Jessica Day George

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Every day I get emails urging me to write another book. This baffles me, because it would not occur to me to STOP writing books! OF COURSE I'M WRITING ANOTHER BOOK! In fact, I'm usually working on several books at once, which can be very confusing and probably isn't very efficient . . . but oh well! That's just how my brain- SQUIRREL!

Right now I am about to begin editing a fabulous book, the first in a series, called TUESDAYS AT THE CASTLE. It's the story of young Celie, a princess who lives in a magical castle that is, in truth, alive. Bloomsbury, my publisher, has come up with the perfect description of this, calling it a mix of Home Alone and Hogwarts' Room of Requirement. I am jazzed about this description, and jazzed about something else: the cover of the book! Isn't it AMAZING?! How much do you love this cover? I cannot wait to hold this book in my hands, it's going to be beautiful to look at as well as fun to read!

Those of you lucky enough (and also smart enough) to attend my reading at Life, The Universe, and Everything in Provo last week got to hear the first three chapters. I was very pleased with the reaction that I got to those chapters, and I cannot wait to read them at upcoming events. So be sure to check the events page in the next few months, because I will be reading this every chance I get!

The official release date of this book is, magically, my birthday! October 11, 2011! (I will not tell you how old I will be.)

So, coming somewhat soon to a bookstore near you: TUESDAYS AT THE CASTLE!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Top 11- Best Adult Books

Adult books! They're books . . . for adults! Not really sure what else to tell you! So here's the list!

1. Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

If you've spent more than, say, half an hour in my company, you probably know that I am the hugest fan of Guy Kay. A new Guy Kay book is a matter of much rejoicing in my household, and even back when I was a poor starving newlywed I would fork over the cash for his books as soon as they came out. But it's always a little nervewracking. There's always the chance that this time, this particular book is gonna stink. It could happen to any author . . . but if it ever happens to Guy I think it might actually herald the Apocalypse. So, good news: the world isn't ending. Yet. Under Heaven is amazing, my favorite book from this year, a gorgeous, lyrical work of art. I don't care if you hate fantasy, you've never heard of Guy, you're anti-Canadian . . . you will still love this book, you have my guarantee.

2. Tooth & Claw by Jo Walton

This book is just plain cool. Based on the Victorian family sagas of Anthony Trollope, it's the story of a respectable upper middle class family reeling from the loss of their father. There are concerns about the inheritance, the marriage prospects for the younger sisters now that they are orphans, the careers of their older brothers, a lawsuit with a belligerent brother-in-law, the usual sort of thing you'd find in a Victorian novel. But they're all dragons. Yep. Dragons. It's amazingly well done. I've never been a fan of books with nonhuman main characters, I have a hard time relating to them, but not so here. I was fully invested in all the plotlines, and loved (or loved to hate) all the characters.

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

If you haven't read this book, you really, really should. A portrait of life in Mississippi at the beginning of the Civil Rights movement, it's by turns heartbreaking, humorous, and dramatic. For days after I had finished it I would find myself looking forward to reading some more, and then realize I was done and be disappointed.

4. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This is a big, sprawling fantasy epic that reads like the best historical fiction, or even a real life biography. The first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, it covers the childhood and early training of Kvothe, known as the Kingkiller, and now living incognito as an innkeeper. What king did he kill? How did he come to exile himself? We don't know! And it doesn't matter! Because Rothfuss is carefully unspooling Kvothe's story, putting down layer after layer, and he hasn't gotten that far yet. But that's not to say that it's boring. Hardly! Kvothe is a fascinating character, and the story of his life is well worth reading about, in detail.

5. The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley

Written like one of the sagas, this is a fictionalized account of the final years of the Greenland colony. Settlers from Norway and Iceland lived in Greenland under an uneasy truce with the natives for many years . . . and then abruptly died out. Smiley has created a wonderful fictional cast, and then put them into a well-researched backdrop of harsh conditions, plagues, and famines that absolutely grips the reader.

6. Boneshaker/Dreadnought by Cherie Priest

It's not cheating! Sure, this is two books, but if you read one you will HAVE to read the other! Where else will you get your alternate history/steampunk/zombie/family drama/Civil war fix?! No, seriously: where else? 'Cause now I'm hooked, and I want MORE!

7. The Sookie Stackhouse Books by Charlaine Harris

Here is my weird story. I read the first of these books Dead Until Dark several years ago, when it first came out. And went, Meh. At the time I had been reading a lot of vampire books, and I was getting burned out (or so I theorize). Then I went to World Fantasy 2007, and met Charlaine, and she was lovely. And the True Blood series started, and the actors were all so PRETTY, and my sister kept telling me to read them because she absolutely loved them. Hmm. So our book club read the first one, and I decided to reread. And could. Not. Put. It. Down. And snuck into my sister's house while she was out of town to grab the rest of them. And then bought the ones she didn't have. I don't know what it is, but these books are like M&M's: I know they're bad for me, I know I shouldn't eat/read them, but I can't stop! (They are, um, very naughty.) BUT SO ADDICTIVE!

8. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Not to be confused with the smutty Civil War novel by John Jakes, this is the novel of British class snobbery we're talking about. (Although I really can't point fingers at smutty Southern novels, after putting the Sookie Stackhouse books at #7.) And why are we talking about Mrs. Gaskell's novel now, in 2011? Well, let's see: I became obsessed with the miniseries, thought I'd try the book, and became obsessed with the book. For a 19th century novel, it's very readable for the modern reader, and with it's very pointed message, I can't believe that it isn't used in classrooms more. (Why, WHY do high schools assign Wuthering Heights over and over? A little variety, people!)

9. My Antonia by Willa Cather

Egad. My mother was right. This is probably her favorite book of all time, and she has been talking about it since I was a wee child. Some perversity of nature kept me from reading it until this past year, when I discovered that it was a wonderful, beautiful and unusual love story . . . just like Mother always said. Why isn't this book taught in high schools more, too?!

10. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The late Larsson scatters his amazing cast of characters to the four winds, giving unique problems to all of them that seem to distract from the main narrative, and then he magically ropes them all back together! Gripping, intense, and yet full of wonderful little details and subplots, this is a masterful finish to the Millenium Trilogy.

11. Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

Oh, Jim! You're so darn hilarious! A Harry Dresden book is always a treat, and they just seem to be getting better and better. The Wizard's Council is turning on itself, Thomas has some serious issues, and Harry keeps getting his, um, rear end kicked by evil forces. So, typical day for him, really. But the combination of snarky humor, action and attitude keep me shouting for more!

Honorable Mentions go out to my buddy Larry Correia, whose Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta keep the ol' adrenaline pumping (as well as the snorts of laughter). I also devoured the rest of M. C. Beaton's Hamish MacBeth mysteries (I think I'm in love with Hamish. Secretly.) And I was moved to tears by David Farland's In the Company of Angels, a beautiful novelization of the harrowing Willy-Martin Handcart Company debacle.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top 11- Young Adult!

Ahh, Young Adult! A tricky genre to be sure! Very popular right now, of course, flooded with worthy titles . . . but writing YA can be harder than it looks. Character is all important, especially the main character. The author has to find that balance, got to create characters that read like real teens, and not just what they personally think of teens. Not too mature, not too whiny . . . not too obviously written by an adult, in short. My number one pick here does that perfectly. The narrator is so realistically drawn that I could have read about her and her friends for several hundred more pages. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and so it was with the amazing

1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


2. Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

As some of you may know, I am not the hugest fan of the "YA paranormal romance" subgenre. Usually I am bothered by the fact that the guy is usually a) a monster and b) really, really old, making the relationship just wildly inappropriate from every angle. This book, however, is delightfully different in that our narrator, whom I FREAKING LOVE, is herself very old (VERY old) and not without powers of her own. I described this book to my sister as "Norse gods in rehab," and I stick to that description, even though it does not do justice to the hilarity, drama, suspense, and wonder of this book.

3. Jane by April Lindner

Yes, Pride and Prejudice is a great book, I am not going to argue that with anyone. But if I had to pick my favorite 19th century novel I would go with Jane Eyre every time. I'm sorry, but there it is. I love that book. And so with fascination I picked up the advance readers' copy of this little gem, an updated version of the story featuring a mousy nanny going to work for a washed up rock star. The modernization was flawless, giving new life to the story, and there was a perfect balance between the new elements and the old. It didn't ever make me think "THIS is supposed to be Jane Eyre," but I also never felt bored, like, "Yeah, yeah, now the brother-in-law shows up." I read this book in one day, ignoring children and other obligations, I was so hooked.

4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I know, some fans were angry. To them I say, write your own book, then. This was Collins' world, and Collins' story, and she ended it how she started it, with gorgeous amounts of anguish, anger, love, and hope. Katniss Everdeen was a tragic and wonderful heroine, a teenager forced into a role that she didn't want and none of us knew if she could fulfill, and this book was an amazing finale for her.

5. Forever Princess by Meg Cabot

Has our Princess Mia finally achieved self-actualization? If not, she's come awfully close! Mia's all growed up and saving Genovia, and while I'll be sad to see the last of her, this was the perfect ending for this series as well! Adieu, Mia! Adieu, Grandmere!

6. Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

I've always fantasized about gargoyles coming to life, heck there's a gargoyle housekeeper in Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. But what if they came to life, and were up to no good?! YIKES! An exciting look at the perils of applying to college!

7. Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? by Louise Rennison

Another great YA series ended this year! So we must say "Auf Wiedersehen, my little pally!" to Georgia! But we are so glad that she has at last chosen from the menu of the Cake Shop of Luuuuurve! HOOOOOOORN!

8. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

This Printz Award Winner is a mad journey through Mad Cow Disease, as a modern-day Don Quixote goes on a quest through the It's A Small World! ride and Spring Break, aided by a punked out angel, a talking lawn gnome, and a germaphobic little person. Yes, it's that crazy. There's a reason why they call it "Mad" Cow Disease . . .

9. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is a hard book to read. The protagonist is anorexic, and she doesn't want to get better. This is a very close, very accurate, and very moving look at eating disorders, mental illness, and family relationships.

10. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

So icky, but so good. The fluids fly as a young apprentice assists his scientist master in tracking and killing an infestation of hideous creatures straight out of nightmare!

11. I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Egad! Speaking of fluids! I am normally not a horror novel person, but I could not put this book down. It was wonderfully creepy, and amazingly well plotted!

Honorable Mentions go out to:

Girl In the Arena by Lise Haines
Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey
and Circle of Flight by John Marsden

Go forth, as I always say, and READ!