Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Guest Post: The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb

Hey guys! Today I have a fun guest post for you guys from Jessie Hilb, discussing the most influential books she read while writing her own book. And I know I don't post a lot about contemporary books, but if you love contemporaries, then this is definitely for you!

The Calculus of Change
Title: The Calculus of Change

Author: Jessie Hilb

Publication date: February 27, 2018

Published by: Clarion Books/HMH

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Synopsis: A poignant and empowering teen novel of grief, unrequited love, and finding comfort in one's own skin.

Aden isn't looking for love in her senior year. She's much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike's and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden's heart is gone in an instant.

The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom—and her mom's faith—than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else—even Aden's brother and her best friend—can see their connection, but does Tate?

Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom’s memory.

Find The Calculus of Change here: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Delirium (Delirium, #1)The single most influential book I read while drafting (and drafting again and again) THE CALCULUS OF CHANGE was Lauren Oliver’s DELIRIUM. It was the first YA I’d read written in the present tense. I’d been writing CALC in first person past tense, but something wasn’t exactly present about the writing itself. I loved Oliver’s rhythmic and sometimes choppy prose. I loved the truths she built into this incredible dystopian tale. I devoured DELIRIUM in a day or two and rewrote every last word of CALCULUS. The first draft of CALC served as a kind of outline, and having the ripples of DELIRIUM still moving me helped bring Aden forward in a way that felt deeper and truer.

One of my favorite truths and beautiful, lyrical writing from DELIRIUM is this quote:

My heart is drumming in my chest so hard it aches, but it's the good kind of ache, like the feeling you get on the first real day of autumn, when the air is crisp and the leaves are all flaring at the edges and the wind smells just vaguely of smoke - like the end and the beginning of something all at once.

I'll Give You the SunThe last two influential books for me were Jandy Nelson’s THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, and, of course, I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN. I loved the way Nelson tackles grief and loss, longing, sexuality, and the importance of art in THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. Her writing there is music. And she so effortlessly captures the paradox of losing a piece of your soul and finding beauty right along side the searing pain. Nelson’s story telling and, again, lyrical, musical writing in I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN is something to which I aspire. The two POVs, and the way the story back-laps itself and catches up with itself is true brilliance and I can’t imagine the heart and brain-power it took to write that.

For me, both of these authors write from a place of truth and vulnerability that resonates deep in my bones. I can only hope to write from that same place and to have the writing be received as such.

Thank you so much for hosting me today! It’s been an honor. 💗

About the Author: Jessie lives in Boulder, Colorado with her family and a very shy Aussie rescue dog. She has a BA in English from Boston College and a MSW from the University of Denver. You can find her loitering at a handful of coffee shops around town, downing coffee that always gets cold too quickly, and writing books.

Jessie’s forthcoming contemporary YA novel is scheduled for release in early 2018 with HMH, Clarion Books.

When she’s not writing, Jessie is CrossFitting-- it keeps her sane, grounded, and humble. And it’s fun. Mostly, CrossFit is an amazing community of people who enjoy some intensity and a whole lot of camaraderie.

Last but not at all least, Jessie parents two small children, each of whom have a whole universe in her heart complete with galaxies, planets, black holes, and rocket ships. Jessie is a mediocre cook, and an even worse keeper-of- the-house.

Connect with Jessie here: Website | Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

I can absolutely see what she is talking about here with Delirium--I absolutely love that book! It's just beautiful! And man, it's been so long since I read it. I really need to go back and finish that series!

Anyway, check out this book and let me know what you think!

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