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Smugglivus 2010 Guest Author (& Giveaway): Michael Northrop

Welcome to Smugglivus 2010: Day 5

Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors, bloggers and publishers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2010, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2011.

Who: Michael Northrop, YA writer, author of the excellent Gentlemen, one of the American Library Association’s “Best Books for Young Adults” for 2010. Michael lives in NY and you can find him blogging at his own website and at The Contemps, where he blogs with other Contemporary YA authors. After Ana read and LOVED Gentlemen, we just had to invite him to be a part of Smugglivus.

Recent Work: Gentlemen, recently reviewed by Ana HERE. His next book, Trapped will be published in February 2011 and you can have a sneak preview HERE.

Please, give it up to Michael and his top read of 2010 + most anticipated book of 2011!

A Book That Kicked My Butt in 2010: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Sometimes you finish a book and you’re absolutely floored. As you turn the last page, you already know it’s going to be one of your all-time favorites. Finishing Marcelo in the Real World wasn’t like that. I knew I liked it; I just wasn’t sure how much. It’s a complex book, and I had a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head. The thing is, months later those thoughts are still swirling. Other books inspired more immediate joy or appreciation for me this year, but no book has stayed with me quite as much.

I read Marcelo for book club (it’s a YA book club; I hear there are quite a few of them in NYC). At the meeting, it was clear that everyone liked it. That’s not always a good thing: Books that everyone agrees on usually don’t make for good discussions. The club comes to a quick consensus—thumbs up or down—and then moves on to other pressing topics (gossip, industry news, and drinking, not necessarily in that order).

That definitely wasn’t the case with this one. Even though everyone liked it, there was a tremendous amount to discuss. The thoughts were still swirling for everyone. You could practically feel them whizzing by, filling the room like three dozen Golden Snitches.

The book is about 17-year-old Marcelo Sandoval, who is autistic and must leave his sheltered world to take a summer job in a law firm mailroom. His father is a partner at the firm and is giving his son a first nudge out of the nest. And while that might seem like a simple job and a gentle push toward “the real world,” what Marcelo encounters there is anything but simple—or gentle.

His crash course in mixed motives and office politics felt at once alien, due to his specialized condition, and wincingly familiar. Who hasn’t felt awkward and unprepared for work, friendship, and (most baffling of all) the opposite sex? The fact that Marcelo is forced to deal with these things seems completely unfair or totally reasonable, depending on how and when you look at it. He seems up to the challenge at some times and utterly adrift at others.

Add it all together and that’s a lot of Snitches! Stork uses a (very) specific teen to masterfully address a universal concern: What it means to grow up and find your place in the world. He presents the awkward mess of it all and allows the reader to paw through it. Half a year later, I’m still pawing.

A Book I Expect to Kick My Butt in 2011: Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker (Bloomsbury, July 19, 2011)

Melissa and I have known each other since our magazine days. Back when she was an editor at ElleGirl, I was working across the avenue at Sports Illustrated Kids. My first YA novel was sold to Scholastic a few months before her first, Violet on the Runway, was published by Penguin. We’ve had numerous, not-necessarily-sober strategy sessions since then, so I’ve been able to watch the idea for her next novel take shape. I knew right away it was going to be incredible. Small Town Sinners “is the story of Lacey, a small-town girl who is excited to star in Hell House, her church’s annual haunted house of sin, until a childhood friend reappears”—a devilishly hot friend, I believe—“and makes her question her faith.”

Sounds amazing, right? Melissa and I are both writers in the city, but neither of us are really city writers. She’s from Chapel Hill, NC, and I’m from a tiny town in southern New England. I think it’s important for both of us to represent and explore where we’re from, not so much geographically as culturally. That’s why I am really super, running-out-of-adjectives excited to see how she handles the big topics in this one: personal faith, organized religion, love, loyalty, societal expectations . . .

If you’ve read the three Violet novels, you know that Melissa excels at creating complex, relatable characters. Books with potentially controversial topics often seem to be more about making a point than telling a story, so they don’t usually get the benefit of characters like that, or of writers like Melissa. That’s why I’m looking forward to two days, in particular, this July: the 4th and the 19th.

Next up for Me: Trapped (Scholastic, February 1, 2011)

Who, me? Well, since you asked . . . My next YA novel is called Trapped, and it’s about seven teens stranded in their high school during a weeklong blizzard. There’s no heat and no electricity; the pipes freeze and the roof shudders. Do they all make it? I’m not saying, but I will say this: Seven isn’t always a lucky number . . .

Thank you and Happy Smugglivus, Michael!

Now for the giveaway!

Giveaway details:

Michael is generously offering a giveaway: Winner’s choice of either a paperback of Gentlemen or an ARC of Trapped (signed). The contest is open to EVERYBODY, ANYWHERE and will run till Saturday December 11 at 11:59pm (PST). All you have to do is leave a comment telling us which book you prefer to win. ONE entry per person, please! Duplicate and/or multiple entries will be disqualified. Good luck!

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  • mara
    December 5, 2010 at 4:27 am

    I’d like to win a copy of Gentlemen. :mrgreen:

    This year was (for me) really good when it came to YA books, and I have you Smugglers to thank for pointing me in the direction of some excellent reads. Thanks!

  • Paul Carroll
    December 5, 2010 at 4:28 am

    I’d like to win a copy of Trapped 🙂 It sounds great!

  • Mel S
    December 5, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Both books sound great but because of all the snow I’ve had this week I’ll have to go for Trapped! 🙂

  • Craig Smith
    December 5, 2010 at 4:56 am

    I would like to win a copy of Trapped. I seem to be drawn to stories where people are forced to interact with others they wouldn’t normally interact with.

  • Anne M Leone
    December 5, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Ohhh, Gentlemen has been on my TBR list since you first reviewed it. THANKS!

  • theCuriousBookNomad
    December 5, 2010 at 5:32 am

    I’d prefer to win GENTLEMEN (+hehe+)
    greets. 🙂

  • Megan
    December 5, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Oh man, there are not words for how eagerly I’ve been waiting for trapped. Breakfast Club meets the Shining? Count me in twice! (So, obviously, I would prefer Trapped!)

  • LiseO
    December 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

    I’d like to win Trapped 😀

  • Olga K
    December 5, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I would love to win Trapped…sounds really interesting and the cover is simple but it made me wanna buy the book!!!

  • Lobo
    December 5, 2010 at 6:58 am

    I’d love to read Gentlemen. Marcello in the Real Wolrd is on my TBR and just moved a bit forward.

  • Sarah
    December 5, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Oh, it’s all about Trapped for me. I have already read the Gentlemen (and loved it 😀 ) and I cannot wait for Trapped to come out!

  • Ashley
    December 5, 2010 at 7:30 am

    I would like to enter to win a copy of Gentlemen. Although really, both books sound really neat.

  • Michelle
    December 5, 2010 at 7:32 am

    OH! I have Gentlemen (signed in fact — YAY!) so I’m going to bump that right up on my list of books to read. Trapped sounds fantastic, I’d love to win it!

  • shabbygeek
    December 5, 2010 at 7:38 am

    First off, great interview! I was a big fan of Marcelo in the Real World, and I felt the same way after reading it — liking it and thinking about it long after I had finished the last page. Marcelo was such a unique character; the way he forms his thoughts, his honesty and sincerity (his VOICE) were crystal clear and ringing in my ears days later. One of my favorite novels!

    This was a great interview! And what a hard decision! I love both covers (and have heard wonderful things about Gentlemen), but I’ll have to go with Trapped. I’m hoping for a big snow here where I live, it’d be great to read it then!

  • Rana
    December 5, 2010 at 7:45 am

    They both look so good!
    Hmm what to choose?
    I’ll go with umm Gentlemen because I love the cover…though both covers look eerily amazing

  • Samantha
    December 5, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I would like to win Trapped…it sounds really interesting 🙂

  • Amy
    December 5, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Trapped for me, please!

  • Ali
    December 5, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Argh, what a choice! In this case, I’ll go for Gentlemen.

  • Smash Attack
    December 5, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Trapped sounds really fantastic!! Thanks! 😀

  • JenP
    December 5, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I’d love to win Trapped!

  • Doret
    December 5, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Started Trapped, yesterday. Its soooo good

    I love the cover of Small Town Sinners.
    Marcelo in the Real World is one of my favorites.

    Loving this week of guest post.
    Thanks ladies.

  • jen
    December 5, 2010 at 10:47 am

    i’d like to be entered to win gentlemen, please. crime and punishment is one of my favorite books, so the link between the two books looks awesome.

    i agree that marcelo in the real world was great! i saw fransico stork speaking at the boston book festival, and he was super insightful and humble and listening to him talk made me want to read his books. i listened to marcelo in the real world on tape, and it was really top-notch.


  • Tiffany M.
    December 5, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I’d love to read Gentlemen. You’ve been blessed by the cover gods. Both of the books look eye-catching and gorgeous. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Lisa
    December 5, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I’d love a copy of Trapped! Thanks for the great giveaway!


  • Amanda L
    December 5, 2010 at 11:30 am

    They both sound great! I think I’ll choose Trapped for the giveaway, it just start snowing afterall!

  • miji
    December 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I would love to get my hands on both, but I would like to win gentlemen. thank you!

  • Ginny
    December 5, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I’d love to win Trapped, psychological thrillers are awesome.

  • Lisa
    December 5, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    It can only be “Trapped” for me! Thanks!

  • Hannah
    December 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I would love to win Trapped!

  • Rachel
    December 5, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I’d love to win a copy of “Gentlemen”– it’s been on my to-read list forever!

  • MeganS
    December 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Oh man, I can’t wait for Small Town Sinners, too.

    I’d love to win an ARC of Trapped!

  • alana
    December 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Trapped sounds great, but I’ve had Gentlemen on hold at the library forever now. I think they lost their copy so I’d love to win my own.

  • Michelle
    December 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read Gentlemen for awhile now, so I would love to win a copy of it. 🙂 Trapped looks fantastic too though and I look forward to its release.

  • Amelia P.
    December 5, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Well, as i currently spend most of my year in what feels like the frozen north and it is snowing heavily outside right now… I’d love to be entered to win Trapped!

  • Tran
    December 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    I remember the Book Smuggler’s Review of Gentlemen and would like to read that 🙂 quite gritty

  • Cinnamon
    December 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I would love to win the ARC of Trapped. Thanks for the giveaway:).

  • Sarah
    December 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I read Gentlemen and really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to Trapped and would definitely like to win that one.

  • Chelsea B.
    December 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I would love to win TRAPPED!

  • Kimberly Nicole
    December 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Trapped looks like an interesting and exciting book. So, I’d love to win that!

  • Ashley
    December 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I can’t WAIT for Small Town Sinners… it’s definitely on my wish list.

    My choice is ‘Trapped’ — I also can’t wait to read it!

  • Emily
    December 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Ever since Ana reviewed Gentlemen, I’ve been meaning to read it. Why I haven’t yet is beyond me.

  • Claire
    December 5, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Trapped, please! Will there be cannibals?

  • Stacy
    December 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    I’d like to win Trapped!

  • kearsten
    December 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Trapped sounds awesome! 🙂

  • Marie
    December 5, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Put me in for Gentlemen!

  • Indigo
    December 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I’d love a chance to win Gentleman. Thanks for the opportunity! (Hugs)Indigo

  • Amanda
    December 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I’d love to win a copy of Trapped. 🙂

  • Tiah
    December 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    I would love to win Gentlemen. Great post and giveaway!

  • Doreen R
    December 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    I would love to win the ARC of Trapped (signed)
    dorcontest at gmail dot com:roll:

  • Jasmine A S
    December 5, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    While the sound of both books terrify me, I think I’d like an ARC of Trapped, if I happen to win. Please and thank you!

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    December 5, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I would love to win both books but I would have to say Trapped also. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber.

  • Tina
    December 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    I’d love to win trapped. Thanks for the chance!

  • jennifer
    December 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Uhhh… Trapped, although apparently there’s a better chance of getting Gentlemen as apparently less people (around half as many) want it… o.O

  • Amy
    December 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I’d like a copy of Trapped.

  • Stephanie K.
    December 5, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    I’d like to read Gentlemen.

  • Caitlin George
    December 5, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Trapped sounds like such a thrilling book! Being a high school student tempts me to see what could happen being trapped in your own school 😯 … Thanks so much for the interview and giveaway!

  • CC
    December 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Love the cover for Gentlemen so, yes, I would love to win it!

  • Elizabeth
    December 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Enter me in for Trapped please.

  • Nastassia
    December 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    I would love to win Gentlemen 🙂

  • Ginny
    December 5, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I would love to sink my teeth into a new read…
    Gentlemen sounds really good for me.
    Thanks! 😀

  • sarah
    December 5, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    i’d love a copy of gentlemen – it sounds so fantastic!

  • A'lina
    December 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Oh I would love to win Trapped! It’s already on my wishlist. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  • The Crooked Bookshelf
    December 5, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Oh wow! Michael Northrop.. I loved your review of Gentlemen and I’m participating in the Contemps Challenge so I would prefer to get a copy of Trapped.

  • Carol Thompson
    December 5, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    I haven’t read either of Michael’s books so I reckon it is best to start with his first namely Gentlemen.

    Thanks very much for opening the giveaway to worldwide entries.

    Much appreciated.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  • mikhaila
    December 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    I like the sound of both Trapped and gentlemen but would love to win Trapped 😀

  • Whoo
    December 5, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    I would love to win Trapped. Thanks a ton!

  • jessica
    December 6, 2010 at 12:05 am

    I would happily win either but I think “Trapped” looks esp. great.

  • Sue R
    December 6, 2010 at 12:19 am

    I would like to win a copy of Trapped. Thanks

  • nix
    December 6, 2010 at 12:56 am

    The Gentlemen sounds so interesting! I’d love to win a copy.:)

  • Lucia
    December 6, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Ohh, great interview and wonderful giveaway! I’d like a copy of Trapped, the cover looks amazing 🙂

  • Mieneke
    December 6, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I’d love to win a copy of Gentlemen as Ana’s review really made me want to read it!

  • debp
    December 6, 2010 at 4:13 am

    I would love to read trapped.

  • Maureen
    December 6, 2010 at 4:39 am

    I would pick Gentlemen.

  • Nikki Egerton
    December 6, 2010 at 5:11 am

    I want both! Ok, ok I chose Trapped.
    Fingers crossed! :mrgreen:


  • Becky
    December 6, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Trapped is the one for me!

  • Bethie
    December 6, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Please count me in. I would love to win Trapped.

  • Lindsay Elizabeth
    December 6, 2010 at 7:16 am

    I would like to win a copy of Gentlemen.

  • mar g
    December 6, 2010 at 7:32 am

    as a school librarian i am always looking for new books to promote to my middle schoolers.

    thanks for offering this contest and i could like both (ha) but would prefer trapped.

  • Elias Rangel
    December 6, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I would love to win Trapped!

  • C.G.
    December 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I don’t care which book I win…They both sound great! Thanks for the opportunity…

  • Ellie
    December 6, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I would love to win a copie of Trapped! ^^


  • Maryam H
    December 6, 2010 at 11:23 am

    I would love to win a copy of trapped…it sounds like a great read and is befitting of the weather at the minute!

  • Mia
    December 6, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I’d like to win a copy of Trapped. The premise sounds amazing.

    Smugglivus is really living up to it’s reputation so far! 😀

  • Megan
    December 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    OoOooo I’d love to check out trapped!

  • Sammy Bina
    December 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I would LOVE to win a copy of GENTLEMEN. I’ve been hearing great things about it!

  • Nicole
    December 6, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    These books seem to step outside my comfort zone, but the premise of Trapped has me intrigued. (And there’s a part of me that has wondered what would happen if you did get stuck in school).

  • fairy_morgaine
    December 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I would go for gentleman :3
    Thank you so much.

  • Christine
    December 6, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Such a difficult choice. I think I would want to read Trapped just a teensy bit more, though. So I’d say that one. After Ana’s glowing review, I can’t wait to give Gentlemen a read, either!

  • Melanie L
    December 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I would love to win a copy of Trapped. Thanks for the chance!

  • Piscesmuse
    December 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I would love to win a copy of trapped. It sounds really good.

  • Adrienne
    December 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Trapped sounds awesome…stranded at school with no heat , running water and no way out?? LOTF circa 2011 count me in! 😆

  • Jan
    December 7, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Trapped seems really interesting! I would love to win a copy. 😀

  • Jenni
    December 7, 2010 at 4:55 am

    I’d like to win the copy of Trapped please 😀 It sounds amazing.

  • Hannah
    December 7, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Awesome post! 😀

    I would love to win a copy of Gentlemen which is in my ‘To-Be-Bought’ list but somehow keeps never actually getting bought! Thanks so much for running the contest. 🙂

  • Mollie
    December 7, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Trapped sounds intriguing!

  • Kaethe
    December 7, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Like so many others, I loved your review of Gentlemen and have been meaning to get to it, but haven’t yet, so I’d love a copy.

  • Amy
    December 7, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I’ve read Gentleman after reading your review, and I was really impressed by it. It reminded me of Robert Cormier’s works, which is a great plus for me. I’d like a chance to read Trapped without having to wait for it to be officially published. Thanks.

  • Mrs. DeRaps
    December 8, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I want to read Trapped! I live in the Western Mountains of Maine, so I feel like I’ll be able to relate to the idea of being completely snowed in. I love the description of this book and can’t wait to read it.

    And, Marcello in the Real World is one of my all-time favorite reads. I thought it was genius!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

  • Eva SB
    December 9, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Ohh! difficult choice. I think my choice is Gentlemen. It sounds a bit like The Chocolate War.[@]gmail[.]com

  • Sparkles
    December 9, 2010 at 2:58 am

    I would absolutely love to win an ARC of Trapped 😀

    Thanks for offering such a generous giveaway :mrgreen:

  • Pammie
    December 10, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Both books sound good but I’m gonna go for trapped! Thanks!

  • Jill
    December 10, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Trapped all the way! As someone who lives where we get tons of snow this is always a question of my students – what if we get snowed in at school???


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