Also by this author: , To All the Boys I've Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, Stay Sweet
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Me being me, the first thing I noticed was their outfits. Jenny was wearing an adorable red-and-white striped
dress, and she had bright red lipstick on and her tour nails. Siobhan was wearing a black pencil skirt, a preppy-cool purple gingham blouse and jean jacket. Siobhan also had
awesome, Duchess Kate (Middleton)-style nude heels that I instantly
lusted over (I’ve been wanting heels like that for awhile!).
Jenny’s most humiliating experience was something to do with a boy who she said sort of inspired Conrad in her Summer novels – but without all of the redeeming qualities. He called her fat in front of a bunch of people in a lunchroom, and she ran away and cried.
I was so impressed that they were able to get up in front of us and admit those insecurities. And the thing that Jenny said afterwards is that for both of them, they wondered why they didn’t just say something, or do something to try to defend themselves instead of freezing up.
That was the inspiration for Burn for Burn – three girls who decide to team up and fight back. The book is written from the perspective of three different characters: Lillia, Kat and Mary.
Jenny read from Lillia’s section of the book, and she told us that the scene was inspired by something from her own teen years.
Siobhan read from Kat’s section of the novel. Honestly, I don’t remember what it was about, because Siobhan is such an awesome reader that I sort of got lost in the sound of her words. =P
After that, they did a Q and A, and a lot of really interesting questions were asked. The first was about the collaboration process. Unlike a lot of other collaborations, both Jenny and Siobhan wrote from the perspectives of all of the characters. I thought that was really interesting – usually in collaborations, each author chooses a character, and they sort of write back and forth. This was really unusual, and they spent a lot of time plotting and outlining the book(s) before writing. Then they each chose scenes to write.
Someone else asked about the Conrad-Jeremiah debate in Jenny’s The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy – if you haven’t read them, please ignore this and go pick them up right now! Jenny said it was really hard trying to decide between the two of them, and she didn’t really know from the beginning which boy Belly was going to end up with. Siobhan, though, said that she felt like Jenny knew from the beginning who it was going to be.
It was really cute watching/hearing Siobhan and Jenny interact with one another – they’re clearly really, really good friends, and they bounce a lot of ideas off one another. Someone asked where they met, and they said they were both in graduate school for creative writing, and became really close friends fast.
I had to ask a few questions – the first was about the scene writing. I asked whether they ever had a fight over which scenes they were going to write. Jenny said yes, and she said she had written a spin-the-bottle scene that she really liked, but Siobhan didn’t, and they were arguing about whether they should keep it in. In the end, they put it in in a different place in the novel. Apparently, they also started arguing about what the characters would say, and that devolved into them sort of almost speaking as the characters!
I also asked about Lillia, one of the characters in the book. I believe she’s the first Asian character in one of Jenny’s books, and I asked what the thought process was for making her Asian, or whether they even thought of that, and basically about the writing process for both Jenny and Siobhan. Jenny said Lillia sort of came fully formed as an Asian character, and that was awesome. Jenny really believes in more diversity in YA, but she also basically said that she didn’t want to have Lillia labelled Asian at all. That said, she definitely took care to get the details right in Lillia’s life. Siobhan echoed that and said that she wrote about Lillia as a popular girl, but she definitely felt that Jenny was really protective of the character and was careful in writing her. Jenny talked about how she did a reading when she published Shug (her first novel), and the librarian asked why the main character WASN’T Asian, and that was kind of strange. She said she really didn’t want to make Lillia a token character in any way – she was Asian, but that didn’t define her.
So afterwards, Jenny and Siobhan did the big signing and photo taking. They were so sweet and asked about my blog. I felt great that I managed to meet them without getting too fangirly – even though I basically wanted to be their BFF after that talk.
Taking the advice of Giselle from Book Nerd, I forced myself to be brave and chat up people around me before the reading and in line. I ended up meeting Sonia of The Story Queen at the beginning of the reading, and she introduced me to Liz of Midnight Bloom Reads, which was SO exciting. This was my first event as a book blogger, so it was great to put faces to names! Sonia had a huge stack of books with her to get signed, and Liz was so excited about meeting Jenny Han – it was just awesome to chat with them afterwards about Conrad and Jeremiah, and how excited we all are to read Burn for Burn!
So…y’know, if you’re interested, I’ve got a little giveaway below. You’ve got one week, lots of ways to enter! There will be two winners: One winner will win a signed Burn for Burn art card, and because I loved this event so much, the other winner will win one of the art cards AND a copy of Burn for Burn! I’ll post the winner and email him/her next week. Open internationally wherever The Book Depository ships.