Author Chat with Emily Franklin

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I am very pleased to welcome Emily Franklin, as our first author to be interviewed for the 2012 YA Saves Reading Challenge, hosted by myself and Andrea at The Busy Bibliophile.

Emily Franklin is most known for her Principles of Love series, which [what the series is about] as well as for her most recent novel Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance, published last year and receiving rav reviews.

The first installment of her successful The Pricnipcles of Love series demands you pick it up all within the first line of the synopsis is: “The Gilmore Girls meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Who didn’t love The Gilmore Girls & The Sisterhood.  I know I sure did, and still do!

What was your inspiration for The Principle of Love series and for Love Bukowski’s characters?

I went to boarding school and hadn’t written about the experience before, So I wanted to explore that.  Plus, I love the idea of having your father literally over your shoulder while you’re trying to just be a regular teenager.

Having a father as your principle must make it really hard for Love to form love interests and crushes.  How does Love deal with this? Its not like she can sneak out, living on the campus grounds…

Well, maybe not in the 1st book! But later on.. I think that Love, like all teenagers, has to deal with how much input her dad has in her day to day life.  She does manage to find love, though perhaps not where or how she thought.  Plus, her dad is still so wounded by the mystery of Love’s mother that Love has to figure that out, too.

Does Love’s namesake bring her luck in her endeavors?

I’m not sure she’d agreed with that! Love wants LOVE just like all of us desire it – she just has to sort out who, where, and when.  Simple, right? 

When you are writing about love in any way, what do you use for inspiration?

It’s pretty easy to recall the longing I had in 10th grade or at age 22 so I can draw on my own feelings.  Also, I listen to music as a form of time travel and that helps, too.  I’m so happy in my own marriage, but I never thought I’d find the kind of love I have now, so that in itself is pretty inspirational.

What are currently some of your favorite “love” themed books (they don’t necessarily have to be young adult)?

Well, I have to give a plug to my next book which is all about love and friendship.  TESS MASTERSON WILL GO TO PROM is a brave story and I wrote it with Brendan Halpin.  We also wrote THE HALF-LIFE OF PLANETS, which is an unlikely love story about a girl with a past and a boy with Asperger’s.

Lastly, what is your favorite thing about February?

I could say hot chocolate with marshmallows, warm boots, my awesomely puffy duvet cover, or laughing while sledding.  Or I could just say at least it’s short!

Emily Franklin has written many YA novels!
Here are just a few:
 Don’t miss out on Emily Franklin’s new book: Tess Masterson Will Go To Prom, coming out March 2012!
Lucas and Tessa’s friendship is the stuff of legend in their small Midwestern town. So it’s no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his feelings for Tessa are more than friendship and he asks her to prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian instead of accepting his heartfelt invitation. Humiliated and confused, Lucas also feels betrayed that his best friend kept such an important secret from him.
What’s worse is Tessa’s decision to wear a tastefully tailored tuxedo to escort her female crush, sparking a firestorm of controversy. Lucas must decide if he should stand on the sidelines or if he should stand by his friend to make sure that Tessa Masterson will go to prom.
Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin tackle both sides of a ripped-from-the headlines story to show that true friendship will triumph after all.
You can find Emily Franklin on her WebsiteTwitter | Facebook

Review: Life Is But A Dream by Brian James


Life Is But A Dream by Brian James
Feiwel & Friends (March 27th 2012)
Format: ARC
Source: Around the World Tours
Challenge: 100 Books in 2011

Alec and Sabrina are crazy in love. Problem is: Sabrina’s really crazy.

Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it’s the world that’s crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she’ll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? Her decision may have fatal consequences.

Who is attracted to books that take place in a Psych Ward? You are almost guaranteed adventure, mystery and wonder.  You are also guaranteed raw reality with a touch of dream world.  Life Is But A Dream offers such a world.  Sabrina doesn’t see the world like others do – she sees the world around her in colors that are not only vivid but have a life of their own with movement and wonder.  After some time at the Wellness Center Sabrina’s view of the world and their colors start to alter a bit, back to what is ‘real’.  Then she meets Alec, who makes her feel that there is nothing wrong with her, she is special and unique just the way she is.  But what is ‘real’?? 

I fell in love with Sabrina’s character right away – in the way she sees the world there is something almost whole and good.  Even though you know she is being treated for schizophrenia you can’t help but love how she sees things – Brian James has done a FANTASTIC job at creating Sabrina’s world into a canvas, which is painted on with vibrant and brilliant colors that blend together in a gorgeous way.  To say that the imagery in this book was lacking would be a grave understatement.    

Even though you know Sabrina is sick and Alec holds her back from what is considered ‘real’ by their doctors, you also can’t help but like Alec as well.   Seeing how easily Sabrina succumbs to Alec’s suggestions makes you see that while her way of seeing things is beautiful they are also childish in a way, as she can be.  On one hand she wants help but on the other hand she follows Alec blindly.  However, Alec is definitely a character I would love to learn more about. 

Life Is But A Dream makes you question what is ‘real’ and ‘right’ for people.  What is reality? Is Sabrina’s world wrong?  Is she really sick?  Brian James has done an amazing job in creating a real yet fantastical novel that pushes you to view things in a different way while imagining a beautiful world in colors. 

Find Brian James: WebSite | Facebook | Twitter 

I’ve written numerous children’s books, including the Pirate School series and the Catkid series. I’m also the author of several novels: Pure Sunshine; Tomorrow, Maybe; Perfect World; Dirty Liar; Thief; Zombie Blondes; The Heights”

Introducing The YA Saves Reading Challenge


As an off shoot of my MeMe YA Saves Sunday I thought a reading challenge would be a nice compliment.

What is YA Saves Reading Challenge? & What Books Can You Read?
YA Saves Reading Challenge is a way to challenge yourself to read any Young Adult book that can be considered a YA Saves book.  What is a YA Saves book you may ask?  It is a book that tackles hard issues, in any genre (fantasy, contemporary, etc) as long as it is Young Adult.

You can go HERE and HERE for a list of YA Saves Books – this list is updated quite frequently.  REMEMBER, you don’t have to read books from either list, this is just a starting point.  But your books must be YA Saves. 

Why Participate in this Challenge?
First, to have fun reading! Second, to gain more knowledge and understanding about real life issues that affect many people.

Prizes will be given out throughout the following year – so make sure you link up your reviews in the proper link (a separate page will be made soon).

You must read a minimum of 10 YA Saves Books throughout the year.  The more the better!! 

How to Sign Up!!
Link up Sign-Up Post or GoodReads Account below in the Linky. 

**For Authors**
If you are an author that has written a Young Adult book that you consider a YA Saves book and you would like to donate your book(s), be included in this challenge, and/or featured as a YA Saves author please fill out this quick FORM or you can contact me at ((form preferred)).

Good Luck Everyone! 
& Thank you for Signing Up! 

Link Up Your Reviews


Don’t forget to grab one of the buttons made by IceyDesigns especially for this challenge!!

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YA Saves Sunday 9

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The Holidays are well under way and Christmas is literally in just one week!!  While many of us are excited for the holidays and are in the Christmas spirit, there are still many that are not.  For many, the Holidays bring sad memories and heartache, for many reasons.  For me, personally, I am torn between being filled with the Christmas spirit and being burden by sadness.  Four years ago I lost my mother to cancer (January 15, 2007).  I spent my 2006 Christmas Eve in the ER with my mother, being told by the doctor that my mother literally only had days left.  To say the least, that Christmas was not the best.  However, as time as progressed I have found the joy of Christmas again; this is not to say that I am not sad about loosing my mother, who was my best friend – I am! but I have also been able to find joy in the sadness.  I married a wonderful man and spend Christmas with his amazing family every year.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. There are those that cannot let go of sad memories and become more depressed over the holidays, as it is a time to spend with loved ones.  Experts have even given a name to those that become depressed over the holidays:  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD does not just affect people during the holidays but during every season (winter, summer, fall, etc.).  Basically, people will feel content during the rest of the year but during one particular season feel depressed and have a mood changes. 

As always books are a great source to explore depression, to gain a better understanding of what someone is going through and/or even what you are going through.  Below is are two lists: YA Saves Depression Books and YA Saves Christmas Books.  Both lists are just a short list of books.  Please comment on any to add!

YA Saves Books on Depression

Part of the “Cutting Edge” series, “Stained” is a gritty, honest and hard-hitting quick read for teens and young adults who find conventional fiction irrelevant to them or too hard to read. In a poor district on the outskirts of Cape Town, Grace lives with her adoptive mother. Of mixed race, Grace dreams about what her birth mother is like and is plagued by a deep sense of not belonging. Rebelling against her adoptive mother’s smothering influence, Grace turns to close friend Shardonnay and her sister, Crystal. Crystal is a teenage mum and has had to drop out of school, bitter that her future has been decided by one mistake.Through Grace as observer, “Stained” explores themes of incest, child abuse, and post-natal depression, culminating in Crystal’s murder of her own baby. The fast-moving, character-focused narrative delves right to the heart of a tougher side of life. Packed with drama and emotion from one page to the next, readers will be truly compelled by this gripping and satisfying story. Carefully chosen fonts, simple layout and controlled vocabulary help carry readers from beginning to end without any hint of chore-factor creeping in.

Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going

Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius, the stuff of which Lower East Side punk rock legends are made. Never mind that Troy’s dad thinks Curt’s a drug addict and Troy’s brother thinks Troy’s the biggest (literally) loser in Manhattan. Soon, Curt’s recruited Troy as his new drummer even though Troy can’t play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy’s own life, forever.

YA Saves Books Celebrating the Holidays
Here is a short list of Christmas-themed books perfect for the Holidays and to keep our spirits high!!

The Princess Present by Meg Cabot

Mia would give all the jewels in Genovia for the perfect present
Every year, Princess Mia spends the holidays in Genovia with Grandmère. This year, she’s looking forward to the most perfect Christmas ever: her boyfriend, Michael, and her best friend, Lilly, are coming to Genovia, too.
But even a princess’s plans can go awry. Lilly has a lot to learn about palace protocol, and with all the state holiday functions Mia must attend, there’s no time to linger under the mistletoe with Michael. Worst of all, Mia hasn’t been able to find him the perfect gift.
Can Mia stop her (bah-hum)bugging long enough to see that the perfect present has nothing to do with international express courier — and everything to do with real love? (Though some shiny silver ribbon never hurts …)

Mistletoe by Hailey Abbott, Melissa de la Cruz, Aimee Friedman & Nina Malkin

Glittering white snowflakes. The handsome blond ski instructor. The sparkle on a cashmere skirt. Hot cocoa and kisses in front of a crackling fire. The holiday season is the ESSENCE of magic…and romance. Four of today’s bestselling teen authors — Melissa de la Cruz (THE AU PAIRS), Aimee Friedman (SOUTH BEACH), Hailey Abbott (SUMMER BOYS), and Nina Malkin (6X) — bring us delectable tales of love and lust and holiday cheers (and tears) in this one-of-a-kind collection that teens will devour faster than a plate of Christmas cookies.

A tale of love, romance, confusion, and Christmas perfectly timed for the holiday season.

Noelle, a hopeless romantic, just knows that her gifts have to be from her senior crush! And geeky Froggy thinks the game is the perfect way to get super-popular Celia to fall for him…except she thinks his gifts are from Jake, the school’s resident bad boy, and starts to crush on him! Romantic mishaps abound, but all is revealed the night of the Winter Dance, where there’s more than one surprise waiting under the mistletoe!

Again, if you can think of any books I have not please leave a comment!
Also, don’t forget to check out my ever growing list of YA Saves books HERE

I would like to end with a few inspiring #YASaves Tweets!

YA Saves Sunday 8 – Cheryl Rainfield Special


I am very honored to have Cheryl Rainfield today as a Special Guest for YA Saves Sunday.  Cheryl’s literature has not only touched thousands of teens, adults, and readers but has touched me on a very personal level.  Her literature is one of the reasons why I started YA Saves Sunday.  Not only is her literature and writing timeless, but she is gracious, honest, and never afraid to speak her mind and the truth – all qualities we all should have.  So enough of me gushing about Cheryl, without further ado I give you the amazing 

Cheryl Rainfield on her new novel Hunted and using real life in fantasy literature

I love being a writer. I can use fiction and fantasy to draw out real truths that some people might not be able to hear otherwise. I think fiction and fantasy are powerful ways to talk about things that can be painful.

I’m a ritual abuse survivor; my parents were part of intergenerational cults. I know what it’s like to be tortured and exploited, to have mind control used against me, to have my life repeatedly threatened. I wove fragments of those experiences into HUNTED. I drew on my experience with cults, as well as societal oppression such as homophobia, sexism, racism, and made them a part of Caitlyn’s world. For me, the government ParaTroopers and the renegade Paras are like forms of cult and oppression–and I hope even if readers  don’t see that, that they will understand the oppression and root for Caitlyn to get free.

For me, HUNTED is a story of overcoming oppression (and cults), of breaking free, of finding your own inner strength and learning to trust others, and of creating a life for yourself where you like where you are and you feel good about it. It is a story of hope.


You can find Cheryl Rainfield at her Website / Her Blog / Twitter / Facebook

“I love to read. Books nurture me, helped me survive the abuse I endured as a child and teen. I also love to write. I write fantasy books and edgy, realistic fiction for teens.
My fantasy books often hold hope that I need, and feel others might need, too, while my realistic fiction is gritty, intense, and emotional. All of my books have fragments of the abuse I experienced. I write about some of the harsh things teens go through…things that I think shouldn’t be hidden. But I also write about healing, hope, and love, and finding courage and strength.
In SCARS (WestSide, 2010), Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself before it’s too late. It’s my arm on the cover. There’s a lot of me in SCARS; like my main character, Kendra, I am an incest survivor, I used self-harm to cope, and I’m queer. In my teen paranormal fantasy, HUNTED (WestSide, Oct 2011), Caitlyn is a telepath in a world where that is illegal, and she must choose between saving herself or saving the world. Like Caitlyn, I know what it’s like to have my life threatened, to face oppression, to experience torture, and to break free from cult or from a group of oppressors. And I know what it’s like to have to decide between hiding my true self or being who I am, even if that means danger to myself. I drew on my experience with cults and ritual abuse in creating the world that Caitlyn lives in.
Books were my survival during my childhood, and my journey into myself. Books give me hope. I hope mine will give you hope, too, or something that you need.”

YA Saves Sunday 7 – Finding Retreat in the Paranormal with Strong Leading Characters

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To keep in theme with the Halloween season this week’s YA Saves Sunday post includes paranormal books and how they, in their own way, can be welcomed into the YA Saves movement.
One of the many reasons I absolutely love Paranormal YA Books are the strong leading characters (I gushed and gushed about this with Buffy a few weeks ago).  Many of these characters are normal, who are placed in unnormal situations and usually given unnormal gifts – which they surpass, and even grow from.  
Rosemarie “Rose” Hathaway
One of my favorite series is Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy.  Rose fits this to a tee – even though she is not human, being a Dhampir in her world is normal.   It is impossible to list the number of times she stood her ground, continued, on, or faught against wrong/evil while others pushed back against her.  
Once Lissa brought Rose back from the dead, unknowingly, Rose becomes “Shadow-Kissed”, given unique gifts of which she doesn’t shy away from but in fact embraces and allows it to make her stronger  (and not just in her friendship with Lissa).   Her strength and perseverance is both obvious and subtle.  Let’s just face it… Rose kicks major butt! She’s witty and sarcastic, while at the same time strong willed and honest – she always speaks her mind.  Physically, she can kick just about any Strigoi butt, and even does so with Dimitri.  But it is her emotional strength that makes her serve as a perfect example for a strong YA Saves character.  
Despite Rose’s tough exterior she is extremely vulnerable and most of the time alone.  After having literally been carried back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, Rose faces being ostrisized in many ways while trying to maintin her ‘bad girl’ reputation who does nothing but flirts and sleeps around. Right away you she tells you that this is not who she really wants to be.  She wants to be respected and taken seriously, which she finds in Dimitri.  If ever there were a mordern-day Romeo & Juliet, Rose and Dimitri would be it.  Rose maintains her strength, despite a few obvious and understandable set backs, in her love for Dimitri, even after he is turned into a Strigoi.    I mean come on! She goes off to kill Dimitri, despite her love for him – – how much stronger can one girl be!?  Like I said, while Rose clearly is outwardly a very strong character, it is her strong will and her inner strength that makes her, in my eyes, a leading character worthy of being considered a YA Saves Paranormal Character.  
Kaylee Cavanaugh
Just as with Rose Hathaaway, Kaylee Cavanaugh is one of the strongest leading Paranormal YA characters I have come across.  Imagine yourself walking in the mall, or anywhere public, and out of the blue you start screaming.  I am not talking about a little scream as if someone jumped out from behind but bloody murder screaming, uncontrollably, very very loud, and you can’t stop even when your throat is on fire… This is Kaylee’s life.  When Kaylee finds out she is a bean sidhe she embraces her new role, even though understandably she has a few little breakdowns – – who wouldn’t?!
Even with her bean sidhe powers, why is Kaylee Cavanaugh a YA Saves character in my eyes?  Kaylee puts others first no mater what.  How many times has she risked her life to save others? How many times has she faced her fears, demons, and everything that scary to help others, even her annoying selfish cousin? 
In My Soul to Save (2nd installment) Kaylee travels to the Netherworld to save a life and soul of someone she doesn’t even know.  Now if you haven’t read this series, and you don’t know about the Netherworld, it is one scary place – I personally was terrified of the creatures that inhabit the Netherworld.  While Addison is selfish and annoying, Kaylee sets out to save her soul so she doesn’t have to spend the rest of her life being tortured by one of the scariest Netherworld creatures.
Lastly, I won’t go into too much detail for those that have not read If I Die, but in this installment, Kaylee Cavanaugh proves why she is a YA Saves Character in every way. In If I Die Kaylee literally faces death in more ways than one, once again putting the lives and troubles of others before hers, even though her own troubles are eternally deadly. 
Nora Johnson
 Nora Johnson is probably one of the most pure human characters that I have every personally read.  Right away she fits all the ‘criteria’ (if there ever was any) of a YA Saves character – her mother died, her father left her when she was a child, and she lives with a an older woman who becomes more of a mother than anyone.  Even after finding out she is essential for the survival of an entire world she remains true to who she is, not matter what. Nora finds the pure honesty and joy through fighting evil and the human emotions that plague many humans: selfishness, dark thoughts, and fear. Even when she fears that she is forever separated from the love of her life, Gavin, she fights on against the evil that is threatening to kill her and her new home.   

In the second installment, The Secret of the Keepers, Nora continues to push forward and fights against evil, but this time her choices affect her loved ones even more – the weight on her shoulders has grown tremendously.  Once again Nora is left to her own devices, but she finds the necessary strength to move forward and do what is right, no matter how much she is personally hurting.  Nora, to me, is an amazing leading character who is one that anyone can look to when they might feel they cannot move forward or ever wonder if they are making the right choices because they are afraid of the affect that it may have on themselves and others.  Remaining true to your heart and beliefs is what Nora Johnson does best.  

Aden Stone
Its not very common for YA novels to feature male characters as the leading character, but Aden Stone from Gena Showalter’s Intertwined series is one of the rare ones that not only does this but also does so in a way that everyone, not just males, can look to when they are having troubles, in a Paranormal setting.  While Aden Stone is anything but normal, all he wants to be is normal – something I think we all want.  We all want to be accepted just as we are without fear of people thinking we are different in the wrong ways.  This is what Adan struggles most with.  For Aden though, it takes a Vampire, a Shape Shifter, a Drainer, and a entire paranormal world full of witches, goblins, fairies, and lord knows what else, for him to find acceptance and to finally be who he is really.

Aden Stone is no stranger to being alone, even with voices in his head.  Having spent time in psych wards, half-way houses, Adan has learned how to take care of himself.  Unfortunately, there are many out there that experience such things everyday.  There are too many that have experienced this.  Aden Stone presents a hope that despite such a past you can find a place to belong, while at the same time finding that you are ‘right’ just the way you are. 

YA Saves Sunday – – Building Up A List of Titles


Due to a cold I didn’t unfortunately have the brain power to come up with a great YA Saves Sunday post this week.
However, I think this makes it an excellent opportunity to add some more books to the ever growing bibliography I am working on for YA Saves books!

~ This serves as the Master List for YA Saves books ~

** Titles that are linked are to my reviews **
* Each book also is linked to GoodReads & Amazon for purchase *
– A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
After by Amy Efaw    – – teen pregnancy & baby dumping   
Annie’s Baby edited by Beatrice Sparks   – – teen pregnancy
Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block     – – glbt  – banned book
Between Mom & Joe by Laurie Halse Anderson
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown    – – spousal/relationship abuse  
Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
Burned by Ellen Hopkins
By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters    – – suicide
Candy by Kevin Brooks
Clean by Amy Read
Crank by Ellen Hopkins    – – drugs    
Cut by Patricia McCormick
Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu    – – hoarding
Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger     – – glbt   – banned book
Glass by Ellen Hopkins
Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks    – –  banned book
grl2grl by Julie Anne Peters    – – glbt
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Hold Still by Nina LaCour
I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs
If I Tell by Janet Gurtler
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins    – -suicide, cutting (self-mutilation), glbt   
Jay’s Journal by Beatrice Sparks
Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen    – – steroids (drugs), bullying, rape, suicide
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
– Muchacho by Louanne Johnson
Nicholas Dane by Melvin Burgess
Perfect by Ellen Hopkins    – – body image, self acceptance, drugs, sex
Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez     – – glbt
Rainbow High by Alex Sanchez     – – glbt
Rainbow Road by Alex Sanchez     – – glbt
Scars by Cheryl Rainfield    – – cutting (self-mutilation), abuse  – a challenged book

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
– Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson    – – rape
Stained by Joanne Hichens   – – depression    [GoodReads | Amazon]
Stay With Me by Paul Griffin 
Stop Pretending…  by Sonya Sones     – – mental disease
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan     – – glbt
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Wertin
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Tricks by Ellen HOpkins
Try Not To Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard
– Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson    – –  banned book
– Want To Go Private? by Sarah Littman    – – online predators
What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson
– Willow by Julia Hoban
Winter Girls by Laurie Halse Anderson
You Against Me by Jenny Downham

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