The Official YABC Blog

All things news, updates, giveaways, and other goodies on Young Adult (and Kids!) Books Central.

Spotlight on The Confusion Of Laurel Graham (Adrienne Kisner), Excerpt, and Giveaway! ~ (US Only)

40849937

Today we're excited to spotlight The Confusion Of Laurel Graham by Adrienne Kisner.

 Read on for more about Adrienne and her book, an excerpt, plus an giveaway! 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Adrienne Kisner!

Adrienne Kisner has lived her entire “adult” life in a college dormitory working in both Residence Life and college chaplaincy. (She prefers the term “dormitory” over “residence hall.” Don’t @ her.) She went to school for a long time so that now she gets to swoop around in a fancy robe and silly hat (like at Hogwarts). She also has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts (a place like Hogwarts). Adrienne is a birder and knitter with more heart and enthusiasm than actual skill. Her debut novel DEAR RACHEL MADDOW won a 2016 PEN New England Susan P Bloom Discovery Award and was one of YALSA’s 2019 picks for Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her second novel, THE CONFUSION OF LAUREL GRAHAM, will be released in June of 2019. Book three, SIX ANGRY GIRLS, is due out in the spring of 2020. She loves her current home in Boston but will always be a Pennsylvanian at heart.

 

 

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Meet The Confusion Of Laurel Graham!

A teen copes with her grandmother's coma by becoming obsessed with a mystery bird that she cannot identify in this sharp and poignant YA novel.

Seventeen-year-old Laurel Graham has a singular, all-consuming ambition in this life: become the most renown nature photographer and birder in the world. The first step to birding domination is to win the junior nature photographer contest run by prominent Fauna magazine. Winning runs in her blood—her beloved activist and nature-loving grandmother placed when she was a girl. 

One day Gran drags Laurel out on a birding expedition where the pair hear a mysterious call that even Gran can’t identify. The pair vow to find out what it is together, but soon after, Gran is involved in a horrible car accident. 

Now that Gran is in a coma, so much of Laurel's world is rocked. Her gran's house is being sold, developers are coming in to destroy the nature sanctuary she treasures, and she still can't seem to identify the mystery bird. 

Laurel’s confusion isn’t just a group of warblers—it’s about what means the most to her, and what she’s willing to do to fight to save it. Maybe--just maybe-if she can find the mystery bird, it will save her gran, the conservatory land, and herself.

 

 

AmazonB & N Indiebound

 

 

 

 

~ Excerpt ~

 

 

Field Journal Entry

May 1

 

Mom was crying in the kitchen.

Must be Thursday, I thought. 

“Want some toast?  It’s crunchy and delicious!” I said out loud.  Sometimes I could lift Mom out of a funk by the sheer force of relentless optimism. 

Mom shook her head, two tears skiing down the hills of her cheeks until they collided on her chin. 

Aaaaand sometimes I couldn’t.

I pulled out the bread drawer from our ancient kitchen counter.  I slid back the metal top and grabbed two pieces of wheat.  With enough melted butter Mom would eat the toast if I put it in front of her.  Not even the Drama Queen could resist salted dairy products.

“Chad and I broke up last night,” she said.

Further confirmation that it was, in fact, Thursday.  The break-ups always seemed to come mid-week. 

“Sorry,” I said.  I patted her shoulder sympathetically.  I could hardly keep Mom’s boyfriends straight.  Chad was a tool, that much I knew.  He was skinny, bald, and was obsessed with hunting.  He wasn’t mean to Mom or me.  But even after months of seeing Mom, he had still called me Lauren instead of Laurel. 

“I just thought he was the one,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.  Toast popped out of fiery little slots.  I stabbed a knife through the charred tops and flicked breakfast onto a plate. 

Mom sniffed.  “He just made me feel good.”

I stifled the urge to laugh or roll my eyes.  She said that about all of the guys who trolled through the house.

Chet.  Mark.  Ethan?  No—Edgar.  Chad.  Brad. 

Dad.

That last one had walked me to my first day of kindergarten and kept on walking.  He sent me cards on Christmas and my birthday and invited me to stay every summer.  I’ve thought about going, but I knew it would be like a punch to Mom’s throat.

Many things were like that, though, on a long enough time line. 

A punch to Mom’s throat.

Sometimes changing the subject worked to cheer her up.

“I know you worked late last night, so I didn’t get a chance to tell you!  Gran and I saw a white-winged tern!  It’s pretty rare around here! I haven’t had a new one on my life list in months!  He was black and white and perfect all over!”  Feel the magic, Mom, I thought at her.  Breathe in my exclamations of pure bird-induced joy.

Mom blew her nose into a napkin.  She inhaled sharply, a sure sign that clouds gathered and tears would soon rain again.  I sighed inwardly.  There was no winning back her mood today.

I debated my options.  Stay here, or use an acceptable excuse to break free of the kitchen soap opera.

I decided on option two.  It was an extraordinary spring day, and I should live the f**k out of it.  Maybe some of my positivity might filter through the air to Mom somehow.

“I want to check in with Gran before co-op.  Hang in there.  You are beautiful and I love you,” I said to Mom.  I backed out of the kitchen as fast as possible and grabbed my backpack.  I biked to Gran’s cottage on the edge of the woods.  I found her in the little garden behind her house.  Most of the fruits and vegetables were starting to sprout and bloom and peek out from their winter sleep.

“Laurel,” said Gran.  “To what do I owe the early morning visit?”

“Mom broke up with Chad.”

“I thought his name was Brad.”

“No that was the last guy.  I think.  This one was definitely Chad.”

“Ah, I see.  Did we like this one?” she asked.

“Nope, not even a little,” I said.  “But she wasn’t going to be cheered up so I thought I’d come over here.  Just to.  Um.  You know.”

Just to go to the one place where I felt really at home.  Gran smiled, as if she knew what I was thinking.

“See the tern again yesterday?”  I asked.

“Nope.  He left.  Louise was so mad.  She says it doesn’t really count if I didn’t see him where he lives, but whatever.  I’m now fourteen birds ahead of her.  Bitter birders are the worst.”  Gran chuckled.  “Get any new shots?”

“Nope.  The art left too,” I said.

“Hang in there sweetheart.  It’ll come.”

“Maybe I should branch out,” I said.  “I only ever do around here.”

Gran considered this.  “Maybe.  There are a lot of state parks around here.  But don’t underestimate what’s right under your nose.  Your pictures of the pond at dusk and dawn are some of the best I’ve ever seen.”  Gran said.

I believed she felt that way.  Twelve of my pond pictures hung around her small cabin.  She said she paid less in heating bills because all my framed pictures served as insulation. 

“But I’ve done it all!  The trees! The water!  The flowers!  Your garden, even.”

“Try more animals.  Or the birds, then.”

“Birds stay in one place for a second.  All I get is a blurry mess,” I said.  “The movement of their wings is so freaking fast.”

“True.  But keep trying.  These kind of things are much about patience.  And maybe a little luck or magic.”  Gran winked at me.  She got up and dusted off her dirty jeans.  “Help me bring my stuff to the storage bench.”

“Maybe I could . . .” I started, but was interrupted by a shrill call from one of Gran’s trees.  I looked up but couldn’t see anything.  “What was that?” I asked.  The blank look on Gran’s face seemed to show that she didn’t know either. 

The call erupted again.  Two short, high-pitched bursts and a longer, more melancholy song. 

“I’ve never head that one before,” I said, excitement blossoming in the tips of my toes.  It spread like wildfire through my body.  Two new birds in one week!  I f**king loved spring. 

“Me either,” Gran said.  She looked like a kid on Christmas.  “Laurel, we have to find him.  Maybe it’s a pet that got out.  Or maybe it’s a second rare find!  Louise is going to hate me.  Let me get my binos!”

Gran ran into the house to find her high-power binoculars.  I dug my camera out of my bag and aimed it towards the tree, hoping to snap an image I could enlarge.  I didn’t have my best lenses, as they made my camera harder to transport, but I did what I could.  Gran emerged from the house and shoved a pair of binoculars into my hands.  “You are going to be late for co-op, so hurry.  Go to the other side of the trees.”  

I did as instructed and saw a few sparrows and a dove.  The call echoed above my head, until it moved further into the forest.  Gran came up beside me and we stood for minutes in the silence.

“The one that got away,” I said.  The wildfire of excitement slid down my legs and slunk back into my feat, barely more than a spark now.

“Today.”  Gran nodded.  “But there’s always tomorrow.” 

“Yes!” I said.  “And you need to text me if you hear it again.  I’ll play hooky for this one.”

“You’ll do no such thing.”  But she shot me a mischievous grin.  “Of course I’ll text you,” she whispered. 

Good ol’ Gran.  She knew my heart like no one else.  Even if Dad had left and Mom seemed to barely remember she had a kid half the time, Gran was my constant in this world. 

“Promise you won’t try too hard to see it without me,” I said.  “I know how you feel about Louise’s competition.”

“Pfft.  Please.  Louise barely knows her binos from her butt.  And you know I’ll always wait for you, Laurel.  Now go to co-op before Jerry tells the truancy office to cart me off to the pokey,” she said.

“That’s not even a thing.”

She shooed me out of her yard towards my bike.  “Don’t argue with your elders,” she said.   

Hours later, the sky darkened and the rumble of an approaching storm kept distracting me from the unschoolers identify different specifies of fungi.  Soon the weather caught up with us, and within minutes increasingly dramatic gray sheets of rain filtered through my shoes and socks until I decided enough was enough.  I hustled my restless group of poncho’d children back to their parents.

 “Any word from the mystery bird?” I texted Gran from inside the Nature Center.

“Do you work,” she replied. 

That had to mean no. 

I dripped into the Nature Center office after lunch.

“Don’t drip on the new posters,” said Jerry.

“Glad to see you are feeling better, boss,” I said.

“I mean it.  Dry off before you laminate them.”

“Yes sir.  Oh, Risa asked you to sign her hours sheet.  It’s on your desk”

“Saw it.  Go dry off.”  Jerry was all business, all of the time. 

No one came for a bird walk and talk, or tree tour, or our afternoon Fungi with a Fun Guy program because of the weather.  I sometimes wondered if that last one was because everyone knew Jerry was a grumpy mushroom expert at best, and that our advertising threw off spores of lies.  But the weather made the most sense.

“Maybe next week,” I tried to console him.

Jerry grunted. 

I stood on the small porch of the nature center watching the angry clouds.  I glanced at my ride chained to the covered bike rack.  But then my phone buzzed.

Car is in your lot.  Dropped it off for you.  Got a ride with neighbor Stella.  You’re welcome.”

Okay, maybe Mom could be pretty cool. 

“I’m going out with Chad tonight for closure.  Leftovers in fridge.”

Never mind.

I almost wished I had taken the bike path home anyway.  The road back to my house from the pond snaked around the mountainside.  I crept along at about twenty miles an hour, noting how there was really only a narrow silver guardrail between a precipitous drop and me.  Or, at least I was pretty sure the guardrail was still there.  It was hard to see through the near horizontal waves of drops assaulting Mom’s vehicle. 

Halfway home the dreary canopy parted a little, and sunlight peeked through.  It was still raining and slick, though.  I rounded the bend where the hillside hiking trail followed the highway a bit.  I saw a familiar bright orange poncho on the gravel berm.  I slowed down even further and rolled up to Gran.  I beeped.  She looked over and waved at me. I rolled down my window.

“Don’t stop here, Laurel.  Cars come around mighty fast.”

“Yeah, no kidding.  Maybe get off the road, then?”

“I am off the road,” she said.  “Well, mostly.”  She moved over a few inches. 
            “Get in the car.  I’ll drive you home,” I said.

“Nah.”  Gran pointed to something over the guardrail.  “I have stuff to see.”

“Mystery bird?”

“No.  But I’m pretty sure a black-backed oriel was at one of my feeders until a squirrel scared it.  I heard him call a few times and figured I might as well get my weekly hike in.”

“It’s awful out!” I said.

Gran shrugged.  “Go on now,” she said.  “Go home.”

 “Promise me if you hear . . .”

“Yes, yes.  Of course. I’ll always wait for you.  Go away.” 

I shook my head at her, but I rolled up my window and shifted into gear again.  Gran often walked up the hill just to get some exercise, or to get a better view.  There was a trail that led back to her house that joined the main path not far from here.  She was in her bird Zen mode, where she preferred to be alone.  But it seemed like a bad idea for her to be out in this weather.  I had barely spotted her by the side of the road, and I was practically walking the car around the bend.

Though.  Gran was seventy-four.  Obviously the woman could take care of herself.

 

 

 

The Confusion Of Laurel Graham

By: Adrienne Kisner

Publisher: Fiewel & Friends

Release Date: June 4th, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS*

One winner will each receive a copy of The Confusion Of Laurel Graham (Adrienne Kisner) ~ (US Only) 

 

 

 *Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading
  350 Hits
  0 Comment

Featured Review: Outcast (Denise Jaden)

38478542
About This Book: She's not crazy.  Kass Bateman may be a lot of things, but she swears she's not crazy--even when she wakes up strapped to a wheelchair in a psychiatric hospital and can't remember how she got there. When Kass's family members go missing one by one, she enlists the...
Continue reading
  333 Hits
  0 Comment

Giveaway: FAT ANGIE: REBEL GIRL REVOLUTION (US Only)

fat-angie

Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution (US Only) by: e.E. Charlton-Trujillo Release Date: March 12, 2019 Publisher: Candlewick Press   About the Book: Sophomore year has just begun, and Angie is miserable. Her girlfriend, KC, has moved away; her good friend, Jake, is keeping his distance; and the resident bully has ramped...
Continue reading
Recent Comments
Kylie
This looks like an amazing read! The cover is gorgeous and I think the book sounds highly relatable!
Thursday, 07 March 2019 17:35
Colleen Burns
I don't care that much for the cover, but the book sounds amazing!
Thursday, 14 March 2019 11:03
Emily
This books sounds soooooo good!!!
Wednesday, 20 March 2019 14:39
  458 Hits
  4 Comments

Waiting On Wednesday ~ March 6th, 2019

b2ap3_large_b2ap3_large_WOW




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at   Breaking the Spine   and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.                 *Beth's Choice* (YABC Blog Manager)   The Beautiful (Renee Ahdieh )     Author: Renee Ahdieh Expected...
Continue reading
Recent comment in this post
Alli Gordon
I think you may have used a summary of Shadow of the Fox for your piece on Aurora Rising and the cover for Aurora Rising for Storm... Read More
Friday, 08 March 2019 14:46
  319 Hits
  1 Comment

Featured Review: White Stag (Kara Barbieri)

39863517
About This Book: White Stag, the first book in a brutally stunning series by Kara Barbieri, involves a young girl who finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home. A Wattpad break out star with...
Continue reading
  348 Hits
  0 Comment

Author Chat with Justin Reynolds (Opposite Of Always), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)

35380157



  Today we're excited to chat with Justin Reynolds author of Opposite Of Always.  Read on for more about Justin, an interview, plus an giveaway!          Meet Justin Reyolds ! Justin A. Reynolds has been a pest control operator, night security guard, steel mill janitor, NASA intern, salesman...
Continue reading
Recent Comments
Kylie
Sarah Henning recommended this book on Instagram and then I saw that it has a special release at Target! Very excited to read!!!... Read More
Thursday, 07 March 2019 17:38
Dianna G.
I love the cover. It's lighthearted and makes me think of friendship. I wish the summary didn't have so much info, though!... Read More
Thursday, 07 March 2019 20:32
Colleen Burns
I really like the cover and the book sounds interesting.
Thursday, 14 March 2019 11:05
  537 Hits
  8 Comments

Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Everlasting Rose (Dhonielle Clayton)

THE-EVERLASTING-ROSE




Hello! Today YABC is hosting a blog tour stop for     The Everlasting Rose   Read on for more about Dhonielle, an excerpt, and a tour-wide giveaway!                 Meet  The Everlasting Rose !   In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller,...
Continue reading
Recent comment in this post
Candice Gigous
The cover is beautiful. The Belles was awesome and I can't wait to read this sequel.
Thursday, 07 March 2019 09:09
  410 Hits
  1 Comment

Featured Review: Within These Lines (Stephanie Morrill)

40556592
About This Book: When Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki are torn apart by the events following the attack on Pearl Harbor, they must fight if they want any hope of returning to one another before World War II steals their future together. Within These Lines is one unflinching, haunting, historical novel...
Continue reading
  331 Hits
  0 Comment

Author Chat with Katy Loutzenhiser (If You're Out There), Plus Giveaway!

If-Youre-Out-There



  Today we're excited to chat with Katy Loutzenhiser author of If You're Out There.  Read on for more about Katy, an interview, plus an giveaway!          Meet Katy Loutzenhiser ! Katy Loutzenhiser is a graduate of Bowdoin who studied screenwriting and improv with Chicago’s prestigious Second City...
Continue reading
Recent Comments
John
What a wonderful cover! And funny, engrossing books are my favorite kind!
Monday, 04 March 2019 15:30
Candice Gigous
The cover is eye-catching. The synopsis is very interesting. Sounds like a page turning story.
Thursday, 07 March 2019 09:17
Madeline Tebo
Love the cover! And sounds like a great read!
Thursday, 14 March 2019 19:38
  510 Hits
  5 Comments

Author Of The Week: Chat with Crystal Smith (Bloodleaf), Plus Giveaway!

unnamed-1

35707080
35707080
Welcome to our weekly special feature post,  Author Of The Week !! Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release! We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!       Introducing Crystal Smith,  YABC's Author of the Week!!...
Continue reading
Recent Comments
John
Poor Aurelia having to choose between a life of relentless, empty luxury and skullduggery and a life of freedom!
Monday, 04 March 2019 15:28
Candice Gigous
The cover is cool. The synopsis is captivating. Sounds like an exciting and romantic read.
Thursday, 07 March 2019 09:14
Brianna Peterson
What a beautiful cover! It really drew me in. I also love fairy tale retellings, so this should be a great story!
Sunday, 10 March 2019 15:16
  469 Hits
  8 Comments

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

controlfreak_wordart (wecompress.com).png
He actually gets the girl in this story. His perfect...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Soul of Power (The Waking Land, #3)
One young woman learns the true nature of power—both her...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Oath Taker
Light magic is forbidden. Dark magic spells death....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twisted Saga Collection 1
Save almost 40% off the price of the single books...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Sin Soldiers Cover
Red compound makes them angry. Yellow exhausts them. Blue drives...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hunter's Truce
The Big Bad Wolf never killed for fun—he was on...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lions and Lamps
Aladdin-meets-steampunk in this brand-new retelling from K.M. Robinson ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ode to the Queen
Savannah wants to be a nurse, not a Greek Goddess....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Super Humans
A mysterious chest. A terrifying vision. Are their...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Fifth Well: Fate of the Future
Carter, Patrick, Amber, and Ryan discover a set of five...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dragonfell
“An adventurous dragon tale that delivers an emotionally satisfying ending.”...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Goddess and the Guardians Boxset
This digital boxed set includes all four books in the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finley and the Foster Brother
When a social worker and a truancy officer show up...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Of Wolves and Witches
I messed up. I broke two of the Arcane Council's...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two Like Me and You
Edwin Green's ex-girlfriend is famous. We're...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Skyward
Spensa's world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

The Soul of Power (The Waking Land, #3)
 
5.0
"THE SOUL OF POWER is a strong conclusion in The Waking Land trilogy. While the first book focused on Elanna..."
Dragonfell
 
4.0
"DRAGONFELL is a fun middle grade that addresses being different and not fitting in easily in the context of a..."
Skyward
 
5.0
"Sanderson raises the YA sci-fi quality bar in this high-flying story of human survival, friendship, legacy, loss, and confronting enormous..."
Hurricane Season
 
5.0
"HURRICANE SEASON is a powerful middle grade novel that deals with some really important issues. Finola (nicknamed Fig) is in..."
The Afterward
 
3.7
"It's been a year since a team of knights, a mage, and a thief defeated a great evil. Hope sprung..."
You Are Light
 
4.7
"This elegant board book is a celebration of light with a simple lyrical poem accompanied by die-cut colored circles. When..."
The Lost Coast
 
5.0
"THE LOST COAST is lyrical, ethereal, and deliciously haunting. Danny has moved to Northern California with her mother, to a..."
Dia de los Muertos: Celebrate the World
 
5.0
"Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, teaches young readers all about this ancient tradition celebrated in Mexico and..."
So Many Sounds
 
5.0
"So Many Sounds is a fun bedtime story that will surly engage the child who doesn’t want to sleep, and..."
Gittel's Journey: An Ellis Island Story
 
5.0
"Gittel’s Journey tells the story of a brave young Jewish girl immigrating to the United States from Easter Europe, all..."
The Flight of Mr. Finch
 
5.0
"The Flight of Mr. Finch is a sweet story about the power of friendship and the importance of self-sacrifice. Lovely..."
Meet the Artist: JMW Turner
 
4.3
"J.M.W. Turner was a landscape painter and student of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1789. As a young teen..."
We Rule the Night
 
4.3
"WE RULE THE NIGHT is an engaging YA fantasy that takes place in a world at war. Revna works in..."
Dragons in a Bag (Dragons in a  Bag, # 1)
 
4.0
"Dragons in a Bag is a whimsical, moving, and magical tale. Perfectly tailored to it’s intended audience, Dragons In a..."
Internment
 
5.0
"This book absolutely wrecked me. INTERNMENT is a YA contextual dystopian that takes place in the near future. Extrapolating from..."
The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe
 
4.7
"THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE is a fascinating YA fantasy/dystopian that is even better than Condie's Matched series. The..."
Night Music
 
5.0
"NIGHT MUSIC is a beautiful YA coming-of-age/romance that brings classical music front and center. Ruby Chertok is the youngest of..."
Cogheart
 
4.0
"COGHEART by Peter Bunzl is a thrilling adventure that blends a historical setting with futuristic elements. The author hints his..."
The Cruel Prince
 
5.0
"Having only read one book of Holly's I wasn't caught up in the hype of her writing a new YA..."
Through the White Wood
 
4.7
"THROUGH THE WHITE WOOD follows Katya, a young woman who has a power of ice and is feared by many...."