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SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY Release Day Celebration: What’s on your list?

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What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

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It’s here! Release day! I spent lots of time thinking of the best way to celebrate SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY on the OneFour blog. I’ve done lots of interviews over the last few months, and am almost always asked this question: What’s on your list? So, for today, I decided to turn the tables. I asked some wonderful authors, bloggers, and vloggers what was on their bucket lists, and they kindly responded. The response was overwhelming. Check out their lists below! I told everyone to be as creative as they like. Some used their childhood lists. Others included things they’d already accomplished. There are pictures! There are gifs! There’s even an international giveaway sponsored by Kate at Ex Libris! And I want to know what’s on YOUR list! Let me know in the comments!

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| Book Loving Hippo | Adventures in Reading | Read My Breath Away | Ami with an I | Becoming Books | HCC Frenzy | Fly to Fiction | The Whimsical Mama | Tween 2 Teen Books | Lost at Midnight Reviews | Geeky Chiquitas: Audrey | Geeky Chiquitas: Beryl | Geeky Chiqitas: Kimi | Tricia Nae | The Bookish Confections | Piper’s Book Nook | Oh Magic Hour | Written in the Stars | I.W. Gregorio | Mandy: Ordinary Addictions | Blue-Eyed Bibliophile | Rebekah Faubion | Liz Czukas | Ex Libris + INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY! | My Thoughts…Literally! | Jasmine Warga | YA Book Shelf | The Passionate Bookworms | Veronica Bartles | Rachel Writes Things | Robin Constantine | Rachel Lynn Solomon | Michelle Krys | Mindy McGinnis | Consumed by Books | Jurassicaaa + Tumblr Post | Teen Librarian Toolbox: Christie | Teen Librarian Toolbox: Karen | Dahlia Adler | Rachael Allen | The Cozy Corner | No Bent Spines | Emily Lloyd-Jones | GReads! | Helene Dunbar | Kathryn Rose | Lisa Maxwell | Kristen Lippert Martin | Mary Crockett | Christa Desir | Mundie Moms | I Read Banned Books | The Reading Geek | The Writers Republic | Kesley Macke | Annie Cardi | Book Buddies PH | Jessica Taylor | Jaye Robin Brown | Literary Destiny | Jessica Capelle | Jeramey Kraatz |

A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped me out on this! Y’all are amazing and have made my release day the best ever!

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Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray animals, Julie can be found on Twitter or in a library smelling old books and manning the reference desk. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray) is due out in 2014.
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Gettin’ Lucky: An Interview with Alison Cherry, Author of RED

Hi, y’all! Julie here! I was lucky enough to read an early copy of Alison Cherry’s super stellar debut, Red. And it was A W E S O M E. Satire with some major heart. Fans of Pleasantville, Drop Dead Gorgeous, The Truman Show, or Tom Perrotta’s Election (or just awesome things in general) will devour this one. Despite me not having red hair, Alison was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, but first here’s a little more about Red:

13265540Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.
Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:
I know your secret.
Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say “strawberry blond.” Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.
Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

JM: As if launching your debut novel isn’t enough work, tomorrow morning you wake up to find that you’ll be competing in a beauty pageant that same day. What’s your talent?

AC: Unfortunately, I have very little performing arts talent (or ability to walk in heels, which would make me a pretty terrible pageant contestant.) However, I am extremely good at writing funny Shakespearian sonnets about pretty much anything in twenty minutes or less. (Proper rhyme scheme, iambic pentameter, the works.) So I’d go out onstage before the talent portion began and ask for topic suggestions from the audience, then scurry back to the green room, write my sonnet, and dramatically read it aloud when it was my turn. In the past, I’ve written sonnets about how my old coworker might be a robot, ways to procrastinate when you’re studying for finals, how awesome my agent is, and Nyquil, so pretty much anything is fair game.

JM: Ah! I am dying for a sonnet! Felicity is an artist at heart, how did you come to make this decision and who are some of your favorite artists?

AC: Overall, Felicity and I aren’t very much alike, but that was me infusing her with a bit of my teenage self! I started getting really serious about photography when I was about fifteen—that was actually my major in college, and I did it as a career for a while before I became a full-time writer. My art classes in high school and college were always where I felt most free to express myself. Since Felicity spends her whole life trying to cover up who she really is, I wanted to give her one place she could be totally honest.

Some of my favorite photographers are Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, and Mary Ellen Mark, all of whom have (or had) a flare for capturing the dramatic, the absurd, and the unexpected. I’m also a big fan of Impressionist and Expressionist painting, especially Manet, Cezanne, van Gogh, Kirchner, and Munch.

JM: Oh! I love Richard Avedon, too! His In the American West series has always been a favorite of mine. If you could choose any one of your characters to be a living human being to be a part of your daily life, who would you choose?

AC: I’d take Felicity’s best friend Ivy, hands down. She’s my favorite character I’ve ever written in anything, not just in this book. I never had to think about what she’d say or do—she was just there in my brain right from the start being her snarky, funny, 100% individualistic self. I’m incredibly jealous that Felicity gets to hang out with her all the time and I don’t. (I’m also pretty sure I made one of my real-life friends because she reminds me of Ivy…)

JM: I adored Ivy. I often find that the characters who stay with authors are the ones who stick with readers as well. Felicty’s world is so fully developed. I imagine it was hard to get that out of your head and move onto the next project. Can you give us a taste of what you’ve got coming up next?

AC: I don’t think Scarletville will ever really leave my head—sometimes I find myself using words I made up for RED in everyday conversation, and I only realize I’m doing it when people start looking at me funny. My next book, FOR REAL, is another stand-alone contemporary YA. It’s about a pair of sisters who audition for a race-around-the-world reality TV show in order to get revenge on a cheating ex-boyfriend. I can’t tell you too much yet, but I will say that it contains elephants with painted toenails, a Greek man singing Lady Gaga, and a pomegranate-smashing contest.

JM: Ermahgerd! I can’t wait! One last question: as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d love to know two or three books that inspired you as a kid!

AC: I read constantly as a kid, so it’s difficult to pick just three. But I’m going to go with The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Matilda by Roald Dahl, and Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. The Phantom Tollbooth taught me that words could do playful, unexpected things and ignited my love for puns and portmanteaus. (I can FEEL my friends reading this and rolling their eyes… don’t even pretend you don’t love it, guys.) Matilda taught me that girls who love books are incredibly awesome and that having a strong brain makes you powerful. And Anne… I mean, come on, is there any better book for a little redheaded, freckled girl who loves to imagine?

JM: I love all of those books so much. I think you might be my spirit animal, Alison. Those are all the questions I have for today. Thank you so much for stopping by OneFour KidLit! And congratulations on your incredible debut!

Author photoUnlike Felicity, Alison Cherry is a natural redhead. (Yes, Cherry is her real last name.) Alison is a professional photographer and worked for many years as a lighting designer for theater, dance, and opera productions. If she could choose a superpower, it would be teleportation, and her favorite dinosaur is the stegosaurus. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. RED is her first book. Visit Alison online at www.alisoncherrybooks.com or on Twitter @alison_cherry.

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Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray animals, Julie can be found on Twitter or in a library smelling old books and manning the reference desk. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray) is due out in 2014.
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GETTIN’ LUCKY: Interview with Kristin Halbrook, author of NOBODY BUT US

We’re thrilled to welcome to the blog Kristin Halbrook, author of NOBODY BUT US, which releases today from HarperTeen.

nobody but usBonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.

They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger….

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love…and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.

First of all, thanks so much to Julie for these great questions and to OneFour Kidlit for hosting this interview. You’re awesome!

1. NOBODY BUT US is told from both Zoe’s and Will’s perspective. Both voices are so distinct. Was one voice more challenging that the other?

Writing these two voices was definitely a tough, but fantastic learning process. Zoe’s voice is a bit more like the voice I naturally write with–the phrasings, the rhythm and timing–so hers was easier for me. Will’s voice was more challenging. I had to get to know his character really well–the places he’s been, what he’s learned–before writing an effective voice. I had to go outside my natural style to create a difference sentence rhythm and feel to his voice. And I had to be careful not to overdo it. I didn’t want him to come off as a caricature of himself. Luckily, I have a fabulous agent, editor and group of critique partners who let me know when it was too much, or not enough.

2. When Zoe and Will run away, they hit the road and head west in Will’s Camaro. Are you a road trip girl? If so, where did your most epic road trip take you?

I do enjoy road trips. I take short-ish ones to explore the natural beauty of Washington State, and I take longer ones to vacation and see family and friends. One of my favorite road trips was to Yellowstone. I loved the scenery through the forests of Idaho, and Yellowstone itself blew me away. It’s such a fabulous, unique place. Another favorite road trip was last summer to Black Rock City. Driving through Oregon ghost towns in the middle of the night, with an orange moon in the sky, was haunting. And the Black Rock Desert is like a landscape from a futuristic novel. Beautiful.

3. Like Zoe and Will, you’re running away. You can take one person and a backpack. Who do you take and what do you bring in your backpack?

I’m going to assume this question can’t include my family, because they’d have to go with me, of course! So, outside of my family I would probably take fellow author and BFF Kirsten Hubbard. We’re both wanderlusty and are laid-back about sleeping in strange places. It would be an adventure! My backpack would include lots of sensible items like a small first aid kit, wallet, clothes and lotion. It would also have small gifts from where I’ve been to give to the people from where I’m going.

4. NOBODY BUT US takes place over the span of a few days. As a writer, I see all the difficulties this presents, but as a reader I love this format and you do it so wonderfully. Did you find this challenging? And if so, how?

The nice thing about only a few days is that there’s a built-in pacing mechanism that works to keep the story on track. But there are definitely challenges. I worked carefully with characterization and thought a lot about how much two people could really change in just a few days–especially people with the kinds of pasts, hurdles, worries and insecurities as Will and Zoe. I wanted these changes to be realistic. At one point, Zoe makes a huge decision and, for her with her history and personality, it really is HUGE. That was a massive change in a short period of time for a character like that, but I think it’s realistic. It also shows that she’s on a certain path from that point on, hints about the changes to come for her.

5. Can you talk about what you have lined up next for your readers? Will there be more kissing? More heartbreak?

I’m working on lots of projects at the moment. My next contemporary will have more kissing and some heartbreak! Not quite at the scale of Nobody But Us, but there’s definitely lots of soul-searching and agony. I like writing emotion.

6. And as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

Tough question! LITTLE WOMEN was my first real foray into classic literature. I was in fourth grade when I read that one and loved it. It set me up for reading books in the canon, which I’ve enjoyed to this day. I also always loved the Anne of Green Gables books. So sweet and fantastic characterization. A Wrinkle in Time was definitely an inspiring read. It broke the mold for me, bringing to life this fabulous new world that I adored.


Kristin HalbrookKristin Halbrook is the debut author of YA novel NOBODY BUT US. You can find Kristin by visiting her website, Facebook Fan Page, and Twitter feed. For more on NOBODY BUT US:


This interview was conducted by OneFour member Julie Murphy, whose YA novel SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY releases from HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray in 2014. This interview is part of an ongoing series of interviews with The Lucky13s —- YA, MG, and children’s books authors debuting in 2013.

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Julie Murphy: SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY

We have a lot of fantastic debut authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. Today, we’re talking to Julie Murphy. One author, Four questions. Here we go!

You could say I like cats.

You could say I like cats.

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

The short version is that I wrote a book and my agent (Molly Jaffa) sold it soon after! But, seeing as I write novels, I’ve never been prone to short storytelling. So here goes: about two years ago, I graduated with my Bachelor’s in political science. I was torn between graduate school and law school when I decided to take a year off to write–something I’d always wanted to do. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY was the second book I wrote that year and the one that landed me an agent. Last August marked the end of my “Year Off to Write.” As of right now, I don’t have any back-to-school plans, but I hope to go back someday. One of the most well known phrases in publishing is, “Hurry up and wait.” My journey to publication was sort of the antithesis of that and I know just how rare that is. I always like to give the disclaimer that my story is not the norm. My dear friend Jenny once told me it takes two of the following three to get published: luck, persistence, and talent.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book? Any cool details? What inspired you to write it?

Former ballerina, Alice, learns that she’s terminally ill. In response to this news, Alice makes a list of things to do and people to ruin. She enlists the help of her kindhearted childhood friend Harvey. All of Alice’s scores are settled until she goes into remission. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is about how you go on living after you’ve already learned how to die.

What most people don’t know is that not only is SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY non-linear, but it is also told from both Alice’s and Harvey’s points of view.

I’ve always been obsessed with the ways people die, (How morbid is that?) and last words and meals, but especially with the things we might do in those final moments. I think it’s easy to have this beautiful image of deathwith dignity and honor in our heads, but I think death is such an ugly thing. This is bizarre, I guess, but I remember, from a very young age, being obsessed with prisoners on death row. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of knowing that death was coming inevitably soon. I’m not kidding. In sixth grade, I did a research paper on death row and obsessed over this list of last meals I’d found in one of my books. I was a strange child. And I’m rambling. What I’m trying to say was that the inspiration was always there.

The rest is kind of a funny story. Until recently, I had worked with teens at a public library. At one of our gatherings, the teens and I got into a heated discussion about the zombie apocalypse and where we would all barricade ourselves should we be stranded in the library. This topic quickly evolved into a discussion about all the things that we weren’t allowed to do in a library that we might do if all bets were off. That combined with my weird childhood obsession gave birth to SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY. Am I so weird? Are y’all still reading this?

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

Would it be so shallow of me to say that I can’t wait to see my cover? Ha! I’m in the midst of the editorial process, and it has been so incredible to see where my novel started versus where it’s headed. I’m also scared/excited/nauseated for that moment when readers will (Hopefully!) connect with Alice and Harvey.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

  • As a kid, I wanted to be a chiropractor.
  • I’ve written a screenplay that currently resides beneath my bed. It’s horrible. No, really.
  • I don’t cook, but love to bake.
  • I can’t tell time, but you can stick me in the middle of nowhere and I can tell you North, South, East, and West.
  • I hail from Bridgeport, Connecticut.
  • I have a pretty sizable WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE tattoo. (I also have a Harry Potter tattoo!)
  • I’ve lived in nineteen different residences.
  • In college, I participated in Model Arab League–much like Model U.N., but nerdier.
  • I graduated college with honors, but barely graduated high school.
  • Despite popular belief, I am an introvert at heart.
  • I celebrate Halloween like it’s a sport. (Growing up, we didn’t celebrate Halloween, so I overcompensate now.)
Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray animals, Julie can be found on Twitter or in a library smelling old books and manning the reference desk. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray) is due out in 2014.