DC Mafia

Writey Friends and Exciting News!

by sarahenni on April 5, 2012

I am way, way beyond excited to be writing this post right now. My amazing friend, critique partner, and the person who taught me The Ways of Tumblr Sumayyah Daud appeared in Publisher’s Marketplace today:

Sumayyah Daud’s debut BEGIN AGAIN, about a seventeen-year-old girl trapped inside a pseudo-reality of her own making, trying to discover what secrets she has locked inside her own mind, before it’s too late, to Julie Strauss-Gabel at Dutton, byAmmi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency (World).

I’m ecstatic. I’m thrilled. Above all things I’m so PROUD of Sumayyah for writing this incredible book!

That’s Sumayyah, with other super-ladies Kaitlin Ward and Kirsten Hubbard

I met Sumayyah when Suzanne Collins came to town, and for the last two years I have lured her to Shake Shack to get her crazy-smart opinions on Sherlock, Game of Thrones, and all things YA. I jumped at the chance to beta read for her, and guys, Begin Again knocked me out. I stayed up all night reading it.  I can tell you that:

  1. There is a boy. His name is James because he is perfect. And sorry but he’s totally mine, though Dawn and I may need to have a knock-down drag-out over this.
  2. There is a world and a story that is so beautifully created it will completely suck you in.
  3. Kiran. KIRAN. She is a strong, complicated, intelligent, awesome character that I can’t wait for you all to meet.

Congrats, girl. I couldn’t be happier for you. Next shake is on me!


RTW: Best Book ‘o the Month

by sarahenni on February 1, 2012

Welcome to another Road Trip Wednesday, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs.

This week’s topic is:

What was the best book you read in January?

In addition to getting me out of my Game of Thrones writing rut, John Green’s newest kept me up until 2:30 AM reading, crying, and hugging my cat, teetering on the verge of an existential crisis. It made me feel ALL THE FEELINGS.


But it’s disingenuous of me to say that I just love the book. I do love the book. Certainly it would stand on its own, but what raises The Fault in Our Stars specifically and John Green generally is a community of YA readers called Nerdfighters. I met them, en masse, at Green’s Jan. 11 Washington, D.C. book tour stop. Through being a fan of John Green I got to see real teens (a crapload of them) find a connection to books, to a thirst for knowledge, to the desire to think about more than what MTV thinks they think (what), and most of all a connection to each other*.

John Green, by being a nice guy, an incredible author, and someone who does not ever talk down to teens, got a room filled up like this:

With teens who greeted an author like a rock star, sing along to songs about Quarks, and ask questions about feet and the meaning of life and get equally thoughtful answers. Teens who sit quietly and soak it up when someone talks to them like the intellectual-conversation-starved people they are, instead of just asking what college they’re going to.

The Fault in Our Stars was an incredible book. Amazing. Read-it-with-a-pencil-because-you’re-gonna-want-to-underline-stuff good. It flirted with too patently philosophical, but never crossed the line. I recommend it to humans who like thinking about humanity.

What awes me even more than John Green’s prose, though, is the opportunity he’s giving teens to find their like-minded peers. To celebrate life and all its complexities with them. If I’d had the Vlogbrothers in high school, I might’ve done some things differently. I would have met a lot more people I felt connected to, probably, and I would’ve felt less embarrassed to like the weird shit I liked like.

But you know what? I’m 26 now, and he’s still giving me that.

(A substantial portion of the DC Mafia, from right to left: Rick Lipman, Jessica BS, Cristin Terrill, Sara McClung, and Lindsey Roth Culli. Not pictured: Me and Sasha)

So The Fault in Our Stars gets my nod for best book I read in January. And John Green gets my thanks for making this month more incredible than it would have been without him.

What about you?? What was the best book you read in January? Did you get a pre-signed copy of TFiOS? Did it have a Hanklerfish?!

*And yet the boy to girl ratio was horrendous. Seriously, nerdboys, you need to come to events like this. Play the odds game, fellas.


Cassie Clare & Michelle Hodkin Signing

by sarahenni on December 9, 2011

Sorry I’ve been MIA the last few days, there have been a ton of things going on! Not least of which is the awesome author event I went to last night, with Cassandra Clare and Michelle Hodkin! They were there to support the release of Clockwork Prince and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, respectively.

It was so neat because the event was put on by my favorite local indie, Politics and Prose, and it was held at my local library! Nothing like walking from your house to see some of the most exciting YA authors out there! But I was certainly not the only one that showed up…

I met up with some of my most favorite local DC book reviewers, Sasha and Jessica (who helps review things here!). Thanks to them I felt less intensely awkward when the librarian asked for all the adults in the audience to raise their hands (who? us? adult?). Sadly, after asking us to identify ourselves they did not hand out festive adult drinks.

Sash & Jess!

The event was so fun, though they had already sold out of Mara Dyer by the time I got there! The informal chat session involved lots of questions about the inspiration for the books and the characters, gave Michelle the chance to explain that, duh, there are alligators in the Everglades (actually did you know that the Everglades is the only place where crocodiles and alligators live together? file under: things I learned while doing crossword puzzles), and Cassandra told an amazing story about the tall and unnaturally glitter-retaining gentleman that Magnus Bane is based on. It was a really fun Q&A session, is what I’m saying. (Also they had shirts!)

There was a little grumbling between the three of us when Cassandra explained how the irrepressibly dreamy Ed Westwick (who I have always pictured as Magnus, for serious) came to narrate like, everything to do with her books, because we’d all heard that he was actually THERE at the NYC event and were mad jealous. Alas, no CW darlings were present at the DC event.

Then we had to inflict our fangirling on the good people of the greater DC Metropolitan Area because the line for signing was ridiculously long, so they moved it into the main library. We weren’t dead last in line, but we were close. However! That just meant I got to spend time talking books and cracking up with Sash and Jessica, and ended with a signed copy of Clockwork Prince, so I am not complaining!

And, if you’re interested in getting a signed copy of Clockwork Prince for your very own, you MIGHT want to keep an eye on YA Highway in the next couple of weeks… just sayin’ :)