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Friday, September 30, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane...

Hey Peeps!

It's that time of year again... I'm heading out on tour to promote my new book Liesl & Po! The upside: meeting cool new people and my amazing readers/fans, hanging out in awesome cities, and having a legitimate excuse to partake in copious amounts of takeout.
The downside: packing a bag with a month's worth of essentials and living out of a suitcase. Ugh! Now, if I could only figure out what is REALLY necessary... Something tells me my new Keurig coffee machine won't make it past the metal detectors.
Help a girl out! What are your travel essentials? What do you bring with you for just that extra bit of comfort on the road?


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A round-up of Liesl & Po reviews!

Hello, friends!

The clock is ticking: my very first book for middle grade readers, Liesl & Po, comes out on Tuesday!! Yayyy! If you are still debating whether or not to buy/read it, you should! But DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! Check out a round-up of some recent reviews, which will hopefully help sway you!

The Readiacs
The ReaderBee
Proud Book Nerd
Chick Loves Lit
Green Bean Teen Queen
Hooked To Books
Addicted 2 Reading

So go on and pre-order Liesl & Po...because everybody's doing it!! :)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Liesl & Po Tour Dates!

All right, kiddos. I'm packing my bag with granola bars and portable ketchup packets (yes, I bring them when I travel), and I'm hitting the road to tour my latest book (and my first middle-grade read), Liesl & Po.
As Pitbull so eloquently says: You know you want me. So take note of the dates/locations below and come see me already!


7:00PM Reading/Q&A/Signing

Barnes & Noble

7881 Edinger Avenue

Huntington Beach CA 92647

Wednesday, October 5th: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

7:00PM Reading/Q&A/Signing

A Great Good Place for Books

6120 LaSalle Avenue

Oakland CA 94611

Thursday, October 6th: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

7:00PM Reading/Q&A/Signing

Rakestraw Books

522 Hartz Avenue

Danville CA 94526

Friday, October 7th: LYNNWOOD, WASHINGTON

7:00PM Reading/Q&A/Signing

Barnes & Noble

19401 Alderwood Mall Parkway

Lynnwood WA 98036

Saturday, October 8th: PORTLAND, OREGON



Oregon Convention Center

777 NE ML King Boulevard

Portland, OR 97232

5:00 PM

“Facing Fears in YA Fiction” Panel

Widen + Kennedy Stage, Room C#124


Kimberly Derting, The Body Finder

Patrick Carman, Dark Eden

Moderator: Suzanne Young, A Need So Beautiful

5:50PM Book signing at the Powell's Books signing area

Sunday, October 9th: PORTLAND, OREGON

3:00PM Solo Presentation with Jonathan Auxier

Knowledge Universe Children’s Stage

Main Exhibit Hall C

3:50PM Book signing at the Powell's Books signing area

Monday, October 10th:

6:00PM Reading/Q&A/Signing

Wild Rumpus

2720 West 43rd Street

Minneapolis MN 55410

Tuesday, October 11th: GLENDALE, WISCONSIN

6:30PM Reading/Q&A/Signing

North Shore Library

6800 North Port Washington Road

Glendale WI 53217

...And then, after a brief interlude in which I travel to Frankfurt for the book fair...

Tuesday, October 25th: HAVERFORD, PENNSYLVANIA

7:00PM Reading/Q&A/Signing

Children’s Book World

17 Haverford Station Road
Haverford PA 19041

Wednesday, October 26th: NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS

7:00PM Reading/Q&A/Signing

Anderson’s Bookshop

123 West Jefferson

Naperville IL 60540

Phew...and then it's home to sleep for the next month. Anyway, spread the word, gas up the car, and come join me on the road! Hope to see you there. xo

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I am THRILLED to tell you that the gorgeous new Liesl & Po website (www.lieslandpo.com) is live. Please click here and start exploring. Give yourself time to play. Click on "Characters" for sketches of Liesl, Po, and the rest of the supporting cast; go to "Extras" to watch the stunning trailer and hear the book's haunting theme song; and don't forget to scroll down to read an excerpt!

Share it with friends, family, any kids you know, the local UPS guy...you know, pass on the good word! And don't forget that Liesl and Po hits shelves October 4.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Dear Bully--Winner!

Thanks for everyone who responded for a chance to win a copy of DEAR BULLY, the beautiful nonfiction anthology edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones, featuring essays from authors including Aprilynne Pike, Carrie Ryan, Jon Scieszka, Mo Willems, Alyson Noel, Ellen Hopkins, Carolyn Mackler, Lauren Kate, and moi. (Read more about it here or here.) SOME of you who shall remain nameless neglected to leave contact info/email addresses...just a word to the wise for next time!

Congrats to the winner, Love Between Pages, who commented:

This book is a work of art! I find it wonderful that a group of writers come together to address an issue as important as bullying.

I couldn't agree more that this anthology tackles a complex, topical, and important subject, and I really do hope that all of you will find a way to get this book onto your shelves.


Thursday, September 15, 2011


I have to say, the thrill NEVER dies. There is nothing like getting a first, hardcover copy of your own book in the mail. Talk about an experience that can't be replaced by the e-reader...

That's right, peeps, finished copies of LIESL & PO have arrived at last!!! It is such a gorgeous book, from the jacket, to the images printed on the hardcover itself (check out pics below), to Kei Acedera's gorgeous sketched illustrations, which look exactly as I imagined them in my head.



HURRAY!!! Mark October 4th on your calendars, guys...this is one book that just won't look as good on the kindle, trust me!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Dear Bully

Last year, I was given the opportunity to contribute to an anthology about a difficult and all-too-topical subject: bullying. The anthology, edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones, comprises stories, memories, and essays submitted by a vast array of celebrated teen authors, including Aprilynne Pike, Carrie Ryan, Jon Scieszka, Mo Willems, Alyson Noel, Ellen Hopkins, Carolyn Mackler, and Lauren Kate.

Bullying--and the topic of meanness/cruelty more generally--is an important theme in my first book, Before I Fall, and I was honored to have the opportunity to address it from a nonfiction standpoint in Dear Bully.

The book has now been released, and I am giving away a copy! Simply respond to this post and you will be entered for a chance to win a signed finished copy. For the rest of you, PLEASE don't neglect this book. (You can find the USA today review of Dear Bully here, and check out the book's Goodreads page here for more info.) A portion of the proceeds go to an anti-bullying organization, so this book is a worthwhile purchase any way you slice it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Liesl and Po contest winners for August!

I've been so swamped with news and crazy back-to-school (or, um, work) duties, I have barely had time to blog! But I'm thrilled to announce my August Liesl & Po galley winners, along with their childhood reading faves...


"The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett


Bridge To Teribithia by Katherine Paterson Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
These are just a few examples of my favorite books from childhood. To pick just one is insane. :)

Blogging Books ...

My favorite book would have to have been Bed Time for Frances by Russell Hoban. I loved her alphabet song!

Congrats to you all! I'll be popping those puppies in the mail very soon. And remember, for the rest of you...ONLY ONE MONTH REMAINS until Liesl & Po hits the shelves...which means that only a lucky three more winners will get galley copies in the mail! If you haven't already entered for consideration, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?? Enter here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Revenge Is (Sometimes) Sweet

Oooh!! The submissions for my Revenge Is Sweet Writing Challenge, which celebrated the release of my BFF Elizabeth Miles' new book FURY, were skin-crawlingly creepy and scary! I LOVED them! I have to say, I've always been a sucker for revenge stories, even when the revenge sometimes outstrips the original crime (as in Elizabeth's book). Add in a good shaking of old-fashioned bloodlust, and maybe a dose of psychopathy, and you have a winner in my book!

Without further ado, here are two of my favorite submissions from the challenge:

From Teresa Szandtner—“Push”

Champagne could feel the air seeping through her blouse and under her skirt. She couldn’t see, since a school tie covered her eyes. She could hear her captors arguing with each other, but she couldn’t recognize their voices. She was trying to conceal her terror by being angry at them. Anger was far easier than fear, as it allowed her to function.
“She looks scared,” said one of the voices.
“About time, if you ask me,” said another.
“Let’s get on with this, O.K.? Who wants to go first?”
“I will,” said a voice. “I testify that you made fun of my clothes.” A pair of hands pushed against her chest into the rest of the members of the circle.
“I testify that you made fun of my acne,” said another, joined by another push.
“I testify that you made me feel invisible.” Push.
Champagne noticed that the pushes were getting faster, and stronger. Then it happened. After one particularly hard push, she missed the landing pad of the other bodies and broke through them like some twisted game of Red Rover. Suddenly she was falling and rolling down the side of a hill. She heard someone swear from above her. As she rolled down the hill, she could feel the impact of every pebble and branch tearing into her skin.
“Is she dead?” someone shouted from above.
“I just saw her move. She’s still breathing.”
The voices receded and she was left alone, shivering in her school uniform.

From Natalie Ward

Her Death

..would you kill to save a life?

..would you kill to prove you’re right?


I should have been able to protect her.

I should have been able to protect her because I loved her and she was everything to me.

But they should have protected us.

They trained us, taught us, sent us in there and then they abandoned us when it all went wrong.

Now they were going to pay. All of the hatred and anger and rage and guilt that I held for failing her was going to be taken out on them.

She was pregnant when it happened. Pregnant with my child and they carved her up and ripped it out of her like it meant nothing. I had come home to find her like that. Broken, bloody, lifeless. Everything I had wanted, everything I had needed, gone.

I had hunted them down with a vengeance. All of them. I spared them no mercy.

It felt good. The pain I inflicted, the last breathes that I stole, the blood that I leeched. Everything they took from me magnified by every piece of pain and betrayal I felt and then thrown back at them.

If only I had known what it would do to me. What it would turn me into, what I would become.

It would have destroyed her to see me like this, but I had to do it.

For her.

But in doing so, I knew I had become one of them.

And below you'll find my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SUBMISSION from this challenge--with a fabulous twist-ending, to boot. Valerie will be receiving a Revenge Is Sweet T-shirt courtesy of Paper Lantern Lit. (Check out the design here.)

From Valerie Armour

“If we love him, then why are we going to hurt him?” I ask her cautiously--she’s been so volatile lately and the last thing I want is for her to be angry with me.

“Dear god, do I have to explain everything to you, like you’re a baby? Look, he hurt you first didn’t he? He said he loved you and he hurt you-“

“Yes I know that, but I don’t want to hurt him” I interrupt her. I know what she’ll say- I always know what she’ll say next.

I feel her anger boiling in my blood, a foreign and yet exhilarating experience. The rush of adrenaline makes my head feel clouded, like I’m dreaming. There’s an edge to my depression that I never noticed before now, and I’m beginning to see for the first time what she’s been driving at.

“You do want to hurt him, see? You understand now why this is so important?” I hear her words from a distance, like I’ve fallen into a hole somewhere inside my mind, and her voice is echoing off the walls down to me.

“Yes.” I reply, because now I do understand, she will do what I can't. She’ll kill him for hurting me.

“Ashley,” I hear my Mother’s voice in the hallway, “who are you talking to in there?” She pushes the door open and pokes her head in.

She looks into my Mother’s trusting eyes, and replies honestly, “No one, Mom. I’m just thinking to myself.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Come On, Irene: Writing Challenge Responses!

Thanks to all who participated in my Come On: Irene, Writing Challenge! The challenge was to evoke a scene in which two people who absolutely hate each other are trapped under bad/inclement/apocalyptic conditions. I loved reading your responses. I've selected three submissions that demonstrate the range of claustrophobic situations you all imagined for your characters...Interestingly, however, there was a significant romantic thread to almost all of them! What is it about Doomsday scenarios that puts us in a lovin' mood, I wonder? :P


From Lisa Aldin:

I used to think it was only my imagination that Becky Lyons hated me.

But about ten minutes ago I came to the conclusion that Becky Lyons truly, deeply hates me. No imagination or rumors involved.

How do I know this? Well, emergencies illuminate the truth. If she hates me while we're huddled under this pool table, the windows rattling from the claws and teeth of those things outside, then she would hate me anytime, anywhere.

"What are those things?" she asks, brushing a strand of black hair from her cheek.

"Bats," I reply, even though I have no idea what I'm talking about. I don't know why I feel like I need her approval. I do not like Becky. I cannot like Becky.

She glares at me. "You're an idiot."

"How kind of you to notice."

"They look like..." She leans forward, gripping the table leg with her trembling fingers. Through the glass, the sky appears dark, but it's daytime. One minute I was walking along Main Street, a stack of fresh comic books under my arm, and the next thing I knew these creatures had flooded the sky. Their wings blocked out the sun, forcing anyone who was lucky enough to see the black swarm in time to hide, shiver, and fear. The unlucky ones were carried away like fish plucked from the water by a hawk's claw. "They look like angels," she finishes.

I roll my eyes, trying not to notice the green flecks swimming in her hazel eyes. "Now who's the idiot?"


Her beautiful eyes go wide and soft. "Oh, God. They're...coming inside," she whispers, curling her arms around my neck, holding me close. My heart pounds. Crack. I lick my dry lips and whisper in her ear, "Run."

From 16-year-old Janel Lee:

“I can’t believe they’ve put me with you!” I growled as the woman with the clipboard basically shoved me into Ethan’s arms. She gave me one glance that said she could care less about what I thought and moved along, calling out names and pairing people for partners.

“Well,” Ethan started, a smirk on. “Your demeanor screams weak and mine, of course, screams strong and savior-like, so of course they’d pair you with me.”

I glared and looked away, out the window, where the land was barren and dry, begging for water. “Of all--”

“Save it, priss,” Ethan muttered, sounding angry back. I took a glance at him--his brows were furrowed, his eyes angry and focused. “If they paired us, they paired us. Now it’s just a matter of sticking together and pulling through.”

“Since when were you all about surviving? I thought you were the living type,” I snapped back, smacking his hand when it came close to mine. The lady was beginning to instruct us to take hold of our partner, no matter the gender, and all, except us, were following suit.

“I am the living type! Now if you would just--!” He went for my hand again but I pushed him and fell out of line. The instructor looked at me with ice eyes and I stepped back in line. Ethan grabbed my fingers and squeezed them, hard.

“All right!” the lady shouted, standing on a platform. “The goal is to move out as far as you can, searching for water, with the rations we’ve given you. Remember, half of the journey is coming back safely, so ration wisely. The devices on your wrists are our tracking devices--they’ll let us know your health. If it should beep, you either must turn around, or we recognize that you are in danger. Got it?”

I heard Ethan breathe in as cold set in my spine. I only felt his hand holding mine, reassuring and solid. “All right,” he breathed. “Here we go.”

From Dot Hutchison, "Hurricane Party":

Damn mandatory evacuations.

“You know they’re not letting us out of this closet until they’ve heard some action, right?”

I glare at the closet’s other occupant and go back to pounding on the door. “Lily, Amber, let me out or so help me I will skin you in your sleep!”

Drunken laughter spills against the mostly hollow wood, followed by a thunk as one or both of my suitemates falls against the door. “You need this, Delilah!” one of them yells. “You’ll thank us for it later!”

“The hell I will!”

The smell of Tide, Zest, and Axe assails me as Sam turns me so my back’s against the door. Crap. It should not be legal to be that good-looking. Especially given what an ass he is.

“You have to be the only person in this apartment afraid of Postman’s Knock,” he mutters.

“I am not afraid! And it’s a hurricane! Why is there even a party?“

“As long as have to evacuate the dorms anyway, why not have a party?”

“Because it’s irresponsible?” I grumble, but it only makes him laugh.

“A whole semester gone by, and you’re still a freak.”

With a silent apology to my mother and how hard she’s worked to raise me as a young lady, I belt him in the stomach. He doubles over, wheezing, and I can hear my traitor roommates giggling like hell on the other side of the door. I rattle the knob but it’s locked from the other side; they won’t let us out until they hear us making out.

He kisses me suddenly, sparking a blaze that curls low through my stomach, then spreads a fierce flush across every inch of skin.

When the door opens to catcalls and cheers, he walks away without a second look at me.


Content by Lauren Oliver - Copyright 2011. Blog designed by Ella Press Studio - 2011.

Author Photo by Jonathan Alpeyrie - Copyright 2010. Original Font Idea by Erin Fitzsimmons - 2010.