Book Review

In Love with the Gorgeous Blue

Words in Deep BlueWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you so much, Penguin Random House, for sending me a finished copy of this beautiful book in exchange for an honest review.

ASDFGHJKL! I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!

I know that we should judge books by their content, but look at that gorgeous cover! I can stare at it for hours and admire how pretty it is. There were times when I just needed to stop reading for moment to take a look at the cover. I know, I was a little obsessed xD.

As for the story itself, it was wonderful! Jennifer Niven’s blurb pretty much summed up how lovely the book was. She blurbed, “One of the loveliest, most exquisitely beautiful books I’ve read in a very long time. (How beautiful? I highlighted and circled and underlined like mad.) I didn’t just read the pages, I lived in them.” That was so accurate! If you could see the state of my book right now, it’s full of colorful tabs and there are a lot of words written on the margins. There were just so many lines that I really liked.

Okay, so here is are seven reasons why I loved this book so much:

First, I loved this book because it was so bookish. By just looking at the cover, I could tell that books would be a huge part of the story. Henry and his family ran a secondhand bookshop, and I thought that it was one of the best places that I could find in a book. I just wanted to get inside the book and visit that bookshop. The concept of the Letter Library was super cool, too! Basically, it was a section of the bookshop where the books were not for sale, and customers could write on the pages, underline their favorite lines, and leave letters for other people to read. It was a brilliant idea, and it made me want to own a bookshop someday and also have a Letter Library. Haha.

Second, I loved this book because of Henry’s love for secondhand books. According to him, Secondhand books are full of mysteries. I agreed with his sentiment, and reading this book made me appreciate secondhand books more than before. I don’t often buy secondhand books because I hardly find one that I would like to read, but still, I really like visiting secondhand bookshops because the books have stories apart from the stories they contain within the pages. You can’t help but wonder, “How did this book find its way here?”, or “Who was the previous owner of this book?”, and the mystery might be forever unanswered, but you wonder anyway. I was quite sure that Henry and the others also thought of that, which is why I loved this book so much. It made me feel like I was personally involved in the story.

Third, I loved this book because of the letters in between the chapters. They were so cute! Again, it made me want to go inside the book and also leave some letters in the Letter Library for my friends and random people to find.

Fourth, I loved this book because of Cal. He was not physically present in the story, but he somehow shaped most of it. I was really sad that he died because he was really cool! I loved that he was a science nerd. Those theories about time? Super cool! I also loved that he and Rachel treasured the ocean, and it sucked so much that it was the reason for his death.

Fifth, I loved this book because of the characters. Rachel, Henry, George, and Cal were people that I would really like to befriend. I just wish that I could teleport inside the book and say “Hi” to them.

Sixth, I loved this book because of the book recommendations. They talked about lots of books, and now I have a few books to add to my ever-growing TBR pile. Haha.

Finally, I loved this book because it was quite emotional. The last parts of the book made me a little bit teary-eyed. Those what-could-have-been’s…they made me so sad T^T

Overall, I believe that there are still a LOT of reasons why I loved this book so much, and you, yes, YOU just have to read this book to know them! I highly recommend this book to all booknerds out there!

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Book Review

A Moment of Blue Reflection

Words in Deep BlueWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you, Penguin Random House, for sending me a finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Henry, if the love of your life is kissing a moron, it’s probably time to reassess whether or not she’s the love of your life.

—Rachel

As someone who devours literature on a daily basis, I always enjoy reading books that feature similarly bookish people. My reading experience becomes more meaningful and memorable whenever I am able to fully connect with characters, as fictional as they are.

Following this train of thought, Words in Deep Blue is a perfect summer read for us lovers of the written word. It follows two booknerds, Rachel and Henry, who live in this rabbit-and-kangaroo-infested place called Australia (not America, for a change). Rachel and Henry have been best friends since they were children, and Rachel eventually decides to confess her feelings by leaving a love letter in his favorite book. Unfortunately, certain circumstances prevent Henry from reading it and cause Rachel to move to another city. Years later, Rachel and Henry work together in his family’s bookshop, but everything between them has changed for the worse. You can probably guess what happens next.

Unsurprisingly, Words in Deep Blue was character-driven. Since I’ve already read tons of contemporary books, I could see the ending from a mile away. Plus, some of the chapters were uneventful although they shed much light on Rachel and Henry’s personalities. Although the plot was indeed predictable, I really enjoyed how this book tackled relevant themes such as grief, forgiveness, and true love. This wonderful aspect of the book more than compensated for its lack of spontaneity.

Among all of the characters, Rachel was the one who touched my heart. I was so sad for her loss, and I understood the numbness or emptiness she felt because of her brother’s death (this is not a spoiler). If I lost either of my brothers, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself besides moping and looking up. Honestly, familial loss in books never fails to tug at my heartstrings.

Reading Cal’s letters to his crush was both enjoyable and saddening. He was a devoted bookworm like the other characters, and he could have lived such a fruitful life if he hadn’t drowned in the stupid ocean (this only deepened my hatred for swimming). In other words, it was painful to think about the happy ending that he could’ve had. Wishful thinking can be so pleasurable, but it sucks when you realize that it’s futile. Cal’s death was already established from the very beginning. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but stubbornly wish for a shocking plot twist.

Henry was actually my least favorite character. I liked his fondness for poetry and other philosophical literature, but I wasn’t a fan of how he pined for a girl who obviously “loved” him only when it was convenient. I cringed every time he tried to convince Amy to come back to him because it made him look so pathetic, if not hopelessly blinded by puppy love. His redeeming qualities were his sensitivity and optimism. If it weren’t for him, Rachel would have spent a longer time in the cage of depression. Basically, Henry was the type of person who always had a shoulder to cry on.

The side characters in this book were surprisingly well-developed. I didn’t feel that they were just created to function as plot devices. For example, George and Martin had their own unique personalities, and the letters they sent to each other increased the depth and humor of the story. This made me appreciate the book more because it showed how the author was very intentional in her writing.

After all the paragraphs I’ve written in this review, the bottom line is that Words in Deep Blue is a worthy addition to your TBR shelf, especially if you love contemporary novels that are character-driven and emotionally heavy. It doesn’t have the most unique plot, but the book as a whole is something to reflect on.

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Author Interview

Q & A with K. Ancrum

Happy Thursday, booknerds! Today is kinda special because this post is my 10th author interview. I’m so happy because I continue to meet amiable and talented authors in the YA community. Today’s post features K. Ancrum, debut author of The Wicker King. I found this book to be so weird, but it was not in a bad way. If you want to know more about my thoughts on it, check out my reviewThe Wicker King comes out this fall (October 31), and I hope that you will enjoy reading it. 🙂

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  1. Mental health is a prevalent theme in YA books nowadays. With that in mind, what made you decide to write a book about codependency?

“It’s an incredibly under-discussed phenomenon. When we think about toxic relationships, we nearly always categorize someone as the aggressor and someone else as the victim. With codependency, both parties contribute to the issue—acting as aggressor and victim simultaneously—both inflicting damage, whether intentional or accidental. With August and Jack, a primary aspect of the book is the neglect that both of them suffer and their attempt to resolve their emotional needs in each other. They spiral into codependency because they are both taking from one another in volumes that the other cannot satisfy without destroying himself. They take from one another because they are lacking the traditional sources for their needs, and they make poor decisions because there is no real authority around to guide them not to. It’s a sad and dangerous situation and its entirely too common to be as under-discussed as it is.”

  1. August and Jack are not necessarily likable characters. Were they intentionally crafted to be that way?

“Yes. They’re not designed to be liked. They’re more designed to be cared about or worried about. My goal was to make readers feel protective of them—regardless of their faults.
Also, upon finishing the book, I wanted readers to view them with a sort of wary caution and feel more reflective about their circumstances and the topic at hand, than have a ‘favorite’ between them. That unbalanced emotionally conflicted mood you felt after finishing the book was entirely intentional.”

  1. How did your knowledge in literary theory/criticism influence your writing process? (i.e. Did it make it more unique or meticulous?)

“I—as you’ve probably guessed— greatly enjoy queer theory. When I first drafted the manuscript, the relationship between August and Jack was even more subtle because I enjoyed the ambiguity of the situation (as well as its comparison to old queer coded text, in a way that echoes the fairy tale feel of the story). The only hints of interest originally came from secondary characters who verbally assert their observations that August has feelings for Jack to his face—a fact that he’s not ready to recognize until the end of the book. However, as the manuscript grew and matured, I began to value representation over artistic subtlety.   I originally wrote it as a meticulous, queer-coded ode to older braver stories (Like Marie de France’s Bisclavret). But refined it into something that would resonate much stronger with my intended audience. Not everyone has sat through Uni level Arthurian literature and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to respect and value that.”

  1. With whom do you identify the most, August or Jack? Do you love them equally?

“This is so hard.Well. I care about August a lot, but by god, my heart beats for Jack. The manuscript is written from August’s perspective of course—but he’s an unreliable narrator. If you have time to re-read the book from Jack’s perspective (or take a gander at the e-novella which is written in Jack’s perspective which is to be sold separately) the amount of love and sheer terror that he hides behind his teeth, even while he’s shouting demands, is stunning. Even as he twists himself into something terrible to suit August’s terrible needs, you can see him shivering in fear. There is not a second in this book where Jack is not looking at August and begging to be loved.  There is a feral-ness to that kind of hope that absolutely makes my veins sing.”

  1. What message do you want to impart to your research, particularly in regards to mental health, abusive relationships, and sexuality?

“The themes that I wanted to cover are: The negative effects of parental neglect, the devastation as a result of ignoring offered help when you need it, the importance of mental healthcare being appropriately suited to the needs of the patient, the wretchedness of our policing system when dealing with mental health fallout, and how students can slip through the cracks when their school cares more about their grades and classroom behavior than their overall wellbeing.

“As for sexuality, I feel a tenderness towards the ‘Questioning’ stage many people go through when navigating their identity. Jack is just a bi kid being bi. August, on the other hand, takes ages to correctly identify attraction: trying to fit that square block into round holes of ‘responsibility’ ‘duty’ ‘allegiance’ and ‘ownership’, before settling into a wordless yearning Meanwhile, he denies other people’s subtle suggestions the whole way. Sometimes it takes a bit of time and that’s okay. I also wanted the resolution of the feelings they had for each other to be the one good thing they got out of their wretched journey. I’m a sucker for happy endings.”

  1. Between August and Jack, whom would you pick to be your boyfriend/best friend/husband?

“August would be a fun boyfriend. Jack would be steadfast in a way that would make him a good husband. However, I think that separately they are both lacking and in order to have good balance they need to be together. Which, consequently, is exactly what happens: In my next book THE WEIGHT OF STARS (which is set in the same small town, 25 years in the future, about a different group of seniors attending the same school) the Main character’s best friend is Rina, August and Jack’s child. So you’ll get to see a taste of what healthy Polyamory looks like, as well as meeting August and Jack as adults.”

     7. What are the perfect songs to listen to while reading The Wicker King?

IM A HUGE NERD AND MADE A SOUNDTRACK AGES BEFORE THE ARCs WENT OUT SO HERE YOU GO.

You can also find the CD playlists that each of the characters have in the book HERE


 

About the author:

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K. Ancrum grew up in Chicago Illinois. She attended Dominican University to study Fashion Merchandizing, but was lured into getting an English degree after spending too many nights experimenting with hard literary criticism and hanging out with unsavory types, like poetry students. Currently, she lives in Andersonville and writes books at work when no one is looking.

Visit K. Ancrum’s website

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Book Review

There Is No Such Thing as Wrong Grammar

Love Is Both Wave and ParticleLove Is Both Wave and Particle by Paul Cody

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you, Macmillan, for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Light was something like human love. How could it be so smooth, so lovely and flowing and warm, the apex of human existence at times, and at other times so gritty, the cause of heartbreak and misery and misunderstanding and even murder?

Even though I was bothered by the author’s fondness for wrong grammar, I cannot deny that this book was so worth my time. It was heartwarming, raw, and so insightful. I particularly loved its unfiltered exploration and discussion of mental health. This inspiring story will stay with me for a long time.

Love Is Both Wave and Particle is basically the life story of two troubled teenagers, Sam and Levon. Both of them attend a private school for people with special needs, and they are asked by one of their teachers to write a biography, aka the story of their lives. Sam and Levon are expected to work on this project together as means of catharsis and self-discovery. Soon, everyone is suddenly intrigued by the gradual changes in Sam and Levon, and one question begs to be answered: is love somehow responsible?

It took me some time to appreciate this book. Since my current profession requires me to be a grammar Nazi, the intentional errors throughout the novel made me flinch occasionally. The dialogues were hard to detect because the author didn’t use quotation marks. Furthermore, the narrative was written in a very conversational style that was characterized by multiple comma splices and sentence fragments. I understood the intention behind such errors. Still, I couldn’t just ignore them even if I prayed. xD

I also had some trouble with the multiple POVs. People who knew Sam and Levon secretly contributed to the biography. Hence, there were many characters to analyze, as well as names to memorize. Honestly, I can’t remember all of them even now. Tee-hee. Looking at the bright side, I did appreciate that the author gave me the opportunity to get to know many of the side characters, whom I initially perceived as insignificant. Also, I genuinely loved that Sam’s and Levon’s parents were able to share their own stories since parents/adults are usually ignorant bystanders in YA.

Setting aside the technical/Formalist problems I had with this book, I am happy to tell you that it made an impact on me. Unlike other contemporary books nowadays, this one was unique and memorable. It dealt with serious topics like depression, self-harm, and sexuality in such a way that was straightforward but not overwhelming. Scientific facts about various things were also given, making the book both enlightening and credible. If you’re a nerd like me, this book will tickle your brain and make you smile.

For me, the most significant message of this book is that mental illness can be a product of nature or nurture. In other words, it can be triggered by your genes or environment (i.e. upbringing). In retrospect, Sam’s and Levon’s personal struggles depicted that mental illness can be a product of both. Of course, other factors may come into play. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the discourse of mental health is very relevant nowadays, and we should take it seriously.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed Love Is Both Wave and Particle, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a very meaningful book to read. If you want to enjoy it to the fullest, just pretend that there’s no such thing as wrong grammar. 😉

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Book Review

The Messed Up King

The Wicker KingThe Wicker King by K. Ancrum

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

Thank you, Macmillan, for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

codependency
noun co·de·pen·den·cy \ˌkō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another

August and Jack were such messed up characters. I didn’t expect this novel to be so weird. Still, I must say that it was very intriguing. It’s been a long time since I finished a book in three sittings. Overall, three words can be used to perfectly describe The Wicker King: queer, dark, and spellbinding.

Queer

When I picked up this novel, I immediately noticed its strange features. The titles of each chapter were seemingly random, the pages gradually became darker as the story progressed, and morose character portraits appeared every now and then. Thankfully, my fondness for literary theory/criticism enabled me to understand and appreciate the beauty of such organized chaos. For example, I realized that the gradual darkening of the pages was a clever metaphor for the characters’ journey into insanity. I don’t want to spoil anyone further, so I highly suggest that you Google “Modernism” or “stream of consciousness” before you start reading.

As an afterthought, The Wicker King is also queer in that one could question the sexuality of the protagonists. August and Jack’s relationship was predominantly platonic, but I could tell that there was something more between them. Whatever they had definitely blurred the distinction between bromance and actual romance.

Dark

Gleaning upon the definition of codependency supplied above, The Wicker King was a shocking exploration of one of the most controversial topics in YA/NA literature: abusive relationships. I was initially very supportive of August and Jack’s bromance, so I was utterly surprised when things took a dark turn.

Because of a nearly tragic event in their childhood, August firmly believed that he belonged to Jack. August was a “soldier,” and Jack was his “king”. In other words, August was willing to do everything that Jack commanded. Jack, who suffered from vivid hallucinations, obviously had to be hospitalized. However, little did I know that August also had mental issues to deal with. I was rendered speechless by the crazy, unhealthy, and illegal things they did just to fulfill a what-the-heck prophecy.

Spellbinding

Even though this book clearly wasn’t written to evoke positive emotions, it was hard to put down. If I didn’t have to go to work, I could’ve finished it in a few hours. I loved how most of the chapters consisted of only one page because it made the plot incredibly fast-paced. Plus, I was constantly intrigued by the mental health aspect of the book. Until now, the nerdy side of me wants to learn more about codependency. I would like to thank the author for giving me an enlightening reading experience.

The Verdict

I enjoyed The Wicker King because it’s the most unique book I’ve read this year. Still, I can’t confidently say that I loved everything about it. I cared for August and Jack, but their story probably deserves a different ending. (That is always up for debate.) 😉

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Book Review

Cheating with Max Holden

Kissing Max HoldenKissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Thank you, Macmillan, for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Gleaning upon the tenets of Formalism (i.e. “The author is dead”), please note that my thoughts are not directed to the author
.

Kudos to my second 1-star read this year. I actually dislike writing negative reviews because it just brings out the mean side of me. Also, I don’t want to waste my time brainstorming about something I didn’t even like. Still, it’s only logical to justify my rating for a book that a publisher kindly gave to me. So here we go. It’s time for a rant. I would like to apologize to my family, who shot me questioning looks after seeing me read such fluff.

This debut novel follows two annoying protagonists, Jillian Eldridge and Max Holden. They were very close when they were children, but a particular tragedy caused a rift between them. Now that they’re hormonal teenagers, Jill can’t help but fall in love with Max. Unfortunately (for Jill), Max has a girlfriend (whose name I can’t remember). When Max visits Jill after arguing with his lover, infidelity and a bunch of drama ensues.

Ever since I watched LilyCReads’s review of Anna and the French Kiss, my attitude towards books with “complicated” relationships changed for the better. I just cannot tolerate that thing called infidelity, aka cheating. I especially hate it when the cheaters try to justify (and escape the consequences of) their actions. The characters in Kissing Max Holden were exactly like that.

Between Jill and Max, I wasn’t sure who was more at fault. However, let me shed a light on Jill first. Max was the one who initiated the kissing sessions, but Jill obliged him even though she herself admitted that she didn’t want to be his Other Woman. To make things worse, Jill sugarcoated everything by hating on Max’s girlfriend, who was supposedly a *****. Man, I just couldn’t handle the hypocrisy. Just because Max’s girlfriend was mean and manipulative didn’t mean that it was all right for Jill to play Querida.

Jill made me roll my eyes a lot, but Max made my temper flare. I couldn’t understand his appeal. He was a playboy, a disrespectful son, and a disgusting alcoholic. I wasn’t surprised that the girls who were attracted to him were similarly…unprincipled. I really disliked him because he was such a bad influence to Jill; he was able to eclipse whatever remained of her conscience. All hail, Max the Tempter. I wouldn’t want to be associated with a person like him.

This might come as a surprise. Are you ready for it? JILL AND MAX WEREN’T THE ONLY CHEATERS IN THIS BOOK. Salt was rubbed into my wounds when it was revealed that someone important to Jill was also unfaithful. I resented that predictable plot twist, and I wished that I could forget it.

Initially, my rating was leaning toward 2 stars. Sadly, my patience reached 0% when Jill’s step-mother, Meredith, justified her infidelity. Apparently, it was okay for Jill to be guilt-free because she only had “good intentions” when it came to Max. In other words, she wasn’t a complete infidel. WHAT THE HECK?!

I’m sorry, I can’t do this anymore. I’m only reinforcing my negative emotions. For the sake of “looking at the bright side,” I shall enumerate the few virtues of this book.

1. You can read it in one sitting. (Probably because you would just want it to be over ASAP)
2. Jill and Max are perfect for each other. (Probably because they’re both so flawed)
3. It will make you laugh. (Probably in a mocking, not-so-delighted way)

Ultimately, I guess reading Kissing Max Holden was not a waste of time because it taught me one of life’s most important lessons: STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE WHO CAN’T KEEP IT IN THEIR PANTS.

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Author Interview

Q & A with Chelsea Bobulski

Hi, booknerds! I am so thankful to God for the opportunity to feature another special author. Chelsea Bobulski is the author of the upcoming YA fantasy novel, The Wood. I really enjoyed this book for many reasons (I gave it 4 out of 5 stars), so if you want to know what they are, check out my review. I hope that reading this interview will encourage you to pick up The Wood when it comes out on August 1, 2017. I personally loved her heartfelt answers. Have a great, bookish day! ^^

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  1. Who or what inspired you to write The Wood? Is it a metaphor for something in your life?

“My writing process for The Wood was unlike any other book I’ve ever written. At the time, I had been pursuing traditional publication for four years. I was on my fourth manuscript, which I had been working on for almost two years, and while it kept getting *really* close to being the one, it kept coming up short. After what must have been my tenth massive revision on the book (it’s hard to say for sure as I lost count of how many revisions I actually did on it), I was really starting to lose confidence in my abilities and, even worse, I was starting to lose my love for writing. Knowing I had to rediscover why I loved writing in the first place, I sat down at my keyboard, put on some instrumental music, and started free-writing whatever came to mind.

“What came out, over the course of several weeks, was the first fifty pages of The Wood (pages which, aside from the inclusion of a couple new scenes, have not changed much from that first draft). Winter’s voice came to me out of nowhere and just started talking to me about this magical wood and the time-traveling portals inside of it that she protected. It was as if she’d been waiting there all along in the recesses of my mind for me to tell her story. Once I got fifty pages in, I realized I should probably stop free-writing and start plotting before I lost all of the threads Winter and Henry kept hurtling my way, since this thing was clearly going to be A Book.

“I didn’t realize it when I was writing it, but The Wood really did become a metaphor for what I was going through at the time. I had received so many rejections over the years and kept getting closer and closer to publication, only to get the door slammed in my face over and over again, that I was really starting to doubt whether this was something I was actually meant to do with my life, or if I’d just been wasting the past four years. It took me to a really dark place for a while, where I felt like I should’ve done something more sensible with my life, like go to law school, even though telling stories was something that had been embedded in my very soul. I couldn’t imagine not writing, but at the same time, I kept wondering if the fact that I kept getting rejections was a sign that I was going down the wrong path and really messing up whatever plan God actually had for me. So the twisting, turning paths in Winter’s wood and the monsters that come out at night really did start to represent my journey to publication and the doubt monsters that would creep in whenever I felt like my writing wasn’t good enough. Writing THE WOOD ended up being a form of therapy for me, as I dealt with a lot of things from my past, both professionally and personally, and I am so thankful to have come out the other side feeling extremely happy and extremely blessed, finally living the dream that has been in my heart since I was a little girl.”

  1. What life lessons can readers glean from your book?

“I think a lot of the life lessons that Winter personally deals with center around learning how to handle the various (and often overwhelming) responsibilities in her life, both the ones she chose for herself and the ones that chose her. Life throws a lot of curveballs at all of us, and I think for the most part Winter is able to handle her responsibilities with grace, but she is human, so she does mess up from time to time like we all do.Winter also has to come to terms with the fact that you can’t ever really know everything that makes up a person—everyone has so many layers, so many factors accumulated from every experience, big and small, of their lives—even the people you’re closest to. No one really sees things the same way either, which means people will let you down, but that doesn’t necessarily make them purely evil, and people will love and take care of you, but that doesn’t necessarily make them purely good. It’s the gray space that people inhabit that makes them truly fascinating, and also extremely unpredictable. This can be a hard thing to learn when you think you know someone only to find out they aren’t who you thought they were, and Winter has to deal with the ramifications of that.”

  1. If you were given the chance to spend a day with Winter and Henry, what would you do?

“I would love to walk through the wood with Winter and see all of the magic and the mystery unfolding around me. As for Henry, I would love to take him to the mall, or maybe a football game, just to see how he would react (I can guarantee it would be hilarious!).”

  1. If you were a character in The Wood, who would you be, and how would you affect the plot?

“I would love to be Meredith, Winter’s best friend, and I would really love to bust in on Winter’s wood and finally figure out what the heck she’s been hiding. I just think Meredith would have such a funny reaction to it and such a different take on the whole thing that it would be very interesting to see.

Perhaps some fodder for a possible sequel…? ;)”

  1. If you could use the Wood for personal reasons, what would you do? (i.e. Would you go to the past and relive a happy memory?)

“I would *definitely* time travel (even though it’s against the rules). I wouldn’t want to go back and change anything, or affect the past in any way, but I would just love to witness it, everything from when dinosaurs roamed the earth all the way up through modern day. I would love to walk through ancient Egyptian palaces and the alleyways of medieval Venice. I would love to witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence, or attend an Edwardian dinner party at a fine country estate. I would just love to see the history I’ve been obsessed with ever since I was a child come to life in front of me, especially the quiet, everyday moments of all of these people who lived and breathed and loved long before we were ever here.

“On a personal level, I would also love to visit my grandpa. To go back and sit with him in his favorite recliner and watch the Masters while passing lemon drops back and forth to each other. To tell him how much I love him and how much he means to me one more time. He passed away when I was in seventh grade, so I was too young in the moments we spent together to realize they wouldn’t last forever. That there would come a day when I couldn’t hug him anymore, or hear his voice. I’d love to go back and tell him just how much he impacted my life, and how grateful I am that he was mine.

  1. Reading your acknowledgements made me see The Wood in a brand new way. How did your faith affect your writing process?

“As I mentioned before, I was going through a really rough time while writing The Wood, both professionally and personally. Professionally, I was plagued with doubt and anxiety and wondering if I’d made a huge mistake. Personally, my husband and I were dealing with a very shocking family tragedy, while also trying to get pregnant with our first child for over a year, to no avail. Feeling like I was losing hold of my two biggest dreams—becominga published writer, and becoming a mom—while simultaneously dealing with this other life-shattering thing put me in a very dark, very depressed, and very anxiety-driven place.

“I would not have been able to claw my way out of that dark place if it weren’t for Christ being right there beside me. I was raised a Christian and believed in God all my life; I prayed about everything, but I didn’t really understand what it truly meant to trust God and give everything up to him completely until I was going through this difficult time. My parents divorced when I was very young, and out of that experience I developed this frantic need to stay in control of everything, because I knew what it was like to have your entire world turn to dust, there one day and gone the next. So that’s what I tried to do as everything seemed to be falling apart around me—desperately stay in control. But the more I tried to control what was happening, the worse things got.

“Through it all, I felt God compelling me to give everything up to Him. To trust that He had a perfect plan for my life, and to be okay with the fact that I may never be published, and that I may never be a mom, because if those things weren’t meant for me, He would lead me to the life that I was meant to live. I just had to trust. It wasn’t easy, and I fought it quite a bit for a while, but when I finally gave in, things began to happen. I got the book deal I’d been dreaming about for five years. And, after nearly two years of trying, my husband and I became pregnant with our beautiful baby girl (who will be one year old this August!). God answered all of my prayers—He just wanted me to trust Him first, and learn to give Him control over everything. Once I did that, I not only received blessings in those areas of my life, but I learned how to recognize and appreciate the million other blessings that make up my life, and all of that combined is what got me out of that dark place and into the happiest, most peaceful placeI could ever imagine.

“Now, I don’t write a single word without asking God for guidance and inspiration first. My entire writing process has changed due to my ever-deepening faith, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. Suffice it to say, I walked through a very deep, very dark wilderness while writing THE WOOD, and my faith is what got me through to the other side.”

  1. Can we expect a sequel or companion novel to The Wood? I’m still not over that ending. xD

“There’s nothing in the works yet on the sequel or companion novel front, but I am definitely rooting for one! There is so much more I want to explore, both in Winter’s life and in the wood itself, which let me tell you has a whole host of secrets left to uncover! There’s always hope that if The Wood does well enough and its fans are vocal with their desire for a sequel, that my publisher may ask for one, so the best thing anyone can do to try to make this happen is recommend the book to friends and family and generally everyone they meet (I would be eternally grateful for this!) and to also ask their local libraries to order it. Posting reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, and sharing the book on social media, are also great ways of getting the word out there. But regardless of if there is a sequel, I am just so thankful for the opportunity to get to share this story with everyone, and I pray it does for others what great books have always done for me—transport them to another world and give them a fun escape from whatever they may be going through at the time. The best books, after all, take you on an adventure and make you feel like you’ve lived a whole other life inside your own. My biggest dream is that The Wood will make someone out there feel this way, as this is why I fell in love with books—reading and writing them—in the first place, that beautiful, transporting magic that is uniquely theirs.”


 

About the author:

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Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, Broadway musicals, and Buckeye pride. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, and promptly married her high school sweetheart. As a writer, she has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and obstacles they must overcome for a brighter future. She now lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband, her daughter, and one very emotive German Shepherd/Lab mix. Her debut young adult novel, THE WOOD, will be published by Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan on August 1, 2017.

She is represented by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Visit Chelsea’s website

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