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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is your beach bag weirdly light? Are you reading cereal boxes?

Enter the HarperTeen Beach Bag Essentials for a chance to win 8 great summer reads! The Carrie Diaries, Forgive My Fins, Brusier, Lies, Brilliant -- and more!

Browse Inside
Gift Guide
Heading to the beach? Be sure to pack
your sunglasses, a towel, and this
season's best reads!

Harperteen is giving away books from some of our favorite authors like Candace Bushnell, Sara Shepard,
Michael Grant, Tera Lynn Childs, Jason Hendricks, Rachel Vail, Chris Lynch, and Neal Shusterman.

Check out the featured books and enter for a chance to win them all!

The Carrie Diaries

The Carrie Diaries

By: Candace

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars

By: Sara Shepard

Lies: A Gone Novel

Lies: A Gone Novel

By: Michael Grant

Forgive My Fins

Forgive My Fins

By: Candace

The Carrie Diaries

Alex Van Helsing:
Vampire Rising

By: Jason Henders

Lies: A Gone Novel


By: Chris Lynch

Forgive My Fins


By: Neal

Winners will be selected at random from entries received. Ten (10) winners will receive the following books: TheCarrie Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Lies: A Gone Novel, Forgive My Fins, Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising, Brilliant, Hothouse, and Bruiser.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Avery Girls QUIZ!

Are you most like Phoebe, or Allison, or Quinn? You might be surprised... I was.

Take the quiz at the link below -- and post your result in the "comments"section for a chance at a free signed book... from the POV of the character who is your soul mate, of course!

Winners will be selected at random next week... at which point I'll divulge which girl is most like me, apparently.

Here's the quiz!

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day of Summer -- so much to celebrate

I've been thinking about all the ways adults try to "protect" kids and teens --from warnings about "dangerous" books to preventing best-friendships

... and while the part of me that fully remembers how it feels to be a kid/teen shakes my head in wonder and disgust, the parent part of me understands the (misdirected) urge. Even on some ordinary, uneventful days -- like the day I've had today, for one example -- the worry that goes with being a parent sometimes feels like a punch in the heart. Maybe there's somebody in addition to our kids we are trying to protect?

On the other hand, I have benefitted tremendously from your comments on the last
post, about trying to stop the TO DO list noise. Inspired by you all, I was able to be very mindful of appreciating the long days, this past week -- kicking back in the playground, the park, and various cafes around town with my family and friends. Isn't it odd, how hard it is to unclench? Doesn't it seem like that would be easy?

Easy... hmmm... another concept I've been thinking about. At the end of one of the basketball games last week (such great games, even though I was ultimately sad Boston didn't prevail) one of the players was asked if it was hard. I can't even remember what the specific area of difficulty being asked about was, to be honest -- maybe to play away games, or with an injury, or in the NBA finals; I was only half-listening until I heard his answer, which was so wise:

"Yeah," he said. "It's hard. But that's okay. It's supposed to be hard."

I keep thinking about that. It's okay; it's supposed to be hard. I have been telling myself that, since I heard that statement, whenever I feel stressed: Yes, it's hard, but that's okay; it's supposed to be hard. I told myself that today when I was struggling
with a scene in my new book, and then again later when dealing with camp stress with my kids. And reminding myself that it's supposed to be hard didn't crunch me up at all inside -- in fact, it gave me the room to cope, because I wasn't busy internally protesting WAIT! NO! This is HARD!

It goes along with the very sane "Keep calm and carry on" advice I keep seeing lately, which sounds like it must be a quote from Queen Elizabeth. Is it? Free signed bookplate to whoever finds the source for that one first...

Meanwhile, two other things: one is --another great review for BRILLIANT!

This one is from Bulletin:

"LUCKY featured young Phoebe Avery, GORGEOUS her older sister Allison; now the focus is on oldest sister Quinn. The solid and reliable daughter, Quinn rolls with the punches as her family's life begins to disintigrate after her mother gets fired from her lucrative job as a hedge-fund manager, but she's beginning to question her eternally accepting role. Vail has done a superb job of moving through the trajectory of connecting the backstory even as she gives each Avery girl full center-stage attention.... [spoilers omitted here]... The book also offers some neat craftsmanship in its external characterizations of Phoebe and Allison, whom readers have seen from the inside in previous titles, with the triangulated portrayals giving a fuller picture than either point of view on its own. Readers who pick this title up will definitely want to backtrack to the earlier titles to fill in the picture, and those who've heard Phoebe's and Allison's takes won't want to miss Quinn's."

And not to be left out, here's JUSTIN, with new friends Judy and Janine at my local Barnes & Noble...

Finally, happy first day of summer... and Happy Birthday to
my friend Lauren, with whom, despite all my Zen relaxation intentions, I have not gotten to celebrate yet. Soon, grasshopper, soon, I keep telling myself (okay, free bookplates for the source of that one, too!)

Don't forget to share your thoughts on any of this, or anything else, in the comments below...

Rachel Vail

PS: coming very soon -- an Avery Girl quiz!!!

PPS: Dare I ask: what exactly are we being warned is ahead here, at the Stamford CT train station???

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Review/ New Attitude

Just got this great new review for Brilliant! It's from School Library Journal:

VAIL, Rachel. Brilliant. 256p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. June 2010. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-089049-0; PLB $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-089050-6. LC number unavailable.

Gr 9 Up–This final, stand-alone book in the Avery sisters trilogy that includes Lucky (2008) and Gorgeous (2009, both HarperCollins) is told from 16-year-old Quinn’s point of view. The eldest child, she has always been the dependable daughter, loyal

to her parents and a good girl who works hard and excels at everything. But her mom’s loss of her high-paying job–and her need for a lawyer–is taking a toll on the whole family, Quinn included, as they prepare to move out of their home and face an uncertain future. Suddenly her behavior is very un-Quinn-like (kissing her sister’s ex, making out with guys at parties, admitting her feelings to her longtime crush), but ultimately freeing, as she comes to acknowledge her parents’ flaws as well as her own. Good girls and rebels alike will be able to identify with this adolescent rite of passage; Quinn’s response is realistic, her friends and family are well drawn, and her happy-enough ending is hard won. A natural choice for teens waiting for their next Sarah Dessen fix.–Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI

Along with Quinn's rites of passage, we're having some around here... my older son just finished his first year of high school, and my younger son is, at this very moment, finishing his last day of elementary school. And though I have a lump in my throat just typing those crazy words, I am determined to enjoy and celebrate these milestones. Last year, at the end of school, we were simultaneously in the process of moving back into our apartment after renovations. One gorgeous day last June, I realized that the sun had set over the Hudson River while my younger son and his buddies were tearing around laughing and sweating in the playground, and my older son had been hanging out with his friends cracking up -- and my husband had his

arm around me while we chatted with our terrific friends... and the whole time I was mentally scanning my to-do list. My teeth were clenched. What a waste! I did not accomplish one extra thing, standing there all tight and grim; I just missed out on low-hanging joy.

So -- not this year.

This year, though deadlines loom in front of (and behind) me, and there is, as always, a list a mile long clamoring for my immediate attention, I refuse to clench. One of my best friends in the world is about to move across the country -- and I am going to hang out with her and chill as much as possible. I am going to make time to have a cup of tea or a glass of Champagne with as many friends as I can, today and tomorrow and the next day. I am going to do my 166 pushups today and my 166 situps today as well, but I am not going to stress about that or work or anything else. I'm going to get it done and then leave it alone. And then I am going to celebrate.

Today and tomorrow and maybe even the next day, I am going to watch the sun set over the Hudson River as my kids chill with me (my big guy) or tear around sweaty and red-cheeked (my still-little-guy) with their friends -- and I am going to laugh. I'll listen to my friends and my kids and the traffic and the birds. I'll kick off my flip-flops and wiggle my toes in the sand. I'll hold a cold drink in my hand and lean back against the concrete steps with the sky filling up my field of vision until one of my kids pops up in front of me, wanting my attention -- and I will give it him, completely. I am going to enjoy all of it. I am going to fully and greedily drink it in. And I will know I am, as Jed Avery, the father in the Avery trilogy said when he was thinking about his kids and his messy imperfect flawed amazing life, "rich beyond measure."

What are you going to enjoy this week?

Let me know...


Rachel Vail