There’s a new story that resonates with Ali Michael’s tale in the news this week. Gerren Taylor, now 17, is a former model who was discovered at age 12 on the streets of LA and thrust into fashion’s brightest spotlight on the runways for Betsey Johnson and Tommy Hilfiger and in a print campaign for Marc Jacobs (we even booked her for a solo well fashion shoot at ELLEgirl). By the time she was 14, her career was over. She’d grown a bit, and was deemed “too big to model.” Her mother even says she was called “obese” by the New York fashion world when she hit a size 4.
Size FOUR, people! And we’re talking about a 6-foot-tall teenager.
You can learn more about Gerren’s story in Darryl Roberts’ documentary, America the Beautiful, which I am definitely going to go see soon. And read the full story that inspired this blog post here, in the St. Louis Times.
I really do hope that stories like Gerren’s will help people realize how damaging our ideas of “perfection” and “beauty” can be for the young girls who sacrifice their own self-worth to create the images we like to look at. I’m guilty of admiring many things about the fashion world, but this thinness issue is its greatest shame.
Tonight at 9pm EST time (6pm Pacific), I’ll be chatting live with readers on the readergirlz forums. I’d love to discuss Gerren and Ali Michael and other issues–we’ve been having great “image” talks all month! So please join us if you can and say hi!
The winner of last week’s super-warm-and-soft Muk Luks is… Kristy! Send me your address, K, and also your Muk Luk size (5-7 or 8-9). The company will send you a pair when I pass along your info.
This week, I’m still giving away Violet Book Party SWAG. So remember, you have a chance to win a fully packed gift bag if you enter The Big Contest by Sept 1st. Rules here. One gift bag donor was a new line of t-shirts called JUST BE, and their graphic designs are totally cute (Be Fabulous, Be Beautiful, Be Muddy, Be Organic, etc). The photo is of the two t-shirts you can win in this contest–Be Sweet and Be Funky. I’ll choose two people to each win a shirt.
So here’s how you win: Comment below and tell me what you would “just be” if you were fully yourself. I think I would “Be Passionate” because I love it when people are really into things–photography, fashion, public service, chemistry, their love lives–whatever! I’m into enthusiasm. So tell me what you’d be.
As a third prize this week (same comment entry method), I’m giving away a copy of Fireworks, a collection of four summer stories by Niki Burnham, Erin Haft, Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle. This book totally quenched my thirst for summer love tales, so I wanted to give it away while it’s still warm outside and you can read it in season. I bought this book as a direct result of a review on Read, Read, Read, so check that out to see what it’s all about.
Now, I’m also on a blog tour this week with the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit, so you’ll see me linking to a few interviews. Up now are the interviews below, and you can win extra entries by commenting there. I’ll be checking those and adding up your entries so visit these authors’ sites as well and click around–they are all cool women.
1. Saving Zoe author Alyson Noel asked totally hard (but fun) questions in her interview.
2. Megan Kelley Hall, who shared her fantastic Cover Story about Sisters of Misery with me last week, hosted an interview where I talked about my writing sisters (which include guys, but only a couple).
3. A chat with Dollar Daze author Karin Gillespie, who interviewed me about Violet in Private!
PS-Thanks to mybkclub.com for the reviews of Violet on the Runway and Violet by Design! (I don’t think you can comment this one.)
PPS-Just a reminder that at 9pm on Thursday night, I’ll be chatting live with readers on the readergirlz forums. Pencil it in if you can come!
Just another peek inside the Violet in Private party gift bag. This time, I’m showing you Pin Up Balms, these adorable slide-top retro tins filled with lip balm made from all-natural ingredients. There’s one in the gift bag, which you can win by entering The Big Contest (rules here), and I’ll also give a couple of these as secondary prizes because they were generous enough to give a few extras. I just think they’re adorable. I am a sucker for great packaging when it comes to lip balm (or anything, really).
And, through September 10th, you can leave a comment on Harmony Book Reviews and have a chance to win a signed copy of Violet in Private! Easy.
Also, thanks to Enchanting YA for the Violet in Private review! And check out their new logo, which is pretty dreamy.
Thanks for weighing in on last week’s covers. I love the final cover for Stephanie Kuehnert‘s I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone so much that I can’t even imagine the other ones in its place. Last week’s contest for a signed cover flat is… I’d Rather Laugh With the Sinners! Send me your address and you’ll get the flat right from Stephanie herself.
This week, the fabulous Sara Hantz is sharing the Cover Story for her book, The Second Virginity of Suzy Green (also in my To-Read pile, which is massive and filled with titles I want to get to so badly, like this one!).
Sara, take it away!
“I remembering thinking that a cover for one of the other Flux books would be perfect for The Second Virginity of Suzy Green, as the book is based on a big lie and this cover had the back view of a girl with her hand behind her back and her fingers crossed. I’d also had a fun conversation with another writer who jokingly suggested the cover should have two cherries on it. I then got to thinking I’d love a plain white cover with two cherries on the front.
“My editor asked if I had any suggestions and I mentioned the two things above. When I first saw the cover, I LOVED it! I didn’t make any change suggestions. My only slight reservation was that they had intended to photograph the cover with the model holding real cherries. To me, it looks like they were photoshopped.”
Thanks, Sara! What do you guys think? Photoshopped? In any case, I love classic red-and-white stripes with faded jeans that Suzy’s wearing, and I think the cherries add something really special to the cover. Those plus her position definitely make me think she’s hiding something…
This is the next leg of The Book Vault‘s birthday book riddle contest! For more information on the contest, go here.
Each correct answer counts as an entry into the drawing on August 29th!
This tree has been there for a special little boy all throughout his life–from his days as a young spirited boy until the day he was old, helping him and providing him with what he wanted most, until she has seemingly nothing left to give.
Which book is this?
Know the answer? Send Dominique an email at email@example.com with:
“BDAY CONTEST” in the subject line
The Riddle: This tree has been there for a special little boy all throughout his life–from his days as a young spirited boy until the day he was old, helping him and providing him with what he wanted most, until she has seemingly nothing left to give.
Which book is this?
Answer: (full book title + author)
The name of the site where you found the riddle: Melissa Walker’s Blog!
Your site’s URL: (if you have one)
Please send a separate email for each riddle you answer!
Just so you guys know what they look like! Get in touch if you want some to pass around to libraries, booksellers, your friends and YOU!
Just another peek inside the gift bag. You’ll win a set of shampoo and conditioner if you make the coolest Violet tribute for The Big Contest (rules here).
The best thing about Sassy beauty products is that they’re all-natural and made from organic honey, organic olive oil and plant extracts. I’m into organic stuff–I even just started using this Tom’s of Maine Lavender deodorant (which, honestly, makes me nervous because what if it doesn’t work? But I’m experimenting with it, and it smells really nice!). Are you guys into organic beauty stuff?
Anyway, Sassy products will be fun to try, so remember to get your contest entries in by Sept 1st. Oh, and I thought of another idea: amazon.com now lets reviewers upload video reviews (just click to “post a review” and uploading a video is one option)! One of those for a Violet book would be pretty cool… just a thought.
PS-Visit The Book Girl Reviews to read an interview with me, and leave some comment love!
PPS-Remember to enter Monday’s contest for a signed flat of the cover of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, and Wednesday’s contest for Muk Luks!
It was so much fun to hear about your signature style items. The winner of the incredibly awesome purple silk skull scarf is… Nicole! Send me your address, N, and you’ll get the scarf directly from crystal j. silk. Everyone else, check out the etsy shop and pick out something for yourselves–there is seriously cute stuff there.
This week, I’m showcasing an accessory that was part of the Violet in Private book party gift bags: Muk Luks! While I love the look of a stiletto, I can’t be wearing those all the time! Muk Luks were launched as slipper sox in 1972, and recently they’ve been re-vamped, re-styled and re-introduced. And, I’m wearing the ones I got in my gift bag constantly. I have a weird thing where my feet are always cold, but not anymore.
So, remember that you can win the full gift bag, including Muk Luks, by entering The Big Contest (rules here). Deadline is Sept 1st.
And the way to win a pair of Muk Luks this week is by commenting here and telling me when you’d wear your Muk Luks. I’m enjoying wearing them while writing. Then I can go out and get the mail and meet the UPS guy without being barefoot but without being totally “shoed.”
PS-You can still try for copies of Violet in Private on these sites:
1. Tera Lynn Childs’ blog (check all days–she’s having major contests!)
2. Seventeen Magazine
3. Read, Read, Read
PPS-Thanks to Carmen Alexis, who won Linda Gerber‘s Violet series contest, for the reviews of Violet on the Runway, Violet by Design and Violet in Private!
It’s about time the big wigs started noticing how amazingly savvy teen fashion bloggers are. I bow to the ladies included in this Sunday’s New York Times story (click here to read it more clearly), and I also wanted to give a shout out to a few other teen style bloggers I read as regularly as I can: Miss Couturable, Teen Fashionista and Little Pink Notes–you guys inspire.
PS-I guest blogged about trusting Young Adult readers over at Fresh Fiction. Come visit and comment if you have a thought?
PPS-Speaking of fashion, this is the last day to enter to win the amazing and purple silk skull scarf, which could be your new signature item.
I feel so lame for not having read my copy of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone yet. I mean, I’ve only been hearing the buzz about Stephanie Kuehnert‘s debut novel since 2007! And Venus Zine, one of my very favorite publications, says, “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is a manifesto for defiant high school girls, as well as a refresher course for the goddesses they turn into.” How cool does that sound?! Plus, that cover is just plain amazing!!
Luckily, Stephanie is still talking to me. In fact, she’s even sharing her cover story. And here it is:
“I didn’t have a cover idea right away, but my agent did. As soon as she read the book, she thought of the album cover for ‘Goo’ by Sonic Youth. She wanted a cover like that. It was one reason why I knew she was the perfect agent for me.
“My publisher didn’t ask for input, but I gave it to them anyway. I sent them the ‘Goo’ album cover for my agent (above left) and then I love looking at live photos of musicians and I had two favorites that reminded me of Emily in a way. One is this gorgeous shot of PJ Harvey in front of a festival crowd that looks so triumphant and powerful (above center). Another is a black and white Charles Peterson photo of Kurt Cobain (above right). Charles Peterson takes the most amazing band shots in the world, in my opinion. He really just captures all the emotions of a musical performance as a black-and-white still somehow. I was thinking of his photography when I wrote one of my minor characters, Ian, a rock photographer. Anyway, the picture of Kurt, I think, gives the sense that there is so much going on with him on the inside that he is letting out on stage. And that was totally Emily. So I sent those three things as suggestions and also something about a sticker on a guitar or a black-and-white photo being tucked into guitar strings as my ideas. But I have no idea if they passed any of that on to the designer. I was huge on the black-and-white thing though and the cover did end up using a black-and-white photo, but somehow I doubt that had anything to do with me.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how antsy I was about seeing my cover. I was sooooo nervous. And it didn’t help that every time I talked to my editor and asked about when I’d see it, she told me, ‘Oh, it wasn’t quite right, so we just sent it back…’ This made me nervous, mostly because I thought, if they are working on it this hard and then I totally hate it, they aren’t going to be willing to change it. I even asked if I could see the ones they’d decided against so that if the end result was awful, I could say, ‘But I really did like this one…’ But my editor was insistent that I just see the final. One day I came home from work and there it was in my email box. I was nervous and giddy at the same time to open the attachment. And when I saw it, my jaw just dropped. I nearly cried out of joy.
“It captures the feel of the book perfectly. The combat boots and the little swatch of lace at the top of her tights are the perfect metaphor for my main character Emily, a tough punk girl with a secret vulnerable streak. Not to mention I had those boots at 16. They are still in my closet right now. And I would have totally bought a book with that cover at 16 in an instant and I wrote the book for the 16-year-old girls like me, so perfect. Oh and the guitar picks! I’d been planning on promo guitar picks, so that was just perfect too. I got the guitar picks tattooed on my arm. I want to get the photo on the cover framed. That’s how much I truly love it.
“I didn’t see the original versions of the cover until two weeks ago (shown above, and you can see them in larger form here). And I like them but none of them are as good as the final. I probably like the one with the amp best. The close-up on the girl who is supposed to be Emily is okay, but she’s not true to Emily because Emily’s hair is black, not dark brown. I see Emily’s hair very specifically in my mind because it is the color of my mother’s hair before it grayed, so I would have been super picky about that. I still like my cover best. I mean that cover just is the book. I can’t picture it any other way at this point. And I just can’t wait to see what they do with my next one…
“I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on the alternate IWBYJR covers. Which do you like best? Do you like any better than the final?”
Well go on, answer Stephanie’s questions. One commenter will be chosen at random to win a signed cover flat of the final cover from Stephanie herself. Very cool.
And thanks for reading. Great cover story, Stephanie!