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Posts Tagged ‘YA Fiction’

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Surviving Bear Island has been listed in the Alaska Dispatch News as one of their Favorite Alaska Books of the Year.

I’m thrilled to be on this list along with Alaskan authors Alexis Bunten, Kim Heacox, Catherine Holder Spude, Rosemary McGuire, Camille Seaman, Margaret Thomas, Chad and Darin Carpenter, Lee Goodman, Stuart Archer Cohen, Seth Kantner, Linda Martin, Jeremy Pataky, Eva Saulitis, and Dan O’Neill.

Below is a quote from the article regarding Surviving Bear Island:

Fairbanks author Paul Greci has received widespread and deserved national attention for his young-adult novel “Surviving Bear Island.” The book’s teenage narrator, Tom Parker, becomes stranded on an uninhabited island far out in Prince William Sound after a sea kayaking accident separates him from his father. With winter closing in, Tom has to survive off the island’s minimal bounty while encountering bears, enduring mishaps and coming to terms with the death of his mother and the unknown fate of his father. Greci gets inside his protagonist’s head, offering a fully believable character who gets put through hell. This is no happy romp in the forest. Like all the best young-adult fiction, “Bear Island” is a book for adults, too.–David James

Thanks for stopping by.

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Okay, the semester is almost over. In my seven-student class (two girls and five boys, all sophomores and juniors) here’s what they chose to read for independent reading time.

My class is an ELL (English Language Learners) class comprised of students with roots in Micronesia, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and a few villages in rural Alaska. Some have been in this country their entire lives and some have just arrived a few months ago.

Anyone who reads books in a second language is a reading superhero.

We had 15 to 20 minutes of in-class reading time two or three times a week, and students had the option of taking their books home to read as well. The girls often took their books home; the boys did not.

This is pretty much the OPPOSITE of what I do in my classroom where kids can sit or lay on the floor during reading time if they please.

I did not require them to do any writing assignments in relation to their independent reading, or read a certain number of pages. I allowed them to stop reading a book if they wanted to just like us adults do. It was a no-strings-attached approach. For more details about my ideas regarding fostering reading in the classroom see this post.

I had a wide selection of young adult fiction and other books for my students to choose from. They were also allowed to bring books from home or the library.

In no particular order, these are books my students enjoyed and finished, or are about to finish.

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Last Chance Texaco by Brent Hartinger

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Cut by Patricia McCormick

Trapped by Michael Northrop

Pinned by Alfred Martino

Wrestling Sturbridge by Rich Wallace

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Raiders Night by Robert Lipstyte

Right Behind You by Gail Giles

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Popular by Alissa Grosso

Cheating Death: Amazing Survival stories from Alaska by Larry Kaniut

Someone to Love Me by Anne E. Schraff and Paul Langan

As you can see from the list above, my students tended to gravitate toward contemporary, realistic stories.

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A big thank you to everyone who entered my Possession ARC, Smoked Salmon and Organic Chocolate giveaway and everyone else who stopped by to check it out.

The winner was chosen by Randomizer (pictured below):

And his side kick, who goes by the clever name, Side-kicker:

At my suggestion, they employed the services of RANDOM.ORG to choose the winner. I’m glad they listened because last time I had a contest Side-kicker put the comments in my screen saver, closed his eyes and delivered what he assured would be a light kick. Randomizer was supposed to watch and see which comment he’d connected with. Well, you can guess the rest.

Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to get good help, but I do love their spirit of enthusiasm.

Congrats to our winner Sarah Allen !!! Yay Sarah!!

Please email me at paulgreci(at)yahoo(dot)com with your mailing information and I’ll send you your prize.

Thanks again to all who participated and stopped by. Have a great weekend!

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I’m not sure, but I’m guessing I’ve got the only POSSESSION ARC that’s been to both Alaska and Hawaii, which I think is pretty cool because one of the things I loved about POSSESSION was the journey Vi takes. Don’t worry—no spoilers here. This book is a page-turner with a main character I cared about. And, it kind of reminded me of the movie Inception: things happen on different levels but they are all related and mind-twisting in a good way.

Just a little bit from the back cover: Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

If you don’t pick this book up for the compelling voice or the page-turning plot, then pick it up for the themes. The whole idea of societal control was a major topic of discussion in our house after my wife read and loved POSSESSION too.

In honor of Elana (and her love of bacon), I’m going to give away the Alaska version of bacon—some Smoked Salmon. I’m kind of possessed by salmon. I usually catch about thirty of them every summer.

Leave a comment below before midnight Thursday EST for a chance to win two types of smoked salmon and a well-traveled POSSESSION ARC.

Did I mention that I added some chocolate to the prize package? Not just any chocolate. Organic chocolate! POSSESSION, smoked salmon and chocolate!

Thanks for stopping by.

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I’m about halfway through rewriting my newest WIP. One of the things I’m doing is changing from past to present tense. It’s a tedious job but so far, I’m liking the results.

My reasons for making the change:

1.  While writing the first draft, I kept breaking into present tense.

2.  My WIP is a survival story and I was looking for more of a sense of immediacy than I was feeling with the first draft.

3.  I’ve never written a novel in present tense and thought it’d be a good learning experience.

When I started my rewrite I had some major resistance to changing tenses because it looked like a huge job and I wasn’t sure it’d be worth the time. With writing, and teaching too for that matter, I’ve found that sometimes the things I feel resistance to are the very things I need to be working on.

Have you pushed through any resistance lately? How did it go?

What factors help you to determine the right tense for your novel? Have you ever rewritten a novel in a different tense? How did it turn out for you?

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We took a little detour on the way to Sedona.

Last week, we hung out with my brother and his wife in the Caribbean on a little island called St. Bart’s. Through his work my brother has access to a house St. Bart’s for one week a year. They’ve invited us in the past but we’ve never been able to go because we were both teaching, and school was in session. So, we seized the moment.

Needless to say, we had a great time. Warm air. Warm ocean. Wonderful people.

Writing wise, I didn’t work on the two YA novels I’ve been rewriting. Nor did I start a third one that I have plans for.

Instead, in my journal I scribbled a rough draft of a picture book about a boy on the beach, which stretched my writer-mind. Having only 500 words to tell a story really makes you pick them carefully.

The time off from the YA novels was good for me. Physically, it helped to heal up my wrist. And mentally, sometimes distance from my work is the missing ingredient in being able to see the way forward.

This week I’ll be revising a YA novel that is just past the first draft stage.

I’m also working out some internet connection issues.  New place. New network. My computer and the wireless router here just aren’t communicating the way they should be. Luckily, my wife’s computer and the router have hit it off. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to post this.

What are you working on this week?

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“They’re barefoot, moving silently along the carpeted hallway, searching for some clue to which hotel room might be Jenna McNulty’s.”

That’s the first line of Perpetual Check (Random House, 2009, 112 pages), by Rich Wallace. He’s the author of several realistic YA novels. Three of his books have been chosen as ALA Best Books for Your Adults.

From the Jacket Flap:

Randy is a chubby ninth grader with a Cub Scout hair cut who guesses M&M colors with his eyes closed and makes up words. He’s also a chess whiz who has defeated his older brother Zeke in nine of their last ten matches. Zeke is a high school senior, a soccer champ, and a chess natural who can beat just about anyone if he decides to really concentrate. So why is his loser little brother the better athlete, the better chess player, and the first to have a girlfriend?

Told in alternating points of view between brothers, Rich Wallace’s new novel brings to life one of America’s favorite pastimes in a suspenseful story about competition and family loyalty.

Perpetual Check is the fourth Rich Wallace book I’ve read. He does a really good job of writing from a male POV. 

I first heard Rich speak at the ALAN Conference several years ago and now I try to read everything he writes. He uses sports as a framework for his stories, but the stories themselves are about relationships.

In Perpetual Check, you don’t need to know anything about Chess in order to become swept up in the story.

Thanks for coming by.

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