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Archives - February 2014

In WILLOW, the title character is an educated slave girl in 1848 and must face a difficult choice --- between bondage and freedom, family and love. As Tonya Cherie Hegamin explains in her guest post, at first she didn’t think the choice would be difficult at all --- why on earth would people run plantations for months, sometimes years, if they didn’t have to? But after researching further and thinking more about another important issue --- gender equality --- she understood the complexities of slavery and freedom. Touching on everything from 1848 Persian Conference of Badasht to Beyonce, Tonya’s thought-provoking blog post delves into race, gender and the themes of her new book.
When asked what makes a book good, most people will tell you that the characters are hugely important --- you want to be able to relate to them, care about them, see them overcome adversity and meet the love of their life. But what happens when your main characters are animals? Eliot Schrefer tells us in his blog post --- his book ENDANGERED deals heavily with bonobos, and his newest book THREATENED (out February 25) features a family of chimpanzees. Read on to get a sense of Eliot's thought process when writing about animals --- and to see a mesmerizing video he took of a chimp at a zoo in Singapore!
Lauren Oliver's new book, PANIC, comes out on March 4th, and at Teenreads we are so excited! To whet her appetite, Teenreads intern Brianna Robinson went to an event at the Books of Wonder bookstore where Lauren and her editor, Rosemary Brosnan, talked about her first book, BEFORE I FALL. Read below to learn more about this awesome event, and all the fascinating trivia Brianna learned about the book (including just how many titles they brainstormed before settling on the final choice.)
Sure, life for teens today can be tough…you have to deal with dating, college applications and pressure from every direction imaginable.  But what about for teens who lived in the 1860s, during the height of the Civil War? On February 19th, Amy Alessio --- author of TAKING THE HIGH GROUND, part-time librarian in Illinois and frequent Civil War reenactor --- decided to celebrate Black History Month and her book by teaching local teens a thing or two about military and teenage life in the 1860s. Read below to learn more about this fun event!   
Seth Fishman's first novel, THE WELL'S END, follows 16-year-old Mia Kish when her world turns upside down --- when sirens start blaring, her ritzy boarding school Westbrook is put on lockdown, quarantined and surrounded by soldiers who shoot first and ask questions later. While it's thrilling to follow Mia through this heart-pounding adventure, we at Teenreads wanted to know: what would this situation look like from the perspective of another character from the book? Seth obliged us by writing from the perspective of Brayden, "the new kid" at Westbrook. Read on to see how he feels about the school, catch his first glimpse of Mia and more --- and then be sure to read the book to learn more about him!
  If you read the first draft of a manuscript and then read the published book, you'll often find a lot of changes --- characters develop new personality traits, there's an alternate ending, the language is more polished and specific scenes take a new turn. As part of her blog tour for WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE --- a novel where bored First Daughter Audrey Rhodes discovers Alice Roosevelt's hidden diary and is inspired to make her time at the White House a bit more fun ---  Rebecca Behrens tells Teenreads about her favorite scene to write, and how much it changed along the way. Read on and learn all about Rebecca's writing process --- as well as an awful lot about golf carts!   
  From the poetic tenderness of Lord Byron to the alluring confidence of Bessie Coleman, HISTORICAL HEARTTHROBS: 50 Timeless Crushes from Cleopatra to Camus by Kelly Murphy with Hallie Fryd features 50 heartthrobs from the ages most likely to catch our eye and asks the question: Would you really want to date them? The book mines our shared cultural past for history’s most swoon-worthy icons such as Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette and Che Guevara, and ranks them according to their overall "crushability," based on their relative levels of heroism/villainy. Below, see Teenreads’ 10 favorite facts from the book!
There's no denying it --- Kate DiCamillo has one of the best "children's book author" resumes out there. She's written 17 children's books, has won the Newbery Award (more than once!) and was recently named the National Ambassador for Young People's LIterature. In this interview, Kate tells us where she was when she found out she won the 2014 Newbery Award for FLORA AND ULYSSES, what she wrote about as a child, a particularly amusing plane ride and her plans as National Ambassador. 
February 5, 2014


Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you read too much? Maybe it’s when you’re driving around and see a place that you think looks exactly like Middle Earth. Or maybe it’s when you look at someone and you realize that they look exactly like William Herondale from The Infernal Devices (*swoon*). I myself realized a few days ago that yes, I do indeed read way, way too much.