Because It Is My Blood Favorite Blogger Roundup, Part One

I’ve had a rather nice couple of weeks. My just completed adult book, The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry, recently sold to Simon and Schuster in the US and has already closed ten foreign rights deals. I’m super proud of this book and I’ll tell you more about it as we get closer to the pub date, Spring 2014. Fikry will be my eighth published novel — hard to believe — and it will be published precisely ten years after I sold my first novel, Elsewhere.

Onto the bloggers! I am incredibly appreciative of all the bloggers who have written kind and intelligent words about Because It Is My Blood. If I could send you all a verrine from my favorite Los Angeles bakery, Bottega Louis, I would. (Verrines don’t do that well in the mail, unfortunately.) 

Let us begin with Birth of a New Witch, who totally gets it: 

…I love this world, these characters, and this series….“Because It Is My Blood” is not for the dystopian crowd that demands constant action and ridiculous love triangles, but instead, I’d say it’s a quieter, sneakier, and more thoughtful book than many of the YA dystopian books out there at the moment. This one will sneak up on you when you least expect it and hit you right in the feels. There was so much in this one I wasn’t expecting, and it was a pleasant surprise.

She also mentions “the sort-of metaphor for chocolate being equivalent to marijuana the way it is now with medical dispensaries” — it’s funny how few people have noted this, but yes, that indeed is what I was thinking. 

In an incredibly smart review, The Book Rat writes a great many insightful things about Anya, Win and the series. I was most intrigued by this paragraph: 

I REALLY loved where this went with Charles Delacroix. I don’t want to risk spoiling anything, but it actually went where I was hoping it would go, and even though I was expecting it, it was still really nice to see it happen (but also unsettling). A lot of YA authors wouldn’t have dared. And while we’re being cryptic – the same is true with Kipling/Yuji, etc. Zevin didn’t pull punches with the relationships, and they had me feeling all turmoily and anxious and FEELS.  I’m curious to see where things stand in the future in with all of the characters/relations, as many are very open and very tenuous. But I loved the handling for now. It was very adult, very unforgiving, and yet another sign of Anya’s development that I both liked and bought.

The Insatiable Reader calls Because It Is My Blooda fabulous follow up to all the greatness that was introduced in book one.” The part of her review that made me laugh out loud: “Honestly Win, the road was clear for you!  Lighten up on the ‘leave it behind business’, get on the ‘yay chocolate’ bus, and step up to the plate already!” Oh, IR, I cannot wait to read what you make of Book Three! 

High praise from Minion’s Review, who reports that “she may may now like [Anya] more than Katniss!”, and closes her review by writing, “I’ve always felt that The Godfather was the perfect film and it looks to me from the two books so far in the Birthright series that it may become the perfect Young Adult book…I CANNOT wait for the third book.” I cannot wait for you to read it either because book three is my absolute favorite in the series. 

Ex Libris Kate gives the book 5 out of 5 birds and makes several salient points about Anya’s character:

Anya is almost selfish in her desire to keep bad news and situations from those she loves; not wanting to expose them to harm, she ends up shutting out the very people she needs.  This extends to Win, as well, who is just as charming and appealing as ever.  The irony of this situation, that Anya would alienate the very people she loves and wants to protect, is not lost on her and her funny, quirky and honest voice is, again, the perfect narrator for this story.

Amber at The Reading Addict writes more things I want people to write about Anya’s character: “Anya is an incredible character. I’d forgotten how utterly awesome this protagonist is. She’s headstrong, brave, self-sacrificing, everything I admire in a lead character. Her love for her family and friends is evident as she takes great lengths to protect them from her corrupt family and ruthless enemies….I pitied and respected her, even when I didn’t agree with her decisions.” Princess Bookie concurs: “Oh, Anya, how I love you as a character. You are so strong and smart.”

Over at Book Brats, Megan writes that “I read the last 200 pages in one sitting, hooked and desperate to know more. And now that book two is over, I am salivating for book three.” Megan also writes that she “hopes Theo is there.” He will be and he is important, I promise.

In a delightfully Yuji Ono centric review, Aeropapers is rooting for — what else? — more Yuji Ono in book three: “If they are fighting and forming teams with Theo’s and Win’s banner. I got my flag raised with Yuji’s name on it.” Aeropapers, there will be A LOT of Yuji Ono in book three. I don’t even know if you will  be able to handle how much Yuji Ono is coming at you. 

At Michelle and Lesley Book Picks, chelleyreads reports that she “LOVED” Because It Is My Blood. She also observes of Win and Anya’s romance, “But when the romance was brought up, it continued to be lovely and sweet. Although not the most heroic love interest, Win continued to be a great companion for Anya (companion, as in it’s Anya, and her alone, who is carrying the series—another thing I like about it)….He and Anya are one of my favorite YA couples.” Chelleyreads, this is so true. Win is a “companion”; Anya is the show. The series is not a book about a girl who falls in love with a boy. 

Let’s hop over to Teenreads, where Norah Piehl, who is not really a blogger, remains as sympathetic a reader as ever:

Anya’s flaws are what make her a complicated, thoroughly human character, one whom readers will enjoy continuing to try to understand. Anya, who often tries to do the right thing but fails, who genuinely wrestles with huge moral dilemmas, who wonders continually about the role of heredity and upbringing on her own character and on her future, is hardly perfect, but she is believable. Readers will love her, flawed as she is.”

Finally, we have the perceptive Miss Print, whose reviews I always enjoy: “Zevin keeps the story original with her surprising turns and Anya’s wry, eloquent narration. Readers will also notice Anya’s continued growth as she moves out from her dead father’s shadow (and advice) to begin making her own decisions.” You can also read Miss Print’s interview with me here

Finally, finally, the novelist/blogger Presenting Lenore gives Because It Is My Blood her coveted Zombie Merit Chicken Badge for Writing and writes that Anya seems like an “old friend.”

Thanks again, everyone! I know it takes a long time to read these books and write these reviews and that most of you do it just for the money. I’m kidding! You do it for the love. Thank you for the love and the smarts.

P.S. I only got through about a third of the reviews I could have excerpted here before this post started to become unwieldy. Part two coming in a couple of weeks, I promise

P.P.S. Obligatory reminder that I have a contest up with a pathetically small number of entries and a ridiculously high number of prizes. Chances to win = very good. Come and enter. 

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(wednesday narcissism no. 12)

Excellent (fan-made?) trailer in Spanish for my first adult novel, Margarettown (2005). Margarettown came out in the days before book trailers.

(wednesday narcissism no. 11)

So the trailer makes sense to you, here’s a synopsis of the book.

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers

Readers who enjoyed exploring the power and limitations of love inThe Time Traveler’s Wife and The Confessions of Max Tivoli will find a similarly magical set of circumstances at work in Zevin’s tenderhearted novel. The narrator of this tale, simply known as “N.,” is a teaching assistant who falls in love with one of his students, Margaret Towne. Though his love is reciprocated, it comes with a caveat. For Maggie declares she is “cursed.” Undaunted by her admission, N. wants to marry her, so Maggie takes him home to meet her family. But it doesn’t take long for N. to realize that something very strange is afoot in Margarettown; for Maggie’s family consists of a handful of women — of varying ages — each of whom carries a name derived from that of his beloved.Zevin’s novel takes several unusual turns as she leads readers on a survey of the many forms of love. Ultimately, the tale is revealed as a kind of diary, which N. has written for his daughter. But the narration changes midstream, and Maggie gets a chance to tell her side of the story before handing it off to the couple’s unborn children. InMargarettown, Zevin ingeniously demonstrates the challenges faced by an enduring love, during which time the beloved changes, only to become a conglomeration of many different personas. (Fall 2005 Selection)


An Infinite List of Amazing BooksElsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

“On, there are so many lives. How we wish we could live them concurrently instead of one by one by one. We could select the best pieces of each, stringing them together like a strand of pearls. But that’s not how it works. A human’s life is a beautiful mess.” 

wednesday narcissism no. 13 – because this pleases me.

Friday Nonsense No. 11: A Brief and By No Means Comprehensive List of Gabrielle’s Flaws

(in alphabetical order)


Bad social networker (irrational dislike of Facebook)/ bad self-promoter

Commits to things then immediately regrets committing to things

Devotes time to thinking of people who I’m quite sure rarely think of me

Easily flattered



General snobbishness

Holds grudges

Inability to orally synopsize my books when asked

Imagines insults that may or may not have been intended/given


Inconsistent e-mailer

Lacks sufficient gratitude

Looks in mirror more than is necessary

Natural facial expression is, or so I’ve been told, hostile


Occasional bouts of excessive self-googling

Occasionally begrudges other’s successes

Occasionally spiteful

Over-thinks everything

Pathological avoidance of telephone calls & candid photographs

Slow suitcase packer

Sharper tongued than I mean to be

Suspicious of newfangled things to a fault

Swears a lot

Tendency to imagine that somewhere, everyone else is having a better time than me

Tendency to imagine the worst case scenario all the time

Tendency to turn small problems into large ones

Very small toenail on my baby toe


(Last weekend at the Printers Row Book Festival in Chicago, the marvelous Julie Anne Peters asked me what my flaws were. I believe I failed to answer sufficiently.)

(This could just as well be classified under Wednesday Narcissism, of course.)