TGIF (25)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

Giving Thanks:

Which books are you most thankful for receiving from other bloggers, friends, family members, or publishers?

I love this question but really when don’t I love a question? I am thankful for ALL of the books I receive. I buy most of my books but I still get quite a few surprises from blogger and authors!

-I still remember the very first book I got from an author. Jennifer Echols was hosting a giveaway on her blog. Since she is one of my favorite authors I just HAD to enter. Well to my extreme surprise, I won! I was sitting at my kitchen table with my 90 year-old grandpa. I was reading through my e-mails when I saw I had one from Jennifer. It is safe to say that my screeching and jumping scared my grandpa half to death. I picked Endless Summer since I already had Forget You and Going Too Far. The day that book arrived in the mail was a glorious day. My sister spilled red juice all over it and my little brother colored on the pages with a black pen. So even though the book is ruined, I still love it with my whole heart <3

-I will ALWAYS be thankful to Ashley Hope Perez for being the very first author to allow me to review her book. My blog was still very new and my reviews were more like fan-girl summaries but she still trusted me enough with her book enough to contact me. When she asked if I would review What Can’t Wait I think I screamed and/or started hyperventilating. It was an e-book and I have no idea if I can still access it but still, AN AUTHOR SENT ME THEIR BOOK! I will forever be grateful for that.

-There are a whole slew of authors that I love and am thankful for! Basically any author who asks me to review their book is a rock star! The fact that they respect what I have to say about books is a fact that still baffles me sometimes.

-I haven’t really worked with any publishers as of yet but I am sure they are awesome! I really like doing the whole independent/self-published author thing but that doesn’t mean I am not open to something new!

-As for my family and friends, I am just thankful that they put up with me and my expensive, time-consuming addiction. I don’t ask them to get me books and to be quite honest, they rarely buy me any in fear of getting me one that I already have. However, I will say a GIANT thank you for my stepmom for being the person to buy me my very first Sarah Dessen book. I still have the same copy of The Truth About Forever sitting on my bookshelf. Really though, I am just lucky my friends and family see how passionate I am about books and I love the fact that they try to support me as much as they can.

-I am thankful for my exhausted wallet for putting up with my book-buying habit. I buy almost all of the books I review on my blog and it adds up! It is a pricey hobby but I always say it’s better to be spending my money on books rather than drugs or junk food…okay not the junk food part ;) I still spend some money on that.

-I am so thankful for the awesome bloggers out there. Cari’s Book Blog is a blog you need to check out if you haven’t! Personally, I haven’t been able to visit it in a while but she is the biggest sweetheart I know. She sent me a box of books and I cried. I am not even kidding. It was just so out-of-the-blue and so unbelievably kind. She also took some of my Sarah Dessen books to get signed. Did you guys catch that? She knew how much I freaking <3 Sarah Dessen so she got my books signed. When that box arrived in the mail, it was the happiest day ever.

So like I said, I am thankful for EVERY book I get whether it is from an author, blogger, friend, or even myself. Books make my world go round so every one is important in one way or another!

This week on Katelyn’s Blog (11/11-11/18):

TGIF (24)-Love/Hate Relationship

Life As Kate (6)-Guys STILL suck at compliments

Tune In Tuesday (34)-Dedicated to my BEST FRIEND!

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE!!!

TGIF (14)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

Making a Difference:

Which book(s) would you put in the hands of today’s teenagers in hopes of making a difference in their lives?

My initial response to this question is ANYTHING. Any book that perks the interest of a teenager that doesn’t normally read, holds some sort of significance. Any book that a kid picks up and it allows them to fall in love with reading is a book that is making a difference in their lives. So what if it happens to be a comic book, a picture book, or even a book about the life and death of Abraham Lincoln, if they are interested in it and it is getting them to read then it is important. HOWEVER, this is not exactly what the question is asking. If I personally had to choose books that I know and love to place in the hands of teens in hopes of making a difference in their lives, I would have to choose:

What Can’t Waitby Ashley Hope Perez: This wonderfully written novel is about a young girl’s struggle to achieve her dreams. I strongly believe that this book can teach any teenager that dreams can come true if you have enough drive and focus (ignore how cheesy that whole statement just sounded. It is the truth!). The main character, Marisa, has basically no support from her family. They don’t push her to attend college or move forth with her life but she wants it enough that she makes it happen anyway. I love that Ashley created such a strong, determined character that many can learn from.

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal is a book I would give to any teenager especially girls. This book starts off with a quiet, reserved girl. She then falls in love with a guy she is convinced she will have a future with. The wonderful thing about this book is that it doesn’t paint a picture-perfect ending that so many novels do. It is my biggest hope that some teenagers will learn that your first real boyfriend is not always (if ever) your last. Heartbreaks do happen but the important thing we learn from this particular book is that after the initial pain of a breakup is that you soon realize that your life is still going on with or without that guy. You still have friends, family, and a future aside from that one person.

Deadline by Chris Crutcher is a wonderful, touching story that I think will make a difference in many people’s lives. Teenage guys will especially love this book because the main character is a guy making it a lot easier to relate to. It has been a long time since I’ve read this but what I do remember is the timeless statement of living each day as if it were your last. Teenagers in general take each passing moment for granted. The main character in this book knows exactly how much time he has left on this earth so he does his very best to make the most of it. It is truly a touching story.

And as you guys know by know, I CANNOT create a list without Sarah Dessen. In all honesty (not just because it is my favorite book) The Truth About Forever is a book that teens can learn a lot from. I learned to not conform to any person’s view of me. I am who I am .I do what makes me happy. I don’t make changes to myself just because it makes a parent, friend, boyfriend, etc. happy. I stay true to myself and that is what the main character, Macy, learns to do in this book.

These four books carry four important, strong messages that I think many, many teenagers can learn from. They don’t tackle the most devastating issues out there such as a death of a family member, mental illnesses, or even drug and alcohol abuse BUT they do touch on subjects that everyone can learn from.

This Week On Katelyn’s Blog (8/26-9/2):

In My Mailbox (23)

Witch Song by Amber Argyle

Tune In Tuesday (23)

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto Book Trailer + Giveaway (Ends 9/7)

In My Mailbox (19)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library. This has been a pretty awesome book week for me!

Review:

Nephilim Genesis of Evil by Renee Pawlish (PDF)

Summary: A dark power described in Genesis revisits the small mountain town of Taylor Crossing. After witnessing an evil presence in New York City, Rory Callahan comes out West in search of answers, and finds a town succumbing to supernatural forces. Now, an evil prophesy may be fulfilled by the Nephilim.

My Thoughts: Technically I didn’t get this book this week but I checked through my e-mails and found a few e-books in there that I had forgotten about. This book definitely sounds unlike any other book I have ever read. I hope to get to it very soon!

Nowhereville by Sean Campbell (PDF)

Summary: After his mother’s death, sixteen year old Seth Bradley chooses to leave behind his friends, his school, and his entire life within the rusted, broken down space station Ticonderoga. With his sister Jenna in tow, he sets out to join a father he barely knows in the orbital city of Grass Valley, a monument to human achievement floating three hundred miles above the Earth.
He’s never seen the open sky before. Never seen a robot either, until he meets Anne, a strange, quiet shopgirl that no one ever seems too bothered to notice.

Ava Morales is a girl with a mysterious and violent past. The soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Mars sing praises to her name, but to her family she is a terrible secret.
She is considered a terrorist by the Allied Nations of Earth, but to others still, she’s nothing more than a troubled teenager, on her way to becoming a permanent resident of the Grass Valley prison system.

When Grass Valley is caught in the crossfire of an all-out war between Earth and Mars, Seth, Jenna and Anne must work together to survive as they find themselves trapped in a world that is literally crumbling around them.
Meanwhile Ava unexpectedly finds herself alone and finally free in a chaotic, hostile city torn apart by conspiracy and fear. A city where, maybe, she has a chance to finally live in peace. A city in ruins, lost to the blackness of space.
A city with secrets all its own.

My Thoughts: This is by far the most interesting summary I have ever read! I am so excited to get reading about the futuristic world that Sean creates for us!

 

The 57th Keeper by R.G. Bullett (PDF)

My Thoughts: This is a teaser for R.G. Bullett’s novel, The 58th Keeper that is set to come out later this month!

Saved by Allegra Skye (PDF)

Summary: In SAVED (Book #1 of the Shadow Vampires), Keira and Amanda, twins, move with their family to a new town, and start their senior year at a new high school. But though they are twins, the girls have different fates. Amanda, beautiful, popular, is sought out by everyone. Keira, who has always lived in Amanda’s shadow, is smaller, awkward, different. Even her mother, who is so close to Amanda, doesn’t know what to make of her other daughter. Keira turns to books, and to her journal, for solace, and to find out about other worlds.

Amanda makes friends easily at the new school, and quickly finds a boyfriend, while Keira is left alone, an outsider. But very quickly, it is clear that something strange is going on in Everstock. The town and the school are very divided. The popular, rich kids act as if they own the school and have nothing to do with the other kids, who are poorer and live in a different part of town. Not only are the kids meaner here, but an unknown infection has gripped the town, with more and more people going to the hospital. Something here is terribly wrong.

But things change suddenly, as there is a terrible accident involving the twins. Not only are Keira and Amanda’s lives changed forever, but a new dimension of life begins to open to Keira.

As Keira recovers, she begins to change in ways she can’t expect, receiving new and mysterious powers that no one can possibly understand. At the same time, a gorgeous, mysterious new boy, Cooper, appears at the school, who grips her imagination, and who refuses to tell her what secret he is hiding.

As Keira and Cooper grow closer to each other, it soon becomes apparent that destiny has brought them together-and that they may each have to sacrifice it all if they want to stay together…

My Thoughts:  It has been a while since I have read a good vampire story so I am excited for this one! It sounds mysterious and suspenseful!

Bought:

Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman

Summary: Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when they find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes—with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades—the god of the underworld—himself. To make them atone for what they’ve done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld any individual whose unholy contract is up.

But just because they have an otherworldly part-time job now doesn’t mean Meg and Shar can ignore life’s drudgeries (work) or pleasures (fashion!). Finding that delicate balance between their old and new responsibilities turns out to be harder than they expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there’s the matter of the fine print in their contracts . . .

My Thoughts: This sounds like the funniest book ever! Fashion, The Underworld, and frenemies; what could be better???

Won:

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

Summary: “Another day finished, gracias a Dios.”

Seventeen-year-old Marisa’s mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.

At school, it’s another story. Marisa’s calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn’t sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn’t end each day thanking God it’s over.

What Can’t Wait—the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Pérez—tells the story of one girl’s survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future.

My Thoughts Thanks to the lovely ladies at The Book Memoirs for this awesome giveaway. Ashley Hope Perez’s debut novel, What Can’t Wait is an AWESOME book. I am just so glad I finally have my own copy!

 

~Thanks to the wonderful Danielle from Frenzy of Noise for all of the books and swag! I was so happy to get the mail on this particular day!~

 

 

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Summary: My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

My Thoughts: Well, I do have this book already but I am still so thankful anyways! That means more awesomeness to share with my friends. This series is DYING for me to read it!

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Summary: When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can’t believe she’s finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole’s small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose “love” she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose – between her “true love” and herself.

My Thoughts: I have read a ton of reviews for this book recently and for some strange reason I really, really want to read it. This is definitely not the type of book I usually go for but it sounds great; sad, but great!

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Summary: Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive….

Not your typical beach read.

My Thoughts:  I don’t even care if this is not your typical beach read! I have wanted to read this book for so long and I am extremely happy to finally have my own copy!

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Summary: Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.
 
Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
 
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .
 
Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .
 
From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes. 

My Thoughts:  Another book I own, have read, and love! That is ok though because I try getting all my friends and family to read it. now I have a copy to keep and a copy to lend out!

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Summary: Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

My Thoughts:  Okay, you caught me! Another book I own already but come one! You can never, ever have enough books. This one sounds so great that I am sure I will have no issues finding someone who wants to borrow it!

Well there are all of my books for this week! Add them on Goodreads by clicking the title, leave a comment letting me know what you think, and of course, Happy Reading!

TGIF (1)

TGIF is a fun little feature hosted at GReads! Every week we re-cap what has happened on the blog plus Ginger asks a question for us to answer. This week’s question is:

Author Love: 
In 2011 which new/old authors have you discovered & loved?
 
This is such a hard question to answer because I have honestly enjoyed every book I have read this year! Some were fantasy, some were romance, while others were historical fiction. Some were new and some were old but the thing is, I loved them all! But if I must narrow the list down, here are some of my favorite authors of this year!
 
Elizabeth Eulberg: I read her book, The Lonely Hearts Club and I absolutely adored it! It was recommended to me by my real-life best friend and I couldn’t have been more impressed. Seriously, such a cute book! Reading this only made me more excited for more books by Elizabeth.
 
Stephanie Perkins: I have one name for you-Etienne St. Claire-enough said. Stephanie uses the perfect mix of humor and heartache. Her characters were unique, fun, and well-rounded. I adored Anna and the French Kiss and I am impatiently awaiting the arrival of Lola and the Boy Next Door.
 
Janet Fox: Wow! I am not a huge fan of historical fiction but this author completely changed that for me. Faithful was such a beautifully written and well detailed story. If you have not read it yet, I suggest you go do so now!
 
Antony John: Anyone who can create a character as unique as Piper is in Five Flavors of Dumb, deserves some type of award. He really pushed the limit on Y.A. novels by creating a story of a deaf girl managing a rock band. This is some that has NEVER been done before. I just love, love, loved his book & I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
 
Ashley Hope Perez: As the first author EVER to request me to review a book, I just had to throw some author love out there. Not only was her book What Can’t Wait a truly touching and inspirational story, but Ashley is just such a doll! I will forever be thankful for her allowing me to read her book & do my first ever author interview with her!
 
This week on Katelyn’s Blog (5/20-5/27)
 
 

Monthly Wrap-Up (January 2011)

This is a new feature I decided to try out on my blog. At the end of each month I will post exactly what happened on my crazy little blog for that previous month. January has been an extremely busy month so there is a lot to cover!

Books I Read In January:

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Fade by Lisa McMann (Book Club)

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez (2011 Debut Author Challenge)

Girl v. Boy by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

Faithful by Janet Fox (Y.A. Historical Fiction Challenge)

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (2011 Debut Author Challenge)

Other Words For Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (2011 Debut Author Challenge)

* That is a total of 8 books for the month of January. I am only 8% done with my goal to read 100 books in 2011. I need to pick up the pace in February!*

Books I Reviewed In January:

Jane by April Lindner. (Read my review here.) This book was fantastic. It gives a new, modern-day twist to Charlotte Bronte’s classic Jane Eyre.

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols. (Read my review here.) I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of this book (a fact that is still super exciting to me). I am a HUGE fan of Jennifer Echols and Endless Summer just proved to be yet another great book (technically it is two books but still..) by Jennifer.

Beastly by Alex Flinn. (Read my review here.) I loved this book! First, it is a playoff of one of my favorite Disney stories. This is a  modern version of Beauty and the Beast told from the Beasts perspective. Second, it has been adapted for film! None other than uber cute Alex Pettyfer plays the beast in the movie version! (I included the movie trailer in that particular review; I am so excited!)

 What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez. (Read my review here.) I received this book through netgalley to read and review. I was so excited to start reading this 2011 debut novel! It really is a must read!

 Fade by Lisa McMann. (Read my review here.) This was the latest book we chose to read for book club. It has been great being able to read this series! I love it.

Faithful by Janet Fox. (Read my review here.) Because of this wonderful book, I am now obsessed with historical fiction. It is a beautifully written book full of great characters and imagery!

Girl v. Boy by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout. (Read my review here.) Loved this book! It is a super cute novel about Battle of the Sexes. I loved the constant arguing between the main character and her anonymous counterpart.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. (Read my review here.) Yet another great book by a 2011 Debut Author. This particular novel is about angels, my new obsession. I just loved it!

Miscellaneous Things On The Blog In January:

Like I said earlier the month of January was just crazy! I decided to jump on board with all the crazy bloggers who do In My Mailbox hosted by The Story Siren. It has been great so far! I am definitely spending way too much money still but I love being able to just hop from blog to blog and to be able to see what fellow book lovers are picking up to read.

(Read my IMM posts here, here, here, and here.)

I also happened to have a rough patch during the month of January. The loss of my job, the lack of sleep, and my dad’s wackiness caused me to make a blog post in which I complained a lot.

 (You can read my complaining post here.)

On the happier side of things, we got puppies this month! My dog Tipsy finally gave birth to five pups almost three weeks ago. So far all the puppies are healthy, hyper, and extremely adorable! It is going to be tough when we have to get rid of them in 5 weeks.

(You can see pictures of my adorable little puppies in my post right here.)

Back to the World Of Books for a second; I had my first ever Author Interview! I was (and still am) extremely excited and honored to be able to interview the lovely Ashley Hope Perez. Her novel, What Can’t Wait (an excellent book) is one of the books I read and reviewed in the month of January. I asked her 11 questions (11 questions for a 2011 debut author…do you get it???). Ashley was just awesome! She answered every single one. Thanks again to Ashley for that!

(Read my SUPER AWESOME interview here.)

And sticking in the World Of Books for a second, I joined yet another challenge. This one is hosted by Thoughts of a Book Junkie and it is called the A-Z Challenge. Throughout 2011, I will be reading one book per letter in the alphabet. It is an awesome challenge so you should check that out right here.

(Be sure to check out my A-Z Challenge list here.)

Wrap Up:

So that is it for the month of January. It has been an awesome month! Checked back in roughly 28 days to see how the month of February turns out!

The 2011 A-Z Challenge

I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to do anymore challenges, well that was until I came across The Thoughts of a Book Junkie’s Blog. I thought that this challenge would be easy, fun, and a great way to possibly win some free books (come on, who doesn’t love free books =). All you have to do is compile a list of 26 books that you will read throughout the year. Easy enough, right? Well the catch is, is that there has to be one title for each letter. Do you know how many books are out there with a Z as the first letter of the title? There isn’t many, but the few that I did find sound great! Now for the awesomeness of the challenge: There is plenty of possible giveaways just for joining, it’s international, & it can be combined with other challenges! You better believe I am using books that are part of the Y.A. Historical Fiction Challenge (**) and the 2011 Debut Author Challenge (*). So now, on to my list of A-Z books.

A- Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton*

B- Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys**

C- Choker by Elizabeth Woods*

D- Dead Rules by Randy Russell*

E- Entwined by Heather Dixon*

F- Falling For Hamlet by Michelle Ray*

G- Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

H- Haven by Kristi Cook*

I- Illegal by Bettina Restrepo*

J- Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

K- Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler

L- The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder*

M- Moonglass by Jessi Kirby*

N- The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab*

O- Other Words fo Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal*

P- Possession by Elana Johnson*

Q- Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

R- Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer*

S- Sirenz by Charlotte Benarrdo & Natalie Zaman*

T- Timeless by Alexandra Monir*

U- Unearthly by Cynthia Hand*

V- Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez*

W- What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez* (Review, Interview)

X- XVI by Julia Karr*

Y- You Had Me At Halo by Amanda Ashby

Z- Zen and Xander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Author Interview: Ashley Hope Perez

Joining my blog today is Ashley Hope Perez, author of What Can’t Wait. What Can’t Wait is her debut novel that is due to come out in March of 2011.

“Another day finished, gracias a Dios.”

Seventeen-year-old Marisa’s mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.

At school, it’s another story. Marisa’s calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn’t sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn’t end each day thanking God it’s over.

What Can’t Wait—the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Pérez—tells the story of one girl’s survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future.

This is an extremely touching novel that you all should add to your to-read list right now! It has been a huge honor to be able to read What Can’t Wait for Ashley and to also have the opportunity to post my very first author interview.

Without further ado, let’s meet the author:

1) If you had to describe What Can’t Wait in three words, what would they be? 

Real, sweet, and hopeful.

2) I have read in your author bio that you are a teacher. Did that have any influence over What Can’t Wait?

Absolutely. Marisa isn’t based on any specific student, but her story was shaped by the struggles of many of my talented and hard-working seniors in Houston. My students wanted a novel that reflected their particular challenges and that honored the difficulty of balancing family demands and personal ambition. Without everything they taught me, What Can’t Wait wouldn’t exist.

3) In the book, Ms. Ford, Marisa’s teacher, had a big impact on her life. Are there any teachers from your past that had a big impact on your life?

I’ve been blessed to have wonderful teachers over the years, from Ms. Palmer in first grade, who always let me read when I finished my work, to Keith Walters at The University of Texas who told me about Teach For America. Linda Sue Alsup changed my teaching forever by showing me what it means to write with students.

4) What would say has been the most rewarding aspect of writing What Can’t Wait?

It’s amazing to see what can happen through revision. I cannot express to you how horrendous my first draft was. Truly cringe-worthy. But that doesn’t matter, because once I have something with characters, a beginning, a middle, and an end, I can revise and revise and revise. For me, writing is really all about rewriting.

Since finishing the book, I’ve loved hearing from readers. It’s amazing to me to see what different folks take away from the novel.

5) What exactly made you decide to write for young adults?

My students! I didn’t start reading YA until I began teaching high school. Then I couldn’t stop. One of my passions is helping my students find the kind of book they’ll enjoy. My belief is that everybody likes to read; some people just don’t know it yet—and they haven’t figured out what they like to read. My hope is that What Can’t Wait will be the “gateway” book for many readers, the book that gets them hooked on reading.

6) How has your life changed since becoming a published author?

It’s changed a little, but not too much. I still pack my own lunches, and do my best to keep our 9-month-old from eating cat food when I’m not looking. There is something powerful about getting to hold a “real” book and seeing my name on the cover, though.

7) Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks? If so, what are they?

As I revise—and for What Can’t Wait I think there were probably ten substantial revisions—I start typing in a new document rather than just making changes to the old file. This sounds crazy, but it is very important psychologically because it helps me to get back into a story, both at the level of the sentence and in terms of the characters’ emotions and relationships.

8) Do you have any writing mentors? Have you become close with any of the other 2011 Debut Authors?

Some of my most influential mentors were Peter Filkins at Simon’s Rock College and John Trimble and Laura Furman at The University of Texas at Austin. All three helped me think of myself as a writer.

I’m proud to know Blythe Woolston, also published by Carolrhoda Lab. Her novel, The Freak Observer, won the YALSA award this year, and she’s been awesome about giving me suggestions for navigating the new-author waters.

9) What are some of your favorite things to do when you are not writing?

I love hanging out with my husband (Arnulfo), our little boy (Liam Miguel), and our cat (Sugar Mama). I check out piles of cookbooks from the library, and I bake way too many cookies. I also adore Scrabble and other word games.

10) If you were stranded on an island and were able to bring five books with you (not including your own) which ones would you chose?

The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roi, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, the bible, and a HUUUUUUGE notebook so I wouldn’t run out of space to write in.

11) You have another novel titled The Knife and the Butterfly coming out in 2012; can you tell us a little bit about it?

Of course! The Knife and the Butterfly follows two characters through the aftermath of a deadly gang confrontation in a Houston park. Lexi and Azael didn’t know each other on the day of the fight, but the truth of what happened will draw them together in a surprising way.

**A very big THANK YOU to Ashley for allowing me to have this amazing opportunity. I am very grateful that you took the time to answer all of my questions. It has been quite an honor to be able to read your novel.**

~Ashley’s Website~

~My review of What Can’t Wait~