Today in YA History: August 28, 2001 – ‘Sloppy Firsts’ published!

August 28, 2001: Megan McCafferty’s “Sloppy Firsts”, the first of the Jessica Darling Series, is published with Broadway Publishers (Three Rivers Press, paperback)!

From Megan’s site:

“When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?”

Not only was this the start of Jessica’s journey, this was also Ms. McCafferty’s debut novel.

From Olivia: I’m very excited to see an author ALSO celebrating their day in YA History! Please, if you have a moment, follow @MeganMcCafferty and #sloppyfirsts10th on Twitter.

Megan has announced winners for The Epic 10th Anniversary Giveaway of Rare and One-of-A-Kind Stuff in celebration! Readers have been writing emails, blogs, and creating videos to celebrate. And! And, and, and! Check out details for “Sloppy Firsts: The Movie”! There’s even a facebook contests that asks you to dream-cast Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie, that will let you see a preview trailer if your dream-cast wins or if you “like” the winner.

And if you pop over to this post on Great Reads, you’ll find a Sloppy Firsts giveaway (just “leave me a comment about your high school experience. Was it memorable? If you could go back & change something, what might you do differently? Any and all stories are welcome! If you’ve read Sloppy Firsts, please share some of YOUR favorite moments from the book as well.”)

What’s even more, Megan offered ten bloggers the chance to interview her to celebrate these ten years! Here are the links that I have found:

  • Jill of All Genres: “Jessica Darling, Ten Years Later”
  • Anna Reads: “Jessica Darling Love + Megan McCafferty Interview”
  • Slatebreakers: “Interview with Megan McCafferty!”
  • The Reading Zone: “I Love Jessica Darling and Megan McCafferty!”
  • “Behind the Book: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty”
  • Stuck in YA Books: “10th Anniversary for Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty”
  • Book, Line, & Sinker: “Megan McCafferty and the Wonders of Pineville”
  • STILL MISSING 3 MORE INTERVIEWS! Do you know where they are? Drop a comment here with a link and it will be posted! Thanks!
      What a lovely, wonderful day for this treasured, now-classic YA novel. :) Get your copy at your local Independent bookstore!

  • Today in YA History: August 23, 2005 – ’13 Little Blue Envelopes’ published!

    August 23, 2005: HarperTeen publishes Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes, about a teenager journeying throughout Europe by following letters left by her deceased aunt.

    From Wikipedia:

  • Rule #1: You may bring only what fits in your backpack. Don’t try to fake it with a purse or a carry-on.
  • Rule #2: You may not bring guidebooks, phrase books, or any kind of foreign language aid. And no journals.
  • Rule #3: You cannot bring extra money or credit/debit cards, traveler’s checks, etc. I’ll take care of all that.
  • Rule #4: No electronic crutches. This means no laptop, no cell phone, no music, and no camera. You can’t call home or communicate with people in the U.S. by Internet or telephone. Postcards and letters are acceptable and encouraged.
  • “Ginny Blackstone, a seventeen-year-old girl, has received 13 envelopes from her self-proclaimed “Runaway Aunt” Peg, who is deceased. Ginny is told that she is about to leave for several weeks and will travel to foreign lands. Her aunt leaves her the above four rules to follow. She is only allowed to open the next envelope once she has reached the destination or, in some cases, achieved the task set in the previous letter.”

    Ginny travels all over Europe in her aunt-given quest, from London, to Paris, to Amsterdam, to Denmark, to Greece. As she goes, she learns more not only about her eccentric, artistic aunt… but also about who she is.

    From Olivia: I read this book while I was a Borders employee. The title drew me in. As a Haunt and Halloween person, I have a thing for “13”, so I also read Jay Asher’s “13 Reasons Why” for this same, silly reason! The aspect of travel in Europe hooked me. And Aunt Peg’s letters were the part I was most eager to see resolved. Another part of this story that I absolutely loved was that Ginny needed to avoid the clutter of daily life for her trip, and couldn’t be texting away or calling people constantly. It sends her to a simpler time, a time of more personal connections too.

    This forced lack of tech sets the book firmly in the “now”, but that means that the idea for this book could have started in an age void of so much technology. Ms. Johnson finds a clever way to deal with what is a big problem for many stories set in the modern era. After all, today we can just pop online to look up information, or send a facebook message to your best friend when we’ve made them upset, or tweet about the psycho-killer at the lake. :)

    You may have heard there is a sequel, which there is. I have not read it, as it was not out when I first finished 13LBE. It seems to promise the resolution I was most interested in. I leave it up to you to decide if this one on its own satisfies you… for me, I was really missing the total resolution and am VERY much anticipating reading the next book. But I was definitely intrigued so much when I finished this book that I hunted down all sorts of information on it.

    Be sure to check this one out at your local Independent bookstore!

    100 Words: Evil Genius

    Evil Genius

    Cadel is a boy genius with neglectful parents to rival Matilda’s. His father figure is his therapist, who encourages his hacker skills and runs a college that will make Cadel into an evil genius!

    Taking place in Australia from age 9-14, Cadel’s story is unique and vivid. The cast can be caricatures, but that serves them well. Even when not likable, Cadel is intriguing. The author speaks knowledgeably on math and computer subjects which may entice teens more interested in those areas. Only regret: not enough time with the varied and bizarre Axis Institute staff and students!

    Author: Catherine Jinks
    Age Range: Don’t judge this book by its cover! Mistakenly shelved in Mid-Grade in some stores! Strong/difficult subject matter, negative wish-fulfillment for outcasts, violence, language; 13+ on age, but YMMV. (At 13, I would have read but not quite understood or appreciated all of this book, though would have enjoyed and been fine with the content.)
    Olivia’s Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 smiley pumpkins

    Something fun to share

    “Tweet and Retweet are sitting in a boat. Tweet falls out. Who is left?” ^_~

    I remember this old joke when it was Pete and Re-Pete (“repeat”…). It was cute, and I had an instant connection with the goofy joke when the show “Pete & Pete” premiered on Nickelodeon. I saw the above joke, updated for today’s tech-savvy world, and had to share!

    In other news, today is H. P. Lovecraft’s birthday. He doesn’t write YA, and I’m not going to review any of his books, but he’s been involved in my life quite a bit. So in honor of that, I’ll share with you the webcomic (soon to be graphic novel!) by Tom & Nimue Brown that has a decidedly Lovecraftian horror edge, “Hopeless, Maine”.

    Check it out by clicking on the image or head on over to

    The first book just finished up online; there are 9 more books to go!

    100 Words: The People of Sparks

    Today I am kicking off a “quick review” series! The goal is to review the books I am reading or have read in 100 words or less. To learn more, check out the 100 Words page!

    The People of Sparks

    Lina and Doon saved the Emberites from their dying city, but this upper world presents challenges when they are aided by the people of Sparks. As the two groups clash, a fight looms closer…

    The writing is concise and the story-line straight forward. The main cast is small and relatable. I would have enjoyed getting to know the Sparks people, though the third book may explore that more. This mid-grade series uses to its advantage a post-apocalyptic setting where stability is on the horizon. The sentiments and morals are worth reading at any age.

    Author: Jeanne Duprau
    Age Range: 4th grade and up (No sex, strong language, or drugs; threat of violence, mildly intense situations; use your judgment for younger kids; great book to read aloud at bedtime!)
    Olivia’s Rating: 4 out of 5 smiley pumpkins