Tag Archives: YA

Spotlight – Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green


Today is my turn on the brilliant Noah Can’t Even blog tour and I am super excited to be spotlighting this debut book by Simon James Green with a fab giveaway!

Noah Can’t Even was released on the 4th May published by Scholastic and from what I have heard already you will be laughing page after page!

So for my stop on this fab blog tour I am spotlighting this fab author, illustrator and book!

Also do check the bottom of the post for an exciting event announcement and giveaway!


Painfully geeky Noah Grimes is desperate to do whatever he can to survive school. He thinks his best chance at social normalcy is to start up a romantic relationship with the wonderful Sophie, but his plans are hopelessly derailed when his best (and only) friend Harry kisses him at a party. And that’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.

You can buy a copy of Noah Can’t Even here or from your local bookshop!


About Simon James Green

Simon James Green grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire that definitely wasn’t the inspiration for Little Fobbing – so no-one from there can be mad with him, OK? He enjoyed a classic British education of assorted humiliations and barbaric PE lessons before reading Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he further embarrassed himself by accidentally joining the rowing team despite having no upper body strength and not being able swim. When it turned out that being a lawyer was nothing like how it looks in Suits or The Good Wife, and buoyed by the success of his late night comedy show that involved an inflatable sheep, he travelled to London to pursue a glamorous career in show business. Within weeks he was working in a call centre, had been mugged, and had racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt. Finding strength and inspiration in the lyrics of Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, he eventually ended up working on a range of West End shows and UK tours, co-wrote a feature-length rom-com for the BBC and directed Hollyoaks for C4 / Lime Pictures. After trying really, really hard, he also managed to write Noah Can’t Even. If you are interested in stalking him, he still lives in London, where he spends a lot of time telling people that Noah Can’t Even is only partly autobiographical, and his mum has definitely never done a Beyoncé tribute act.

You can find out more about Simon on his website – www.simonjamesgreen.com

Or why not follow Simon on Twitter – @simonjamesgreen


Event Alert!

You can catch Simon James Green on tour at the following destinations with the super funny Beth Garrod and Stephanie Kate Strohm and I’m chairing the Birmingham Event!

Come along and watch the shenanigans unfold!

Details here……

Join Simon James Green (Noah Can’t Even), Beth Garrod (Super Awkward) and Stephanie Kate Strohm (It’s Not Me, It’s You) for this hilarious panel as they discuss the importance of funny books and reveal their characters’ most embarrassing moments (and a few of their own!) chaired by UKYABA award-winning blogger Chelle Toy from Tales of Yesterday.

Simon, Beth and Stephanie believe that laughter truly is the best medicine in a world that can be increasingly negative, so sign up and get your cure!

We hope you can join us for a wonderful evening fully of awkward, funny and cringeworthy stories!

This is a free event but seating is limited.
To reserve your seat please call us on 0121 633 4353 or buy your ticket here
Email us at events.birmingham@waterstones.com
Tweet us at @bhamwaterstones
Or speak to a bookseller in store.


GiveawayTo celebrate the release of Noah Can’t Even I have decided to host a little giveaway through twitter!

I have one copy to giveaway to one lucky winner!

Head over to twitter here to enter!

UK Only

Ends 31st May 2017!

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Olivia at Scholastic and to Simon James Green for having me as part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Noah Can’t Even?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Let’s Hear It For The Girls by Cat Clarke


I am so excited to have the brilliant Cat Clarke on Tales again today, but this time to celebrate the release of her new YA book, Girlhood!

Girlhood was released on the 4th May 2017 published by Quercus Children’s Books and is set to be an absolute page turner!

Real, compulsive and intense: Cat Clarke is the queen of emotional suspense. For fans of Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, Megan Abbott and Jandy Nelson.

‘Emotive, creepy AND funny. A quality page-turner’ SARAH CROSSAN

‘A new Cat Clarke novel is always something to celebrate and Girlhood could be her best yet’ JUNO DAWSON

Cat Clarke is one of my absolute favourite and hugely talented UKYA authors with a backlist of brilliant books under her belt!

Today Cat talks about some truly inspirational women in this fab guest post……


Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows noone else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.


Let’s Hear It For The Girls

“They’re our future – our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going.’ –Harry Styles

Harry Styles may know the score, but the patriarchy is still alive and well in the twenty-first century. Girls today grow up in a world that consistently patronizes, diminishes and underestimates them. No wonder YA novels are chock-full of girls who smash expectations left, right and centre. The characters I tend to write are ‘ordinary’ girls caught up in extraordinary circumstances. They’re not popular or sporty or super-clever – just normal girls, trying to figure out their place in the world. But what is ordinary anyway? Who gets to decide?

Maybe there’s no such thing as ordinary. Maybe all it takes to change the world is for girls to realize their power, and to make a choice: to take up space in the world; to speak up and speak out; to help others; to protest; to make art. Here are some inspirational young women who are doing just that.

Capres Willow

Capres Willow organized a Black Lives Matter protest in London when she was just eighteen years old. She was spurred to take action in the wake of the brutal murder of Philando Castile, shot by a police officer in front of his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai doesn’t need any introduction. She’s a tireless campaigner for  the education for girls worldwide. Oh, yes, and she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tavi Gevinson

Tavi Gevinson started a fashion blog aged twelve, and went on to create Rookie Magazine. She’s a savvy businesswoman as well as being a writer, editor and actor.  Tavi is a staunch feminist who keeps flying the flag for teenage girls everywhere.

Jazz Jennings

Jazz Jennings is a young transgender activist. She’s been recognized as a Human Rights Campaign youth ambassador, and was named in Time Magazine’s 25 Most Infuential Teeens.

June Eric-Udorie

June Eric-Udorie recently raised £6000 to take 400 girls of colour from low-income backgrounds to the cinema to see the film Hidden Figures. She’s been named Elle’s Female Activist of the Year.

I make no apology for the fact that most of these links lead to Teen Vogue. They are killing it right now. Looking for the most incisive political commentary of the Trump administration? Then you should probably head to Teen Vogue instead of the New York Times. Anyway, back to the point…

Teenage girls WILL save the planet. Just you wait.

You can buy a copy of the book here or from your local bookshop!


About Cat Clarke

Cat Clarke is the bestselling, award-winning author of six YA novels. She was born in Zambia and brought up in Edinburgh and Yorkshire, which has given her an accent that tends to confuse people. Cat lives in Edinburgh with her partner, two ninja cats and two decidedly non-ninja cocker spaniels. She likes cheese A LOT, especially baked camembert.

You can find out more about Cat Clarke on her website – www.catclarke.com

Or why not follow Cat on twitter – @cat_clarke


Celebrate!

Celebrate the launch of Cat Clarke’s GIRLHOOD with a pic of your best mates using the hashtag  #readGirlhood… and win a signed set of books to share!

Old friends, new friends, online friends… show us the people who always have your back, no matter what

#readGirlhood


A huge thank you to Cat for a brilliant guest post and to Nina Douglas for organising and sending me a copy of the book!

You can find previous post by Cat on Tales by clicking on the below links …..

Spotlight – Cat Clarke – The Backlist:  Torn

Have you read Girlhood?  What did you think?  Who would be on your list of inspiration women?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Tales Q&A with Aaron Starmer


Today is the UK release day of an explosive new YA, Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer!

‘Truly the smartest and funniest book about spontaneous combustion you will ever read’ JOHN GREEN, #1 bestselling author of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

Happy UK book birthday Aaron!

Spontaneous is a fab YA full of humour and fun!

I am super excited to have been able to pop some questions to the author himself about the book and beyond in this brilliant Q&A…..


Mara’s senior year is proving to be a lot less exciting than she’d hoped, until the day – KABAM! – Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to explode without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason, while the students continue to pop like balloons. But if bombs or terrorists or a government conspiracy aren’t to blame, what is?

With the help of her oldest friend, her new boyfriend, a power ballad and a homemade disco ball, will Mara make it to graduation in one piece? It’s going to be one hell of a year, where the only test is how to stay alive and where falling in love might be the worst thing you can do . . .


Hi Aaron!  Thanks so much for being here today to answer some questions about your explosive new YA book, Spontaneous!

Can you tell us a little about your new explosive new YA novel Spontaneous?

I’d love to! The concept is pretty simple actually. It’s about spontaneous human combustion. That is, people suddenly going up in flames (or, in this case, exploding!). There’s a high school and during the first week of the school year, one of the seniors randomly explodes. No explanation. Just POP! Then a few weeks later it happens to another senior. Then another, and another, until the world realizes there’s something wrong with this particular class of students. A lot of people speculate about what caused it (drugs, sexuality, etc.), but the story is ultimately about how it affects these kids, and the main character in particular.

 Can you tell us a little more about the main character Mara?

The best way I can describe her is to say that she’s straightforward. She says what she’s feeling and thinking, which isn’t always nice. She makes jokes at inappropriate times. Some people find her hilarious, while others might think she’s callous. At times, I guess she’s likably unlikable (if that’s a thing). But as the story goes along, I hope most readers see that there’s more to her than brutal honesty and sarcasm. She’s just trying to survive in the only ways she knows how. And she does care…a lot. You see that when she falls for a guy named Dylan and when she struggles to hold onto her best friend, Tess.

 What inspired you to write about teenagers who could blow up without warning or explanation?

It just seemed to fit. When you’re a teen, every event, every emotion, everything about life feels, for lack of a better word, combustible. Or at least it did for me. Like it could all end in an instant. And sometimes it does. Some of my first experiences with loss were when I was a teen. And I wanted to explore that in the bloodiest, funniest, most dramatic and literal way possible.

 On a serious note Spontaneous explores friendship and goodbyes how important was it to get this balance right between humour, honesty and tugging on our heart strings?

The trick is to ground as many things as you can in reality. The premise is absolutely absurd and that’s where the humor comes in, but you can’t make the reactions or plot twists absurd as well or else readers won’t connect with the characters. So I constantly had to think about honest, human reactions. Which means there’s a lot of confusion and vacillating emotions in the book. Also a fair bit of apathy (these are teenagers, after all). I treated it as if it were the story about a contagious virus. How would the world react to that? How would individuals?

 I hear Spontaneous is in development to become a film!  Who would be your dream cast?

I haven’t really thought about that, because I don’t want to get too excited about something that’s still a long shot (and I have no power over casting decisions). A very talented writer is working on the screenplay, so I’m just excited to see that when it’s finished. If it does actually go into production, I’d love it if they could cast actual teens rather than twenty-somethings playing teens. Actual teens would bring the awkwardness and insecurities that I think are essential for a story like this.  I’d love to hear suggestions, though!

 If you had to live in Mara’s hometown how would you make sure you survived?

There’s a character that’s mentioned briefly who builds a suit of armour out of duct tape to try to protect himself. It doesn’t work…obviously. That’d be me. A bit paranoid and willing to try anything to survive.

In five words – what should people expect if they picked up Spontaneous?

Blood. Laughs. Questions. Tears. Community

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we might not know about yourself?

  1. I have been attacked by multiple animals, including, but not limited to, a stingray, a magpie and a poisonous snake. The poisonous snake missed, the other two did not.
  2. I think that black liquorice, cilantro, olives, kimchi, and lots of other divisive foods are delicious. In fact, if it’s divisive, I probably like it (except Marmite/Vegemite)
  3. I didn’t wear jeans for about 4 years straight in my late teens/early twenties. Not once. Now I wear them almost every day. I don’t have an explanation.
  4. My great-grandfather was born in the 1842. To put that in perspective, Abraham Lincoln was 33 in 1842.
  5. I’m not very good at coming up with random facts about myself, but I am very good at movie trivia.

If Spontaneous had a sound track what would it be?

There’s actually a lot of songs already referenced in the book. Leonard Cohen’s “That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own,” being the three big ones. But there’s also a playlist called DRIVER F*&#ER DRIVE that Mara and Tess always listen to in their car, which is full of upbeat songs, mainly by women, and featuring some well-incorporated swears. I was imagining they were listening to a variety of styles and genres. Nicki Minaj, Tegan and Sara, Jenny Lewis, Haim, Kacey Musgraves, and a bunch of stuff that an old dude like me wouldn’t know about.

What are you working on next?  Any new exciting projects you can tell us about?

My next novel is called Meme and it’s a dark thriller/comedy about, you guessed it, internet memes. It’s in the editorial stages. I’ve got a few other projects that are just getting started, but it’s too early to talk about those. Thanks for hosting me and hopefully you can have me back when I can talk about those!

Of course!  Thanks so much for answering all of my questions.  Spontaneous sounds like all kinds of fun!

You can buy a copy of this book here or from your local bookshop!


About Aaron Starmer

Aaron Starmer was born in northern California and raised in the suburbs of Syracuse, New York. Before pursuing writing full-time, he worked in New York City for over ten years as an editor for a travel bookseller and as an operations director for an African safari company. His middle grade and young adult novels have been translated into multiple foreign languages and have appeared on best of the year lists from Time, The Wall Street Journal, New York Public Library, YALSA, Bank Street College of Education, Chicago Public Library and School Library Journal. His latest book, Spontaneous, is in development as a film. He currently lives in northern Vermont with wife and daughter.

You can find out more about Adam on his website – www.aaronstarmer.com

Or why not follow him on twitter – @aaronstarmer


Blog Tour

You can catch the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Aaron for some brilliant answers and to Claire at Canongate for organising and asking me to be part of the tour!

Have you read Spontaneous?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – The Opposite of You – Deleted Scene By Lou Morgan


I am so excited to have another of my absolute favourite authors on the blog today to celebrate the release of her new YA Thriller, The Opposite Of You, Lou Morgan.

The Opposite Of You is released today, 4th May 2017 published by Stripes Publishing.

Happy Books Birthday Lou!

The Opposite Of You sounds amazing and I’ve heard fantastic things already about it and whilst this is a standalone book I hear, if you are fans of Lou’s previous YA, Sleepless, there maybe a little surprise where the two worlds may touch.  So if you pay attention when you read it you may well spot a familiar face or two…

So today I have an extra special deleted scene from The Opposite Of You…..


A gripping psychological thriller for YA readers.

Some bonds should never be broken…
Bex and Naomi are identical twins. They used to be inseparable and play games pretending that they knew just what the other was thinking. But things have changed as they’ve got older and the twins aren’t as close as they used to be. Then Naomi goes missing and all of a sudden their childhood games take on a whole new meaning. Bex knows more about what’s going on with Naomi than seems possible. No one understands Naomi like she does and now her twin sister needs help.

Perfect for fans of Sophie McKenzie, Anne Cassidy and C.J. Daugherty.


The Opposite Of You – Deleted Scene

We originally wanted to have a flashback scene that showed Bex and Naomi deliberately using the link between them for something when they were younger, rather than unknowingly doing so. In the end, however, it didn’t feel like there was a natural place for it to come in their story, so it didn’t quite make the cut. It seemed a shame not to give you that insight into the two of them, though – so here’s a special ‘deleted scene’ which shows that even when you think you know which side of the story you’re on, sometimes things aren’t as straightforward as they appear…

NAOMI: aged 10

Noom!

Her sister’s voice is sharp and clear in her head – and loud enough to make her look up from her maths book. Glancing over her shoulder at the door, all Naomi sees are the lowered heads of the rest of her class working their way through the problem sheet they’ve been given; their teacher sitting at her desk making notes and the classroom assistant writing something on the whiteboard.

No Bex.

Noom!

Bex?

It’s the easiest thing in the world to answer: easier even than talking face to face. It always has been, even when they’ve been fighting.

Especially when they’ve been fighting, because it’s the only way to keep their parents out of their arguments – and there’ve been enough of those lately. Not that it matters, not really: both Naomi and Bex know that they will always find a way to work things out. How could they not?

Can you tell him I was with you? At lunchtime?

Tell who?

Please? I really, really need…

There’s a loud double knock at the classroom door and all around the room, heads look up from their problems. Only one person in the whole school knocks like that: the Deputy Head. Sure enough, the door swings open and there he is, framed in the corridor and beckoning to their teacher… but not before his eyes settle on Naomi.

What did you do, Bex?

Please? Just tell him I was with you all lunchtime.

“Naomi? Could you come here for a minute?” Miss Evans holds the door open and Naomi can feel the hot eyes of the rest of the class on her as she stands up, closes her book and walks over to where the Deputy Head is standing. He leads her out into the corridor and closes the door.

“Naomi. This won’t take a minute – I know you’re in the middle of class, and I don’t want to distract you.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’ve been having a chat with your sister about something that happened this morning, and I wondered if you can help me.”

“Yes, sir?”

“You see, two members of staff said they saw a pupil in the staffroom this lunchtime…”

And Naomi knows where this is going. In her head, Bex is suddenly very, very quiet – she isn’t usually the one who gets in trouble…

She goes with what seems like the safest answer. “I was outside, sir.”

“I know. Besides, Mr Leonard says you were by the climbing frame while he was on lunch duty, and he spoke to you. Is that right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Thank you, Naomi – that’s…”

“But – sir – Bex was there too. The whole time. With me.”

“She was?”

“Yes, sir. So she couldn’t have been in the staffroom.” Naomi holds his gaze. She’s never lied to a teacher before, but somehow, doing it for Bex makes it feel less bad than she’d imagined it would be.

“But Mr Leonard didn’t mention her.”

“She went to put her apple in the bin – but she came right back. She couldn’t have been in the staffroom,” she adds, repeating herself. She can see the doubt flickering in his eyes: maybe it wasn’t one of the Harper twins after all, maybe they were mistaken…

“All right. Thank you, Naomi – that helps a lot. You can go back to class now.”

You owe me, she tells her twin as she closes the classroom door and edges her way back through the chairs to her table.

I know. Thank you.

Was it you, though?

There’s a pause, then – reluctantly: Yes.

What were you doing in the staffroom, anyway? Naomi tries to hide her smile behind her hand, hoping Miss Evans doesn’t spot it – and more importantly, that Bex can’t hear it in her thoughts.

Lily dared me.

Dared you to what? Go into the staffroom?

I had to run in and touch the notice board.

Why?

Because they said I wouldn’t. They said I was too chicken. They said you would, but I wouldn’t.

Naomi lets this sink in.

Did you, though?

Yep.

And despite it all, she’s pretty sure she hears pride in Bex’s thoughts.

Thanks for covering for me.

Naomi rolls her eyes, but she smiles anyway.

Like I’d ever tell on you.

You can buy a copy of The Opposite Of You here or from your local bookshop!


About Lou Morgan

Lou Morgan is an award-nominated adult and YA author. Her first novel, Blood and Feathers – an adult urban fantasy – was published by Solaris Books in 2012 and the follow-up, Blood and Feathers: Rebellion, was released in the summer of 2013.

Her first YA novel, Sleepless, is published by Stripes / Little Tiger Press as part of their Red Eye horror series, while her standalone YA thriller The Opposite of You will also be published by Stripes in early 2017.

She has appeared at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and has been nominated for three British Fantasy Awards (Best Newcomer, and twice for Best Fantasy Novel). Her short stories have appeared in anthologies from Solaris Books, PS Publishing and Jurassic, amongst others. She has also written genre novel-related features for magazines including Future Publishing’s SFX and is a long- and shortlist reader for the Bath Novel Award.

Born in Wales and a graduate of University College London, she now lives in Bath with her family.

She tweets as @LouMorgan – mostly when she should be writing – and can also be found on Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook.

Or check Out Lou’s website here


A huge thank you to Lou for sharing this deleted scene and to Charlie at Stripes for asking me to host!

You can catch previous posts from Lou Morgan on Tales by clicking on the links below…

The Babadook

Talking Point

Red Eye Read Along – Sleepless

Have you read The Opposite Of You?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  Did you find the Sleepless Easter Egg in the book?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Tales Q&A With Sarah Carroll


A few months ago I received an email from the lovely Hannah at Simon & Schuster about a really intriguing debut YA, The Girl In Between by Sarah Carroll.

The Girl In Between is due to be released on the 4th May 2017 and is a story about a little girl who is homeless in Dublin and sheltering in an abandoned mill with her mother – and it has an unexpected twist at the end.

Naturally I needed to know more so I put some questions to the lovely author, Sarah Carroll…..


I know the mill has a story cos there’s something strange going on. I heard something. I’ve decided that I’m going to find out what it is later today when Ma leaves. Cos even if it is scary, we live here and we’re never leaving. So if there’s something going on, I need to know.

In an old, abandoned mill, a girl and her ma take shelter from their memories of life on the streets. To the girl it’s home, her safe place, the Castle. But as her ma spins out of control and the Authorities move ever closer, the girl finds herself trapped – stuck in the crumbling mill with only the ghosts of the past for company.

Can she move on before it’s too late?


Hi Sarah!  Thanks so much for appearing on Tales Of Yesterday today – I’m so over the moon to have you here!

Can you tell us a little about your debut The Girl In Between?

The Girl In Between is told by a young homeless girl who lives with her Ma in an abandoned mill in the heart of a city’s business district (it’s Dublin, though never explicitly stated). The girl calls it her Castle, a refuge from their life on the streets. She never wants to leave. But the mill is earmarked for development and the girl has noticed that there is something strange going on inside. With her safe place threatened and her own past haunting her, the girl must find a way to move on from the mill before it’s too late.

What inspired you to write this story?

The mill is based on Boland’s Mill, a stained granite building in Grand Canal Dock, Dublin, which is currently being developed into business and living units. The old mill provided shelter to a homeless man who set up camp in it is shadow for a brief period. But both the mill and the man were largely invisible to those that passed by on their way to work everyday.

To me, the mill represented a crumbling past being replaced by an uncaring digital future. It was an embodiment of the unseen past. This inspired the themes of homelessness, grief, and moving on.

Can you tell us a little about the main character?

The main character is a young girl who has known, and lost, the security of a home. She survives the brutality of living on the streets by retreating inside her imagination, and when she finally finds in the mill a places that she can call home, it is this imagination that allows her to find beauty in the banal. But she recognises in her Ma the signs of descent into addiction. She loves her Ma fiercely and fears returning to the streets. She does everything she can to stop this from happening. She is naïve and optimistic, but ultimately brave and forgiving.

Can you tell us a little about your writing process for The Girl In Between?  Was there much research involved?

Not a lot of research, no. I spent a day or two looking up how old flour mills work, but after that, I relied on memory of my interactions with various homeless people (Caretaker is an amalgamation of three homeless men I have come across) and the girl’s imagination (to build on exaggerated almost magical world).

The story came to me fully formed. I knew the first and last lines of the book from the first day. That day, I wrote the first chapter and then set it aside as I was actually working on another novel at the time.) For three months, The Girl In Between stewed away in my subconscious and then two days after finishing the other novel, I returned to The Girl In Between. From that point, it took five weeks to complete the first draft of the novel. I would wake and take exercise, during which time I would write the day’s chapter in my head. After breakfast I would get it down on paper and, later that day, edit the previous days’ chapter. Usually, I wouldn’t break for six hours or so. That was pretty much my routine for five weeks. After that, I edited it for a few weeks. I had literally finished the first full edit two days before being contacted by my (now) agent, Claire Wilson, for the first time. That was the beginning of six months of professional edits with my publishers (the back and forth takes weeks, if not months!)

How important was it to get the themes of family and homelessness right?

Crucial. I wanted to study the meaning of home when you don’t have one, of family when it’s just two of you.

Setting out, I wondered what it would be like to be a young girl growing up without a physical place to provide the safety, comfort and belonging we all need. And when she found something that she could call home, as the girl does with the Castle, I wondered what lengths she would go to to stop it from being torn away.

I also knew from the get-go that the opening line would be I’m invisible because the most vulnerable so often are. I wanted to step over the stereotypes and see what was going on behind the begging cup, and tell I story that we as a society, and I myself, tend to ignore.

In five words – what should people expect if they picked up The Girl In Between?

Homelessness, love, grief, optimism, imagination.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we might not know about yourself?

I love skiing and white water kayaking.

I only began writing novels aged twenty nine.

I speak Swahili.

English was my worst subject in school.

I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Can you tell us a little more about your volunteering works?

In 2006 I naively went on one of those pay-to-volunteer holidays and soon realised that they are, for the most part, little more than money making schemes that exploit the idea of the poor as incapable and childlike, and, in turn, encourage the formation of projects in the host town that exploit the volunteer.

I initially set up a volunteer hostel in Tanzania so that others could avoid paying exorbitant volunteering charges and donate that money directly to a project. Over time, I began to work with local projects to assist with their long term development and to help them to find volunteers with the appropriate skill set to be of benefit to the day to day running the project (eg placing an accountant with a women’s group in need of advice on financial management, or teachers in teaching positions.)

If The Girl In Between had a sound track what would it be?

It would be a mixture of traditional and modern Irish music, with lyrics in both Irish and English, written and preformed by Enda Reilly.

What would you like people to take away from reading The Girl In Between?

That letting go and moving on can be the ultimate freedom.

And finally what are you working on next?  Any new exciting projects you can tell us about?

Some that I can, some that I can’t!

Last Friday, I finished the first draft of the book that will be released this time next year. It is also based in Dublin and deals with bullying and the power of words. So I’ll be editing that just as soon as my editors get back with their massive dossier on suggested changes.

Thank you so much for answering all my questions Sarah!  The Girl In Between sounds wonderful!

You can buy a copy of The Girl In Between here or from your local bookshop!


About Sarah Carroll

Sarah currently splits her time between a houseboat in Dublin and travel abroad. She recently returned from five years in Tanzania where she founded and ran a hostel while working to support local community projects. She continues to promote ethical overseas volunteering through her blogs and films on www.theethicalvolunteer.com, while planning her next book.


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster I have one copy of this fab book to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter via twitter by Following and RT – here

UK Only

Ends 9th May 2017

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Sarah for answering all of my questions!  And to Hannah at Simon and Schuster for organising and asking me to host this Q&A and giveaway!

Have you read The Girl In Between?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Cat Clarke: The Backlist – Torn


Cat Clarke is one of my absolute favourite and hugely talented UKYA authors with a backlist of brilliant books under her belt!

Cat’s new book Girlhood is due to be released on the 4th May 2017 and to celebrate the lovely people at Hachette Kids have given Cat’s brilliant back list of books a shiny makeover to coincide with it’s release.

(Photo Credit:  Cat Clarke)

Designed by the super talented Sinem Erkas these new reissues of these brilliant books are simply gorgeous!

Today I am shining the spotlight on one of Cat’s backlist, Torn, and Cat has popped by to share a special song that Cat has picked to go with the book….


They didn’t mean to kill her…now the guilt will tear them apart

Alice King isn’t expecting the holiday of her dreams when she sets off on a trip to the wilderness with her mates. But when her best friend Cass decides to teach mean girl Tara a lesson, Alice finds herself in a nightmare she can’t escape.

Now Alice is the guardian of a secret too horrific to tell; and a secret too terrible to keep. A secret that will change all of their lives for ever…

Real, compulsive and intense: Cat Clarke is the queen of emotional suspense. For fans of Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, Megan Abbott and Jandy Nelson.


Cat Clarke:  The Backlist – Torn

Street Spirit (Fade Out) – Radiohead

A few of my books deal with the concept of guilt, none more so than Torn. For me, this song embodies the all-consuming dread that accompanies true guilt.

You can buy Torn or any of Cat Clarkes wonderful backlist here or from your local bookshop!

Also check out Girlhood, Cat’s new novel, due for release on the 4th May 2017!


About Cat Clarke

Cat Clarke is the bestselling, award-winning author of six YA novels. She was born in Zambia and brought up in Edinburgh and Yorkshire, which has given her an accent that tends to confuse people. Cat lives in Edinburgh with her partner, two ninja cats and two decidedly non-ninja cocker spaniels. She likes cheese A LOT, especially baked camembert.

You can find out more about Cat Clarke on her website – www.catclarke.com

Or why not follow Cat on twitter – @cat_clarke


A huge thank you to the brilliant Nina Douglas for asking me to take part in this and to Cat for providing a glimpse into Torn which sent me down a Radiohead playlist spiral and relive my youth!

Do check out Cat’s fab books and the beautiful reissued covers!

(Photo Credit:  Cat Clarke)

Have you read any of Cat Clarke’s books?  Which one is your favourite?  Are you excited for Girlhood?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Three Things That Inspired Chloe Snow’s Diary by Emma Chastain


Today I have a brilliant guest post from the wonderful Emma Chastain author of Chloe Snow’s Diary:  Confessions of a High School Disaster!

Chloe Snow’s Diary:  Confessions of a High School Disaster was released on the 20th April published by the lovely people at Simon & Schuster and is set to be a super fun YA high school contemporary!

I can’t wait to read it!

Today Emma talks about three things that inspired Chloe Snow’s Diary: Confessions of a High School Disaster …….



Basically all I did in junior high was text, straighten my hair, add to my Benedict Cumberbatch shrine, and worry about how to be more popular. Thinking about it makes me cringe.
I want to be different in high school. Like a new person.
And I want to make out with someone. It’s so humiliating that I’m a kissing virgin at this advanced age. The longer I go un-smooched, the more freakish I feel. If I graduate high school without being kissed, I’ll be too embarrassed to kiss anyone during college, and then I’ll most likely die without ever even getting to second base. Something has to change fast. This I vow: I will kiss a guy before New Year’s Eve. (Or maybe it’ll happen ON New Year’s Eve?) OK, this I vow: I will kiss a guy before New Year’s Day. Vow TAKEN.

Fourteen-year-old Chloe Snow is about to start ninth grade when her brilliant, beautiful, artistic mum announces she can’t create great art in suburban Massachusetts, and goes to Mexico to work on her novel. Bewildered at being left behind with only her (socially awkward) dad as company, Chloe throws herself into a series of new pursuits, including auditioning for the school a cappella group, making new friends, and landing the lead in the school musical. In the course of these adventures, she attracts the attention of Mac Brody, the cuter half of THE Senior Couple, and Bernadette Sanz, the school’s Meanest Senior Girl. And then things begin to go pretty seriously wrong.

Can Chloe recover from a gigantic mess of her own creation? And will her mum’s Eat, Pray, Love-fest EVER end?

Told in 365 diary entries, one for each day of the most seminal year of Chloe’s life so far, this laugh-out-loud novel is peppered with texts, lists, emails and tweets, making it a modern take on the classic teen coming-of-age story.


Three Things That Inspired Chloe Snow’s Diary

Meet Chloe Snow! She’s the protagonist of my debut novel, Confessions of a High School Disaster, and she’s shockingly honest, deeply flawed, and often funny (if I do say so myself).  Confessions is told in diary format, with one entry for each day of a year in Chloe’s life. During that year, Chloe must cope with best friend feuds, boy problems, musical theatre meltdowns, and the absence of her mother, who has up and moved to Mexico to “work on her novel.”

When I sat down the write this book, three things inspired me:

1. My own diaries. 

I kept a diary from the time I was old enough to form words. It’s kind of agonizing to look back at these journals—I can hardly bear to see the evidence of my own narcissism and delusion—but instructive, too. Rereading them reminds me that in your own diary, you can safely vent your fury, scheme to bring about your enemies’ downfall, whine about your supposed problems, and rhapsodize about your crush. In short, you can be honest in a way you never could be on social media.

2. Bridget Jones, Georgia Nicolson, and Cassandra Mortmain 

….to name just a few. I like to think of Chloe as a fictional soul sister to the passionate, frank, and hilarious first-person female narrators who have entertained me and comforted me over the years.

3. The Sound of Music. 

And Oklahoma!, and Fiddler on the Roof, and I could go on and on. Chloe falls in love with musical theatre, as I did when I was around her age. It’s the perfect form for teenagers: it deals in oversized emotions, it’s an outlet for melodramatic impulses, and it forces you off your phone and into a room where you’re allowed to sing with other people, which is one of the purest human pleasures there is.

If you ever were, or currently, are a diary-keeper, a musical theatre geek, or a teenager, I think you’ll enjoy Confessions. I hope so!

You can buy a copy of Chloe Snow’s Diary:  Confessions of a High School Disaster!  here or from your local bookshop!


About Emma Chastain

Emma Chastain is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, and the Creative Writing Program at Boston University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

You can follow Emma on twitter – @emmachastain


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Emma for a fab insight into her inspiration and to Jade at Simon & Schuster for organising and asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Chloe Snow’s Diary:  Confessions of a High School Disaster!?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  Have you ever kept a diary? I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Guest Post – #GoodbyeDaysPlaylist – Grief by Jeff Zentner


Today I have the brilliant Jeff Zentner on Tales to celebrate the release of his new YA novel, Goodbye Days.

Goodbye Days was released on the 6th April 2017 published by Andersen Press and is a story of grief and friendship.

This is a slightly different blog tour and I have a blog tour post with a musical twist!

I also got asked a question when emailed the content for this post……

“How you would spend your Goodbye Day with a loved one?”

This one single question hit all of my emotions and had quite an effect on my.  I read Jeff’s paragraph and listened to the song he had chosen from his playlist to accompany the piece and basically whilst I am writing this I am a complete emotional wreck with tears falling onto the keyboard.  Without realising it I had been provided with a piece and a question that I really needed to read.

Early this year I found out a work colleague of mine, in his 40’s, had died suddenly, without warning, and it really hit me!  I mean sure we were only work colleagues, but he was the kindest most calm and wonderful man I have ever had the pleasure to work with.  Whilst I’m not sure that grief was the right word for how I have felt since this happened in January it has really made me open my eyes.  Almost like I am seeing the world again with a fresh pair of eyes and appreciate things a lot more than I have been.  I then received and read this most and it’s almost helped fit that missing piece into the jigsaw that maybe I have been grieving in some kind of way.

So, to answer the question, I think for me my Goodbye Day would be spent with my loved ones, laughing and smiling all together, because I’ve learnt every single moment in life should be cherished.

Now over to Jeff…….


Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

‘Gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming’ Nicola Yoon

‘Hold on to your heart: this book will wreck you, fix you, and most definitely change you’ Becky Albertalli


#GoodbyeDaysPlaylist – Grief

One thing about grief is that it changes your perspective permanently. It can leave you with a determination to press on in the face of loss and live each day to the fullest. That’s sort of the best you can hope for from grief. That’s what this song sounds like to me: that warm spring day when you go outside and feel the sun and flower-scented wind on your face and you realize that you’re going to die someday too, like the person you lost, and so you might as well enjoy this beautiful world while you’re here.

This is the note I tried to end Goodbye Days on. 

You can buy a copy of Goodbye Days here or from your local bookshop!


About Jeff Zentner

Jeff Zentner is the author of the William C. Morris Award winning and Carnegie Medal longlisted book The Serpent King (2016) as well as Goodbye Days (2017). He lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.

He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high school and college.

He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived in the Amazon region of Brazil for two years.

You can find out more about Jeff on his website – www.jeffzentnerbooks.com

Or why not follow him on twitter – @jeffzentner


Blog Tour

You can catch up with this fab blog tour and see the whole playlist at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Jeff for a fab post which held so much emotion in one paragraph it made me cry and to Harriet at Andersen for asking me to host, having me part of this wonderful tour and without realising gave me the post that I really needed to read!

Have you read Goodbye Days?  What did you think?  How you would spend your Goodbye Day with a loved one?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – C J Skuse


I am so excited to have announced on the 1st of April that the awesome C J Skuse is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for April 17!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

I am a huge HUGE fan of CJ and her books are the best of the best that will leave you craving more.  CJ Skuse is a HUGE UKYA talent and I am so excited to shine the spotlight on her and her wonderful books as Author Of The Month!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of CJ’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17 April link up here you will gain an extra entries into the April Prize Pack Draw!

Today is also a celebration of CJ’s first adult thriller the delicious SweatPea!

Happy Book Birthday CJ!

Also look out for a fab guest post early next week from the lady herself!


About CJ Skuse

C.J. Skuse was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children’s fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. Sweetpea is CJ’s first adult novel.

You can follow CJ on twitter – CeejaytheAuthor

You can find previous posts from CJ on my blog or by clicking on the links below …

Hot Boys In My Books!

Hidden Easter Eggs In Books

I also love this article by CJ of 10 Things I’s Like My Readers To Know here


The Books And Why We Love C J Skuse

SIXTEEN-YEAR OLD TWINS IN CANDY-STORE CRIME SPREE Twins, Paisley and Beau Argent are in the headlines again. Last time, they were the ‘wonder twins’, when as six-year-olds they were found alive in woods after three days missing following their mother’s death -three days spent looking for their dad. Now at sixteen, life’s not so wonderful. Out-cast and exploited by their money-grabbing grandmother they’re still clueless about their dad’s whereabouts. Until they discover an old letter from him. That’s when they decide to hit the road – and make headlines again. Holding up fast-food joints in Las Vegas might seem extreme but if they can get on the news, and tell their dad they need him, they might get the dream reunion they never thought could happen.

‘It’s so good, I’d recommend it to people I don’t like’ – Kevin Brooks on Pretty Bad Things

Jody loves Jackson Gatlin. At his only UK rock concert, she’s right at the front. But when she’s caught in the crush and carried back stage she has more than concussion to contend with. Throw in a menacing manager, a super-wired super-star, and a curly-wurly, and she finds herself taking home more than just a poster. It’s the accidental kidnapping of the decade. But what happens if you’ve a rock-god in your garage who doesn’t want to leave? Jody’s stuck between a rock-idol and a hard place! From the pen of C.J. Skuse, author of 2010’s super cool debut Pretty Bad Things, comes a tale of rock star obsession gone nuts.

‘A rip roaring story’ – Julia Eccleshare, The Guardian on Rockoholic

‘sharp, funny and knowing…’ – The Telegraph on Rockoholic

Camille wants to find the perfect boy, with an athlete’s body and a poet’s brain. But when she’s mocked at a college party, she knows there isn’t a boy alive who’ll ever measure up. Enter Zoe, her brilliant but strange best friend, who takes biology homework to a whole new level. She can create Camille’s dream boy, Frankenstein-stylee. But can she make him love her?

‘The tension and the comedy crack along with a heart-warming hilarity that is impossible to resist.’- Amanda Craig, The Times on Dead Romantic

At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits.

As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild.

Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.

‘Monster is another rollicking adventure … but you might not want to read the final chapter alone in the house . . . or while you’re eating . . . as you find out the truth about the Beast of Bathory. Great fun.’ – Martin Chilton, Telegraph’s Best YA Books 2015

‘CJ does it again, with a boarding school story packed with tension…Nobody captures the darkness of teenage nightmares quite like CJ Skuse.’ – Sophia Bennett, author of The Look

‘This book is a skillfully crafted rollercoaster of excitement, fear and shocks’
Reading Zone

‘The book has one of the best endings I’ve read.’ – 4.5 stars
The Bookbag

‘Fiendishly dark, with a sense of humour. CJ Skuse always inspires deep author envy’ – Keren David, YA Book Prize Nominee on Monster

‘It’s an absolute page-turner! I gobbled it up in one sitting, and it kept me guessing right till the end. A deliciously creepy horror story, served up with CJ’s trademark humour.’ – Cat Clarke

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves

THEN
Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane.

The Fearless Five, inseparable as children growing up in a sleepy English seaside town. But when Max’s older sister is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

NOW

Only Max and Ella are in touch, still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. But Ella is hiding things – like why she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level. And when underdog Corey is bullied, the Fearless Five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them.

But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

‘A tale of revenge, righteousness and recovery with a heart-stopping twist – The Guardian

’Electrifying, bold, brilliant’ Amanda Craig

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

‘This isn’t a book for the squeamish or the faint-hearted … think Bridget Jones meets American Psycho’ – Red

You can buy any of C J Skuse’s books here or from your local bookshop!


A huge thank you to the wonderful C J Skuse fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  I highly recommend all of these books with all of my heart and soul from our April Author Of The Month!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of CJ’s  books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17 April link up here you will gain an extra entries into the April Prize Pack Draw!

Are you a C J Skuse Fan?  Do you have a favourite book?  Are you new to C J Skuse?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Character Profile: Ingrid by Danielle Younge-Ullman


I received this gorgeous books recently and I simply cannot wait to read it!

Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined was released on the 6th April 2017 published by Scholastic and is set to be a fab contemporary YA read.

And today I have the author herself on Tales chatting about her main character, Ingrid, in this awesome guest post!


Ingrid has made a deal with her mother: she gets to go to the school of her choice as long as she completes a three-week wilderness programme. But when Ingrid arrives, she quickly realizes there has been a terrible mistake: there will be no marshmallows or cabins here. Instead, her group will embark on a torturous trek, with almost no guidance from the two counsellors and supplied with only the things they can carry. On top of this, the other teen participants are “at risk youth”, a motley crew of screw-ups, lunatics and delinquents. But as the laborious days go by, and as memories of her complicated past come flooding back, Ingrid must confront the question of whether she shares more in common with these troubled teens than she’s willing to admit.


Character Profile:  Ingrid

Meet Ingrid, the protagonist of my new novel, EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED. Ingrid is smart, deep, funny, sarcastic, and a super talented singer. The talent shouldn’t be a surprise, since her mother, Margot-Sophia, used to be an opera star. Ingrid may be emotionally wounded, and have a bit of a complicated relationship with her mother, but she’s not admitting any weaknesses. She can’t afford to. She has big plans for her senior year…she only has to get through a three-week wilderness camp in order to get her mother on-side.

But the camp…oh, the camp turns out to be wretched. Gruelling hikes, bugs for dinner, obnoxious tentmates, and the “teens with leadership potential” Ingrid expected to meet are nowhere in sight. This bunch of kids is seriously messed up, and Ingrid really doesn’t belong.

Except…

Ingrid’s life is not as perfect as it seems, and the longer the trip goes on, the less Ingrid is able to fake it. She is falling apart, breaking down, and only time will tell whether she’ll be able to face her demons, rebuild herself, survive the rest of the trip, and earn the chance to spend her senior year studying music.

You can buy a copy of Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined here or from your local bookshop


About Danielle Younge-Ullman

As a teenager I was sent, against my will, on a wilderness adventure very similar to the one that is portrayed in EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED. The reasons were different, as were the characters on the trip, but I was as unprepared as Ingrid is, and had a wretched time. Of course, the physical and psychological hardships caused me to toughen up and learn survival skills, but not before having a complete breakdown…while out in the middle of nowhere…and surrounded by people I’d just met.

That trip was the inspiration for this book, but I also drew from other personal experiences. Like Ingrid, I was cast as Dorothy in my high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz, and fell in love with the theatre. (Unlike Ingrid, I am only a passable singer.) I spent my twenties and early thirties working as an actor, but eventually turned my focus to writing. I never missed the business side of being an actor, but leaving the theatre was a heartbreak. I had found my identity, my people, and my purpose in life there, and to lose all of that was painful. I poured this—the love, the frustration, the heartbreak, the shadow that loss can cast—into Ingrid’s story, and into the character of her mother, Margot-Sophia.

Finally, like Ingrid, and like many young people on the cusp of adulthood, I have struggled with fears that being my truest self and pursuing the career(s) I felt most driven to pursue would hurt, disappoint, or alienate those I love most. I have also found reliable ways through to the other side of that struggle…and ways to laugh, and love, even when things are at their most dire.

I hope Ingrid’s story will do the same for you.

You can follow Danielle on twitter – @DanielleYUllman


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Danielle for such a fab post and to Olivia at Scholastic for organising and asking me to part of the blog tour!

Have you read Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

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