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Cover Reveal: Tag Along by Tom Ryan (and a Giveaway!)

Today, we are excited to give you a sneak peek at the second title being released by Tom Ryan!

TAG ALONG (Orca Book Publishers) is Tom Ryan’s second novel. His debut, WAY TO GO (Orca Book Publishers), was published in 2012 and was chosen for the ALA’s Rainbow List of notable 2012 titles for and about LGBT youth, the ALA’s Quick Picks List, The OLA’s Best Bets List of the top ten YA novels in Canada for 2012. WAY TO GO was also a nominee for the White Pine award.

TAG ALONG will be released on October 1, 2013.
Tom is running an awesome pre-order contest for TAG ALONG on his website. Head to www.tomwrotethat.com to check it out!
TAG ALONG SYNOPSIS : It’s junior prom night. Andrea is grounded, Paul is having panic attacks, Roemi has been stood up, and Candace is trying to avoid one particular cop. Over the course of eight eventful hours, paths are crossed, plans are changed, messages are mixed, and four near strangers form some unlikely bonds.
And now, click for the cover reveal . . .

Newton’s third law of motion says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
For instance, when I drop six feet from the roof of my garage, the third law tells me that my butt will hit the ground with as much force as the ground will hit my butt. When I land, it feels as if the ground has come out the winner, but you can’t argue with science. Equal and opposite. Thanks, Newton.
 I groan and roll over to lie flat on my back. I stay there for a minute, staring up through the soft leafy canopy of the maple tree that marks the edge of our yard. Then I struggle to my feet, brush off the back of my shorts and stand for a moment, trying to figure out what to do. There’s not much to do other than get out of here, so I hurry down the street before one of my parents happens to look out the window.
 If you’d told me a month ago that I would go to these lengths to get out of the house, all for the sake of prom, I wouldn’t have believed you. Sure, I was planning to go to prom, but only because that’s what you’re supposed to do. I’m not into clothes the way my best friend Bethanne is, and I think dancing is weird. I’ll never understand what compels people to lose control and shake around like a bunch of maniacs.
Then the Justin Sanchez thing happened.
Justin’s been in most of my advanced-level classes since ninth grade, and I guess you could say I have a bit of a crush on him. He’s quiet and a bit geeky, but he’s really smart and definitely cute, and until a few weeks ago, I didn’t think he knew I existed, let alone knew my name.
It’s not like he’s some ladies’ man or whatever–as far as I know, he’s never even gone out with a girl–it’s just that we’ve never really spoken to each other. Then a few weeks ago I had a dentist appointment and missed my afternoon classes. That night Bethanne called me, practically hyperventilating.
“Guess what?” she said. “Justin was asking about you today!” She’s the only person who knows I’m into him.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “What did he say?”
“He said, Where’s Andrea? and I told him you were at the dentist. Isn’t that awesome?”
“Is that it?” I asked her.
“It’s a start!” she said. It didn’t really sound like much, but the more I thought about it, the more I began to see that she had a point. He’d gone from not acknowledging my existence to noticing my absence. That had to count for something.
 “You’ve got to make a move,” she continued. “The ball’s in your court.”
“What ball?” I asked her.
“Andrea,” she said. “He came up to me out of nowhere and asked where you were. That’s the ball.”
“Well, shouldn’t I wait for him to talk to me or something?”
“No,” she said. “Justin Sanchez has no game. If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen.”
Tonight is the prom, which is obviously as good a place as any to make my move. When I woke up this morning, I was genuinely excited. Bethanne had helped me find a great dress, red with black trim and a flared skirt that ends just below the knee. I had an appointment to get my hair done and a plan to go to Bethanne’s house so we could get ready together. Most of all, I had a good feeling about me and Justin. I’m not talking about fate or destiny, just a positive reading of the facts as I knew them.
Of course, the facts as I knew them this morning have changed. As of right now: I’m not going to be talking to Justin tonight; I’m not going to be dancing with Justin tonight; I’m definitely not going to be making out with Justin tonight. As a matter of fact, I won’t even see Justin tonight, because I’m not going to be at the prom.
Everything might have worked out just fine if Bethanne hadn’t convinced me that we should get some alcohol for the dance. I feel the same way about drinking as I do about dancing–why do it?–but Bethanne wouldn’t let up, so I asked my brother Brad if he’d buy some for us.
Brad doesn’t live with us anymore. He’s taking a graphic-design program at the community college in the city, and he has an apartment with his girlfriend, Janelle, who is awesome. She’s very loud and funny, and she’s studying theater at university.
“Yeah, no sweat,” he said when I asked him about the booze. “Just promise that you’ll keep an eye on Bethanne. I don’t want to be hauled off to jail because she gets wasted and streaks the prom.”
About a week ago, he picked up the sugary wine cooler that Bethanne requested, and I hid it in my closet. Probably not the best idea.
 This afternoon, I borrowed Mom’s car for my hair appointment. When I got home, she was sitting in the living room waiting for me, the bottle of Raspberry Comet Cooler  in front of her on the coffee table. I could tell right away that this wouldn’t end well.
“Where did you get this, Andrea?” she asked.
“What were you doing in my closet?”
“Answer my question,” she said.
“I stood in the parking lot outside the liquor store until some old man agreed to buy it for me,” I told her.
“I have a hard time believing that,” she said. No kidding.
“Well, that’s what happened.” I wasn’t going to rat out Brad. I wouldn’t put it past her to call the cops on him.
“You can lose the attitude, young lady,” she said.
I swear, seventeen years on earth and I’d never done anything to piss her off. It was like she’d been waiting all this time for something to happen, as if she just needed to prove to herself that I’m going to end up like Brad, who barely made it through high school. Never mind that I’ve got six years of straight-A report cards under my belt.
I tried reasoning with her, although I knew it wouldn’t work. “Mom, please just pour it down the sink and forget about it. I won’t drink–I promise.”
“Oh, I know you won’t drink,” she said, in her patented I know what’s best for the world voice. “You’re grounded for a month, Andrea. You can forget about the prom.”
So that’s how I ended up sitting in my room this afternoon, staring at my dress drooping on a hanger in my closet like a sad, headless puppet. After a while, Mom knocked on the door and, without waiting for me to answer, stuck her head in.
“Honey?” When I didn’t answer, she pushed open the door and just stood there, staring at me. I didn’t look at her.
“Pouting isn’t going to help you,” she said. Her voice softened a bit. “You sure you don’t want something to eat? You feeling okay?”
“Are you kidding?” I said. “Of course I’m not okay. I’m grounded.”
“Andrea, choices come with consequences. I don’t want you to end up doing something stupid. I’m not going to do this all over again.”
“You mean like with Brad?” I asked her. “Mom, you know that’s not fair. Brad almost flunked out of school.”
“Exactly,” she said.
“Exactly what?” I asked. “I’m on the honor roll. How perfect do you want me to be?”
“I don’t want you to be perfect,” she said. “I want you to be safe.”
“Safe,” I repeated. “I’m locked up in my room for my own personal safety. Got it. Can you at least leave me alone, so I can be safe in private?”
“What are you going to do?” she asked. “Just sit in here and brood?”
“Mom. Please leave me alone.”
“Okay, fine, but please come out and eat something if you get hungry. I’ll put a plate of supper in the fridge for you.” 
When she closed the door, I gave her the finger.
I got off my bed and pulled my dress out of the closet. I stood in front of the mirror and held the dress in front of me, staring at myself, noticing how different I looked with my hair up off my neck, admiring the color of the fabric against my skin, imagining what I would have looked like if I’d actually had the chance to dress up. 
Not to be vain or anything, but I thought I would have looked awesome, and I was pretty sure Justin would have thought so too.
I shoved the dress back into the closet and slammed the door, then pulled the bobby pins out of my hair and shook it out so that it hung down to my shoulders again. 
It’s not like I planned it, but once the idea hit me, my mind was already made up. I threw on a hoodie and grabbed my wallet and cell phone. 
Then, before I had time to talk myself out of it, I jumped out the window.
To read PAUL’s first chapter, head on over to visit Christa at More Than Just Magic
To check out CANDACE’S first chapter, surf your way to Dianne at Oops! I Read a Book Again
To read ROEMI’s first chapter, pay a visit to John at Dreaming in Books 
Follow Andrea on twitter – @AndreaFeingold
Follow Tom Ryan on twitter – @tomwrotethat
Add TAG ALONG  on Goodreads
Finally, don’t forget to head back to Tom’s website to enter the pre-order contest. Link : http://tomwrotethat.com/?p=1271

Win a Signed ARC!
Author Tom Ryan has also generously offered to giveaway a signed ARC of this title.  So, leave a comment by Saturday, May 25th and you’ll be entered to win.  Contest is open to those in Canada and the U.S.  Please leave either a Twitter follow back or e-mail address so we can contact you should you be our winner. 

Take 5: Resources for Working with Reluctant Readers

Who are reluctant readers?  
Reluctant readers are people who. . .

Can Read, But Don’t (Aliteracy)
A reluctant reader may have good reading skills, but chooses not to read.  They will often say that they just don’t like to read.  This is also called aliteracy; being able to read but uninterested in doing so.  When we talk about Reluctant Readers, these are primarily the types of readers we are talking about.  As Mark Twain once said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man that can not read.” 

The Pew Report on Young American Reading Habits tells us that at least 83% of young people in America read at least one book in the past year.  This tells us that 17% didn’t.  And one book in a year, that’s not exactly our goal.

Wants to Read but Hides It
There are also some tweens and teen who actually do like to read, but because of the perceived coolness factor of it, they choose to hide it.  They are closeted readers if you will.

It’s a common adage that boys don’t like to read.  Truthfully, I know plenty of boys who like to read, and the things they like to read often surprise me.  But here is a really good look at boys and reading, some statistics to be concerned about (test scored have been falling for 30 years), and a different look at the question.  The truth is, there IS a gender gap in reading.  Test scores show that boys are less proficient at reading than girls and this gap has been widening for the past 30 years.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLHzIxXXHp0]

Can’t Read (Illiteracy)
Illiteracy is not necessarily the same as reluctant reading, because many people who struggle with the inability to read would like very much to be able to read.  It is amazing to me how many people are able to effectively hide the fact that they can’t read.  Others do so less effectively, of course.  Here is a look at the World’s Illteracy rate as compiled by Info Please:

The United Nations, which defines illiteracy as the inability to read and write a simple message in any language, has conducted a number of surveys on world illiteracy. In the first survey (1950, pub. 1957) at least 44% of the world’s population were found to be illiterate. A 1978 study showed the rate to have dropped to 32.5%, by 1990 illiteracy worldwide had dropped to about 27%, and by 1998 to 16%. However, a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) published in 1998 predicted that the world illiteracy rate would increase in the 21st cent. because only a quarter of the world’s children were in school by the end of the 20th cent. The highest illiteracy rates were found in the less developed nations of Africa, Asia, and South America; the lowest in Australia, Japan, North Korea, and the more technologically advanced nations of Europe and North America. Using the UN definition of illiteracy, the United States and Canada have an overall illiteracy rate of about 1%. In certain disadvantaged areas, however, such as the rural South in the United States, the illiteracy rate is much higher.

Here are 5 Spectacular Resources to Help Connect Readers with Books
People will read, when they find something they connect with. Our job as librarians (and teachers and parents) is to help them make those connections.  Here are some resources that can help you do that.

1) YALSA Quick Picks List
The YALSA Quick Pics list is a list of books specifically chosen for their appeal to reluctant readers.  These are short, quick reads that are engaging, thoughtful, and bound to turn reluctant readers into raving readers.

2) Graphic Novels
Many libraries now have Graphic Novel (GN) and Manga collections, because they are hugely popular.  But they are also a good draw for reluctant readers.  One of my favorite resources is the No Flying, No Tights website for reviews and core collection lists.

Research: Teenage Reluctant Readers and Graphic Novels

3) Audio Books
For many, audio books can help you engage in the story more readily than a book.  When reading a book, you can be overwhelmed if you are a struggling reader or easily distracted.  Research shows that listening to audio books can help engage readers and improve skills.

Research: Young Adult Audio Books, the audio answer for reluctant readers

4) Guys Read.com

Are Guys Reluctant Readers? That question is debatable; the truth is some guys are and some guys aren’t, just as some girls are and some girls aren’t.  But, Guys Read is a great resource for those looking to connect guys with books.

5) Orca Books 

Orca Books has set out with the singular purpose of producing hi interest/low level titles for struggling and reluctant readers.  They’ve done their research, established some great product lines, and produce a variety of titles.

What are some of the ways you help connect your reluctant readers with books?

Tell us in the comments.

Here are some additional research and information on Reluctant Readers:

Orca Book: New 2013 Titles for Reluctant Readers, and the librarians that love them

Spring 2013 Hi/Lo Titles – New from Orca Book!
As part of our Reluctant Reader week, we are so excited to be pairing with Orca Book for a great giveaway.  You can enter to win a mini-collection of 2013 titles, chosen from these new titles below.  Please visit the Orca Book webpage for a ton of great information on their books, reading levels, etc.  Later this week I will share with you my first time reading an Orca Book, some tips for parents and librarians, and a few flashback posts about aliteracy and reluctant readers.

Orca Currents are short high-interest novels with contemporary themes, written expressly for middle-school students reading below grade level.

Caching In by Kristin Butcher

Eric and his best friend, Chris, find themselves on a high-stakes geocaching treasure hunt.

FaceSpace by Adrian Chamberlain
Fourteen-year-old Danny invents a fictitious friend in an effort to fit in at school.

Vanish by Karen Spotford-Fitz
Fourteen-year-old Simone becomes a key witness in a parental-abduction investigation.

Stolen by John Wilson
Fifteen-year-old Sam solves a mystery while treasure-hunting on the Australian coast.

Perfect for reluctant teen readers, the Orca Sports titles combine mystery and adventure with team sports such as hockey, baseball, football and soccer, and solo sports like scuba diving, running, sailing, horse racing and even race-car driving. Orca Sports books engage young readers with exciting plots and easy-to-read language. 

Break Point by Kate Jaimet
When Connor and Maddy discover that their tennis club is going bankrupt, they set out to try and save it.

Hurricane Heat by Steven Barwin  
Years after Travis’s parents die in a car crash and he and his younger sister, Amanda, are separated, Travis sets out to search for her at the risk of losing an opportunity for a future baseball career.

New Orca Soundings
With contemporary themes and exciting stories, the Orca Soundings for reluctant teen readers are books that teens want to read. The Orca Soundings Resource Guide, now available on CD, provides information on using the books in this popular series as part of a literacy program.

Deadly by Sarah N. Harvey Amy is abducted and locked away, forced to write essays about the error of her ways. (I read and will review this book later this week.)

Night Terrors bSean Rodman
Dylan struggles with the memories of the death of his younger brother while fighting for survival in a snow-bound resort.

Tagged by Eric Walters
Oswald uses graffiti to fight back against an over-bearing politician.

Damage by Robin Stevenson
Theo ends up in a strange situation with a girl who has kidnapped her own child.

New Rapid Reads
Rapid Reads are short novels and non-fiction books for adult readers. In our increasingly fast-paced world we believe there is a need for well-written, well-told books that can be read in one sitting. Rapid Reads are intended for a diverse audience, including ESL students, reluctant readers, adults who struggle with literacy and anyone who wants an high-interest quick read.

Dirty Work by Reed Farrel Coleman
PI Gulliver Dowd searched for the daughter he didn’t know he had, who has gone missing under mysterious circumstances.

The Thirteenth Rose by Gail Bowen
It’s Valentine’s night, and late-night radio talk-show host Charlie D’s planned discussion of love and satisfaction is derailed when a vigilante group promises to kill one prostitute each hour and post their murders live online.

Sunset Key by Blake Crouch
When Letty Dobesh sets out to steal an expensive painting from a wealthy convicted felon on his last night of freedom, she gets a good deal more than she bargained for.

Him Standing by Richard Wagamese
When a Native carver agrees to produce a spirit mask for a mysterious stranger, he falls under the spell of a dangerous sorcerer from the dream world.

What is a “Reluctant Reader”? An introduction to Orca Books

Reluctant readers are those who, for whatever reason, do not like to read.

 Reluctant readers are typically students who are disengaged, struggling readers, many of which are not realizing success in any aspect of their school career. Educators encounter struggling readers in the classroom every day. These students need to be engaged in reading and must be helped to develop the skills required to not only be successful in school, but to become lifelong readers and learners. 

Unfortunately, many of these students arrive at middle and secondary school believing that they can’t read and/or that they dislike reading. This negative attitude tends to be combined with a steadfast view that it is too late for them to become good readers. The pre-existing attitudes and beliefs of these students make it extremely challenging for teachers to actively engage them in reading. 

Orca publishes four series aimed at reluctant readers: Orca Currents, Orca Sports, Orca Soundings, and Rapid Reads. These short, high-interest novels are written at a lower reading level and feature compelling plots, linear storylines and contemporary topics that will appeal to middle and high school students.

Orca Currents are written expressly for middle-school students reading below grade level. Ideal for lit circles and independent reading. Ages 10-14. 

Orca Sports combine mystery and adventure with team sports, such as hockey, baseball, football and soccer, as well as solo sports such as scuba diving, running and even race-car driving. Ages 10+. 

Orca Soundings are short, high-interest novels for teens reading below grade level. With contemporary themes and exciting stories, Orca Soundings are books teens want to read. Ages 12+. 

Rapid Reads are a series of short, high-interest reads aimed at a diverse audience, including ESL students, reluctant readers and adults who struggle with literacy. 

In addition to publishing a variety of hi-lo titles, Orca Book Publishers has developed www.reachingreluctantreaders.com to provide educators with resources, materials and ideas for working with reluctant readers in their classrooms, as well as aid teachers in finding high quality fiction that will engage their students.

All this week we’re celebrating Reluctant Readers, please join us.

For More Information:
Strategies to Help Engage Reluctant Readers
Education Rethink: 11 Ways to Engage Reluctant Readers

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