The Five!

1. Or, I should say a quick, SMALL five, as I am still on vacation and it is total chaos (albeit the fun kind) all around me as I write this. Two preschoolers high on pancake sugar, various adults getting organized for pool and bike outings, an endless cycle of dishwashers and clean towels and sunscreen applications. In other words: the good stuff. Thank you to everyone for the sweet and abundant birthday wishes. I had a great day and this has been a really wonderful week. I’m already sad about leaving, and we don’t even go for a couple more days. Now that’s a good vacation.

2. This week WILL end, though, and then it’s back to the book tour. Quick roundup of what’s ahead:

  • Thursday, June 16th: Politics and Prose at The Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Road. Bethesda, MD
  • Friday, June 17th:  Blue Willow Bookshop at The Refuge, 13150 Memorial Drive Houston, TX. 7pm: ALSO: there will be a canned food drive at this event and all donations are welcome!
  • Monday, June 20th: Flyleaf Books – with the Dessen race cars! 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (Historic Airport Rd). Chapel Hill, NC. 7pm.

I also will have events coming up in July, at Eight Cousins Bookshop in Falmouth, MA, and in August at Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville, NC. And then, in the fall, there is….

3.CANADA! I’m so pumped to finally be able to tell you all about this, although I don’t have a ton of details yet. For years we’ve been trying to work out a way for me to get up to Canada, as I have a lot of devoted readers up there who have been asking for a book tour stop. Well, thanks to Penguin Canada, it’s happening. I’ll be in Toronto for a few appearances. One I KNOW about already is on Thursday, September 22nd at North York Central Library. But I will fill you in about others when I know more. Around that same time, I’ll also be at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Oh, and I’m doing some stuff in Texas this fall as well. And NCTE, I think. And…okay, now I’m exhausted. Time to stop!

4. As I said, this week has been blissful. And, surprisingly, healthier than normal. Usually when we are here at the beach, we are ALL about shrimp burgers, and onion rings, and pizza and ice cream. It’s like the required diet. But my husband is on a health kick, so this time we’ve been cooking much more, lots of fish and fresh greens we brought from our garden. I mean, I HAVE been singlehandedly polishing off my Dairy Queen ice cream birthday cake, bit by bit, every afternoon, but after all the salads, it balances out. Right? Of course it does! Last night, we did a low country shrimp boil, which was both easy and awesome. Boil some water, dump in a ton of Old Bay, then throw in red potatoes, kielbasa (we used turkey: see, healthy!) followed by fresh corn on the cob pieces and then shrimp. Drain it, put it on a pan, and stick it in the middle of a table covered with newspapers, and then peel and eat. So freaking good.

That said, I WILL get my shrimp burger today. And onion rings. You can only be so healthy for so long.

5. Finally, I know I am super late on this, but I have to say something about the whole Wall Street Journal-Young Adult Book kerfuffle from earlier this week. (Can I just tell you how much I LOVE the word kerfuffle? Just say it out loud. See? But I digress.) Anyway, for those who haven’t kept up, there was a piece in the WSJ about how hard it is for parents to find YA books that are appropriate for their kids, as everything is about vampires and dystopian worlds and shocking language and sex. (I’m paraphrasing, obviously: the article itself is here. ) Anyway, many YA authors, readers, and librarians and booksellers responded, saying that this is NOT true, there is a wide variety of books out there, and that issues DO need to be addressed, because teens are experiencing them and can often find solace and support on the pages of novels. Here’s my take. We can’t candy-coat adolescence, people. Teenagers know that better than anyone. And as I said on Twitter earlier this week, if you are only seeing one kind of book out there for teens, you’re not looking very hard. Or, um, at all. Personally, my books don’t have vampires or zombies or post-apocalyptic themes or settings, and I can tell you that, based on the amazing readers I’ve met over the last month during the tour, and heard from here and other places online, people are finding them just fine. So maybe that WSJ reporter needs to just ask the teen READERS what they like and want to read? Trust me, my readers are not scary. They’re amazing and smart and excited about books and they would LOVE to talk to you all about it. You’re cheating yourself, WSJ, for not engaging them in this conversation. Your loss.

Okay, enough of the rant. Back to vacation!

See you next week. Have a good weekend, everyone!