Author Archives: Sara | Novel Novice

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma: Quote Graphics

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For today’s Book of the Month feature, we took some of our favorite quotes from The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma and turned them into graphics. Download by clicking to view full-size, and then right-clicking to save.

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For the comments: What is your favorite quote from The Walls Around Us?

Book Review: The Remedy by Suzanne Young + Blog Tour Contest

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Today’s book review is part of the official blog tour for The Remedy by Suzanne Young. Be sure to keep reading after our review for more about the book & your chance to win a copy!

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A startling premise has chilling consequences in this pulse-pounding prequel to The Program series. Suzanne Young’s The Remedy will keep readers on their toes as the circumstances that lead to The Program unfold.

The Remedy_FinalBookCover_hiresCan one girl take on so many identities without losing her own? Find out in this riveting companion to The Program and the New York Times bestselling The Treatment.

In a world before The Program.

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill she can become anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

The Remedy is a fast-paced, sexy, and deeply thought-provoking novel — filled with richly imagined characters and intense emotions. Suzanne’s writing is engaging, as always, and the disturbing premise of “Closers” is a tantalizing beginning for this story, which offers an unsettling look at the circumstances that created The Program.

Though it’s possible to read this book without having read The Program and The Treatment, the breadcrumbs Suzanne offers for readers of the duology are deeply satisfying. It’s easy to see how The Program came to be, given the events of The Remedy. In this prequel, you see the disturbing world Suzanne imagined come full circle — and it’s fantastic to see the different pieces come together.

The Remedy is in stores now. Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, Goodreads

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2 winners – US only

1 winner will receive a signed set of The Program, The Treatment, and The Remedy.

1 winner will receive a signed ARC of Hotel Ruby.

Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

about the authorSuzanne Young2Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Originally from Utica, New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order.

Suzanne is the author of THE PROGRAM, THE TREATMENT, THE REMEDY, and HOTEL RUBY. She was also on an episode of House Hunters where she talked about her love of grass and trees (while living in the desert).

Friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @suzanne_young.
Website | Facebook  | Twitter  | Pinterest Goodreads | Instagram

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Week One:

Week Two:

Beyond The Walls Around Us: Magic Realism

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Magic realism is a form of literature that The Walls Around Us employs to great success. But what is “magic realism”? Today, we’re taking a deeper look at the genre.

Magic Realism

walls around usMost often used in reference to literature, but also found in art and film, magic realism is defined as a work in which an element of magic or the supernatural is accepted without question in an otherwise mundane world.

Merriam Webster defines it as:

a literary genre or style associated especially with Latin America that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction

Famous Works & Authors of Magic Realism

Two of the most well-known authors of magic realism are Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (whose novel One Hundred Years of Solitude is often used as an example of classic magic realism).

Other authors & famous works associated with magic realism include:

  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  • The Green Mile by Stephen King
  • Wildwood by Carson Ellis & Colin Meloy
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Toni Morrison
  • Gloria Naylor
  • Daniel Olivas
  • Louise Erdrich
  • Sherman Alexie

You might also have seen magic realism at work in movies such as: Midnight in Paris, The Purple Rose of Cairo, or Amelie.

For the comments: What works of magic realism have you read?

New YA Releases: April 21, 2015

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Here’s a look at today’s new YA releases:

invisible monstersInvisible Monsters by Joshua McCune

Finally free after spending three months locked in a secret government facility where she was forced to torture and assassinate dragons for the popular television series Kissing Dragons, all Melissa Callahan wants is a quiet recovery. Hiding in an Alaskan cave with fellow escapee Allie (known as Talker 21), Melissa does her best to stay out of the dragon politics. However, when a group of rebels called the Diocletians discovers their hideout and captures Allie, Melissa soon realizes she must finally choose who she’s fighting for—the humans or the dragons. Joshua McCune once again keeps readers on the edge of their seats in this gritty and masterful reimagining of popular dragon fantasy set in a militant future, reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker and Ann Aguirre’s Outpost.

becoming jinnBecoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

still watersStill Waters by Ash Parsons

High school senior Jason knows how to take a punch. Living with an abusive father will teach a kid that. But he’s also learned how to hit back, earning a reputation at school that ensures no one will mess with him. Even so, all Jason truly wants is to survive his father long enough to turn eighteen, take his younger sister, Janie, and run away.

Then one day, the leader of the in crowd at school, Michael, offers to pay Jason to hang out with him. Jason figures Michael simply wants to be seen with someone with a tough rep and that the money will add up fast, making Jason’s escape plan a reality. Plus, there’s Michael’s girl, Cyndra, who looks at Jason as if she sees something behind his false smile. As Jason gets drawn deeper into Michael’s game, the money keeps flowing, but the stakes grow ever more dangerous. Soon, even Jason’s fists and his ability to think on his feet aren’t enough to keep his head above water.

Still Waters is an intense, gritty thriller that pulls no punches—yet leaves you rooting for the tough guy. A powerful, dynamic debut.

every last promiseEvery Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative and emotional novel about a girl who must decide between keeping quiet and speaking up after witnessing a classmate’s sexual assault.

Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn’t supposed to. But she hasn’t told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla’s coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.

trials, theThe Trials by Stacey Kade

After being on the run, Ariane Tucker finds herself back where she started—under the cruel control of Dr. Jacobs, head of the research facility that created her. Now she must participate in the upcoming trials; a deadly competition pitting her against other alien hybrids, each representing a rival corporation.

But Ariane is no one’s weapon. She is prepared to die if it means taking down those involved in Project Paper Doll. They destroyed all that she holds dear, including Zane Bradshaw, the one person she trusted and cared for the most—the person she was forced to leave behind, bleeding and alone.

As her plan takes shape Ariane will need to depend on, now more than ever, the other side of her heritage—the cold, calculated instincts born from her alien DNA. With Zane gone she has nothing left to lose.

With heart-pounding action, and plenty of surprises, the gripping conclusion to Stacey Kade’s Project Paper Doll series delivers a powerful finish that will keep fans hooked to the very end.

wrong about the guyWrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik

Claire LaZebnik’s latest twist on a beloved classic asks the age old question: Could the girl who knows everything be wrong about the guy?

As the stepdaughter of a TV star, Ellie Withers has it all: an amazing house in LA, a devoted friend who loved her before she even knew who Ellie’s stepfather was, and a burgeoning romance with handsome Aaron Marquand. But Ellie isn’t the kind of person who’s content with simply having it all—the people in her life have to be equally happy. And, of course, she knows exactly what they need.

When Ellie’s plans for her family, her friends, and even her love life don’t turn out the way she imagined, she begins to wonder if maybe she could stand to learn a thing or two after all. Most surprising, though, is that the perfect person to teach her is the last person she’d expect.

With her signature witty narration and swoon-worthy romance, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail, The Trouble with Flirting, and The Last Best Kiss) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story: Jane Austen’s Emma.

The Remedy_FinalBookCover_hiresThe Remedy by Suzanne Young

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.

Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.

Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

99 days99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

city loveCity Love by Susane Colasanti

Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.

Sadie is a native New Yorker. She is hopeful, romantic, and an eternal optimist who is ready to find her soul mate. Then she meets her dream boy: cute, funny, and quirky in all the right ways. The chemistry between them is unreal. Could he be the one?

Darcy is a free spirit from SoCal with rebellious tendencies and unlimited financial resources. Moving to New York City is just another adventure for her. Darcy wants this summer to be all about boy adventures—nothing serious. But how much fun is too much?

Rosanna leaves Chicago for NYC so she can put her past behind her and reinvent herself. The only thing standing in her way is the grand total of seventy-three cents she has saved. Then she meets a guy who wants to show her the glamorous side of New York—a side that she would never get to experience on her own. If Rosanna doesn’t resist, she may find herself in city love.

Told from alternating points of view, City Love captures the moments in each girl’s life when everything is thrilling, amazing, and terrifying all at once . . . in a way it will never be again.

sophomore year is greek to meSophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she’s devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona’s mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks… but no thanks.

In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, Zona navigates a series of hilarious escapades, eye-opening revelations, and unexpected reunions in a foreign country—all while documenting the trip through one-of-a-kind commentary.

things we know by heartThings We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

challenger deepChallenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.

conspiracy of blood and smokeConspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

newbirdEndangered by Lamar Giles

Endangered is a thrilling page-turner perfect for fans of Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers.

The one secret she cares about keeping—her identity—is about to be exposed. Unless Lauren “Panda” Daniels—an anonymous photoblogger who specializes in busting classmates and teachers in compromising positions—plays along with her blackmailer’s little game of Dare or . . . Dare.

But when the game turns deadly, Panda doesn’t know what to do. And she may need to step out of the shadows to save herself . . . and everyone else on the Admirer’s hit list.

finding parisFinding Paris by Joy Preble

An evocative and compelling story of two sisters who would do anything for each other–perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Speak. Joy Preble’s stirring new novel explores the lengths to which sisters go to protect each other, and the winding road that brings two strangers into each other’s lives.

Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind–going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love. But Leo isn’t going anywhere right now, except driving around Vegas all night with her sister.

Until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris–a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared? When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold inside.

death codeThe Death Code by Lindsay Cummings

With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ended. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close—that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fearlessly fight to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Code introduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read.

For the comments: Which of today’s new releases are you most excited about?

The Walls Around Us: Classroom Essay & Project Ideas

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Our April Book of the Month is chock-full of great things to talk about, so today’s post is all about how to use The Walls Around Us in the classroom. Below, you’ll find our ideas for classroom discussion and essay topics and project ideas for The Walls Around Us. Share your ideas in the comments!

walls around usClassroom Discussion & Essay Topics:

  • Guilt and innocence are major driving forces in this story. Talk about the different ways each character addresses their guilt/innocence.
  • In what ways do you think justice was served in the story? In what ways was it not?
  • What motivates the characters in The Walls Around Us? Discuss in terms of the (alleged) crimes, and other significant actions. What is the driving force behind each action?
  • Study “magic realism,” and explore how this technique is used throughout The Walls Around Us. How would the story be different without the magical twist?

Download the Reader’s Guide from Algonquin Young Readers here for even more discussion questions!

Project Ideas:

  • There is so much vivid imagery in The Walls Around Us. Pick a scene, and create an illustration using your choice of art medium (paint, collage, pastels, etc.)
  • Create an alternate cover for The Walls Around Us, and explain your design decisions as they relate to the book.
  • Research teen criminal cases, and explore the different ways the justice system works for teens accused (and convicted) of major crimes. Compare your findings to how the system is presented in The Walls Around Us.

For the comments: What other ways can you see The Walls Around Us being used in the classroom?

Enter to win a copy of Zeroboxer + 2 Exclusive Posters

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Yesterday, we shared two exclusive posters for Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee. Today, we’re giving you chance to win printed copies of both posters (only printed in limited quantities), plus a copy of the book!

To enter, tell us in the comments what you like about the idea of “zero gravity fighting,” and then fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE.

Contest is open to the U.S. only, and runs through midnight (PT) on Sunday, April 26th.

Be sure to check out yesterday’s post for more goodies about Zeroboxer!

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee: Posters + Desktop Wallpapers Revealed!

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Today, I’m so happy to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee — a really fun sci fi boxing romp that I just loved. For today’s post, we have a very cool poster to reveal — but first, a few words from Fonda:

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ZeroboxerIt’s been quite a crazy past couple of weeks watching Zeroboxer hit the shelves and get into the hands of readers. If you want to catch up on all guest posts, bonus content, interviews, and giveaways that have happened so far, you can find them all listed here on my website.

I’m stoked to be on Novel Novice today offering something for zeroboxing fans: fight poster wallpaper! Yeah, how could I not make epic fight posters for the big matches in Zeroboxer?

I had Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs help me design the logos for the two big promotion companies, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association, and the Weightless Combat Championship. Then we created posters to reflect two of the pivotal events in the book: Carr Luka’s championship fight for the lowmass title, and the Terran-Martian tournament War of the Worlds.

You can download either of these as desktop wallpaper AND you can enter the giveaway for a signed copy of the book plus both of the 13X19 inch posters. I printed these out in very limited quantity so here’s you chance to snag them.

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And now, here are the posters:

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about the book

A Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.

As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell’s

 AUTHOR BIO:

Fonda Lee writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. Zeroboxer (from Flux/Llewellyn) is her debut novel. Fonda is a recovering corporate strategist, an avid martial artist, a fan of smart action movies, and an Eggs Benedict enthusiast. You can find Fonda at http://www.fondalee.com and on Twitter @fondajlee.

 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Goodreads

Add Zeroboxer to Goodreads

For more Zeroboxer excitement, check out the other online and live launch events including readings, blog posts, interviews, giveaways, and special features.

CLICK HERE to enter to win a copy of both posters (printed copies), plus a copy of Zeroboxer!

Exclusive Q&A with The Walls Around Us author Nova Ren Suma: Part 3

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Today, I’m excited to share part 2 of our exclusive interview with The Walls Around Us author Nova Ren Suma. If you missed it, here is part 1 and here is part 2.

nova ren sumaFavorite villain?

Maleficent, the storybook version. I remember being fascinated and terrified of her when I was a young girl.

Pen or pencil?

Black ink pen.

Favorite piece of clothing?

Writing sweater, striped.

Song you can’t get out of your head right now?

“Fuck It and Whatever” by the Echo Friendly

Most recent vacation?

I haven’t been on a true vacation in years. But this past summer, I did a writing retreat with a friend in Florida. We wrote all day, got massages, ate grilled cheese sandwiches, and didn’t swim at all. It was glorious.

5 things that are always in your purse.

Strawberry gum, electronic access key to the Writers Room, loose change, an emergency pen.

 

Book Review: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

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A difficult, but deeply moving story about one boy’s struggle with mental illness, Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman is today’s teen version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

challenger deepCaden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.

Challenger Deep is a stunning book, but difficult to read as you watch Caden’s descent into mental illness — and his struggle between succumbing to the world inside his head, or fighting for reality. It is sad to watch him go through this, and yet it is eye-opening in ways other books about mental illness rarely are. Shusterman has used his own son’s experiences to lend the book such authenticity. Challenger Deep is startling and honest in its portrayal, and is all the more powerful for it.

Shusterman’s elegant writing carries the story through its darkest moments, and his son’s illustrations help make the story feel real. And though Caden’s spiral into mental illness is heartbreaking, the message of Challenger Deep is ultimately hopeful and uplifting. It is raw and honest, and so the message is that not all cases of mental illness can have such positive outcomes — but the book still shows that there is hope.

Challenger Deep is in stores April 21st.

Exclusive Q&A with The Walls Around Us author Nova Ren Suma: Part 2

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Today, I’m excited to share part 2 of our exclusive interview with The Walls Around Us author Nova Ren Suma. If you missed it, here is part 1.

nova ren sumaThere’s a very unique balance to the real world and the supernatural in THE WALLS AROUND US. What were some of the challenges — and the pleasant surprises — of writing the story in this way?

The challenge for a story like this is that it is steeped in the real world but also needs to find a way to slip in the supernatural elements in the most believable way possible. So the big question is: How and when to first introduce the otherworldly twist? Or at least the initial hints, the breadcrumbs that will all make sense later? I spent a long time moving reveals and information and shocks around, trying to determine when to show my hand. My editor, Elise Howard at Algonquin, was instrumental in helping me come to terms with this. The best editors always help a writer rise to the challenges.

As for the pleasant surprises in balancing the real world and the supernatural, those can be found in the moment, on the page. I would be writing a scene that I had planned out and thought I knew what would happen and then, suddenly, out of the darkness would come this supernatural little twist that then ripples out and changes everything. I love when a scene surprises me like that.

walls around usWhat do you like about writing magic realism? When did you first discover magic realism?

I first really discovered magical realism in a seminar course in Latin American fiction in my MFA program, when I was twenty-two or twenty-three, so this was quite a number of years ago. Of course we read One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I loved so much I have since read it at least three more times, but the book from this course that most struck me, and that haunted me for years and was one of the inspirations for my first YA novel, Imaginary Girls, is Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo. It’s about a man searching for his father in an actual ghost town, and it’s stunning and eye-opening and unsettling and beautiful. A book I will never forget.

I didn’t write magical realism right away, even though I loved reading it. I confined myself to writing stories set in the real world, with no otherworldly twists stepping in, until I started writing Imaginary Girls, inspired by Pedro Páramo but also by the surreal work of David Lynch, especially Twin Peaks. Now, with The Walls Around Us, I have embraced the idea that the worlds I am writing always have a door open to the unexpected and I should let in whatever wants in. It’s become an addiction. I don’t know if I could stop myself from slipping in something strange and surreal into my stories now.

Catch part 3 of our Q&A on Friday!