Before I get started on this post, I just want to say that if there is anyone out there who can help me figure out how to get my mobile devices to allow me to upload photos to blogger I would hugely appreciate it. This post will probably end up without pictures because after half an hour, it became painfully clear that my ten year old computer just was not going to allow me to write this post. Therefore, I'm back here where, try as I might, every time I try to add a photo I get an error message.
All that being said, the book I get to highlight this week was Flicker by Melanie Hooyenga. The fact that this story is about a girl who takes amazing photos makes it even more frustrating that I will not be able to add pictures, but so be it. I really enjoyed this story a lot, and gave it a 4/5 in both my Goodreads and Amazon reviews. I thought the story had a lot of really unique elements, like how the main character can go back in time, but only a set number of hours in the past, and not without consequences. It kept the tension real, and allowed for more character development than if it were merely a magic trick. Here is some more information about the story.
Title: Flicker (The Flicker Effect Book 1)
Author: Melanie Hooyenga
Summary from Amazon.com:
Biz is a perfectly normal teenager except for one minor detail: she uses sunlight to jump back to
yesterday. She takes advantage of flickering by retaking Trig tests, fixing fights with her boyfriend (or reliving the making up), and repeating pretty much anything that could be done better. Trouble is, flickering makes her head explode from the inside. Or feel like it anyway.
No one knows about her freakish ability and she’s content to keep it that way. Guys don't stick
around because she refuses to let them in, but all that changes when Cameron, her best friend, starts looking oh-so-yummy. Suddenly she's noticing his biceps, his smile, and the cute way his eyes crinkle when he—gah! This is her friend!
But the butterflies come to a screeching halt when little girls start disappearing, then take a nosedive when the police link the kidnappings to Cameron's sister, who vanished years earlier. As the police grasp for clues, Biz photographs a strange man lurking in the shadows and realizes that her flickering can help more than just herself.
(excerpt from http://www.melaniehoo.com)
Sunlight pulses across the dashboard—light, dark, light, dark—and catches the dust dancing on the imitation leather.
My eyes stutter, but I blink it away. My heart jumps around in my chest. I stroke the grainy piece of cement stuck between my back teeth with my tongue.
The orthodontist swore he got it all, but that was as true as his promise that it wouldn’t be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable. Right.
A tingling sensation pricks the tips of my fingers. I press them together, watching the blood shift
beneath my skin. The tingling turns to those sharp needles that remind me of anything but sleep.
I press harder and my toes start tingling too. What the hell?
The dancing on the dashboard gets faster. The trees here are taller, straighter, and the sunlight
strobes through the branches. My breath catches and a sudden heaviness pushes me deep into the seat.
I glance at Mom but she’s concentrating on the road, humming along with golden oldies or whatever the hell it is she listens to, oblivious to the fact that something very weird is happening to her daughter. To me. I close my eyes. The heaviness lifts. Too much. Now I’m floating and—
“But Mom, I’m fine.”
Mom crosses the kitchen and leans against the counter. “Biz, you’re going. The dentist said your
face will change if you don’t get braces. Your entire face could look different…”
A sense of déjà vu slams me over the head. I’ve had this argument. Next Mom is gonna grab the
stack of mail that Dad left on the counter and toss it in the basket. She does.
The words tumble out of me. “Mom…” The déjà vu doesn’t lift. This isn’t a memory. I’m not in the
I’ve gone back to yesterday.
About the Author:
Melanie Hooyenga is the author of the YA trilogy, the Flicker Effect, about a teen who uses sun-
light to travel back to yesterday. The first book, FLICKER, won first place for Middle
Grade/Young Adult in the Writer’s Digest 2015 Self-Published eBook awards. When not at her day
job as Communications Director at a local nonprofit, you can find her wrangling her 7-year old
Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with her husband Jeremy.
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Tangled N' Books: (https://www.goodreads.com/tanglednbooks)
Blog Tour Organized by:
Happy Lil Book Tours
*Hosts were provided with a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for their honest reviews and opinions.
Of course, besides reading the story, my favorite part of these tours is being able to interview the authors. I hope you enjoy these insights into the story and characters that I got from Melanie:
1. There is a lot of debate in the writing world about the best way to formulate a novel. Would you consider yourself more a planner or a pantser (someone who writes as it comes to them)?
I’m an outliner all the way. One of my closest friends can sit down and pound out a novel with nothing to go on but the spark of an idea, but I can’t even start if I don’t know how the story ends. That’s not to say I have all the details worked out, but I like to know the key plot points.
That said, I prefer to call my outline a “guide”. I write a couple sentences describing what happens in each chapter—Biz is at dance, lights bother her, Robbie weirds her out—and use that to keep me on track, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change. Characters are known for doing the unexpected so I simply update my outline to reflect the new direction. I usually have both Word files open while I’m writing and regularly consult the outline to make sure I’m always writing toward the ending.
2. I can't deny, I was very curious about the name Biz. How did you chose this unique name for your main character?
When I first came up with the idea I wanted to name her Luz, which is Spanish for light, but I was concerned that people would pronounce it with a short U instead of the long U (like loose). By then I had it in my head that she should have a name with a Z in it, and my niece just happened to be friends with a girl named Elizabeth, who goes by Biz.
3. On the topic of Biz, she is an avid photographer and photography is critical to the story, so are you also a photographer, or did you have to research photography when developing her character?
I wouldn’t call myself a photographer, but I’ve always been interested in photography and I’ve been a graphic designer for over 20 years, so a lot of the details about composition and lighting are second nature for me. My mother is an amateur photographer, as was her father, so it’s something I’ve always been around. I took one photojournalism class in college (a lot of Turner’s class was based on that) and that’s where I learned the basics. I did research terminology to make sure I didn’t get anything wrong, but most of what’s in the book is from my own experience.
A funny story on that note, last spring my husband and I were hiking in a park not far from our house and I was saying how happy I was that Instagram updated their settings so you could be logged into multiple accounts at a time (I manage one for work, in addition to my personal accounts). He rather casually asked why I didn’t have an account for Biz and I nearly fell over at his genius. I don’t post there as ofter as my other accounts, but you can see through her lens at @BizTakesPhotos. It’s been a fun way to continue her story even though the novels are completed.
4. Can you share with us some details about your characters that don't come up in the books? (For example: favorite food, band, vacation spot, etc.)
I feel like my characters are open books (pun intended) and there isn’t a lot about them that isn’t included. Biz gets her love of orange soda from me (although I rarely drink soda) and her disinterest in sports was a way to challenge myself as a writer because I LOVE sports. She would far rather hang out with friends and just relax.
5. If you could meet one of your characters for a day, who would you chose and what would you do together?
I think Cameron, because he’s so dreamy. Ha, I’m kidding. Sort of. I think Amelia would be a lot of fun to hang out with. She’s hilarious, loyal, and knows exactly what to say to pick you up when you’re having a bad day. As for what we’d do, I’m very much the opposite of Biz in that I love sports and doing things outside, so maybe go for a hike and just talk?
But visiting the zoo with Cameron wouldn’t be all bad….
6. Clearly you have other books lined up in this series, are they already well underway in progress, and when can we expect to read more?
I’m glad you asked! I’ve actually finished the trilogy and both books are available online. Fracture picks up a month after Flicker ends and Biz finds herself the target of bullies, questioning her relationship with Cameron, and worrying about her father (plus lots of other super dramatic things I can’t describe without giving anything away). The third book, Faded, starts a couple months after Fracture, and things are really falling apart for Biz. It starts with her accidentally flickering after she’s been drinking and ends up driving drunk, and she has to face what happened without being able to tell the truth. Again, I don’t want to say too much but loose ends from all three books are tied up into what I’ve been told is a satisfying conclusion.
After this series, I wrote a YA sports romantic comedy called The Slope Rules. I describe it as Grease meets Mean Girls with downhill skiing, and I’m currently seeking representation for that book. At the moment I’m starting rewrites of a novel I wrote seven years ago—another YA—and I have plans for another one after that. Needless to say, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.