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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.

Posts Tagged ‘Tenners’

Brightly Woven + Interview

Posted on August 22nd, 2009 by annakjarzab

Okay, first off, the lovely folks at Teens Writing for Teens saw fit to interview me, and so of course I took this opportunity to talk shit about creative writing classes. Go ahead and dissent if you must.

Second of all, I got to read Brightly Woven by my friend Alexandra Bracken. JEALOUS?! I know. Alex and I live in the same city, which is awesome and allows us to get to goss about publishing and writing and the whole nine, plus exchange ARCs because we are just that impatient!

Can I tell you how much I hearted Brightly Woven? I have to say, I’ve been raving about Tenner books, and yes, these people are my friends, but also I am critical so when I say I love something I mean it! Brightly Woven is wonderful. I’m not just saying that because Alex is wonderful, which she is. I’m saying it because I truly loved the book, loved every second of reading it, loved North and Syd and the world she created. I’m not a high fantasy person, not going to lie, but when I picked up BW I knew I was going to enjoy each line and I did.

Because you know what? Syd is no wallflower. I love a good, headstrong, stubborn main character who makes decision based on gut instinct. Sometimes they screw up. That’s the best part! Syd is amazing–she is never once unsure of who she is, even when she’s unsure of everything around her. She knows what she wants and has from the beginning. She also has a huge heart and great reserves of sympathy, which is really important, because being headstrong and stubborn is all well and good, but if you don’t use that for good you’re just kind of a jerk.

I know I’ve been kind of MIA recently, and I know I said I was going to try to update more, and I realize I’ve been largely absent from Twitter as well, but a new era is being ushered in–I’m getting an iPhone! Probably. So I can Twitter from ANYWHERE I WANT soon. The tweets won’t stop. I want to blog more, too, but there’s not a whole lot going on with me at the moment. I’m just working and writing. I really need to find a name (or at least an acroynym) for the family drama (which has taken on some mysterious elements, because I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF) so I can talk about it without writing a huge sentence like I just did, but basically that book is going well. Almost 150 pgs, and I can tell this book will be smaller than AUT and MB, so that’s probably 2/3 done. GR is stalled, but I figure I’ll go back to it once I’m done with…the family drama with mysterious elements. It’s more of a dramedy, really. Dramedy/romance/coming-of-age/mystery. Shoot me.

Still waiting on an editorial for MB so that I can start revisions on that, and that’s pretty much all the news there is to use on the publishing front. Oh, and I visited the Listening Library offices the other day to drop off my audio contracts, where I met the lovely Rebecca Waugh, who acquired the AUT audio rights. She took me to the audio closet, where they keep all of their extra copies of the audio books, and I got to wander through and pick out a couple. I got Feed by M.T. Anderson and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron, and Rebecca and I had a talk about how I really love YA novels that deal with the issue of spirituality in a smart but not evangelical way. This discussion was sparked by Madeleine L’Engle, whose audio they do.

So I think that’s it for me. Oh, and because I have them up in my browser right now, here are some things that are inspiring me currently. Random, huh? I promise, someday it will all be very clear.

Ramble ramble ramble

Posted on August 16th, 2009 by annakjarzab

I know! Where have I been this week? Oh boy, you don’t even want to know. So this post is just going to be a quasi-coherent ramble about almost nothing. Lucky readers!

So first of all, I’ve been writing. I have quite a few pages done in my family drama, over 100 now, which is nice, and I think I know where it’s headed. In fact, maybe I should plot out the second half of the book so that I can just follow along with that and it would get done quicker. Sigh, you know that I won’t. But that’s going well, and I think when it’s done I can really focus on GR, which needs my full, undivided attention to really work well and get somewhere. It’s going to be a long, dark fall.

Also, let me tell you about a couple of Tenner books I read this week. I’ve been so in love with the quality of the Tenner books I’ve read so far–I can be quite critical, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how wonderful these books are. For instance, Suzanne Young’s The Naughty List. SO! AWESOME! I’ve been describing it to people as Bring it On meets Clueless meets Veronica Mars. The main character has a very unique voice, and she’s just so fun. Plus, I could not figure out where Suz was going to take the story. I knew what I wanted to happen, but I just couldn’t be sure if that was going to happen or not. I was kind of right. At least, my suspicions about a certain character were proven correct in the end–I never trusted this person, and I was right not to! That was a relief. I loved The Naughty List, and I’m excited for the sequel.

I also read Jennifer Hubbard’s The Secret Year. It was exactly the kind of book I like, exactly the sort of narrator I love and get invested in, and you’ll see why in January. It’s a slim novel, but it’s emotional and affective and poignant. I think people will really like it. Now I’m reading Brightly Woven; I couldn’t wait till I got the ARC through the Tenner tour, so Alex and I agreed to swap ARCs at dinner last night. I started reading on the train ride home and stayed up till 4 AM reading. I’m a third of the way in and love it so far. Alex and I had a long talk about a lot of things last night, but one of the things we talked about was how we don’t like empty or “perfect” characters–we’d much rather write characters who have moods, who make poor decisions based on their own convictions, who can be difficult and a pain in the ass at times.

We just think that when you get to know and love a character like that, it’s so much more rewarding. In one way or another, all of my MCs have what my mother would call “a bad attitude” about something. Sometimes you get it, because they’ve been through something traumatic or been betrayed or lost their sense of self, but sometimes (I’d say one out of every two MCs I write is like this) it’s just because they’re regular people, and regular people are sometimes spoiled or snobby or bratty. It doesn’t make them bad, it just makes them human. And I think that’s interesting. What’s more interesting is charting their progress, through a series of events, from spoiled/bratty/snobby to much more enlightened, understanding, empathetic people. That’s what most of my books are about, at the core of it–learning how to see people for who they really are, and loving them for it.

Just as a side-note, let me introduce you to my new computer background:


Yeeeeeeah! Who’s excited for the return of Gossip Girl? That’d be me, for defs.

So yeah, okay, I’ve been writing this week and reading this week and working this week. That’s pretty much it. Oh, and hanging out with my friends. Did I tell you guys my friend Kim is moving to New York? Long Island, really, to work at a university out there, but that’s so close! I don’t know how I got so lucky, having my three best friends in the world all live in New York. I keep thinking that I’ll wake up and be in my bedroom at my parents’ house, working at Thomson, with all my friends in SoCal and only my parents and dog for company. These past few years have been such an incredible whirlwind of good and bad, and I’m finally beginning to think it’s not going to disappear if I close my eyes.

Tubular Tenners

Posted on August 11th, 2009 by annakjarzab

When do you suppose the last time someone said “tubular” non-ironically was? Someone look that up and get back to me.

Anyway, you know what’s cool about being a Tenner? Besides all the other things that are cool about being a Tenner? Getting to read books by other Tenners. For a long time I wasn’t reading any, because I’m not known to be very quick on the buzzer and I ended up not being the first, second, or even third person on any of the ARC lists, but now that ARCs have been circulating for a while, I’m getting the opportunity to read quite a few! (Actually, this is sort of a lie; I was number 2 on the Hex Hall list.)

First I read fellow RHCB-er Jame Richards’ Three Rivers Rising, which is a novel in verse about the Johnstown Flood, a topic I knew approximately nothing about. If there was such a thing as negative knowledge, my awareness of this event in American history would be -167. Anyway, it turns out that it’s quite a fascinating topic! Not to mention a tragic, tragic topic, ripe for a really lovely novel in verse. Three Rivers Rising reminded me a lot of Titanic, or A Northern Light (or what I imagine A Northern Light to be like, since I haven’t read it). All in good ways! It’s a sweet love story, and not just between the two star-cross’d lovers. It’s a sweet family love story in parts, too.

I owe Three Rivers Rising to Tara Kelly–sorry, Tara, for not getting it out to you sooner! I will mail it tomorrow.

Alex (Bracken) gave me Rachel Hawkins’ Hex Hall yesterday, and I just finished it. IT. IS. HILARIOUS. I mean, I knew Hawkins was funny, but this really drives it home. I laughed on every page, sometimes multiple times. Hex Hall is kind of Harry Potter meets Vampire Academy, in a way, but a little lighter than both books, although since it’s a series I’m going to guess it’ll get darker and scarier as Sophie comes up against more dark witches, more vampires, and more crazytown peeps out to rid the world of “monsters”. It actually has already, but still maintains its humor, which is awesome.

And today I just got a package from Jen Nadol with Suzanne Young’s The Naughty List inside, along with a little note saying “Now you don’t have to steal one from work. :)” I’m so excited to start reading.

21 Questions

Posted on June 3rd, 2009 by annakjarzab

Yesterday, Dog Mutha Heidi Kling had an amazing idea: Ask a Tenner. She opened up an unlocked post on the Tenners LJ and invited teens, bloggers, book fans, and other writers alike to post a question for the Tenners to answer. It was an amazing success–500+ comments and counting! To be honest, it made me a little cross-eyed, but it was so fun that I’m still answering questions, and I know lots of Tenners are, too. We’ll probably do it again, along with chats, so be sure to watch the LJ, follow us on Twitter, or keep an eye on this space for more opportunities to bombard us with awesome questions.

Along those lines, I thought I’d use today to answer the 21 questions New York Magazine asks prominent New Yorkers on their Daily Intel blog. Okay, I’m not a prominent New Yorker. But come on! Don’t you want to know more about ME? Oh, you don’t? Okay, well then you might not want to venture into the FAQ section.

Here we go:

Name: Anna Jarzab

Age: 25

Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

Occupation: Writer, marketing ninja

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Stumped on the first real question. Is it stupid to say Chuck Bass? Also, Edna St. Vincent Millay, just because I think she’s so interesting. I keep meaning to go to her old house in the Village, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Have you read Savage Beauty? You should.

Also, Jill Zarin. Sorry, Marc Indelicato, I copied you. Team Jill!

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? I don’t tend to eat very fancy, so I’m probably going to go with the Napolitana macaroni & cheese from Pinch ‘n S’mac. I know that makes me a seven-year-old, but what are you going to do? Also, the pulled pork sliders at Bua.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? Well, my day job is top secret, but suffice it to say I spend a lot of time on the Internet. For my writing job I…spend a lot of time on the Internet. Let’s face it, I live in cyberspace, so really I should just go all “Kill Switch” and upload my brain to the web and be done with it.

Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary? …Yes

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway? Equus, right before it closed.

Do you give money to panhandlers? Sometimes.

What’s your drink? It used to be Diet Coke, but ever since I gave it up for Lent I’ve been trying to cut back, and I’ve been reasonably successful. I drink a lot of iced tea now, peach Snapple and lemon Lipton’s from the mix.

How often do you prepare your own meals? This goes sort of week by week, but I would say 4-5 out of 7 days.

What’s your favorite medication? Excedrin. I’ve been headache/migraine prone ever since early childhood, and my TMJ exacerbates that, and Excedrin is really the only thing that works. That said, my tolerance for everyday aches and pains is pretty high and I’ll usually wait until I’m miserable to take anything.

What’s hanging above your sofa? A bare lightbulb. Seriously. Our couch is in the middle of the room and after I replaced the lightbulb in the ceiling, I couldn’t get the fixture back on, so it lives on our floor. It’s not cute.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut? Anything over $50.

When’s bedtime? Midnight, usually. I try to be in bed with all but my reading lamp off by then.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square? Times Square changed in, like, the eighties right? When I was a zygote? So I’m going to go with the new Times Square, since it’s the only one I’ve ever experienced. That said, I hate Times Square and avoid it at all costs except to go to the theater and when people are in town and want to go, but I will not go quietly! It edges the old Times Square out for me only because I hear that the old Times Square was seedy and dangerous.

What do you think about Donald Trump? I can’t see how this is a relevant question, but okay. I don’t think about him at all.

What do you hate most about living in New York? How much time you got? Just kidding…sort of. I hate how there’s so much noise it’s like living with a radio implanted in your brain. I hate the expense. I hate how hard it is, how stressful, how much of a struggle every day can be.

Who is your mortal enemy? Um, I don’t know. I guess I don’t have time for mortal enemies–that sounds like a lot of work. I do, however, have a few people that I adamantly don’t trust or like, but it’s not the sort of thing I feel without provocation–that’s a hard-earned status.

When’s the last time you drove a car? Hm, January I think. When I was in California for Christmas. So, a while.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you? I have a couple of friends who are out of jobs, which is sad and upsetting to me, especially because I want so badly to help but I can’t. It also caused rents in New York to go down, so that’s good for me. Mixed bag. Mostly bad, though.

Times, Post or Daily News? None, really, I don’t tend to read the paper, but I guess the Times online.

Where do you go to be alone? My bedroom.

What makes someone a New Yorker? I don’t know. I tell people that if you’re not planning on getting the hell out of dodge after a year, you’ve earned that title. Unless you’re being subsidized by your wealthy family, being young in New York is hard work, so if you don’t run away screaming after a year, you’re one of us.


Posted on April 9th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Even though I said I probably wouldn’t set up Google Alerts for myself or my book, I totally did, which I then regretted, because I would always get emails about blog posts I’d put up myself and, like, every use of the word “unquiet” on the Internet, which is not that many.

BUT! That changed yesterday. First, Kelsey at Reading Keeps You Sane named All Unquiet Things as her “Waiting on Wednesday” pick this week, which was so flattering. I actually just found out about Kelsey and her site a couple of days ago while perusing Gayle Foreman’s blog (I’m reading If I Stay right now and even though I’m only in the beginning, I can already tell it’s going to be very good) and added it to my Google Reader, only to click on it yesterday afternoon and see my cover (which is pretty much a hit with everyone, great news for me because I love it) front and center. Thanks Kelsey!

Also, an interview I did with fellow Tenner Christy Raedeke‘s blog went up last night. It’s my first official interview, which is terribly exciting, and Christy is hilarious and awesome, so I was really excited to be featured on Juvenescence. Christy’s done a lot of interviews with other Tenners, all of which are different and interesting, so I suggest heading over there and checking them out.

Futhermore, you’ll see that Eric fixed the comments problem. Things are going to be changing a little bit on this site for a few weeks–including the most important thing, which is the adding of the HIDDEN! CONTENT!–so don’t be alarmed if you see something new or weird or out-of-place, although if you notice a bug or catch a problem feel free to email me. Also, my blog roll was lost in transit from WordPress to…this thing that looks like WordPress but isn’t exactly that I use to update the site, but I plan to have that back up. I think I have to manually put all the links in again; it might take me some time to complete but I really want a comprehensive blog roll, so that’s coming.

Update: I just put up a post about the website (and my plans for HIDDEN! CONTENT!) on The A Team. Checkitowt! Also, if you have any ideas for what sort of hidden content you might want to see (so far I have some stuff, including a map for All Unquiet Things and scans of some of my handwritten character manifestos, but I can probably do a lot of different stuff–puzzles and playlists and secret contests and sneak peeks of material-in-progress. I’m totally open to suggestions) then comment here or at The A Team or email me.