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Tag: Julie Halpern

For Fans of The Fault In Our Stars: What to Read Next

Fault In Our Stars Readalike GraphicNext week, the highly anticipated movie based on John Green’s 2012 Teens’  Top Ten winning title The Fault In Our Stars will be released. The first post I ever wrote for The Hub offered a list of books that fans of The Fault in Our Stars would enjoy and with the movie coming out so soon, now seems like a good time to add to this list.

Since my last post, I have discovered even more books that will appeal to fans of TFiOS, so whether you are looking for a book to occupy you until you see the movie or a list of books to fill your summer, hopefully you will find what you are looking for here.

SideEffectsMayVarySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy: Alternating between points of view and points in time, this story slowly reveals glimpses of Alice’s battle against cancer, but at its heart it is really the story of the relationship between Alice and her best friend Harvey, who she enlists to help her complete her bucket list. This is a book about what happens when you don’t die, and how difficult it can be to decide to grow as a person.

The F-It List by Julie Halpern: Another book about a bucket list, in this case, Alex is left to complete her best friend Becca’s bucket list when Becca is too sick to do most of the activities herself. After months of not talking due to Becca’s inexcusable actions on the day of Alex’s father’s funeral, the list helps to bring the two back together and allows Alex to work through her grief after her father’s death. Halpern creates characters who are real in both their strength and their flaws. 

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Crafting and Creative Pursuits in YA Nonfiction and Fiction

photo by flickr user Tammy Strobel
photo by flickr user Tammy Strobel

March is National Craft Month!  I love crafting in many forms and have led craft workshops at the library system where I work.  Apart from reading, crafting is one of the few things that I can get completely lost in.  I think for me it started in middle school.  I had a bit of a rough time in eighth grade (a situation partly of my own creation), but always felt grounded by our arts and crafts class, where we explored several different art forms without being judged on the “quality” of our finished products.  In high school, I took a class in drawing and painting, sure at first that I would just eke by with a barely passing grade.  Instead, I ended up very pleasantly surprised at the sketches that I was able to make as the result of patient instruction and a little concentration.  As an adult I’ve taken jewelry-making and other craft classes, and have realized that crafting for me is almost a form of meditation, and I need to make more time for it in my life.  So to inspire myself as much as you, our Hub readers, I’ve put together a list of YA crafting guides and YA novels whose main characters craft in some form.

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Interview with Julie Halpern, Author of The F-It List

The F It ListJulie Halpern has a knack of taking you back to high school by pulling out our best and worst memories of that time through her writing.  Her spot on comedic tone and skilful weaving of a story,  perfectly channels the essence of the high school experience. She has  been recognized on YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults lists twice: in 2010 for Into the Wild Nerd Yonder and 2013 for Have a Nice Day.

The F-It List is Halpern’s fifth novel for teens, and it has laugh out loud humor while at the same time delivering an emotional punch to the gut.  The F-It List hit bookshelves this past Tuesday, November 12, and centers on the friendship of Alex and Becca.  When Alex’s father passed away, her best friend Becca made a poor choice and slept with Alex’s then boyfriend.  Needing a break from the drama, Alex spends a summer keeping away from Becca.  When she is ready to forgive at the start of the next school year, Alex discovers that Becca has cancer.  Together they rebuild their friendship while trying to complete Becca’s bucket list, or as they call it the F-It list.  Through this process Alex discovers a lot about grieving, love, friendship, and even herself.  Visit Julie Halpern’s website, juliehalpern.com, to learn more about her work.

This is your fifth novel for teen readers.  Has your writing style or writing process changed since your first novel was published?  What has stayed the same?

I don’t know how much my style has changed, except that (hopefully) it has improved! Practice makes perfect, and all. I have had a similar writing process for all five books, where I tend to write the first few chapters and then let them sit for a bit before I continue writing the book. I don’t outline, but I do make a list of important events (sometimes the list looks neat, sometimes it’s randomly-placed post-its) that I need to include. I tend to write my books on a schedule, meaning that the events in the book take place over a certain amount of time and I need to figure out how to make the schedule work in order to keep the book organized. Otherwise, I write my books through the eyes of the main character, and the characters dictate the words. Also, in terms of process, I hand-write all of my books into notebooks with a pen, and when I finish the first draft I have to type it all in (which becomes my second draft).  By now I know that I usually require two or three revisions after the second draft before I’m comfortable sending it to my editor. No one sees it before then.

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