The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Why, oh why did the Internet eat my book review?

I shall have to start again, but I warn you, I’m not quite as excited to do this a second time.

The set-up: Lennie’s used to following her older sister, Bailey, around. Bailey has all the experiences with boys and doesn’t seem afraid to live. Then Bailey dies, and Lennie doesn’t know where she fits in the world anymore.

Main character’s goal: The goal changes, but without giving too much away I can say that at one point Lennie’s goal is to ignore one boy – the boy who lets her feel her grief for her sister’s death without getting swallowed up by it, and pursue the second boy – the one who is all light and happiness and helps her feel that she’s moving on from Bailey’s death.

My reaction: I thought the love triangle was done exceptionally well, and the characters were incredible, larger-than-life people. Even Bailey, who died before the story begins, is full and flawed and fabulous. The writing itself was lyrical, and I wondered how much of it was the author trying to be artistic and how much was truly Lennie’s voice. However, that was my writerly self wondering, and my readerly self kept saying, “Shut up and just enjoy the prose, you know you like it.”

Of interest to writers: The poems throughout – poems Lennie scribbles on whatever available writing surface there is, and are described as found in various places, like under a rock, or in the margins of Wuthering Heights, well, I enjoyed them and all, but then when I got to the end and ***mild spoiler alert here*** they actually had a purpose in the story line (even if it was a small purpose), I was impressed.

Bottom line: Read it for the beauty of the language, or the deliciousness of Lennie’s conflict, or the roundness of the characters…but just read it.

Reminds me of: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern.

NiFtY Author Yvonne Prinz

Joining us today is Yvonne Prinz, author of young adult books The Vinyl Princess and All You Get Is Me (reviewed here and here on my blog). As a reader, I loved the instant connection I had with Allie and Roar, the main characters in each book, and as a writer I was thrilled at how well Yvonne created their voices and told their stories. Anyway, no more blather, let’s hear from Yvonne herself!

BH: Your latest book, All You Get Is Me, is getting glowing reviews online. What seems to be the element people like most about the book?

YP: I’m surprised but it seems that most readers seem to like the romance aspect of the book the best. If you had told me that while I was writing it, I’d have laughed out loud but Forest and Roar have become readers’ favorite summer romance.

BH: Your first book, The Vinyl Princess, was also a huge success. What do you think makes Allie so appealing? I need to learn your secret, and so do a lot of other authors out there!

YP: Well, I wouldn’t call it a huge success but it seems to have taken on a life of its own. I think readers are drawn to Allie’s work life, her weird comfort zone, and her honesty about who she is in the world. Also, falling for the wrong guy is always an appealing topic because we’ve all done it.  I don’t know that I have a secret. I think getting the voice right is paramount in creating characters but I probably heard that from a publisher. Here’s a tip but it’s not a secret: If you fall in love with your own characters I think you’re probably on the right track.

BH: I absolutely loved the setting for All You Get Is Me. I kinda want to move to that organic farm. Is the farm based on someplace you know? Is there really a monastery nearby? Can you give us a map with driving directions, as well as real estate information?

YP: The farm is in a fictional town. I plucked bits from several locations in Northern California. The Monastery is in Marin County (outside San Francisco) and the farm is in a place sort of like Brentwood CA’s farm community (East of the City) but it’s much smaller. I’m pretty sure you can get a house there for a song as the developers grossly overestimated the amount of development that could be sustained and there’s a lot of new houses sitting empty. As for old, lovely farmhouses, I think you need to head to the Sebastopol and environs area.  I sort of based the house on some great old farms I’ve seen in that area.

BH: Are you working on something new at the moment, and if so, can you share anything about it?

YP: I’ve just finished a thriller that takes place in a Northern California seaside hamlet. It’s foggy and gloomy and a girl named Georgia loses her brother to a surfing accident. Shortly after the funeral, a very charismatic stranger arrives in town who seems to know a bit too much about her brother…(Cue scary music here)

BH: Ooh, sounds exciting! And huzzah for Northern California settings! What does your workspace look like?

YP: I can’t post a photo because I’m away from home right now but suffice to say, it’s your usual writerly chaos. My imaginary workspace is spectacular, however, and features a massive fireplace and a big sleeping dog at my feet. I think it might be in Colorado or Montana.

BH: What is your favorite book on the craft of writing?

YP: I like Stephen King’s [On Writing] because it’s so easy to understand. I don’t write like him but he just makes sense.

Like me, he doesn’t think that there are any secrets involved. He’s a believer in hard work.

BH: I’m reading his book right now – so far I like what he has to say. Do you have any words or advice to aspiring writers for keeping the hope alive?

YP: Remember that publishing is a business and a rejection is only one person’s opinion of your work. Don’t take it personally.

Get out there and live. Get some great stories under your belt. Fall in love, get your heart broken, get in trouble, see the world. If you don’t have a book to write when you’re done at least you’ll be more interesting at cocktail parties.

BH: Thank you, Yvonne, for the interview. It has been a joy getting to know you and your books! Studio audience: for more on Yvonne, check out the links below. Also, I don’t know for sure, but Yvonne said she might be around to answer questions today in the comments section, so if you have any, feel free to ask!

links:

www.allyougetisme

www.thevinylprincess.com

www.caughtinthecarousel.com This is a website that the Vinyl Princess reviews music on.

Buy the Book:

http://www.amazon.com/Vinyl-Princess-Yvonne-Prinz/dp/B0046LUF4U/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299180161&sr=1-1

Or visit your local Indie bookstore.