Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Feedback: Voice - I Know it When I See It

A few "faces" of Arlaina Tibensky. . . hmm, well, mostly ;)

In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said, "I shall not attempt to further define [it] . . . but I know it when I see it."

Of course, the "it" he was talking about was pornography, *coughs* but I think this quote applies to  writer's voice, as well.

It's hard to define what "voice" is, but you know it when you see (hear/read) it.

I think, for me, voice is what draws me to a given writer most -- above plot and story, above characters, even. That certain je ne sais quoi known as voice.

A.S. King's got a strong one. Geoff Herbach too. <--- two of my personal YA favorites.

One of Arlaina's favorite paintings
by Otto Dix.
It reminds me of her, too!
Plus, this painting has
a strong "voice"
don't you think?
As does today's lovely guest author, Arlaina Tibensky. An outrageously vibrant one, to boot. 

Put it this way, the first time I threw myself at met Arlaina, was after she had done a reading from And Then Things Fall Apart, her colorful delivery matching perfectly the canary yellow blouse she had on (What?!? So, I remember what she was wearing. So what?).

Arlaina's "voice" blasts off the page.

I love it.

I want it.

But, alas, it's hers, so I'm stuck with my own.

If you want to know what I mean (and you do!),

read her debut YA, And Then Things Fall Apart.                               

About the book:

Keek’s life was totally perfect… Keek and her boyfriend just had their Worst Fight Ever; her best friend heinously betrayed her; her parents are divorcing; and her mom’s across the country caring for her newborn cousin, who may or may not make it home from the hospital. To top it all off, Keek’s got the plague. (Well, the chicken pox.) Now she’s holed up at her grandmother’s technologically barren house until further notice. Not quite the summer vacation Keek had in mind. With only an old typewriter and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar for solace and guidance, Keek’s alone with her swirling thoughts. But one thing’s clear through her feverish haze—she’s got to figure out why things went wrong so she can make them right.


So, I went tooling around the interwebs searching for an authoritative definition of voice, but there isn't one. It seems to be one of those undefinable things, that, IMHO, you've either got or you don't.

I'm not sure voice can be taught.

Jane Yolen has this to say about voice:  “The story’s voice. That is what must be uncovered, not discovered. It is not the author’s voice, but the true tone of the tale.”

Hmmm, I'm not sure I get this, completely. For me, the voice of a particular story presents itself to me from the outset -- and, maybe mixes with my "author's voice" for a sort of hybrid creation. . . so that I feel like each of my manuscripts has its own voice, but you can also "hear" my author voice shining through.

I also liked this from an author named Dr. Jack Ross:

Writer's voice . . . is a combination of a writer's use of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works). Voice can also be referred to as the specific fingerprint of an author . . .

A fingerprint, yes! When you read Arlaina's writing, it's got her beautiful, snarky, wistful fingerprints all over it.

Well, see for yourself! We've got her here today, so go ahead and read her excerpt and see. Do you feel her voice? Her fingerprint? Does it resonate with you?

What works for you? What doesn't?

How about you? Have you found your author's voice? Have you left your fingerprints? Let us see.

Today find an excerpt that reveals your voice as a writer.

And if you haven't been here before, please read the RULES.

From an "undisclosed" project of Arlaina's:

The thing with Ron is, he exists.  He is: there.  And he seems to show up right at the exact moment I need something to take me away from all this. And I know, I know.  He’s bad. The worst.  And I don’t trust him, I don’t even like him but he trusts me to make my own choices and so, I let him.  I use him to gage how far I can go. Besides, if our time is almost up- what difference does it make?  When I’m with him I forget to care too much about tomorrow because I’m too busy being in right now. Ron picks me up and gives me two soggy pills from the front pocket of his greasy jeans.

“What is it?” I ask, not really caring. It will either make me pass out, ultra-hyper, ultra-happy or just hallucinate.  Any of those are fine with me. What’s the difference if I live or die anyway?

“Adderall,” he says.  “I thought a smart girl like you would know what the hell Adderall looks like.”

“Whatever,” I say but inside I hear a voice-

-A smart girl like you shouldn’t be in a car with a guy like him.

“It’s THERAPUTIC,” he says.  “It’s to iron out the kinks in your complicated brain.”  He laughs when he says it and so do I. Like a maniac.

He says, “Don’t be a scared little girl.”

And I say “Fuck you,” and swallow the pills down with some warm Mountain Dew from his cup holder.

- Arlaina (and gae)

p.s. Arlaina probably won't be around until Saturday, but I'll be here during the day. :)


Gae is the author of The Pull of Gravity (fsg/Macmillan - guided by Star Wars and Steinbeck, two teens go on a secret, whirlwind road trip to keep a promise to their dying friend), and a soon(ish)-to-be released YA from Algonquin Books/Workman Publishing.


  1. Even though she says she doesn't care what happens to her because her time is almost up (very curious to know why this is so), she still has a nagging voice that is concerned for her.I like the description of Ron's "badness".

    Here's a bit of my MG I'm attempting:

    Melvin was so out of it. “Why did you go and tell him everything!! We don’t know anything about this guy!!”

    Melvin just looked at me with this wide-eyed stare. “Anthony, we’re talking about the Dr Cat! Everyone loves Dr. Cat! He has the most popular show on tv! He’s a genius, the things he can do with cats. It’s like he’s a cat himself!” Melvin wouldn’t stop. “Like, did you see that time that one cat was lost for like a whole year, Dr. Cat discovered he was living in another state? That was sooooo amazing! No one else could have done that. How can you not trust a guy like that?” He took a deep breath and kept talking while he jumped up and down on his bed. “And guess what?? He’s giving us free tickets to his show this very Friday!! FREE!” He jumped to the floor and grabbed my shoulders. “ And you’ll never guess what else, Anthony!” He started nodding his chin up and down really fast, trying to coax me to answer him.

    I sighed. “I can’t guess, Melvin.”

    He giggled to himself, “Guess anyway!! Guess! You won’t believe it.”

    I could see he wasn’t going to tell me until I gave it a try. “Ummm, Dr. Cat is really a space alien and wants to take you away to his kitty planet in the stars?”

    Melvin burst out laughing. “Ha, ha, ha, Anthony! You’re so funny! He paused, “I can see you aren’t a good guesser, so I’m going to tell you.”

    1. Hi Margaret,

      I'm very curious. Is Dr. Cat a cat psychic? I know this may be in the middle of your novel and you've already told the reader.

      You do a great job of showing Melvin's excitement. He soulds like a fun kid to have as a friend.

      I'm wondering if you need "You're so funny!" You show us that when Melvin bursts out laughing. Just a thought.

      Good luck!

    2. Margaret,
      This tidbit has really peeked my curiosity about your characters and plot line. Melvin's exuberance jumps off the page.

    3. Diane!
      I'm sorry I called you Margaret! I had just given feedback to her and her name was on my fingers. :)

    4. That's ok about calling me "Margaret", it's a nice name. :) Thanks for the feedback Dana and Georgia! Yes, he's a cat psychic. And thanks for the comment about the "funny" statement. I guess I wanted Melvin to look really dorky and kind of unaware that he was being teased. But I'll think about that, for sure.

    5. fun excerpt, Diane, and for what it's worth... i liked the dorky, youre so funny there... :)

    6. Hi Diane. The dialogue is really funny. Melvin sound deranged and Dr. Cat insane and I love that he's so over the top. My only suggestion is to take it easy on the double exclamation and question marks!! Know what I mean?? A little of that goes a long way. Good luck with this!

    7. Oh and thanks for YOUR feedback too!

  2. I can definitely hear the voice in Arlaina's piece. It's very snarky but what I'm noticing really works is the balance between the characters' dialogue and their actions, it seems to work to bring the characters to life for me. I would definitely want to read more!

    I've shared a lot from my current WIP so I thought I would try something new for today's Friday Feedback. I have lots more research to do so I have no idea what an expert in this would say about it...but I'm not worrying about that right now. Thanks!

    Gray runs a hand lightly over the spikes of his Mohawk. He shakes out his legs. He stretches his neck, letting his head roll to one side and then the other. The announcer calls out Gray’s name but it’s as if he doesn’t even hear him.
    The music blares and Gray’s hands are a blur. He starts with his specialty, a Mach 5. Then a Brain Twister. Cold Fusion. Pop ‘n’ Fresh. Elevator. Gerbil. Double or Nothing. Black Hop. Gyroscopic Flop. Suicide Catch. Rock the Baby. Boingy. Split the Atom. Spirit Bomb. Kwijibo. Eiffel Tower. He ends with a Sleeper.
    The crowd explodes and Gray throws his hands in the air, feeling a surge of success and finally allowing a smile. He’s pumped but he knows he really demolished that set when he steps off the stage and sees guys diverting their eyes, wiping their brows, and exhaling loudly. They should be nervous. Only three of them will go to California to compete in the National Yo-Yo Contest and Gray knows he’s going to be one of them.

    1. Hi Jen,

      You did an excellent job with the moves-listing them one after another. I was thinking, yoyo? bike? skateboard?

      I really like, "They should be nervous."

      Good luck!

    2. Jen!!


      And I love how different it is from the other WIP excerpts! And yet, some sort of underlying similarity... could it be voice?! :) I really love this. The feel of the guy running his hands over his mohawk, then that rapid-fire list of tricks. Good stuff. :)

    3. Mohawks? Yo-Yos? Love this whole idea and the trick names are great too. I agree with Gae, strong voice here. I think the thing about voice is you just read it and feel secure as a reader that the writer is in charge. I totally felt that here. Best of luck with this and thanks!

  3. I am worried here. Her real voice says one thing while her inner voice is screaming, "Warning. You know better than this." Both come through loudly.

    I have a WIP in which the MC is writing letters to God. Her best friend has cancer. My question is the age. I keep changing it. Somewhere between 12 and 14.

    Dear God,
    I hate you for making Simmy sick, you know that? I am full of solid-hard-hatred. I don’t know what else to do. I need to tell you about all the things I hate.
    For starters, I hate my name! How could you let my parents name me Jean? It rhymes with mean and lean and string beans (which I also hate). On the day I was baptized, I wish you had whispered in my mother’s ear something beautiful like Elizabeth or Katherine. Why Jean?
    Simmy has the best name. Her name is Simone Grace Sherwood. Simone Grace sounds like a romantic heroine in a great epic novel. Jean is so plain Jane.
    I called Simone Grace today. I didn’t really know what to say to her. I tried to sound normal. “How are you doing? When do you get to come home? Are you in pain?”
    She told me she was tired of needles. “Dr. Hugh first tried to take a biopsy of my bone marrow, but he didn’t find anything. This time they put me to sleep to take out a piece of bone from my hip. They want me to get up and walk as soon as possible, but it hurts. But if I walk the hall, I can go home. That’s all I really want. I want to come home.” Simmy’s voice sounded strong, but I know she must be suffering.
    God, I couldn’t ask all the hard questions, like the one about her hair falling out with chemo, and if she was scared, and if she was going to die. But I can ask you. Will you tell me? I am so scared for her. It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.

    1. Hi Margaret!
      I love, love, love your premise! I can hear your voice in this and it is lovely.

      I have one thought, and it may not even be accurate, but I'm wondering if some of the letter could be written just a little different simply because she's writing to God. For example, God already knows Simmy's full name. Could she say..."Simmy has the best name. Simone Grace Sherwood. It sounds so romantic." That way she's not telling God her name, because he already knows it, but she's saying what she likes about it. Does that make sense? It might be no big deal - just a thought.
      Good luck!

    2. Margaret,
      What a wonderful idea! I think you are right that Jean could be 12-14. I teach 8th grade and her voice seems right on target. If you you with 14, you might want to throw in something like "it sucks that Simmy is sick".

      This is going to be a beautiful book. I can't wait to see it in print! Best of luck!

    3. Hi, Margaret,

      I really enjoyed reading the letter (excerpt). I would say 14 years old or older because of these lines: "Simone Grace sounds like a romantic heroine in a great epic novel." AND "Simmy’s voice sounded strong, but I know she must be suffering." The first few lines - "I hate you for making Simmy sick, you know that? I am full of solid-hard-hatred." - made me think she was younger, but I think it was just her emotions that were getting in her way. As the letter progressed, she started to sound older.

      I can't wait to hear more about Jean. She sounds like a shallow person that has a good heart - she cares about Simmy, who has cancer, but complains about her name and how she wishes it was different.

      Keep up the good work!

    4. Margaret, really love the opening line, esp. the "solid-hard hatred." I have trouble with the "rhymes with mean and lean and string beans" after that line because it seems so fluffy and light after such a powerful statement of anger... it makes her feel younger to me too. If the MC is 14 certainly that list can have some real weight... so food for thought. And, I agree with Dana E's initial suggestion. You seem like you have a powerful intense story brewing here. Keep going!

    5. Thanks for all the feedback. I've decided to compromise and make the characters 13. At 13, girls go from one minute worrying about their hair and the next wondering about death. Such an awful age to be, constant struggling. I also think it would be an age where someone may want to talk to God, not to Mom or Dad. Thanks again for stopping in to read.

    6. Hi Margaret, I agree that the age thing is tricky. She read younger than 13 to me and knowing as an instinct how old your MC is should be an easy and elemental decision. You decide and write her that way. Also, something my editor told me was that teenagers have very little empathy for other people. Jean seems able to project her own worry onto her Simmy's health as if she is a parent, not a peer. As you move forward with this great idea make sure to focus on Jean's feelings, reactions, and pain. How is Simmy's health messing JEAN up? Thanks and best of luck with this!

  4. The main character knows that it is wrong to hang out with Ron, but for whatever reason, first true (innocent or not) love, adolescent loneliness, or a teenage curiosity that causes all other emotions to be put on hold (difficult to make decisions, especially good, when an intense curiosity takes over). For all of these reasons, this character is real (scary real - I was the high school kid that knew right from wrong, but so many times followed the wrong people) and interesting. I find that young adult readers are attracted to a plot and conflict that closely mirrors their own life or a life they can relate to.

    As for voice - WOW! I struggle so much with my writing voice that I am almost jealous when I read such wonderful writing, but I also find inspiration because with continued writing I am hopeful that I will find my voice.

    Arlaina, Thank you for sharing!

    1. Aw, thanks, Andy! I'm working hard on this book, that's for sure. All the best with your own writing!

  5. I'm also wondering why she doesn't have much time left. That kind of knowledge can be a strong motivator for success or destruction.

    I really like how when I read the excerpt it is so smooth. I did't stumble at all and I immediately had a picture in my head that matched the words. Very nice!

    Here's a little piece of mine. I'm not sure it's the best example of my voice, but I'd like some feedback on it. Does it demonstrate the cautious relationship between girls and boys in middle school? Is it too sarcastic? Thanks!!

    “Do you remember the time in third grade when I told all the guys to chant ‘LuLu eats dog dodo at recess’?” I asked.

    Lucy kept her nose in her book and said, “Yeah, that was brilliant. You should think about being a poet when you grow up. If you grow up.”

    “Thanks. That wasn’t even my best work. You squealed on me, right? I’m asking because…well, nothing ever happened. Either Mrs. Simpson was the lousiest teacher in the history of Conway Elementary School or you didn’t tell on me.”

    “Oh, I told on you. Mrs. Simpson said she had a theory about boys in elementary school who teased girls.”

    Lucy was quiet and must have read an entire page.

    “Okay…the theory?”

    “Oh, are we still talking? She said that boys tease girls because they like them but they’re too stupid to tell them.”

    My neck felt like it was on fire and I could feel the heat rising all the way to my forehead. I wanted to reach over her and open up a window—get some air in there, but I didn’t want to risk touching her or Mrs. Woodmore yelling at me. For once, I wished I’d sat in the back with the eighth graders so I could sneak out the emergency exit. I was glad Lucy was reading and not looking at me.

    Like her? Pleeeze. This was the longest bus ride in history.

    1. Dana,

      I love Lucy's voice: the sarcasm and her no-nonsense tone.

    2. Dana,

      I love this little excerpt too. I think the dialogue is terrific.

      I wonder if an 8th grade boy would know the theory about boys teasing girls and why and this would be an opportunity to see him squirm? Would he ask for the theory or would she offer it up to see him squirm? Not sure of the answers, just asking the questions. :)

    3. Thanks, Diane and Gae.

      Gae, those are good questions. Lucy definitely likes to see Jake squirm. I may need to rework that a bit.

    4. I really like Lucy here and her obvious aloofness about Jake. Will there be something more to their relationship? I love the description of the heat rising on his neck. I like Gae's suggestion, but I can also see the point of the pregnant pause. I see him squirming here too. Keep writing!

    5. "Lulu eats dog doo-doo" is so dumb and horrible at the same time! It is pitch-perfect for this. I'd love to see that as a surprise line, like- Jake asks if she told on him, and she's all like, for what. And he's like, you know, and she kind of makes him say it. And as he says it out loud it makes him feel horrible. Also Lucy seems very very very in control of herself and her emotions. Is she vulnerable at all? Any mild clues that she was hurt or embarrassed? Love this whole exchange and yes, that pre-teen cooties vs. first crush is GREAT territory to explore! Best of luck with this!

  6. Here is my excerpt (still working on finding my voice):

    Mr. Lancaster turns to me, which he has never done, and says, “Steven, sit down at the table. Stop standing in the corner.” I stand motionless, surprised that Mr. Lancaster talked to me. In all of the visits, he has never said two words to me. The only time he ever talked to me, he thought I was my dad. He kicks a chair out from under the table, and speaks again, “Sit!”

    “Steven, you know that your Grandma here, is the best thing that ever happened to this island,” he says, and smiles at Grandma. She says nothing.

    He continues, “You also probably know that your father is an ass and treated your Grandma terrible.”

    I still say nothing, but look over at Grandma, who would not make eye contact with me.

    He continues, “Steven, don’t turn out like your father. I did. I was a worthless ass, just like him. I was caught up in making money. I was awful to my wife. I never got to know my kids. And I can’t get any of it back. My wife is dead, and she died hating me. My kids won’t speak to me and their kids, my grandchildren, don’t even know I exist. They actually hide me from them. I believe they have told the older grandchildren that I am dead. Your grandma here, is the only person that talks to me. I can’t get any of my life back, and I wish, in fact I pray everyday, that I could do it over again. Instead of buying them expensive toys, vacations that I didn’t go on with them, cars, and anything that I believed they wanted, I should have been there for them. Steven, don’t be your dad. You will regret a life lived that way.” We sit in complete silence until Mr. Lancaster says, “Thank you for visiting me tonight. I will see you tomorrow, and Steven, you will sit at the table.”

    Thank you for taking the time to read!
    Happy writing!

    1. Andy,
      I clearly "see" Mr. Lancaster. His voice is sharp and may be a little preachy. However, it is hard to tell with just an snippet. I would like to hear what Steven has to say in return. I am intrigued.

    2. Great job, Andy! I can definitely hear your voice.

      I am very curious to know what Steven's dad did to his grandma. I like that she stays quiet during this exchange.

      Keep going!

    3. Hi Andy, this is very creepy... I'm really curious to find out how all these people are linked together. An island? Standing in a corner? I know this is an excerpt but it felt to me like an alternate reality or something. Very unsettling. I like what Mr. Lancaster is saying but I think it would be more powerful if his actual dialogue was condensed. He seemed more like a man of few words... This is great! Thanks for sharing and good luck with this!

  7. Hey, all you GORGEOUS Friday Feedbackers!

    Stopped in to change into my bathing suit, but on a mission today (don't ask, I don't know why)... so I'm headed back out for my second swim.

    Will see you all here late afternoon!

    Keep posting. Keep feedbacking. Keep going!

    xox gae

    1. "So I'm heading back out for my second swim." - Now I am super jealous! Two swims in one day! I want to go for another swim (I am whining like the girl in WW and the Chocolate Factory). I am supposed to be tapering, but swam with the HS and college swimmers this morning and held my own (I have been wanting to brag all day - so thanks for letting me).

      I hope you enjoyed your swim (I mean swimS - so jealous)! Thanks for Friday Feedback - you know I love it!

    2. hah, whining like the girl in WW... glad you could brag here. I can't hold my own with the HS'ers when I'm relegated to the Y pool. They mostly kick my ass. Back with feedback on your exerpt in a separate comment. :)

    3. Andy: I think you have some really powerful stuff in here -- Mr. Lancaster mixing Steven up with his dad and maybe giving him a speech that is both powerful and yet TMI/inappropriate for the situation and a kid his age... but I don't know enough about Steven to really know... which maybe brings me to this: I'd like to see Steven's reaction to the speech -- maybe even during it (since it's a long one) and know how he's reacting.

      Also, I'm doing a flash edit on your opening para because I feel like it's repetitive... you tell us more than we need to know via different modes that Steven is standing and that Mr. Lancaster hasn't paid him much attention before. My edit might not be the "right" way for you... it's more a "concept" thing. Let me know if you don't know what I'm talking about after rereading... :)

      Mr. Lancaster turns to me and says, “Steven, sit down. Stop standing in the corner.” I stay motionless, surprised that Mr. Lancaster is talking to me. In all of the visits, he's never said two words to me. [on reread: I'm confused about this next line period because you just said he's never said two words to steven, now you say "the only time he ever talked to me..." it's still two words. Maybe take this line out and explain that he confused him with his dad some other way? The only time he ever talked to me, he thought I was my dad.] He kicks a chair out from under the table, and speaks again, “Sit!”

      Good work! Keep going!

    4. Thanks for the feedback!

      The excerpt is taken from a chapter where Steven begins to find out the truth about his father and his grandma. Steven reacts to Lancaster's lecture in the paragraphs following this excerpt. He shares his thoughts (reaction) with grandma and it leads to more secrets being uncovered.

      As always, your advice is greatly appreciated and helps me to be more aware of the silly mistakes (mistakes that sometimes I just don't see, even after rereading in twenty-thirty times) that I miss.

    5. I still think it might be nice to see some little reaction of Steven's... I mean brief. As little as a movement . . . because Mr. L. does go off on a big speech!

      As for not seeing the silly mistakes, welcome to the world of writing! that's what beta readers, editors, etc. are for. It's also why I'm prone to sticking little excerpts up on my fb page. The minute I put them out there "in the public eye" I'm like, shit, how did i NOT see that?!? ;)

  8. Thank you so much for providing "Friday Feedback." I am very envious of your ability to do long swims. I usually do a sprint triathlon every spring and the swim is my least favorite. Probably because I am so bad at it!

    Here is an snippet of my WIP. Thanks in advance for reading!

    I have a secret. It isn’t anything illegal, but it feels like it. I kissed a boy. Not just any boy, but the boy I’ve loved for as long as I can remember. This should be a good thing, the best moment of my life, but it’s not because the boy I kissed is my best friend’s brother, and it’s complicated. I’m sure I’ve already ruined things with Brice, and I can’t afford to mess up with Jen too.

    At the time I wasn’t thinking. It happened on July 4th, and after work Brice and I went to the park to meet some friends, but the crowds were crazy, so we decided to go back to Brice’s truck and watch the fireworks from there. That is where the best and worst moment of my life took place. Innocent, unplanned - the back of Brice's hand brushed mine as he handed me the bottle of water. I shivered despite the Florida heat.

    "Are you okay?"

    "Um yeah I guess." I felt self conscious. Brice was like my brother, or at least you would think he would be. No one knew my true feelings, not even Jen. The air between us felt different - unbearably hot and then a chilling cold - not bad but weirdly good. Electricity was in the air with the anticipation of the fireworks, but there was something else too. We sat on the back of the tailgate, sipping water and swinging our legs in unison.

    Brice turned to me and said, "Maggie, I want to tell you something," but at that moment the first crack of the firecrackers slapped the sky. We leaned our heads back to look at the night sky bright with bursts of yellow and blue and red. We propped back on our elbows to get a better view. There was no more talking. We couldn't have heard each other over the din anyway.

    Finally, there was a lull in the show, Brice turned to say something, but instead his lips met mine – soft, questioning, and full of promise. Mine answered yes as my senses hummed in agreement.

    1. Whoa! That last paragraph gets the reader's attention. You used the words to get across the emotional feeling of the kiss.

      The only suggestion that I have is the first paragraph seems detached from the other paragraphs. I am wondering if you could rearrange the paragraphs (or even sentences) to make the reader more curious about the kiss.

      "I’m sure I’ve already ruined things with Brice, and I can’t afford to mess up with Jen too." - I am interested with this part of the story. How did she mess up with Brice? She was passionately kissing him in the end.

      Georgia, nicely done!
      Keep up the good writing!

    2. Georgia... i can't do anything on land, so you're way ahead of me! And I happen to agree with both pieces of feedback Andy gave. You guys don't need me anymore! :)

      I sure do feel the anticipation and moment of that kiss but good. ;)

    3. I agree with paragraph rearrangement- if only because I love the idea of getting all involved with the first kiss and all the romance and feeling and then...

      Finding out it's the best friends brother. Much more fun and dynamic that way. Love this idea!

      Run with it!

  9. Just bought And Then Things Fall Apart on my Kindle. Can't wait to read it! I love the idea of a teenager stuck in her grandmother's "technologically barren" house. I don't think my own teenagers could survive! LOL!

    1. jealous you have the whole book spread out before you. One of my favorite reads last year. Voice, voice, voice. :)

  10. I'm at zoo camp today! I cant wait to dive in tomorrow with an iced latte at my desk!


  11. lol! Arlaina's at zoo camp. Who knows what that means, but it sounds, well, zooey! :)

  12. Hello! My 5 year old was at zoo camp but I took the day to take my little 2 year old to the zoo yesterday for kicks. WE RODE A CAMEL. So sorry I wasn't around! OK let me go back to the top and get this party started. I'm so happy that Gae asked me to do this!

  13. Sorry to all that the comments seem to be in some weird wonky order. I replied to things, yet my reply comment seems to appear above the original comment?! WTH?!?!

    At any rate, HUGE thanks to Arlaina for being here on Friday Feedback with us. Anyone who loves YA should so totally check out her book. And if she's reading somewhere near you, don't miss her! LOVE.

    xo gae