t August 2011 | sh C. K. Kelly Martin o

I'm delighted to have a new book coming out at the end of September and am also extremely excited about some of the other novels for young people being released during the season. Here's what I'll be picking up and devouring in September and October:

Amplified by Tara Kelly

Bronxwood by Coe Booth

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Water Balloon by Audrey Vernick

* Amplified by Tara Kelly. “When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it...”

Tara had a fabulous debut with Harmonic Feedback (I loved Drea) and I'm an absolute sucker for books that revolve around music. How cool does that jacket copy sound!

* Bronxwood by Coe Booth. “Tyrell's father is just out of jail, and Tyrell doesn't know how to deal with that. It's bad enough that his brother Troy is in foster care and that his mother is no help whatsoever. Now there's another thing up in his face, just when he's trying to settle down. Tyrell's father has plans of his own, and doesn't seem to care whether or not Tyrell wants to go along with them. Tyrell can see the crash that's coming — with his dad, with the rest of his family, with the girls he's seeing — but he's not sure he can stop it. Or if he even wants to.”

Tyrell remains one of the best YA books I've ever read. I can't wait to find out what happens to him in this sequel.

* How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr. Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family? Mandy Kalinowski knows what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too? Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one.”

I've enjoyed each of Sara's books and Sweethearts, in particular, made me ache and ache. I'm in love with the cover for How to Save a Life.

* Water Balloon by Audrey Vernick. “A warm debut novel about friendship and first love, from a popular picture-book author. Marley’s life is as precarious as an overfull water balloon—one false move and everything will burst. Her best friends are pulling away from her, and her parents, newly separated, have decided she should spend the summer with her dad in his new house, with a job she didn’t ask for and certainly doesn’t want. On the upside is a cute boy who loves dogs as much as Marley does . . . but young love has lots of opportunity for humiliation and misinterpreted signals. Luckily Marley is a girl who trusts her instincts and knows the truth when she sees it, making her an immensely appealing character and her story funny, heartfelt, and emotionally true.”

I read an early version of Marley's story and adored it. Such a nice vibe. I'm looking forward to catching up with Marley again.

I hope you'll check out some of these great new fall releases along with me!
We went downtown on Saturday to say goodbye to Jack. Our first stop was City Hall to take in the sight of what must have been thousands of chalk messages of loss, love and thanks. I've never in my life seen such an emotional reaction to the death of a Canadian politician and I found myself choked up throughout the day as politicians and regular people alike honoured Jack Layton.

At City Hall hundreds of people watched as Jack's casket was loaded into the hearse waiting to take him to Roy Thomson Hall. The People's Procession (on foot and by bike), us along with it, followed in the cars' wake along Queen Street and then University Avenue, shortly arriving at Roy Thomson hall where throngs had already gathered to watch Jack's state funeral from neighbouring David Pecaut Square. Fittingly, the ceremony itself was as much a celebration of a life that harnessed hope and fought for change as it was a poignant goodbye.

I think the Nathan Phillips Square chalk message pictured below said it most succinctly. Adieu, le bon Jack.

Thanks for everything you've done for Canada and Canadians over the years. I think we didn't say it enough when you were with us but we've been shouting it from the rafters these last few days to make up for it. Hope you can hear us, Jack.

Jack Layton chalk memorial,  Nathan Phillips Square

Jack Layton chalk memorial,  Nathan Phillips Square

Jack Layton chalk memorial,  Nathan Phillips Square

Jack Layton chalk memorial,  Nathan Phillips Square

Jack Layton memorial,  Nathan Phillips Square

Thank You Jack sign at Toronto City Hall

Jack Layton chalk memorial,  Nathan Phillips Square

Jack Layton chalk memorial,  Nathan Phillips Square

Jack Layton chalk memorial,  Nathan Phillips Square

Jack Layton mourners at Toronto City Hall, Canadian flag at half mast

Jack Layton mourners, Toronto City Hall

Jack Layton's casket being loaded into the hearse at Toronto City Hall

People's Procession to Roy Thomson Hall

Jack Layton's state funeral sight, Roy Thomson Hall

Watching Jack Layton's funeral, Jack Layton chalk memorial,  David Pecaut Square beside Roy Thomson Hall

Remembering Jack Layton: 1950-2011

Between being away in Ireland in June, various other summer activities, and a revision deadline for my upcoming book I haven't had much time to dedicate to blogging this summer but I've still been taking photographs! I'm going to share some of them here, breaking them into two categories/posts, one of photos taken in Ireland (mostly Dublin and Belfast) and the other snapped nearer to home. This, as you'll see by the title, is the Ireland entry but you can have a look at my other summer photos on the Ontario post.

Since I've posted tons of other Dublin images on the blog over the years I tried not to repeat myself too much but when it comes to the Forty Foot in Sandycove I just can't help myself!

at the Powerscourt Waterfall

My friend's daughter snapped this photo of me lounging on the lawn by the Powerscourt Waterfall in Wicklow. To me it looks look like an image that would appear on an album cover from the late sixties so if I ever decide to record a bunch of cover versions of sixties tunes this will definitely be the cover photo!

Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow

The girl in the lower right hand corner of the frame (who happens to be the same one who snapped the above photo of me) gives you an idea of the scale of the Powerscourt Waterfall (Ireland's highest).

Below are some snaps of the Dublin Pride Parade, which I watched from O'Connell Bridge.

Dublin Pride parade 2011

Dublin Pride parade 2011

Dublin Pride parade 2011

Dublin Pride parade 2011

Dublin Pride parade 2011

Dublin Pride parade 2011

We watched Laura Marling play Vicar Street while we were in Dublin. She was terrific and I swear I've never seen a more devoted crowd.

Laura Marling, Vicar Street, June 2011

Laura Marling, Vicar Street, June 2011

Photos from our day trip up to Belfast. The murals were really something to see.

Belfast June 2011

Belfast June 2011

Belfast June 2011

Belfast murals, June 2011

Belfast murals, June 2011

Belfast murals, June 2011

Belfast murals, June 2011

Belfast murals, June 2011

Stormont Belfast June 2011

Stormont Belfast June 2011

Belfast June 2011

Beautiful ruins, Belfast June 2011

The Forty Foot, Sandycove:

the Forty Foot, Sandycove

the Forty Foot, Sandycove

the Forty Foot, Sandycove

the Forty Foot, Sandycove

the Forty Foot, Sandycove

the Forty Foot, Sandycove

Finally, some assorted images of Dublin:



Dublin from a church window

Botticelli Ice Cream Bar, Temple Bar, Dublin

Botticelli's in Temple Bar has the best gelato I've ever tasted. Pistachio, yum!

Sandymount beach

On the beach in Sandymount. Someone had been doing some design work.


Trinity College, Dublin

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