Today I am featuring...
And she will be doing an interview and giveaway!
The Last Academy
by Anne Applegate
Release Date: April 30, 2013
by Point (an imprint of Scholastic)
Goodreads / Purchase
*A copy was provided by Scholastic for review purposes*
Something dark and terrible is brewing. But what? The answer will leave
– and readers – stunned and breathless, in this thrilling debut that must be
re-read to be believed.
Yep. That sums it up pretty well.
When I started this book I thought it would be a typical goes-to-boarding-school-people-disappear-because-someone-is-killing-the-kids and I was waiting till the end to decide if I liked how Applegate formed the mystery and chose the culprit…but then I got to the end and it went a completely different way. I was completely surprised, but very pleased and impressed. I never, in a million years, saw that ending coming. The thing I was most impressed with was the staging. Throughout the book there were events that, at the time, you thought were just events and were there for no reason, but then you get to the end and look back and go like “Oooh, so that’s what that meant.”. This book is written in a very unique way, in that a ton of hints are dropped in the beginning and middle of the book, but nothing is actually explained until the end. I’m just amazed that Applegate managed to pull it off. She managed to keep my attention and pull me into the story. I loved her humor in the book, and her writing was really good. I liked the hint of romance in this book as well, even though it didn’t play a huge part in this book. And, like I said, the ending was amazing.
I really liked the character development in this book. You really got to know each character very well. Mark, the love interest, isn’t a huge part of this book, but you still feel like you know him because of his visits to his mom. You get to learn a bit about him. I also liked how Applegate developed Brynne and Nora, and how we got to connect with them. And I also loved getting to know
Camden. She was a very strong character, and I thoroughly
enjoyed reading about her.
What with the awesome staging and story line, jaw-dropping ending, and cute writing, this is a wonderful debut, and I can’t wait to see what Applegate comes up with next.
And I finally get what the title means LOL.
4.5 pink flowers
1. Why did you decide to become a writer?
This question made me laugh out loud. I guess the answer is, “Because I couldn’t help myself.”
I didn’t decide to be a writer any more than I decided to have freckles or a size 8 foot -- it was just part of my life skills grab bag. I imagine this is true for lots of people. For a long time, I was uncomfortable expressing it. But you know what? I’m 38 years old. I figured it was high time to let my freak flag fly.
2. Who were your biggest influences?
In college, I hardly took any courses that weren’t mandatory. Classes are expensive, yo. It never crossed my mind to try anything beyond the list I needed to graduate. As it turned out, Creative Writing 101 filled a requirement.
I expected textbooks and a heavy reading load, similar to my other classes. Instructions like: Write a 15 page essay on what makes a good story, pop quizzes will count as 15% of your final grade. But there was only one assignment. Write thirty pages of fiction, and read them in front of your classmates.
I was in love from the first day. That fumbling, awkward love that makes you stumble all over yourself, uncaring, because you’re so pink-cheeked giddy, thinking about it all the time. I adored everything – listening to other people’s writing, talking about the stories, reading my own stuff out loud. The teacher had this great vibe that made his classroom a safe place. It’s a true and rare talent to be able to do that for someone else.
When the semester ended, I was completely moped. There was only that one creative writing class listed in the course catalog, and I’d used it up. Desperate, I went to the teacher’s office and pretty much begged him to help me find a way to take another. He must have thought I was a huge dope, but he just smiled and said, “All you need to do is fill out Creative Writing 102 at the registrar’s.”
I took another semester, guilty for taking a class that didn’t count towards graduation, but unable to turn the opportunity down. When the second semester was over, I told myself it was time to get serious about my education and went back to my major. I never took another writing class in college. That professor gave me such a great gift, and I don’t even remember his name.
3. Where do you like to write?
I love my writing desk, but it’s not pretty. Nobody wonders if they’ve stepped into a Pottery Barn store when they see it, what with the mismatched junk décor. But give me a cup of coffee and some headphones, and you’ll have to shuck me like an oyster to get me out of there. Lots of times, I’ll get inspired by song lyrics or quotes. I’ll scrawl them on sheets of paper and tape them to the wall. It makes the place look a little like a madwoman’s cell. My favorite right now is one that says, “Tell the truth and run.” It’s helping me get through this interview! J
4. Do you have a special routine you like to do before you write?
If I’m stuck, I’ll wake up early in the morning. At four o’clock, I’ll slip downstairs and write before my brain gets a chance to turn on. There’s something fragile about that hour, half the time I feel like I could cry from the shivers. At the same time, all these crazy good ideas slip past my filters and onto the paper, and I’m too tired to delete them.
5. When and how did you get the idea for The
At the time, I was a stay-at-home mother with two young kids, preparing to have a third. It felt like my whole life was diapers, Dr. Suess, sleepless nights, and making about a million peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Moms know what I’m talking about – 2:40 in the morning and a kid wakes up? Time to mom. Trying to make dinner? Momming. Sneaking into the kitchen to call someone on the phone? That’s usually when moms are needed most.
Now, I have to confess that I love the life. I love the play dough and the play dates and the mom friends and the Mommy & Me classes. But after five years on the job, I’d come to a place where I also needed to do something not parenting related.
“Join a book club,” a friend suggested in the park one afternoon. “Read ANNA KARENINA, meet up at someone’s house, have a cup of tea, and gossip about made up people,”
I had time to retort, “Like I have time to read a whole book in a month,” before rushing over to stop my kid from eating park sand.
But the fantasy – adults! Tea! Talking in a normal pitched voice! I kept turning it around in my mind, trying to make it work. Finally, it came to me. I’d join a writing group. I had no intention of actually writing. But I’d get out of the house for a couple hours a week and have someone else read to me. Pretty brilliant, right? I found a group and signed up.
As it turned out, I was the youngest person in the group by thirty years. I walked in, took one look, and thought, well, this is not for me. But I didn’t want to be rude, so I sat down.
It was one of the funniest groups of people I had ever met. By the end of the 90 minutes, I wanted to be adopted. The leader turned to me and said, “Do you have something in mind to share?” When I said no, she threw some flinty eyed appraisal my way. “Well, you can’t join this group unless you bring something to read. Every time.”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’d been reading the same chapter in a Sookie Stackhouse novel for three weeks (in fifteen minute segments, in the bathroom, while watching over small bubble bathers). (Don’t judge.) There was no way I could write three pages worth of coherent thoughts in two weeks. I mean, might as well send me home with NASA blueprints and ask me to come back with a spaceship.
But I really wanted to join this group, where no one had even once mentioned Dora the Explorer. I went home and started writing what turned into The Last Academy. So yeah – diapers and desperation to join a sixty-something clique was basically my inspiration for writing this book.
THIS OR THAT
1. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
2. Cats or dogs?
Dogs! Slightly allergic to cats, which makes them beautiful from afar and sneezy up close.
3. Hardcover, paperback or ebook?
Paperback, because I’ve got a Velveteen Rabbit relationship with books. I fold their pages, hold them one-handed, bending them so far open the binding breaks. If their content is scary or annoying, I throw them across the room. I take them into a bubble bath or the beach. I use them as coasters. It ain’t pretty being a book in Chez Applegate.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE?
2. Ice cream flavor?
Does Animal from The Muppets count? (*Yes he does lol*)
4. Fictional character?
Thank you, Emily, for hosting! These questions have been a lot of fun to answer. -Anne
THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE FUNNIEST INTERVIEW I'VE EVER READ!!!!
~There will be 1 winner
~Giveaway ends on May 20, 2013 @ 12:00 A.M.
~This giveaway is US/CAN
Get to know Anne Applegate:
THANKS SO MUCH FOR STOPPING BY TODAY, ANNE APPLEGATE!!! :)