YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for December 23, 2009

Interview with Bree Despain

Hi Bree! So what first sparked the idea of The Dark Divine?
Well, the idea for the story was actually the combination of lots of ideas that all came together one night as I was driving and a conversation between a brother and a sister popped into my head. They were discussing a former friend who had recently reappeared in their lives. “Stay away from him” the brother warned, “He’s not who he used to be. He’s dangerous.” That conversation was so haunting; I had to know what was going on and so that night I went home and starting writing.

Can you tell us about how your cover came about?
Back in February my editor asked me if I had any thoughts about what I wanted on the cover. What he got back was a two-page, detailed letter explaining what mood and atmosphere I wanted the cover to convey, and a list of different book covers I thought were good examples of I wantedJ. I was hoping for something beautiful and striking, but also a little eerie at the same time.

I wish I could take credit for the beautiful cover, but the designer, Joel Tippe, deserves all the praise. After exploring a few different concepts, he came up with the cover we all loved. They told me to consider it an abstract representation of the mood of the book rather than of a literal event. However, the cover and the colors used do have more of a connection with the final version of the novel as some minor manuscript revisions were made after the ARCs went to press.

Was Daniel’s character inspired by anyone you know of? Or were any characters inspired by someone you knew in real life?
The idea for Daniel comes from three different guys from my past that pulled similar disappearing acts on me, but he is very much his own personality. Daniel was such a strong character from the beginning. Grace has a little of me in her, but we are definitely different people too. I like to think of her as a stronger version of teenage me. The other characters are not really based on anyone in particular, but do share similar traits with some of the people in my life.

If The Dark Divine was made into a movie, who would you pick to play Grace, Daniel and Jude?
Hey I actually did a post about this (with pictures!) over on The Tenners site. It was a fun conversation.

Bree picked for Daniel as first choice a younger TAYLOR KITSCH, second choice would be ZAC EFRON (I would love to see Zac as Daniel!). For Jude Divine it would be a young TOM WELLING from the early Smallville or CHACE CRAWFORD from Gossip Girl. I totally approve of Chace! And lastly for Grace Divine, Bree picked EMMA ROBERTS whom I reckon is an excellent choice!

Can you share with us why Grace still loved Daniel after all those years. Most girls would have moved on and fallen for another guy.
The relationship that Daniel and Grace share is a lot deeper that simple attraction. It was and is still rooted in a deep friendship and concern for each other’s happiness. Some people will just always be with you and be a part of who you are.

Grace has certainly dated other guys, and she thought she had moved on and gotten over Daniel. That is, until she saw him again and all those feelings and thoughts of what could have been began to return.

Are you currently working on anything?
Yes! I am in the middle of writing the sequel to THE DARK DIVINE. And I have several more stories I hope to tell.

Who are some of your favourite YA authors?
So, so many. Laurie Halse Anderson, Meg Cabot, Sarah Zarr, Emily Wing Smith, Suzanne Collins, to name a few. I’ve recently read HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick too and really enjoyed it.

Any advice to people participating in NaNoWriMo? *yes I know November is already over but take it as an advice for next year*
Um… keep writing!

I couldn’t be happier with the cover and was so excited that the designer was able to put my thoughts into print. I hope you all love it as much as I do.

Thanks for the interview! It was a lot of fun.

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

Firespell by Chloe Neill
Release date: January 5th 2010 by Signet

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…

When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.

The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.

Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…

Firespell will be released very soon so be sure to pick up the book if you like reading supernatural! 😀 I know it will be awesome!

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 1st 2009
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (4/5 stars)

Synopsis: New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn’t made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It’s not romance, exactly – but it’s definitely love. Still, Bea can’t quite dispel Jonah’s gloom and doom – and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?

Review: I finished this book overwhelmed with emotions. Let me say first, How to Say Goodbye in Robot is totally different from Standiford’s Dating Game books. I am awe at the difference between both books. How to Say Goodbye in Robot has much more depth and the characterization was well done. Sometimes I judge books by their covers, and I loved the pink cover for this novel. It stands out and you might think it is some chick lit book but it’s not. The novel itself was thought-provoking and deeply moving, complete with a cast of unusual characters.

Initially Jonah was aloof but his withdrawal was understandable considering all that he’s been through. Eventually, Jonah and Beatrice bonded over the late-night radio calls but he still remained a complex and slightly bizarre character. I loved reading the late-night calls to the radio station, the other characters were quirky and mysterious people but they made the chats humorous, touching and so much fun to read about. The characters are flawed, yet I loved them because they are fascinating unique characters. Beatrice is sarcastic, witty and she thinks of herself as Robot Girl because she doesn’t have feelings yet I still find her lovable.

There is a twist in the story which I did not see coming, readers will be introduced to Matthew… I won’t spoil the book for you so you should read it and discover who Matthew is for yourself.

It’s not your typical romance, I have no idea how to describe it but Jonah and Beatrice share something more. My only complaint is that there were times where I felt the writing was inconsistent. I don’t know how to describe it but it was random.

This book has the perfect mixture of friendship, adventure, and wonderfully written characters that will make you laugh, cry, grin and seethe almost simultaneously. I highly recommend How to Say Goodbye in Robot to everyone who wants to read a book that contains magic but does not have anything supernatural. Standiford has definitely shown that she is a wonderful writer with this book and I hope to see many similar works like this in the near future.

Hope you enjoyed my review! Don’t forget to enter my contest to win 2 signed copies of Monster Republic. For details, click the link!