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XVI Author Julia Karr Channels Her 16-Year-Old Self

We're so excited to host author Julia Karr for Week 2 (as in second-to-last!) of her 16 Weeks of XVI Tour! XVI, her YA dystopian debut novel, will be released on January 6th, 2011. (note: there is a GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post!)

About XVI:

Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear.

That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.



And now, a guest post by Julia Karr...

Week Two!!! Oh. My. God! XVI will be out there on the shelves (I hope!) in two weeks! SQUEEEEE!!!!!

Oops! Am I being a bad blog guest? Thank you so much for having me here, Kirsten! It’s getting so close to release that I’m having a hard time concentrating on much of anything, but... this week, in honor of the twos... I’m going to give everyone a little insight into two of me. My sixteen-year-old Julia and my present Julia.

Sixteen year old me... in the past

Living in Chicago is the coolest thing ever! I’m not stuck in a small town any more. My friends here are so cool, so fab. I just wish... well, honestly, I wish school was more of a challenge. The only class I can stand is my Honors English class. The teacher lets us write whatever we want. She gives us these prompts and then the rest of the class is spent writing. I love it. Well, I hate it sometimes, too. If I have to tell the truth, some of the things I think about make me really sad. Like that poem about what happened in first grade. And how we moved to live with Gram. Not that I don’t love Gram, but I wanted to be with my mom. Now that I am living with Mother... it’s not at all what I thought. And, I still wonder about that little clay dish.

Present me... about the past

Oh, dear Julia! You were dealt some difficult cards early on. A totally absent father. An alcoholic mother. Thank God you did have Gram and your first fifteen years were spent safely. You certainly did the best you could, navigating a sea of shifting values and morals for women with a compass two generations old. I do so wish you hadn’t been forced to set aside your creative aspirations because you had to get a job and support yourself. No sixteen year old should have to be an adult. *hugs* But, you so did it. And, at enormous expense, you will someday have a treasure trove of memories to draw from for future creative endeavors.

Sixteen year old me... about the future (now the present)

Shit! (Yeah, I can say that, my Honors English teacher let us write whatever we wanted to write, swearing allowed. She was that cool.) Hell, yes! A writer? Me? Who’d have thought that what’s in my head is good enough to be a book? Oh wow! And, look at me. I mean, damn! I have my own really nice house and it’s full of books and cats and dogs. And, I’m not just doing okay, but I’m happy even though I don’t have a boyfriend. (Wow. I can hardly believe that.) And... Yeah. I’d give anything if Mother and Gram were here to see all this. To see me. And to see that I wasn’t totally screwed up forever.

Present me... about the present

All those things in the past that can’t be changed, can be building blocks for a good life. The more I look at me at sixteen, the more I understand exactly what it was like. Why I did the things I did. What I wanted, both good and bad. And, how I am giving that to my present self. I’m able to see that the adults in my life then were just doing the best they could. It wasn’t always good for me, but I learned and I tried things out and I stored up emotions and memories and events that are helping me make my writing real. The time frames may be different, but the basic emotions of teens don’t change. Many of the events don’t change either, because the framework of growing up - being in school - falling in love for the first time - having friends, being a friend - having enemies, being an enemy. Fears, hopes, dreams - they may change as to form, but the basics are always the same.

Life was hard for me at sixteen, even though I didn’t acknowledge it at the time. But, I made it through. I survived. And, honestly, look at me now. That sophomore Honors English teacher would be proud. My mother would be proud. Gram would be proud. You know... a little part of me is proud, too.

Now for the giveaway! Those of you who’ve been along since Week 16 of the 16 Weeks to XVI blog tour know this routine. Please leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for this week’s pre-order of XVI. Winner will be chosen by Random Number Generator on Friday next. All commenters will be eligible for the Grand Prize drawing on 1/6/11.

~Julia Karr

Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten is the author of Like Mandarin, Wanderlove, and the middle grade novel Watch the Sky.

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44 comments:

  1. How exciting! I've been anxious to read this one for a while now! :)

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  2. that book sounds amazing!!!! hope you have a merry christmas.

    stacey
    luv2knitnsew@gmail.com

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  3. I've had my eye on this for a little while now, but now I want to read it even more!

    Thanks for the giveaway :) xxx

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  4. I've been wondering about this book since I read the summary. Good luck for Julia! You had a hard life as teen but look where you are right now! An author!

    Thanks for the opportunity ^^

    Lynossa(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  5. So excited for this. I think I might have to shriek when I see it on a book cart. And then I will make sure it is face out on the shelves!!

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  6. I can't even wait to read this! I love dystopian reads and this is on my wishlist. As an English teacher, it's great to hear that allowing students to write what they're feeling (even if swear words come out) is beneficial in the long run. How awesome that you became a published author after having such a great experience in high school!

    Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

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  7. That was a great post Julia. We can survive the toughest, most trying situations (even though they seem impossible at the time) amd come out on top. Congrats on your success, you deserve it.

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  8. Loved that interview! I grew up with a very similar situation and I love your advice to yourself...Very inspiring! I can't wait for your book!!

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  9. Great comments-thanks for the insight in to your background, Julia! I'm really excited about XVI!

    bookworm1858 AT hotmail DOT com

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  10. Sounds intriguing. Please enter me!

    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

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  11. OMG I am so twitching with impatience! so many more weeks to wait...
    Thanks for sharing this with us :)

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  12. I really wanted to read this book! :) Thanks for the giveaway!

    Happy Holidays!
    ivykiddo[at]gmail[dot]com

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  13. Thanks for the giveaway! I've been waiting for this book forever, it seems like. Only a few more weeks now! It sounds like such a fascinating story, and I love dystopian fiction, so it should be perfect for me.

    Happy holidays!

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  14. This book sounds so good! Thanks so much for hosting the giveaway.

    Happy Holidays!
    Jessica
    ireadtorelax@yahoo.com

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  15. This is a must read for me! I'm so excited. Kristie
    javaintheam@hotmail.com

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  16. I am dying to read this book. The new year can't come fast enough!

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  17. This was such an original post. I loved it. I cannot wait to read this! The story sounds amazing. (And that cover? Gorgeous!)

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  18. 2011 is going to be a great year for YA!

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  19. So, so excited for this one! Every interview I read makes me more anxious to read.

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  20. i really want to read XVI, it sounds so good.

    chelleyreads AT gmail dot com

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  21. What an awesome awesome AWESOME interview. Your book sounds amazing! Can't wait to read it!

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  22. Looks interesting!

    Fletch8502@yahoo.com

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  23. Not sure how I've missed out on this up to this point, but this book sounds pretty kickass. I'd love to read it when it does come out!

    tahleen{dot}ovian{at}gmail{dot}com

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  24. I can't wait to read this book!

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  25. Sounds like a pretty awesome English teacher! That kind of sucks, having to deal with that at such a young age, but it's great that everything turned out well in the present :)

    Super excited about XVI, would love to be counted in, thanks :)

    lucidconspiracy(at)gmail(dot)com

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  26. This is a great and ver creative idea. I love that the author is taiking about herself when she was sixteen. I think it goes along perfectly with the book.
    Anyway, great giveaway!
    Pokadots1121@yahoo.com

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  27. I can't wait to read this book--and what a great guest post. :)

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  28. Sounds great!

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

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  29. I am absolutely DYING to read this book! 2011 is going to be a phenomenal book year. :-)

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  30. Only two weeks! Yippee for you and Yahoo for us!

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  31. Oh yay! I'm so excited to read this one. Can't wait for it's release.

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  32. this looks really great!

    strandedhero at gmail dot com

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  33. I'd love to play please :D

    lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  34. sounds like some awesome dystopia. Would love to read it!

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  35. Im very excited to read this book, thanks so much for this giveaway!!

    Lasha
    arudd908@gmail.com

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  36. I would love to win this book! Thanks for the chance.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  37. Want this book so badly! It's one I'm sure I'll love and rave about. My sister and I were just speaking of this book!

    Congrats on your upcoming release!

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  38. OK this is one seriously cool post. :D anyway, thank you for the chance! Have been wanting to read this book D:

    feeyonachan at gmail dot com

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  39. How exciting!! Thanks for the chance to win!!

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  40. It's getting closer and closer! I can't wait!

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  41. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to this book! It sounds so fantastic.

    librarianjle(at)gmail(dot)com

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  42. thanks for the giveaways :)

    khyla_808ATyahooDOTcom

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  43. I can't wait to read this book!
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

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  44. And, the winner is .... Logan E Turner!!! YAY!!!

    Thanks everyone for your awesome comments! You're all entered in the Grand Prize drawing that happens next Thursday.

    Thanks so much, Kirsten and all the other YA Highwayers for having me on your blog! Cheers!

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Item Reviewed: XVI Author Julia Karr Channels Her 16-Year-Old Self Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kirsten Hubbard