News from the editor

If you're looking for something to read--or write--over the break?

Happy holidays, everyone! And this is coming from someone who knows it's never really that simple. Just ask if you want to hear my tragic, holiday-defining story--makes this time of year really tough. I'll keep it optional, rather than imposing it on all of you. Also can't get into that now, because Peter and I are off soon to see Spring Awakening! FINALLY! And kills me, thinking of you who'd were stopped by the strike from seeing it while you were here. Come back!

Anyway, wanted to alert you to a couple of special recommendations, in case you're home, bored (seems to be a theme on the site these weeks) and looking for a beautiful book to read or a constructive writing assignment?  

READ: Before I Die, by Jenny Downham. I started it late Christmas night and really could not put it down, read till I finished yesterday midday. Now I can't stop thinking about it, and I'm someone who doesn't read anything market YA, at least not till one of you recommends it. It's a life-changingly beautiful novel, about a 16-year-old girl in London who's dying of leukemia, and the list of things she decides she has to do before she dies. And she does die. No Hollywood last-minute miracle cures. But that's it's beauty--like she's accepted her own death, it's the people around her (most realistic parents, brother, best friend, boyfriend and boy she has sex with, btw) who can't. Be prepared to weep, it really snuck up on me. But this book's really about living.

WRITE: Our friends at the Lower Eastside Girls Club sent us notice of this very cool essay contest (with $1,000 prize!) that I think any one of you--the best writers, readers, thinkers, and humanitarians I know--could blow them away with. And feel free to send my way if you'd like an editor first...

Info below, DEADLINE FEB 1, 2008. (Please note you have to be in high school still.) Do it! 

Details at
The United States Institute of Peace ( ) established the National Peace Essay Contest to expand edu-
cational opportunities for America's youth.

The topic for the 2007-08 competition is "Natural Resources and Conflict." Participants are asked to write a 1,500-word essay
stating what they believe are the necessary elements for the development of fair, peaceful, or effective use of natural resources after a conflict.

Students are eligible to participate if they are in grades nine through twelve in any of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory, or if they are U.S. citizens attend-
ing high school overseas. Students may be attending a public, private, or parochial school, or participating in a high school correspondence program. Entries from home-schooled students are
also accepted.

First-place state-level winners are awarded $1,000 each and compete for national awards. National awards include one first-place award of $10,000; one second-place award of $5,000; and one third-place award of $2,500. First-place state winners are also invited to Washington, D.C., for the awards program. The institute pays for expenses related to the program, including travel, lodging, meals, and entertainment.

Visit the USIP Web site for complete program information and entry procedures.

Published Dec 27 2007, 05:00 PM by AmyG
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amyh said:

Ahhh! Enjoy Spring Awakening — I'm so jealous of you!

And I'll totally check out the book and essay contest, too :)

December 27, 2007 6:45 PM

jocelynp said:

That book is somewhere in my stacks (literally piles of books everywhere, I should post some pictures--I've got more YA books than my local library and school library combined. My mother says it's an addiction. I say, there are worse things to be addicted to), I'll try to find it and read it. I've heard other good things about it, too.

December 27, 2007 10:08 PM

zulayr said:

Happy Holidays to you too! Even though a part of me wants to ask about your holiday defining story, the other part thinks i'm nosy?

But yea, when I read that you were going to see Spring Awakening, the first person I thought of was Amy.haha.

And I wanna check out Before I Die. Sounds good. But since I'm like, barely ever home it'll take me a whiiiile to read. -_-

December 28, 2007 5:48 AM