School's out for summer! Is your teen prepared for lazy days at the beach or those rainy days with nothing to do? Do these scenarios sound like the perfect opportunity to curl up with a good read? I certainly think so! I wanted to share a few books perfect for teens and young adults who are drawn to YA fiction so I decided to do a bit of social media crowdscourcing. My bookish friends came up with great suggestions that should keep you and/or your teen(s) entertained this summer. Read on to get the scoop on some YA must-reads!
Cyn Gagen @CynGagen recommends:
My very favorite YA book and one that my grade 8 students adores (even the reluctant readers) was by Canadian author Deborah Ellis, called THE BREADWINNER (trilogy). It's about a family living under Taliban rule. A great dystopian one that again was really popular with my students is THE GIVER by Lois Lowry. It can go as young as grade 6 but I prefer it with 7/8 or above, again because of the content of it.
Kelli Catana @KelliDaisy suggests:
Erin Marshall @ErinMarshallVA recommends:
I just read MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs. I loved it. I picked it up from the e-Library on a Sunday afternoon, and I read it straight through. I was pretty disappointed when I realized the next one is still in the works. I also read the UGLIES series by Scott Westerfeld; which I also really loved. I have a soft spot in my heart for dystopian futures.
Danielle Christopher @DanielleASigne suggests:
Karen Green @KarenGreeners recommends:
The ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. AOGG is a must!
Leslie Garrett @LesileGarrett suggests:
Danielle Lee-Muma @DanielleMuma recommends:
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. HAUNTING VIOLET by Alyxandra Harvey. WHEN WE WAKE by Karen Healey. BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver. DANTE AND ARISTOTLE DISCOVER THE SECRET OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Saenz.
Nikki Gore @nikgore suggests:
Margarita Ibbott @DownshiftingPRO recommends:
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan. 2 authors. 2 voices. Fantastic writing style. Anything by John Green.
Jay C. Spencer @JayC_Spencer suggests:
DUALED by Elsie Chapman and SIEGE & STORM by Leigh Bardugo for sure. I’m only a few chapters in (SIEGE & STORM), but it's just as good as the first in the series, SHADOW & BONE. CODA by Emma Trevayne. I’m almost finished it & it’s fantastic!
Tara Wagg @boomda181 recommends:
DIVERGENT and INSURGENT by Veronica Roth are at the top of my list as is THIS DARK ENDEAVOUR by Kenneth Oppel. SHELTER by Harlan Coben. Love it!!!!! I have recommended it via text to all my god children, nieces and nephews!!!!
Yours truly, Wanda Lynne Young @BookaliciousCA suggests:
Any YA books by Billie Livingston! I highly recommend ONE GOOD HUSTLE, and GREEDY LITTLE EYES. Kelley Armstrong is a popular author for those who enjoy reading books in a series. Ellen Hopkins novels are terrific! Check out her YA titles TILT, PERFECT, and the CRANK triology.
Which of these YA books have you read and which ones would you recommend?
Wanda Lynne Young
A BEAUTIFUL HEIST is the first in a three-book series called THE AGENCY OF BURGLARY & THEFT by Kim Foster. You may recognize the author's name and yes, this is the same Kim Foster who makes the doctor's rounds in YMC with her health blog Wicked Health! I had the opportunity to nab a copy of A BEAUTIFUL HEIST and question Kim about the novel and her writing experience. Read on to find out more and enter the prize pack draw for a copy of the book plus a Starbucks gift card!
1. From conception to realization, how long did it take you to see A BEAUTIFUL HEIST published? Did you have a writing schedule?
I had the initial germ of the idea when my firstborn was about 1. He just turned 8. But the path to publication was long and convoluted (as I suspect it is for every writer) because over those years I had another baby, went through two literary agents, and in fact wrote two entirely different versions of the story.
I had to readjust my writing schedule many times in those years, too—through various stages of motherhood, maternity leaves, and work changes, and also because we moved from Vancouver to London, England for six months, and then back to Victoria, BC. Currently my writing schedule starts at 5 am and I write until 7 am, when my regular day as a working mother begins. Recently I’ve been writing in the evening, too, after the kids are in bed...and then on the weekends, whenever I can sneak out to the nearest Starbucks. (Blogger note: A BEAUTIFUL HEIST is set in Seattle, WA which is famous for many great things including the first Starbucks!)
2. You’re a physician, so it wouldn’t be a big stretch for you to write a novel from the perspective of someone from the medical field. Why did you choose to write about a jewel thief? Is Cat, the protagonist in A Beautiful Heist, your alter ego? ;-)
Yes, they say “write what you know." But writing fiction is play for me—it’s fantasy and dream time. In the past I did try to write stories about medical characters and storylines, but it always felt too much like work, too much like my day job, too much like doing what I’m supposed to do...like being made to eat my veggies or something (which, PS, I do recommend. Eat your veggies, kids.) Once I ignored the “write what you know” mantra and let my imagination stretch—that’s when I became truly inspired. And yes, Cat’s world is a completely different world than my own. At least as far as you need to know. ;)
3. Part of Cat’s motivation is driven by an event from her past. She feels the need to atone for her perceived involvement in her sister’s death. What drives your everyday life and what motivates you to write?
If I had to boil it down, what I really want is to make a unique contribution to the world.
I think a key moment for me was attending my first autopsy, as a first year medical student. Before we started, the pathologist was reviewing the chart and informed me that the man lying naked on the cold slab table had been, in life, a doctor himself. And it hit me then, very hard: we all end up like that. No matter who you are or what you do.
So you have to follow your bliss. I’ve gone through my fair share of existential crises, and many people have asked me why on earth I’d want to write when I’ve worked so hard to be a physician. But writing is something I love to do. It’s not a replacement for my career in medicine—medicine is wonderful, but the truth is I need a little more poetry in my life. I’m motivated to write because, basically, I can’t help it.
4. What did you learn from the whole novel writing process? Is there anything you would do differently for your next books?
A BEAUTIFUL HEIST is the third complete novel I’ve written. The other two are...well, they’re not good. But every writer needs those drawer manuscripts. I’ve learned tons, every time I go through the process, and I continue to learn. I’ve discovered that the toughest part for me is the first draft stage. I love the dreaming/planning phase, and the revision stage is my favourite—shaping and molding is so much fun. But getting the lump of clay out there, the first draft, is rough going.
For my next books, I’m not going to spend so much time worrying if I’m doing it the “right” way—because everyone has their own right way, and I’m continuing to develop mine. I would, however, like to become a better outliner. I suspect it would save me time, and now that I have a contract I’m suddenly writing to a deadline—something I never had to worry about before.
5. What plans do you have for Cat in the next 2 stories in The Agency of Burglary & Theft series? No spoilers obviously, but maybe share a little somethin' somethin'?!
I have big plans for the next two books. Book two is well underway, actually, I’ll be handing the manuscript over to my editor in a couple of weeks.
In book two, you’ll see Cat’s adventures become even more international—the story is set, in large part, in Paris. The heists in the next stories get even bigger (she goes after a very famous target in book two—and it’s something you’ve all heard of) and the personal stakes get deeper. She comes face to face with some of her deepest fears and has to struggle with those, while attempting to pull off an impossible job. And in terms of Cat’s love life—well, things are going to get very complicated in that department. Book three sees her questioning everything, especially about her dichotomy of good and bad behaviour, and her chosen criminal lifestyle.
I gotta say, I’ve had so much fun writing Cat’s story, and I hope people enjoy reading it just as much!
A BEAUTIFUL HEIST: EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE
Everyone breaks the rules eventually. It’s just that some of us make a career out of it.
Lingering by the bar, I sipped my Veuve Clicquot and, with the utmost subtlety, tugged at the short neoprene wet suit concealed beneath my cocktail dress.
The warm September evening air swirled with lush jazz; the chime of crystal mingled with the laughter of socialites and millionaires. It was a graceful affair. But I, for one, was far from relaxed. My eyes roved the party restlessly and my nerves sizzled with anticipation. And fear.
My safety that evening hinged on my skills of deception. On my ability to conjure the illusion that I belonged at this party. Whether I got my assignment done, however, depended on an altogether different sort of talent: the particular skill-set I happened to be born with.
As always, I needed to keep my fear in check and stay focused on my goals. Do the job, Cat. Make it out of here alive. Don’t get arrested.
You can read the rest of Chapter One on kimfosterwrites.com and purchase the full copy by visiting the book cover below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Foster is a medical doctor who has been a lifelong lover of fiction. She’s a mom who decided that midnight feedings of her newborn were a fine time to get serious about writing. And she’s a novelist who, in spite of sound advice to “write what you know,” simply couldn’t resist crafting a story about a professional jewel thief.
Online, you can find Kim blogging about her left-brain, right-brain mash-up on kimfosterwrites.com. Kim is a practicing physician and a Yummy Mummy Club health blogger: Dr. Kim Foster: Wicked Health. Kim can also be found performing regular TV, radio, and speaking appearances. You can find Author Kim Foster on GoodReads, follow her on Twitter @DrKimFoster, and like the Author Kim Foster Page on Facebook.
VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH PARTY
On June 6th, 2013, you are invited to a Virtual Book Launch Party For A Beautiful Heist on Facebook! Drop in between 8:00–11:00 pm EDT and join the conversation with Kim Foster plus there will be prizes up for grabs!
BOOKALICIOUS BOOK GRAB GIVEAWAY
Kensington Publishing and Kim Foster have a prize pack to give to one lucky Bookalicious reader! The prize pack will include a digital copy of A BEAUTIFUL HEIST and a $20 Starbucks gift card! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment in the "Click Here To Spill It" bubble below. You have until June 14th, 2013 to enter. You must be a YMC member, and please be sure you've registered your email address in our commenting system so we can contact you if you win.
Yummy Rules and Regs
You must be a YummyMummyClub.ca member to win. Click here to sign up. It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until June 14th, 2013. Contest open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec). Winners will be picked using www.random.org. See full contest rules.
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Kim Foster photo credit: Tamea Burd Photography