Celebrate LOVE With Matt de la Peña This Week (YA Book Events 1/8-1/14)

After the blizzard snowed out a number of events last week, it’s time to get back to our regularly scheduled author events. Check out the events happening this week and make sure to follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to keep up to date with all the bookish events happening around the city.

Tuesday, Jan. 9

Matt de la Peña & Loren Long: Love at Books are Magic (6-7 p.m.)

Join author Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long as they do a special reading and presentation of their new picture book, Love. Free event.

Launching Sara Holland’s Everless at McNally Jackson Books (7 p.m.)

Join Sara Holland as she celebrates the release of her debut novel, Everless, and get your book signed. Free event.

Thursday, Jan. 11

Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci at Barnes and Noble Tribeca (6 p.m.)

Join Michael Moreci for a talk and signing for his book, Black Star Renegades. Free event; priority seating with purchase of the book at the store.

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ARC Book Review: Love, Hate, & Other Filters

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Synopsis:

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book at BookCon. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on Jan. 16, 2018.*

Love, Hate, and Other Filters provided a perspective that is unfortunately not seen often in YA literature. The novel follows Maya Aziz, an American-born teen who comes from an Indian and Muslim family. From the very start of the novel Maya struggles to find her footing in her two worlds, especially as she prepares to graduate high school and head to college.

Maya hopes to go to New York University (NYU) to follow her dreams to be a filmmaker, but her parents would prefer she stay close to home and attend a school in the midwest (where her family currently resides). Similarly, her parents would also like her to one day marry an Indian man, not someone like Phil, the white guy Maya is currently crushing on.

I thought Samira Ahmed did a great job of presenting Maya’s inner conflict as she tried to determine what was best for her while also struggling to do what her parents wanted her to do. However, because of the synopsis, which also noted that there would be terrorist attack that would greatly affect Maya’s life, I felt the first half of the novel went a little slow.

I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop (the terrorist attack), and was left wondering why the story was taking so long to get to, what I thought, would be the main conflict of the story. Then once the attack did happen the story went quite quickly and a lot began happening all at once. The back half of the novel ended up being much more fast paced than first half, however I was a bit shocked by how the novel ended, particularly the actions of Maya’s parents.

Up to the end, I found the way Maya’s parents acted and what they wanted for Maya was understandable, albeit stifling for Maya. Even after the terrorist attack, I understood why they did certain things, particularly out of fear. What I didn’t understand was their vehement feelings towards Maya’s decision about college at the very end. To me, it felt way out of character for the parents, who, throughout the novel, I found to be set in their ways but not outrageous. It just seemed like the book took a crazy turn at the end and then once this occurred the parents aren’t seen again, though the mom is mentioned once.

That plot point aside, I did enjoy Maya as a character. I thought she definitely made some mistakes that I couldn’t fully understand, but overall she was pretty level headed. I also really enjoyed her romance with Phil and her friendship with Violet. I actually would’ve loved to have seen more of Violet, because she was hilarious. I also loved Maya’s aunt, Hina. She was so supportive and felt more like an older sister to Maya than an aunt to me.

Lastly, Ahmed did a great job handling the terrorist attack in the story. I was surprised by how it played out, and I liked the third person point of views that were interwoven between chapters, giving insight into the impending attack and then more insight after it happened. That was an interesting part of this book that I didn’t expect and really liked.

Overall, I didn’t love this book as much as I wanted to, but I think it’s a pretty good read and it’s a perspective that I was definitely interested in learning more about and I feel like I did learn from it. So for that alone I do recommend checking it out when it’s released.

Borrow or Buy: While I enjoyed this book I don’t think I’d reread it so it’d have to be a borrow for me.

Stars:

3 stars

Other Reviews
Breeny’s Books
A Whisper of Ink
Younicorn Reads

Meet Erika Sánchez, Lindsey Stoddard, and More (YA Book Events 1/2-1/7)

Happy New Year everyone! With a new year comes new books and even more bookish events. So start your year off right by meeting some of your favorite authors. Check out the amazing events happening this week and make sure to follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to keep up to date with all the events happening around the city.

Thursday, January 4

An Evening with Erika Sánchez at Solas Bar NYC (6-8 p.m.) THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO SNOW!

Latinx in Publishing, People of Color in Publishing & Reforma Northeast present an evening with Erika Sanchez, author of I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. Free event; cash bar.

Saturday, January 6

Launch Party for Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard at Books of Wonder Uptown (4-6 p.m.)

Meet author Lindsey Stoddard for her incredible middle grade debut Just Like Jackie. Free event.

Great Teen Reads at Books of Wonder (4-6 p.m.)

Authors Lianne Oelke (Nice Try, Jane Sinner), Alyssa Sheinmel (R.I.P. Eliza Hart), and Amy Giles (Now Is Everything) will read, answer audience questions and sign copies of their books. Free event; must purchase a book for signing.

Sunday, January 7

Launch Event for A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano at Books of Wonder (1-3 p.m.)

Anna Meriano will be in discussion with Karuna Riazi author of The Gauntlet. Free event.

My Top 17 Reads Of 2017 (2017 Wrap-Up)

It’s quite unbelievable to me that 2017 is almost over. Not that I’ll be sad to say goodbye to this year, but seriously, where did the time go? Regardless, despite the bad that occurred this year, in terms of the books I read, it was a pretty good year for me. In total, I read 79 books this year (so far!) so it was pretty hard for me to narrow that down to 17 books but I’ve done my best. So in no particular order, here are my 17 favorite reads from this year.

1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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Truthfully, I didn’t want to read this book. I won’t go into much detail since I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but it basically follows Chaol Westfall and takes place at the same time that Empire of Storms does. When I first heard about this book all I thought was I didn’t want it and instead I’d would’ve liked the final Throne of Glass book. However, after everyone kept saying how amazing it was I finally got the audiobook and I think I finished it in two days. It was SO good. I truly couldn’t stop listening. It tied so many things in the series together and made me even more excited for the last book. Plus, it’s by far the most diverse book Sarah J. Maas has written, which is a shame but at least she’s growing.

2. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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This year I discovered Adam Silvera and I’m now obsessed. They Both Die at the End broke my heart in the best way and despite the title I was still not prepared for the ending. The story follows Mateo and Rufus who are told they are going to die by the end of the day. Thanks to the Last Friend app they end up meeting and find themselves making the most of their last day on Earth. The story alternates between the POVs of Mateo and Rufus, and also gives insight into some other characters. All together it gave me The Sun is Also a Star vibes, but is still felt totally different and SO good. It will make you cry but also laugh and smile.

3. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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Another Silvera book? Oh yes and I’m not the least bit sorry. This is the first book I read by Silvera and I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into it. Full disclosure, I only picked this up because I was trying to get an internship at the place that published this book. While I didn’t get the job I did fall in love with this book, which tells the story of Griffin, who’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, died. Surprisingly, it’s Theo’s new boyfriend, Jackson, that Griffin finds himself connecting with after Theo’s death. As the story jumps between the present and Griffin’s “history” with Theo secrets are revealed that led to a twist I definitely didn’t see coming.

4. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

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I love Constance Wu so when I heard she was starring in the movie adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians I knew that a) I’d be seeing the movie the day it came out and b) I needed to read the book. Since the movie’s not out yet I started with reading the book and I couldn’t put it down. It was so funny and even though I’m not Asian it was still felt very relatable. The book hooked me from the very beginning. It expertly looks at race and class, while also just being hilarious. I literally closed the book so I could laugh out loud multiple times while reading. I can’t wait to read the next two books in this series.

5. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

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If you love ’90s rom coms or remember watching them with your mom like I do, then this is the book for you. Loosely based on You’ve Got Mail, this story follows Bailey “Mink” Rydell who talks to “Alex” online for months. When she moves to his area, Bailey doesn’t tell him for fear he’ll disappoint her. Instead, she ends up working with the infuriating Porter, and soon finds herself trying to decide between her online relationship with Alex and the chance at a real one with Porter. Besides the romance, this story also deals with a number of other issues, most notably gun violence. I really loved this book and could see myself reading it again.

6. When It’s Real by Erin Watt

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I’m a sucker for a “forced to be together but end up actually falling for each other” story and this one was fantastic. The story follows Vaughn Bennett who agrees to pretend to be the girlfriend of teen pop star Oakley Ford in order to get money to help her family. Told in alternating POVs of Vaughn and Oakley this was a super cute love story, interspersed with texts and tweets that made it incredibly funny as well. I couldn’t put this book down and immediately picked it back up again when I finished it.

7. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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I’m still not over the ending to this book. Just thinking about it right now makes me feel some type of way. Cassandra Clare broke me with this book but I loved every minute of it. I’m now impatiently waiting for the next, and last, book in the trilogy. Here’s to hoping the wait doesn’t kill me since it doesn’t come until December 2018.

8. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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Honestly, I don’t know why it took me so long to finally read this book. It was so good! I felt for Simon, who was being blackmailed about his sexuality, but I also loved him and his relationship with Blue, the mysterious boy he was emailing. This book was funny, heartwarming, and had so many great quotes. If you haven’t read this you definitely should before the movie, Love, Simon, comes out in March.

9. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

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I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t like this series in the beginning. Red Queen seemed way too predictable to me and I wasn’t a fan. But Victoria Aveyard sucked me in with Glass Sword and King’s Cage was even better. Told in different perspectives, King’s Cage raised the stakes, setting the perfect stage for the series’ conclusion next year.

10. Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty

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This is another read that it took me too long to finally get to, but I’m so glad I finally read it. This book was filled with so many twists that came together perfectly in the end. I loved how this was really a book about women coming together and supporting each other, but wasn’t preachy about it at all. In fact, it was hilarious and I couldn’t put it down.

11. Warcross by Marie Lu

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I know next to nothing about video games but I love Marie Lu so I decided to give this book a chance anyway and boy did it not disappoint. Although the virtual reality game, Warcross, is obviously a big part of the story, because it’s made up Lu had to explain it for the world building and so it was easy to figure out and get immersed in it. Plus, the story was about more than just Warcross itself, it was about the protagonist, Emika, who I loved. While the twists weren’t all that surprising, I still loved this book and can’t wait for the sequel.

12. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Holly Black is another author I just discovered this year, and honestly, why am I so late to this party? The Cruel Prince was filled with amazing twists and just enough romance to make me swoon. I loved the main character, Jude, who’s a human raised amongst faeries, and I liked that these faeries were ruthless, as the fey should be.

13. Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter

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I don’t typical read middle grade novels, but I had to for school this year and while I definitely didn’t love all the books I had to read, I fell in love with Forever, or a Long, Long Time. This heartbreaking, but equally heartwarming, story follows Flora and her young brother, Julian, two foster kids who believe they were never born. Although they’ve finally found a forever home, Flora and Julian continue to struggle with the things that have happened to them in the past. I absolutely loved how this story was written in Flora’s perspective, because her view of the world and her surroundings was so interesting. I sympathized with her throughout the novel and felt for her when she messed up, but celebrated all her triumphs. This is a must read.

14. Invictus by Ryan Graudin

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I loved the Wolf by Wolf duology so I was very excited to read another book by Ryan Graudin and Invictus did not disappoint. Filled with time traveling adventure, romance, and a bit of a plot twist, Invictus kept me hooked the whole way through. I’ve been telling people its like Six of Crows but with time travel. In other words, I highly recommend it.

15. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

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Even though I’ve never really had an interest in Wonder Woman (I still haven’t seen the movie), I love Leigh Bardugo so I decided to give this book a chance, and I’m glad I did. Bardugo did a great job of setting up the world so that even for me, who really knew next to nothing about Wonder Woman going into this book, everything still made sense. I loved this version of Wonder Woman, aka Diana, and the adventure she went on when she arrived on Earth. I also loved that this story was able to surprise me. Overall, this book has made me excited to read the next books in this DC Icons series.

16. The Sexy One by Lauren Blakely

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If I’m going to read erotica it’s going to be a Lauren Blakely novel. The woman has only disappointed me once and in her defense it was one of her earlier novels; her writing has only gotten better over time. It was hard for me to just choose one of my favorites by her this year but I’m going with The Sexy One because I love a forbidden romance and Simon and Abby’s relationship was so freaking cute. I’m pretty sure I read through this book in a day.

17. By Your Side by Kasie West

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Kasie West has become one of my favorite YA contemporary romance authors and she also gives me serious writer goals. She comes out with two books a year. TWO! But anyway, By Your Side is definitely one of my favorites by her, mainly because it begins with the main character, Autumn, being trapped in the library with a cute, bad boy. So basically, my dream. However, what I loved most about this book was how West handled Autumn’s mental health and how that played into the story.

What were some of your favorite reads this year? Let me know in the comments below!

ARC Book Review: The Cruel Prince

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Synopsis:

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from The Novl. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on Jan. 2, 2018.*

I’ve never read a Holly Black novel before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this novel. All I knew was there would be faeries, who are super in right now, and that Black is considered a queen in the YA fantasy world. That was enough for me to be interested.

The prologue of this story sucked me in immediately, as it made it clear very quickly that this would not be a book that sugarcoated the world of the fey. Instead, this story jumped right in with the bloodshed and I was totally here for it. But then the story slowed down a bit. Jude, the narrator and protagonist of the story, is a human who grew up in the world of Faerie and all she wants is to be accepted among them. To do so, she hopes to participate in a tournament so she can become a knight. Differently, her twin sister, Taryn, hopes to marry into a Fey family. Their elder sister, Vivi, would rather have nothing to do with the fey, even though she’s actually half-fey.

As much as I loved the family and school dynamics that played out in the beginning of the novel, after the bloodshed in the prologue, I was a little blood thirsty. I wanted to jump right back into the action and get to the good stuff. However, although there was a little wait to get there when Black went there she really went there. The second half of the novel was filled with so many twists and betrayals that I realized, like Jude, I made the mistake of forgetting that we were still in the world of Faerie, and while the fey can’t technically lie that doesn’t stop them from being ruthless.

This book totally blew my mind, especially in the last 150 pages, and once it got to the good stuff, I couldn’t put it down. I was on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what Jude would do next, in order to protect herself and her family, and I was not disappointed. What I loved most about this book, was how even though Jude and Taryn are human, you can see how they learned how to play the games of the Fey, and how they got quite good at it.

The ending of this book left me shook and I absolutely must know what happens next. Definitely pick up The Cruel Prince once it’s released; you won’t regret it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Other Reviews
Her Bookish Things
Blankslaters
Bang Bang Books

How to Get Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)

A question I get asked a lot is “How do you get free books?” What people typically mean is, “How do you get advanced reader copies?” If you’re unfamiliar with the term, advanced reader copies are uncorrected proofs of books that haven’t been released. There are physical ARCs, which typically look like the paperback version of the book, although a lot of the times the cover won’t be final, and there are digital, or electronic, ARCs, which come in the form of a file that can usually be read on a tablet or reading device, like a Kindle.

ARCs are typically sent out to the media to create buzz about the book that’s going to be released. Media includes everything from big name publications like Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times to bloggers and social media influencers, like myself. So how exactly do people like me (and you) get ARCs? Well, there are a few ways.

1. Someone will reach out to you

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If you have your contact info on your blog or in your bio, publicists or self-published authors may reach out to you and ask if you would like an ARC or finished copy of their book. This is definitely the easiest way to get an ARC, because obviously they want you to have one if they reached out to you. The only downside to this is figuring out how to say no to books you actually don’t want or wouldn’t read.

Sometimes it can be really exciting to be offered a free book. When I first started I said yes to everything and then I ended up with a lot of books I never read. That’s why if you have a blog, it’s a good idea to have a Review Policy page, where you explicitly say what kind of books you do and do not want to receive. You’ll probably still get requests for things you don’t want, and if that’s the case you can either politely decline or you are allowed to ignore emails. However, just make sure that if you do ignore someone’s emails you have no intention of ever trying to work with them. It’s hard to rebuild bridges once you burn them.

2. Request a physical ARC

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If there’s a book you’re really interested in, you can request an ARC of the book. Typically, the way to do this is to find out who’s publishing the book and look up their publicity contact information. For example, if I wanted to request an ARC of A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas I would go to Bloomsbury’s website and look up their publicity contact information, specifically for the children’s department since Maas is technically a YA author.

For most publishers, specifically the Big Five, there’s an email address you can write to. There’s a number of ways you could write out your email, but this is how I do it. For the subject line I write, “ARC Request for ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’ by Sarah J. Maas.” Then my email would say:

Hello,

My name is Zakiya Jamal and I am very excited for the release of Sarah J. Maas’ newest novel, A Court of Frost and Starlight. I absolutely love all of Maas’ books, both in this series and the Throne of Glass series. I know my followers, just like myself, are already excited about Maas’ new novel and I would love a chance to read and review it early.

I review books on my blog, To Borrow or Buy, which gets about 1,500 views every month. I also post pictures of my favorite books and books I review on my Instagram account of the same name, which has over 3400 followers. If I receive an ARC of A Court of Frost and Starlight I would promote the book on all of my platforms, which not only include my blog and Instagram but also my Tumblr and Twitter.  Below please find my name, phone number, and mailing address. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Best,
Zakiya

You always want to include your mailing address in the email, because that just makes it easier for them to just send you the book right away rather than having to ask you for it. Typically, you won’t get a response to your email either way, but if they do decide to send you a copy they’ll just send it.

The most important thing you want to do in your email is make it clear why they should give you a book. My following isn’t incredibly big on any one of my platforms, but when combined I actually I have a reach of about 5,000 people, so I always include all my platforms when requesting a book. Make sure to always play to your strengths and if you have done ARC reviews before, especially if you’ve received books from that publisher before, make sure to indicate that as well.

Also, some publishers now do forms for requesting ARCs, rather than emails. For example, I’ve received a few ARCs through The Novl, which is Little, Brown for Young Readers’ social media page. They send out these forms in their newsletters, which come out about once a week, so make sure to sign up for their newsletter so you know when they’re looking for new reviewers.Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 10.23.39 PM.png

3. Request a Digital ARC

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There are two websites you can sign up for to get digital ARCs: NetGalley and Edelweiss. I’ve received ARCs on both. The best way to get ARCs through these sites is to sign up for their emails. Edelweiss sends out a weekly newsletter, which lets you know what new books have been added to the site and are available for request. NetGalley emails a bit more frequently, but you can adjust your email notifications for how you see fit. You can also always search both sites if you’re looking for a specific book to request.

I wouldn’t say getting a digital ARC is easier than getting a physical ARC, because it always depends on a lot of different factors, particularly how popular a book is. What I will say is there have been a few times when I received a dARC of a book after I couldn’t get a physical ARC. So it doesn’t hurt to try both, especially if it’s a book you really want.

4. Giveaways & Bookish Events

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Truthfully, I think I’ve gotten the most ARCs from going to bookish events. I got 10 ARCs from Book Con this year alone, and two more from attending the Brooklyn Book Festival. Additionally, I’ve also won a lot of ARCs from giveaways. In my experience, it pays to receive newsletters from publishers. I’ve won a number of ARCs just by reading literally every email publishers send me and entering almost every giveaway in them.

Additionally, Twitter is a great place for giveaways. Not only do publishers do giveaways regularly, but authors do them all the time. So do bloggers (I’ve got a giveaway going on right now!). If you’re willing to look for them, you’ll find there are lots of giveaways happening all the time and if you enter enough of them you’re bound to win some.

5. Books for Trade

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If you’re unfamiliar with Books for Trade (#booksfortrade), it’s a hashtag on Twitter in which people literally list what kind of books they’re in search of (ISO) and what books they’re willing to trade. Typically, it’s very hard to trade for an ARC if you aren’t also trading an ARC. There’s even a specific hashtag just for ARC trades (#arcsfortrade). However, it’s not impossible.

The biggest advice I can give for trading is just to triple check that the person is legit. I’ve traded multiple times and I haven’t had a problem because I always go to that person’s profile to check and see if they’ve done successful trades in the past. I also always ask the person to send me pics of the book before confirming an exchange. If you can make a legit trade, trading is a great way to get your hands on a book you really want.

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I believe that about covers it. If you have any other questions about how to get ARCs just let me know in the comments. I hope this helps, and that you get as many free books as your heart desires. Happy reading!

Maybe I’ll Write a Middle Grade Novel: My First Semester of Grad School

On the very first day of my writing workshop, my professor, Sarah Weeks, asked myself and my classmates what we wanted to write about. She wasn’t all that shocked to discover that the majority of us wanted to write young adult novels. However, our concentration isn’t just Writing for Young Adults, it’s Writing for Children & Young Adults. So for our very first workshop we were required to do both, writing a picture book, a middle grade short story, and the first chapter of a YA fantasy. Similarly, in my literary seminar, we read only picture books and middle grade novels.

This was a challenge for me. Not because picture books and middle grade novels are hard to read (they’re not), but because they weren’t what I was reading in my free time nor were they anything I ever had an interesting in writing. Still, I was in school to learn and I wanted to push myself to try new things and step out of my comfort zone. Plus, I didn’t really have a choice; it was my homework.

While the picture book I wrote for my workshop, and then my literary seminar midterm, will never see the light of day, I found that the best thing I wrote this semester was actually my middle grade short story. Loosely based on my own personal experiences with my paternal grandmother, it was the story I got the most compliments on from not only my classmates but also my professor. And though I had no intention of ever writing a middle grade novel, suddenly I had this story that I wanted to expand and even though I don’t know when that will happen (I have a whole other book I’m trying to finish at the moment) I think it will happen. Some day.

And I think that is the best summary of why I loved my first semester of grad school. Because it made me step out of a box I’d put myself in (strictly writing YA, that is), and try something I don’t think I would’ve thought to do on my own. Besides that, I was also introduced to 13 other writers who a) are trying to do the same thing I am (become better writers) and b) provide different feedback that has helped me over the course of the semester, and I’m sure will continue to help shape my writing in the future. They’re also just cool people that I can talk to about books, which is an added bonus, though they’ve made my to-be-read pile even longer.

My first semester went by incredibly fast, which is both exciting and scary. Exciting, because my grad school experience is now 25 percent completed. Scary, because I’m one step closer to being a grad school graduate and I would like to believe that when I get there I’ll have a completed manuscript and, hopefully, an agent too. But I still have some time for that. So for now, I’m going to enjoy my winter break by reading, writing, and blogging, and I look forward to continuing my education in the spring.