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THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS: The Book That Is!

Here’s the first thing I will tell you about this book:

It is far, far better than that awful pun in the title of this blog post.

Here in the Bookyard, we’re all sprinting around, screaming in glee, overcome with fits of uncontrollable fist-pumping — because today, Skylar Dorset’s book is OUT IN THE WORLD!

Chuck Taylors, a red rose, and a reflecting pool that breaks the laws of optics: what's not to love?
Chuck Taylors, a red rose, and a reflecting pool that breaks the laws of optics: what’s not to love?

“Romantic, suspenseful, and witty all at once — ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets NEVERWHERE.” — Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the EVERNIGHT series

This book features Boston, young love, AND faerie princesses. How, you may ask? Take a look at the jacket copy.

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

And if you’re as hooked as I am, check out the excerpt on Amazon!

GIVE ME THIS BOOK, you say!

You can have it with a few clicks: Indiebound | B&N | Amazon

You see that head? There’s some weird stuff going on in here.

Who’s behind THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS? The brilliant Skylar Dorset, a born-and-bred New Englander who lives in Boston (mostly, it seems, due to her love for JOHNNY TREMAIN: our kind of woman!) with her cardboard Doctor Who cut-out and a head full of stories. You don’t want to miss her website, which includes lots of behind-the-scenes information about the book as well as a veritable smorgasbord of tastefully chosen GIFs.

What’s that you say? You want to hear more about why we’re so thrilled that June 3 has, at last, drawn nigh?

Well, if you twist my arm…

“Half-ogre and half-faerie? Gnome-hunting guardian aunts and a Salem wizard? There’s nothing I love more than a fantastical romp, whether it be through beautiful Boston or at the perils of a Seelie Court, and THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS has that in spades — plus enchantments, faery magic, and prophecy! What more can you ask for from a gorgeous new debut?” — Rin Chupeco, THE GIRL FROM THE WELL

“Faeries, secrets, and finding love while trying to survive? I cannot wait to dive into Skylar Dorset’s THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS!” — Sarah Bromley, A MURDER OF MAGPIES

“I had the luck to get my hands on an ARC of THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS, so I can tell you that you’re in for a treat! Imaginative, fun, and wonderfully written! The world of books is better for having Skylar Dorset in it!” — Mary Crockett, DREAM BOY

“I also got my greedy hands on an ARC of THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS, and it blew me away. The voice and writing are absolutely captivating, and the comparisons to ALICE IN WONDERLAND and Neil Gaiman’s NEVERWHERE are wonderfully apt. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!” — AdriAnne Strickland, WORDLESS

“I’m such a fan of magic and fairy tales so this book is right up my alley. I love Dorset’s twist on selkies. THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS gives enchantments and hidden pasts a whole new meaning.” — Christina Farley, GILDED

“As a new mom of a three-month-old baby girl, trust me when I say that I need books to whisk me away from diaper duty and infant howling! That’s why I’m so looking forward to Skylar Dorset’s THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS. A story about a teenage girl who finds out she’s a half-faerie, half-ogre princess and who happens to have potentially murderous queen mother? Sign me right up!” — Caroline Richmond, THE ONLY THING TO FEAR

You had me at gnomes and Beacon Hill. Toss in a bat-ass crazy dad and hot Selkie, and what’s not to love? Cannot get my hands on this book fast enough!” — Trisha Leaver, CREED

Okay. I’m trembling, either from bookish excitement or the large quantity of coffee ingested while drafting this post. I’ll impute it to the former. Skylar, from all the Bookyard writers, a sincere congratulations — and HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

What I Really Mean…!

In the Elton John song “Your Song,” the composer of the romantic song admits that he’s forgotten if his lover’s eyes are green or blue, but anyway, what he really means is that they’re the most beautiful eyes he’s ever seen.

I was thinking about this song the other day as I read this really fascinating article about the “hidden messages” in children’s literature. 

Because, you see, at a certain point, our words are no longer entirely our words, and we can no longer control the messages that other people read into them. It’s entirely possible that the author of “The Little Engine That Could” didn’t intend it to be read as a feminist text, but does that really matter anymore? We can’t tell you what to think about the words we put on paper, because we can’t control your thoughts.

And, the more that I think about it, the more I don’t really want to. I want you to read my words and come up with your own spin, your own interpretation. I want my book to be about something personal for you. I don’t know you, but I want you to feel like I do, like I’m writing something completely and entirely for you. And, in all honesty, it might not be something I was even conscious of while I was writing it, but I don’t think that makes your reading of it any less valid. Books are a joint venture in the end: I give you words from my heart, and you take them into your heart, and on whatever level we have connected, we create our joint conversation: Our Unique Book. Because everyone reads a book differently, and that is the joy of books. They’re not black or white, they’re prisms

That said, what I do hope is that we do connect, somehow, someway. That is my greatest dream and fondest wish. We might disagree on whether the eyes I was writing about were green or blue. But I hope that what we do agree about is that what I meant was that they’re pretty gorgeous. 🙂

skylardorset

Skylar is a native Rhode Islander who fully believes that the best type of ice cream shake is called a cabinet (and she prefers a chocolate one). Boston gave her a degree in English (from Boston College), a degree in law (from Harvard), and the setting for her first novel, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS, about a teenager who finds out she’s half-faerie-princess and half-ogre. Skylar loves tea (hot and iced), breakfast for dinner, and the Red Sox. You can find her wasting time on Twitter and Tumblr.

My Top Five Reads of 2013 and the return of the Nice Guy

© Zolthar | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
© Zolthar | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

My TBR pile is an ever-growing monster. As always, I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to in 2013, but I did read some great ones. Below you will find my top five, in no particular order. I loved them all!!

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell    e&pcover

2013 is the year that I, and thousands of others, fell in love with Rainbow Rowell. For real. I have a serious author crush on her. The nostalgia of first love, the heartbreak of being awkward in your own skin, the power of first touches of intimacy and so much more, Eleanor & Park made me ACHE with it all. I cried like, five times reading this book. Every step of their growing relationship felt so real. THE FEELINGS! This book reminded me the books I really love reading (and writing) are the ones that challenge me to ride along not just on events or thoughts of a character, but the feelings that accompany the experiences.

2. So I better follow up with . . . Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell    fangirlcover

Fangirl was amazing it’s own right. Trying to choose between Fangirl and Eleanor & Park would be impossible because I liked them for completely different reasons. Fangirl is about losing yourself in the safety of the intoxicating allure of fiction. And more specifically, in fanfiction. Fiction (as I admitted above) gives you all the feels! Without all the disappointment and lasting scars and heartbreak that real life can sometimes bring. Fangirl also champions . . . the nice guy. APPLAUSE! Nearly everyone I know loves themselves a story of the badboy. But I find it so refreshing when the female protag (in this case Cath) can connect with someone she doesn’t have to save, change, or get to stop brooding. Levi is a nice guy. He’s a good guy. And that is so hot.

3. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharpe   spectacularnowcover

Can we be honest? This book WRECKED me. Sutter isn’t a badboy in a real, true badboy sense. Stay with me here: He is an alcoholic. He is thoughtless. He is reckless. And the love of a good woman could save him. So maybe his IS a badboy. But damn if I didn’t love him and root for him and cry for him and also want to punch him in the face. And then I wanted to punch Tim Tharpe in the face! (Not really. I would never. Please don’t sue me, Tim Tharpe, I loved your book.) It’s hard to talk about this book without spoilers BUT I’ll just leave it saying that the MOVIE (yes I’m going to mention the movie which a lot of writers hate) was able to say some things that maybe Tim Tharpe could not in Sutter’s POV. For one, Sutter has a HUGE heart. And EVERYONE including Sutter has a chance to move beyond their own damage and be the person they want to be. On a very personal note (I did not realize this post was going to be so personal but that’s what these books do) it’s so real that everyone has the capacity for change. Great change. The just need a reason. Sutter has a reason.

4. Hysteria by Megan Miranda           hysteriacover

I also have an author crush on Megan Miranda ever since Fracture. She writes characters that are accessible and relatable to which amazing and frightful things happen to. Meghan Miranda, it seems, is also a fan of the Nice Guy. APPLAUSE! Hysteria scared me. It challenged me. And there’s a love story with a nice guy. What else can I say. I should say more, because of the author crush, but this post is getting very long and I’m sure she will be on next year’s post so I’ll promise to write about her first next time. Okay?

5. This is a cheat. The Last Policeman/Countdown City by Ben Winters (That’s two books. See what I did there?)
countdowncitycover

This is getting out of control, but I think I also have a crush on Ben Winters. And, as I confessed to him on Twitter, on his protag Hank. Hank is a standup guy. He’s like a throwback good guy (APPLAUSE) that you imagine your granddad was back in his day. Because I don’t know anyone like him. His just so chill. What’s he about? Duty, honor, respect. See how chill he is? And, like the honeybadger (there should be a link here for youtube) he just don’t give a shit that the world is going to end. He has a job to do. A murder to solve.  And doggone it, he’s going to do it. Waiting for book three. Summer 2014. (Unless the world ends.)

Read any of the above? Want to share your fav read of 2013? Hate nice guys? Love them? I heart comments!

You can also find me on Twitter! @MonicaYAWriting