Friday, February 21, 2014

About Pasadena Teen Book Festival

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Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith, author of Grasshopper Jungle

2014 Keynote Speaker Andrew Smith | Website | Tweet @marburyjack

Andrew Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of Winger, The Marbury Lens, Passenger, Ghost Medicine, Stick, and In the Path of Falling Objects. He lives in Southern California.

Grasshopper Jungle (Dutton Juvenile, 2014)

In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend, Robby, have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.

This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.


Funny, intense, complex, and brave, Grasshopper Jungle brilliantly weaves together everything from testicle-dissolving genetically modified corn to the struggles of recession-era, small-town America in this groundbreaking coming-of-age stunner.





Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.


Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jesse Andrews

Jesse Andrews, author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Jesse Andrews | Website | Tweet @_jesse_andrews_

Jesse Andrews is a writer, musician, and screenwriter. His debut novel, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, is a World Book Night 2014 selection; a film adaptation is currently in development.

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl (Harry N. Abrams, 2012)

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.




Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Carrie Arcos

Carrie Arcos, author of There Will Be a Time

Carrie Arcos | Website | Tweet @carriearcos

Carrie Arcos is a National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature for Out of Reach. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

There Will Come a Time (Simon Pulse, 2014)

Mark knows grief. Ever since the accident that killed his twin sister, Grace, the only time he feels at peace is when he visits the bridge on which she died. Comfort is fleeting, but it’s almost within reach when he’s standing on the wrong side of the suicide bars. Almost.

Grace’s best friend, Hanna, says she understands what he’s going through. But she doesn’t. She can’t. It’s not just the enormity of his loss. As her twin, Mark should have known Grace as well as he knows himself. Yet when he reads her journal, it’s as if he didn’t know her at all.

As a way to remember Grace, Hanna convinces Mark to complete Grace’s bucket list from her journal. Mark’s sadness, anger, and his growing feelings for Hannah threaten to overwhelm him. But Mark can’t back out. He made a promise to honor Grace—and it’s his one chance to set things right.



Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos

Out of Reach (Simon Pulse, 2012)

How do you find someone who doesn't want to be found? A girl searches for her missing addict brother while confronting her own secrets in this darkly lyrical novel.

Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he's in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn't come home. 
Rachel's terrified, and she can't help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.

With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah's best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler, and the possibility that Micah may never come home.


Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Katherine Ewell


Katherine Ewell | Website | Tweet @kateewell

Katherine Ewell is the 18-year-old author of YA thriller Dear Killer. She is a Stanford student, horse lover, avid reader, science and sci-fi lover, girly-girl, and geek.

Dear Killer (Katherine Tegen, 2014)

Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.




Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Monday, February 17, 2014

Holly Goldberg Sloan


Holly Goldberg Sloan | Website | Tweet @hgoldbergsloan

Holly Goldberg Sloan is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. Her debut YA novel, I'll Be There, earned a starred review from School Library Journal. Her latest award-winning book, Counting by 7s, is also a New York Times Bestseller.

Counting by 7s (Dial, 2013)

In the tradition of Out of My MindWonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family. 

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life... until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.





I'll Be There (Simon Pulse, 2012)

Emily Bell believes in destiny. To her, being forced to sing a solo in the church choir--despite her average voice--is fate: because it's while she's singing that she first sees Sam. At first sight, they are connected.

Sam Border wishes he could escape, but there's nowhere for him to run. He and his little brother, Riddle, have spent their entire lives constantly uprooted by their unstable father. That is, until Sam sees Emily. That's when everything changes.

As Sam and Riddle are welcomed into the Bells' lives, they witness the warmth and protection of a family for the first time. But when tragedy strikes, they're left fighting for survival in the desolate wilderness, and wondering if they'll ever find a place where they can belong. Beautifully written and emotionally profound, I'll Be There is a gripping story that explores the complexities of teenage passions, friendships, and loyalties.

The sequel, Just Call My Name, will release in August 2014.


Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Aaron Hartzler



Aaron Hartzler | Website | Tweet @aaron007

Aaron Hartzler is a writer and actor whose autobiographical performances have been seen in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York--where he received a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Off-Off Broadway Performance. His debut YA novel, What We Saw, will be published in 2015 by Harper Teen.

Rapture Practice: A True Story About Growing Up Gay in an Evangelical Family
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013)

What happens when the person you’re becoming isn’t the one your family wants you to be? 

When Aaron Hartzler was little, he couldn’t wait for the The Rapture: that moment when Jesus would come down from the clouds to whisk him and his family up to heaven. But as he turns sixteen, Aaron grows more curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn’t want Jesus to come back just yet—not before he has his first kiss, sees his first movie, or stars in the school play.

Whether he’s sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can’t be found in the Bible. He discovers that the girl of your dreams can just as easily be the boy of your dreams, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.

In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey from devoted to doubtful, and the search to find his own truth without losing the fundamentalist family who loves him.


Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tracy Holczer


Tracy Holczer | Website | Tweet @tracyholczer

Tracy Holczer is a Middle Grade fiction writer who lives in Southern California. The Secret Hum of a Daisy is her first novel.

The Secret Hum of a Daisy (Putnam Juvenile, 2014)

Twelve-year-old Grace and her mother have always been their own family, traveling from place to place like gypsies. But Grace wants to finally have a home all their own. Just when she thinks she's found it her mother says it's time to move again. Grace summons the courage to tell her mother how she really feels and will always regret that her last words to her were angry ones.

After her mother's sudden death, Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she's never met. She can't imagine her mother would want her to stay with this stranger. Then Grace finds clues in a mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on. Maybe itis her mother, showing her the way to her true home.

Lyrical, poignant and fresh, The Secret Hum of a Daisy is a beautifully told middle grade tale with a great deal of heart.




Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kristen Kittscher


Kristen Kittscher | Website | Tweet @kkittscher

Kristen Kittscher grew up in over 13 cities, including San Francisco, Dallas, and London but she feels most at home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, Kai. A graduate of Brown University and former English teacher, she now writes funny mysteries for the precocious middle-schoolers she once enjoyed teaching so much.

The Wig in the Window (HarperCollins Children's, 2013)

Best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they witness a terrifying, bloody scene at the home of their bizarre middle-school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward).

At least, they think they do. The truth is that Dr. Agford was only making her famous pickled beets! But when Dr. Agford begins acting even weirder than usual, Sophie and Grace become convinced that she’s hiding something—and they’re determined to find out what it is.

Soon the girls are breaking secret codes, being followed by a strange blue car, and tailing strangers with unibrows and Texas accents. But as their investigation heats up, Sophie and Grace start to crack under the pressure. They might solve their case, but will their friendship survive?

Perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Wig in the Window is a smart, funny middle-grade mystery with a Rear Window twist.


Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Catherine Linka


Catherine Linka | Website | Tweet @cblinka

Catherine Linka has been immersed in books her whole life, most recently as a writer and a bookseller. Her debut novel is A Girl Called Fearless, a young adult romantic spec fiction/political thriller. She lives in Southern California.

A Girl Called Fearless (St. Martin's Griffin, 2014)

Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to "protect" young women, is taking over the choices they make.

Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad "contracts" her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run. Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.

Romantic, thought-provoking, and frighteningly real, A Girl Called Fearless is a story about fighting for the most important things in life—freedom and love.



Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gretchen McNeil


Gretchen McNeil | Website | Tweet @gretchenmcneil

Gretchen McNeil is a former coloratura soprano and the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys; she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Her new YA contemporary series Don't Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club), about four very different girls who form a secret society where they get revenge on bullies and mean girls, begins Fall 2014 with Get Even.

3:59 (Balzer+Bray, 2013)

From Possess and Ten author Gretchen McNeil comes a deliciously eerie science-fiction horror story in the tradition of Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy and the movie Sliding Doors.

Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. And just when she thinks it can't get worse, she wakes to an image of herself in the bedroom mirror. Except it's not her at all—the girl in the mirror is blonder and prettier. And her name is Jo.

The two girls are doppelgängers whose universes overlap every twelve hours at 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to pass through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo's world is far from perfect, and the stuff of nightmares lurks around every corner. And when Josie finds herself trapped there, her life becomes more dangerous—and more deadly—than she ever imagined.





Ten (Balzer+Bray, 2012)

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine.


Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lissa Price


Lissa Price | Website | Tweet @lissaprice

Lissa Price is the award-winning international bestselling author of Starters, published in over thirty countries. She has lived in India and Japan but now resides in Los Angeles. Beware reading the description for the sequel, Enders, if you haven't read the first book yet!

Enders (Delacorte Press, 2013)

Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael—teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations—Starters who can be controlled and manipulated. With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn't want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life—but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena's memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?

No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.


Starters (Paperback edition, Ember, 2013)

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie.

Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter.

Callie soon discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than she could ever have imagined...


Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Monday, February 10, 2014

Elizabeth Ross


Elizabeth Ross | Website | Tweet @RossElizabeth

Elizabeth Ross grew up in Scotland where she studied French and Film Studies at the University of Glasgow. After graduation she worked in the film industry in Montreal for several years, becoming a film editor. That career path eventually led to Los Angeles where she now lives with her husband and son.
Belle Epoque (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2013)

When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service—the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive. 

Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.

But Isabelle has no idea her new "friend" is the hired help, and Maude's very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose.



Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Frances Sackett


Frances Sackett | Website

Frances Sackett is a writing teacher and an editor. She is also mother to two children who inspire her to want to tell the best stories she can. She lives in Los Angeles.

The Misadventures of the Magician's Dog (Holiday House, 2013)

Peter Lubinsky doesn't even like dogs and can't understand why he asked for one for his birthday. But it turns out that this pet, whom Peter calls The Dog, can talk and do magic—and he needs Peter's help. In return, The Dog promises to teach Peter conjuring and to help him bring his father home from the Middle East, where he is deployed with the air force. Soon Peter finds himself flying through the air on a mission to rescue The Dog's master. But as Peter's magical powers grow, he finds himself filled with a dark anger.

A bedroom full of dinosaur fossils, a waiter who was formerly a mouse, and an epic battle of magician's make for a thrilling read. This imaginative middle-grade fantasy is about the power of enchantment and love.


Pasadena Public LibraryBridge to Books

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rachel Searles


Rachel Searles | Website | Tweet @rachelsearles

Rachel Searles grew up on the frigid shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she spent her childhood studying languages and plotting to travel around the world. After college, she lived abroad in Munich and Istanbul, working as a cook, a secretary, a teacher, and a reporter for the Turkish Daily News. She now lives in Los Angeles with her rocket scientist husband and two cats, and spends her free time cooking her way through the Internet and plotting more travel.

The Lost Planet (Feiwel & Friends, 2014)

This is what the boy is told:

He woke up on planet Trucon, inside a fence he shouldn't have been able to pass.
He has an annirad blaster wound to the back of his head.
He has no memory.
He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
His name is Chase Garrety.

This is what Chase Garrety knows:

He has a message: "Guide the star."
Time is running out.