The Draft Is In! (Plus Some Friday Reads...)

Yup. I turned in my book draft on Tuesday, which felt really, really good. I can't wait to get back more notes on the changes I made and make the book even better—okay, actually, I can wait. I'm definitely looking forward to a few weeks with a little less on my mind! But at the same time, I'm eager to hear my editor's thoughts. In a few weeks. When I've recovered. In the meantime, I had a birthday on Tuesday, I have rehearsals for my dance performance that's coming up at the end of this month, I took a quick freelance assignment from Dance Spirit, I'm catching up on other freelance work, my husband and I are seeing Matilda The Musical on Broadway tomorrow night (yay, birthday and yay, book deal!), we're going to visit his family next weekend, and... I know my free time, such as it is, is already completely booked up! But at least, for now, the draft is in.

One thing I was thrilled to do a lot this week is READ! I made my way through two really spectacular books, and since I haven't done a Friday Reads post in eons, I thought I might do one today.

First up, I read David Levithan's newest, TWO BOYS KISSING:

two boys kissing

Admittedly, I'll read pretty much anything David Levithan writes. Not only because I was lucky enough to have him as a professor in grad school, but also because I just really enjoy his work. Plus, TWO BOYS KISSING has gotten a lot of hype lately—including making the longlist for the National Book Awards.

Luckily, this book lived up to its hype. It's so gorgeous! TWO BOYS KISSING is actually about eight boys. Craig and Harry are trying to break the Guinness World Record for longest kiss. They're doing it on behalf of their friend Tariq, who was brutally attacked for being gay. Peter and Neil are in a happy long-term relationship, and are figuring out what that means. Avery and Ryan just met, and have instant chemistry. And Cooper is alone, barely interacting with the world outside his computer. While all of these stories are told thoughtfully and realistically, it's the narration that really sets this book apart. TWO BOYS KISSING is narrated by a chorus of men who died during the AIDS crisis. They watch over the current generation, commenting on how different the world has become—and how similar it still is. The narrators' memories about their lives—and deaths—and their pleas to the characters to cherish the lives they have were so powerful. The ending moved me to tears.

When I set that book down, I picked up the other new release I was dying to read, Rainbow Rowell's FANGIRL:


If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember me raving about Rowell's last book, ELEANOR & PARK (post HERE). Because I loved that book so much, I absolutely couldn't wait to read FANGIRL, which about a freshman in college, Cath, who is a shy, slightly nerdy writer of fanfiction about Simon Snow (a Harry Potter–esque fantasy series). Well... I loved this book. So much. I actually went back and reread a few scenes when I was done because I wasn't ready to leave these characters and their world yet. Also, because I wanted to swoon some more. There is a lot to swoon about in this book...

What you need to know about teenaged Kathryn is that ... I wrote fanfiction. About The X-Files. I discovered the fanfiction section on Fox TV's official X-Files Internet message board when I was 16, and almost immediately got sucked into these amazing stories people were writing about the characters. I started writing my own. I wrote short scenes and a few full-length "X-files" by myself. I co-wrote a few stories with friends I met on the message boards. I even started working on a crossover fanfic in which Agents Mulder and Scully found themselves hunting for a mysterious artifact that was also being chased down by the characters from the TV show La Femme Nikita.

I was really into it, for several years, is what I'm saying. My screenname was XKitty.

So reading FANGIRL brought all of that back to me. The nerves of being a college freshman and not knowing anyone. The lure of my online friends and fans, and the excitement of knowing there were people actually waiting to see what I'd post next. The thrill when I shared my first full-length story with a new college friend who also happened to love The X-Files. Oh, and the not-so-positive response I got from a creative writing professor when I mentioned that I hadn't written a lot of original fiction, but I did write fanfiction...

All of that said, you don't have to have written fanfic to appreciate and love FANGIRL! It has family drama, an adorable love interest, fish-out-of-water college shenanigans, and characters you genuinely care about. I really, really recommend this one. I am a Rainbow Rowell fangirl.

Wow, that was a long post. I guess it was all that time away from got backed up.

Until next time!