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I recently came across an article in which an accomplished author said he tries not to read a great novel when he’s trying to write one himself.

Too late for me to follow that advice. Since July, I’ve been working on my very first young adult novel. As part of my research, I’ve read close to 30 books. And I love love loved (did I mention I loved?) Jennifer Niven’s latest title, her first for young adults, called All the Bright Places.

This book about a boy named Finch and a girl named Violet made me laugh, cry, and feel joy and pain all at the same time. With her story, told from alternating perspectives of Finch and Violet, Niven paints a beautiful picture of love, loss, hope, and despair. Probably every human emotion is covered so beautifully in its pages, and it was one of those books I didn’t want to put down and that I finished in a couple of days.

I don’t want to give away too much about the book, but from the first pages I was wrapped up in Finch and Violet’s story, which I felt was one of love, loss, and hope. I grew to care deeply for these characters. Of course the mother in me wanted to nurture and take care of them and guide their decisions. But like any parent will tell you, teenagers ultimately need to make many of their own decisions and find their own way in the world. So while reading All the Bright Places, instead of trying in my mind to steer the characters toward the light, I instead surrendered to being a mere passenger and bystander on their journey. It wasn’t always pleasant, but it was necessary.

In All the Bright Places, Niven has crafted a rich, beautiful, and deeply moving book that wrecked me—but in the best way possible. I am honored to have had the pleasure to interview her about the book and about writing in general via email. Here are highlights from our exchange:

JenniferNivenbyLouisKapeleris2

EZ: How did you come up with the title, All the Bright Places? When I read it, I immediately thought of the song, Looking for Love and its lyrics, “Looking for love in all the right places” and thought that made sense since at the heart of this book is an amazing love story.

JN: The book was originally titled You Make Me Lovely, but Random House worried that the word “lovely” might not appeal to male readers.  When they asked me to change it, I began searching for a new title in lines of poetry—I read everyone from Lord Byron to E.E. Cummings. I kept a very long list of possibilities, and was taking a break from my search when I spied Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! on my shelf.  As I read through it, I came across these lines: “Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.” And I thought about how that stanza related to Finch and, particularly, Violet. So my thought process went something like, “Bright Places… Find the Bright Places… The Bright Places… All the Bright Places.” It really grew on me, and I added it to my list, which I forwarded to my editor. Random House conducted an in-house poll, and that was the overwhelming favorite. In retrospect, I’m so happy we changed it!

EZ: You have an amazing body of work to your credit (including American Blonde, Becoming Clementine, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, and Velva Jean Learns to Drive as well as several nonfiction titles). How different an experience for you was writing All the Bright Places in terms of developing the voice and the characters? And did you do anything special to create what come across as authentic and strong voices for Finch, Violet and the other characters?

JN: I began writing the book the summer of 2013, and it only took six weeks to write. A lot of that had to do with the deadline I gave myself and also the fact that I once knew a boy much like Theodore Finch. When I first started writing, I didn’t let anyone know what I was working on, in case it didn’t go anywhere. I thought, I’ll just try to write a chapter and see what happens. And then I heard the first line of the book: Is today a good day to die? And I saw Finch standing on the ledge of his high school bell tower looking down at the ground and contemplating jumping. And suddenly there was a girl up there with him… Finch’s voice came out pretty much fully formed, as if he’d been waiting for me to write him. Violet took a bit more work, but for the most part, the writing of the story just flowed. I like to say it’s the book I’ve been carrying around inside of me for some time, but didn’t put on paper until 2013. As for writing the other teens in the book, I think it helps that part of me is and always will be fifteen. My best friend from high school is still my best friend, and when we’re together we’re teenagers again. J

EZ: How challenging and important was it for you to write Finch’s character with regards to his emotional state/challenges? Did you consult with any mental health experts e.g. psychologists or psychiatrists as part of your research?

JN: While I did do some research into mental illness/depression—which included speaking with experts—it was the experience of knowing and loving this boy I mentioned that informed my writing the most. In so many ways, I really just wrote the story I knew. Years ago, I knew and loved a boy, and that boy was bipolar. I witnessed up-close the highs and lows, the Awake and the Asleep, and I saw his daily struggle with the world and with himself. The experience was life changing.  Back then, I didn’t talk about it, but it’s important to talk about. I experienced firsthand the stigma associated with mental disorders—both from his perspective and from mine—and I realized that we need to make people feel safe enough to come forward and say, “I have a problem.  I need help.”  If we don’t talk about suicide or depression or mental illness, how can we expect anyone to reach out for help when they need it most? A young writer asked me recently, “How did you write All the Bright Places without crying over it?” The answer is that I did cry while writing it, but I also knew that it was okay to cry because that meant I was tapping into all of the emotion that was going to help me write what I needed to write. As for Violet, she is struggling with loss, and that is something I know too well. I’ve lost both my parents, all four grandparents, and numerous other family members and friends, so loss is something I know inside and out.

EZ: What made you decide to tell the story from both Finch and Violet’s perspectives? Did you know you’d do that from the beginning and did you write their stories separately and merge them together or write them chronologically or some other way?

JN: So many times I read a novel from one character’s perspective, and I find myself wondering about one of the other characters—what it’s like in this person’s head or that person’s head. It’s almost as if I’m being told the story in mono, when I want to hear it in stereo. When I sat down to write All the Bright Places, I heard Finch’s voice right away, and out came the first chapter. But I knew I wanted to write from Violet’s POV too, especially because she has to carry the story through to the end. As for the writing, I wrote the book chronologically, alternating between their voices as I went.

EZ: You’re getting incredible feedback and accolades about this book. It’s absolutely one of my favorites and you and it deserve high praise. I won’t give away the ending of the book, but I will say it tore my heart. Did you ever question how the book would end or play with alternative endings, though I do feel that the way it ended was very true to both characters.

JN: Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. I never questioned how All the Bright Places would end. I knew in my bones that the only ending could be the one I wrote, not just because too many stories about teen mental health are tied up in neat little packages with bows on top, but because it’s the ending I lived with the real-life Finch. Once again, it was the story I knew.

EZ: As a former major in psychology, I appreciate your extensive resource lists at the end of the book for suicide prevention, diagnosing mental health in teens, survivors, bullying, and abuse. Any you’d like to share with my readers?

JN: There are so many terrific resources, both national and international, a number of which are listed on my website and on the Germ Magazine links page. But I also want to mention Too Damn Young and Lauren’s Place, both of which are attempting to raise awareness and build community for young people in need.

EZ: Thanks so much for answering all my questions. In closing, can you describe in one sentence how you felt when you finished writing and editing the book?

JN: I felt spent, elated, depleted, full, proud, grateful, and deeply, wonderfully peaceful.

Image of Jennifer Niven courtesy of Louis Kapeleris.

You can learn more about Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places (which will be made into a movie starring Elle Fanning, woot!) and all her other great work on her website. You can also follow her on twitter (@jenniferniven), on Instagram (JenniferNiven), and on Facebook (Jennifer Niven).

Stay tuned for Part Two of my interview with Jennifer Niven coming soon.

Subscribe to my Stressipes blog here.

 

 

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Think ‘processed’ means bad for you? Processed foods can help you meet your food group quotas and nutrient needs. Check out nine processed foods that I and other RD experts recommend on EatThis.com.

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Can you eat just one cookie? I know I can. This is something I taught myself to do. It wasn’t easy at first, but once I gave myself permission to eat what I like and really taste and savor it, it made it that much easier to stop at just one.

Eat this, Not That asked me to weigh in on this question. Check out my response here.

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According to the latest Stress in America Survey conducted annually by the America Psychological Association, average stress levels have decreased since 2007. Despite this downward trend, many Americans say they continue to struggle to achieve their healthy living goals and that stress adversely affects their eating and sleeping habits.

The survey also finds that money is a tremendous cause of stress in America. Nearly one third of adults report that their finances or lack of money prevent them from living a healthy lifestyle.

Among women, those who have high stress related to money are more likely to report sedentary or unhealthy behaviors than women with low stress about money. Compared with women with low money-related stress, those with high money-related stress report watching television/movies for more than two hours per day (55 percent vs. 38 percent), surfing the Internet (57 percent vs. 34 percent), napping/sleeping (41 percent vs. 23 percent), eating (40 percent vs. 19 percent), drinking alcohol (21 percent vs. 9 percent) or smoking (19 percent vs. 7 percent).

Women who say their stress about money is high also are significantly more likely than women who say they have low stress about money to rate their health as fair or poor (34 percent vs. 13 percent).

Among all adults, about one third report eating too much or eating unhealthy foods over the last month in response to stress.

Can you relate to any or all of the above?

Stress is an inevitable part of all our lives. Finding ways to cope with stress in a healthful way is essential to preserve both health and sanity. Easier said than done, I know, but critical if you want to look and feel your best and optimize your overall health.

While there’s no one size fits all approach to managing stress, my book, Younger Next Week (Harlequin Nonfiction) is a tool you can use to move towards more balance in your life, especially in the face of stress. The book has an anti-aging twist, but really it’s about promoting vitality and managing stress among women. (Even some men have said that the book has helped them establish more healthful food and fitness habits).

In the book, I describe several ways stress affects our habits—e.g. it makes us overeat, eat late at night, over-caffeinate, or even drink too much alcohol); then I provide solutions including Stressipes® (remedies to help you overcome the negative effects stress has on your food, fitness, and lifestyle behaviors).

Younger Next Week also includes a Vitality Plan complete with food lists, easy-to-follow menus, and delicious recipes created by Robyn Webb. The book has been honored with three awards (Winner, 2014 USA Best Book Award, and two National Health Information Awards of Merit) and I hope it will help you and the women in your life learn to nurture and care for yourselves, especially in the face or wake of stress, and to not just survive it but thrive in spite of it.

To learn more about Younger Next Week, click here.

For more on stress management, check out some great resources by the American Psychological Association here.

How do you handle stress in a positive and productive way?

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If you enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday a little too much –one too many chicken wings or handfuls of chips smothered with guacamole or cheese, no need to feel guilty about one day of overindulging, if you otherwise have a balanced and nutrient-rich diet.

This is how to get back on track after Super Bowl Sunday, or any day you overeat or make less than healthy food choices…read more here on Today.com.

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Since 2015 is here, I thought I’d put together a list of some great ideas to help you help your kids eat better during the upcoming year.

Don’t worry—I’m not suggesting any kind of complete dietary overhaul. But I do recommend all of these no-fuss strategies suggested by some top dietitians to help move kids’ diets and habits in a more healthful direction. Read more here on Parents.com.

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I’ll admit it. I’ve been bingeing lately. Not on chocolate or cookies (not that there’s anything wrong with that, lol). But on books. Young adult books. Works of fiction. I can’t help myself.

In another installment of Books I Love on my Stressipes® blog, I thought I’d share my thoughts about a few recent reads. Warning: Most are about love and relationships, and other things that lend urgency and drama to childhood. I’m a sucker for it all. If you’re not, stop right now. If you might be or are, read on.

While most of these titles are aimed at teens, I know each of them resonated with me. My guess is that they’ll appeal to people of all ages who enjoy realistic fiction with all the drama typical of adolescence.

So without further ado, here are seven titles I think are worth talking about. Some are new, while others have been around for a while. (No spoilers, I promise!)

1. Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli. This was the first book I read during my current binge. Although it’s not considered a young adult book, I read it to my husband husband over the course of a few drives last summer as our 12-year-old read it as part of his summer reading for school. Milkweed is about a little orphan boy who flies (mostly solo) through Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II the best way he knew how. The book simultaneously devastated me while filling my heart with love and hope. The book got under my skin, probably because I had family members who survived or were killed in the Holocaust. To this day, I think of the protagonist, Misha Pilsudsky. And my husband, son and I still bring him up in conversation from time to time. He inspires all of us. I loved the story so much but could not read the last page aloud without crying. Not just a drip or two, but a full out cry. It was that brilliant and moving.

Favorite lines: pages 207-208

“My daughter does not pester me with questions. She knows everything that I told her mother, which means everything but Janina. All those years of talking, all those street corners—I kept my sister to myself.

One time Katherine said to me, “Are you ever going to tell me why you named her Janina?”

“Someday,” I said.”

2. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell. I hope that Rowell (who doesn’t know me, by the way) doesn’t think I’m a stalker because I’m always posting tweets about her/this book. What can I say? A) I loved this book SO much, and B) We authors need to support one another (not that Rowell needs my help, lol). But back to the book: As a girl who grew up in suburbia the mid 1980’s, I could relate to Eleanor and Park in so many ways. The school bus. The mixtapes. the music. The neighborhood. I related especially to the story of young love and of falling in love. The characters are so beautifully written—I could see each of them in my mind. They are fully formed. And not just the main characters, but ALL of them including their parents and school friends (and enemies). I cannot wait to see this book on the big screen (thankfully, Rowell is writing the screenplay).

Favorite lines: pages 113 and 132

Eleanor: “Are you sure you want them to meet me?”

Park: “Yes,” he said. “I want everyone to meet you. You’re my favorite person of all time.”

“But Park’s face was like art. And not weird, ugly art either. Park had the sort of face you painted because you didn’t want history to forget it.”

3. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. I hadn’t even heard of this extremely successful author until I saw this movie last spring. I loved so much about the book including the unfolding of a love story between two teens (one struck with terminal cancer) and thoughtful discussions about the meaning of life e.g. is it better to be loved (but not really known) by many or deeply loved by a few? The unique story and endearing characters made this book so appealing to me. And it made me want to learn how to write in a way that also moves people. It really moved me. I hope to someday be in touch with him to personally thank him for inspiring me to carve a new professional path for myself!

Favorite lines: pages 31-32:

“I liked Augustus Waters. I really really really liked him. I liked the way his story ended with someone else. I liked his voice. I liked that he took existentially fraught free throws. I liked that he was a tenured professor in the Department of Slightly Crooked Smiles with a dual appointment in the Department of Having a Voice That Made My Skin Feel More Like Skin.”

4. I’ll Give You The Sun, by Jandy Nelson. I’m sure like Rowell, Nelson (who also does not know me) doesn’t think I’m a stalker because I tweet to/about her so much. But I can’t help but share my love for this unbelievable book. I might otherwise burst! The book tells the story of Noah and Jude, twins, and the story unfolds going back and forth between Noah, at age 13, and Jude, at age 16. Everything about this book is EXTRAORDINARY and BRILLIANT. I can’t say enough about it. It’s like a gigantic poem with the most interesting and imaginative characters. Nelson does an unbelievable job allowing the reader to picture every movement in the main characters’ lives and every thought in their minds. The book lives on my bookshelf and I sometimes pick it up just to reread a few pages just because. It makes me feel a million different emotions all at once. The only real problem with the book is that it sets the bar SO high for all other YA books—or all other books, for that matter. It is simply BEYOND.

Favorite lines: pages 7 and 215

(told from Noah’s perspective): “Mom smiles at Jude and puts her hands on the table. I put mine on the table too, then realize I’m being a Mom-mirror and hide my hands in my lap. Mom’s contagious.”

(told from Jude’s perspective): “He’s looking at me in that way of his that should be illegal or patented and it’s affecting my ability to remember things like my name or my species and all the reasons a girl might go on a boy strike.”

5.     Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. This book was delightful. I really loved the story about Anna, a 17-year-old who’s forced by her parents to spend her senior year of high school in Paris. Sounds ideal, I know, but Anna was not on board with leaving her school, her life, her friends, and her hot crush to go somewhere where she knew no one. That is until she falls for someone. I won’t give the story away, but I will say that I love Perkins’ writing style. It’s rich, sweet and satisfying like a warm cup of hot chocolate with extra whipped cream.

Favorite lines: page 42

“I spend the rest of lunch in a stall. I miss home so much that it physically hurts. My head throbs, my stomach is nauseous, and it’s all so unfair. I never asked to be sent here. I had my own friends and my own inside jokes and my own stolen kisses. I wish my parents had offered me the choice: “Would you like to spend your senior year in Atlanta or Paris?”

Who knows, maybe I would have picked Paris.

What my parents never considered is that I just wanted a choice.”

6.     Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins. I finished this book today and loved it. It’s so engaging and so enjoyable, and I had trouble putting it down—especially after reading Anna and the French Kiss (see 5!) in which Isla and Josh, the main characters in this book, are introduced). Isla goes to private school in France and spends summers in New York City. When her crush who recently broke up with his girlfriend enters the picture, things change—sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Perkins does a great job fleshing out each character and crafting an enticing and believable story. And the cameos by Josh’s friends (some of whom star in Anna and the French Kiss) are an amazing and welcome element in this story about love, romance, and possibilities.

Favorite lines, page 45

“I think he likes me. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but I do know that it doesn’t matter anymore. It can’t matter. In physics, I feel his stare—a string as delicate and gossamer as a spider’s web, gently tugging at the back of my skull. I imagine snipping it loose with a pair of sharp scizzors. I don’t know if he’ll try to talk to me after class, and I don’t know what I should say if he does.”

7. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han. This book was very very sweet and I loved how unsent love letters to crushes are the story’s thread. Han writes in a best-friend kind of way that makes you want to continue on. She paints a vivid picture of The Song sisters and the love and complexity of such relationships. I never had a sister but I imagine Han’s portrayal of the Song sisters would resonate with many. Another reason I love the book? Josh…

Favorite lines: page 87

“Who’s the guy?”

“What guy?”

“The guy you’re dating?”

That’s when I see him. Peter Kavinsky, walking down the hallway. Like magic. Beautiful, dark-haired Peter. He deserves background music, he looks so good. “Peter. Kavinsky. Peter Kavinsky!” The bell rings, and I sail past Josh. “I’ve gotta go! Talk later, Josh!””

What are your favorite young adult books?

Thanks for indulging me! Coming soon: another 7 recent YA reads I’ve loved.

If you have a published young adult book and would like to share it with me for possible mention/review on my blog, please email me at elisa@elisazied.com.

About me: I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of 4 nutrition books. I’m also a speaker, spokesperson, and freelance writer and have my own Parents.com blog called The Scoop on Food. Currently trying my hand at fiction, I’m writing my first young adult novel. Let’s connect about all things nutrition, food, and books at @elisazied and @ezwriternyc on Twitter and at Elisa Zied on Facebook. I’m also on Instagram (Elisa Zied).

 

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Posted on December 15, 2014

I’ll admit it. I’ve been bingeing lately. Not on chocolate or cookies (not that there’s anything wrong with that, lol). But on books. Young adult books. Works of fiction. I can’t help myself. In another installment of Books I Love on my Stressipes® blog, I thought I’d share my thoughts about a few recent reads. Warning: Most are about love and relationships, and other things that lend urgency and drama to childhood. I’m a sucker for it all.

While most of these titles are aimed at teens, I know each of them resonated with me. My guess is that they’ll appeal to people of all ages who enjoy realistic fiction with all the drama typical of adolescence.

So without further ado, here are seven titles I think are worth talking about. Some are new, while others have been around for a while. (No spoilers, I promise!)

1. Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli. This was the first book I read during my current binge. Although it’s not considered a young adult book, I read it to my husband husband over the course of a few drives last summer as our 12-year-old read it as part of his summer reading for school. Milkweed is about a little orphan boy who flies (mostly solo) through Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II the best way he knew how. The book simultaneously devastated me while filling my heart with love and hope. The book got under my skin, probably because I had family members who survived or were killed in the Holocaust. To this day, I think of the protagonist, Misha Pilsudsky. And my husband, son and I still bring him up in conversation from time to time. He inspires all of us. I loved the story so much but could not read the last page aloud without crying. Not just a drip or two, but a full out cry. It was that brilliant and moving.

Favorite lines: pages 207-208

“My daughter does not pester me with questions. She knows everything that I told her mother, which means everything but Janina. All those years of talking, all those street corners—I kept my sister to myself.

One time Katherine said to me, “Are you ever going to tell me why you named her Janina?”

“Someday,” I said.”

2. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell. I hope that Rowell (who doesn’t know me, by the way) doesn’t think I’m a stalker because I’m always posting tweets about her/this book. What can I say? A) I loved this book SO much, and B) We authors need to support one another (not that Rowell needs my help, lol). But back to the book: As a girl who grew up in suburbia the mid 1980’s, I could relate to many elements of the book. Especially to the story of young love and of falling in love. The characters are so beautifully written—I could see each of them in my mind. They are fully formed. And not just the main characters, but ALL of them including their parents and school friends (and enemies). I cannot wait to see this book on the big screen (thankfully, Rowell is writing the screenplay).

Favorite lines: pages 113 and 132

Eleanor: “Are you sure you want them to meet me?”

Park: “Yes,” he said. “I want everyone to meet you. You’re my favorite person of all time.”

“But Park’s face was like art. And not weird, ugly art either. Park had the sort of face you painted because you didn’t want history to forget it.”

3. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. I hadn’t even heard of this extremely successful author until I saw this movie last spring. I loved so much about the book including the unfolding of a love story between two teens (one struck with terminal cancer) and thoughtful discussions about the meaning of life e.g. is it better to be loved (but not really known) by many or deeply loved by a few? The unique story and endearing characters made this book so appealing to me. And it made me want to learn how to write in a way that also moves people. It really moved me. I hope to someday be in touch with him to personally thank him for inspiring me to carve a new professional path for myself!

Favorite lines: pages 31-32:

“I liked Augustus Waters. I really really really liked him. I liked the way his story ended with someone else. I liked his voice. I liked that he took existentially fraught free throws. I liked that he was a tenured professor in the Department of Slightly Crooked Smiles with a dual appointment in the Department of Having a Voice That Made My Skin Feel More Like Skin.”

4. I’ll Give You The Sun, by Jandy Nelson. I’m sure like Rowell, Nelson (who also does not know me) doesn’t think I’m a stalker because I tweet to/about her so much. But I can’t help but share my love for this unbelievable book. I might otherwise burst! The book tells the story of Noah and Jude, twins, and the story unfolds going back and forth between Noah, at age 13, and Jude, at age 16. Everything about this book is EXTRAORDINARY and BRILLIANT. I can’t say enough about it. It’s like a gigantic poem with the most interesting and imaginative characters. Nelson does an unbelievable job allowing the reader to picture every movement in the main characters’ lives and every thought in their minds. The book lives on my bookshelf and I sometimes pick it up just to reread a few pages just because. It makes me feel a million different emotions all at once. The only real problem with the book is that it sets the bar SO high for all other YA books—or all other books, for that matter. It is simply BEYOND.

Favorite lines: pages 7 and 215

(told from Noah’s perspective): “Mom smiles at Jude and puts her hands on the table. I put mine on the table too, then realize I’m being a Mom-mirror and hide my hands in my lap. Mom’s contagious.”

(told from Jude’s perspective): “He’s looking at me in that way of his that should be illegal or patented and it’s affecting my ability to remember things like my name or my species and all the reasons a girl might go on a boy strike.”

5.     Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. This book was delightful. I really loved the story about Anna, a 17-year-old who’s forced by her parents to spend her senior year of high school in Paris. Sounds ideal, I know, but Anna was not on board with leaving her school, her life, her friends, and her hot crush to go somewhere where she knew no one. That is until she falls for someone. I won’t give the story away, but I will say that I love Perkins’ writing style is rich, sweet and satisfying like a warm cup of hot chocolate with extra whipped cream.

 

Favorite lines: page 42

“I spend the rest of lunch in a stall. I miss home so much that it physically hurts. My head throbs, my stomach is nauseous, and it’s all so unfair. I never asked to be sent here. I had my own friends and my own inside jokes and my own stolen kisses. I wish my parents had offered me the choice: “Would you like to spend your senior year in Atlanta or Paris?”

Who knows, maybe I would have picked Paris.

What my parents never considered is that I just wanted a choice.”

 

  1. 6.     Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins. I finished this book today and loved it. It’s so engaging, so enjoyable, and I had trouble putting it down—especially after reading Anna and the French Kiss (another Perkins book that I finished last week in which Isla and Josh, the main characters in this book, are introduced). Isla goes to private school in France and spends summers in New York City. When her crush who recently broke up with his girlfriend enters the picture, things change—sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Perkins does a great job fleshing out each character and unfolding the story. And the cameos by Josh’s friends (many of whom are main characters in Anna and the French Kiss) are an amazing and welcome element in this story about love, romance, and possibilities.

 

Favorite lines, page 45

“I think he likes me. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but I do know that it doesn’t matter anymore. It can’t matter. In physics, I feel his stare.—a string as delicate and gossamer as a spider’s web, gently tugging at the back of my skull. I imagine snipping it loose with a pair of sharp scizzors. I don’t know if he’ll try to talk to me after class, and I don’t know what I should say if he does.”

 

7. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han. This book was very sweet and I loved how unsent love letters to crushes are the story’s thread. Han writes in a best-friend kind of way that makes you want to continue on. She painted a vivid picture of The Song sisters and the love and complexity of such relationships. I never had a sister but I imagine Han’s portrayal of the Song sisters would resonate with many. And then there’s Josh…

 

Favorite lines: page 87

“Who’s the guy?”

“What guy?”

“The guy you’re dating?”

That’s when I see him. Peter Kavinsky, walking down the hallway. Like magic. Beautiful, dark-haired Peter. He deserves background music, he looks so good. “Peter. Kavinsky. Peter Kavinsky!” The bell rings, and I sail past Josh. “I’ve gotta go! Talk later, Josh!””

What are your favorite young adult books?

Thanks for indulging me! Coming soon: another 7 titles of my recent YA reads.

If you have a published young adult book and would like to share it with me for possible mention/review on my blog, please email me at elisa@elisazied.com.

 

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Here’s a segment on new menu labeling on CBS.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just released final menu labeling rules. But will they help kids eat better? My latest Scoop on Food post for Parents Magazine.

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