Cue the Fireworks! It’s the Sweet 16 July Giveaway!


No lame roman candles or punks here!

(okay, there will be punks.)

It’s the July Sweet 16 Giveaway! Match the 16th line to its novel and win a future ARC of THE SERPENT KING by Jeff Zentner (Crown/Random House, Spring 2016)!

Now that’s downright sparkly.

Read on:

“I would have been able to do so even if I’d been standing; Arnath child slaves did not stay alive as long as I had unless they learned how to stay atop the platforms.”

Great line, right? But which novel is it from?

A. Kathy MacMillan’s A SWORD AND VERSE (HarperTeen, Winter 2016)

B. Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s FIRSTS (Thomas Dunne Books/St Martin’s Press, 2016)

C. Evelyn Skye’s THE TSAR’S GAME (HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, 2016)

D. Keirsi Burkhart & Amber J. Keyser‘s SHY GIRL AND SHY GUY (Darby Creek, 2016)

Think you know it? Send your answer to, who never skips a chance to link you to her website. Good luck!

Meet the Author: Kiersi Burkhart

Kiersi BurkhartRaised as a cowgirl in Colorado, Kiersi Burkhart has never forgotten her frontier roots, although she now lives in Portland, Oregon. Her essay THE FIRST RULE OF COLLEGE appears in the upcoming non-fiction anthology, THE V-WORD (Beyond Words, 2016).​

Her debut novel, SHY GIRL AND SHY GUY (Darby Creek/Lerner, Spring 2016), is a middle grade contemporary that taps into Kiersi’s love of stories about bravery, friendship,​ and ​horses​. For Hanna, Quartz Creek Ranch was the worst kind of punishment, because there’s nothing she fears more than horses. Then she meets the beautiful gray named Shy Guy, who is just as afraid of people as Hanna is of horses. Can she help Shy Guy overcome his past of abuse and abandonment, and restore him to his former glory?

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: THE NEVERENDING STORY by Michael Ende
  • Childhood aspiration: Everything! A vet, a zookeeper, a teacher, a painter, a writer—what she wanted to be changed as often as her mood.
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: She loves going to the 24-hour coffee shop and writing all night long under a deadline.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: CODE NAME VERITY. It was recommended to her half a dozen times and she finally cracked.
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): She’s big into board games and table-top gaming. She also tries to go dancing whenever possible, and she’s always on the hunt for great live music.
  • Favorite sports teams: She doesn’t watch sports at all, but she grew up in Colorado and she’ll (inexplicably) always be loyal to the Broncos.
  • Surprising personal fact: Before she got serious about writing novels in 2010 (she’d written fan fiction obsessively for almost a decade and never thought it could be anything more), she was working as an illustrator and thought for sure she was going to illustrate children’s books for a living. After finishing her first gig, she decided she wasn’t cut out for the illustrator’s life after all, and discovered her true calling in writing kids’ books instead.
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: The people! It’s great getting to chum around with other authors on the same track and timeline as herself—talking shop, supporting each other through hiccups, and sharing trade secrets. It’s like being a part of a club!

Where to find her:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

The Debut Club: An Interview with Erin Entrada Kelly, author of BLACKBIRD FLY

Sweet Sixteener Kiersi Burkhart recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Erin Entrada Kelly about her debut MG novel, BLACKBIRD FLY (March 24, 2015 from Greenwillow Books).

KellyHeadshotAbout the Author: 

Erin Entrada Kelly was raised in south Louisiana, but now lives in the Northeast. In addition to writing MG, she’s published lots of short stories in places like Keyhole Magazine, Kyoto Journal, and TAYO. She’s a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and was a finalist for the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction. She reviews non-fiction for the Library Journal and works as a writer and editor in suburban Philadelphia.

You can find Erin on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


KellyCoverAbout BLACKBIRD FLY:

Apple Yengko knows what it’s like to be different. She has a weird Filipino nickname, she’s the only Asian at her school, and she’s obsessed with the Beatles instead of boys. But her life doesn’t truly fall apart until she finds out she’s listed on the Dog Log—the list of the ugliest girls in school—and her friends abandon her. Suddenly she’s a social pariah. The boys bark at her in the halls and the girls turn the other way. Apple dreams of escape and resents everything about her culture, including her mother. She’s desperate to get a guitar so she can run away and become a musician like her idol, George Harrison. Apple is convinced that music can save her. And it might—only not in the way that she thinks.

BLACKBIRD FLY is available for purchase at Amazon, Powell’s, Books a Million, Barnes & NobleIndiebound, and HarperCollins.

Kiersi: Apple’s story is one that will ring true for many kids with immigrant parents or backgrounds—the struggle between your native culture and language and wanting to fit in in America. How did the idea for BLACKBIRD FLY find you? Are there any echoes of your own life in it?

Erin: BLACKBIRD FLY started off as a very different book. The cultural conflict was originally a subplot, but it eventually took over. Apple had a bigger story to tell than the one I originally outlined; it just took a while for me to see it. There are many echoes of my own life in the novel, which is probably why I had trouble finding the real heart of the story. Sometimes we don’t see what’s right in front of us!

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The Debut Club: An Interview with Fonda Lee, author of ZEROBOXER

Sweet Sixteener Kiersi Burkhart recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Fonda Lee about her debut YA sci-fi fantasy novel, ZEROBOXER (April 8, 2015 by Flux/Llewellyn).

FondaLeeAbout the Author: 

Fonda Lee writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. ZEROBOXER (from Flux/Llewellyn) is her debut novel. Fonda is a recovering corporate strategist, an avid martial artist, a fan of smart action movies, and an Eggs Benedict enthusiast.

You can find Fonda on her website, FacebookTwitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.




zeroboxerAbout ZEROBOXER:

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way. As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

ZEROBOXER is available for purchase at Amazon, Powell’s, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

Kiersi: How did the idea of zeroboxing come to you?

Fonda:I worked for years as a corporate strategist at Nike, and the idea came to me to write an action-packed sports story that captured the pressure, money, and emotion surrounding celebrity athletes. Despite working in the athletic industry, as an avid martial artist, the only sports I have any particular enthusiasm for are combat sports, and given that I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer, the premise of my story was a no-brainer: futuristic prizefighting. How would combat sports evolve in a space-faring civilization? Zero gravity fights, of course.

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The Debut Club: An Interview with Kate Axelrod, author of THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS

Sweet Sixteener Kiersi Burkhart recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Kate Axelrod about her debut Contemporary YA novel, THE LAW OF LOVING OTHERS (January 8, 2015 from Razorbill).

AxelrodAbout the Author: 

Kate Axelrod was born and raised in New York City. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Oberlin College and a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. Kate has written for, The Nervous Breakdown and various other publications. She lives in Brooklyn and works as an advocate in the criminal justice system.

Find Kate on Twitter and Goodreads. Continue reading