Cover Reveal Celebration + Giveaway: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by MG Buehrlen

It’s time to PAR-TAY!

MG Buehrlen is one of those online friends that it sometimes feels weird to refer to as a friend, because we’ve only met via social media and email. But we’ve bonded over our shared affection for coffee and Gilmore Girls and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, so I’m pretty sure we’d do okay. Which means I was super excited earlier this year to hear that MG sold her debut novel, The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare, not only because I am thrilled for her, but also because it’s a time-travel adventure, folks, and I really can’t get enough of those in my life.

Are you excited? I’m excited.

Today we’re celebrating the cover reveal for THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE by MG Buehrlen with a guest post and a giveaway!

BONUS POINTS: Mention you saw the cover on my blog (when you fill out the giveaway form below) and you can earn extra entries!

Before we get to the cover, here’s a guest post from MG:

5 Things an Author Hopes for in a Book Cover – Guest Post by MG Buehrlen

Waiting for a book cover to arrive can be a nerve-wracking experience for an author. There are so many things you hope for! Here are the top 5 things I hoped for while waiting for cover art from my publisher.

1) To get a say in the cover design.
Every author hopes their publisher involves them and their opinions in the cover design process. Many publishers don’t. They simply hand the author a cover and that’s that. But my publisher, Strange Chemistry, listened to my ideas and feedback throughout the entire process, which is rare in the industry. I’m so appreciative for the chance to collaborate with them on the design.

2) To have kick ass typography.
We went through quite a few fonts, trying to find the one that fit the mood and theme of 57 LIVES. I think we’ve done it.

3) To have the cover depict a scene from the book.
Don’t get me wrong, I love abstract covers, covers that are title-centric, and even covers that are pure symbolism. For 57 LIVES, though, I wanted the cover art to be something readers come across between the pages, so they can flip back to it and feel like they’re in the story.

4) To have artwork that catches the eye and stands out on the shelf.
The colors, the depth of field, the light — I definitely think this cover will stand out on the bookstore shelf. It’s mysterious enough to draw you in, and eerie enough to make you wonder what the story is all about.

5) To see a part of the book’s world brought to life.
The main character in 57 LIVES is Alex Wayfare, a girl who can travel back in time to her reincarnated pasts by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. What you see on the cover is Alex standing in Limbo. I love seeing Limbo brought to life. It makes it feel all the more rich and real. It’s no longer just in my head. Now it’s in the reader’s as well, and that feels magical.

Ready to see the cover? Here it is!

(Lauren again) What do we think, friends? My reaction can be pretty well summed up like this:

I love the dark and mysterious graphic in combination with the playful font. Makes me think this book will be equal parts serious, high stakes combined with fun timey-wimey goodness. (I could be wrong. I haven’t read it. But I have a good feeling about my hunch.) Plus, I think this cover will appeal to both boys and girls and bridge a variety of age groups. I can’t wait to add it to my shelf!

About the Book

One girl. Fifty-seven lives. Endless ways to die.

For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

Pre-order The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare now!
Barnes & Noble|Books-a-Million|Amazon|Indiebound|The Book Depository

About the Author

When she’s not writing, M.G. moonlights as a web designer and social media/creative director. She’s the current web ninja lurking behind the hugely popular website, a social network for YA (and kids!) book lovers.

These are the places you’ll find M.G. hiding: in her creaky old house nestled in Michigan pines, sipping coffee on her porch, cooking over campfires, and dipping her toes in creeks. Say hello to M.G. on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Giveaway Details

One winner from each participating blog (10 total) will receive signed bookmarks and stickers.

One grand prize winner will receive a copy of the book (once available) as well as the Mega 57 LIVES Character Prize Pack (each item pertaining to a significant character in the book):

– A pair of black Wayfarer glasses, like Alex wears
– A pack of chocolate pudding cups, courtesy of Jensen
– Vintage piano sheet music for the song Star Dust, the song Nick plays for Alex
– An orange Baltimore Orioles cap, like Porter wears
– A pair of engraved Polygon game piece stones (You’ll have to read the book to find out how these come into play!)
– A tote bag
– Signed bookmarks and stickers

This giveaway is open internationally. Winners will be chosen and notified by email within 30 days of the giveaway end date.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Extra entries can be earned by following the bloggers involved in the Cover Reveal Celebration.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Winger by Andrew Smith

A few weeks ago, all my local writing friends started gushing over a book on Twitter. A book I’d never heard of, but they swore up and down and left and right was spectacular. Winger by Andrew Smith. I knew nothing about it except that they were hashtagging all their tweets #Iamsuchaloser and that was intriguing. So I threw out a request to the Twittersphere, “Who’s going to lend me a copy of WINGER?” Within minutes, I had a volunteer. And within days, I had a copy in my hands.

It took me a few days to start reading. Again, I literally knew nothing about this book. Except that somehow, being a loser came into play, and somehow, that was…good?

I wasn’t so sure how I felt about the cover. I mean, there’s a guy with a bloody nose on the cover. Gross.

But after a few days, I picked it up and cracked it open. And then. Then.

Oh. My. Word.

The best way I can think to describe it is Dead Poets Society, but funny. But really that’s not it at all, because this book doesn’t focus around a student-teacher relationship, and instead of poetry there is rugby, and also there are girls. And yet that is the closest comparison I can come up with to convey the spirit of Winger…without actually making a good comparison.

*sigh* I suppose I should just get to it, eh?

The Plot (From Goodreads): 

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

My Thoughts:

Disclaimer: This review will be slightly spoilery, but only inasmuch as the back cover copy is spoilery. I won’t spoil anything I did not deduce from reading the back cover of the book.

It’s been a long, long time since I read a book that made me laugh out loud more than once or twice. It’s been even longer since I read a book that made me laugh so hard, I had to stop reading and put down the book in order to compose myself enough to breathe. But with WINGER, I was tears-streaming, snot-flowing, short-of-breath chortling every few pages. Ryan Dean West’s self-deprecating (as evidenced by his “I am such a loser” mantra), utterly irreverent and so amazingly fourteen-year-old-boy inner monologue was one of the most refreshing, honest, and hilarious narrations I’ve ever read.

WINGER is light on plot, heavy on character. Ryan Dean (two words, one name. His middle name is revealed late in the game, and a source of his perpetual shame.) stumbles from one encounter to the next, from a midnight poker game featuring ill-advised drinking, to stolen kisses with a girl who is entirely off-limits, to unexpected friendship and awkward first love. He punctuates his narrative with hand-drawn cartoons and graphs to illustrate life as he knows it, which give even the darker moments a glimmer of light.

When the book eventually does take a turn in tone, as hinted at in the back-cover copy, it is, as promised, heartbreaking. I read the whole book waiting for the heartbreaking part, and was honestly a little concerned that it wouldn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the book. I should have had more faith, given Smith’s stellar execution of his story.

Much like in life, tragedy is often hard to anticipate. Ryan Dean drifts along assuming his life is most often a farce, occasionally a romantic comedy, intermittently a coming-of-age-drama. Then suddenly, it is none of those things, and he reacts in an utterly real and — yes, heartbreaking — fashion. There is a tone shift, but it works, and it heightens the feeling that we are experiencing a very real year in the very real life of a very real teen. It is unpredictable but authentic, raw yet beautiful. 

WINGER isn’t going to be for everyone. Ryan Dean is frequently foulmouthed (but only in his head) and crude, he objectifies every female he sees, and makes some truly terrible choices, some of which have far-reaching consequences. But if you can handle the sometimes-brutal honesty of Ryan Dean West, and if you enjoy laughing until coffee squirts out your nose over things that are likely inappropriate, and if you like stories that are hard to put into a box because life is hard to put into a box, then I cannot recommend this book enough. Hands down, one of the best books I’ve read this year. Go forth, losers, and read.