Tag Archive for 'book giveaway'

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Book Giveaway & Interview with Len Vlahos, Author of The Scar Boys

Yesterday I featured a review of The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos. Today, I’m featuring an interview and a book giveaway as part of Vlahos’s blog tour. If you’d like to win a copy of The Scar Boys (U.S. addresses only please), leave a comment by midnight (PST) on Tuesday, February 4 about something that appeals to you in the book description or something Vlahos says in the interview that resonates with you. Please note: The giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Denise on winning.

Len Vlahos photo

Len Vlahos photo by Kristen Gilliganplease) leave a comment below about something that resonates with you from the story description or the interview. Be sure to comment by midnight (PDT), February 4.

Here’s a bit of information about the author:

Len Vlahos is the Executive Director of BISG (Book Industry Study Group) and the former COO of the American Booksellers Association, where he worked for the past 20 years. Len has also worked in numerous bookstores, was an on-air personality for a commercial radio station in Atlantic City, and worked for a time for Internet marketing guru Seth Godin. THE SCAR BOYS is his first book. You can visit him online at www.lenvlahos.com and on Twitter @LenVlahos.

Find him on his blog tour at these sites:

Mon, Jan 13
I Read Banned Books
Tues, Jan 14
Guys Lit Wire
Wed, Jan 15
Read Now, Sleep Later
Thurs, Jan 16
The Book Monsters
Fri, Jan 17
Teenreads.com
Mon, Jan 20
The Compulsive Reader
Tues, Jan 21
Here at Mother Daughter Book Club
Wed, Jan 22
A.L. Davroe
Thurs, Jan 23
Adventures in YA Publishing
Fri, Jan 24
Geo Librarian

Rock on with THE SCAR BOYS playlist on Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/user/egmontusa/playlist/7yb3rYWaA4APBSkLdcm9WK

Now for the interview:

How did you decide to become a writer?

LV: I’ve been writing since high school, so it’s really just a part of who I am. The first time I remember being really proud of something I’d written was in tenth grade English class. It was a satire of Sesame Street, and, as this was the 1980s, it was pretty risqué. Bert and Ernie were a gay couple living together, the Count was teaching children to county by loading bullets into his gun, that sort of thing. It was meant to be controversial, a bit confrontational, and funny. My teacher was open-minded enough to get it, and she gave me both encouragement and a good grade. (I wish I still had the piece!) Two years later, under the tutelage of my awesome twelfth grade English teacher (Richard Sturdeyvant), I had progressed to writing sonnets. Go figure.

Since then, I’ve tried my hand at everything—short stories, essays, screenplays—but nothing was good enough to share with others until The Scar Boys. I’ve also written a LOT for my day job over the years. Here’s a sample:

http://www.bookweb.org/news/fistful-books-my-three-days-wild-frontline-bookselling

And of course, from the time I was thirteen to now, I’ve written hundreds of songs. A few of them are even good.

What do you like about writing for teens?

LV: Your teenage years and early twenties are an amazing time of life. It’s when you and the world sort of figure each other out. Those years are steeped in conflict and rife with opportunity, which is perfect for a writer.

Writing about people in their 40s (like me) is just less interesting, though I’ve done a fair amount of that, too. I’m also fascinated by the relationships between teens and adults, how there seems to be a genetically coded obstacle to getting along. (Who knows, maybe it’s an evolutionary thing that helps push kids out of the house and into the world?

What do you think the challenges are?

LV: The biggest challenge is getting the voice right. As much as I like to believe I’m still a kid on the inside, I’m not. Having a teenage character ring true to other teens (as I hope Harry and his friends do) requires good listening skills, and the ability to step out of my own skin and see the world through someone else’s eyes. It’s a challenge, but a really, really fun challenge.

How did you decide to tell the story as though Harry is writing a college entry essay?

The truth is, I kind of stumbled on it. For some reason, when I’m writing in the first LV: person, I need the narrator to have a reason for talking to the unseen audience. In one early draft Harry winds up in jail and he’s telling his tale to a parole officer. In another, he’s talking to a music journalist. (The earlier drafts had a very different ending.) Neither really worked. When I stumbled onto the college essay, it just sort of clicked.

You portray Harry as someone who experiences multiple issues because of his scars. But you also show the side of him that shares many of the same traits as any teen. How did you find the right voice for Harry to portray both those aspects of himself?

LV: This was the most gratifying part of writing Harry’s character. I wanted to use his scars to make him feel isolated and alone. Those are feelings shared by just about every teen (most adults, too), even though in Harry’s case they’re particular to his situation. I needed him to be in a dark and lonely place to allow the story’s hero (music) to swoop in and save him.

What would you say is Johnny’s motivation for befriending Harry?

LV: I very consciously wanted Johnny to be a complex character. Johnny has enough confidence to go outside the box in terms of his friendships, and initially, he simply finds Harry interesting. Later, we see that Johnny also has a need to be adored, and he reduces Harry to the role of a sycophant. I don’t think he’s really doing it on purpose. In other words, Johnny, like most people, is motivated by a complexity of emotions, some good, some not.

And remember—and this is important—we’re seeing Johnny through Harry’s eyes. At the very end of the story, Harry realizes that he’s been viewing Johnny (and the rest of the world) through lenses colored by his own bad experiences. It’s this realization that allows Harry to grow.

What does it mean to Harry to have a friend who seems to accept him as he is?

LV: It means the world, the entire glorious, wonderful world.

Harry’s scars are both physical and emotional. How does having one help him deal with having the other?

LV: I think it’s just the opposite. The emotional and physical scars amplify one another, often bringing Harry to a state of near paralysis. When Harry meets Gabrielle on Halloween night, he’s able to come out of his shell and be charming because a costume has hidden his scars. The next day, without the costume, when his physical and emotional damage (“scarred on the inside and scarred on the outside”) are laid bare, he reverts back to his timid, unhappy self. It’s the double whammy of psychological and physical pain that keeps him down for so long.

Music plays an important role in the emotional lives of many people, especially teens. Why do you think this is?

LV: Oh, wow, that’s a big question. Music, to me, is a kind of magic. It can make a person—and you’re right, especially a teen—feel every range of human emotion in just four bars. It can get inside your head, find its way to your gut, stretch out to the tips of your toes and fingers, and settle in your heart. There are songs that I heard for the first time thirty years ago that still, to this day, make the hair on my arms stand up. Case in point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nmx3QC7n6sk

Knowing how to play an instrument makes it that much more special. Every kid should take a year of piano, or guitar, or flute, or whatever. It really would make the world a better place.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to readers at Mother Daughter Book Club. com?

LV: Yes, two things: Thank you for inviting me into your world, and I hope to see you on the book tour!

http://www.lenvlahos.com/tour-dates/

Share Your Roomie Story and Win a Copy of the Book

I just posted my review of Roomies, a great new book by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando about two girls on opposite sides of the country who learn they will be college roommates. I’m also taking part in a giveaway for the book, part of a promotion that kicks off the authors’ tour of bookstores.

In the comments section, tell us a little about your own “roomie story.” Whether it’s about a sibling, a roommate at camp or college, or even in your first apartment. One person (U.S. street addresses only please) who comments before midnight (PST) Friday, January 24 will win a copy of Roomies. Please note: The giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Denise on winning.

Roomies cover imageHere are the upcoming confirmed tour dates for the authors:
January 12, 2014 – New York, NY: McNally Jackson
January 15, 2014 – Salt Lake City, UT: The King’s English
January 16, 2014 – Provo, UT: Provo Library
February 4, 2014 – San Francisco, CA: Books Inc, Opera Plaza
February 5, 2015 – Petaluma, CA: Copperfield’s Books

And here’s my roomie story. I lived at home when I went to college and even when I moved away later I started out on my own with a studio apartment. But all my life growing up I shared a bedroom, and a double bed, with my sister. Of course, most nights were pretty routine with both of us drifting off to sleep right away. But on the nights we were angry with each other we drew a line in the sheets with our hands and dared the other to cross it. Lying there fuming, one of us would inevitably stick a toe across the line. If that didn’t get a reaction, the whole foot ventured across. Soon we were grappling with each other in a frustrated embrace and our parents were threatening to come in an spank us. Over the years I learned a lot about getting along with the person sleeping next to you.

In addition to one winner of the book, one lucky blogger and reader will win a Roomie survival kit/gift pack including earplugs, home spa essentials, a signed copy of the book, a special note from the authors, and other fun things—all packed in a shower caddy. Here’s to good luck for readers at Mother-Daughter Book Club!

Book Review & Giveaway: Rags & Bones, Edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt

Rags & Bones cover imageOne of the hallmarks of a classic tale is that it can inspire other writers to update it and bring a new perspective on the message it conveys. You’ll find a whole lot of great examples in a new collection called Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales. Edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt, you’ll find stories by well-known authors like Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl and others. In each case, the author of the tale has taken a classic, such as The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs, Sleeping Beauty, and E.M Forster’s The Machine Stops, and reimagined it in a fresh way.

Following each tale is a note from the author talking about the original piece and why he or she was inspired to adapt it. Many of the tales take place in a future where sickness or advances in technology and science has changed the way humans live and interact. All of the writers are good at weaving a spell around the reader, drawing him into a new world. Many stories are deliciously dark, while some are more lighthearted or cautionary. While every tale will not resonate with every reader, there will be plenty for most to like. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for the original of a story you particularly like from this collection. Be prepared to immerse yourself in the pages of Rags & Bones once you start reading; it’s a hard book to put down.

If you’d like to win your own copy of Rags & Bones, just leave a comment here about what intrigues you about this collection. Comment before midnight (PDT) Friday, October 25 for your chance to win (U.S. street addresses only please.) Please note: the giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Marty on winning.

The publisher gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Giveaway and Interview with Colleen Gleason, Author of The Clockwork Scarab

Colleen Gleason photo

Colleen Gleason photo by Kate Co. Photography

Yesterday I featured a review of Colleen Gleason’s The Clockwork Scarab, the first in a series for young adults set in steampunk Victorian London. It features two fresh heroines solving a mystery: Evaline Stoker, Bram’s sister, and Mina Holmes, Sherlock’s niece. The mystery and intrigue Gleason weaves into the story are delightful.

Today I’m featuring an interview with the author and an opportunity to win a copy of The Clockwork Scarab. Just leave a comment about something that intrigues you about the book. Comment before midnight (PDT), Thursday, October 24, 2013 (U.S. and Canadian addresses only please). Please note: the giveaway is closed. Congratulations to White Wolf Reads on winning.

Colleen Gleason is the author of more than two dozen novels, including the paranormal romance series The Gardella Vampire Chronicles—about a female vampire hunter who lives during the time of Jane Austen. She lives in the Midwest. Here’s the interview:

How did you decide to become a writer?

CG: The very first time I remember thinking about how much I enjoyed writing was when I was in second or third grade. I’d written a story that got a lot of attention from my parents and teachers.

After that, I just realized I liked to tell stories. I was always a voracious reader, and there came a time in high school or so that I realized I wanted to tell the stories my way. :-)

I wrote eight full-length novels of 90,000 words or more before I sold my first book in 2005, and I haven’t looked back…or been happier to be doing something I love.

What do you like best about writing for young adults?

CG: I love being able to push the boundaries of genre. In adult fiction, there are much more rigid expectations and boundaries for the type of book I (or anyone) writes—you’re either writing mystery or romance or science fiction or whatever…and if you have a book that crosses those lines, it’s harder to sell, to place, to find its readers.

The beauty of YA fiction is that anything goes—I have included elements of mystery, steampunk/science fiction, time travel, and romance in the Stoker & Holmes books and I love that I can do that without having to worry about where it’s going to be placed in the bookstore.

In The Clockwork Scarab, you craft a new story with elements from familiar fictional ones. What were the challenges of creating something fresh while drawing on classic works?

CG: Well, I am an absolute rabid Sherlock Holmes fan, and so I wanted to make sure I was doing Doyle’s amazing character justice. I wanted to be able to create a related Holmesian character that “fit” with the world in the original stories, and yet I wanted to expand it into something young women (and men) would relate to.

I also adore DRACULA and was cognizant of needing to be true to Bram Stoker and his world as well. It turned out to be rather amusing that the Mina in my book is not a Stoker but a Holmes–but it made sense to the character of Mina Harker that Bram Stoker created a century ago.

Crossing over between literary characters and historical ones was a challenge in and of itself because I was determined to make it work–and do my best not to upset the Sherlockian world in the way some other Holmesian pastiches have done. (At least, in my opinion.)

The steampunk London you portray from the late 1800s is your original rendering as opposed to historical. How did you get into that world to portray the details necessary to bring it to life?

CG: When I’m in a world—i.e. writing a scene in one—I try to remember to add minor details as a “check-in” for the reader to be reminded that the world isn’t the one they live in. So as I’m writing a scene, I’m thinking about anything that would affect the characters and what restrictions they might have (physically, societally, and culturally). In fact, I challenge myself to think of what would be different about this new world—and why (which is just as important as what)—and then sprinkle in those details.

For example, why is steam such a common source of energy in this London? Well, because electricity is illegal. What does this mean for the characters? How does it affect their lives?

What do they do for fun? What do they do every day that we think of as routine (i.e. brush teeth, get dressed, travel somewhere, check the time) and how can I demonstrate the difference between that world and our world? That’s the sort of question I try to ask myself in every scene, and I attempt to answer at least one on every page.

Your heroines are strong, smart and also feminine. Do you see them as role models for young girls today?

CG: I hope so. I hope young women can see that, though no one is perfect and we are all different, that each of us has a place, and skills and abilities that no one else can duplicate. We are different, but our differences make us strong and able.

I wanted to make sure the girls had diverse personalities—and I wanted them to call each other on it, because that’s typical. We look at each other and sometimes are judgmental, sometimes are envious, and sometimes are just purely annoyed…but then we turn it around as a mirror to look at ourselves. That’s natural. And we can learn from it.

Eveline and Mina each have strengths and weaknesses, and they sometimes chafe against each other. What’s the key to them being able to work together?

CG: Respecting each other’s differences, while at the same time learning that there is no one way to do something. And that no one has all the answers (well, except maybe a Holmes!). They will eventually begin to admire the abilities of the other, and their personalities will learn to meld together—just as we hopefully do in life!

Where do you see the series going in future books?

CG: Well, I suspect we will see some growth in the relationship between the two girls. Most likely they will also see some romantic relationships develop. They will be challenged, and we’ll learn more about how their world came to be the way it is. And we’ll most likely see more of the Ankh. 😉

Is there anything you’d like to add to readers at Mother Daughter Book Club. com?

CG: Only thank you for having me, and I hope you enjoy my take on a female version of Sherlock Holmes…plus a twist on vampire stories!

 

Book Review and Giveawy: The Artist’s Way for Parents by Julia Cameron and Emma Lively

The Artist's Way for Parents For years millions of readers have discovered how to be more creative by reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. But many readers who are also parents pushed Cameron for more, asking how they could apply her thoughts on creativity to raising their children. Cameron proves she is equally at home with parental as well as personal advice in The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children. I have one copy to give away to someone in the U.S. You’ll definitely want to comment for a chance to win a copy of this book. Just make sure you say something about how you like to be creative by midnight (PST), Monday, October 14 for your chance to win. Please note: The giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Christina on winning.

Straightforward and easy to read, The Artist’s Way for Parents is not a primer on teaching your children how to create art. Rather, it talks about all the ways to bring creativity into their lives. That includes things like making music, dancing, writing, singing, painting and more. Cameron makes the point that too much activity is the enemy of creativity, because to a certain extent creativity blossoms with less structure.

Each chapter focuses on a particular quality to cultivate that creativity: safety, curiosity, connection, self-expression and inventiveness are just some areas of focus. Little boxes provide exercises designed to help get the message across. For instance, the chapter on cultivating safety suggests an exercise to heighten downtime. In it, readers are encouraged to write down ten “Frivolous” things that make them happy but that they don’t believe they have time to do.

Cameron says, “The act of spending time doing something we want to do as opposed to something we have to do takes courage.” She also believes dedicating 15 minutes a day to something we want to do can make a big difference in how we feel about ourselves.

Reading Cameron’s advice is like having a trusted friend share with you ideas on how to improve many areas of your life so you can guide your children. She uses many examples, including some from her own parents, some from the way she parented her daughter, and others from her students. She also covers some surprising territory, like the way that dreaming of fame and encouraging perfection can stifle our creative energy.

The Artist’s Way for Parents is one you’ll want to read and keep on your shelf for reference over and over again. I highly recommend it.

The publisher gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Interview with Allen Zadoff, Author of Boy Nobody

If you’ve seen my review of Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff, you know how much I like this first in a series about a teenage operative working as a trained assassin for the government. Today I’m excited to take part in the Boy Nobody blog tour by featuring an interview with Zadoff. Also, I have three copies of Boy Nobody to give away to someone who comments here by midnight (PDT) Wednesday, October 16 (U.S. addresses only please).  You can comment on something Zadoff says in his answers below or tell us why you’re excited to jump into this series. Please note: the giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Victoria, Marty and Stephanie on winning.

Following the interview you’ll find an excerpt from the book that introduces you to the voice of this intriguing character and thrilling series.

Allen Zadoff photoWhat do you especially like about writing for teens?

AZ: Teens are the best audience in the world. They are passionate readers who love books, engage with them, and really care. There’s nothing more gratifying for an author than to feel like readers are paying attention. Writing is a solitary act that is meant to be shared widely. Passionate readers make all the hours writing alone seem worth it.

With its action and adventure scenes and special agent plot line, Boy Nobody seems like a great book for teen boys to read. Why do you think girls may also like reading it?

AZ: Boy Nobody is the story of a boy soldier whose mission gets complicated when he starts to fall for the daughter of the man he’s supposed to assassinate. He’s torn between loyalty to his mission and the romantic feelings growing inside him for the first time. That might be interesting to girls. Also as a guy, I’m fascinated to know what goes on inside a woman’s mind. (It’s baffling in there, I have to admit.) I write first person, which means you hear what the character is thinking, and in Boy Nobody’s case, that means you get to experience what it’s like inside the mind of a boy soldier who is falling in love for the first time. So I think there’s plenty in this book for both boys and girls.

Boy Nobody wraps up the action while setting up a scenario for the series to continue. What are the challenges of creating a satisfying ending for one story while also keeping readers interested and eager for the next one?

AZ: You described the challenge very well. I want each book in the Boy Nobody series to stand on its own, while also being a satisfying “next episode” in the Boy Nobody saga. Maybe I can’t have it both ways, but I’m going to try. One technical difficulty is how much back story to include in each book. For example, if someone has never read the series, I want them to be able to read Book 2 without being lost, but I don’t want someone who already read Book 1 to be bored. So how do you that? I trust my intuition as well as that of my editor. Boy Nobody is my first series, so I’m still learning how to write a series. Hopefully there will be many more, and I’ll get better at is as I move forward. In the meantime, read the series and let me know what you think!

Excerpt from Boy Nobody

wednesday. day 1.
It begins.
I appear at a famous private school on the Upper West Side.
Sam’s school.
The Program has inserted me into the system overnight. I am
in the school’s computer—my name and a false academic history
along with a letter of acceptance and a transfer order. As of this
morning, my paperwork is in place and I will appear on the teachers’
rosters.
The rest is up to me.
I’m sitting in a cluster group, what other schools would call a
homeroom. There are mixed ages in the same room, students
from grades nine through twelve, all forced together.
Sam is in a nearby room, but I am here. By design.
First impressions are everything in high school, but without
knowing Sam, I don’t know what my first impression should be. I
could come in guns blazing, an ironclad identity in place. But that
would be too much of a risk. First I have to find out where she is
in the pecking order. The daughter of the mayor could be many
things. To determine what exactly, I must see her in action. I need
to know where she is in the social order, and just as importantly,
where she perceives herself to be.
Father and I discussed this via a secure e‑mail exchange. He
agreed that it’s better for me to slip in, work the angles until I’m
on the inside. We decided to place me in a different cluster group
so I could get my bearings before I begin.
“Are you new?” a girl in the cluster group says. She’s in the seat
next to mine, a mass of bangs with two overly done eyes staring
out at me from beneath. A junior by the looks of it.
“Newish,” I say.
“Why haven’t I seen you before?”
I glance over her shoulder at a boy. Athletic, a tight chest. She’s
been sneaking glances at him for the last ten minutes.
“Because you’re obsessed with him,” I say, pointing to the guy.
She turns bright red.
“That’s not funny,” she says.
I shrug.
Conversation over.
I hear a soft chuckle from two rows behind me.
It’s a younger guy, maybe fourteen years old, pale with uncombed
hair. Definition of dork. Watching.
“Good one,” he says.
“Thanks,” I say.
“You transferred to a new school in April,” he says. “Who did
you piss off?”
“I got kicked out of Choate.”
“You must have really screwed up.”
I shrug and go back to reading a book.
Let the rumors commence. It’s a good way to start, inject some
mystery into my story. Later I can spin it in a hundred different
ways, turn myself into a troubled kid, a victim, or a rebel—
whatever is most effective.
For now, I trust this pale kid will let it slip. And I mark him as
someone to monitor. I have to be careful with guys who are outsiders.
They watch. There’s nothing much else for them to do.
Ten minutes go by as I study the cluster group. I watch the patterns,
the behavior, the styles of dress. I listen to the rhythm of the
language in this new place. I learn the school procedures. I soak it
all in.
At five past eight, three soft tones sound a few seconds apart,
and the students stand up.
It’s time to meet Sam.

Book Review and Giveaway: Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills

Zero Tolerance cover imageYesterday, I shared thoughts from author Claudia Mills about the mother-daughter relationship in her book, Zero Tolerance. Today, I’m featuring a review of the book as well as the opportunity for one reader in the U.S. to win a copy. To enter, just leave a comment below about ways mothers can be supportive of their daughters without being controlling. Comment before midnight (PDT) on Friday, September 27. Please note: the giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Jody on winning.

Sierra Shepard is a seventh-grade honor student who likes school and recognizes the need for rules. She can’t understand how some people have so much trouble toeing the line until the day she accidentally brings her mom’s lunch to school instead of her own. Inside is a paring knife—definitely forbidden as a possible weapon. When she turns it in immediately, she’s shocked to find herself marched to the principal’s office, put on an in-school suspension and scheduled for an expulsion hearing. Suddenly Sierra’s perfect life is crashing around her and she gets a new perspective on—and possibly a better understanding of—the kids who are known as rule-breakers.

Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills brings up a good issue for mother-daughter book clubs to discuss: should rules put in place to protect students be flexible in the way they are enforced? Sierra’s fortunate in that her dad is a lawyer so he is able to create a case for her defense. But as Sierra finds out, students whose parents aren’t influential or comfortable with challenging authority are more likely to be severely punished. And when Sierra’s dad threatens to pull out something embarrassing to the principal if he won’t back down, she finds herself wondering if it’s okay to do something wrong if you know it will help you win.

Sierra’s newfound perspective on her friendships, crushes, principal, his secretary and even her own parents provide even more topics to discuss in mother-daughter book clubs. I recommend it for groups with girls aged 9 to 13.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review and Giveaway: Little Fish: A Memoir by Ramsey Beyer

Little Fish cover imageRamsey Beyer, author of Little Fish is big on making lists of all kinds, like “The Top 5 Things I Like About My Neighborhood,” and “Recent Best Feelings Ever.” As part of the Little Fish blog tour, I have one copy of the book to give away to a reader in the U.S. If you’d like to win a copy, leave a short list of your own in the comments section before midnight (PDT) on Wednesday, September 25. Please note: the giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Lori on winning.

I’ll start off with my list called Four Tough Adjustments When You Send Your Child to College:

  1. Her bed stays made every day, constantly reminding you she’s really not home.
  2. You worry endlessly when she’s sick and you can’t go to the doctor with her.
  3. You no longer know her friends.
  4. You’re happy that she’s happy away from home, but you’re just a bit sad too.

Here’s my review of Little Fish: A Memoir:

Accustomed to life in a small town in Wisconsin where everyone knows each other, Ramsey is excited that she has the opportunity to venture out on her own after she graduates from high school. Shy and pig-tailed, she nonetheless enters college life at an art school in Baltimore with high hopes and dreams of adventure. Little Fish is her memoir of her first year away from home.

The title reflects Ramsey’s feelings that she has become a little fish in a big pond, and at first she is definitely out of her element. But as she makes friends and becomes immersed in challenging schoolwork, she gradually builds up confidence and starts to branch out.

Told through illustrations and copies of journal entries and blog posts Beyer wrote at the time, Little Fish: A Memoir is an honest look at the difficulties young adults face when leaving what they know and beginning to forge a life away from home. It’s a great insight for both high school students on the cusp of a similar experience and the parents who will send them off. Beyer captures the balance of both excitement and fear that comes with stepping from a safe, known world into one that is unknown and full of possibilities as well as drawbacks.

I recommend Little Fish for mother-daughter book clubs and other readers aged 14 and up.

If you’d like to find out what others are saying about Little Fish, check out the blog tour page at Zestbooks.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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