best YA of 2012

Emma & Nicola's Top 5 Reads for the Heartbroken

Today's guests: Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus Why we love them: Hello, Nanny Diaries anyone?

Their latest: Over You

The scoop on it: When seventeen-year-old Max Scott got her heart broken she didn't just sit at home sobbing into her ice cream and obsessing over her ex, Hugo's, latest Facebook postings. Well, actually she did. But she also decided that no girl should have to be tortured like that, so she read through all the psych books, Oprah transcripts, and historical precedents she could get her hands on and came up with a foolproof program to get over being dumped.

These days, Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when Hugo shows up in her neighborhood, suddenly Max is so busy trying to avoid her own ex that she isn't able to help anyone else with theirs. As Hugo invades her life all over again, Max's carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients' hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over her ex once and for all.

Our thoughts: Loved. Who hasn't had her heart stepped on, crushed and then thrown away? I think we all wish we could've hired someone to help us get over him. (Liz definitely could've used some assistance--more than once-- when Lisa was bawling over some jerk while clad in her fattest of fat pants!)

Giveaway:FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners after 3PM PST on Tuesday, October 2nd.

Fun fact: Ever wondered where they write their books? Check out their workspace.

Where you can read more about Emma & Nicola: Facebook, Twitter and their website.


We’re so happy to be back—did you guys have a great summer?  Did you miss us?  No, you’re not having déjà vu.  Yes, we did just have a novel, Between You And Me, out in June, but we have another book out!  Over You is the story of Max Scott, a seventeen year-old breakup coach who can get any girl over any guy in four weeks or less.  And she’ll keep you from texting a picture of your boobs to your ex while she’s at it.  She is our fantasy ideal of who would be standing over you at the moment of impact, handing you chocolate and a stiff something, disabling your Twitter, and directing all your phone calls to his number into her inbox.

And, what’s even cooler is that Estee Lauder has made an Over You Look, available exclusively at Nordstrom nation-wide.  We will be visiting a different store every weekend.  Check out our website ( to see when we’ll be in your area and come say hi and tell us your worst break-up story.  We’ve been there and that’s why we invented Max!

XO, Nicola & Emma

Okay, here are our Top Five Books to Read When You’ve Been Dumped:

1.    Heartburn by Nora Ephron is a classic for so many reasons.  Not only is it charming, funny and peppered with mouth-watering recipes, this novel—which we consider the original Chic Lit—was made into an amazing film starring a young Meryl Streep, with a killer soundtrack by Carly Simon.  It delivers one of the most accurate portrayals of how the female brain works through the misery of a slow-kill rejection as the protagonist realizes that she can take control back by letting go and moving on.  Entertaining and comforting!

2.    It Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies is her endearingly honest book about the four months in her life between having what she thought was the perfect marriage and being legally separated.  She beautifully narrates the shocking experience with such humor you feel like you’re sitting across from a friend you love, hearing her catch you up on the break-up to end all break-ups.  Even though you know where the story is going it’s a total page-turner.

3.    Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach.  This isn’t a novel.  But it can transform your relationship with suffering.  Tara lived in a Buddhist monastery for years until she had an epiphany and left.  She became a PhD in psychology and then she merged her Buddhist scholarship with her knowledge of how the brain works and holds trauma.  The combination is a unique—and radical—worldview.

4.    A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford is an awesomely juicy read.  An oldy but goody about a woman who works as a maid for a grand aristocratic family.  She has an affair with the son, gets pregnant and he disavows her and the child.  She is left destitute in post-war London.  But he grossly underestimates her and by the end of her life she owns his ass.  If you love Downton Abbey (and who doesn’t?) you will LOVE this.

5.    No list like this would be complete without Eat Pray Love.  If you are that one person on the planet who hasn’t read it yet treat yourself.

Thanks, Emma & Nicola! xoxo,


Lit IT Girl: Debut author Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Today's guest: Jennifer Gooch Hummer Why we love her: Her dazzling debut reminds us why we love to mix it up with a great YA novel.

Her debut: Girl Unmoored

The scoop:  Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. It’s 1985 and her mom has passed away, her evil stepmother is pregnant, and her best friend has traded her in for a newer model. Fortunately, she’s about to be saved by Jesus. Not that Jesus—the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ, Superstar. Apron is desperate to avoid the look-alike Mike (no one should look that much like Jesus unless they can perform a miracle or two), but suddenly he’s everywhere. Until one day, she’s stuck in church with him—of all places. And then something happens; Apron’s broken teenage heart blinks on for the first time since she’s been adrift.

Mike and his grumpy boyfriend, Chad, offer her a summer job in their flower store, Apron’s world seems to calm. But when she uncovers Chad’s secret, coming of age becomes almost too much bear. She’s forced to see things the adults around her fail to—like what love really means and who is paying too much for it.

Our thoughts: Loved. With a capital L-O-V-E-D.

Giveaway: 5 copies. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm on Sunday, April 22.

CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...Lit IT Girl Debut author Jennifer Gooch Hummer

1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? Oh boy. Agents. Well it took me about two years and fifty-ish rejections to get my first agent. This one was at a huge talent agency and I had first queried her “boss” whom I had a college connection with. My connection ended up passing my information onto the agent she was training, and this junior agent ended up representing me. When she couldn’t sell my first book (which is now Girl Unmoored) she told me to put it aside and write another book. I did. This second novel is a chick lit and just when she started pitching it, she left the agency. I went with her to her new agency, but felt like she had given up on me. So we parted ways. I then entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and ended up making it to the semi-final round. I thought this would help with the agent querying process. It didn’t. After another fifty rejections, I was finally picked out of a slush pile and offered representation. The weird thing is that I ended up getting my own book deal for Girl Unmoored after submitting it to the publisher myself.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? “Dear ________,”

Sometimes they don’t even fill in your name!

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? Not giving up. I wrote the novel in two years and spent the next eight trying to get it published. In that time, I was constantly rewriting, querying, submitting. A sane person would have quit, but writers aren’t really sane. I ended up framing a piece of paper with “I’m quitting…. tomorrow!” on it and keeping it on my desk. I meant it too, but then there was tomorrow… and tomorrow… and tomorrow… It’s a strange but effective strategy for me to keep writing.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? Best: Anne Lamott’s advice to allow yourself to write the most horrible, pathetic, lame-o first draft possible. Because no one is ever going to see this draft, and inside all that awful-ness is the beautiful gem of your story that you’ll find in your second draft.

Worst: Quit, you’re never going to get published anyway. (But that was me saying that to myself. Luckily I didn’t listen.)

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? Quietly, because I’m really superstitious and generally suspecting. I got the email from my publisher while we were in Maine where we live in the summer. When my husband called from France (he’s a sport broadcaster and was covering the Tour de France) he was surrounded by his co-workers so I didn’t want to tell him. But my daughters, who I’d just read the email to, made me. Just like I thought, he had the whole crew congratulate me - exactly what I didn’t want him to do. I’d had so many close calls up to that point that I wasn’t a hundred percent sure this one was going to be it. I proved myself wrong though. And have since suffered through my family’s constant reminder of what a buzz-kill I am. But now every day that I wake up knowing my book is finally published is the real celebration.

6. Who is your writer crush? David Sedaris. I needed windshield wipers for my eyes while I was reading Me Talk Pretty One Day. That man is hi-larious. He has such a gifted way of describing the most mundane yet absolutely hysterical events of every day life. I wish he’d rewrite The Constitution. That would be the best!

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.

8. What's on your iPod right now? I have no idea because we have a family iTunes account so whatever my daughters and husband have recently purchased just shows up on mine. For the past two weeks it’s been The Hunger Games album non-stop. But yesterday my nine year-old discovered Justin Beiber’s “Boyfriend” so I’m guessing I’ll be running to that pretty soon. It’s a good song actually.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Exercising. I swim on a master’s swim team every weekday morning at 5:30 so I’m ahead on the day. I also run or spin or go to a barre class. If I don’t work out, I’m really hard to live with.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? AAPL   (Apple Stock)

Thanks, Jennifer!


Liz & Lisa

To find out more about Jennifer Gooch Hummer, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Eve Marie Mont's 5 Loves and a Dud

Today's guest: Eve  Marie Mont Why we love her: She mixes it up. She can write women's fiction and YA.

Her latest: A Breath of Eyre her debut YA novel. (Out today! Happy publication day, Eve!)

The scoop: Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…

Our thoughts: We love us some solid YA!

Fun Fact: A Breath of Eyre is the first in a series of three books.

Book trailer: A Breath of Eyre

Giveaway: Three copies! Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win! We'll randomly select the winners after 6PM PST on Sunday, April 1.


1. Doctor Who I will admit this up front: I am a Doctor Who neophyte. I have not watched the series from its inception, I don’t have strong feelings about whether Tom Baker or David Tennant made the best Doctor, and I don’t really even understand the concept of a time lord. All I know is that last spring, my husband and I discovered Season 5 on Netflix Instant, and we have loved every bizarre and frenetic minute of it. The show is sort of like Blackadder meets Star Trek, with a healthy dose of The X-Files mixed in. Matt Smith’s Doctor is refreshingly naïve, boyish and charming, and best of all, infectiously optimistic. Amy Pond, his fiery redhead sidekick, is tough talking and smart, although I’m annoyed with her penchant for running all over time and space in very short skirts. Nerd that I am, I bought my husband a desktop TARDIS for Christmas last year.

2. Angsty teen television from the 90’s I have recently discovered that when I’m going through a bout of writer’s block or am feeling generally down about life, a few hours spent with the gang from an angsty 90’s TV drama is the perfect antidote. All the conventions of YA storytelling existed even in this pre-Twilight era: absentee parents, love triangles, emo dialogue. My favorites are My So-Called Life (which captures my actual teen years the best), Dawson’s Creek (I’ll never forget the episode when Joey sings ‘On My Own’ for the Miss Windjammer Pageant and Dawson finally sees her as more than ‘the girl next door’), and Felicity (am I the only one who wanted Felicity to end up with Noel instead of Ben???). I realize these shows are a guilty pleasure best consumed in small doses, but for a cynical Generation X-er like me, they’re like hot buttered toffee for the soul.

3. Rhode Island For some reason, I’ve always felt my heart belonged in Rhode Island. I know it may sound strange to love the tiniest state in the nation sandwiched between tony Connecticut and progressive Massachusetts, but there’s something special and timeless about Rhode Island with its down-to-earth fishing towns and rugged coastline. My favorite places aren’t the most bustling or commercial (like Newport or Providence), but the ones off the beaten track (like Tiverton, Jamestown, and Little Compton), the towns with quaint marinas, seafood shacks, and homey pubs where they serve clam strips with Narragansett beer or a Dark and Stormy. Nothing would make me happier than to move to a cottage on the Rhode Island coast and write books at a desk overlooking the sea.

4. Shelter dogs Anyone who read my women’s fiction novel, Free to a Good Home, will know I’m a sucker for shelter dogs. If I had a bigger house and yard, I’d be in trouble because I’d probably adopt one a year and become crazy hoarder dog lady. Maggie, my fifteen-year-old Jack Russell-boxer mix, is probably my best friend in the world. Nothing beats coming home from a long day of work and being greeted by her big soulful eyes and her wagging tail, even though arthritis has made it increasingly difficult for her to stand on her own. I know I will always own dogs, and I will always adopt them from shelters because it saves lives in two ways: 1) by rescuing a dog from being euthanized; and 2) by not supporting the puppy mills, which emphasize profit over animal welfare.

5. Men with manners Call me old-fashioned, but I love me a polite, well-mannered gentleman. That’s not to say he can’t be masculine or rugged or passionate, too. But it’s the guys who are chivalrous and respectful who really get my heart racing. Maybe this is why I love the heroes of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, or almost any character played by Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper. This is one of the reasons I married my husband, a southern gentleman who became a northern transplant but never lost his gracious manners and gallant charm.


Cell phone etiquette Yes, I know this topic might seem a little outdated, but the increasing lack of cell phone etiquette continues to confound me. As with any new technology, there is always a lag during which people must adapt to the new advance and learn to deal with the ramifications of its use. But here we are about seven years into the cell phone age, and our etiquette seems to be getting worse instead of better. Friends check their phones for incoming texts multiple times while they’re in the middle of a conversation with you. Students communicate during class by texting inside their hoody pockets. People whip out their phones in bathrooms and elevators with the intensity of smokers jonesing for a cigarette. And I will never understand why people at a coffee shop seem to prefer sitting alone looking at a digital screen rather than engaging with the person next to them. I know I may be a bit of a Luddite, but I’m hoping for a massive technological crash that will send us back a few generations to that quaint era when “quality time” meant talking to an actual human being. Boy, do I sound old and crotchety!

To find out more about the fabulous Eve Mont, follow her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her website.

Thanks, Eve! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa