Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Thank God It’s Monday! Blog Tour: My Best and Worst Mondays

AWOM_blogtour

 

Today we’re participating in the Thank God It’s Monday! blog tour to help celebrate the upcoming release of Jessica Brody’s book A WEEK OF MONDAYS. You can read Jessica’s guest post about her book here. My review is coming later this month.

You can check out what other bloggers are saying about their best and worst Mondays by following the hashtags #TGIM and #AWeekofMondays on social media and by following Jessica on Twitter @JessicaBrody. Tell us about your best and worst Mondays, too! They can be real or your made-up dream/nightmare Mondays. Here are mine:

 

MY WORST MONDAY EVER

My alarm doesn’t go off and I’m late for school. My mom’s a teacher and my dad’s the principal (is this sounding WORST enough yet?) at my school, but apparently they left without me and now I have to walk to school. I get there and try to sign myself in saying I had an appointment, but my dad’s office is right next to the attendance desk and he busts me. The secretary makes a tsk as she marks me absent on my record (a record she, in real life, would go on to make a photocopy of and present to me right before graduation, noting I had the dubious distinction of being in the top ten in my class both academically and for most absences–thanks, two rounds of mono, a deep hatred for high school, and a journalism pass that allowed me to leave for lots of “assignments”). I start to head to my locker but can’t seem to remember where it is. I finally find it because I remember Jenny has plastered the front of our lockers with pictures of Michael Stipe and a countdown for going to see REM. I can’t get in my locker. Of course. I try to sneak into my class unnoticed (like that is even possible) and get called up to the board to solve an algebra problem. I put on antennas and talk about sending a potato through a potato machine, which seems to satisfy my teacher. I’m unprepared for every class and panic because I am NEVER unprepared for class. I can’t find my notes, there are tests in every subject, and I can never get into my blasted locker—sometimes the handle is gone and I can’t find a way to open it, or a new wall has gone up and my locker is now behind it, or I just can’t remember the combination.

 

The worst part? I know I’m not supposed to be here at all.

 

I know I graduated a super long looooong time ago. I have a master’s degree! I tell my teachers. They don’t care. Apparently I missed some requirement and have to go back. Just for today? I wonder. No. I have to redo all of high school or my college degrees are revoked and I have to pay back all my student loans all over again (now we’re really talking WORST, right?). I remember how terrible high school was the first time around, but at least then I was surrounded by equally angsty and miserable peers. Now I’m nearly 40 and no one will be friends with me and it’s not just that I’m in high school but that I’m in high school AGAIN. So I continue to take tests that I bomb, and go to class without my textbooks, and wonder what I did to end up back in high school, knowing I apparently have four more years of this nightmare. And the day ends, but I know I’ll have to do it all over again tomorrow. Worst Monday ever.

 

 

MY BEST MONDAY EVER

My alarm goes off at 5:45 and I wake up immediately. I nudge my husband awake and say, Good lord, I had that dream again where I’m sent back to high school because I missed some requirement. Then I wonder why I never dream about elementary school or graduate school. Is it because I so desperately hated high school? Because I live in a world of YA books set in high schools? Or because we never stop reliving the trauma of adolescence? Who knows. All I do know is that this Monday doesn’t hold unexpected tests or forgotten locker combinations or anyone grading me. I’ll do some reading and writing, I’ll hang out with my husband, kid, and dachshunds, and I’ll be forever grateful that no one can actually send me back to high school.

 

Oh yeah–my 20th high school reunion is this weekend. I can’t go because I don’t want to. 20 years is still not far enough removed for me to feel any kind of nostalgia for that time. Maybe once I stop having nightmares about high school, I’ll reassess my feelings. But for now? I’ll leave that time in my life to half-remembered dreams, old journals, zines, mixtapes, and boxes of pictures. Waking up and remembering that I’m 20 years removed from high school? Best Monday ever. 

 

About A WEEK OF MONDAYS

week of mondaysWhen I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true…

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

Jessica Brody is the author of several popular books for teens, including the Unremembered trilogy, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and The Karma Club, as well as two adult novels. She splits her time between California and Colorado. Find out more at jessicabrody.com. Jessica is on Twitter @JessicaBrody.

 

ISBN-13: 9780374382704

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication date: 08/02/2016

The Fixer Blog Tour: The Science of Fiction, a guest post by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

FIXER3

 

We are happy to welcome Jennifer Lynn Barnes to TLT today. She’s stopping by on the blog tour for her new novel, THE FIXER (published 7/7/2015 from Bloomsbury USA). 

 

The Science of Fiction 

One of the questions I get a lot as a writer who has a double life as a psychology professor studying the science of books, movies, and television shows is whether or not my work looking at the psychology of stories affects the way I write them. And the answer is that everything I learn about the power of stories from a scientific standpoint changes the way I write. So I thought I’d take the FIXER blog tour as an opportunity to give readers a look into the way my scientist and writer selves work together when I sit down to write a new book.

 

Part Four: The Peak-End Effect

There’s a famous experiment that looks at people’s perceptions of pain. The gist of the experiment goes something like this. In one condition, people are asked to put their hands in painfully cold water for sixty seconds. In the other condition, they’re asked to put their hands in painfully cold water for sixty seconds and then to put their hands in slightly less cold, but still painful water for another thirty seconds. Afterward, they’re asked which of the two experiences they would rather repeat. Logically, the answer should be the first one—it’s identical to the second, except that it has thirty second less pain at the end.

But that’s not what people choose.

People prefer the second option. The one with more pain. Why? Because it ends on a better note. You get similar results with positive experiences: everything else being equal, people prefer the thing that ended on a higher note. In fact, there’s reason to believe that when we evaluate experiences, we’re really only evaluating two things: the most intense moment and the last moment. This is called the Peak-End effect.

What does that mean for writers and readers? Well, one thing that it suggests—to me—is that if you’re writing comedy, it’s more important to have one super hilarious laugh-until-you-cry moment than it is have to have a ton of different moments that make people chuckle. If you’re writing tragedy, making someone sob hard once is going to leave more of an impression than making them tear up a dozen different times. If you’re going for plot twists, one HUGE surprise will have more of an impact than a dozen tiny ones. And if you can stack two HUGE surprises close enough together that they encode as a single moment, all the better. When readers look back on the reading experience, by and large, they’re going to evaluate that experience based on the most intense moment and the last moment.

Knowing this, I spend a lot of time as a writer asking myself “What are the most intense moments in this book?” and “how should this book end?” When I sat down to write The Fixer, there was one moment that stuck out in my head, one that I knew from the very beginning would be one of the most emotionally intense scenes in the entire book. That was the moment that made me want to write the book. That was the moment that made me want to understand these characters. But ultimately, even though each reader is going to evaluate the book largely based on the most intense point and the last point, as a writer, I also know that one big moment and a good ending isn’t enough. Different readers can and do have different reactions to the same scenes, so that intense, defining moment may well be different for each person, and part of creating an intense reading experience is the way that intense moments build on each other. So the challenge, as I sat down to write The Fixer, knowing that I was building to a very specific scene, was to figure out what my other big moments were. They had to be surprising. They had to pack an emotional punch. They had to involve characters we cared about. And they all had to build to an ending that did everything I wanted that ending to do—including setting the stage for book two.

For me, a lot of this happens in revision. Three or four of the biggest, most intense moments in The Fixer weren’t there in the first draft. In fact, other than The Moment That I Always Knew I Was Going to Write, I’m not sure any of the biggest emotional, plot twisty moments were in my first draft. For me, the purpose of revision is to make sure that every scene is doing multiple things, that instead of having SURPRISING MOMENTS and EMOTIONAL MOMENTS, my big plot twist moments are my big emotional moments.

And those moments are brought to you by the Peak-End effect.

 

Further Reading

Do, A. M., Rupert, A. V., & Wolford, G. (2008). Evaluations of pleasurable experiences: The peak-end rule. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15(1), 96-98.

Kahneman, D., Fredrickson, B. L., Schreiber, C. A., & Redelmeier, D. A. (1993). When more pain is preferred to less: Adding a better end. Psychological science, 4(6), 401-405.

 

 

FIXERAbout THE FIXER:

When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.’s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians’ scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister’s footsteps and becomes D.C.’s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens.

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life. . . . until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy’s. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for more in this exciting new series.

 

FIXER2About Jennifer Lynn Barnes:

Jennifer Lynn Barnes has written several acclaimed young adult novels, including the Raised by Wolves and the Naturals series. She has advanced degrees in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science. She received her PhD from Yale University and is now a professor in psychology.
www.jenniferlynnbarnes.com
@jenlynnbarnes