Join the YA Buccaneers for the Fall Writing Bootcamp!It’s been a while, I know. Summer was a whirlwind of library things, revision, and friends having babies. I hardly know where to begin.



But now that fall is here, I am trying to get back into regular posting mode, book reviews, and most importantly–writing! I’m finishing up BIG revisions on MANIAC, which I don’t think will carry that title anymore, and itching to get back to something I started in the spring. Which leads me to the YA Buccaneers’ Fall Writing Bootcamp!



Yes, we’re doing it again. It’s a month of preparation for NaNoWriMo, for those intending on stressing themselves out to the max, and a month of incentive for everyone else just trying to make some progress.  We have daily emails, a fantastic kit to download (thanks, Bridgid!), and lots of exciting things planned to keep you motivated.



If you haven’t done our Bootcamp before, it’s a great place to meet people, learn a few things, and find that motivation. This week, we have word sprints, a Twitter brainstorming session, and much more! You don’t want to miss it. Pop on over to the YA Buccaneers right now and sign up. It’s free, and we want you to participate!



Happy Bootcamping!



heidi sinnett

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It might feel like we’re into the last few days of summer….but it’s not over yet! Over at the YA Buccaneers, we’re doing a Summer Bucket List to help stretch out the last of the sunshine and warm weather. Will you join us?



Drop by the YA Buccaneers today to see how you can participate. I have a bucket list a mile long……..



heidi sinnett

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If you thought yesterday’s opportunity to win was all I had for you this week, you were sadly mistaken. Over at the YA Buccaneers yesterday, I interviewed fantastic author T.A. Maclagan about her YA debut THEY CALL ME ALEXANDRA GASTONE. She’s offering a $15 Amazon to one lucky winner this month during her blog tour, and YOU could win. Drop by, enter to win and maybe you’ll be extra lucky this month!



I should have called this the “Week of Winning”!

heidi sinnett

Posted in Author Interview, Contemporary YA, YA Buccaneers | Tagged Comment

YA Story2


It’s Back to School time again…and that means no more reading. Just kidding! If you’re like me, fall means getting down to business with new books, great reading nooks, and pumpkin spice lattes to make it all seem cozy. And what could be better than 15 FREE books that you could win to start your reading back-to-school efforts off right?




YA STory



I’m happy to say I’m now a part of the YA Story Sisters, a group of amazing authors who have some fantastic YA books out there. And so many of them have generously donated a copy of their books that ONE lucky winner will get!  All you have to do is enter below for the draw. The contest starts today and ends August 31st, so get on over to Facebook and follow the YA Story Sisters to learn more about us!





a Rafflecopter giveaway



heidi sinnett

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20150801_134928Last year at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference, I attended a poster session that included the fun project called “Graffiti in the Margins”. It the was first year for the project, and sounded like a lot of fun. Librarians (and any of their patrons who were interested), signed up to be included on a rotation of new YA ARCs to be reviewed and sent along to the next reader. This wasn’t a typical book review project, however. Each ARC was to be written in –thoughts, problems with the story, drawings–and then sent to the next reader who would also include their own scribbles in the margins. At the end, everyone would get their original book back and be able to see what everyone else thought of it. I said, sign me up!



So, a few weeks ago, we received an email asking us to take a quick survey regarding our reading tastes. I’m doing this with another staff member, so we were each assigned a “code name” for the books we receive, so that no one knows who is reading when they get the book. Great idea, huh? And last week, our first books came in the courier mail!



To start, we get two books…one to write in, and one we can keep. According to our survey results, the books were similar, but just a bit different so that we could choose the one that appealed to us most. I got THE NIGHT WE SAID YES by Lauren Gibaldi, and FINDING AUDREY by Sophie Kinsella. Both were recently released, and I hadn’t read either, but I chose AUDREY simply because I was a HUGE Kinsella fan when her Shopaholic books came out!



I started reading this weekend, and found it so much fun to be able to scribble my thoughts on the pages, or do little drawings. It’s like being able to chat with someone while they read the book. At first, I thought it might take me out of the story too much to have to stop and write something, but I’m used to doing book critiques for my writer friends, so this worked well.



I’m not in love with the book, sadly. I had really high expectations for it because I hoped this first venture for Sophie Kinsella into YA would carry through from her previous books, and in some ways, it was true. There is the classic British humour, and she really drops you into the head of the main character with wit and genuine observation. But I found that this book sort of embodied everything we shouldn’t be doing when we write—Audrey’s story doesn’t really start until about 3/4 of the way through the book. Up until then, she’s simply telling her brother’s story. Her parents are VERY stereotyped (Mum says “you young people” about every half page…and the woman is only 38 years old!), and the adults are really the ones leading the story around. While FINDING AUDREY is about a young girl who experiences a very bad situation, and withdraws from life because of it, I found myself wanting Audrey to do things. Instead, she just sort of watched everything from the sidelines. And while I wanted to know what happened to make her this way (Kinsella was smart to drop hints throughout the book, but leave the reveal until the end), I didn’t feel like this was her story at all.



And even being a huge Anglophile, I had to look up tons of things she referenced…from different types of medicines, to shows, and much more. This was a bit distracting, and I don’t think a lot of teens would stick with something they’re not understanding, or not being able to reference. Similarly, I thought Audrey should have been a year or so older to appeal to real YA readers. While the content was safe and a nice transition from juvenile fiction, maybe, YA readers like to see themselves, but then read up. I’m afraid a 16-year-old wouldn’t pick this up simply because Audrey is only fourteen.



So now, I send off my book to the next reader in the library system. They’ll make notes and do the same. In several months, I’ll get this book back and see what everyone else though. I’m excited to see what’s coming for me next, too! Graffiti in the Margins is a great project, and I’m thinking about ways to incorporate this type of idea into my own library, either as a project with our Nerd Herd teen book club, or young writers.



heidi sinnett

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary YA, Young Adult | Tagged , Comment