End of the year awards and lists are rolling in right now, and I’m pleased and proud to share the news that my little book about teen reproductive rights has been chosen by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) for their Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list. This is a huge, huge honor and I couldn’t be happier. You can see the complete list here: YALSA Top Ten
GIRLS ON THE VERGE also received a nod from Rise: A Feminist Book Project, which is part of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. The Project recommends recent books with significant feminist content for young readers. (Rise was formerly the Amelia Bloomer Project) You can see the complete list here: Rise List
I’m proud to announce that Girls on the Verge was nominated for Best Fiction for Young Adults 2020 by the Young Adult Library Services Association.
Here is their review:
Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller Henry Holt & Company / Macmillan Publication Date: April 9, 2019 ISBN: 978-1250151698
This book confronts a controversial topic in a highly readable narrative, while not leaping into preaching or teaching mode. With the Roe v. Wade court decision under attack and more states passing aggressive anti-abortion laws, this book offers up pathways for discussion for teens to think about how they would handle the situation, as well as how they would handle it if a friend finds themselves in the same place as Camille. The emphasis is on friendship and supporting one another, while also tackling the leaps that women have to proceed through to exercise their right to choose what happens to their body.
This book’s strength lies in the reading about the stigma Camille is forced to confront at each step proceeding the journey, as well as how others are quick to make assumptions and judge, specifically in case of her best friend Bea. Across hundreds of miles, from Texas, Mexico, and New Mexico – Camille’s story unfolds across their journey, and delves into the crisis centers, doctor offices, family court, and more in a relatively short book of only 228 pages.
To balance out the story, factual information is introduced through the judicial timeline before the story begins and the author’s note at the end gives readers background information Texas’ abortion law history, Biggs Waller’s own personal connection to the story, and resources for additional help and information. Give this title to teens you know appreciate a hard-hitting story or to a teen exploring social justice or sociopolitical themes, or consider pairing this with Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale for a contemporary novel delving into a woman’s right to control her own body.
You can read more about the other nominees here: YALSA
I absolutely love Anderson’s Bookshop’s Young Adult Literature Conference, and so I was thrilled when they invited me to this year’s event. Lots of my fellow young adult writers will be there and it’s going to be fun. We’ll be giving breakout sessions to discuss topics pertaining to YA literature today (so much to talk about, right?). And of course there will be books available to purchase and an autograph session.
Headlining the event on Saturday are Scott Westerfeld, Laura
Ruby, Lizzy Mason, Alex London, and Elizabeth Eulberg.
Other authors in Saturday’s lineup include Ronni Davis, K
Ancrum, Sonia Hartl, Natalie Lund, Rachel DeWoskin, Jennifer E. Smith, Claire
Legrand, Kimberly Jones, Gilly Segal, Rosiee Thor, Gloria Chao, Charlotte
Nicole Davis (Fan Frenzy Only), E.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Rafi Mittlefehldt,
Annie Sullivan, Kimberly Gabriel, Lauren Mansy, Lillie Vale, Melissa Grey,
Amber Smith, Jenn Bennett, Kit Frick, Adrienne Young, Shelby Mahurin, Jessika
Fleck, and Rosaria Munda.
The event runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (doors open at 7:30
a.m.) at the Embassy Suites, 1823 Abriter Court, Naperville. Continental
breakfast and a plated luncheon are included. Tickets are available only
Fan Frenzy on Sunday is for young adult readers. It runs
from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 with many of the above authors
appearing. The event will be at Fischer Middle School, 1305 Long Grove Drive,
Aurora. It’s only $5 to attend but registration is required. Head to andersonsbookshop.com to sign
Hope to see you there! Come find me and say hello.
Last week I had the absolute pleasure to hang out with GiannaMarie Dobson and Veronica Ward, the delightful ladies of the new book podcast Something Old, Something Debut. They picked GIRLS ON THE VERGE as their first book review/discussion, and invited me to be on the pod. I had so much fun and so I invite you to take a listen. They are on many podcast catchers including Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Listen to them here Spotify Something Old, Something Debut. Or here on Apple Something Old, Something Debut.
The discussion on GIRLS ON THE VERGE is part one and two, and my interview is part three. GiannaMarie and Veronica are so funny and very passionate about books and life in general. I think you’ll enjoy listening to them. So if you want to learn about my writing process, my favorite fictional horse, what would kill me in a dystopian society, and why I have so many goats, head on over and take a listen.
If you haven’t heard the My Favorite Murder podcast, head over there now and acquaint yourself with this hilarious and endearing true crime comedy podcast. They release two pods a week, a true crime and a listeners’ hometown murders/weird stories/funny personal stories/all things just…odd. The MFM ladies, Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff, released a memoir, STAY SEXY AND DON’T GET MURDERED, around the same time I released GIRLS ON THE VERGE. Both were on the Cosmo list of top books of 2019, which thrilled me to no end since I am a HUGE MFM fan and a murderino (the name for followers of the pod). I admire Georgia and Karen so much that I added an Easter egg in the story in their honor, only I had to call them the Murder and Mayhem Girls because their podcast wasn’t around in my book’s timeline.
A couple of weeks ago I thought it would be funny to send in my goofy hometown story, which was about the time I got hit by a car inside a steak restaurant. So they read it on Monday, and they also mentioned GIRLS ON THE VERGE, which also thrills me to no end! Here is Monday’s pod: Episode 125. I’m the last story.
GIRLS ON THE VERGE releases today, the third novel release of my career, and it’s a very happy day. A book birthday is a thrill for writers—it’s the day when that little idea, which turned into a story, becomes a book.
So what happens now? Well, aside from promoting the book as much as a writer and her publisher can, pretty much nothing. Writers get to work doing what they do best, writing. The one thing every writer should avoid doing, however, is peeking under the rug—meaning reading reviews. The one piece of advice I give all debut writers is this: DO NOT READ YOUR REVIEWS! Of course that’s difficult to do because it’s natural to want to know how your book is received, but be warned, that way lies dragons. Dragons are the bad/snarky reviews and the one and two stars, which every writer (even big name authors and best sellers) gets. And never, ever, under any circumstances, add a rebuttal to a review. That way lies white walkers and that scary white walker dragon. So unless a writer has the skin of a rhino, bad reviews will ruin a book release and might even spill into day-to-day life. How do I know? Because it happened to me, and it ain’t fun. So I don’t read Amazon or Goodreads reviews, I don’t read blogger reviews, I don’t Google my book. I only read reviews that my agent and publisher send me. I only read and respond to emails people send me. My theory is this: I did the best I could, I threw my heart into my book, I can’t change it, and it’s none of my business what readers think about my book unless they choose to tell me. Stories are interesting things because a writer’s words aren’t perceived the same way by one person or another. We all have individual imaginations, experiences, tastes. And readers will see things in a book that maybe the author didn’t mean to write—good and bad. Such is the magic of reading.
So. This morning I looked at Amazon to see my book up for sale, found out that it’s the number one release in YA theater novels, shut my app without looking at reviews. And then I went about my day feeding my animals and milking my goat, listening to Podcasts. I had some lovely emails from my agent and editor and friends. Later I’ll take my dogs for a walk. Tonight I’ll feed my animals and milk my goat again, make dinner. I’ll hang out with my husband and probably practice my guitar or embroider. I would say that’s a pretty good way to celebrate a book release. Wouldn’t you?
Here are the winners who entered my personal giveaway: Debi Tonks, Christina Carolin, and Kate Duncan. You’ve all won a signed galley of GIRLS ON THE VERGE, so please send me your details and I will put them in the mail. The rest of you who haven’t won, send me your details too and I’ll send you a signed book plate. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve loved reading about all your road trip memories and favorite songs!
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