And today I want to brag about a few of these people I like so much.
First off, one of my first crit partners and dearest friend Renee Collins now has an AGENT!!!!! I am SO EXCITED!!! There will much capitalization and exclamation points! Renee was one of the first people I met and connected with through blogging. We have since become fast friends, and every time she comes to town I wrestle her away from her family for lunch if I can. Her family really likes her. I can't blame them.
I mean, look how pretty and tall she is:
This picture is from August 2008, the first time I met Renee and Kiersten (yes, THE Kiersten White. I have freaking cool friends. It's ridiculous.) (Also, holy crap my hair is short. And I had a baby that year, so dude, not my best!) Ah, we were all so green and full of hope, and rightly so! Kiersten kicked off the good news that November with her agent announcement. I came in 2009. And now Renee in 2010! Woot!
This just goes to show, sometimes the journey is long, but stuff happens when you keep going. Ren, I know sometimes you thought this day would never come, but I TOLD YOU SO. I am so, so happy and lucky that I get to share this day with you. I couldn't have made it without you. Thank you so much for being there for me all this time. I saved you a seat in submission land right next to me. Don't worry, I will protect you. I am a submissions NINJA now.
Okay, secondly, I need to tell you guys about Stephanie Perkins. I fully intended to talk about her incredible debut ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS last week, but then I wrote this article that exploded my inbox and yeah...sorry, Steph!
This book? One of my absolute favorites. Particularly if you love contemporary YA, you NEED to read this book. It is not only funny and romantic, but truly beautiful and real. I loved it so much I made this:
Stephanie is so genuinely kind it's shocking. I feel privileged to know her, and anytime she asks me to read I squeal like a kid on Christmas. Did I mention yet that I have amazing friends? I do. I have no problem bragging about them.
And finally, we need to discuss Julie Halpern. Okay, I don't know Julie as well, but I adore her and she has been so nice to me I've decided we're kind of friends. Besides, she gave me THIS:
When she asked me if I wanted an ARC of her upcoming novel, I spent the rest of the day jumping around with a huge smile on my face. I LOVE her books, guys. Like, love. Quirky, fun, and full of voice. I always laugh so much Nick has to read it so he knows why.
DON'T STOP NOW is just as awesome as her first two books. I practically ignored my family as I read it Thanksgiving Day. It's a fast, funny, sweet road trip adventure featuring Josh and Lillian—"platonic" best friends—who are in search of Penny, a girl who faked her own kidnapping.
There was so much to love about this book, but I think what I adored most was how Julie captured the summer after high school graduation. The pending future. The last hurrah. The fear and yet excitement for life ahead. Man, it brought me back! Julie does an amazing job of tackling such things with great subtlety and realism.
You want this book, too. It comes out June 2011, but stay on the look out for a contest. As much as I don't want to, I will probably be giving away the ARC at some point. I mean, I'm so going to buy it in hard cover, but I am attached! I struggle giving away my books...maybe I'll buy you a pre-order...we'll see.
And with that, the bragging must end. For now.