Monday, April 2, 2012

Blog Tour for Summer on the Moon (and a giveaway!)

Thrilled doesn't really describe how excited I am to be part of Adrian Fogelin's blog tour for her newly released Summer on the Moon! I will try really, really hard not to overuse exclamation points in this post, but there are no guarantees I will succeed. For instance, I have a BEAUTIFUL HARDCOVER (!!!!!) of this awesome book to giveaway to one of you!!! So stay tuned, PLEASE!! This post will be longer than usual because so much awesome is happening here today!! Such as my FIRST EVER author interview!!!! And now, introducing Summer on the Moon!

The premise: Thirteen-year-old Socko Starr lives in a run-down apartment in a troubled city neighborhood. He has a through-thick-and-thin best friend, but there's a gang leader who's got it in for the two of them. Through an interesting twist, Socko's great-grandfather buys a house for his mom, and she and Socko move to a (so-called) safer, brand-new, suburban housing development. But for Socko, it's like living on the moon.

What keeps readers reading: The action! Something is always happening in this story, and the stakes are high--but not at the expense of characterization, and I love that about this book. In an awesome way, Adrian Fogelin has melded the story's action with character development, and the reader leaves the story with an understanding of and a connection to each character.

There is so much more I could say about this book, but I had the chance to interview Adrian (!!!!), so I'll let her words tell you more about Summer on the Moon. (My questions are in blue).

When I read a book, I love knowing the story behind the story because it makes the story mean that much more to the reader. With that in mind, what inspired Summer on the Moon?

The story began on a school visit. Trying to demonstrate that a story’s setting usually originates in a place the author knows, I asked for descriptions of places that the students knew well. I usually get a town, or a house, sometimes Disney. That day I heard about a cardboard box, the kind an appliance comes in. The kid said that he climbed into that box when he needed to be alone. It made me think about how important having a place of your own can be.
In "Summer on the Moon" I begin with a couple of kids in a dangerous inner-city neighborhood. They have no place to call their own, except the roof of their apartment building, which hasn't yet come to the attention of the local gang—but quickly does.
When the main character, Socko, moves to a partially built housing development, the roof is replaced by acres and acres of empty and incomplete houses. He quickly turns the subdivision’s empty swimming pool into his own personal skate park and considers all of the subdivision his “territory.” I know Socko’s territory well because I grew up in such a place. Although grassless and treeless it was a place a kid could roam without fear—and it was much bigger than a cardboard box.
As I wrote the book the current recession was always on my mind and every character you meet is in some way affected by these hard times. It seemed important to put the the courage, and the coping skills, especially those shown by kids, in a book.
My daughter (age 12) would like to know why you decided to write books for kids.
I started out by writing books for grown-ups. My mother was a writer, and that was the kind of book she wrote. A conversation with the girl next door changed everything. She told me that her family was going to have to move soon because they're getting to be too many black people in the neighborhood, and I realized that prejudice is a lesson many kids learn at home. So I wrote a story, "Crossing Jordan" about a 12-year-old girl who is getting that message but chooses to become best friends with the black girl next door anyway. I realized that stories could entertain adults but that they could maybe do more than that if I wrote for young readers.
My son (who just turned 14) is at a crossroads in his reading life. Some middle grade is too young for him and a lot of YA doesn't fit his interests. What might boy readers like my son find most intriguing about Summer on the Moon?
Unlike many of my books, this one has lots of action. Plus a gang. Plus a car plunging into a swimming pool requiring the emergency rescue of the gang leader. I also think, and hope, that I really got inside the head of the book's male narrator, Socko Starr.
The skateboarding dude on the cover might help too. I sure hope so.

Thank you so much, Adrian! And the skateboarding dude on the cover is AWESOME--as is the title font in my (albeit girl) opinion! And just so you all know, my son read Summer on the Moon already, LOVED the action and movement in the story, and also appreciated how the teenagers talk like teenagers!

To enter the giveaway for Summer on the Moon, simply comment on this post by Sunday, April 8th, by 8 pm CDT. International entries welcome. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 9th. Visit other blogs on the tour (and more chances to win the book!) by clicking here: Peachtree Publishers blog.

Happy middle grade reading!

36 comments:

  1. Summer on the Moon sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Great interview Barbara and Adrian. I loved hearing how Adrian came up with her story. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this one, Barbara. Love the cover and the premise does sound action-paced. Action always makes for a fabulous MG!

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    1. I love the cover too. Peachtree has a great in-house staff that always surprises me with its creativity--but this may be the best cover yet!

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  4. That IS a cool cover. A gang? Hmm...interesting.

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    1. The gang is no match for the Crips. It is mostly the brain child of Rapp, a very local thug, but he still manages to terrorize his immediate neighborhood--which is all the world Socko and his friend Damien know.

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  5. The interview was simple and yet deep and captivating. It's always inspiring to know why an author decided to write for young readers. Thanks for the giveaway too.

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    1. Thank you, Akoss. I tried to keep it simple and hit on some important ideas at the same time. And since my kids are the target for this book, I had to include their perspectives too.

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  6. wow - this sounds terrific! now that i've read more about it, i think the title is so fantastically fitting.

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  7. Great interview. I would love to enter to win a copy of the book, I think my son would love it. He's in that in between stage too.
    coreenamcburnie at gmail dot com

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  8. It's an all-around terrific read, and I have to tell you, my son was disappointed when he discovered I was giving our copy of SUMMER ON THE MOON away. It's one he will re-read (something he does with books he loves), so it looks like I'll be purchasing another for us!

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    1. Barbara, send me your address and your son's name. I'd be glad to mail him a copy.

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    2. A car accident! I'm so sorry to hear that. Heal quickly.

      And this offer made my son's day. THANK YOU!

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  9. Sounds like a fun MG adventure! I also have a son at that in between age.

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  10. Yay for your first-ever author interview! Nice job!!

    I read THE BIG NOTHING by the same author and really enjoyed it. Haven't read SUMMER ON THE MOON yet. She's good at delving into the deeper issues kids face today. And lots of action is always good.

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    1. Thanks so much mentioning "The Big Nothing." I love writing male narrators and Justin Riggs is one of my favorites.

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  11. Just added to my Amazon Wish List. Thanks, Barbara. :)

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  12. Great post and great author interview. This sounds like a great book, especially for boys.

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  13. Thanks for a great interview with Adrian. I bought a copy right away, because I know my seventh grade students are going to love this story . . . can't wait to share with my class!

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  14. The boy who climbed into a cardboard box to have his own place... ahhh... that really tugged my heart.

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    1. Mine too. Sometimes on school visits something happens that reminds me of the real lives of my readers. One boy I met was bald. I feared that he was being treated for cancer. He wasn't, but his mother was. He'd shaved his head to keep her company. Nothing I write will ever do justice to the real world fears and joys of kid life.

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  15. This sounds like a great read, Barbara! Thanks for the interview, too. I love to read other writer's stories.

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  16. I know my son will love SUMMER ON THE MOON too.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  17. I love--and appreciate--all the comments too!

    I was in a bad car accident last week so a virtual book tour is perfect (do you mind that I'm wearing my PJs?).

    You have all lifted my spirits! Thank you thank you.

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  18. I really enjoyed the interview! Sounds like a great book.

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  19. sounds like a fun book thanks for chance to win

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  20. Glad to know about your blog! Adrian, it sounds like a winner! Think of this as more time to write!

    Linda Guy

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  21. Sounds like a great read. Not what I usually grab but the story sounds really good. :)

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  22. I book sounds prefer for my 12 year old. :)

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  23. I'd love a chance to win and have a nephew who I can pass this along to (after I read it of course!)

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  24. lovely interview. I like reading the anwers!

    and thanks for the giveaway

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

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  25. Thanks for the wonderful interview. I like the way Adrian came to write for children.

    Thanks for the interview, and the giveaway!

    ishtamerc AT gmail DOT com

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  26. I can so relate to the kid who said he clambered into a cardboard box when he wanted his own SPACE. I've volunteered at a school for kids from an economically poor background in a southern city of Mumbai. One of these kids used to put a paper bag over his head when he wanted his own space and then he would drift off into fantasy land. You see, his little shanty did not even have space for a cardboard box. This story is beautiful and if I win, after reading it, the copy will be sent to this very school (even as I have moved cities).
    Thanks for making this giveaway international
    lukathewriter (at) gmail (dot) com

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  27. Love your review (especially the exclamation points)!! So excited to see so many giveaway entries! Woohoo!

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  28. *Post, not 'review' since this is quite obviously a review AND a Q&A (and an awesome one, by the way)! I got so excited I misspoke. :D

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  29. Thank you to all who entered the giveaway! I so enjoy sharing great books for kids.

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Comments. Yay! They're almost as good as chocolate. Almost.