PRESS PLAY Cover Reveal

I threw a party and want to give you my gifts.


So I finally got to see the awesome, amazing, and intense cover for my next novel, Press Play. And then the Book Buzz 2014 Young Adult edition released, which has the first two chapters in it. I was so excited that I threw a party to celebrate.


Bethany Crandell came with a signed copy of her novel, Summer on the Short Bus and a swag pack with bookmark and pin.

Shortbus book & swag

A.G. Howard brought an awesome 18×24” Unhinged poster, as well as a Splintered series swag pack.

Unhinged posterSplintered.UnhingedSwag











Lisa Ann O’Kane rolled up with an e-copy of her debut, Essence and some sweet swag pins.

Essence. Book imageESSENCE Pins







 A. Lynden Rolland rocked the place with a signed copy of her debut, Of Breakable Things and her swag pins and bookmark.

Obt.BookImageOBT buttonOBT bookmark



























And then Justin Holley scared us all with his contribution: a signed copy of the horror anthology, Amanda’s Recurring Nightmares, in which his short story, “Wildflower” is featured.

Amanda's Nightmares











We had a blast, and because I’m so thrilled with my cover and the sample chapters, I WANT TO GIVE ALL MY GIFTS AWAY.


So let’s reveal my cover and then you will have a chance to win all that you saw above, as well as a signed copy of Press Play. Awesome, right?


*Drum roll*


And for the teaser

Press Play cover teaser


Scroll for the real deal















Press Play cover


Let me explain:

About Press Play:

Does the truth really set you free?

Pound by sweaty pound, Greg Dunsmore’s plan is working. Greg is steadily losing weight while gaining the material he needs to make the documentary that will get him into film school and away from the constant jeers of “Dun the Ton.”

But when Greg captures footage of brutal and bloody hazing by his town’s championship-winning lacrosse team, he knows he has evidence that could damage as much as it could save. And if the harm is to himself and his future, is revealing the truth worth the cost?

With unflinching honesty, author Eric Devine explores the debatable truths and consequences of the choices we make to get through each day intact.


You’re pumped now. I can feel it. Well, if you need a fix, here are the first two chapters. But don’t forget to enter, below, to win the prize pack.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy winning, and even happier reading 🙂

 The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author

Eric Devine is the author of multiple works of Young Adult fiction, most recently Dare Me. He is also a veteran high school English teacher, where he spends as much time teaching as he does completing field research for his novels. His work has been listed by YALSA and Booklist for reluctant readers and for Best in Sports. He and his wife have two wonderful daughters and two not-so-wonderful Labradors. Eric’s next novel, Press Play, will be released 10/28, and he is currently working on two novels. Find out more at his blog, his Facebook fan page, or Twitter: @eric_devine


About the Giveaway Authors

Bethany Crandell writes young adult novels because the feelings that come with life’s “first” times are too good not to relive again and again.  She lives in San Diego with her husband, two kiddos (one of whom is differently-abled), and a chocolate lab who has no regard for personal space. She believes that avocados are better than chocolate and that Jake Ryan is going to show up at her door any minute now…. twitter: @bethanycrandell website  facebook

A.G. Howard is the author of the Splintered series, a young adult gothic spinoff of Alice in Wonderland. Here are her online haunts: Goodreads  FaceBook  Pinterest  Twitter Tumblr  Website

Lisa Ann O’Kane is a young adult author and former vagabond who once camped out in Yosemite National Park for an entire summer, an experience that inspired her debut novel ESSENCE. Her background is in zookeeping and environmental education, and she has been kicked, cornered, bitten and chased by nearly every animal she has ever loved. She currently resides in Florida, and she is now a huge fan of shooting stars, indoor plumbing and keeping both her feet planted firmly on the trail.Find out more: Website  Twitter  Facebook  Instagram  Pinterest

A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. She spent much of her childhood compiling dramatic stories of tragic characters in a notebook she still keeps. As a former English teacher, she enjoys visiting classrooms to discuss reading, writing and publishing. When she isn’t writing or chasing her two young children around town, she moonlights as a writing tutor and gymnastics instructor. Of Breakable Things is her first novel.

You can connect with A. Lynden Rolland online through Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Justin Holley is the author of several scary books and short stories, many of which are published in magazines and anthologies around the world. Outside of writing, Justin likes to spend time with his family, investigate the paranormal, and play volleyball pretty much year round. You can interact with Justin at his website, at Minnesota Ghosts or on Twitter: @Justin_Holley










The Good and Genetically Modified in Grasshopper Jungle

I don’t typically review books, here, but it felt right to do so, because I’m kind of infatuated with the novel, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, which publishes tomorrow.

I’m fortunate enough to have picked up an Advanced Reader Copy while at ALA Midwinter. Here it is with Summer on the Short Bus, which I intend to review in April:

GJ & Short Bus pic

Grasshopper Jungle is about small town Iowa becoming overrun by genetically engineered praying mantis, resulting in the apocalypse. I know, it sounds crazy, but there’s so much more to it than corn, Iowa, praying mantis, and more corn.

It’s an awesome read about friendship and loyalty, with one extremely flawed protagonist––more on Austin in a minute. However, the story takes its time in developing the central conflict. There are hints of it, but most of the 128 pages prior to things really hitting the fan are filled with exposition and characterization, as well as a mix of secondary conflicts and accounts of history. And horniness.

The protagonist, Austin, is very easily aroused, by everything: his girlfriend, his best friend, situations that make sense for arousal, and those that have no connection to sensuality. Yet, that’s his quirk, which, for me, made him an endearing character, in spite of his gross selfish interest. Really, he says he loves his girlfriend, Shan, and friend, Robby, but he has a very difficult time showing that love. Lust, on the other hand, is no issue for Austin. He’s filled with it. And such a distinction is important for teens to see.

Yet, this combination of delayed action, which most authors (me included) would have concluded the first chapter with, and quite possibly an unlikable protagonist, could make Grasshopper Jungle a difficult read. But part of the undercurrent of the story is very much a Vonnegut-esque rhythm, of the renown “So it goes.” The looping style is part of the point. The story goes where the story goes, and unfolds as it does, without apology. I respect that and hope enough teens will have the patience to first know the characters and then watch them handle the main struggle. And I don’t feel as if we have to love all protagonists from the outset, or even throughout the novel. It’s important to learn from others, who we may not initially be able to relate to, because I can guarantee, on some level, at some point, the connection will occur.

I’ve read reviews of Grasshopper Jungle questioning whether a female protagonist with the same quirk as Austin would be as positively received. It’s a good question. I don’t know if the YA world would be accepting of such, but I kind of feel that they would. Especially those who read Andrew Smith’s work. Winger, another Smith novel, handles homosexuality well, as does Grasshopper Jungle. Austin’s best friend, Robby, is gay, and Austin is…confused. He never labels himself bisexual, which I like, because at the end of the world, do we really need labels? If ever? So a female protagonist, unafraid to voice her desires, might excel, where Austin comes off as comical. Time will tell.

If you like offbeat, layered stories that do not conform to formulas for plot and character, then I suggest you take a chance with Grasshopper Jungle. I guarantee you’ll find yourself wanting to smoke a cigarette before you save the world. “And shit like that.”


If you follow Andrew Smith on Twitter @marburyjack, he’s been tweeting pictures of excerpts from Grashopper Jungle. Here’s the most important one, from the Acknowledgements, which he may or may not tweet. I cannot imagine Winger or Grasshopper Jungle not existing, so I’m glad he wrote for himself and then let us see.


I’m Back

I finally made it home from ALA. The delays were insane. Kidding. I returned this morning from a family trip toFlorida, following myALAwhirlwind. I have traveled so much in the past nine days that being home feels awkward, but the trips were well worth the while. I apologize for how late this post is, but putting family priorities ahead of writing allows me to write.

Following is a bulleted list of my ALA highlights:

  • Marriott Anaheim finagled a way for me to check in at 1 pm, because the customer service agent could tell I needed a nap.
  • YALSA Happy hour with Bethany Crandell. It was refreshing to be around so many people committed to books and to have drinks and swap stories with my sister author.
  • Dinner at Catal with my Running Press family and a diverse group of librarians. I barely stopped talking to eat. Writing, authors, education, parenting. What a down-to-earth group. And the food was amazing. Craig Herman is an excellent host, and I am so thrilled that his ninth grade English teacher gave him The Hobbit to read.
  • The signing. Could I ask for better company? Ken Baker is one chill individual. We sat elbow-to-elbow with a steady stream of ALA attendees for two hours. I can’t thank enough all who stopped and picked up a copy of Tap Out and my signature. I look forward to the reviews.
  • The librarians who stopped and thanked me for writing a book for boys, for those who are going to use it as a prize for their summer reading programs, for those who were appreciative of the fact that I was at Anaheim. That still blows my mind. Seriously, thank you for what you do. As an educator I know how difficult the work can be, but so very worth it. If I can make our jobs easier, I’m glad to do it.
  • Lisa Cheng deserves an award for not only being an amazing editor but for watching out for a newb like me, making sure I knew what to do and when, and for even supplying me with a meal before my flight. You are phenomenal.
  • To the taxi driver who asked me to write a note of inspiration for his daughter on my ride out of town. You have no idea how awesome that made me feel. From him: “Those little words, they are so powerful, you never know what impact they might have.”

I can’t say it better myself. He succinctly summarized the entire point of the trip and I am so glad to have been a part of it. Thank you again Running Press. I look forward to the build-up to the September release, and any future trips we may have together.

What Excites Me About ALA

ALA Anaheim begins tomorrow. I am leaving on Saturday to be a part of this convention of awesome, and thought it might be fun to list what I’m most looking forward to. Ready? Here it is:

  1. Everything.

I’m not kidding. I’ve never been to any convention about writing. I’ve been to one local workshop and many education related events, but never anything strictly regarding the business of books. To say I’m excited is like saying John Green is an okay writer. He’s awesome and I’m losing my mind in anticipation.

I live in New Yorkand have been to Californiaone other time. I roamed San Franciscoand the Napa Valley and had one of the best vacations of my life. I have never been to Anaheim but know enough not to expect the funkiness of Haight Ashbury or the lushness of the vineyards. I will, instead, be in the heart of the city, surrounded by like-minded people: readers. We will all be there for one reason, the stories. I find that unbelievably compelling.

Additionally, I have a few events planned that I am thoroughly looking forward to: YALSA happy hour with fellow writer Bethany Crandell, dinner with my Running Press family and my signing on Sunday (1:30 – 3:30, Perseus booth #2476). And of course, the time in between where I’ll get to walk the floor and mix and mingle and enjoy the company of librarians, industry executives and other writers.

This may be the first time I am going to feel like a full fledged writer. I spend the majority of my time as an English teacher who has been published. Which is quite all right, because I love teaching and the insight interacting with my students brings. However, ALA marks a shift in this equation. Writing is being moved to the forefront and assuming an equal partnership with teaching. I like it. No, I love it.

Therefore, I want to extend my thanks to Perseus and Running Press and everyone there who has helped bring Tap Out to life. It is impossible to describe the swell of pride I feel knowing that so many not only considered my work and said yes, but that you keep doing so, are willing to send me to ALA, and are a vocal support of my work. This reader, turned teacher turned writer is ecstatic, and I have you to thank.

Now, if I can keep my head about me, I’ll be certain to report back after the weekend with a breakdown of the good times.

Until then.