Pre-Order Announcement!

A little while back I shared the cover reveal of my upcoming young adult novel, Blackbird. Well, I’m very happy to announce the publication day and the pre-order links (if you’re so inclined)!

Blackbird

What if YouTube warned of the end of the world? Would we even take it seriously? Or just assume it was some lame, internet hoax?

Maggie has her first college finals to prepare for; she doesn’t have time for pranks and conspiracy theories. But a super flu has broken out on campus and her dorm mate keeps coughing, threatening to get her sick before she can get through the tests and get home for Christmas.

More and more people are coming down with the super flu and the vaccines aren’t working for everyone and when one of her professors is dragged out of the classroom by cops and doctors, Maggie realizes she’s waited too long to leave campus.

Finals are the last thing she should be worrying about—she needs to get home, but can she make it in time?

Coming June 1, 2018!

Pre-order from your favorite retailer now:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks

Add it on Goodreads now! 

Some Good News in a Dark Time

I had been thinking of a few other topics for this blog post but when I got home last night and learned about the latest school shooting, everything else went out of my brain. (Sidenote: I am so glad I finished school before all of this started happening and that I’m not having children. I don’t know how parents and kids today deal with all of this.) I couldn’t think of a thing that seemed to matter in light of the state of our country right now.

Then this morning, I woke up and realized that what we need right now (besides action, rather than thoughts and prayers) is good news. So, I’m going to share my big news today. I’m in no way saying it is as important as these other issues, but it’s a bright spot at least.

My book, Daughter of Destiny, has won the North Street Book Prize!

It is one of only three winners: nonfiction/memoir, general fiction and YA. They put it in the YA category. It’s not a YA book, but given Guinevere’s age (11-15) and the fact that it is the “coming of age” part of her story, I can see why it landed there. But, I don’t care what you call it, as long as you like it, and the judges obviously did. Here are a few quotes from the official critique:

“Nicole Evelina’s Young Adult novel Daughter of Destiny is a lyrical, imagistic retelling of the Arthurian legend…The writer’s skill in creating a lushly imagistic fantasy world was a major reason for her first place award. Nicole Evelina has suceeded in creating a YA novel that is a pleasure for adults as well as teenagers to read. Although I am not normally a reader of fantasy fiction, I loved being immersed in the misty, magical land of Avalon.”

Here’s the whole critique, in case you are interested. And here’s the official press release.

This huge for me, as big of a deal as my two Book of Year designations. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am that my debut novel continues to receive accolades more than two years after it was published.

In light of this win, I have point out one irony. The very first rejection Daughter of Destiny received was from an agent (who shall remain nameless) who said it “read like a bad YA novel.” I kid you not. And here it won in the YA category. 🙂 Just goes to show that you shouldn’t listen to the nay-sayers!

Shameless Self-Promotion: Shauna’s Edition

If you’ve been following me on any social media site, you know by now that my sequel to World of Ash, Time of Ruin, went live on Tuesday. We all talk about how difficult writing is, and it is, but some books are easier than others and some just kill you a little bit, steal a piece of your soul with every page. The Ash and Ruin Trilogy is the latter for me. That’s why I talk about it so much. I’m just so glad for each book to be complete and out in the world. I’m glad I wrote these books, but I will be glad when they’re over because they take so much from me. But that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to see people reading the, so in that vein, here is all the info you need!

If you enjoy post-apocalyptic adventures with monsters and just a touch of romance, please check them out!

The first book, World of Ash, can be found here:

WOA (1)

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, iBooks, Kobo

Blurb:

There are two inherent truths in the world: life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.

The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive.

That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan, with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life – if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies.

The second book, Time of Ruin:

TOR

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, iBooks, Kobo

Blurb:

The world has ended, and hope is the most dangerous thing left.

Battered and bruised after barely escaping San Francisco with their lives, Kat, Dylan, and Blue press north – desperate to reach the possibility of a new home.

But strange, monstrous ravens are tracking the remaining survivors, food is becoming scarce, gasoline is running short, and people are becoming suicidal, making survival almost impossible.

And the Pestas are growing bolder. Somehow, their numbers are growing.

The further north they go, the harder it becomes to ignore the signs that they’ve made a fatal mistake. Kat must face the impossible truth that there is no escape, there is no safe haven, and their worst nightmares don’t come close to their new reality.

Coming of Age

a5dd6-mostwonderfulstorybellegifIt’s no secret that I both read and write a lot of young adult literature spanning a variety of sub-genres. There’s no single reason that I favor this genre above others, and sometimes it can be difficult to explain to others why so many of the novels closest to my heart happen to be YA. But if I have to choose the most important reason, it is the element of growth and transformation that is the hallmark of most great YA literature.

The teenage years are a terrifying, turbulent, and often excruciating time. Childhood fades into the past as adulthood looms alarmingly close. Emotions run high, borne on the rushing tide of hormones and naively conceived expectations. First loves and newfound joys are all-consuming; disappointments and heartbreaks are earth-shattering. And amid the elation and tragedy and pride and loneliness, there is transformation. Young adult literature is overwhelmingly about this coming-of-age metamorphosis from childhood to adulthood that every person must survive.

Classically known as a bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story follows the development of a young individual as they navigate the unfamiliar world of adulthood. Evolving from folklore tales of the dunce or youngest son venturing from home to seek his fortune, the genre often features an emotional difficulty that triggers the difficult journey towards maturity and understanding necessary for the character’s self-growth.

freaksNot every young adult novel follows this formula precisely, but the basic format of the coming-of-age story is overwhelmingly present in the genre. Think of the last YA novel you read. I can almost guarantee that regardless of whether it featured vampires or werewolves, witches and wizards, or regular old angst-ridden teenagers, it mostly told the story of a young person overcoming difficulties and growing into someone stronger, wiser, and more mature than they were before.

Granted, the modern coming-of-age story is a lot different than the classic bildungsroman. Tom Jones and Pip Pirrip and Jane Eyre have been replaced by Katniss Everdeen and Harry Potter and Hazel Grace Lancaster, teens whose worlds threaten them with actual physical dangers in addition to the emotional pangs and situational difficulties of growing up. Teens who occupy dystopias and paranormal worlds and modern cities, who face monsters and villains and cancer and sex.

But in the end, are these stories so different from the classic journeys of growth and self-discovery written two hundred years ago? And are we as readers any less fascinated by the complications of young adulthood and the turbulent teenage years? I don’t think so, because really, the coming-of-age story has no expiration date. Aren’t we all coming-of-age in some way or another long after our difficult teen years are long past, seeking positive transformations in our lives, trying to grow and change with each passing year?

Coming-of-age isn’t something a person grows out of, no matter their age. And that’s why I don’t think a person ever grows out of young adult literature, either. Because the difficulties faced by the teens in YA novels are metaphors for our own difficulties as we seek to grow and change well into adulthood.

Do you enjoy the coming-of-age genre? Why do you think YA literature has experienced a boom in recent years? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!