Title: Ugly Love Author: Colleen Hoover Publication Date: August 5, 2014 Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary Series: Standalone Rating: 5/5 When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go … Continue reading
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1. What inspired you to write My Life Next Door?
So many things came together to make me want to write that book. I majored in English lit and Shakespeare, so a bit of Romeo and Juliet—although that is something of a sad and fractured story and I like it all to work, will always be a fan of happy endings. Also, I wanted to write about someone who was a watcher, an onlooker, and then had to become part of the story.
2. Do you see yourself in Samantha?
I do see myself in Samantha, although I can honestly say I see myself in every character, even the awful ones. What I like about Sam is that she doesn’t easily and comfortably fit into the role she’s assigned. She’s a quiet and careful rebel.
3. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Favorite author is always a tough one for me. There are so many. Springing to mind, in YA, are Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, John Green, David Levithan—and backing up, Madeleine L’Engle, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carol Ryrie Brink. I love the honest and unexpected, the funny, straightforward and real.
4. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was writing the arguments, the missed connections. I wince at that in real life and it was truly difficult to have my characters screw up and let one another down.
5. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My interest in writing began with reading E.B. White. Unbelievably clear, straightforward, true as an arrow. My father read me all his books when I was five, and the whole way through all I could think was “I want to do this. I want to tell the truth like this.
6. Any advice to aspiring writers?
Advice? to read, read, read. To write a journal without self-criticism or editing. To finish everything you start and try out different styles.
7. Can you share a little of The Boy Most Likely To, the sequel to My Life Next Door?
THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO is the story of Tim Mason, the bad boy secondary character from MY LIFE NEXT DOOR. Tim has spent his whole life never seeing himself as a hero, evading consequences. In this book, that all comes home to roost.
Huntley Fitzpatrick grew up dreamy and distracted in coastal Connecticut, attended Concord Academy and Yale. She flourished in a family of bookworms where the library was always the most important room in the house. She kept an exhaustively thorough journal which frightened her boyfriends but has proved very useful in her career as a writer. Her debut contemporary Romance, MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, will be published in June of 2012 by Penguin-Dial for Young Readers. Now she laughs with and eavesdrops on her six children who provide her with perspective and material.
Title: Guy in Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Summary (from Goodreads):
An achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.
It is Labor Day weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; and Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.
But they don’t.
This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other’s lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn’t belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren’t in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play—at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends—and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.
My thoughts . . .
Guy in Real Life is unlike any YA novel I have ever read. It may seem like it solely focuses on life as a gamer, filled with fighting off mystical creatures and roleplaying, but it actually ventures into discovering oneself. Two main characters come into play who I have grown to love and admire, Lesh and Svetlana. Lesh: sixteen-year-old boy who dresses up in dark clothing, listens to metal, and soon finds himself sucked into the gaming world. Svetlana: seventeen-year-old girl who is the dungeon master at her school’s Gaming Club (whose members comprises of her close friends) takes her role seriously and enjoys drawing, sewing, and embroidery in her free time. As different as these characters may seem, they collide into each other early one morning and soon establish a friendship. I must admit, I found this book had some slow moments, but overall, I felt connected with the characters even though I have zero interest in RPGs.
This novel was very real; there was no sugar coating whatsoever. It covered life events (teenagers who drink and do drugs) and revealed that Lesh sometimes hung out with the wrong crowd. But luckily, it did not negatively affect him in the long run. It merely showed that not everyone is perfect and books can’t always hide the truth of reality. Some parts of the novel slowed down my progress, but there were moments that I adored. I loved reading about life as a gamer, but I most cherished the blooming relationship between Lesh and Svetlana. Both seemingly the exact opposite of one another, they somehow managed to connect and enjoy each other’s company. What I liked is that their relationship was slow and developed over time. It wasn’t a love at first sight ordeal. Although Lesh instantly developed a crush on Svetlana, Svetlana doubted her feelings and then soon accepted them.
Sometimes the characters got on my nerves at times, especially Svetlana who never wanted to spend time with her family (which saddened me) as well as what happened in the end on Lesh’s account (which infuriated me), but it’s easy for me to overcome these feelings because of how well crafted the story was and the very serious message portrayed.
What I also loved was that the book was written in two POVs, Lesh’s and Svetlana’s. It enabled you to get both sides of the story so you understood what went through both of their minds after a given situation.
Overall . . .
I would recommend this book, even if you have no interest in gamers in RPGs (like myself). As you read Guy in Real Life you will admire the uniqueness of this novel (a nice break from typical YA novels) and appreciate the original characters and their story.
* If you have already read Guy in Real Life, be sure to read this short story in Jelly’s POV: http://t.co/insJHac10m
Did you read Guy in Real Life? And if so, what were your thoughts on it?