The Indubitable Dweeb
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April 1, 2014

Upcoming Appearances (March to May, 2014)

Updated often, so check back from time-to-time why don’t you?

  • AaronStarmerAuthorPhotoSaturday, March 22, 2014: Books of Wonder (New York, NY) from 1-3PM, with Laura Marx Fitzgerald and Rebecca Behrens
  • Sunday, March 23, 2014: Oblong Books (Rhinebeck, NY) at 4PM, with Kari Sutherland
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014: Foxborough Regional Charter School (Foxborough, MA) from 5:30pm-8pm
  • Saturday, April 19, 2014: Easton YA Festival (Easton, PA) from 10:30am-3pm, with Josh Berk, Michael Northrop and a metric ton of YA authors
  • Thursday, May 1, 2014: Rutgers University YA Conference (New Brunswick, NJ) from 10am-1pm
  • Saturday, May 3, 2014: SCBWI New England Conference (Springfield, MA), with Laurel Snyder and Kate Milford
  • Wednesday May 14, 2014: WORD Bookstore (Jersey City, NJ) from 7:30pm-8:30pm with Jorge Aguirre and Michelle Knudsen
  • Saturday, May 17, 2014: Rochester Teen Book Festival (Rochester, NY) from 9am-5pm, with Jonathan Auxier and assorted YA royalty
  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014: McNally Jackson (New York, NY) at 7pm, with Tony Abbott, Christopher Healy and J.A. White.
  • Saturday, May 31, 2014: Jefferson Market Library (New York, NY) from 5pm-8pm for the Kids Author Carnival, with dozens of other middle grade authors
March 17, 2014

Giving Thanks for The Riverman

t-hanks

The Riverman comes out tomorrow. In the back of the book there are a handful of acknowledgements. That lists represents only a small percentage of people responsible for inspiring, creating and sharing a book like this. I’d like to thank those people again, as well as expand that list. I know I’m still missing some folks. So I’m also including these photos. You should be on there somewhere. Thank you, if I haven’t already told you, for all the small and big things you’ve done. And I mean, you:

Thank you.

March 15, 2014

Reviews and Accolades for The Riverman

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The Riverman arrives in just a few days but a few people have already read it. They’ve got some things to say, so hear them out, okay?

PRESS REVIEWS

  • Wall Street Journal:  ”…an ominous awareness of loss flows all the way through Aaron Starmer’s riveting and sophisticated novel for younger adolescents…There is plenty of surprise, though, and it resides in almost everything else that happens in this emotionally complex tale…The story of what follows…unfolds with disarming naturalness, yet every page feels so carefully written that, although we can’t predict what will take place, we feel certain that the author knows exactly where he is taking us.”

TRADE REVIEWS

  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review): “Lines between reality and fantasy blur in this powerful, disquieting tale of lost children, twisted friendship and the power of storytelling.”
  • Booklist: “In this dark, twisting tale, readers are never sure if Fiona’s story is true or not, and they won’t want to stop reading until they find out…this magical tale is sure to please readers of urban fantasy, and with its theme of missing children and changing friendships, it will be perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint, too.”
  • School Library Journal: ”This novel built of stories yields nightmares…This writerly, chiaroscuro book is replete with the portent of violence, and thick with ideas about the psychological need for stories, all while questioning the ability of stories to redeem the tellers. Readers will find themselves confronted with deep, unanswered questions regarding the relationship of collective imaginary worlds to reality, the evolving nature of memories and friendships, and the unknowability of people. Those ready to explore darker realities will devour this book.”
  • The Bulletin of the Center For Children’s Books (recommended): ”Somewhere between Holly Black’s Doll Bones and Nova Ren Suma’s 17 & Gone in audience and tone, this blend of magical realism and mystery blurs the line between reality and fantasy, setting up a creepy unease that both disturbs and propels the reader forward…the deliciously tangled web of a plot defies categorization.”
  • Publisher’s Weekly (pick of the week): ”Starmer explores the relationship between creation and theft, reality and fantasy in this haunting novel…the novel’s strength is in the pervasive aura of unknowing that Starmer creates and sustains.”
  • VOYA Magazine: “The Riverman contains plenty of boisterous action—mischief nights with “eggings”—and dialogue peppered with enough “greasy farts” talk to entertain middle schoolers. Alistair, Fiona, and Charlie are memorable characters. The amazing Fiona-controlled Aquavania where chocolate-chip-mint ice cream covers the ground will also delight fantasy readers. But this story also incorporates deeper story threads ripe for exploration…There is a lot to ponder and recommend in this unusual tale.”

BLOG REVIEWS

  • Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 Blog (at School Library Journal): “As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the best of 2014…Once everyone’s read it, I’m going to have SO much more to say. A good book does that. It gives your tongue wings. The Riverman may creep you out and make you want to hide under the covers for a good long while, but just TRY to set it down. Can’t be done. And that is what I look for in a book.”
  • The Off-Topic Blog of Kurtis Scaletta: “Like When You Reach Me and BreadcrumbsThe Riverman is about real people with real problems who find a twist in their reality. And like those books, I would find it deeply engaging even without the fantastic angle. It is the nuanced, believable children dealing with mundane crises that make it a great book.”
  • Smell of Wine and Cheap Perfume: “I not only burned through this one, but wanted to start reading again immediately as soon as I was finished.”
  • Great Imaginations: “The Riverman is at once an entertaining fantasy, a coming of age tale, and scary glimpse of what can happen when one is stuck in one’s own head for too long.  With dark, dry humor, and a smart protagonist, The Riverman is a book that will be stuck in my head for a long time to come.”
  • A Reader of Fictions: “Do you have a vast imagination and love to think about the worlds it could create? Do you like middle grade novels that will creep you out and make you think? If yes, then you need The Riverman in your life, I promise.”
  • Reed Reads Book Reviews: “The story unfolds slowly and beautifully, the reader never sure of where it is going. When I reviewed Aaron Starmer’s The Only Ones, I said it was “weird, in the most literary way.” After reading his second book, I can say that Aaron is one of the most creative children’s writers out there. There is nothing formula about either books.”
  • Hidden in Pages: ”This is an incredibly engaging read and very hard to put down…This is a truly unique book and I really enjoyed it.”
  • Bibliomantics: “Sure on the outside the novel seems like a book about a boogie man that children need to fear, but it goes so much deeper than that, exploring the flawed nature of memories…and even more so about how the unbelievable stories people tell themselves in their own imaginations are merely coping mechanisms to deal with the world at large.”
  • Three Storey Books:  ”Aaron Starmer brings us on a dark, atmospheric fantasy adventure that deals with friendship, belief, love and all of the challenges these bring to a 12 year old boy. Not your typical coming of age story, The Riverman is infused with a sense of foreboding and more questions than answers as Starmer’s exceedingly well crafted characters lead us on Alistair’s well meaning, insightful journey into what could be either a menacing alternate reality or the mind of girl trying to make sense of fear and abuse.”
  • Cougars Book Blog: “The Riverman is odd and intriguing, suspenseful and absorbing. Middle school readers, as well as juvenile and YA fiction readers of any age, will not be able to put this down.”
  • Lust and Coffee: “This book is a page turner. Every chapter is so tense that I really wanted to finish it in one night, but my eyes wouldn’t compromise.”

SELECTIONS

March 2, 2014

99 Inspirations for The Riverman

99Luftballoons

Over two years ago, before The Only Ones came out, I did a countdown of 99 things (books, movies, art, places, etc.) that inspired it. It was a fun way to revisit some stuff I was actively thinking about when I wrote the book, as well as some stuff I didn’t realize influenced me until I had some time to reflect.

Well, it’s 99 days until The Riverman hits shelves and I figured, why not do it all again? So, without further ado, here is my list of #99inspirations that I’ll be counting down daily on Twitter. This doesn’t represent all of my favorite things (sorry, no bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens here), though it does include some stuff that I truly love. And hopefully it sparks some conversation about the stuff you love and the stuff that leaks into your creations.

November 20, 2013

Things Teens Are Into These Days

 

Happy_days_motorcycle_richie_fonzie_1977

Times have changed. Members-Only jackets and Z Cavaricci pants are out. Sock hops are few and far between. The kids don’t buy the latest Mister Mister cassingle down at the Sam Goody. So what are they into? Well, for the last two years, I’ve been hanging where teens hang, researching their behavior, their likes and dislikes and so on. I’ve been learning, friends, and now I’m passing on that knowledge to you. Why? So you can write Young Adult novels that will be timely and will resonate with the youth of today. Cool? Cool.

Here it is, a list of Things Teens Are Into These Days:

  1. Lists
  2. Worrying about whether everyone will notice the ketchup stain on your shirt
  3. Getting wasted
  4. Listening to music, alone, in a dark room
  5. Procrastinating on chemistry homework
  6. Sitting next to a phone, tapping fingers nervously, waiting, waiting, waiting
  7. Not getting wasted and feeling superior to the teens who are getting wasted, while being a little curious about what being wasted is like
  8. Ennui
  9. Driving down dark country roads, a little too fast, with the windows open
  10. Walking four abreast down a sidewalk, laughing, and oblivious to the fact that other people are trying to pass you
  11. Corn chips, in a variety of shapes and flavors
  12. Telling people that you love them when you don’t really love them
  13. Definitely keeping secrets
  14. Being uncomfortable with your parents’ sex lives
  15. Body dysmorphia
  16. Attempting to grow facial hair
  17. College guys
  18. Practicing dance moves in the mirror
  19. Kissing the mirror
  20. Yelling at the mirror
  21. Seeing your parents pull up in the Subaru and sighing because they’re your ride home
  22. Frenching
  23. Movies with crossbows in them
  24. Saying, “oh yeah, I do that all the time,” when you haven’t done that even once
  25. Coming up with band names that are not good band names
  26. Telling it like it is
  27. Parties where a guy pisses into something he shouldn’t be pissing in
  28. Pajama bottoms
  29. Figuring out exactly where your crush is going to be at a certain moment and then lingering in that spot and nodding hello when your crush walks by and then walking away
  30. Knowing that while some jocks are jerks, some are actually really nice and smart people
  31. Believing that you’re a nerd when you’re not a nerd, not really, or at least you won’t be in a year or two
  32. Chuck Taylors
  33. Running at inappropriate times
  34. Young musicians who are the object of your parents’ loathing
  35. Old musicians who are the object of your parents’ affections, but you totally discovered on your own
  36. Boners
  37. Gym teacher impressions
  38. That kid who’s kinda your friend but has a pool and it’s June already so you laugh a little louder at that kid’s jokes
  39. Thinking Ayn Rand is a good writer
  40. Playing cards on Friday night with the same group of friends because that’s what you prefer doing and there’s nothing wrong with that
  41. Spontaneous eating contests
  42. Creative touchdown celebrations
  43. Audrey Hepburn
  44. TV shows where people brag a lot
  45. Living in Eastern Standard Time but sleeping on Mountain Standard Time
  46. Complaining that there’s never anything to do in this shit town
  47. Hating to gossip, but having to at least tell someone that crazy story you heard about what that girl you hardly know did with that guy you don’t know at all
  48. Nunchucks
  49. Drinks the size of which would be deemed illegal under the Bloomberg administration
  50. Huey Lewis and the News