Blog Tour - Author Interview: There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos

Today on Mr. Book Wonder, as part of a tour organize by Pinoy Book Tours, I have a highly special treat for you dear readers. I was able to get an interview with the award-winning author of Out of Reach, Carrie Arcos for her latest book, There Will Come a Time. Don't miss out her fun interview as well with Dianne from Oops! I Read A Book Again.

ABOUT THE BOOK
RELEASE DATE. April 15, 2014
PUBLISHER. Simon Pulse
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SYNOPSIS. Mark grapples with the loss of his twin sister in this heart-wrenching novel of grief and resilience from National Book Award finalist Carrie Arcos.

Mark knows grief. Ever since the accident that killed his twin sister, Grace, the only time he feels at peace is when he visits the bridge on which she died. Comfort is fleeting, but it’s almost within reach when he’s standing on the wrong side of the suicide bars. Almost.

Grace’s best friend, Hanna, says she understands what he’s going through. But she doesn’t. She can’t. It’s not just the enormity of his loss. As her twin, Mark should have known Grace as well as he knows himself. Yet when he reads her journal, it’s as if he didn’t know her at all.

As a way to remember Grace, Hanna convinces Mark to complete Grace’s bucket list from her journal. Mark’s sadness, anger, and his growing feelings for Hannah threaten to overwhelm him. But Mark can’t back out. He made a promise to honor Grace—and it’s his one chance to set things right.

INTERVIEW WITH CARRIE ARCOS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Carrie Arcos is the author OUT OF REACH, which was a National Book Award finalist. THERE WILL COME A TIME is her second novel. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her family.

Before becoming an author, how did you see yourself in the future when you were a kid?
It’s funny, I just found a letter I wrote to my high school English teacher when I was graduating senior year. In it, I said that I wanted to be a writer and a teacher. Well, I was actually a high school teacher and college professor before I became a published writer. So there you go! Is that weird? I accomplished what I wanted to be. Now I have other dreams I’d still like to pursue. And in the writing field, what’s great is that it changes all the time because you’re telling different stories. I’m so grateful to be doing what I've always wanted.

Why did you choose to write about a Filipino character?
I was intentional about that. My original muse for Mark was a former student of mine: Filipino, tatted up, skater, plug wearing, and ripped jeans, musician kind of guy. When I set the story in Eagle Rock, CA that also solidified it for me because it has a high Filipino population. I live in Eagle Rock and many of my neighbors and friends are Filipino, my kids’ friends are Filipino, etc . . . . So I’m very comfortable with the culture, well I should say the American-Filipino culture. I've never been to the Philippines, though I’d love to visit one day.

Did you do a lot of research for There Will Come a Time?
I did some. I interviewed people regarding the Filipino cultural aspects of the book. The book is not about Mark’s cultural identity, but his culture informs him as a character. So I wanted to make sure I got the details right. I also followed a girl around an arts high school for a day. I researched twins and how they grieve the loss of a twin. There is actually a group called Twinless Twins. They offer support online and through groups and have conferences each year.

Do you know any Filipino words?
Salamat - Thank you!
Kumusta - How are you?
Haha. That’s it!

Which of the characters in There Will Come A Time do you most identify with and why?
Mark for sure, although I am so not a seventeen-year-old guy. I didn't realize it at the time, but I channeled some of my own personal grief through Mark. I had lost a friend before I started writing the book to suicide and I think writing a book was a way I worked through that.

The second person is Jenny. I put a little of myself into her, especially the Italian, Keanu Reeves loving part.

Are there any issues related to adolescence that you are particularly passionate about?
I don’t know about any specific issues per say, but I’m very passionate about teens themselves. I loved being a high school teacher and the influence I was able to have with young people. I think ultimately when I write that I hope they see themselves reflected in the pages and that the words always lead them to hope. There’s so much darkness, so much struggle, and we need to go through it. I want them to know they’ll make it though.

What would be one best song to describe There Will Come a Time?
I don’t really know of one song, but I did have Out on the Town by Fun on repeat a lot. I think that one captures the whole Mark/Hanna thing going on in the book.

What would you like your readers to remember from There Will Come a Time?
That even when you go through the most devastating loss, you will find hope again, you will find love, you will live and it’s okay not to feel guilty about that.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors?
Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write. You will experience failure at every turn. You will experience success in least expected places. Plant your feet, but be ready to bolt. Go out and get rejected ten times and work through that rejection. And then repeat. You’ll need to get your strength up. And courage. Always courage.

What is next for Carrie Arcos?
Oh man, I don’t know. I’m writing, that’s for sure. I have another YA contemporary that’ll hopefully be published one day. I’d just like to keep writing stories. I hope I keep getting better with each one and that they continue to touch the people that read them.

GIVEAWAY
2 SIGNED COPIES OF THERE WILL COME A TIME
  • To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.
  • Giveaway is open to Philippine residents only.
  • You must be 13 years old or above to enter.
  • Winners will be notified via email.
  • Giveaway ends June 15, 2014.

Book Finds: Falling Into Place & The Young World

BOOK FINDS is a regular feature that spotlights upcoming book releases that I am looking forward to read.

FALLING INTO PLACE by AMY ZHANG
RELEASE DATE. September 9, 2014
PUBLISHER. Greenwillow Books

SYNOPSIS. On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn't understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn't understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

WHY I'M WAITING FOR FALLING INTO PLACE? I've known Amy Zhang for quite sometime through a writer friend, like I've been following her writing journey since I saw the news of her getting the deal. The book was untitled but I was sold by it's premise which went like this: "about a teen girl who commits suicide, told from the perspective of her neglected childhood imaginary friend." And she's only seventeen when she got the deal! Such genius girl!


THE YOUNG WORLD by CHRIS WEITZ
SERIES. The Young World
RELEASE DATE. July 29, 2014
PUBLISHER. Little, Brown Books For Young Readers

SYNOPSIS. Welcome to New York, a city ruled by teens.

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park . . . and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

WHY I'M WAITING FOR THE YOUNG WORLD? The premise of The Young World does sound familiar and yet I couldn't keep my eyes away from the cover. And I expect a lot of action-packed scenes here. Hopefully, this won't disappoint.

What books are you looking forward to read? Share your thoughts below.

Blog Tour - Excerpt and Giveaway: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

For today's stop for Elizabeth Fama's Plus One blog tour hosted by Oops! I Read Again, I'm sharing to you an excerpt from Plus One. And don't lose the chance of joining the raffle for a copy of the book!

ABOUT THE BOOK
RELEASE DATE. April 8, 2014
PUBLISHER. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
PURCHASE. Amazon
 Add to Goodreads

SYNOPSIS. Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

EXCERPT

Stardust

One night when I was still a freshman I came to class and there was a new drawing on the desk: an exquisitely rendered human heart. It was not the kind of heart that little kids draw and cut out to make valentines, with two plump cheeks at the top and a pointy V at the bottom. It was an anatomically perfect sketch, tipped slightly as real hearts are, showing the aorta, the pulmonary artery and veins, and the vena cava—although I wouldn’t have remembered the location of any of those if they hadn’t been carefully labeled. My desk partner had drawn the heart as if it had been sliced almost all the way in two by a sharp knife, which was no small feat since the drawing was three-dimensional and looked like real muscle tissue. Below it was a poem. But it wasn’t one I would have ridiculed, or forced Poppu to dissect to expose its pretentiousness. It was raw, an open wound, and it brought tears to my eyes.

I am empty
I am released from a ship
In space
I am unmoored
Vast nothingness
Aching for what was lost
Wanting what will never be
And suddenly
The after-moment of now versus then
The paradigm shift
The world in too sharp relief
The past and future overlap
In front of my eyes
Death and life
Love and its mysterious absence
A knowledge
I am not a player
I am a spectator

I read it again and again until I had it by heart. I heard nothing my teacher said the entire period, not a word. I had no com-fort to offer my friend, even though it’s what I most wanted to do, and in that way I felt an impotence that matched the tone of the poem itself.

A worry forced its way into my mind. Was it a girl he was talking about? Wasn’t that a broken heart he had drawn? Had he fallen in love with someone? Wanting what was lost. Love and its mysterious absence.

I felt socked in the chest, and I didn’t know why. He was the equivalent of a pen pal, after all; a confidant at most. Nothing had changed: if our paths crossed in the hall I still wouldn’t recognize him. If he saw me, I would seem a stranger. He wouldn’t wrap his arms around me, his beloved friend.

The bell rang, and every other student got up to leave, scraping chairs, laughing, stuffing books in backpacks, drop-ping papers. My time to help him was up, and I felt a rising panic that I would fail him.

I was no poet, I had no right to even try. But I hastily added these four lines, and I left the room without allowing myself to reconsider.

Powerless
But for the stardust
Unknowing
I trail through her heart


ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Elizabeth Fama is the author of PLUS ONE, MONSTROUS BEAUTY, a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection and Odyssey Award honor winner, and OVERBOARD, an ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

GIVEAWAY
A COPY OF PLUS ONE
  • To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.
  • Giveaway is open to everyone.
  • You must be 13 years old or above to enter.
  • Winners will be notified via email.
  • Giveaway ends May 8, 2014.



Book Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

RELEASE DATE. February 14, 2014
PUBLISHER. HarperTeen
PAGES. 384
FORMAT. ARC
AGE GROUP. Young Adult
GENRE/S. Contemporary
FIND IT. Amazon | Goodreads | The Book Depository

SYNOPSIS. Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend's life-threatening illness.

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn't sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe's unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

THOUGHTS. It’s nearly impossible and nearly hopeless to write the proper words after reading a good book, that your mind becomes . . . unstable and incoherent, almost to the point of leaving you . . . clinically dead. But experiencing Maybe One Day is worth the momentary emotional instability and mental incoherency.

Following a similar path to John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, Maybe One Day is another dramatic prose about dealing with cancer. Somehow, it isn't centered on a love story but built on a foundation of friendship. It’s refreshing to see another side of the story and learn how other people deal with the ordeals of cancer. As expected, Maybe One Day is a tough book to read—a challenge even. You don’t know how many times I had to stop reading the book due to the intensity of emotions reflected by this book. The story is too engaging and too honest, almost powerful enough to make you believe in the story’s and the characters’ existence. Kantor can turn a heavy subject matter into something remarkably readable allowing readers, both who have and haven’t encountered such ordeals, to easily establish a relationship with the story and form a bond with its characters.

It’s impossible to tear away from a book especially when it features some of the best characters you’ve seen in such a long time. Zoe and Olivia are the characters that brought in a gamut of emotions in me. Their story isn’t your average story of friendship, sharing secrets, exchanging clothes, or fighting over boys. Actually, it’s indescribable. At its simplest, omit your own knowledge about the word perfect because perfect would be the only word to describe their friendship, in a sense that amidst the terminal illness that had struck in between them and how it change them and their lives, they remain intact. It’s both awe-inspiring and a struggle to see how they brave and battle the inevitable together. There isn’t a page that doesn’t radiate the love they have with each other. Zoe and Olivia want to teach us that there is a greater force other than the powerful force of fate and that is the immense power of friendship and love.

As we journey along with Zoe and Olivia, we also get to know other significant characters along the way, characters that didn’t only strengthened the arc of the story but provided other faces in the battle. Their authenticity as characters, their relationships, their reactions, their simple actions, their sincere words, meliorates the entirety of the story but didn’t overpower the core strength of the story. You could only wish for Kantor to write more scenes with these characters (I need more Zoe and Calvin moments). Despite how minor their scenes were, in some ways, they made an immense impact not only to the lives of Zoe and Olivia but to me as well. Oh, if only I can leap inside the story to rip them out from these pages of heartbreaking sadness!

The reasons I read books in the contemporary genre are the simple reality, the profound depth and the stellar emotions that they emit. In reading Maybe One Day, I found myself treated to a tragic story but it should be emphasized that this is also a story of hope; hope that kept me riffling through the pages. I've never read previous works by Kantor but I suppose Maybe One Day would be her greatest work yet.

With boldness and rawness, Melissa Kantor’s Maybe One Day is a beautiful and unforgettable masterpiece, another important story that tackles on almost every aspect of adolescence in the face of a powerful ordeal. But for the most part, it is the outstanding portrayal of the immense power of true friendship amidst the far-reaching impact of cancer that sets this book apart. I couldn’t stressed more how profound my love for this book, and sometimes I think there should be more. To those having second thoughts, you need only to be brave to experience this powerful story. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Melissa Kantor is the author of CONFESSIONS OF A NOT IT GIRL, an ALA Booklist Best Romance Novel for Youth in 2004; IF I HAVE A WICKED STEPMOTHER, WHERE'S MY PRINCE?, a YALSA Teens Top Ten Pick in 2006; THE BREAKUP BIBLE, an ALA Best Books for Young Adults nominee in 2007; and GIRLFRIEND MATERIAL. She is a teacher in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her family.

Maybe One Day is now available in National Book Store and Powerbooks. Shop online and buy eBooks at nationalbookstore.com. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on the latest events, promos and contests.

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