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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Comparable titles for GOLDEN BOY by Tara Sullivan

Marginalized due to his albinism, thirteen-year-old Habo discovers it’s more dangerous to be seen as priceless than worthless when his family moves to Mwanza, Tanzania, and he must flee for his life from people who think his body parts are magical. 

Though GOLDEN BOY is a work of fiction, it’s a compilation of the stories of real people, and it brings to light a modern human rights tragedy that is largely unknown. In Patricia McCormick’s SOLD, a similarly dehumanizing tragedy is brought to light and made hauntingly immediate through the eyes of Lakshmi.

Like Auggie in R.J. Palacio’s WONDER, Habo was born looking different from everyone in his family, everyone in his school, everyone in his village. His older sister, Asu, tries to protect him but, like WONDER’s Via, she can’t keep the world from hurting her brother.

Like Virginia in QUEEN OF WATER by Laura Resau & María Virginia Farinango, Habo struggles to see where he fits into the clear categories of the society around him. Neither the good brown of his family, nor the white of tourists, Habo has no word for himself until he arrives at Auntie’s house in Mwanza. Only there does he find out that he belongs in another category entirely: albino.

Like Raphael, Gardo, and Rat in Andy Mulligan’s TRASH, Habo also finds himself trapped in a deadly treasure hunt… but, in Habo’s case, the items that other people believe will bring them riches are the pieces of his own body. Seen as nothing more than a collection of good-luck talismans, Habo must flee for his life.

But fleeing for his life is only half the journey. Having been seen only as an aberration and an object, Habo must discover his true value and show his worth to others. Like Tree-Ear in Linda Sue Park’s A SINGLE SHARD, Habo needs to work to sculpt a new life and learn to love and accept himself.

If you enjoyed any of these books, I hope you’ll consider reading GOLDEN BOY!

Also, check back soon on the Giveaways tab: I’ll be giving away my 2k12 mentor’s book: ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Lynda Mullaly Hunt!

Comparable Titles for NOT A DROP TO DRINK

Pitching books is part of what I do as a librarian. Pitching my own book never ceases to make me feel like a bit of a used car salesman. Talking about comp titles works well for me because I feel like I’m saying, “Look, you like cars. You already own one. I’m just saying you should look at this one and see if you like the way it drives.”

My editor shared with me a fantastic pitch line for NOT A DROP TO DRINK – “Little House on the Prairie on steroids.” And yeah, that about sums it up. The biggest theme in DRINK is survival – against the elements, against human enemies, and against our own loss of humanity as we struggle to stay alive in both body and soul while living in a harsh world.

I think THE HUNGER GAMES has a lot of these same elements. Katniss needs to survive, but she’s not in it for glory or fame, she is in fact flustered by these side effects. She’s in it to survive in order to provide for her sister, and return to her family. Katniss jumps into the games with a heart already in place, whereas my main character needs to grow her heart in a harsh world where the soil is… well, a bit dry.

I don’t have a cover yet so I can’t give you a pretty equation ending with it, but I can provide something equally fun.

Don’t miss my giveaway! I’m supporting my Class of 2k13 mentor, Lynne Kelly and giving away her debut CHAINED – find the giveaway here!

Comparable Titles for MAID OF SECRETS by Jennifer McGowan

This topic was a struggle for me, because I have a hard time comparing my spygirls adventure in Elizabethan England to any other work — who’s to say that the connections *I* drew between books would be drawn by anyone else, after all? And how could I possibly name all of the awesome Tudor/Elizabethan tales out there? HINT: One of them is in my giveaway below!

I can tell you this, however: When I pitched MAID OF SECRETS, I styled my query to present it as “Ally Carter meets Philippa Gregory”. The combination captured two separate styles for me–Ally’s fun, high-action tales centering on a group of girl spies and Philippa’s lush, detailed depictions of historical court intrigue. So if you like…

  combined with 

then you may well like:   !

You’ll note I didn’t post Philippa’s book on Elizabeth I as my representative title — but that’s only because she takes a somewhat harsher view of the Queen than I do in my book. In MAID OF SECRETS, Queen Elizabeth is a 25 year old monarch, who but five months earlier was in constant peril from her sister, the then-Queen Mary Tudor. Even as Elizabeth ascends to power, there are those who want to own her, and those who want to kill her. This can tend to make one a little brittle around the edges, and Queen Elizabeth was no exception. However, Meg forges a unique bond with the Queen… the two don’t become friends, exactly, but they definitely have a more positive relationship than, say, the heroine of Book 2 in the series, MAID OF DECEPTION. But more on that to come.

Looking for more great Tudor works? Allow me to suggest something old… and to give away something new!

One of my earliest exposures to Tudor England was a book I still own, tattered and worn as it is: Green Darkness, by Anya Seton. It was part time travel, part historical intrigue, and all awesome. It’s definitely one to check out!

And now for the giveaway!

I’m delighted to giveaway GILT, by Katherine Longshore. I will have the book shipped to your door, either in the Hardback original or in paperback with its brand new cover, once it releases in May. You can choose-I’ll contact you once you’ve won!  GILT is the tale of the best friend to one of King Henry VIII’s most unfortunate queens. It’s a tale of Tudor glamour, intrigue and danger that will leave you eager for Katherine’s next book, TARNISHED, due out in 2013! To enter, just click the GIVEAWAYS tab.

GILT Hardback and Paperback covers. So much win!


Comparable Titles for HOOKED by Liz Fichera

Hooked is set in the American Southwest.  It’s the story of a Native American girl with a killer golf swing who takes on the boy on her team with the killer smile.

In a nutshell, it’s Perfect Chemistry meets Catching Jordan with a dash of West Side Story and has already received a starred Kirkus Review!

There’s also a very cool worldwide pre-order promo for Hooked right now.  Anyone who pre-orders Hooked by December 31, 2012, receives a free music download and gets entered to win a HarlequinTEEN gift basket chock-full of some of the latest and hottest YA books.  Pretty cool.  Click here to learn more.

In the meantime, one of the giveaways this week here at The Class of 2K13 is my Class of 2K12 mentor Megan Bostic’s debut Never Eighteen.  Awesome contemporary YA!  I loved it!! Very poignant, realistic fiction.  Click the Giveaway tab to enter.

Happy Reading and Good luck in the giveaway!

Comparable Titles for IN THE AFTER

It’s strange to compare your book to someone else’s…but here goes…

In the After is a post-apocalyptic story, but it’s also strongly rooted in sci-fi, dystopian, with a dash of horror. It’s like if you take Brave New World, War of the Worlds, and One Flew over the Cuckoos’ Nest and put them in a blender, then took the gelatinous mess and molded it into something new and delicious. Chocolate mousse maybe? Mmmmm chocolate…

Anyhoo, if you like old school sci-fi, you’ll want to check out IN THE AFTER. These titles are also comparable if you’re in to the apocalypse…because who doesn’t love a good destruction of everything story?

And if you’re more in to dystopian titles, like these:

Then IN THE AFTER also has you covered. It’s classic sci-fi with a modern, dystopian twist. Yes, the world ends, but hopefully you’ll love every minute of it.

You can find In the After on Goodreads and will be available June 25, 2013.

And don’t forget to check out this week’s giveaway…sponsored by myself and the awesome K.A. Barson.

Comparable Titles for K.A. Barson’s 45 POUNDS (MORE OR LESS).

I’ll be honest. I feel a bit audacious even suggesting that my book is like anyone else’s. But, hey, everyone in the Class of 2k13 is doing it, so I guess I will, too. Yeah, I’m a sucker for peer pressure sometimes.

In my first conversation with my editor, she mentioned that she thinks 45 Pounds is a Cinderella story. Really? I hadn’t thought about it like that. But then I realized she’s right. (Truth be told, she’s always right, but that’s another post for another time.) The main character, Ann, does her best to transform herself from the overweight, ugly stepsister into a thin, princess-like bridesmaid before her aunt’s wedding. In the meantime, she falls for the most adorable, charming guy. There’s even a scene (or two) that involves shoes. Not glass, but still.

So, if it’s a Cinderella story, does that mean it’s a romance? Yeah, I guess it is, in a humorous, self-deprecating way. Much like (I hope) Susane Colasanti’s books, Ann’s voice is realistic and relatable. She makes you laugh and feel sad at the same time. You feel like you know her, or you might even be her.

It’s also a book about weight issues. Ann is overweight and wants to lose forty-five pounds (more or less). However, it’s not just about a diet. It’s more about fitting—in her family, in a social group, in a dress, and most importantly, in her own skin. Because of this, I hope it appeals to Carolyn Mackler fans, especially those who love The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things.

In short, 45 Pounds (More or Less) is a contemporary, humorous love story. The characters are not picture-perfect. Far from it. While some seem to have it together, others seem messy and misunderstood and awkward. But, like Ann finds out, you can’t judge people by how they seem.

More about 45 Pounds (More or Less):

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 8 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in two months.

Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

Cover reveal coming soon! Please watch Twitter and Facebook or check back here for details. 

Also, click the Giveaway tab to enter to win The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats, my mentor from the Class of 2k12. My classmate, Demetria Lunetta, is also giving away her mentor’s book.

Comparable Titles for Caela Carter’s ME, HIM, THEM, AND IT

Oh! How I fear the comp title question! Which published books are most like ME, HIM, THEM AND IT? Where will we find your book on the shelves?

I just can’t answer that question. I can’t compare my own work to the greats of YA lit—to the books that brought me to tears or had me jittering on the edge of my seat—without having a massive insecurity-freak-out.

So, instead, I’ll tell you what I wanted to write, what I tried to accomplish, to whom I’d love to be compared. And, when ME, HIM, THEM, AND IT hits the shelves on February 5th, you can tell me if I was successful.

I tried to employ Evelyn, my main character, with a unique, raw, honest and vulnerable voice like Coe Booth manages in TYRELL.

I aspired to a heartwarming and womanly tone like I found in Sara Zarr’s HOW TO SAVE A LIFE.

I wanted to create diverse and genuine cast of characters like Walter Dean Myers does in so many of his books for teenagers.

I hoped Evelyn’s countdown would barrel the story forward at a breakneck pace the way Mile’s narration did in John Green’s LOOKING FOR ALASKA.

And, I truly hope I treated an “issue” with a balanced and personal approach somewhat akin to Laurie Halse Anderson in SPEAK or WINTERGIRLS.

Meanwhile, I’m thrilled to be giving away a fabulous book from the Class of 2k12! Check out LETHALLY BLONDE by Patricia Lyle and enter our raffle this week to win a copy!

If You Like ____, Try ALL OUR YESTERDAYS!

So, I’m usually pretty good at comp titles. My friends always ask me to help with theirs, but it’s a LOT harder to do it for your own book, so I turned the tables on them.

My first, best comparison came from my agent’s amazing intern, and it’s what we used for the pitch to publishers. She said my book was like:


This was a much better and much more succinct description than the one I was using, which was:

“Well, it’s kind of like The Terminator if Arnold was the good guy and instead of robots there was, like, angsty teens and lots of kissing.”

As for other YA books whose readers might like All Our Yesterdays, here’s what my friends had to say:

ImageSarah: “Tempest by Julie Cross. For the time travel (duh), the thriller feel, the besieged romance, and the nefarious government involvement.”

ImageCopil: “Variant by Robison Wells, because both have science fiction elements (without it being in-your-face), both have a shady organization behind the scenes, and both have a core mystery about just what the heck is going on.”

ImageRick: “Holly Black’s Curse Workers series, for the grim and moody atmosphere and extraordinary things happening in a world that feels like our own.”

So what’s All Our Yesterdays actually about? How convenient that you asked!

Marina has everything. She’s got money, popularity, and a bright future. Plus, she’s best friends with the boy next door, who happens to be a gorgeous prodigy from one of America’s most famous families.

Em has nothing. Imprisoned in a small white cell in the heart of a secret military base, all she has is the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

But Marina and Em have one big thing in common: they’re the same person.

Now Em must travel back four years in time in order to avert the terrible future from which she’s fled, and there’s only one way to do it. She must kill the person who invented the time machine in the first place: someone from her past. A person she loved.

But Marina won’t let them go without a fight.

Add it on Goodreads, or come chat with me on Twitter!


like charm and strange



I’ve always been very outspoken (to anyone who might be willing to listen) about the huge influence Robert Cormier has had on me: not just in my development as a writer, but as a person. The bleakness and honesty in his books meant a lot to me during a time in my life that felt very bleak and not all that honest. Now that I’m grown and have some distance from my adolescence, I’m not sure his worldview and mine completely line up, but I’ve carried many of his ideas and questions with me as I’ve drifted into adulthood.

For these reasons, I’d like to think Charm & Strange could sit comfortably on a shelf with Mr. Cormier’s work, maybe wedged somewhere in between dog-eared copies of FadeThe Chocolate War, and I am the Cheese. My main character is definitely a Cormier-esque type of protagonist. He’s a white teenage boy—with all the social privilege afforded that demographic—who, for circumstances not in his control, experiences himself as powerless.

As for more recent comparable titles, I’d say Charm & Strange shares some of its structure and themes with the following works:

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King: For the blurring of internal and external worlds.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: For the entwined narrative structure and close, close voice.

The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston: For a look at grief complicated by trauma.

Nothing by Janne Teller: For telling the miserable, existentialist truth.

Little Red Riding Hood: For that big bad wolf…

Okay, that last one’s not recent. But it is relevant.

Thanks so much for stopping by. We’ve still got a book giveaway going on through the end of the week, so please check it out!


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