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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.
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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Book 2 title!

Posted on May 16th, 2013 by annakjarzab

Since BEA is almost upon us (if you’re going, here is a list of where I will be–come chat with me!), and the title of Many-Worlds Book 2 is in the back of the Tandem BEA galley (it’s in the back of the regular galley, too, which I know some people have already gotten, but the release date has been changed so that back ad is slightly incorrect, as you will see below), I thought I might just go ahead and tell you what the title is! Drumroll?

IMG_1512 copy

So yeah, TETHER! It is my intention that every book is named after the thing that causes all the trouble in that book; when you read TANDEM, I think this will make more sense.

I’ve had a book 3 title for ages, but until the book is actually finished, there’s no way to tell with certainty what it will be called. I’ve written a draft of TETHER and my editor has it, so as soon as it goes to copy edits, I can work on book 3 in earnest. I decided that there was really no point in starting a draft of the third book until I knew what was going to stay and what was going to change from my draft of TETHER, but I have been working on some Many-Worlds short stories that we’re going to release digitally.

In the mean time, I’ve finished my adult novel and started work on a new YA that began kicking around in my head at the end of last year. It’s contemporary, but it was partially inspired by the research I did for book 3 in the Many-Worlds series, in kind of the same way that TANDEM was inspired by research I did for THE OPPOSITE OF HALLELUJAH. What’s interesting about the new project is that, while it’s in no way a crime novel or mystery, it is more like ALL UNQUIET THINGS than anything I’ve worked on in a long time (other than the fake AUT sequel, which I play with occasionally but will probably never finish). It also contains vestigial elements of a book I worked on right after ALL UNQUIET THINGS that ended up getting shoved in a way-back, deep, dark drawer (little things like names, and a dog). It just goes to show, no work is ever truly wasted.

The Opposite of Hallelujah is available now!

Posted on October 19th, 2012 by annakjarzab

I really should’ve posted this on, like, October 9 when the book actually went on sale, but I didn’t. Cool story! I’ve just been very busy lately, which I know is a lame excuse because how often does a book you wrote come out? Not that often! At least, not if you’re me. That’s all about to change, though, with TANDEM coming out on October 8, 2013 (THAT IS RIGHT! JUST ONE YEAR BETWEEN BOOKS! I AM A MACHINE LOOK AT ME GO!) and Books 2 and 3 in the Many-Worlds Trilogy following close on its heels with a nine month pub schedule (so Book 2 will be July 2014 and Book 3 will be April 2015–PROBABLY).

It’s taking all the strength I have not to barrel forward and tell you all about TANDEM, which is a project I’m extremely excited about. If you want a sneak peek, the official synopsis is now up on Goodreads. Right now, though, it’s all THE OPPOSITE OF HALLELUJAH! I’m proud of this little book (okay, it’s not little, it’s actually pretty ginormous–almost every review I’ve seen has pointed out how long it is, although usually in the context of “It didn’t feel that long!” or “I wish there’d been more!” which is definitely the context in which you’d like to hear that your book is a bit zaftig), and people seem like they’re enjoying it. Below are some of the extremely nice things people have been saying about THE OPPOSITE OF HALLELUJAH. I’m really quite overwhelmed and humbled by the positive response to this book!

Purchase THE OPPOSITE OF HALLELUJAH from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, or your local independent bookseller.

“I adored this novel’s sharp voice and sweet romance. Just wonderful!” – Courtney Summers, author of This is Not a Test*

“Jarzab packs a lot into this story—questions of faith and forgiveness, science and religion, mental illness, guilt and possible redemption, as well as simple high school drama. But at its heart, this is a story about sisters, and it’s as complex and convoluted as the relationship itself…Couched among the issues are truly likeable people: intelligent teenagers supporting each other through good times and bad; loving, very human parents struggling with how to intervene in the life of a seriously ill adult child, while nurturing their teenage daughter; and a science-nerd priest who is honest enough to admit that he doesn’t have all the answers.” – Booklist, starred review

“Though the author takes many, many pages to reveal Hannah’s secret, it is time well-spent, providing nuanced characterizations of not only conflicted Caro, but of her troubled parents and her kindly, philosophical priest, Father Bob. It’s a rare teen novel that both tackles religion and creates fully realized adult characters, and Jarzab handles it all gracefully. A layered meditation on family and belief that will ring true for faith-questing teens.” – Kirkus

The Opposite of Hallelujah treatment of religion, belief, and religious people is almost perfect. Hannah’s reasons for joining, and leaving, are treated with respect and sympathy; the complexity of religious life is shown. Just as wonderful as the sensitivity with which The Opposite of Hallelujah treats the subject matter is the language…funny and insightful.” – Liz Burns, writing on SLJ.com [full review]

The Opposite of Hallelujah is Anna Jarzab’s sophomore novel, and it’s a memorable one…Months after reading this, I’m still thinking about Caro and Hannah. Although The Opposite of Hallelujah clocks in at over 450 pages, it is an absorbing read — Jarzab has a handle on her story and on her characters, and she anchors them both with great references and motifs throughout…Rarely do I think I’d like more of a book, especially a book already running long, but I would have read another 100 or so pages of this story to get even more out of the faith/grief experiences of both girls. In many ways, this book reminded me of Sara Zarr, especially Once Was Lost, and I think there’s a lot here fans of Zarr’s books will enjoy. I’d be comfortable handing this to younger YA readers, as well as more mature ones. Jarzab gives readers on both ends of the spectrum a lot to chew on.” – Stacked Books [full review]

“I loved this book. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to give a relgious book a try but is afraid of a preachy message. But even if you aren’t interested in the religious aspect, I recommend The Opposite of Hallelujah, since it’s a great sister story and realistic coming-of-age book. With subtle but evocative prose and a main character who’s so real, The Opposite of Hallelujah is dark but ultimately satisfying.” – Paperback Treasures [full review]

“This is a story that I know that I will find myself re-reading and bullying people to read. Its one of my favorite books for the year and I really can’t recommend it highly enjoy.” – Ticket to Anywhere [full review]

“This book is a rare beast—a YA story about faith, honesty, and family that manages to be thought-provoking rather than preachy… I can’t tell you how delightful it was to read a book that features such a thoughtful heroine, and—while it does feature a lovely romantic subplot—allows her the space to wrestle with more interesting questions than who to go to prom with, or which (generally undead) suitor to choose. Caro’s family isn’t “fixed” by the end of The Opposite of Hallelujah, but her growth over the course of the novel left me feeling like there were few problems too complicated for this intelligent and open-minded young woman to resolve.” – Wordcandy [full review]

“I was completely blown away by The Opposite of Hallelujah. It made me cry and laugh in equal measure. Not only was it a truly spectacular stand-alone read, but it also left a lasting impression on me that will surely not fade away with time.” – Blook Girl [full review]

I’ve been very anxious for a new book from Anna Jarzab ever since I closed All Unquiet Things. I really loved that book and I haven’t read a mystery that captivated me as much since then. The Opposite of Hallelujah is very different than Anna Jarzab’s first book. Honestly, I was just a tiny bit worried that it might end up being a Religious Book, but I’m happy to say that it did not…If you like books about sisters and unique, but realistic relationships, you should definitely pick up The Opposite of Hallelujah.” – Pure Imagination [full review]

“The Opposite of Hallelujah is a touching story filled to the brim with emotions with a sweet yet rocky at times relationship and a strong narrator that I connected with.” – Blkosiner’s Book Blog [full review]

“I have not come across many YA novels that tackle the issue of religion and faith and Anna Jarzab does so with grace. The story is as much about loss, grief, and family as it is about faith, religion, and god. There are so many things that I liked about this story…Teens will be able to relate to any number of issues addressed in this novel. The religious aspect is not heavy-handed, preachy, or off-putting. Teens looking for books about faith will welcome this novel. Teens who enjoy books featuring family conflict and drama will also enjoy this book.” – YA? Why Not? [full review]

” This story was not what I was expecting but absolutely loved it. A really great story about families, sisters and coming to terms with the past.  A fantastic book, I would highly recommend.” – Debra’s Book Cafe [full review]

*As Courtney Summers is probably one of my favorite YA writers, if not my absolute favorite, you can imagine how incredibly chuffed I was to have her blurb my book!!

Hallelujah edits

Posted on August 18th, 2011 by annakjarzab

Man, I haven’t checked in here in a while, huh? Is anyone still reading this? Bueller? Well, you know how it goes. LIFE, etc. Although I have been (and will continue to be) very active on my Tumblr, so if you like Harry Potter GIFs and pictures of other people’s bookshelves (design inspiration for the house I’ll probably never own, natch), go there.

(Side note: Wow, WordPress got fancy in my absence!)

So I mentioned editing my new book on Twitter last night and people started @ replying me, “Hey, you have a new book coming?” Which was weird to me because I felt like I announced that a while ago, but who cares about my announcements, right? I probably haven’t been talking about The Opposite of Hallelujah as much as I should. A lot of that is because we don’t have a cover yet, or jacket copy, or a set-in-stone pub date (lol, like pub dates are ever set in stone), or a pre-order link, or anything, really, that will convince you that it’s a real book that will be coming out eventually.

So here are some things that I know about the book:

  • It will be called The Opposite of Hallelujah. This is not a title I’m 100% married to, but everybody else seems to like it, so it’s what we’re going with. I lifted it from a Jens Lekman song (also called “The Opposite of Hallelujah”), which is a very good song but also, if you were to read the book and then listen to the song, very appropriate thematically. Other titles for this book have included (but not been limited to!): Do Geese See God*, And So It Goes**, and Impossible Objects***.
  • It will come out in Fall 2012. Probably October, but maybe not.
  • It will be longer than All Unquiet Things, but FEEL shorter when you read it. At least, that’s been my experience.

And that’s it! Right now, if you’re curious, I’m in the middle of revising the book for my editor. This is almost entirely line edits, and mainly cutting. I mean it–I have erased entire scenes. I’ve been posting some cut passages on Tumblr, mostly Caro’s Tote Bags****. The book is just, at this point, too long (not unlike this blog post). It was 404 manuscript pages when I turned it in to my editor. All Unquiet Things, for comparison, was 313 manuscript pages; that ended up being 352 printed book pages (about 11% growth if my math is correct, which it probably isn’t). Books get longer when the paper isn’t 8.5×11 with very tiny margins. So a 404 pg manuscript would probably be about 450 pages typeset and bound. And that just feels too long. The book can be tightened, so I’m tightening it. I told my editor I could probably squeeze about 40 pages out of it, but right now I’m less than 100 pages from the end and I’ve only managed to cut around 20 pages. Obviously I’m going to have to go back and see what else I can chop.

Just to prove to you that I am indeed working on it, here is a blurry iPhone photo of my “workspace”:

Yup. That’s my bed.

*This is what I called this book all the way up until, like, 2009. I’ve been “working on it” intermittently since 2004, when I first got the idea for a book about a girl whose much older sister comes back home after being a nun for a while. “Do geese see God” is my third-favorite palindrome (after “A man, a plan, a canal–Panama” and, obviously, my own name), and I liked having the title of the book be a palindrome and the name of the main character’s sister (the nun)–Hannah–be a palindrome. So you can imagine how I laughed when I saw that #15 on Joelle Anthony’s list of 25 overused things in MG and YA fiction was “Main characters named Hannah and making a note of it being a palindrome.” Hannah is still the main character’s sister’s name (although I do not make a note of it being a palindrome–I don’t think), but Do Geese See God had to go for two reasons. First, it’s fine to call a WIP that, but once I decided I was going to publish it I knew that people probably weren’t going to be in to it. How is a sales rep supposed to sell in a book called Do Geese See God? They’re not. And secondly, it’s already the title of a Denzel Washington movie, so whatever.

**There was a time when the Kurt Vonnegut novel Slaughterhouse Five was going to be a call back throughout the book, for lots of thematic reasons, and “so it goes” is sort of a catchphrase that emerged from that book. Also, the Ingrid Michaelson song, “Soldier”, which I listened to a lot when I was writing this book, has the words “and so it goes” in the lyrics. However, I cut the Slaughterhouse Five references in favor of the much more relevant Escher motif that runs through the book, and thus the title made no sense. I wasn’t too attached to it, honestly.

***This would-be title emerges from the Escher motif, but my agent thought it sounded a little too much like Sharp Objects, the title of a Gillian Flynn novel. It also doesn’t tell you anything about the book; I mean, The Opposite of Hallelujah doesn’t necessarily tell you anything, either, but it’s more lovely and lyrical.

****”Caro’s Tote Bag” is a term I have coined to describe a passage that explains something incredibly minor in absurdly minute detail and in no way enriches the story. The original Caro’s Tote Bag was a paragraph in The Opposite of Hallelujah in which, I kid you not, my main character/narrator Caro spent an entire LONG paragraph explaining the fact that she carried her books to school in a tote bag that her mother, who works in marketing at a university press, brought back from a conference, but that Caro always carries it with the logo facing herself so nobody sees how lame the bag is. Alex, understandably, was like, “Maybe you could cut this?” I did cut it, but there are lots and lots of Caro’s Tote Bags in The Opposite of Hallelujah. There was a whole paragraph where she compares her relationship with her parents to American Gladiators. Now, I like an American Gladiators simile as much as the next person, but my editor, rightly, drew a big old slash through the whole paragraph. But I’ve immortalized it on Tumblr so that you can enjoy it. You’re welcome.