Dear Reader,



I SO wanted to write a love letter for Caitlin Moran’s HOW TO BUILD A GIRL. Having heard so many good things about it, I was ready to enjoy it…and I really did. It was funny, poignant, brilliant, even. I loved Johanna Morrigan as much as I liked her alter-ego Dolly Wilde, and loved her family like they were long-lost relatives. From the moment Johanna and her siblings innocently killed the snails, to her appearance on TV wearing her father’s jeans, I thought this was a heart-wrenching, hilarious, honest story. I wanted to know more. I wanted to love Johanna straight through to her Dolly Wilde days of drugs, sex, and heartbreak. And in most ways, I really did.



It was only after that I was disappointed.



If you haven’t read this book yet, Johanna Morrigan’s life begins in a cramped Council house, with a handful of siblings, and her larger-than-life parents. Moran really gets these people. She writes them with confidence, humour and without shame. And that’s what makes them wonderful. At fourteen, it’s clear that Johanna understands her life isn’t going to be much different unless she can find a path to take her out of there. And she does–writing for a local music magazine using the name Dolly Wilde.



While taking on the persona of someone who should be involved in the music business, Morrigan’s Wilde is everything the name implies…..carefree, bold, wild. She quits school to follow her dream, and really, nothing is denied this girl and her scathing pen. While reading about Wilde’s antics as she bed-hopped, went to concerts, and connected with musicians, there were many genuine moments where, as a reader, we knew Wilde was purposely avoiding the truth–that she was worth so much more than what she was doing. It took her a while, but she got there. As a reader, I must say I felt the same way.



It wasn’t until after I finished this book and started to follow up (because when you read something this good, you want more), that I realized the controversy surrounding Ms. Moran.  HOW TO BUILD A GIRL is not aimed at the YA audience, in fact, and is marketed as adult fiction. Why? The book is about a 14 year old girl and her journey to figure out who she is?  That didn’t make any sense to me.  Until I read that Moran had dissed the YA audience by proclaiming she wrote the book because there were no strong female teenage characters who weren’t just there to love vampires or werewolves.






In retaliation, the YA community took to Twitter to show Moran that there were PLENTY of great YA female characters who weren’t saving the world, or falling for supernatural creatures.  It seems as though she may have stopped reading books beyond the Twilight stage.



And to make matters worse, when I went to her original best-seller, the autobiographical HOW TO BE A WOMAN, I was surpised to find many of the same ideas presented in this book…almost line for line. Huh. Line for line? So now, it made me wonder why she didn’t try to market HOW TO BUILD A GIRL to the YA audience. Instead, she marketed a very similar book under a different title, to the same audience.



If I hadn’t started the original book, or done any online research about Ms.Moran, this would have been a love letter, for sure. Maybe even my favourite book of the year so far, but it’s funny how easily something can be tainted by a careless remark.



Note to authors, be true to yourself, but not by trying to make others appear less worthy. We’re all in this together. Share the love, please.




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We’re doing it again over at the YA Buccaneers. Yes, it’s our Spring Writing Bootcamp 2015 Bingo card! This was so much fun last year, we decided to do it again. And this year, you’ll be earning points for your team, so get Bingo-ing!



Download the full YAB Bingo Card over at YA Buccaneers, and start playing this week. if you get a Bingo, make sure to use the hashtag #SWB2015 so we can follow up!  We’re excited to play along with all of you. This is going to be a fun month for Bootcampers!




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So, you’ve figured out by now that we’re having a Spring Writing Bootcamp over at the YA Buccaneers. To get things really going, we’re having a YAB InstaTour! What’s an InstaTour? Just a little bit of fun we’ve cooked up, and we’re hoping you’ll join us.



Starting today, drop over to the YA Buccaneers for your first InstaTour Challenge. You’ll need to sign up in the comments section of today’s post, add your Instagram/Facebook/Tumblr/Whatever account, and you’ll be signed up. Once you understand what it’s all about,  you’ll be directed to the first challenge. Drop by the Instagram page listed (which just happens to be mine!), and see what today’s challenge entails. Take your own photo, use the hashtag #swb2015, and we’ll count it as a point for your team. Not on a team yet? Leave us a comment and we’ll sign you up!



I’ll give you a hint about today’s challenge….it will be tricky, Matey!




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I don’t know about you, but my Facebook feed has been filled with pictures of beautiful beaches (Cuba, Bahamas, Florida, Hawaii, someplace other than here), and people having a wonderful holiday. Frankly, I’m sick of it. No, really I’m just sick of all the snow still on the ground, still falling, still in the darn forecast. When will it end, people???? When?



So, today, I’m going to be spending my morning at the coin wash. And I couldn’t be happier. It’s my little “holiday” during a busy month of work.



Yes, the coin wash. As you read this, maybe I’ll be fluffing and folding, or maybe still watching the spin cycle as I sip my green tea latte from Starbucks and read PAPER TOWNS for my teen book club later this week. Don’t feel sorry for me. It’s all good. I’ve earned this day off! I’m spring cleaning some bedding and tonight, I’ll sleep well under “spring blossoms” wafting against my nose.



March Break is finally over, and while it was a LOT of work this year (double the programs, double the tiredness!), it was also a lot of fun. I enjoyed working with tons of young writers on fractured fairy tales, poetry and even some mystery writing. (Can you believe the poetry session was the best one ever!) The rest of the week was filled with crazy bingo, painting with kool-aid, science experiements, Big Hero, and a French storytime. I think everyone had fun, including all of my co-workers, and now, I’m taking a break for a few days….re-energizing.





(A few gems from our Poetry Party. Who knew poems could be so much fun?)



I’m gearing up for some challenges, starting with our new Teen Book Club! Yes! We have nine kids reading this month’s book, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs, and I can’t wait to talk to them about it (or eat cupcakes….whatever they feel like, really). And now that I’m done with March Break, I can get back to reading. Up on my list? Fellow YA Buccaneer Kathryn Holmes’ THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND, the wacky western by Canadian author Patrick DeWitt THE SISTERS BROTHERS, and Neil Gaiman’s TRIGGER WARNING (which I just typed as Tigger Warning….a whole other set of ideas there, I bet!). Have you read any of these? Let me know what you think.



Now, back to regularly scheduled programming. See you later this week!




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Over at the YA Buccaneers, we’re taking a break this month. No, we haven’t forgotten about posts altogether, we’re just relaxing a bit and getting refreshed for next month, which is bound to have LOTS of interest. So, while we’re reading, getting out to enjoy some fresh air, and finishing up projects, we want you to think about doing the same. It’s been a loooooooong winter for most of us, so we deserve a break.



For my Spring Break, I’ve just completed the first major draft of a book I’d been working on since early summer last year. I’m looking forward to catching up on some reading and planning the upcoming portion of my year. I have several new ideas for projects in the works, and hopefully, I’ll have some good feedback on everything and can move forward. Let’s cross our fingers, shall we?



Right now, I’m gearing up for the March Break at my library. It’s going to be a week full of events for children, teens and adults….most of which involve me doing something each day. I’m looking forward to it all being over, I must admit, and a few days where I can sit back and do nothing (no, not at work…I booked a few days off. Expect to see me at Starbucks!). I’ll post photos when I have everything decorated and put together. Let’s just say, I’m making flowers….and lips.



What are YOU doing for Spring Break?




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