Mundie Moms

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Survive: Interview with Author Alex Morel & A Giveaway

Today I'm thrilled to have author Alex Morel on the blog. I recently had the chance to read his debut, and wow, what an amazing story about survival in both the literal sense and in metaphorically speaking. You can read my review hereI was recently able to ask Alex a few questions about his book, and here's what he had to say.

Hi Alex, congratulations on your book's release. How would you describe Survive in 5 words or less?  

Hope after darkness descends
What's something you admire about your character?  

Stone eyed courage in the face of death and other words, Jane kicks ass when she has her back against the wall.
How has writing Jane's story changed you as an author?  

It made me realize the human heart is big and complex enough to be frail and indomitable at the same time.
I was really intrigued with your rugged out door setting. How big of a role do you feel the setting played in Jane's character's growth?  

It played everything and nothing...the struggle to come down the mountain was brutal and difficult and posed many unexpected challenges, but Jane's depression was every bit as challenging, and in a way her "fear" of living and her fear of "dying" are the same piece at the center of the puzzle that is her heart.  Mountains and the mountains we create for ourselves are equally daunting, and the rewards for climbing or descending them are great.
What was one of your favorite moments or chapters to write?  

The scene where Jane and Paul spend their first night together.  It has everything: it is innocent, sexy, intimate and emotional...ultimately it is two human beings alone in the universe realizing all they have is each other and seeing in each others eyes that it is going to be ok if they just find trust.  And they do.

Thank you for being on Mundie Moms today!

About the book:

Hatchet meets Lost in this modern-day adventure tale of one girl's reawakening.

Jane is on a plane on her way home to Montclair, New Jersey, from a mental hospital. She is about to kill herself. Just before she can swallow a lethal dose of pills, the plane hits turbulence and everything goes black. Jane wakes up amidst piles of wreckage and charred bodies on a snowy mountaintop. There is only one other survivor: a boy named Paul, who inspires Jane to want to fight for her life for the first time.
Jane and Paul scale icy slopes and huddle together for warmth at night, forging an intense emotional bond. But the wilderness is a vast and lethal force, and only one of them will survive -quoted from Goodreads

About The Author
Alex Morel is a writer who lives in New Jersey. He is a father of two children, and a dog named CC. SURVIVE is his debut novel.

You can follow Alex on his: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

The Giveaway:

Thank you to Razorbill, I have 3 copies of Survive I'm giving away today, to three lucky followers. To enter, please fill out the form below. 

Book Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Publisher: Balzar and Bray
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Source: Purchased
Purchase from: amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound
Sneak Peek: Chapter One Excerpt
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - I loved it!

Synopsis: Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge—and they will totally rock it.
Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

I’m always on the lookout for books I want my girls to read. They’re in 4th and 2nd grade now, but I know how fast years will pass and before long, they’ll be glancing through my shelves for reading material. And Smart Girls Get What They Want is a book I definitely want them to read.

These characters hit such a personal note with me and I know that my high school self would’ve fit in easily with Bea, Neerja and Gigi. I, too, could hardly wait to get through high school and go to a good college. But much like the three of them, I had a wonderful group of friends who kept me a little more balanced with after-school activities that didn’t include reading ahead in AP English.

Oh, how I loved their story! The girls, especially the protagonist Gigi, were so very real. She’s surrounded by smart women: her absentee, scientific mother who is off saving the world, one atom at a time and her French speaking grandmother who lends a sweetness to key moments in the story. And then there are her equally intelligent friends, Neerja and Bea. The girls are taught a lesson by Neerja’s older sister who excels academically, but not socially, in high school. After finding her yearbook, the girls realize that they want a different high school experience. So they get out of their Honors-Roll-Advance-Placement mindset and challenge themselves to be more plugged into the social aspects of high school by running for student government, trying out for a play and joining the ski club.

There are moments in the story that made me smile so much. Sarah focuses on the permanent bonds of friendship and it's such a good reminder to us all to treasure those relationships. I loved that, no matter what, the girls stuck together even as they embraced their new adventures.

As for romance, well, over-achievers usually don’t have room for that or do they? Again, Sarah gives us these perfectly plausible scenarios – a long-time crush, the boy next door, a new boy who suddenly everyone wants and the dumb jock who manages to get into AP classes. I felt like I knew them all. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that the girls, in the end, use their brains and choose well, but first, they all learn some very important lessons. The sweetest moments occur between Gigi and Mike, the jock. His insights into the teenage boy mind are spot-on perfect. I just adored him and how he would call Gigi out on her geekish-awkward tendencies. Every geek girl needs a Mike in her life.

If you were that girl, that studious, quiet girl who people (outside your classes) may not have noticed, you will love this story. If you weren’t that girl, you will love the glimpse inside the life of a high school over-achiever. I’m not sure which one of these girls my daughters will be, but I know this, I’m saving Smart Girls Know What They Want for them to read because it’s a story that may just open their eyes to not being so single focused in high school and to not label people so quickly.