Monthly Archives: March 2012

YA March Madness Tournament: And the winner is …

After weeks of voting & rallying for your favorite YA books, our YA March Madness champion has been crowned. In the final game, we pitted Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck up against Divergent by Veronica Roth … and the winner is:

Yes, that’s right. Tiger’s Curse pulled ahead for an impressive victory!

Congrats — and thanks to everyone who participated in our polls & voted.

YA March Madness: Tiger’s Curse vs. Divergent

The votes have been tallied, and our YA March Madness championship has been set. After beating Unearthly, Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck holds the first spot in our championship. And after a very tight race against Hush, Hush, Divergent by Veronica Roth has won the second spot!

And now … the final showdown!

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg – Signed Book Giveaway

All this week we’ve been featuring Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, which is now available in stores everywhere. And to cap off the week, we’re kicking off a great contest!

The Contest

In Take a Bow, the book follows four students at a prestigious performing arts school in NYC. So for this contest, we want to know … if you went to a performing arts school, what would your focus be? Music performance? A particular instrument? Music composition? Acting? Painting? Sculpture? Ballet? Jazz?

Fill out the Novel Novice Take a Bow Contest Entry Form and let us know!

The Prize

One (1) winner will receive a copy of Take a Bow signed by author Elizabeth Eulberg.

The Rules

The Deadline

All entries are due by next Friday, April 6th at midnight (PT).

Questions? Leave ’em in the comments & we’ll reply!

The Best of Middle Grade March 2012

Today marks the final day in our Middle Grade March feature — and so, we take a look back at this month’s hightlights!

Middle Grade Writing Contest

We’ve put together some really awesome prize packs featuring middle grade lit for this month’s writing contest. And we gave you two options:

OPTION A: Try your hand at writing middle grade. Write a short story or part of a novel, and submit a 250-500 word excerpt. Remember, Middle Grade fiction is generally targeted towards readers ages 8-12, so consider your audience when writing.

OPTION B: If you don’t feel up to creative writing, then tell us in 150-300 words about your favorite middle grade book or series from your childhood. What still stands out to you now? What books do you remember adoring when you were 8-12?

See complete rules & details here! The contest ends tomorrow, March 31st, at midnight (PT).

Blogging About Middle Grade Lit

We featured blog posts about MG this month from both the Novel Novice staff, and guest posts from MG authors:

Middle Grade Author Interviews

Middle Grade Book Reviews

For the Comments: Tell us about YOUR favorite Middle Grade books!

Review: The Book of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West

I’ve been waiting for another series to fall in love with. You know, the kind of love that makes you feel like you’ve been handed a plate of warm, chewy, gooey freshly baked cookies from your grandma, just as you’ve put on an old pair of comfy socks, and snuggled up with a fluffy cat to read?! Yeah, that kind of love. It is authors like Jacqueline West who awaken the 12-year-old in me who loves nothing more than to be swept away on a dangerous adventure, “elsewhere.”

Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there’s something odd about the place—not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that’s strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets—and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper.

As she and Morton form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It’s up to Olive to save the house from the dark shadows, before the lights go out for good.

I didn’t have any expectations going into The Books of Elsewhere. To be honest, it’s been awhile since I’ve REALLY enjoyed a new series of middle-grade. It’s rare to find a book with clever writing that is both tense and strange, and built around a plot that is subtle enough to keep me guessing. There are plenty of “cute” stories out there, but I’ve been craving something more lush and daring. And that is exactly how I would describe this book.

Olive is an awkward and curious girl. Plain and engaging and full of contradictions. She is the kind of protagonist that becomes easy to morph into – real enough to step right off the page.

Jacqueline West’s writing is well paced. Suspense builds with each chapter, and the timing feels natural and unrushed (which I know, as a writer, is hard to pull-off). The tension is palpable, the descriptions of the house are poetic and sinister, and like the luminous paintings on the wall, the words Jacqueline weaves together create a world that is full of icy breath, dark shadows,  and vivid colors. It’s the murky magic of Roald Dahl mixed with the plucky charm of Ramona the Pest.

All I can say is, I LOVED it, I immediately started reading Spellbound (the sequel), and I can’t wait until The Second Spy is released this summer!

Read it.

YA March Madness: Final Four Showdown Part 2

We’re down to the Final Four — and in round one, Tiger’s Curse took down Unearthly for a spot in the championships! Who will face off against yesterday’s winner in the championship round of our YA March Madness tournament? Today, your votes will decide!

City of Lost Souls Exclusive Chapter Hunt: Part 2

Today we are THRILLED to exclusively bring you part 2 in the “Shadowhunter Chapter Reveal” for City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare.

The prologue was revealed earlier this year at USA Today, and yesterday Cassie brought you part 1 on her Tumblr. Today, we’ve got part 2 — and over the next few days, more blogs will be bringing you the rest of the first chapter.

What’s more, each stop on the blog tour will be giving away a very limited edition Shadowhunter family rings … today, we’ve got the Wayland Family Ring! Keep reading to see how you can win it!

And now … part 2 of City of Lost Souls: Chapter One:

And now, after two weeks of repetitive testimony, after scores of witnesses has been called, after she had held the Mortal Sword a dozen times, Clary sat in Isabelle’s bedroom and waited for the Council to rule on her fate. She couldn’t help but remember what it had felt like to hold the Mortal Sword. It was like tiny fishhooks embedded in your skin, pulling the truth out of you. She had knelt, holding it, in the circle of the Speaking Stars and had heard her own voice telling the Council everything: how Valentine had raised the Angel Raziel, and how she had taken the power of controlling the Angel from him by erasing his name in the sand and writing hers over it. She had told them how the Angel had offered her one wish, and she had used it to raise Jace from the dead; she told them how Lilith had possessed Jace and Lilith had planned to use Simon’s blood to resurrect Sebastian, Clary’s brother, whom Lilith regarded as a son. How Simon’s Mark of Cain had ended Lilith, and they had thought Sebastian had been ended too,  no longer a threat.

Clary sighed and flipped her phone open to check the time. “They’ve been in there for an hour,” she said. “Is that normal? Is it a bad sign?”


Also, keep your eyes peeled for the City of Lost Souls book trailer in the upcoming weeks. Here’s a sneak peek:

And mark your calendar for the City of Lost Souls Launch Party:

Tuesday, May 8th at 7:00pm
Pfeiffer Hall at North Central College
310 E. Benton Ave.
Naperville IL 60540

For tickets, please call : Anderson’s Bookshop/ 630-355-2665

Exclusive Contest: Win the Wayland Family Ring

Thanks to our friends at Simon & Schuster, we are giving one of you lucky folks the chance to win a very limited edition Wayland Family Ring — plus a copy of City of Lost Souls, which will be delivered to your door on May 8th, the same day it hits stores!

To enter, fill out the Novel Novice Shadowhunter Contest Entry Form & fill out all the required fields!

The Rules:

  • One entry per person
  • U.S. only!
  • Use the entry form
  • Multiple entries & incorrectly submitted entry forms will be automatically disqualified

The Deadline

All entries are due by midnight (PT) tomorrow, March 30th!

Questions? Leave ’em in the comments & we’ll reply!

Q&A with Take a Bow author Elizabeth Eulberg: Part 2

Today, we bring you part 2 of our exclusive Q&A with Take a Bow author Elizabeth Eulberg as she answers our traditional flash questions!

Private concert: who’s playing

Paul McCartney – although I’d probably uncontrollably weep the entire time

Pizza toppings?

Mushrooms, olives, peppers, onions (I don’t like meat on pizza)

Book you can’t stop re-reading?

I’m currently re-reading The Hunger Games (I don’t get to even read a lot so re-reading a book is a big deal to me)

Living or dead, who would you like to have dinner with?

The Beatles

Perfect vacation?

The east coast of Australia: scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, sailing the Whitsundays, and an evening climb of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’ve already done all of these things and really want to go back someday.

Look at your desk right now. Name five things within reach.

My three books

Beaker doll

Otto the Orange (I went to Syracuse University)

THREE notebooks, one’s a to-do, the others are for my next projects

Pen/pencil holder that also happens to have a drumstick in it

Thanks Elizabeth! Tune in tomorrow for a great contest featuring Take A Bow

YA March Madness: Final Four Showdown Part 1

We’re down to the final four in our YA March Madness tournament. After the last round of voting, Tiger’s Curse beat out Paranormalcy, and Hush, Hush took down Anna & the French Kiss. So now, take a look at the updated bracket:

Today, we’re putting up voting for the first of two “final four” match-ups. Then on Friday, the winners of both matches will go head to head for the championship!

Exclusive Excerpt: The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Today we are THRILLED to be presenting an exclusive excerpt from The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, and featuring some of the book’s original art by Todd Harris.

Look for The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom in stores May 1st!

Art copyright © 2012 by Todd Harris

*          *          *

“Frederic and Ella”

Art copyright © 2012 by Todd Harris

Among the dozens of elegant women at the ball that night, there was one girl who caught Frederic’s attention immediately—and it wasn’t just because she was beautiful and elegantly dressed. No, she had something else: a daredevil gleam in her eyes. He’d seen that look only once before—in that old knight all those years ago.

Frederic and the mystery girl had the time of their lives dancing together. But at midnight she ran off without a word.

“Father, I have to find that girl,” insisted Frederic, newly inspired and feeling a bit more like his seven-year-old self again.

“Son, you’ve never been outside the palace gates before,” the king replied in a foreboding tone. “What if there are tigers out there?”

Art copyright © 2012 by Todd Harris

Frederic shrank away. That tiger episode had really done a number on him.

But Frederic didn’t give up entirely.

He instructed his trusted valet, Reginald, to find the mystery woman for him. It turned out that Ella (that was her name) wasn’t a noblewoman at all; just a sooty cleaning girl. But her story—the way she mixed it up with a fairy and used magical means to escape her wicked stepfamily—intrigued Frederic (even if he hoped he’d never have to meet any of her relatives).

When he told his father he wanted to marry Ella, the king sputtered in surprise. “I thought I’d fixed you, but apparently I didn’t,” the king scowled. “You don’t get it at all, do you? An ill-bred wife would destroy your image more than any scar or broken limb ever would.”

Up until that point, Frederic had always believed that the king enforced strict rules because he feared for his son’s safety. But now he saw that wasn’t necessarily the case. So, for the first time, Frederic stood up to his father.

Art copyright © 2012 by Todd Harris

“You do not rule me,” he stated firmly. “Well, technically you do, being as you’re the king. But you do not rule my heart. My heart wants Ella. And if you don’t bring her here to be with me, I will go to her.I don’t care how dangerous it is out there. I would ride a tiger to get to her if I had to.”

In truth, Frederic was utterly intimidated by the thought of venturing out into the real world. If his father refused to meet his demands, he had no idea if he would be able to follow through on his threat. Luckily for him, the king was shocked enough to give in.

And so, Ella came to live at the palace. She and Frederic were officially engaged to marry, and the tale of the magical way in which the couple met became the talk of the kingdom. Within days, the minstrels had a new hit on their hands, and the tale was told and retold across many realms. But while the popular version of the story ended with a happily-ever-after for Prince Charming and Cinderella, things didn’t go as smoothly for the real Frederic and Ella.

(Excerpt from The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. Posted with permission from Walden Pond Press.)

Enter a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never head of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as “Prince Charming.” But all of this is about to change…

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Guztav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other associated terrors to becom the heroes no one ever thought they could be.