Friday, July 27, 2012

What's Fresh with Jennifer Echols's Such a Rush!

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.

Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.

Hello Jennifer! It's great to have you back on YA Fresh! Please share with our readers at YA Fresh what your YA novel is about.

Jennifer: My hardcover debut, Such a Rush, is a sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business--until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers--and the consequences could be deadly.

What was the main inspiration for this book?

Jennifer: I took a trip to the beach with my family. While there, I drove with my dad to the tiny airport to watch the advertising banner planes take off and land. When he told me the pilots were very young because they were amassing hours to become airline pilots someday, I knew that would be my next book.

Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?

Jennifer: The hero, Grayson, is a reformed bad boy trying desperately to take charge and save everyone. He’s doing the best he can, and I feel terrible for him.

What’s been your favorite author moment so far in your career?

Jennifer: On December 26, 2010, Forget You hit #7 on Before this, it had sold fine but was nothing like a best seller. I’d been watching it climb the rankings through the Christmas season, and on the day after Christmas, my husband called me in to look at the ranking. We both thought it must be a mistake, but it hovered there for many weeks--long enough for me to point it out to my editor. ;) A few months later, I was able to get a hardcover deal for Such a Rush. I am eternally grateful to everyone who got a Barnes and Noble gift card in their stocking and used it to buy my book.

That's so amazing! Tell us something fun about your new book. It can be a character detail, something that inspired the story, or a behind the scenes story from the writing process.

Jennifer: During the writing of this book, my career suddenly stepped up, to the point that I was finally able to quit my day job and write for a living. However, because of the way all my deadlines fell, I had to stop writing this book in the middle of it, write an entirely different YA romantic comedy called The One That I Want, and then come back to this book. That’s the first time in my career I’ve had to turn on a dime, and it made for a crazy summer!

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Kelly!

Thank you and best of luck with Such a Rush!

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son. Visit her website,

Friday, July 20, 2012

What's Fresh with Tera Lynn Childs's JUST FOR FINS?

We welcome back Tera Lynn Childs to YA Fresh today to talk about her third book in the mermaid series, JUST FOR FINS.

 When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mermaid kingdom Thalassinia, she knew she couldn’t just coast along in the current. But since she’s spent the last couple of years on land—with gorgeous human Quince by her side—Lily’s not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom. Even her maddeningly pretentious cousin Dosinia seems to know more about ruling than she does.

But Lily has to dive in deep to keep her promise to Tellin, her mer bond in name only, whose kingdom is suffering in the changing ocean climate. Lily knows this is a seven seas–sized problem: from sea animals dying to oil spills and threats to humans. They’ll need to create some serious waves to make the mer community aware and get it to join together to make things right. Even if that means facing one of the iciest queens in the mer kingdoms.

Just when Lily thinks her double life on land and sea can’t get any more complicated, an ancient mer law might separate Lily and Quince after all. It feels as if the pair is up against a solid tsunami wave!

In this third installment in the series that began with Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever, Lily will have to find a way to balance safety and justice for the mer people as well as for the humans she loves.

Hi, Tera!  Tell us about your book in ten words or less.

Mermaid Lily tries to save the oceans and her love life.

Nice!  Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
Since picking hottie biker boy Quince would be a total cop out, I'll say Lily's bratty cousin Dosinia. She's such a diva with attitude, I love the challenge of making her likable.

Tell us something fun about JUST FOR FINS. It can be a character detail, something that inspired the story, or a behind the scenes story from the writing process.
The environment is one of my main causes, and in Just For Fins I get to share that with the readers. Lily's quest to save the oceans from human impact--oil spills, over-fishing, pollution--is very close to my heart. My hope is that in some ways inspires my readers to care more.

What is a favorite comment you've ever received from a fan?
My favorites are when a young girl (or her mom) tell me that she's never finished a book before, that mine was the first. That's... humbling.

What are you working on now?
Right now I'm revising the third (secretly-titled) book in the Sweet Venom series. That book is due out next fall.

Sounds terrific!   Thank you, Tera, for joining us, and we hope our readers will check out this wonderful series.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What's Fresh with Denise Jaden's Never Enough

From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special…even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. And Loann is frightened she could lose the sister she’s always idolized.

As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship—and her sister—before it’s too late?

Hi Denise, thanks for sharing with YA Fresh! Please share what your YA novel is about.

Denise: Never Enough is a story about Loann and her older sister, Claire. There’s a lot to their complicated relationship, but much of the story revolves around an eating disorder, and how it’s tearing their family apart. It’s also a story about first love and the strength of friendship.

How did you come up with the idea for Never Enough?

Denise: A good friend of mine struggled with eating disorders for many years, and as I got closer with her, I found myself wanting to understand her more and wishing I could help. I wrote Never Enough to sort out my feelings and to delve beyond my surface understanding.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Denise: No, actually I grew up doing everything I could to avoid writing and reading. I only came into my love of literature in my thirties and now try to make up for it by devouring several books a week.

As writers, we all love to procrastinate. What’s your favorite procrastination activity?

Denise: TWITTER!!! But Twitter helps spur me on sometimes to write sometimes as well. You can find me at @denisejaden , and I have a network of writers who procrastinate—I mean spur each other on—under the hashtag #wipmadness. You’re welcome to hang out with us any time!

Great! What are you working on now?

Denise: I’m working on another YA contemporary romance/mystery, tentatively titled FOREIGN EXCHANGE. It’s about a girl who sneaks away from her class trip in Europe, along with her crush, to find her missing best friend.

Thanks again for visiting with us, Denise! Best of luck with your writing!

Denise Jaden spent her high school lunch hours trying to tame her frizzy/curly hair in the bathroom, or playing freeze tag in the drama room. She attended the theatre program at college, and then enjoyed a variety of occupations, including stage production, mushroom farming, and Polynesian dancing. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith, was written in 21 days during National Novel Writing Month. This is her second novel. She lives just outside Vancouver, Canada with her husband and son. Find out more online at or on Twitter: @denisejaden

Monday, July 16, 2012

What's Fresh with Jessica Brody's 52 Reasons to Hate My Father

Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteenth birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

Hello Jessica! Always a pleasure to have you on YA Fresh! Please tell us what your new novel is about?

Jessica: 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER is about Lexington Larrabee, a spoiled teen heiress, famous for her party-girl antics and tabloid headlines, who is forced by her ever-absent mogul father to take on a different low-wage job every week for a year, if she wants any hope of receiving her trust fund.

Sounds entertaining! Where did you get the idea to write this book?

Jessica: Actually it’s kind of a funny story. I was sitting in my car, watching a meter maid write someone a parking ticket and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to be a meter maid? But only for like a week. Just to see what it was like.” Then I start to brainstorm all these other jobs I’d like to do for one week. And I decided, “Well, I’m too busy writing novels to actually do all these jobs, so I guess I’ll just have to write a book about someone else who does them.” And then I tried to think of the funniest character to put in that kind of situation and the answer was instant: a spoiled heiress who has never had to work a day in her life. And alas, Lexington Larrabee was born. But really the joke’s on me, because in researching the story, I actually did take on some of the jobs that are in the book! My favorite was working the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant. Those head-sets you have to wear are like something out of Star Trek!

This book sounds like it would make a great movie! Is there any talk of turning it into a film?

Jessica: Actually yes! The book has been optioned for film by producer Jane Startz, who also produced Ella Enchanted, The Indian in the Cupboard, and Tuck Everlasting (among others.) She’s a powerhouse and I love her! She’s developing the movie now. There’s still no guarantee that it will actually be a movie, but it’s one step closer, and that’s all I can ask for! Plus, I just recently heard that Victoria Justice (from the hit show Victorious on Nickelodeon) has expressed early interest in starring in the film. Nothing official has been decided yet but it's still pretty freaking exciting! I'm a HUGE fan of Victoria!

That's awesome! 52 Reasons to Hate My Father is your fifth novel to be released. Does writing a novel get easier the more you write?

Jessica: You would think so, wouldn’t you?! But actually I don’t think it does. It gets only easier only in the sense that you’re prepared for all the stuff that comes with writing a novel: the self-doubt, agony, pacing the room, screaming in frustration, chocolate binges, mad sprees on the delete key, throwing up your hands and threatening to quit and run away to live on an island where no one can find you. You kind of expect those things. So when they come, you can almost manage to convince yourself it’s all part of the process. But I think with every book comes a new challenge that you weren’t expecting. No one can predict what part of a story will cause you the most trouble. And I’m constantly challenging myself to write better, tighter, more complicated stories. Otherwise, I’d get bored.

Thanks again for sharing with us, Jessica! What’s up next for you?

Jessica: Last year I signed a four book deal with my publisher, Macmillan Children’s, and I just turned in the first of those books! It’s the first installment in a new YA sci-fi/thriller trilogy called UNREMEMBERED. It’s about a sixteen-year-old girl who wakes up among the wreckage of a devastating plane crash. She’s the only survivor but she has no memories and identity. The only clue to her past is a mysterious boy who claims they were in love and that she was part of a top secret science experiment. It’s kind of like a Bourne Identity for teens. I’m really excited about it because the genre is totally new to me and writing the first book was so much fun! Plus, it’s my first crack at writing a series so that presents a whole new set of fun challenges. The first book is set to release in early 2013.

Jessica Brody is the bestselling author of The Karma Club and My Life Undecided, as well as two books for adults: The Fidelity Files and Love Under Cover. In researching this book, she took on several minimum wage jobs, her favorite of which was working the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant. She splits her time between California and Colorado. Visit her online at:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Code Name Verity!

I’ve heard it said that the most effective promotion for a novel is through word of mouth, one friend with similar literary tastes telling another: “You absolutely have to read this book.”

Well, recently I finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and must say that most people closest to me already know what I’m about to report here at YA Fresh. I cannot stop talking about this book, cannot stop recommending it. While Code Name Verity is not for the faint of heart, it was one of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Ever.

I read it slowly over several days, absorbing every scene, sometimes re-reading passages for their full effect. It was the first thing I thought of in the morning, and my last thought at night. I know this will be that rare book whose details will stay vibrant enough in my mind that I’ll be able to recall them at a moment’s notice for spontaneous discussion.

It’s hard to summarize this book without giving too much away, so here is the publisher’s blurb:

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

I was fascinated to learn the author herself is an avid flyer of small planes, and lives in Scotland.  This added depth to what had already seemed like meticulous attention to historical detail.  But the true crowning achievement of Code Name Verity for me is the bold, courageous characters of Maddie and Verity, as they deal with danger and deception, somehow managing to keep their best friendship burning brightly in their hearts. 

As Laurie Halse Anderson (NYT author of Speak) said of this book, “This astonishing tale of friendship and truth will take wing and soar into your heart.”

I encourage all our readers to check out this book, and then share it with your best friend!  And please come back and tell us here what you thought of it.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The Winners Are...

We had a lot of fun with our MERCURY IN RETRO LOVE giveaway, and learning some of our readers' astrological signs.  There are two winners of a trade sized paperback copy of this book:

Robin Bielman



So if Robin and Krista will be please e-mail me at with contact information, I will get the books in the mail to them!

Congratulations and thanks to all who entered.