiction,' and they decided that The Other Sister was just the kind of thing they were looking for!

Your book is for teens but is wholly G-rated, which is all too rare in this day and age. Did your editor or any other influential types comment on the squeaky-clean nature, anyone urge you make it racy and "hip"?

Since it's the story of something that actually happened in my family, I just told it like it was. After I finished writing it, I did think, "Hm, should I try to spice it up a bit?" but it seemed like doing that would be dishonest and would detract from the integrity of the story I wanted to tell.

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Visit Susan's official website.
wings, believe

Interview: Carrie Jones

Carrie Jones is an author, a cat owner, and a fan of fudgsicles. Her debut novel, TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (EX) BOYFRIEND, was released in May 2007. After coming to terms with who he is and who he loves, high school senior Dylan breaks up with his girlfriend. Positively heartbroken, Belle gives herself a week to wallow in self-pity - and learns more about herself and her loved ones in that week than she ever thought possible. (Read my book review.)

Carrie spoke with me at length about epilepsy, singing, her book, and other books. Here's what she and I had to say.

TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (EX) BOYFRIEND is a title that will certainly turn heads, and the story itself will have readers turning pages.

You are making me blush. It's my worst fear that someone gets to page four and says, "Ack! Enough with this crud, already!" Then, of course, not only do they stop reading, they'll then throw the book in the toilet and try to flush it down, and then, of course, the toilet blocks up the plumbing system for their entire apartment building and I get sued for a lot of money I do not have.

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Visit Carrie's official website, LiveJournal, and MySpace.

Read my reviews of Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend and Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape).

Read my review of Girl, Hero.

Best Books of March 2007

March 2007: 38 books read

Recommended for ages 8 and up
The Cupid Chronicles by Coleen Paratore (sequel to The Wedding Planner's Daughter)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Gentle's Holler by Kerry Madden
Louisiana's Song by Kerry Madden (Coming out in May)

Recommended for ages 12 and up
Grace's Turn by Christy Carlson Romano

Recommended for ages 15 and up
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Coming out in June)