Spotlight on Lilliam Rivera

OTBF BANNER

I was lucky enough to be chosen for a blog tour spotlighting authors that will be in attendance of this FANTASTIC YA BOOK EVENT!!

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is a YA book festival that is home to many YA authors and fans alike. The event is completely free to the public! I don’t know about you but getting to meet some of my favorite YA authors with no charge and no tickets is literally one of my favorite things in the world. This wonderful event is sponsored by the lovely Once Upon A Time bookstore of Montrose and thanks to them, there will be books and merch available for purchase 🙂

So join us on Saturday, March 25th, from 9AM to 5PM at Colony High School located at: 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761

Spotlight on Lilliam Rivera

About The Education of Margot Sanchez

the education of Margot Sanchez.jpgPretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal

Goodreads | Amazon

About Lilliam Rivera

lilliam rivera.jpgOriginally from the Bronx, NYC, Lilliam Rivera is a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and a 2015 Clarion graduate. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from PEN Center USA, Elizabeth George Foundation, and A Room of Her Own Foundation. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Latina, among others. She hosts the Los Angeles-based radio show Literary Soundtrack on Radio Sombra and lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Instagram | Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Interview

1. Tell us a little about your book.

The Education of Margot Sanchez is a coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old Latina who is forced to work at her father’s failing supermarket in the South Bronx. Over the course of a summer, Margot discovers the realities of her family life, the beauty of the Bronx, and the strength of her own voice.

2. What inspired this story?

My story was inspired by the many young adult novels I read growing up, especially Judy Blume novels. The story is universal with a setting in the South Bronx and a Latina telling the story.

3. Why make the main character a person of color?

That’s an interesting question. There was never a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have a Latina protagonist. I grew up with a lack of young adult novels with a person of color at its forefront. I write for those that never had a chance to see themselves in a book. My stories will always come from there.

4. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always been a writer ever since I was a little girl walking around with a pad and pen. My love for writing led me to a career in journalism. In the last five years I’ve been writing fiction. I really love it.

5. What steps were taken to get this book published?

I did this the old fashioned way. After finishing the novel, I queried agents to see if they were interested in reading it. At that time, I was also submitting short stories to literary publications. Some literary agents began reaching out to me wanting to know if I had a novel. Eventually I went with my current agent Eddie Schneider who pulled the book from the slush pile. He then submitted the manuscript to various publishing houses. Margot Sanchez found a home in Simon & Schuster with the amazing editor Zareen Jaffrey.

6. What was editing like?

The process was fairly easy. Zareen sent me an editorial letter that included notes on things she wanted me to expand on. I let her notes sit with me for a day and then I got to work. At the time I was working full time, I would bring my laptop and walked to a nearby park to edit during my lunch hour. I had a fairly quick deadline so I had no time to waste.

7. What’s your writing space like/what’s on your desk?

I don’t have an office so I write at my kitchen table. I converted a butcher’ block into my portable office space with a printer. The side of the refrigerator is where I post images that inspire me. Unfortunately, when it’s time to eat, everyone is in my office.

8. Do you write with music?

I don’t write to music. I need there to be absolute quiet but I did create a playlist for my novel. You can find it on Spotify! There are classic rap songs like “South Bronx” by Boogie Down Productions, “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, and the Lost Ones” by Lauryn Hill.

9. Any tips for writer’s block/new writers/writers trying to get published?

My advice would be to try to write everyday. When I’m stuck, I put down what I’m writing and work on another story or journal-write. If I continue to write everyday I don’t feel like my current project is insurmountable. It’s also so important to finish. Finish what you are writing and celebrate. Then go back and revise!

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What Light

51vnabl1eql-_sx330_bo1204203200_Title: What Light
Author: Jay Asher
Original Publication Date: October 18th, 2016
Original Price: $18.99 (Hardcover)
Number of Pages: 251
Starkiller Rating: ★★★★✫

Disclaimer: I received this book from Razorbill in exchange for an honest review.

I read Thirteen Reasons Why  a couple years ago and completely fell in love. When I heard that Jay Asher had another book coming out, I knew I would have to add it to my To Read list. With the help of my lovely book bud, Kevin, I got an ARC edition, but decided to save it for the holidays. Well the holidays came and I began the book, then the holidays went and I was only a few chapters in.

Something about the book felt off to me. I just couldn’t place what it was. It wasn’t what I was expecting. It all seemed too sugary sweet. But then crept in a bit of darkness that added a much needed bit a conflict. Now when I say darkness, I don’t mean heavy drug use and murder haha but Caleb’s (the love interest) story is not as black and white as it first seemed.

There are typical young adult contemporary cliches and nuances that come along with the territory and I found myself growing a little tired of them but within the last 1/4 of the book, something changed. The romance began to creep it’s way into my frozen over heart and chipped away at the outer layers. By the end, my eyes were welling with tears of happiness, full of glee, giddily hugging my book and so happy that I stuck around to finish it.

I think my biggest problem with this book had absolutely nothing to do with the book itself. It was all me, expecting to have another Thirteen Reasons Why on my hands when this book was completely different but just as good in it’s own sweet, heartwarming way.

Definitely recommend reading this book at winter time because reading it with a warm cup of joe in my lap was definitely a highlight of this past season. ❤

 

Lola and the Boy Next Door

22247695Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Original Publication Date: September 29th, 2011
Original Price: $10.99 (paperback)
Number of Pages: 338
Starkiller Rating: ★★★★✫

Quick Synopsis: Lola’s unique and eccentric, has a hot older boyfriend, her life is pretty perfect, until she’s forced to live next to the boy who broke her heart.

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Anna and the French Kiss

17453983Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Original Publication Date: December 2nd, 2010
Original Price: $10.99 (paperback)
Number of Pages: 372
Starkiller Rating: ★★★★✫ (4.5/5)

Quick Synopsis: Anna is forced to leave her hometown of Atlanta to attend a boarding school in Paris. She is devastated but after meeting a group of unique and welcoming individuals, maybe life in Paris won’t be so bad?

First, can we all just “hahaha” at my synopsis? It’s like one synopsis will be awesome and the next will sound so super cheesy. Guess which one this synopsis is.

This was my first Stephanie Perkins book. Before this, I had only read her short story in My True Love Gave to Me. But Kevin, who I’m sure you all should know by now, recommended Perkins’ work to me several times stating that Perkins work is like candy because it’s just that sweet. That is the absolute BEST description of anything I’ve ever heard.

Perkins’ characters are relatable in a strange way. It was so easy to see pieces of myself in almost every character and that’s kind of amazing. I feel like a lot of people would feel the same why by reading these characters. Paris also becomes its’ own character and it’s so lovely. The way Perkins describes and writes Paris almost made me feel like I was actually there or like I had actually been there before. I could picture it all so beautifully.

This is the sweetest and cutest romance I have read and I am tremendously excited to read the second installment ❤

 

#TBT Jesse Andrews at The Americana

Okay, my bad. I’ve been gone for a bit. Stay tuned for a personal update post.

But let’s get to what you actually came here for. On April 8th, 2016 (a while ago, I know) I met one of my absolute favorite authors, Jesse Andrews.

It was for his book tour for his newest young adult novel, The HatersThe Haters is about two boys attending a Jazz camp and quickly realizing that they don’t belong. They start “jamming” with an intensely unique girl and decide that their new band, must go on tour. Because “the road” is where bands get good, not in some lame Jazz camp.

In my grande adventure to being an individual I attended my first signing on my own. Ok, kind of. I was on my own but then I quickly met up with Kevin. We walked around the store picking out the best condition books to purchase and have signed. While doing so, I found out that Kevin was actually going to introduce Jesse Andrews! I was filled with excitement for him.

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After Kevin’s wonderfully delivered introduction, Jesse Andrews began his discussion. Alright, look. I’ve been to my fair share of book signings/panels/discussions and this was by far one of the top 3 favorite events ever. Jesse Andrews was one of the most awkwardly charismatic people I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding a conversation with. While he was up there, he dove into his first attempts at writing and especially writing a novel. He focused on how “terrible” his writing was and how many rewrites or his work he needed to do. It was amazing. He talked about the rejection and the hard work but also how rewarding the entire process was. It was spectacular, honestly. It was definitely a great discussion for writers/fans of his work/fans of ya.

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He spent most of the discussion flailing about and I absolutely loved it. He was so animated and passionate about the topics and it was just so lovely to witness. After the general discussion and some questions from the audience, he read an excerpt from The Haters and I was instantly so excited to read it. I love Jesse Andrews’ writing style because it is so realistic and the portion I heard from this book was no different.

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I got so much stuff signed, to be honest. He signed my “S” (that I’ve gotten multiple authors to sign), my blu-ray of Me and Earl and The Dying Girl, as well as my hardcover copy of the book, and my hardcover copy of The Haters. It was kind of hilarious because while he was signing my stuff, we talked about Kevin for a bit and he accidentally signed my book to Kevin. He felt so genuinely bad and I was like “Hey, it’s okay. Kevin’s my friend and this makes for a good story.”

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But come on, we’re like totally adorable.

YallWest 2016 Y’all

Guess what I did this weekend. Yup, I attended the second YallWest Festival in Santa Monica and it was such a fun time!

Much like last year, I only got to go for one day. This time it was Sunday. So, of course, I can’t speak for how amazing Saturday was, but I’m sure it was a jolly good time.IMG_8065

I was a little bummed to find out I could only go one day but it was more than alright  when I actually go to the event. This year was bigger and better, honestly. There were so many more booths of awesome brands and book related companies and publishers giving out freebies and lovely information.

Not just that, though. There were some truly spectacular panels going on as well. Last year I sought out to make more time for panels and I’m so very glad that I did.

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This Raging Light

23719423Title: This Raging Light
Author: Estelle Laure
Original Publication Date: December 22nd, 2015
Original Price: $17.99 (hardcover)
Number of Pages: 288
Starkiller Rating: ★★★★✫

Quick Synopsis: After a series of events that Lucille could not control, she is left to care for her younger sister and herself, all while juggling high school, and her first love.

I’m not sure how I feel about that synopsis but it’s what I came up with. I received and ARC edition of this book and instantly was drawn to it. The cover is absolutely gorgeous. Very simple but very eye-catching.

This is Estelle Laure’s debut novel and I must say that it’s quite a debut. It tackles some intensely deep themes and issues that people can sometimes gloss over. There are themes of abandonment and even mental health in not only adults but adolescents as well.

All of this was woven into a highly realistic love-story. I won’t give much detail but I must say, similar things have happened to me and I really felt for Lucille throughout the book. However, there isn’t just one “love-story” in this book. There is the “typical” romance, but then there is also a sisterly love story, and the love between best friends. All three of these stories are remarkable.

Laure has a wonderful way with words. I never full expect to highlight when I read but it always ends up happening. This book was exactly the same. There were so many absolutely lovely quotes that I just had to highlight and save for later.

How does a person go from being like a decorative component in the house that is your life — a nice table, perhaps–to being the pipes, the foundation, the center beam without which the entire structure falls apart? How does a barely noticeable star become your very own sun? (13-14)

(note, this quote was taken from an ARC edition of This Raging Light by Estelle Laure, published in 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers