Sunday, December 30, 2012

Creative Kids and a Happy New Year ARC Giveaway of Level 2

Never “write down” for children or teen readers.  One of the major rules for authors, right?  Recently I was reminded of just how sophisticated those young readers are.

I coordinate the Reflections creative arts competition at my daughter’s elementary school.  Yes, I’ll admit it – I volunteered to coordinate a PTA program. (I hear you snickering, Kurt and Collette! And Heather Smith Meloche graciously accepted my request for her to serve as one of the judges.) This year’s theme was The Magic of a Moment, and the 5th grade teachers required all of their students to enter.  Their assignment was to write a poem, essay, or short story, and one teacher even brought in a local poet, Alise Alousi, from InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit to lead a workshop for the kids. (A huge thanks to Kristine Uyeda, writer-in-residence for InsideOut, and local author/teacher Barbara Rebbeck for also serving as judges!)

Alise began by sharing a poem with the class.  The students readily identified various elements - similes, personification, alliteration.  Later, when the students wrote their own poems, their teacher wouldn’t allow them to turn in their first draft, or their second, or third; she challenged them to dig deeper, to find fresh, unique images, to revise again and again.  The kids set their poems aside, returned to them days later, rewrote, and after 3 weeks of this process, they turned in their final work. 

As the coordinator, I had the privilege of reading their writing before it got sent to the judges.
“The breeze as cautious as a fawn”
“Fireworks decorated the sky like Christmas ornaments”
“It was like hitting dust”

The students wrote about common, special moments – a new puppy, a new sibling, a soccer goal, a dance recital – but they also wrote about art, fear, nature, life, death, our universe, and the feeling of being merely “a freckle” on the vast landscape of our world.  The wisdom of ten-year-olds.

If you’re a teacher or a parent, you have plenty of opportunities to spend time with children and teens, but if not, I encourage you to make that one of your New Year’s goals. I guarantee you’ll be impressed by their deep thinking, and they’ll inspire you to write fuller and truer.  In case you missed it, here’s a humorous essay from the NY Times Book Review from an author comparing her two writing groups – the one for adults and the one for 7-year-olds.

I wish you a 2013 filled with love, peace, and opportunities.  And since this is a blog celebrating books and writing, let’s kick off the new year with a giveaway.

 Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans.  In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.

I’ve followed the Presenting Lenore blog for the past year and was delighted to receive an ARC of her debut YA novel, Level 2, from publisher Simon and Schuster.  Even more encouraging was this review by one of my favorite authors, Mary E. Pearson:  “Absolutely gripping. My heart pounded on nearly every page. You won't be able to put it down.”

Indeed, Lenore’s novel is getting great reviews praising her world-building and multi-layered plot.  The first few chapters present question after question that will keep you guessing and turning the pages.

Level 2 will be released in mid-January, but you can read it now by entering this giveaway.  Leave a comment with your name and email.  We'd also love to know about other 2013 debuts you’re looking forward to reading.  Please comment by Friday, January 11th. This giveaway is for US and Canadian mailing addresses.

* YA Fusion has 294 followers!  I'm not sure why round numbers have so much appeal, but we'd love to get to 300.  If you're a new follower, please let us know in your comment and I'll give you an extra entry for the giveaway.

* We’ve been so busy that we neglected our What’s News section for many months. It’s updated now, so please take a look and celebrate our good news.

* On Tuesday, I’m sharing a super simple, quick writing tip over at Literary Rambles. Please stop by to help me wish Casey and Natalie a Happy New Year.
Cheers!Special occasion banner saying, 'Happy New Year'
Kristin Lenz


Ann Finkelstein said...

I loved the reminder to listen to the wisdom of children.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

There are a lot of 2013 debuts I could gush over but Taken by Erin Bowman stands out as the one I am excited to read the most!

Level 2 sounds amazing! Thank you for the giveaway! :)


Starr K @ The Literati Press said...

There are a lot of 2013 books that I'm excited for besides Level 2. But the one that keeps popping up is Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton.


Kristen My Bookish Fairy Tale said...

Great Giveaway! Already a follower. I am really looking forward to Pivot Point by Kassie West.


Danielle H. said...

Level 2 sounds really good! I know my daughters will want to read it too.

Waugh Wright said...

New follower, as-yet-unpublished author (YA/SF/F), excited to find the blog! Happy New Year!

Alyssa Susanna said...

Level 2 is definitely one of the new 2013 releases that I cannot wait to read! There are soooo many more. I listed them here:

What I Am Looking Forward to Reading in 2013 Review

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke, Of Triton by Anna Banks, The Collector by Victoria Scott, Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo... AND SO MANY MORE!!! :)

Thank you so much for the giveaway!!!

Alyssa <3

Tabathia said...

I am looking forward to clockwork princess

tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

Tiffany Drew said...

There are a ton of 2013 debuts on my reading list. Level 2, Some Quiet Place and Pivot Point are among my top wants though :)


Colette Ballard said...

Nice post, Kristen! I commend you for volunteering for a PTA position as opposed to being hunted down and peer-pressured into the position--very brave: )
sounds like a great competition--love their writing examples!

Chenise Jones said...

I can't wait for Pivot Point!

I'm also a new follower!


Lisa Tapp said...

Great post, Kristen. You are so right to remind us that YA readers of today are more advanced than those of 15 or 20 years ago. (Which poses the chicken and the egg question: Are YA readers' tastes more advanced because YA authors are now so much better, or are YA authors playing catch-up to the savvy tastes of the reader?)

hrdoran said...

Level 2 definitely sounds intriguing. [hrdoran(at)aol(dot)com]

Rebecca B said...

Oh wow, the figurative language they were using is gorgeous! Thanks for the reminder of the wisdom of kids. :)

Emz said...

Well, of course I want to read Level 2, but I want to read Pivot Point by Kassie West...I don't really know about any other 2013 debuts.

Emz @ Icy Cold Reads

bookartstuff (at) gmail (dot) com

Elizabeth Briggs said...

Ooh I'm a new follower, number 299! Thanks for the giveaway. ebriggs23 at

SarahO said...

There are so many 2013 releases I'm looking forward to. About to start Shadow & Bone so maybe the sequel will join the list.

sarah.oreilly97 at gmail dot com

New follower (SarahO)

Anonymous said...

Lots of great books are coming on in January 2013! Prodigy by Marie Lu and The Archived by Victoria Schwab are the two I most look forward too! :)


Caitlin H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caitlin H. said...

Looking forward to the sequels to The Raven Boys and The Diviners!


Nicki said...

I've been dying to read this book!!! Thanks for the giveaway! My name is Nicki Pau Preto and my email address is nickipaupreto AT hotmail DOT com.

There are so many great books coming out, but my TBR stack at home has reached an alarming height. BUT, I'll definitely be picking up Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare!

Louise said...

I'm really looking forward to Level 2. Keeping my fingers crossed for the chance to review it in advance! Thanks for hosting this giveaway. :)

Karate Kid 204 said...

I'm really looking forward to House Of Hades by Rick Riordan, and Prodigy by Marie Lu!

Great post!


Kristin Lenz said...

Hey look at that - we're up to 300 followers! Thanks everyone for stopping by and sharing the books you're looking forward to. Caitlin H: I just read The Diviners and loved it! One more week to enter the Level 2 ARC giveaway, and I'll notify the winner on January 12th.

Old Kitty said...

So lovely to read these golden precious snippets from your amazingly talented group of children! Thank you for sharing! Wishing you all a most brilliant New Year! Take care

Erika said...

I'm excited to read Unravel Me and Sweet Peril to name a few! Thanks for the great giveaway! saltsnmore at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

im a new follower.
Im Maya, love to read books and since ive seen the cover of Level 2 in september ive been waiting to read this book !