Tag Archives: ZoellaBookClub

Tales Q&A with Gary D. Schmidt


Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt was one of my favourite books that I read last year.  In fact it featured on my Best Books Read in 2016 list here

Published by Andersen Press Orbiting Jupiter completely took me by surprise and simply mived me to tears.

It may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which have stayed with me for quite some time.  Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.  The ending in the book broke me completely.  Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.

You can find my full review here

I was over the moon to find out that Orbiting Jupiter has been picked for the Zoella and Friends 2017 book club (#ZoellaBookClub) by the lovely Jennifer Niven!

You can find out why Jennifer picked Orbiting Jupiter for the Book Club here

As you can tell Jennifer and I are huge fans of this book!

I am so honoured today to have the brilliant Gary D. Schmidt on Tales with a brilliant Q&A about Orbiting Jupiter and more….


A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.
What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

You can buy the #ZoellaBookClub edition of this book here or from your local WH Smiths

You can find my full review of Orbiting Jupiter here


Hi Gary!  Thank you so much for taking the time to be here today to chat about Orbiting Jupiter!

How would you describe Orbiting Jupiter to someone who hasn’t read it?

 Orbiting Jupiter is the story of two boys, close to each other in terms of age, but infinitely far apart in terms of experience.  Jack’s journey is to understand a kid who has been in prison, who has a daughter, and who has lost the only one he ever loved; Joseph’s journey is to allow Jack to take that journey.

The character of Joseph is so life-like and multi-layered, how did you develop him, was he based on someone you had met?

Though this is not their story, both Joseph and Jack are based on real boys I’ve met in juvenile detention homes.  I wanted Joseph to be complex, though he hardly ever speaks in this novel.  He’s the kid we judge too quickly, the kid we blame, the kid we don’t think is ever going to amount to anything but trouble, and who we dismiss without even giving him a chance to be his best and largest self.  Those are the very kids to whom we need to give more attention–more grace.

The setting feels so much part of the novel, winter on the farm with the dairy cows, what was it that felt like the home for your book?

The setting is based on a real farm in East Sumner, Maine, where I have brought my own students and where the owners take in foster children.  It’s an organic dairy farm, and sits in a bowl within the northern Appalachians; it embodies so much of what I love in New England:  resourcefulness, independence, an embrace of winter’s beauties and challenges.  It does sort of feel like home a bit.

There is a real sense of brotherhood and family in the book – was that based on anything you’d experienced or seen yourself?

I’m glad that sense of brotherhood and family comes through in the book.  The two models for Jack and Joseph had been in the facility in which I met them for a year, and neither had seen any family member.  Years ago, I also knew a couple that took in foster kids–which I thought was wonderfully noble–until I learned that they mostly did this for the income the state provided. That was thirty-five years ago, but I have never forgotten my distaste for someone who would see these kids as a source of cash–and back then, I imagined the opposite:  a noble and altruistic family who would use any income toward a college fund–which of course wouldn’t pay for all of college, but would send a profound message of hope and confidence toward these kids.  

Orbiting Jupiter packs such an emotional punch, especially the ending – without spoilers, was that always intentional? 

Well, avoiding spoilers:  The ending was intentional.  I don’t particularly like Hallmark card endings, where everything comes out fine, as neatly tied up as a twenty-one minute sit-com.  Those books have their place, of course, but they’re not the books I want to write.  It seems to me that we need to offer honesty to young readers, and it is honest to say that sometimes, things don’t always work out all right.  Sometimes it’s okay to ask, “Where the hell are the angels?”  If we don’t say that, then what happens to a young reader when things really don’t turn out well in life?  If we send the message that that’s unusual, we are messaging a lie.

How do you write – do you plan the whole thing meticulously, or is it more free-flowing?

I wish I could say that I plan things out meticulously before I write.  Maybe when I grow up, I’ll be that writer.  You cannot believe how many times I’ve been in a school auditorium, and a student asks, “Do you use an outline?” and every teacher in the auditorium is looking at me with eyes that are saying, “Tell them you do!  Tell them you do!”  But in truth, I don’t.  Part of writing is discovery, and that means not pre-planning everything to the point that there is nothing left to discover.  When I finish a page, I really do not know what is going to happen next, and that feels right to me:  it puts me in the same place as the reader, who also doesn’t know what happens on the next page.  It helps to be in that same posture.

What books would you recommend to someone who enjoyed this book?

If you enjoyed Orbiting Jupiter, you might also like Gary Paulsen’s The Tent, about a father and son who go on the revival circuit–no kidding. 

Others might be Anne Fine’s Flour Babies, Katherine Paterson’s The Great Gilly Hopkins or her Jacob Have I Loved. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In some ways, Jack is modelled a bit upon Simon in The Nargun and the Stars–one of my very favourite books in the world.  

If you’re in high school, I’d also recommend Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, though this is a harrowing read, not at all for the faint of heart.

Which authors or writers inspire you?

What author’s inspire me?  I always begin with Henry David Thoreau, though he is much out of favor these days–but that voice!  By contrast, Giovanni Guareschi’s wit and spare storytelling amazes me; I just the other day bought a first edition of his The Little World of Don Camillo, since the copy I have on my desk is falling apart.  For language skills, Robert Frost, followed closely by the poet Jane Kenyon, though they are very, very different.  For character, Avi; for plot, Dickens every time; for setting, Jill Paton Walsh; for tonality, Susan Cooper–no one can touch her; for sheer brilliance, M. T. Anderson.

For young people going through something similar to Joseph, or Jack, what advise would you give them?

For those going through what Joseph is going through, advice seems very cheap and easy.  It’s hard to believe anyone understands who is not right there.  So here’s the advice, set in a Hasidic story:  There is a rabbi who lives, who knows where.  He has one job to do each day:  He must rise, and then pray this prayer:  “Lord, let the world go on for one more day.”  He must do this every day.  If, for whatever reason, the rabbi fails to perform this prayer, then the world will cease to exist–it’s that important.  So, here’s the advice:  Today, let the world go on for one more day.  Tomorrow, let the world go on for one more day.  And the next day, and the next, and the next–let the world go on for one more day.

What’s next for you, are you writing more?

I’ve been doing some short stories, since it’s a form I would like to learn to do better.  But the next novel will be done soon.  It’s about a butler who comes to a suburban American family to teach them about cricket–and about much more.

Thank you so much for answering all my questions Gary.  It’s honour to have you on Tales.

You can buy the #ZoellaBookClub edition of this book here or from your local WH Smiths

You can find my full review of Orbiting Jupiter here


About Gary D. Schmidt

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

You can find out more about Gary D. Schmidt on his website here


A huge thank you to Gary for a fab Q&A and to the wonderful Harriet at Andersen Press for asking me to feature this brilliant Q&A.

Have you read  Orbiting Jupiter?  What did you think?  Has this Q&A convinced you to pick up a copy and read?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy

Happy Reading!

Tales Quiz – Which Character From Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman Are You?


lying-about-last-summer-sue-wallman

Earlier this year I read and loved Lying About Last Summer by the lovely Sue Wallman.

You can find my spoiler free review here

So when the book was announced as one of the #ZoellaBookClub Books I was so super excited!

I was lucky enough to have been sent all of the #ZoellaBookClub Autumn Edition books by the lovely people at WH Smith ( you can find my unboxing and more about the books here ) and as I had already read and reviewed Lying About Last Summer I thought it would be nice to do something a little different.

So I teamed up with the wonderful Sue Wallman and today we are asking….

Which Character From Lying About Last Summer Are You?


lying-about-last-summer-sue-wallman

Skye is looking for an escape from the reality of last summer when her sister died in a tragic accident. Her parents think that a camp for troubled teenagers might help her process her grief. All of the kids at the summer camp have lost someone close, but is bringing them together such a good idea? And can everyone at camp be trusted? When Skye starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister, she knows it’s time to confront the past. But what if the danger is right in front of her?

You can buy a copy of the #ZoellaBookClub version of the book here

51srpxpliml-_sx324_bo1204203200_

You can buy a copy of the original cover of the book here


Which character from Lying About Last Summer are you most like? 

Take the quiz to find out and share your results with us on twitter or leave a comment.

If you cannot see the quiz below click here and scroll down


About Sue Wallman

sue-wallman-300x200

Sue Wallman is a journalist who lives in London with her husband and three teenage daughters. In 2013 she won the Bailey’s Women’s Prize first chapter award judged by Rachel Joyce and Kate Mosse. LYING ABOUT LAST SUMMER is her first novel.

To find out more about Sue Wallman you can visit her website – http://suewallman.co.uk

Or why not follow her on twitter using @swallman


A huge thank you to Sue for playing along and helping to create this quiz!  And to Olivia at Scholastic for being so supportive of the idea.

Have you read Lying About Last Summer?  What did you think?  Have you taken the quiz?  Which character are you?  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!

sig2

Spotlight – #ZoellaBookClub Autumn Edition


zbcw2016-launch-video

A few weeks ago I received a very exciting email from the lovely people at WH Smith asking me if I would like to receive and review that next bundle of books in the autumn edition of the fantastic #ZoellaBookClub!

After being a fan of the first #ZoellaBookClub and buying all eight of the first set of books I jumped at the chance!

I waited with anticipation to find out what the next eight books were going to be and I was absolutely over the moon when the announcement video was released!

After seeing this video I was even more super to receive the books from WH Smith!

And then this arrived……

img_3619

img_3621This box was super heavy and after having a sneak peak inside I soon realised that WH Smith had sent me much more than just the #ZoellaBookClub books!

So I decided to do an unboxing on camera to show all the beautiful and amazing things WH Smith sent me……..

**Please note that this video is not sponsored in any way I received this box of #ZoellaBookClubBooks in exchange for honest reviews and does not affect or influence my opinions in any way**

So there you have it!  I feel well and truly spoilt and very lucky indeed!

img_3638

Thank you so much WH Smith!


The Books

img_3634So I took some pictures of all of the books I received and I thought I would shine the spotlight on them and share the blurbs.

All these new covers are exclusive to WH Smith and beautiful!

They are such a fantastic selection of books and I can wait to jump in and start reading them asap!

zoellaspines


The One We Fell In Love With

By Paige Toon

img_3639

Phoebe is caught between a rock and a hard place. Settle down and get married, or return to the French Alps to pursue her passion?
 
Eliza is in love with someone who is no longer hers. In fact, he probably never was… And her dream of becoming a successful musician seems to be vanishing before her eyes.

Rose is out of a job and out of a boyfriend. To make matters worse, she’s been forced to move back in with her mother…
 
But these very different girls have one thing in common. Angus. The one they fell in love with…


Frozen Charlotte

By Alex Bell

img_3641

Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…

Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lillias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.

Alex Bell’s chilling novel is part of the Red Eye series, perfect for fans of James Dawson’s Say Her Name and Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood

You can find my review of Frozen Charlotte here

Or a Q&A with a creepy Frozen Charlotte doll here

Also check out this brilliant guest post by Alex Bell on The Twilight Zone here

Or Point Horror and Haunted Houses here


A Monster Calls

By Patrick Ness

img_3643

The bestselling novel about love, loss and the power of story-telling from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness, soon to be a major motion picture. Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing and above all, the courage it takes to survive.


Finding Audrey

By Sophie Kinsella

img_3640

From the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a story of humour, heart and heartache. Finding Audrey is Sophie Kinsella’s first novel for teens, sure to appeal to her legions of adult and young adult fans all over the world.

Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .


I Was Here

By Gayle Forman

img_3644

A brand-new, heartwrenching novel from the bestselling author ofIf I Stay, Gayle Forman

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.

As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

‘A pitch-perfect blend of tragedy, mystery and romance’ Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

‘Not only beautifully written and heartwrenching, but IMPORTANT. Wow. Just, wow’ Sarah Dessen

‘It’s about to become your new favourite book’ Sugarscape

‘A potent rite-of-passage tale’ Sunday Times


If I Was Your Girl

By Meridith Russo

img_3645

‘So powerful and poignant… I honestly just think this book will change a lot of people’s lives.’ –Zoella

My name is Amanda. I’m 18. When you look at me, you might see that I’m pretty and popular; you might think my life is easy. But being me has never been easy. Because I haven’t always been Amanda. When I was born, I was named Andrew. Now, at my new school, I finally feel like myself. But do I owe my new friends the truth about my past?


Lying About Last Summer

By Sue Wallman

img_3642

Skye is looking for an escape from the reality of last summer when her sister died in a tragic accident. Her parents think that a camp for troubled teenagers might help her process her grief. All of the kids at the summer camp have lost someone close, but is bringing them together such a good idea? And can everyone at camp be trusted? When Skye starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister, she knows it’s time to confront the past. But what if the danger is right in front of her?

You can find my review of Lying About Last Summer here

You can also find out which character from Lying About Last Summer you are here


The Twelve Days Of Dash & Lily

By Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

img_3623-1

A teen romance set against the magical backdrop of New York City in December. It is the ultimate Christmas book.

Dash and Lily have been dating for nearly a year, but when Lily’s beloved grandfather falls ill, the repercussions take their toll on everyone. Even though they are still together, somehow the magic has gone out of their relationship and it’s clear that Lily has fallen out of love with life.

Action must be taken! Dash teams up with Lily’s brother and a host of their friends, who have just twelve days to get Lily’s groove back in time for Christmas.

A warm, wintry read that is guaranteed to be a favourite Christmas book for many years to come.


You can find out more about the #ZoellaBookClub, including exclusive extracts, Q&A’s and more here

You can also buy an exclusive bundle of these books from WH Smith here

Another huge HUGE thank you to WH Smith for not only sending me these fab books to read, but also for all the extra surprise goodies that were totally unexpected and so so generous.

What I love about the #ZoellaBookClub is the fact that people are picking up books and reading and top that off with fantastic books and brilliant authors it makes something very special indeed!

Have you read any of the Autumn #ZoellaBookClub books?  Which one is your favourite?  Which exclusive cover do you like the most? Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

sig2

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...