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Showing posts from June, 2011

7 Query Resources

I recently won a query critique from an agented author in a charity auction. The feedback that I received was very positive. That made me feel fantastic. The author had a few notes for me (of course), but thought I was almost there. Yay me!

How was I able to achieve such positive results? First, I've written the query at least a bajillion times (not a precise number), trying out different approaches until I felt I finally nailed the main question of my book in the shortest amount of words. (Hint: queries are about setting up the question of "what happens next" ... it doesn't give away the whole story).

Second, I've had my critique group go over it, giving second and third and fourth pairs of eyes to help me see things I had missed.

Third, research, research, research. There are a bajillion (again, not a precise number) different blog entries, websites, tweets, etc. about queries. Going through it all is time-consuming, so I've narrowed down some of the best for …

One World, Many Stories - Film Edition

Summer reading programs are starting and as I've mentioned before, the theme at the libraries where I work is One World, Many Stories.

In addition to the books that I've previously listed, there are also some fabulous movies with multicultural stories that you might be interested in.

Bend It Like Beckham: A Pakistani teen in London defies her parents by playing soccer.

The Chorus (Les Choristes): At a school for troubled boys in France, a music teacher changes their lives.

Empire of the Sun: A young English boy tries to survive in a Japanese POW camp during World War II.

Into the West: Two Traveller brothers find a mysterious white horse in their Irish slum.

Osama: A 12-year-old girl disguises herself as boy after the Taliban takes over Afghanistan.

Quinceanera: Magdalena gets kicked out of her home when she finds out she's pregnant, but finds a new home with her grandfather and gay cousin.

Rabbit-Proof Fence: Three aboriginal girls escape government custody and attempt to walk ac…

Possession Book Review

Title:Possession
Author: Elana Johnson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1442421257
416 pp.

Reading copy from publisher via Galley Grab


I don't give stars for my reviews, but if I did, I'd give 3 out of 5 for Possession by Elana Johnson. It fell in the middle for me ... somewhere between Across the Universe by Beth Revis, which I L-O-V-E-D and Bumped by Megan McCafferty, which I didn't finish.

The basic story is that Violet (aka Vi) lives in the Goodlands, but she doesn't think much of being a Goodie. She breaks the rules of this particular dystopian world and ends up in prison with Jag, the swaggering and sexy Baddie from the Badlands. She breaks out of prison with Jag and finds out there's a Resistance, which she may or may not want to join. And then there's Zenn, the boy Vi was matched with back when she was a Goodie. He may be trying to help her, or he may be keeping her away from Jag. Vi doesn't know who to trust or what do, …

Debut Author Challenge - May Update

One thing that I've realized doing the challenge is that it's okay to make changes on the fly. I started this as something fun to do and I wasn't very scientific on how I chose what titles to read. So if one title wasn't readily available, I would switch out with a title that was. Which is why Entwined was my May read instead of How I Stole Johnny Depp's Alien Girlfriend.

And really, I'm behind a month. There was no April read. But I figure if I read 12 debut books by the end of the year, I'm good. Right? (Please say right.)

To complicate matters more, I'm itching to read Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell, which isn't YA or debut. But Sarah Vowell is pretty awesome and the book is sitting on my coffee table looking all wistful and lonely, like a older cat at a pet adoption who isn't even going to try to compete with the kittens.

To complicate matters even more, last year I started a summer reading program for myself to get out the fiction/nonficti…