Interview with Courtney Summers | All the Rage

Today on the blog I’m sharing an interview I did with Courtney Summers, author of several  books, including ALL THE RAGE. All the Rage was one of my favourite novels of the year and I was thrilled when Courtney agreed to do an interview with me.


21853636All the Rage

Courtney Summers

Release Date: April 14, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

interviewlogo

Q: The thing that stands out most about All the Rage is Romy’s voice. It’s brutally honest and Romy herself seems like an unlikable character (I of course loved her!). How did you develop her voice?

C.S: I’m so glad you loved her! Thank you. Romy’s voice was developed over the course of several drafts. I feel like a big part of developing a character’s voice is just standing back and letting it happen on the page. I try not to get in the way of it by worrying too much about how it will be received. My general rule of thumb for writing all my female characters, Romy included, is to not shy away from emotions and actions that might come across as unlikable to readers and to state them plainly, even if they’re uncomfortable or hard to read about.

Q: I want to discuss a quote from All the Rage that had a deep impact on me:

“So you never said if you’re having a boy or girl.”

“We won’t know until it’s born.” I hope it’s not a girl (61).

Roy is really surprised by this. Can you tell me what you were feeling when you wrote this? Like Romy, were you surprised to find yourself writing this?

C.S: Romy is (understandably) having a really hard time dealing with her rape–she’s not dealing with it. I wanted to show how deep that trauma and hurt runs, the impact it has. I also wanted to show that even Romy can be surprised by how pervasive her trauma is and how much it has and continues to take over her life. It’s an upsetting scene and it needed to be. I wanted to be sure Romy’s pain was being clearly expressed to the reader.

Q: It’s really important for Romy to be wearing red lipstick and nail polish, and for me I saw this as a sort of armor. What was the inspiration behind this?

C.S: Romy views it as armor too. I wanted her to have something that was in her control. Everyone in town thinks Romy’s a liar. They have no problem re-traumatizing her by bringing up her rape because they don’t believe it’s true. When they see her, they see The Girl Who Cried Rape. By wearing the bright red lipstick and nail polish, Romy is, in her own way, controlling what people see–if only for a moment. 

Q: Do you have any book recommendations for after finishing All the Rage?

C.S: If anyone hasn’t read Speak before they read All the Rage, they should definitely pick it up. Pointe by Brandy Colbert. Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook.

Q: Can you share with us any projects you’re working on?

C.S: I’m working on something new, but that’s all I’m willing to say about it right now. 🙂 

Q: Can you tell me about what you’ve been reading lately?

C.S: I have been working my way through the Supernatural tie-ins! I love the show and they’re a lot of fun.


About the Author:

courtney2014hiresCOURTNEY SUMMERS was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. When she was around 10 years old, her local theatre’s production of Man of La Mancha (directed by her father) sparked her dream of telling stories that would move people the same way Don Quixote’s had moved her. At age 14, and with her parents’ blessing, Courtney dropped out of high school to pursue her education independently. During this time, she explored various creative mediums in search of the one that would best serve the tales she wanted to tell. At age 18, she wrote her first novel and never looked back. Her first book, Cracked Up to Be, was published in 2008, when she was 22. To date, she has authored five novels and is best known for her unapologetic, difficult female protagonists. When Courtney is not writing, she enjoys playing video games, watching horror movies, Supernatural, and planning for the impending zombie apocalypse. In 2016, she was named one of Flare Magazine’s 60 under 30. Visit her website and on Twitter @courtney_s
Advertisements

Book Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

21936988The Sin Eater’s Daughter

Melinda Salisbury

3/5 stars

Release Date: February 24, 2015

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

A startling, seductive, deliciously dark debut that will shatter your definition of YA fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner.As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Review:

I listened to an audiobook of The Sin Eater’s Daughter (read by Amy Shiels) and that was a huge mistake. There’s a lot of info dumping at the beginning of the novel, so it makes the audiobook seem really slow – like REALLY slow. The main character, Twylla would usually be talking about her past or the history of her kingdom and neighbouring kingdoms, which was interesting, but somehow the audio made it seem super boring.

Actually, the entire first half of the novel was boring and made me want to DNF it. I only continued it because at one point the king defies the queen in public and I knew something would go down. Usually the king and queen rule as equals, but the queen is the boss around here and is pretty much a villain. People have to tiptoe around her for fear of offending her and being put to death. The queen was actually the most intriguing character. I feel like I got a better sense of her personality versus Twylla’s. Finishing this book, I understand what Twylla is but not really who she is. I know being locked up in the castle half her life doesn’t really give Twylla the chance to get a hobby or make friends, but she still should have made a deeper impression on me than the queen.

There were things I liked and enjoyed about the book. The author infuses legends and myths familiar to the reader with her own fantasy world’s ones. For example, we hear stories like the Pied Piper and the biblical story of Adam and Eve falling from grace – although she changes a few things and doesn’t use the same names. The Sleeping Prince myth becomes central to the plot and I believe something like that already exists in our own world, which was great to read about! I also loved how sins existed in this world. There exist sin eaters, like Twylla’s mother, who eat the sins of dead people, which allows their soul to move on. This takes a huge toll on the sin eater. Twylla herself was meant to become a sin eater after her mother dies, but her destiny is changed and she becomes the goddess-embodied. I loved those two aspects! The world-building was my favourite part of the novel.

The romance was a little weird. Twylla and the prince haven’t seen each other for two years, so they act like I would expect: awkward strangers. Twylla and her new guard, Lief, however start to gain feelings for each other, but it only got weird when the guard says he’s in love with her after only knowing each other for 1-2 weeks. I liked the romance but it also had a lot of WTF moments.

Plot-wise it didn’t go exactly how I thought it would. There’s not much action and the protagonist pretty much stays in the castle for the entire book. I also expected the ending to go a different way, especially considering there’s a sequel. I did like the way it ended but the way I envisioned it was perhaps a bit more exciting haha. It just seemed too good to be true.

I also want to address the title. For the first half of the book I felt like it was a catchy title, but didn’t really relate to the novel or protagonist. Twylla’s younger sister is more the Sin Eater’s daughter than her, so it felt like those “The Tiger’s Wife/Daughter/something” titles that are nice but random. Twylla is the goddess-embodied and the future queen. She hasn’t seen her mother in years and won’t be the next sin eater. However, when I think about the last half of the book I’m a little unsure/neutral on the title. Sin becomes a more central theme during the last half.

Anyway, I did like this book and plan to read the sequel but there’s no way I’m listening to an audiobook again. In the last two minutes of the audiobook, creepy music starts up which was about the only good thing it did for me – it made me really excited for the sequel. Final verdict: if you don’t mind info dumping, you’ll probably like this. I wouldn’t recommend the audiobook.

Book Review: Nil Remembered by Lynne Matson

30827348Nil Remembered (Nil #0.5) – prequel novella to the Nil series

Lynne Matson

4/5 stars

Release Date: July 19, 2016

Publisher: Henry Holt & co.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

My name is Scott Bracken, and this is my journal.

Scott Bracken has been home for 28 days, but nothing is the same. A month ago, he escaped from Nil, an island of wonder, beauty, and incredible danger. Now, back in his old life, no one believes Scott’s story. To deal with his present, Scott must relive his past—whether he wants to or not.

Introduced to readers in Nil Unlocked, here, for the first time, is Scott’s journal in its entirety. Delve deeper into the world of Nil—before Charley and Thad, before Skye and Rives—and discover the truth.

Review:

NIL REMEMBERED by Lynne Matson is a quick, enjoyable read. I loved the main character, Scott – his personality really stood out to me & his humour was great. I also loved that, after going through Nil, he still found ways to make jokes. It actually reminded me of the protagonist in THE MARTIAN.

This novella is written in a journal-type format, with a mix of drawings and entries. It was an interesting way of re-discovering Nil, at least for someone like me who’s read the first book in the series & already knows a bit about the island. Sometimes it got a bit boring which I think was due to the lack of dialogue.

At the end of almost every journal entry Scott would write, “my name is Scott Bracken, and this is the truth”. I think it made this journal-type format all the more authentic. When you’ve gone through such a traumatic experience and people are telling you it wasn’t real, it definitely seems like something you’d be constantly thinking about. Something that you’d have to write down.

There were only a few things I disliked about the book. One is really specific; here’s a quote from the book:

“Now she’d been sitting in front of the Wall of Names for the last twenty minutes, Indian-style, like she was silently singing the Clash song ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go.'”.

I don’t really like that term “Indian-style”, which I usually see describing someone sitting cross-legged. I only ever see it in books published in the US, so maybe it’s only me (a Canadian) but I feel like people should use words like “cross-legged” instead of “Indian-style”. I feel like it’s not referencing Indian as in India but Native American, so I always get a bad feeling when I see it.

Overall I thought this was a fun, interesting addition to the NIL series and I definitely recommend it. Even though it’s a prequel, I’d say read NIL first and then this, just so you have a better understanding of Nil going into it. Disclaimer: I downloaded the ebook from Kobo for free, this has in no way altered my honest opinion of the book.

July Wrap-Up Post

IMG_1391I read a total of 16 books this month. Even though most of them were novellas, I’m still feeling very accomplished. I was able to reach the 50 books read mark before the end of July. One of the books I read, The Bane Chronicles, I started over a year ago so I’m glad I finally finished it. I also started Rebel of the Sands back in March, so I’m happy I finished that too!

Books Read:

Steel Scars by Victoria Aveyard

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Naruto Vol. 3-4 by Masashi Kishimoto

Morrighan by Mary E. Pearson

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson

Nil Remembered by Lynne Matson

Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

The Lost Herondale by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman

The Whitechapel Fiend by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson

Nothing but Shadows by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

The Evil We Love by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman

Pale Kings and Princes by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman

Bitter of Tongue by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

The Fiery Trial by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Rebel of the Sands would have to be my favourite book of July. Hamilton’s writing is gorgeous and I loved the slow-burning romance between the main character, Amani and Jin, a mysterious stranger she meets in the beginning of the novel. I am super excited for the sequel Traitor to the Throne. I hope you guys all check it out! Some books I liked but ultimately underwhelmed were Nothing but Shadows by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan and The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. For the first, it was basically a story within a story and very boring. The second one was also very boring for the first half of the book and there wasn’t a lot of action.

I’d love to know what everyone read in July and what they plan to read in August? Are you taking part in the ARC August challenge?

Click on the links above to read my reviews.

ICYMI:

The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

ARC August Challenge

Book Review: Queen Song by Victoria Aveyard

Book Review: The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster