Can someone hold me now and just hug me tight? Huhuhu. THIS. NOVEL. I'll be reviewing it tomorrow but here's a guest post from Susin Nielsen on what attracts her to write contemporary MG / lower YA. Be sure to join the giveaway and you might win a copy so we can cry and laugh together.
Title: We Are All Made of Molecules
Author: Susin Nielsen
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Date of Publication: May 12, 2015
Award-winning author Susin Nielsen has created two narrators who will steal your heart and make you laugh out loud.Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless.Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink.Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 percent horrified. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out; “Spewart” could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder.They are complete opposites. And yet, they have one thing in common: they—like everyone else—are made of molecules.“Susin Nielsen is one of the best writers working today. In We Are All Made of Molecules, her astonishing ability to combine insight, tenderness, poignancy, and uproarious humor is in full flower. Susin Nielsen is a genius, and kids and adults alike will adore this book.” —Susan Juby, author of The Truth Commission“My, my, my what a skilled, gifted writer Susin is!… I was laughing so hard and unexpectedly that my wife asked if I was reading something I’d written. I’m embarrassed to think I’d laugh at my own stuff like that. Now, tell me: Who do I write to join the Susin Nielsen fan club?” —Christopher Paul Curtis, Newbery Medal–winning author of Bud, Not Buddy and The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963
What attracts you to write middle grade or lower young adult novels? And why contemporary?
Hi and thanks for having me to your blog!
I’m not entirely sure why I’m so drawn to writing middle grade/lower YA. I think it’s a combination of a number of things. First of all I feel like a part of me stopped growing at age 13 (just ask my husband when we get into an argument). For whatever reason, I seem to be able to tap into the emotional memories of what it was like to be around that age.
I’ve always written, from the time I was ten or so; picture books (illustrated terribly by me), short stories, poems, half-finished screenplays. I got my first paid writing gig penning scripts for a show called “Degrassi Junior High” – it was big in the states, too. While I was there I wrote four books in their novelizations, and I remember thinking, “One day I’d like to write an original YA novel.” Then I went on to write for a lot of other teen and tween shows, so I definitely think that influenced me as well.
I really do love writing for this age group. I always write first person, so I can get deep into my characters’ heads and thoughts. It’s a time of so many firsts; first love, first kiss, first sexual experience, first experimentation with drugs and alcohol, sometimes the first time to deal with heartbreak or tragedy. It’s an emotionally tumultuous time as well, negotiating those shark-infested waters toward adulthood.
As for contemporary, I guess it’s just personal preference. I love reading contemporary fiction (although I certainly branch out and read other genres too). And perhaps this shows a lack of imagination, but for some reason I really need to see my characters, living in their world. So that world is my own city of Vancouver. I can picture them walking down the street, past specific stores. I can choose the house they live in (the real occupants don’t know they have fictional characters living with them!). In fact because Molecules is my fourth novel, and they’re all set in Vancouver, I have a lot of fictional characters roaming the city!
Thanks so much for having me, and I hope you enjoy We Are All Made of Molecules.
About Susin Nielsen
Susin got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for over 20 Canadian TV series. Her first young adult novel, Word Nerd, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim. It won multiple Young Readers’ Choice Awards, as did her second novel, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom. Her third novel, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, was published in August 2012. It went on to win the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, the Canadian Library Association’s Children’s Book of the Year Award, and a number of Young Readers’ Choice Awards. Author Wally Lamb named it his top YA pick for 2012 in his “First Annual Wally Awards,” and recently Rolling Stone magazine put it at #27 in their list of “Top 40 Best YA Novels.”
Her books have been translated into multiple languages. Susin’s new novel, We Are All Made of Molecules, will be published in Canada, the US and the UK in Spring of 2015. She lives in Vancouver with her family and two naughty cats.