Teen Book Review- Dear Martin by Nic Stone

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I just finished reading Dear Martin by Nic Stone. The story centers on the life of Justyce McAllister, a young African-American teen who’s attending a prep school in Georgia. Justyce finds it difficult to fit in this world of rich kids and bias white students who don’t understand that racism really does exists at a time when Justyce’s targeted by racial hatred.

At the start of the story Justyce was handcuffed by a police officer after he was trying to help Melo, his drunk bi-racial girlfriend who looks white. The officer accuses him of trying to steal from her. The handcuffs sink so deep into his skin he feels the pain from them weeks after. Justyce is haunted by the experience and as racist incident after another incident builds, so does his patience for trying to hold back the urge to find a way to fight back.

Justyce tries to deal with how to deal with the situations by writing letters to Dr. Martin Luther King. Each letter is an honest look how African-Americans feel about the seemingly unending bias being directed towards them.

So much happens between the pages of this book sand all of it is good, very good.  It’s a beautiful and powerful story. There are a few books out there dealing with African-American teens and police violence but this novel takes a different path to tell this difficult story.

I am sure you’ll love this book. The characters are people you care about and their journey is important. and moving.

Teen Writing and Arts Competition – The Young Arts Mentorship Program

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The Young Arts Mentorship Program is now accepting applications. I post about this every year. This mentorship program is for young arts ages 15 to 18 who are writers, dancers, musicians, filmmakers, artists, actors, and designers.

This mentorship program also offers fellowships. It’s the ultimate hook up for anyone wanting to have a career in the arts. A few years ago a friend of mine won and he received an all expense trip to Miami for a year! He was mentored by two professional photographers and even had an exhibit of his photographs.

This program is a big deal. Young Arts alum have gone on to win Academy, Tony,  and Grammy awards. Exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, have their films screen at Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals. Danced for Alive Haley and the New York City Ballet.

Go for it? And Good luck!

Why Apply?

  • ​Receive up to $10,000 in cash awards

  • Take master classes with accomplished artists

  • ​Become eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

  • Receive a lifetime of mentoring and professional support

  • Achieve national recognition

The Rules

  • Be a citizen of the United States or permanent resident/green card recipient (copy of documentation is required in the application)

  • Be 15–18 years of age or in grades 10–12 on December 1, 2018

Deadline: Friday, October 12, 2018

https://www.youngarts.org

Teen Book Review- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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I think that Nicola Yoon is the new go to person for teen romance. Everything, Everything  is the story of Maddy Whittier, a teenaged girl who can’t leave her house because she has no immune system. Maddy lives with her mother; her brother and father died when she as a few years old. Maddy’s home is sanitized and sterile. Maddie or the other hands craves more color in her life. Her mother is also her doctor and she controls her entire life. The only friend she has is Carla, her nurse and Rosa Carla’s daughter. Besides her mother they are the only people who Maddy comes in contact with.

One day new neighbors move in next door and that’s when Maddy’s life changed forever. She befriends Ollie, the teenaged boy next door. Soon Ollie and Maddy fall in love leading Maddy to take more chances. With the help of Carla, Ollie and Maddy have the opportunity to spend time together in person. Standing across the room, leads to being seated next to each other, followed by a first kiss and so much more. This story is about falling in love and taking chances.

I don’t want to reveal spoilers so I’ll stop right there. The actually saw the movie before reading the book and I think the film is a pretty good adaptation but still nothing beats a book. The book was so good, actually it’s creative and EXCELLENT.  I know you’ll love it  just as much as I did.

Teen Writing Prompt 799

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There are lots of weird things that happen in nature. What would you do if one morning the sky looked like this? What is the strange lights and colors in the sky? What does it all mean? Is it just the sky or do other changes occur around you?

Let the appearance of the skies guide your story. Here’s the start of my story.

Each day things looked different. I didn’t even notice it. I was too caught up with school, being pissed off at my mom, and wishing Gavin would notice me. By the time everything realized things were different, we also noticed that there was a change in our bodies too. 

Teen Picture Prompt 798

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When I board the ship I tried not to think about what I was leaving behind. It’s one thing to move to another city, another state, but now that the earth is going to die I have to go….

What happens next? What is the protagonist’s new home planet like? Continue the story.

Teen Writing Prompt 797

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I don’t know what to do. All I know is that I have to do something before it’s too late.

Continue this story. Set up the world of the character and find a creative way to tell us that problem. Remember to raise the stakes. What is the cost of doing something or not taking action?

Be creative and have some fun.

#YA # teen writing prompt

Teen Writing Tip – How to Find an Agent

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You never know what kind of stories an agent is looking for. Most agent have a #MSWL or manuscript wish list. A lot of these lists are posted on their Publishers Weekly profiles. If you’re looking for an agent follow them on Twitter and check out their wish list.

Right now, it seems like agents and publishers are looking for fantasy novels and diverse subject matter like stories LGBTQ teens or other underrepresented stories. In the end I always believe it’s important to write the story you need to write. You can also find agents by looking at the acknowledgement page at the each of your favorite books. Authors always thanks their agents.

It takes some work but it’s worth it. Good luck and happy writing.

Teen Writing Tip

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I recently read a few books that took an untraditional methods in storytelling. Elizabeth Acevedo decided to write The Poet X was told in using poetry. It was a unique way to tell the story of a female poet. Although it was told through poetry, the story was seamless and felt more like prose.

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson used a linear storyline to tell the tale of a teenaged girl who’s best friend goes missing. By shifting from the present to the past, Jackson helps us feel what Claudia was going through as she remembers her past relationship with her missing friend while dealing with the fact that her best friend has disappeared.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, is told with a linear storyline but it has several point of views- Natasha and Daniel’s stories are in first person and third person point of view with used to tell the stories of secondary characters.

When writing your stories try a new way of telling your story. This will help make your stories more interesting and really stand out.

#teen writing #YA

Teen Book Review- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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I just finished reading Nicola Yoon’s teen romance novel, The Sun is Also a Star. There are no words that I can use to tell you how much I cherish this book. I can’t wait to read it again, which will probably be soon even though I have a stack of books that are waiting to be read. It’s one of those romance novels that I can’t get out of my head.The novel is about a young girl, Natasha who has just discovered that her family’s going to be deported back to Jamaica, a country she’s never known. Her family came to the US illegally and because of an error on her father’s part customs is alerted to her family’s immigration status and now they have to leave for Jamaica later that night.While walking through New York, a boy name Daniel sees Natasha and immediately starts to fall for her. He eventually convinces her to spend some time with him and end of walking around the city together and end up falling for each other.It sounds like a simple story but it’s not. It’s so much more than that. What makes it great is  how Nicola Yoon tells the story. As Natasha meets people on her journey Yoon stops and tells us their “story”. Sometimes the story is about love and other times is about emotionally pain. She cleverly weaves the various stories together with each life connecting with another throughout the story. It’s reminds us of how connected we really are and how one person can create a lasting impact on someone else.Brava!!!! Brava!!! Brava!!! I love this book. Thank you Nicola Yoon for making me laugh, smile, cry, and feel the love.

Teen Book Review- Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

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Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson tells the story of Claudia, a fourteen year old girl who is searching for her best friend, Monday who disappeared during their summer vacation. The story is set in Washington D.C. a place where monuments stand but it’s also a place where people are forgotten. Claudia and Monday usually write to each other all summer but this summer Claudia hasn’t received one letter from her best friend. After returning from her summer vacation with her grandmother Claudia tries to alert everyone about Monday’s disappearance but most people ignore her pleas for help.

As Claudia searches for her friend she finds her life changing. During her friends’ absence she starts developing new friendships and even now starts to fall for a boy. As the story unfolds Monday’s secret life is revealed. It’s a life of pain and family secrets.

This book was a heartbreaking story about friendship and the forgotten children whose cries aren’t heard after they disappear.  The story is told various time periods Before Monday disappeared giving readers the chance to glimpse Claudia and Monday’s unique friendship and After Monday vanishes.

I think you’re all going really love this one!