Sunday, May 18, 2014

Shout Out to Indies - Madness of the Turtle by Simon Wisher AND School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino

We here at The Paperback Princesses often receive emails from Indie authors requesting reviews and are blessed with free book copies. Often we are unable to get to so many titles before our mass market published books take over our TBR shelves. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great reads though! We want to give back to those Indie authors and are declaring EVERY SECOND SUNDAY our SHOUT OUT TO INDIES MEME. For those of fellow bloggers, please feel free to add our meme to your regular schedule. We only ask that you quote and link back to us as a courtesy. For all of you Indie authors, we invite you to contact us at the contact link to your top left. We will select 1 - 3 titles (each time we post) that sound interesting. Lastly, for you readers, this is a bit of a test so please do comment and let us know what you think. We will also be offering up giveaway copies whenever we can! So without further ado, here are this week's pick
Published: March 2013

Sixteen-year old Rico dreams of another life, one where losing an ear in a fight isn’t funny
and where love doesn’t have to be paid for. Instead, he follows a gang of brutal and
uneducated jungle bandits who are fleeing the Guatemalan army and heading to join the
revolution in Cuba, unaware the fighting ended ten years earlier.

When Rico’s father, the gang leader, is wounded in a gun battle they take shelter on a farm
and witness television for the first time. His father falls in love with a beautiful soap actress
and, believing he has been resurrected in order to save her, resolves to track down and kill
the soap’s evil Senor Gonzales.

Yet as they seek the actress, robbing and killing with seeming impunity, the love of a boy
for his father is slowly reduced by the growing recognition of his dangerous ignorance and
crazed rationalisation. Eventually, Rico has to decide if he’s prepared to cross the most
frightening man in the world in order save the actress.

We asked Simon why he writes for a YA audience:

Why YA?

Originally, the story wasn’t conceived as a YA novel. It came from an abandoned adult
thriller when, looking to see what could be rescued, I decided the only interesting thing was
the relationship between the minor characters of Rico and his father. With a seventeen-
year-old narrator and its coming-of-age themes (reconciling what he is learning afresh with
what he had long believed, and deciding what kind of man he intends to be) I felt the story
might resonate with a younger audience.

Rico’s world is a harsh and brutal place and its portrayal means that some of the story
content may be considered strong, especially for a YA audience, and some may think it

However, although it does contain violence, swearing and non-explicit sex, there is no
frontier-glory attached to their behaviour. Instead it betrays all of the ignorance, misogyny
and desolation of such lives, and feedback suggests that sixteen is an appropriate age for
the story.

When I consider the wilful one-eyed ignorance of the bandits, I have in mind a group of
under-educated vigilantes a few years ago who had protested against a local man because
they had confused paediatrician for paedophile. So the bandits also became the easily
confused and those who are too lazy to consider anything other than a black or white
solution for those problems that are only ever grey.

Rico though is plainly different and, of all my characters, he’s my favourite. I love his honour
and bravery in accepting the truth, and then his clear-sighted willingness to act against that
which is wrong, never mind the cost too himself.

You can find out more about Simon and his book here:

Our second pick for this week is:

Can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?  
Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.
Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.   

We asked Christopher why he writes for a YA audience and this is what he told us:
I spend every day hoping to inspire young people.  My daily job is as a high school theatre teacher.  I teach 200 students during the day, working with them on ways to build creativity, confidence, teamwork, and artistry.  When I was a young person myself, I found inspiration in theatre and in books.  Now, as an adult, I dedicate my life to bringing those two passions to life in future generations.
For my first novels, it was only natural to target my books towards a YA audience.  I work with teens during the school year, and teach middle school theatre during the summers.  In the future, I plan to expand my books towards other markets, but for now, my focus remains rooted in my desire to bring imaginations to life.  American school systems are making reading for pleasure less and less desirable, by implementing programs such as Common Core (a nationwide program focused on analytical reading in a way that makes reading more comprehensive but less enjoyable).  In such an environment, where the number of teens reading for pleasure decreases every year, it is more important than ever to inspire imaginations and creativity with new and exciting stories.
Find out more about Christopher and his book here:
Video "teaser"

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