Musings of Katrina Leno


Have You Always Known How Your Story Would End?
Or Has It Changed Since You First Started The Book?
by Katrina Leno

One of my most favorite things about writing is diving into a blank page with an idea, an image, a sentence, or a word—just something that’s inspired me and gotten me to that place where I have to sit down and put some letters down on paper. I LOVE writing blindly (i.e. with no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing). Writing can calm me down, settle my anxiety, and greet me like an old friend—especially when I don’t think about it too much. So, I rarely know the endings of my books before I’m a good chunk of the way into the writing.

Take my second book, The Lost & Found, for example: I didn’t know until the start of the second chapter that I was going to have duel narrators. Louis came to me totally out of the blue, demanding that I put his story down on paper and give him equal screen time as Frannie. I knew who Frannie’s father was when I started writing this book (no spoilers!) but that was it. And it was SO FUN to discover both Louis and Frannie in this way; I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any differently.

Some writers outline obsessively, and that’s great, too! I’m a big believer that there’s no one right way to write a book. For me, I’m all about surprising myself and giving in to that ultimate joy of discovering as I go. So—if plotting has never really been your thing but you’re still itching to write a novel, might I suggest jumping right in and seeing what happens! (Much like the cover for my third book—Everything All at Once!)

Katrina Leno

About Katrina

Hi! I’m Katrina. I write books for young adults, like THE HALF LIFE OF MOLLY PIERCE (out now!), THE LOST & FOUND (July 5, 2016), EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE (Summer 2017), AND some hopefully cool fourth book I haven’t written yet but (if all goes well!) will come out Summer 2018!

I am represented by Wendy Schmalz.

If you like writing and photography, might I suggest you take a peek at my blog.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Everything All at Once

Everything All At Once
Coming June 6, 2017!

Lottie Reaves is not a risk-taker.

She plays it safe and avoids all the ways she might get hurt. But when her beloved Aunt Helen dies of cancer, Lottie’s fears about life and death start spiraling out of control.

Aunt Helen wasn’t a typical aunt. She was the author of the bestselling Alvin Hatter series, about siblings who discover the elixir of immortality. Her writing inspired a generation of readers. She knew how magical writing could be. And that words have the power to make you see things differently.

In her will, Aunt Helen leaves one writing project just for Lottie. It’s a series of letters, each containing mysterious instructions that are supposed to get Lottie to take a leap and—for once in her life—really live. But when the letters reveal an extraordinary secret about the inspiration for the Alvin Hatter series. Lottie finds herself faced with an impossible choice—one that will force her to confront her greatest fears once and for all.

Goodreads | Amazon | Indie Bound | Book Depository

The Lost & Found

The Lost and Found

A charming and imaginative new novel about getting lost before you can be found.

Frannie and Louis met in an online support group when they were both younger. They have never met face-to-face. They don’t even know each other’s real names. All they know is that they both have a mysterious tendency to lose things. Well, not lose them, exactly. Things just seem to…disappear.

They each receive news in the mail that sets them off on a road trip to Austin, Texas, looking for answers—and each other. Along the way, each one begins to find, as if by magic, important things the other has lost. And by the time they finally meet in person, they realize that the things you lose might be things you weren’t meant to have at all, and that you never know what you might find if you just take a chance.

The Lost & Found is a bighearted novel about connections (missed and found), family (the kind you’re born with and the kind you make for yourself), and unexpected journeys (on the road, and of the heart), from an author who Publishers Weekly called “a fierce new presence.”

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Book Depository

Thank you so much, Katrina! We appreciate your wise words of advice. I know that I personally am definitely a “pantser” and don’t really plot besides what’s in my brain. I know it will all change depending on what the characters tell me to do. =) I’m sure I’m not the only one!

As always, a huge thank you to all who have participated in this feature, and those who continue to do so. Your wise words of wisdom are immeasurable in helping beginning writers get their feet on the ground. You are all appreciated so much more than you know.

We hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!


Waiting on Wednesday: Flashfall

waitingonwednesdayAs always, Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine


Title: Flashfall

Author: Jenny Moyer

Genre: YA, Dystopian

Page Count: 352

Release Date: November 15th, 2016


Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner, Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.

But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it.


About the Author:


Jenny studied writing at Seattle Pacific University, and has written and voiced national commercial spots. She co-owns Luminary Creative with her filmmaker husband, Jacob. They have lived all over the U.S., and currently call Des Moines home.

She keeps busy with her three boys—who are steadily growing taller than her–and her three pound dog (who stays small, and mostly just sits on her legs while she types.)

One of Jenny’s dreams came true the day Sarah Davies invited her to join her list of talented authors at Greenhouse Literary. Now when she sips lattes at coffee shops and daydreams, she can call it ‘work.’

Writing young adult fiction is her passion, and she can’t wait to share Orion and Dram and flash bats with the world through her debut novel, FLASHFALL (Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2016)


TTT: Charaters I’d Name My Pet After

toptentuesdayhosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday we decided to pick Characters We’d Name our Pet After.  We already chose names of our children a few months back.

Lauren’s Picks

Sirius- Harry Potter

Jax-Air Awakens series

Percy – Percy Jackson

Rue-Hunger Games

Artemis- Percy Jackson & Ready Player One


Melissa’s Picks

Sturmhond – Grisha series

Padfoot – Harry Potter

Kamala – The Star-Touched Queen

Ronan – The Raven Cycle

Tyson – Percy Jackson

What did you guys pick this week? Who would you name your pet after?

Storming the Castle


Part II

As I slip the paper out of the envelope, I cannot help but hope this will not be the time that the old saying “Curiosity killed the cat” comes true. Every book and movie about the consequences of opening mysterious things continues to run through my head as I began to read the letter.



Dear Reader,

Some mysterious are better left unsolved, whilst others beckon to those who cannot resist the impossible. Least that is what everyone would have you believe. Are you the one who can solve the unsolvable?

The Society of Mysteries has selected you from a broad list of candidates to try your hand at solving the identity of one of our missing members.

What is known yet unknown?

~ U.K.

With their curiosity piqued, and their safety assured, they each journeyed from near and far to the abandoned castle to sleuth out the answers. Little did each know that upon arrival they would be met by others who had received the same invitation and challenge. From far and wide they travelled, assured that; yet as each of their paths brought them closer to their destination, through secluded areas that felt lost within time, they questioned the safety of their decision.

Like clockwork, five taxies pulled down a long, winding road that lead to their destination. Sleepily, each awoke from their worried slumber to discover that they were being ushered out of the car and in the front door of a foreboding castle. As they settled into the parlor, they could not help but wonder why each of them was selected. Was it a ruse? A trap? Before so much as an introduction could be made, a voice rumbled through the room, “If thou hast chosen to stay have a seat. If thou hast chosen to forfeit the game, please leave the way you came.” Just as abruptly as it had shattered the heavy silence, everything receded once more into silence.


If you choose to stay to solve the mystery, continue on.


SST: Bound By Blood and Sand (Interview)

Sunday Street Team




1.  What kinds of things did you have to research for Bound by Blood and Sand?

Most of my research focused on the desert world – I’m from the northeast, so it wasn’t something I was too familiar with. I started with the basics of what I wanted the temperature to be, then looked at real world deserts to start figuring out what kinds of plants and animals they’d have,  which led to deciding what kind of food they’d eat, the crops they’d grow, etc.


2. Where did the concept for the plot come from? Did it just hit you one day, or was it slowly developed?

It was definitely a slow process. It started with a conversation with my sister, who’s a global history teacher. She was putting together flashcards for her students to prepare them for multiple choice questions on the state test, and one of the things she told me was that her students should always link together the concepts of civilization and irrigation – irrigation was what allowed agriculture to develop and civilizations to begin to form.

Because I love fantasy, I started to wonder: if irrigation is one of the building blocks of civilization, then would a society with magic use that magic to create irrigation? The most interesting place to play with that idea would be a desert, so I knew it would be a story about a desert world that used magic to control its water. And of course, if you rely on magic, the most interesting story will be found in what happens when that magic vanishes. So that gave me the first seed of the plot.

But figuring out the rest of it – who the characters were, why the magic was vanishing, what they were going to do about it – came much, much more slowly. I toyed around with a ton of ideas and wrote and rewrote the book several times before it all finally came together.


3. How did you develop the depth of your world? How did you keep track of all of it?!

The depth of the world came from writing the story itself. I would draft a scene where the characters were eating and make an all-caps note to myself that said [WHAT FOOD?], or a scene where they were getting dressed and I’d note [WHAT DO THEY WEAR?]. After I finished drafting, I went through and started looking at those details and filling them out. It was based largely on the research I’d done already – what they eat is based on what kinds of plants and animals they have, which was based on what kind of plants and animals can survive in a harsh desert. Developing a stronger sense of their world’s culture came later, with a lot of help from my editor. She asked questions about what kind of art they’d have, how the different castes view one another, etc. She showed me a lot of places I could expand on what I’d started with. It was a huge learning process.

As for organizing, I wish I had a good system to keep track of it! But I don’t. I’m constantly scrolling up and down in the text looking for details I’m sure I included to make sure everything lines up.


4. Did you add a part of yourself or personal experiences to your characters/ in the book?

Yes and no – mostly no, honestly. I do think that any book is going to be shaped by the writer’s experiences. In my case, it came from a lot of eye-opening political events that happened during my 20s, which made me a lot more aware of inequalities in the real world. But none of the characters or events in BBB&S are based directly on anything that happened in the real world.


5. Was there any particular book that sparked your interest in writing, or interest in Bound by Blood and Sand in particular?

I’ve always been interested in writing – it’s been my hobby since middle school or earlier. So there wasn’t a specific influence. I’ve just always loved reading and writing.


6. Do you read outside your genre while writing?

Yep. I don’t read as widely as I probably should – most of what I read is concentrated in YA, especially Sci-Fiction/ Fantasy. But I do sometimes read books for grown ups, too. I also enjoy romance as a category, and science-related non-fiction. (For example, Jared Diamond’s non-fiction was actually pretty helpful when I was world building!)


7. Were you able to give any input to the cover design of Bound by Blood and Sand?

Only a little bit – but that’s okay with me. I’m not a very visual person or any kind of designer. The first version my editor shared with me was very close to the final, in a lot of ways – it had the desert, and Jae. (I was thrilled to see Jae on the cover! She looks just like I picture her.) The title was in a standard font and my editor let me know they wanted to have it hand-lettered, which was pretty cool – it’s definitely unique. I gave some minor feedback but overall loved it and think they did a fantastic job, and really couldn’t be more thrilled.

About Becky

Becky Allen grew up in a tiny town outside Ithaca, New York, and graduated from Brandeis University with a major in American studies and a minor in journalism. She is the website director of, an online HIV resource, and loves New York, brunch, and feminism. Becky lives in New York City.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook

Bound by Blood and Sand

Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.

Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.

Lord Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.

But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.

Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the kingdom’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository

Waiting on Wednesday: A Darkly Beating Heart




Title: A Darkly Beating Heart

Author: Lindsay Smith

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Page Count: 272

Release Date: October 25th, 2016


A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.


About the Author:


Lindsay Smith’s love of Russian culture has taken her to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and a reindeer festival in the middle of Siberia. She lives in Washington, DC, where she writes on foreign affairs. SEKRET is her first novel.


TTT: Books We’ve Read Based on Recommendation


hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Sorry for missing last week’s TTT! This week it’s all about books that were recommended to us! We’ve recommend so many books to each other and others have influenced our decisions as well.  Here’s a look at books we’ve actually read because they were recommended to us!

Kelly’s Books

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

Recommended by Nori @ Read Write Love 28

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Recommended by Alyssa @ Books Take You Places

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

This was also recommended to Melissa by Mackenzi Lee (who gave her the book) & Nori @ Read Write Love 28


Melissa’s Books

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Recommended to me by Kelly

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Recommended to be my Nicole @ Nicole’s Novel Reads

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Indirectly recommended by Andi @ Andi’s ABCs and also by a friend Juliana



The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare

Recommended by Mackayla

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows

Recommended by Emily Nelson

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Recommended to be Melissa Kelly and Nori @ Read Write Love 28


Have you guys read any of these books?


#HammerTime Book Event Recap

Tuesday October 4th was the launch party for Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan!

Let’s back track to Sept 20th when the tickets were released and talk about how SLOW I getting a ticket for the main presentation room. Whelp it sold out in under a minute so I got on the wait list, which meant I would see get to meet Rick and get books signed so not a total loss. I went with Molly @ Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup, who mainly went as my support system since I was hers for Maggie Stiefvater’s event. We also met our friend Kim there.

For those of you who don’t know An Unlikely Story is owned by Jeff Kinney, author of the Wimpy Kid series, and his wife.  We got there and it was nicely organized outside with lines for people who had tickets and people who were in the waiting line.  We each got a wristband and a Hotel Valhalla t-shirt!

Jeff was kind enough to open up his work studio on the 3rd floor to accommodate people on the wait list and we would watch the presentation on a TV screen which was happening on the 2nd floor.  It was full of Wimpy kid cut outs and displays!

Inside Jeff Kinney's studio!!!

A photo posted by Melissa Lee (@miss_melissalee) on

Jeff Kinney's studio is doubling as the overflow area for Rick Riordan's event

A photo posted by Melissa Lee (@miss_melissalee) on


We were very lucky to have private audience with Rick before the presentation because he knew we wouldn’t be able to ask him any questions due to being on separate floors. We did a mini Q&A session which worked out since the staff was working out technology difficulties.

@rickriordan was kind enough to come upstairs and do a mini Q&A with us!!!! AHHHHHH!!!! #HammerTime

A photo posted by Melissa Lee (@miss_melissalee) on


When asked if he would tackle Mayan or Aztec mythologies, Rick gave the appropriate response.  He did not feel he was adequate to write these stories because it wasn’t his background and he wasn’t knowledgeable enough.  He then informed us about his imprint Riordan Presents, which was announced several weeks ago.  The goal of the imprint is to find writers who are knowledgeable in other mythologies have them write the stories.

His favorite characters from the Kane Chronicles are Bes the god of dwarves and Sadie Kande. He admits his favorite Percy Jackson character changes daily, but at the time he said Leo Valdez was his favorite.

The presentation opened up with a hilarious duel between vikings, Rick Riordan’s publicist Seale Ballenger and editor Stephanie Lurie. They were all decked out from furry boots, horned helmet to Seale’s long grey beard.

Rick discussed while in Norway doing some research about Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, they got lost in the country side. There were several announcements of what to expect in 2017.

  • Camp Half-Blood Confidential (May 2017) – Another supplementary book taking a look inside the camp!
  • Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy (May 2 2017)
  • A Percy Jackson Coloring Book (August 2017)
  • Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead (October 3 2017)

Rick mentioned we will see Jason Grace and Camp Jupiter in Trials of Apollo! He would also love to write a series based on Jason’s POV if time allows in the future.

When asked “Which ‘ship do you ship the most?” he replied that he found that it was more of a reader thing than a writer thing.  He finds that the relationships he creates just seem to fit together naturally and he doesn’t really think “oh they would look cute together”. He did however base Percy and Annabeth’s relationship on his own marriage.

His advice to aspiring writers is “Just find time to do it!” because there will never be a less busy time to get it done.

When it the Q&A session was over the very last thing Rick’s publicist, Seale, said was “Is Melissa Lee here?” Which of course I quietly replied “No because I’m upstairs”

Immediately texted Kim who was downstairs and told her to find Seale and let him know where I was.  I was informed by Kim that Seale was supposed to come find me, which I assumed meant to say “Hello”.  I will say for the record the reason he knows who I am is because we’ve chatted a few times through Twitter.  This all started when I tweeted that I was too shy to say Hi at the Trials of Apollo event in Boston earlier this spring. Also for those of you who don’t know Seale is the publicity director of Disney and works with Alexandra Bracken, Melissa de la Cruz, and Mo Willems to name a few.

Meanwhile Jeff Kinney was talking about how he got started on his series. He had told us it would be a while for those on the 3rd floor to get to the signing because we had to wait for the 2nd floor to go through the signing line.

Seale came up and found me and beckoned me over. Again, I was thinking he just wanted to say Hi.  We hugged and said hello and I found out he wanted to get me downstairs to the signing to meet Rick, which was extremely kind and generous of Seale to do. Completely unexpected for me, but also very exciting!! We actually walked over to the very front, which shocked me so much I had to refuse to cut some very nice kids.

Instead I just stood with Kim, which I know I still went in front of a lot of people, but I needed time to “calm down” and not freak out with Kim next to me. I texted Molly came up from the first floor to meet us and she was able to come stand next to me (I forgot to reserve her a spot) I WAS STILL FREAKING THE OUT!!  I kept saying “OMG OMG” while I was being laughed at by two of my friends.

I had brought The Lightning Thief and House of Hades with me to the event and bought four copies of The Hammer of Thor for a few friends and I. I even asked Seale beforehand if it was okay for Rick to sign my library card tote bag because it was filled with most of my favorite authors.  I talk really fast/can’t form sentences when I’m super nervous meeting authors, so that is what happened.

When it was my turn Seale of course told Rick I was the one he was looking for. I said something along the lines of “You are my favorite. Huge fan..I love all your books I’m so excited to meet you. Oh and also my mom says Hi she wishes she could be here, but she’s babysitting my niece.”  Rick was very nice and asked if I could hear well upstairs and if all my questions were answered. I said I could and I asked what his most recent read was. I know it was a fantasy novel. But I couldn’t remember the title! I was about to ask if it was adult or YA and who the author was BUT I MISSED IT or half listened because Molly and Kim were giggling like school girls because Molly had K

This is what happens when you give @safeaslife your phone meeting Rick with @kimberlyh12 #HammerTime

A photo posted by Melissa Lee (@miss_melissalee) on


After I said thank you to Rick and put away all my books I gave Seale huge hugs and repeatedly told him the whole time he was amazing and he was too kind and he was the best. He literally is the sweetest because Kim told me he wanted to make sure everyone got a photo with Rick.  Of course I also had to get a photo with Seale and then we parted ways and left the store. Let’s just say there was more screaming and laughing from Me, Molly, and Kim as we walked to our cars and drove home.

I will end the post saying this was THE BEST AUTHOR MEET AND GREET EVER! Rick is my #1 favorite author (tied with Leigh Bardugo) and I never ever EVER thought I would get the chance to meet him because he had stopped in store signings many years ago. So I feel so blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to meet him! And earlier than planned thanks to Seale who I am FOREVER grateful too. Life Is Good.





Musings of Lois Sepahban


Truth in Fiction
By Lois Sepahban

Several months ago, I overheard a well-meaning teacher explain to my child’s class that non-fiction is real and fiction is fake.

I’d heard this before. I’d heard it when I was a college student studying to become a teacher. I didn’t agree with it, but it didn’t bother me, either. But this time, it was different. Something about hearing it this particular time brought on a period of introspection.

Because I write fiction.

Hearing it this particular time made me look closely at my fiction.

When I write historical fiction, I pay careful attention to details—from the mundane, like window placements in old houses, to the profound, like acts of injustice.

None of that is fake.

Sure, the story is made up. The characters are, for the most part, made up. Their experiences are made up.

But their emotions? Those are real. Those are true.

My experiences might differ from my characters’ experiences, but the suffering? The longing? Those are emotional truths.

Emotional truths are what readers connect to when they read.

Emotional truths create empathy and compassion.

Emotional truths in fiction allow us to view our own world, the real world, through a different lens—the lens of another person’s experience.

See, there is a difference between TRUE and TRUTH.

TRUE is all about facts. They’re important. They’re the details, both mundane and profound. They’re the notes we take when we research.

But they’re also difficult to connect to.

It’s a fact that half of the Japanese Americans imprisoned in internment camps in the United States during World War II were children.

It’s a terrible fact.

It’s a fact that most children cannot comprehend.

But when I transform that fact into the story of one child who experiences this imprisonment, then I also transform something that is TRUE into something that is a TRUTH.

It is the TRUTH that children can comprehend. They love the child they meet in the story. They understand her. They relate to her. They, too, have experienced loss. They, too, have longed for something that has been taken away from them. They, too, have felt voiceless and powerless.

This is the importance of the work fiction writers do. The work of observing what is true and transforming it into an emotional truth that lives beyond the end of the story.

Sepahban High Res Photo.JPGAbout Lois

Lois Sepahban lives in central Kentucky with her family and a barnful of animals. Her debut novel, PAPER WISHES (FSG/Margaret Ferguson Books) was published in 2016.

You can find Lois on social media!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



Paper Wishes

A moving debut novel about a girl whose family is relocated to a Japanese internment camp during World War II–and the dog she has to leave behind.

Ten-year-old Manami did not realize how peaceful her family’s life on Bainbridge Island was until the day it all changed. It’s 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Manami and her family are Japanese American, which means that the government says they must leave their home by the sea and join other Japanese Americans at a prison camp in the desert. Manami is sad to go, but even worse is that they are going to have to give her dog, Yujiin, to a neighbor to take care of. Manami decides to sneak Yujiin under her coat, but she is caught and forced to abandon him. She is devastated but clings to the hope that somehow Yujiin will find his way to the camp and make her family whole again. It isn’t until she finds a way to let go of her guilt that Manami can accept all that has happened to her family.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

A very special thank you to Lois, who brings up such a valid point about truth in children’s fiction. Even when children can’t quite comprehend true historical facts, when put into the perspective of a relatable character and shown emotional truth, it derives a connection to the main characters that causes children to learn and be invested. This is so important in writing children’s fiction!

A huge thank you to all of the authors who have participated in this feature! Your words and kindness don’t go unappreciated. You are inspiring and helping hopeful writers everyday, and they are so much more thankful than you know!

We hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week!


Banned Books Week

Every year hundreds of books are challenged or banned from schools and libraries. However, it takes away a person’s freedom of choice and contradicts the freedom to speak, to publish, to read, and to express ideas.  Banned Book Week celebrates the freedom to read and draw attention to the issues around censorship. Many of the books that have been banned address real life issues that people need to be aware of. They can also provide an opportunity for young readers to find someone they can identify with and know they’re not alone.

Most recently, Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why, which addresses bullying and has been banned due to drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, and suicide, simply stated:


Those who have pushed for his book to be banned are stripping away a person’s chance to speak up and ask for help. They’re too afraid and would rather sweep the whole thing under the rug than to deal with it. What most people don’t realize is how much Thirteen Reasons Why has changed lives by making readers aware of bullying, suicide, and the people and world around them.  Many readers have been able to connect with Hannah and realize they’ve been where she’s been. It’s even helped those who’ve thought about suicide or been bullied and given them the confidence to speak up to an adult and seek help.


The point is censorship can do more harm than good and readers should be able to read whatever they want to read.


We decided to compile a short list of some of our favorite books that have been banned/challenged at one point in the past several years. To find out more about other books that have been banned you can look at the American Library Association’s compile lists here.


Leave us your thoughts on banned/challenged books in the comments below! Let us know which banned books you’ve read that you want others to read.

P.S. I’m so overdue for a reread of Thirteen Reasons Why. – M