Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy Book Birthday, POINTE!

Brace yourselves, people. Brandy Colbert's Pointe comes out today!

Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.
Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

I am so thrilled to get the chance to welcome this book into the world. It's beautifully written, hard-hitting, and has some of the most realistically flawed teenage characters I've ever read. Pointe deals with some tough issues, including anorexia and molestation. Yet it never feels sensational or over the top. Readers will cheer for every one of Theo's hard-earned revelations and hold their breath as her long-buried secrets threaten her carefully constructed life and her hopes for a future as a professional dancer.
19 year-old ballerina Michaela DePrince, making the spectacular look easy. Seriously, HOW DO BALLERINAS DO THIS? Photo source: Teen Vogue

This is truly one of the finest contemporary books you'll read all year, if not ever.

I'll leave you with some more images of Theo's favorite thing in the entire world.

Theo always rides the subway to ballet class in the city. Source:
She has been taking ballet ever since she was tiny. Source:
If Black Swan didn't convince you ballet will completely destroy your feet, Pointe will. Source:

What Theo wants more than anything is to dance professionally. Source: The Washington Post

Professional ballerina Misty Copeland. Source: Huffington Post

Dancers from the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Source: DanceTabs
Going pro is incredibly demanding. Source:
It takes hours and hours of practice each week. Source: Education Update

A good pianist is crucial, especially if he's hot and slightly mysterious. Source: The Performer's Warehouse
Michaela DePrince again. This girl is badass, people. You should read about her. Source:
Sorry, I couldn't resist the optical illusion dancer. Is she spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise?
 Now you're curious about the person behind this amazing book, right? Here she is. . .

Photo by Jessie Weinberg
Brandy Colbert was born and raised in the Ozarks—more specifically, Springfield, Missouri—and earned a bachelors degree in journalism from Missouri State University. She worked as an editor for several national magazines and currently works as a copy editor for both books and magazines. She is represented by Tina Wexler at ICM Partners.

Yay, Brandy! Yay, Pointe! All of us at the Thirteeners are so excited this book is out in the world now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy book birthday to SALVAGE!

We're so excited here at Friday the Thirteeners because today is the publication day for Alexandra Duncan's debut, SALVAGE! Here's a little about this sci-fi feminist book, which explores choice, agency, rebellion, and family:

Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated, conservative deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean. This is a sweeping and harrowing novel about a girl who can't read or write or even withstand the forces of gravity. What choices will she make? How will she build a future on an earth ravaged by climate change?

SALVAGE was named a 2014 Indies Introduce Pick by the American Booksellers Association, and will appeal to fans of Margaret Atwood and Beth Revis.

Kirkus Reviews said "Duncan's settings and diction are vivid," and that "haunting, colorful environments distinguish this debut novel about a girl fighting for survival in the far future."

Feminism, family, and rebellion, all set in a thrilling sci-fi novel? We're absolutely sold!

Congratulations, Alexa! We're so proud of you and can't wait for everyone to read your amazing book!

SALVAGE is available from HarperCollins' Greenwillow Books, and if you'd like to pick up a copy (which we highly advise!) you can purchase from the following places:

And here's more about Alexandra, our friend and author of the fabulous SALVAGE:

Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her short fiction has been published in several Year's Best
Photo by Kristi Hedberg
Science Fiction & Fantasy anthologies and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Her first novel, Salvage, is available now from Greenwillow Books. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty—pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi. Alexandra lives with her husband and two monstrous, furry cats in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can find out more about her at

Friday, March 21, 2014

Megan Shepherd Takes the Truth

Today I'm answering a tough truth: What book do you lie to people about having read?

I’m going to be very honest with you guys, and admit something I never admit to anyone. Are you ready? It’s a doozy.

I haven’t read the Harry Potter series.

I can feel the shame crashing down on me already. It’s okay! Judge me! I deserve it! Here’s the thing—I adore the Harry Potter world. I’ve seen all the movies multiple times. I have pictures of Alan Rickman on my office walls. I’ve been to Harry Potter world theme park. I am constantly inspired by J.K. Rowling and have watched every interview and speech she’s done. I first knew Harry Potter was special when I worked in the mailroom at a boys’ summer camp. One day we got in 300 thick manila envelopes, because it turned out every single camper had begged their parents to send them a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on its release day. Camp activities (cool stuff like hang-glide training and windsurfing) had to be suspended so all 300 boys could sit down all over camp and just read straight through the book. It was magical.

I even own the entire series…see?

But I haven’t read them. Why? There is no valid excuse. I just started off with the movies, and loved the movies so much I didn’t want to read the books and spoil what was going to happen. (I’m going through the same thing now with Game of Thrones.) Then when the movies ended I had every intention of going back and reading the series, but by then I was writing full-time, and just didn’t have time to devote to pleasure reading.

There is a happy ending to this story, however. Now that the third and final Madman’s Daughter book is turned in, and I’m well under way for my next series, The Cage, I’m finally starting to have time again. And first up on my to-do list?

Harry Potter read-a-thon.

So now you know my secret shame. It feels good to get it off my chest. Hate me if you must, but let this photo of me with a butter beer mustache be proof that I really am a fan at heart.

Megan Shepherd is a young adult writer living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She is the author of The Madman's Daughter (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins) and its sequel, Her Dark Curiosity. The third book in the series comes out January 2015. She’d love to hear from you at her blog, TwitterFacebook, or on Goodreads.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

Alexandra Duncan Takes the Truth

I have a lot of guilt. It comes with being raised Protestant. So when I tell you about my guilty pleasures, you should know that I actually feel guilty about these things. Sometimes. (Okay, most of the time). It isn't just a turn of phrase.

Guilty pleasure #1: chocolate fruit

I will eat all kinds of chocolate fruit, but this is the kind I snack on most often.  ------------->

I tried to swear it off this summer, because chocolate is not good for you when consumed in great quantities, but I can usually talk myself into getting some anyway. Well, you need to buy some so you can take a picture of it for this blog post, I told myself earlier today before tearing into the package. You can't just go take a picture of it on the grocery store shelf. You don't want to be the weirdo in the deli taking pictures of sweets, do you? Point taken, brain. No, I do not.

Guilty pleasure #2: reality television

I'm in love with Project Runway and Face Off, which involves makeup artists constructing fantastical creatures. My husband will actually watch the second show with me, because it sometimes involves monsters.

The one show I've been really obsessed with lately, though, is Fatal Attractions on Animal Planet. It's all about people who are killed or mauled by their exotic pets. I'm not talking about hedgehogs or iguanas, although both of those can give you a nasty case of salmonella. Most of the people on the show seem to think they have a special relationship with their Bengal tiger or cobra that will prevent the animal from striking when they aren't looking.

Obviously, this is not how things play out. Given the number of times my housecat has attacked my feet in the middle of the night, I don't know how anyone could think things would go differently with a tiger.

Why do I like this show so much? Probably because when I was a kid, one of the stories I would always beg my mom to tell was the one about the teenager who broke into the Washington Zoo, stole a Gaboon viper, took it on a city bus, and then (after it bit him, naturally) had to be treated with all of the rattlesnake antivenin on the entire Eastern seaboard before stumbling back from the brink of death. She is a nurse, and was on duty when the paramedics brought him into the hospital. Her account was even more entertainingly weird than this New York Times article.

This is the show I watch to unwind in the evening. Sometimes I even fall asleep to stories about people being trampled by buffalo, partly because being raised by a nurse warps your brain a little bit and partly because I'm so tired in the evening. Which leads me to my third guilty pleasure. . .

Guilty pleasure #3: falling asleep on the couch

I have a lovely, comfortable bed. I sleep much better in it than I do on the couch. I'm much less likely to be sat up on by cats or wake up with a crick in my neck. And yet, there's something inexplicably wonderful about a couch nap.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? Tell us about it and you'll be entered to win an ARC of my book Salvage, coming April 1st! (No kidding.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ETA: Our contest winner is Xander! Xander, we've sent you an e-mail about how to claim your ARC.

Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her first novel, Salvage, is due to be released by Greenwillow Books on April 1, 2014. Her short stories have been featured in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty – pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi, to name a few. You can find her online at Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and her web site.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Erin Bowman Takes the Dare!

This fabulous dare came in from Andrea, one of our readers, and it sounded like too much fun to pass up:

Write a short Dr. Seuss-inspired poem version of your book and post it on the blog.

I absolutely adored Dr. Seuss as a child. These stories were some of the first read to me, and the first I was able to read on my own. (Did you know Green Eggs and Ham has just fifty words, only one of which is more than one syllable?) And even with such a simplistic vocabulary, these books were drilling some very important lessons into my little head.

If Dr. Seuss books were titled according to their subtexts, via Buzzfeed

Ahem. Moving on to my dare...

I spent a little time browsing through a bunch of Dr. Seuss books, and finally settled on the one I thought I could rework to represent my debut novel, Taken.

So now, here is my Dr. Seuess-esque poem for Taken, inspired by Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!

Your birthday’s come.
Your birthday’s now.
You’ll go, go, go!
We’re not certain how. 
You will go by Heist.
You will go, ciao!
Gray Weathersby, you’ll be going now. 
You can try to fight it.
You can kick and scream.
But it’s still coming for you.
So don’t struggle,
We don’t care.
You can’t escape that light.
You can’t escape that light even if you like.
If you try to run, it will still find you.
Just go, go, go.
Accept it, please do. 
Gray Weathersby, I don’t know how.
Gray Weathersby, you’ll be going now. 
You will go in a flash.
You will go in a blink.
You will go in a burst of light, I think.
If you wish not to, alas you’re stuck
Your birthday’s here, you’re out of luck. 
Don’t run away,
Please, Gray,
You’ll be going either way. 
Gray Weathersby
We don’t know how.
Gray Weathersby
You’ll be going now! 
We said go and go we meant.
The time had come.
So Gray…went.

Yeah, I might have had a little too much fun doing this. Another Thirteener will be up next week to answer a new truth or dare, but until then, you can always get your book-nerd fix on our Thirteeners tumblr.

Thanks again for the fun dare, Andrea!


Erin Bowman is a YA writer, letterpress lover, and Harry Potter enthusiast living in New Hampshire. Her debut novel, TAKEN is now available from HarperTeen, and FROZEN releases 4/15/14. You can visit her blog (updated occasionally) or find her on twitter (updated obsessively).

Friday, February 21, 2014

Alexandra Duncan Takes the Truth

Some of you may remember from our post this past summer that I married my high school sweetheart. One of our readers asked us to describe the first time we ever went on a date, so of course my thoughts went straight to the first date my now-husband and I went on. We went to see What Dreams May Come and then, despite having just watched a movie about death starring Robin Williams, we kissed on the back porch of my parent's house. It was my first kiss, and I was so self-conscious that I don't really remember anything about it except that it happened and I was super excited about it.

My future husband and I having a picnic. I'm 17, he's 19. We don't yet know that Mountain Dew is disgusting.
But then I remembered an even earlier date, a date so early I don't really know if you can technically call it a date. But I'm going to tell you about it anyway.

In elementary school, I had a crush on a boy in my class named Keith.* He was blonde and skinny and grew up to be a drug addict, but at the time, we were two innocent schoolkids. On the second to last day of fifth grade, we decided we were "dating," and then proceeded to not see each other for the rest of the summer. We had only a tenuous grasp on the concept.

Likes to run. Not very nice to boys.
Toward the end of the summer before sixth grade, my aunt gave me a gift certificate for two tickets to a local movie theater. The idea was that one of my friends and I would go see a movie together for my 11th birthday. Only I wanted to take Keith. Despite some concerned looks, my mother agreed to pick him up and drive us to the movies. I don't remember what we saw, but I do remember challenging Keith to a footrace outside the shopping center while we were waiting for my mom to pick us up after the movie. At the time, I saw no reason to let a boy win a footrace against me, even if I liked him. I beat him pretty soundly and I doubt I was very nice about it. Not surprisingly, Keith decided we should "just be friends" shortly after sixth grade started.

So, I'll leave it up to you, readers. Which one of these was actually my first date?

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

*Of course this is not his real name.

Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her first novel, Salvage, is due to be released by Greenwillow Books on April 1, 2014. Her short stories have been featured in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty – pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi, to name a few. You can find her online at Twitter, Goodreads, and her web site.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Full Moon + Valentine's Day = Our Kind Of Holiday

Here at Friday the Thirteeners we like to roll a little off-kilter. When we saw that the full moon was landing smack on top of everyone's favorite romantic holiday, we thought we'd take advantage of it with a little foray into the imaginative dating lives of the fake people we've created. Or if our book was going to date another book, who would they pick?

Mindy McGinnis:

It was suggested to me once at a book signing that Lynn from NOT A DROP TO DRINK would be an ideal girlfriend for Daryl from The Walking Dead. I think that could work - but first they'd sidestep around each other with weapons drawn for about two years before either of them admitted to liking the other.

Erin Bowman:

TAKEN would date THE MAZE RUNNER! They'd be besties!

Alexandra Duncan:

I think SALVAGE would probably get along really well with SHIP BREAKER, by Paolo Bacigalupi. They have a few key things in common - worlds ravaged by global warming and people living off the scraps or our former prosperity - but they also have enough that's different that they would have something to talk about. SALVAGE is a little more emotional than SHIP BREAKER, but I think they would balance each other out nicely.

April Genevieve Tucholke:

BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA just had its heart broken by a Stephen King short story collection and is now going to hook up with Richie Cusick's THE LIFEGUARD, just for the summer.

Megan Shepherd:

THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER is going on a date with THIS DARK ENDEAVOR by Kenneth Oppel. Dr. Moreau's daughter and a young Dr. Frankenstein? Yes, please!

What do you think of our choices?