Monday, June 20, 2016

INTERVIEW with author of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love, Sarvenaz Tash, Review and Giveaway!

Dear readers:
I'm so thrilled to have Sarvenaz Tash, author of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love (affectionately nicknamed #GGTUL), on my blog today for an interview. I absolutely loved this book. So first, a little about the book, my 5 star review, and the author, then, we'll get right to the interview!

Book Description:  
John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author of Three Day Summer.
Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...
Archie and Veronica...
Althena and Noth...
...Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be...even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Rating: 5 couches

Review: I was so thrilled when I won this ARC in a giveaway because I have been dying to read this adorable sounding book. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed, and it surpassed every expectation I had. In addition, I am pre-ordering several copies of this book and recommend everyone do so, it's worth it.

The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love (by the way, who does NOT love that title??? Just gives you a hint to what goodies are inside) is an absolutely endearing story of Graham and his undying love for his best friend Roxy. They have grown up together but recently, Graham has realized he has more feelings for her than just friendship. He knows the perfect venue to profess his love to her for the first time-- New York's Comic Con. They are not only best friends but partners in writing and illustrating graphical novels, and they have both been looking forward to this event for ages. But Graham's elaborate schemes go awry the moment they set foot in Comic Con. Will Graham find a way to tell Roxy his feelings? Will they be returned? Will Graham figure out something about himself and relationships in the process?

I love love love loved this book. OMG. I literally squealed and hugged the book to my chest after I finished. There is something just so absolutely wonderful about how Tash embraces the geek culture in such a loving way-- and I feel like even people not familiar with this world will be fascinated by it. The characters are so realistic and I wish Graham had a crush on ME growing up, what a fantastic guy. I have to say my favorite side character was Felicia, who I believe also has a big story to tell, so I'm crossing my fingers and toes that she'll get a companion novel all to herself. The details ring true and the book has loads of verisimilitude, and after reading this, I want to go to Comic Con! The idealistic nature of the characters where anything is possible will melt the most hardened cynic, and this makes me believe that maybe one day, if I can get my act together, maybe I too can fulfill a long term dream of publishing a book with a partner in crime. :-)

Also take note of all the chapter headings. It's a sweet bundle of Easter eggs for your inner geek that goes along with the whole theme of the book.

And the ending... it was the perfect ending to this book, and I'm so glad that Tash decided what she did. I debated whether or not to give away the ARC, but I have to admit, with this book I'm unabashably selfish. I want the ARC, the hardcopy, and to spread the word with the finished product. Of note, I've already pre-ordered three copies. You all MUST pick up this book, and it should go at the top of your TBR pile!

Overall, one of my favorite reads of the year, with pitch perfect characters, dialogue, and atmosphere, and heart warming plot line that will keep you cheering until the end for the incredibly adorable Graham. Tash is definitely an author to watch and I will pick up every book she writes in the future.

Author's Bio:
Sarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up on Long Island, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun). She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. Sarvenaz currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

INTERVIEW with Sarvenaz Tash

1. Have you ever gone to Comic Con in NY? What was your experience like and did you go prior to writing this novel or only after you started thinking about the idea? Can you tell us a little about researching for this book?
I’d been to New York Comic Con I think about four times before I had the idea for this novel, which definitely stemmed from my experiences there, as well as my love of John Hughes films. The two sort of collided one day in my brain and suddenly Graham’s voice was in my ear, too. It was one of those rare, perfect storms of inspiration. NYCC also came around once while I was in the middle of writing the book and I attended fully intent on soaking in as much of the atmosphere as I could. As far as other research, I relied on a lot of my own geeky obsessions, as well as the knowledge of a few friends and beta readers who made sure I got details of fandoms I maybe personally wasn’t as into right. (Which is very important stuff!)

2. I noticed in both Three Day Summer (which people should also read!!!) and GGTUL you have utilized a male first person viewpoint. Can you tell us a bit about why and how you get yourself in that perspective while you're writing?
With Three Day Summer, Michael’s POV came about as a necessity of the way I wanted to tell the story. I knew I wanted the dual perspectives of someone who lived in the small town where Woodstock took place (Cora), and someone who was very into the music and went just for that (Michael). But with GGTUL, Graham basically came to me a very complete, whole character. He just happened to be a guy. I didn’t question it. I just listened to him and went with it! Though I do think having had the experience of writing from Michael’s POV gave me more confidence writing from a male perspective the second time around.

3. If you were sorted into a Hogwarts house, which one would it be and why? How about Graham, Roxy, Felicia, and Casey?
I think all five of us would be Ravenclaw (although maybe Felicia could also go to Gryffindor). We’re all pretty nerdy that way. And I would like to say that the original Pottermore sorted me into Gryffindor which gave me a bit of an identity crisis for years! (Thankfully, the new Pottermore put me in Ravenclaw where me and my scaredy cat self obviously belong--whew!)

4. Did any of your characters surprise you? If so, which one?
Honestly, they all did. Like I said, Graham came almost fully formed, but other characters, like Felicia and Casey for example, started out as small little sketches on the page—foils to move the scenes along—and before I knew it, they were off doing their own things too, having their own stories, and one-liners, and personalities. The two of them, in particular, were very fun to write. 

5. Graham is definitely a fanboy. What do you fangirl about? 
Oh, Harry Potter for sure. I’ve stood in long lines, and squeed, and been uber-excited about many HP-related things over the years. Also Doctor Who. And Jane Austen. And books in general. And random pop culture trivia that is probably taking the space of something much more useful in my head (like where I put that thing I was just holding.)

6. If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be and why, and what would be your first question?
It’s a toss-up between J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. But since we’re playing fantasy meet-up here….I think I’m going to go with Austen. I think I’d love to do an Austen adaptation movie marathon with her and ask her what she thinks of them all!

7. Do you feel that you will stay with contemporary YA or do you think you will branch out to other genres?
Actually, none of the three books I’ve published have been in the same genre! My first was a fantasy/adventure middle grade. Three Day Summer was historical YA, and Geek’s Guide is contemporary YA. I think I’ll probably write more contemporary YA but I wouldn’t be surprised if I also wrote in other genres. I tend to write whatever grabs my interest at that moment, and I have a lot of genres that I really like (mysteries and thrillers, to name one that I haven’t attempted yet, but would like to!).

8. What is your go to candy? Do you snack when you write?
I’m a chocolate girl. Kit Kats, and Twix, and anything with almonds in it. I try not to snack too much when I’m writing though. I get so absentminded when I’m thinking, I could easily see myself eating a whole enormous package of something without even realizing it!

9. What are you working on next? Are we getting a sequel to GGTUL??
Right now I’m working on a short story for Jessica Spotswood’s historical fiction anthology The Radical Element (the follow-up to A Tyranny of Petticoats). Other than that, I have a couple of things in the works, but they’re in very early stages, so nothing I feel like I can talk too much about yet. I have thought about a sequel to GGTUL, and ideas have percolated, but nothing set in stone. We’ll see!

The author and publisher have generously donated 1 signed copy of GGTUL and 1 signed copy to a single lucky US winner! Go forth and enter this amazing giveaway! 
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
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  1. Awesome interview! I cannot wait to read this book! And my go to candy is normally sour patch kids or Swedish fish! :)

  2. You had me at John Hughes lol. Also, I love a male POV and all things geeky. I loved the interview! I'm a Jane Austen fangirl, too, and I'm working on HP (only three books under my belt, but I'm trying). Thanks!

  3. Excited to reading this! I relate so much to Graham and augh! I just love the whole plot by itself.

  4. I just love that awesome cover! Anything with "geek" in the title will peek my interest. Great interview!

  5. I'am excited about this book because it's set during NY Comic Con. It looks awesome and sounds awesome. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. Thank you for sharing this with me :D! I have been super excited for this book for a while and I forgot about it until you brought it up :D! This book sounds like what I need to prepare for the storm that is NYCC :D! I'll have to make it a priority since you have such good taste in books ^_^!!