Kirkus, Covers, and Giveaways

So last Saturday, I saw that Saving Maddie had been reviewed by Kirkus. I waited patiently–waited for my editor to send me a copy, waited for the review to be posted on B&N (PW and SLJ are already there), waited for the issue to be available via the online journal database at my university.

On the third day, I caved and bought a one-month subscription.

But I’m so glad I did. This is arguably the best journal review I’ve ever received–and here’s a snippet:

“Johnson avoids heavy-handed messages with nuanced characters and a realistic treatment of Joshua and Maddie’s complex relationship.”

In fact, here’s the only “negative” thing the reviewer says:

“Unfortunately, the cover condemns this book to Girls Only.”

I’d actually been thinking about this before seeing this review, after recent online discussions with Collen Mondor about After the Moment and after seeing the comments in Edi’s wonderful review. I realized that during the cover design process, I was so preoccupied with the skin/lip-tone of the cover model, I didn’t think about if the cover was “anti-boy”. And I’m NOT saying that the cover is or isn’t boy-friendly–but I am admitting that I didn’t put as much thought into this as I should have, and will hopefully do better in the future.

(Although I think it was due to unusual circumstances–i.e. the Liar Controversy–that I was even consulted on this cover. And yes, for those that are interested, I have seen all the comments about “is she or isn’t she black” and will respond at some point…probably after I see the final cover.)

All that being said, this is still a great review. And how am I celebrating? Well, by giving away my last ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) of Saving Maddie.

Looking at my office floor–I mean, bookshelf, I realized that I don’t own ARCs of any of my previous books, which in a way is fitting. The ARC isn’t for me. It’s for librarians and reviewers and booklovers and people like YOU.

So if you want an advanced reader’s copy of the book before the real thing hits stores on March 9th, just make a comment on this post before 12:00 Midnight CST on Tuesday, Feb 23rd (if you’re reading this on Facebook, Livejournal, MySpace, etc–you’ll need to go to my webpage blog to officially enter). Don’t put your email or snail mail address in the comments–just your name–and check back on Wednesday evening to see if you won.

Good luck!

33 Responses to “Kirkus, Covers, and Giveaways”

  1. Anonymous

    Hey Chad, I need that copy (signed of course) sent to me in NoVA!! JoSette

  2. proseandkahn

    Hi and thanks for offering your arc. I tried very hard to get one at ALA Midwinter. First, I was too early and then I was too late.


  3. Theodore Quester

    How much would it cost to do a separate cover for boys? Has anyone done that? I know publishers have done separate covers for children/adults for various books, as a crossover — but when are they going to address the fact that the covers are telling people that this is not a "boy book" or even a book for both boys and girls. Couldn't they sell a book as a crossover across the gender line? (Not that there are maybe enough male readers to make a lot of extra money on it.)

  4. Anonymous

    Hi Varian,
    I guess I missed a book or two. I don't want to miss this one.

  5. marjorielight

    My students and I would love to give your ARC a home! We are currently reviewing books to post on my blog, so this is perfect timing!(Keeping our collective fingers crossed…)

  6. Trent Reedy

    Dear Varian,

    You are the greatest. I hope to win an ARC of your book right before I go out and buy your book. I also hope you'll be in Vermont this summer. It would be great to see you there!

    yours always,

    Trent Reedy

  7. Danielle

    Hi Varian,

    Congratulations on all the excellent reviews and as I`ve said before, definitely looking forward to reading this book. The first chapter excerpt definitely left me wanting more πŸ™‚

  8. Anonymous

    Congrats, Varian! I cannot WAIT to read it…fantastic reviews — March 9th will be a big day for you!
    Very proud…
    Jessica Dils

  9. Shveta

    Me, me, me, me, me! *grin* (If I win, I'll read and then give it away on my LiveJournal.)

    And on a totally separate note, I'd still like to interview you on my LiveJournal, if you have any time in the next few months.

  10. Karen

    I'm Karen, a high school librarian, and I would love to win an ARC of Saving Maddie. Congratulations on your review!

  11. Elainareads

    Congrats on the amazing review! I can't wait for Saving Maddie, I loved My Life As A Rhombus, I'm sure this one will be just as awesome.

  12. Annemarie O'Brien

    Hi, V.

    You promised me an ARC for my class … has it been sent? If so, it has not arrived. Before I can put it in my lecture plan, I need to read it. I'm happy to send it back to you or another person and buy a hard cover once it comes out. Let me know.

    Cheers and congrats,


  13. Lisa

    After the reception received by My Life As a Rhombus, I know the students I teach would be thrilled to have access to an ARC of Saving Maddie.

  14. Anonymous

    Mr. V,
    I need an introduction to your books. I work with middle school students- basically reluctant readers. I try very hard to bring books that interest them. I don't doubt they would be so excited with an ARC.
    Thanks for offering it to us.

  15. Anonymous

    hey Mr. V. congratulations on your continued success. I've been following your work since red polka dot and I would be so excited if I won the arc of Saving Maddie. either way though I will be reading it asap. best of luck from Mercedes Burt

  16. carmenoliver

    Hey V,

    Enter me in your give-a-way contest, please! If I don't win, no big deal. I'm buying my own copy anyway πŸ™‚ Carmen