0 Items $0.00

Ravenous Reader Interviews David Levithan and Andrea Cremer for NYMBC

Local Blogger and NYMBC bestie RAVENOUS READER interviewed David and Andrea when they came to visit us last month. You can check out her blog here (because it is the awesome) and follow her on the Twitter here.

RR: I believe that Invisibility is a wonderful collaboration between two of my favorite authors. How did the genesis for this project come about?

AC: It happened in the Summer of 2010, the year that NIGHTSHADE was coming out and penguin sent me out on a bunch of pre-publication tours. One of the things they did was put me on a panel at the American Library Association annual meeting with two seasoned authors, David Levithan and John Green. Both of which happened to be writing icons for me. So, I show up and all of a sudden was thrust into this world of OMG!! I can't believe that I am on a panel with them.

DL: So, we all hit it off and we spent about an hour together and maybe another half hour the next morning and that would have been that, except that the universe pointed out to me that Andrea had blogged that she had a great time and very jokingly said "David Levithan, when are you going to write a book with me?"


DL: So, I thought "you know what? I've known her for an hour and a half and I've not read a single word that she has written, but we had fun so this would be cool. Also she sorta had taunted me for not having written anything paranormal. So, I thought "What paranormal would be interesting to me?" and Invisibility had always been interesting to me both for it's metaphorical possibilities as well as just being invisible. So, I wrote a chapter and out of the blue I found her email address on her website and sent it to her. Alright the gauntlet was thrown. Bring it on.

AC: I could not believe that all of a sudden there was this email from David Levithan in my inbox saying you wanted to write a book together, here is a chapter and you can send one back. Yeah, that was the beginning and now we have the book. It was awesome, crazy and wonderful

RR: How was it decided on who would write each character's POV (Stephen and Elizabeth)

DL: I find that collaborations always work best if you have your own character in your own chapters so it became apparent early on that I would write Stephen and Andrea would write Elizabeth. I will say what surprised and impressed us the most is that it was pretty seemless when there was dialogue. When there was Elizabeth dialogue in my chapters it sounded like Andrea was writing it and when Andrea was writing Stephen's dialogue it sounded like I was writing it. We were able to inhabit the characters.

AC: It was nice, like we both able to understand and really capture the voices of each other's characters and it wasn't a jarring switch from chapter to chapter.

RR: How is it different from working on a duo project to working solo? Do you enjoy it more or less?

AC: I feel that it is about the same, there is a difference and it is a really wonderful way to write. When I am writing on my own I enjoy getting lost in the world. This (Invisibility) went a lot more like an adventure. I would get a chapter from David and it would be “where am I going?†and have an end of a chapter and know that I would have to pick it up the story and run ahead with it and throw the next chapter back at him. I never knew what was coming and it was very exciting. I really enjoyed it. It almost felt like I was writing to David and that had a really special quality about it for it felt like I was getting to know him better.

DL: I would say that I think it is more fun to write with somebody else. Certainly, it is meaningful to write alone but I like writing with somebody else.

RR: Invisibility has a little bit of everything for readers. It has great contemporary issues along with a wicked paranormal edge and a sweet romance. What are your favorite parts in Invisibility?

DL: It’s so funny because it doesn’t feel separate to me and I think the way we did it fits really well and you can’t pick it apart as easily. What is interesting to me is that I do think the book shifts halfway through which has never happened to me before, but I thought that was interesting and it kept it interesting for us. I obviously felt more comfortable with the romantic character elements because I never written paranormal or fantasy before so I relied upon upon my co-author expertise to say “MAGIC System!†and “What is a magic System?â€

AC: When you picked it up you did awesome because there were things…..well, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. There were a couple times when I got to scenes that involved magical stuff and David had put something out there and I was like “YES! YES! YES!†. This is amazing. So, I agree there is not one part that I can pick out among all the other things that I love. I felt that in this story we were able to bring together elements of different genres to a really well woven narrative. That is was something that I think it functions differently than most. I like that it is different.

RR: Do you plan on writing more novels together?

DL: I am sure we will


RR: What is on your nightstand now and what would you recommend to readers?

DL: It's rude of course because everything I have brought with me is an Advanced Readers copy. I cannot express how much I love Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown right now. It is due out in September and it is so so fantastic. So, so. yeah I am not finished yet but that is what is on my nightstand right now.

AC: And I also just finished and Advanced Readers Copy of a book coming out in October it's called Inhuman by Cat Falls and it is AWESOME! I started reading it thinking I was gonna sleep but I could not put it down and I ended up staying up late into the evening reading it.

RR: On behalf of myself and NYMBC thank you, for this opportunity. It is not every day that someone gets to meet their author idols. I hope you have a great event and please come back again soon.

DL: Thank you!

AC: Thank you!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benamin Alire Saenz

This book had me curious when it swept the ALA awards with 3 wins and this book definitely deserves all of them and more. Aristotle (or Ari) and Dante don't obviously have much in common except their Mexican heritage, but somehow manage to become good friends. Ari is an angry teen coping with the ghost of his older brother and his father's time in the Vietnam War while Dante is openly expressive and has an easy family relationship. That friendship is cemented when Ari saves Dante from a hit and run getting
injured in the process. When a friend risks his or her life to save yours, how does that friendship change? And when Dante comes out as gay, how does that affect the friendship?  Saenz writes a lovely exploration of friendship and love - love of one's self, love between a parent and child and love between friends. His prose is lyrical and portrays a depth of emotion that transcends the page. This easily is one of my favorite reads of this year and it's not even halfway to the end of the year yet!

If you like A.S. King's Ask the Passengers, I would definitely recommend you give this a try!

- Reviewed by Connie of Books Inc. Opera Plaza

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

It's easy to dismiss this book because on the surface the structure and execution are quite frankly whimsical: a gay high school student never needs to come out to his friends because he lives in the sort of town where his homosexuality was diagnosed to little fanfare in elementary school. In fact, the LGBTQ experience here is more the rule and everyone else the exception. But like with most Young Adult novels, "Boy Meets Boy" can't be dismissed just because it seems naïve at first glance. In fact, the world portrayed here isn't the world as it "should be" per se -- David Levithan is only stating a plain truth: that we all want to love, and be in love, and neither act is the domain of a singular orientation.

Reviewed by Joe of Books Inc. Opera Plaza

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Ah, traveling. You are always absolutely at the right age for it. But let's face it -- sometimes, you go traveling and you're not entirely sure if you're "good" at it. Enter sheltered Jewish-American, introverted good girl Allyson, traveling Europe with a group of other high school seniors. It should be an excellent time for an 18-year-old girl about to embark upon her college years when she gets back home. But Allyson isn't actually having fun. She's doing her best to make everything "worth it", but it's difficult when it feels like she's on this trip to keep her parents happy.

Everything changes when she goes to an underground performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in London, where she meets the handsome Willem, and sparks fly. Taking a huge leap of faith, Allyson becomes "Lulu" and does things she'd never do as Allyson -- including going off to Paris with Willem for one day. In what becomes the most perfect day of her life, everything works out for best...except for the part where she wakes up the next morning and Willem is gone, leaving her alone in Paris. She spends the next year feeling listless, and her once-excellent grades take the hit. Eventually, she finds that to mend the hole in her heart, she must return to Paris to break free of the shackles of her scripted life. She goes back looking for Willem, but in the end, as cheesy as it is, she finds herself. A surprisingly excellent bildungsroman showing a different type of growth that many of the quiet young adults could be afraid of, this is something I'd recommend to those traveling or studying abroad and are unsure if they're doing the right thing. (John Green himself recommended this, so if you don't believe me, believe him!)
To be followed by Just One Year, detailing Willem's events after he and Allyson are separated. And I am so excited that I want to cry.

--Reviewed by Robbin of Compass Books in SFO Terminal 2.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick-

A stranger comes to a remote island to try and discover the truth about a mysterious flower that may be keeping the world's rich young. Instead, he finds himself regressing through the history of the island; stories and people somehow cropping up time and time again. With shades of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner, to Oscar Wilde's more melancholy fairy stories, to Nordic sagas, this book is beautifully sparce. A great quick read! Ages 14+
--reviewed by Steven of Books Inc. Palo Alto