31 March

#Blink Blog Author Spotlight: Heather Hepler (Part 1)

To celebrate the release of We Were Beautiful, we have a special Q&A with Heather Hepler! Stay tuned for Part II next week…

Get your copy of We Were Beautiful HERE.

What was your inspiration behind We Were Beautiful?

This book was born out of an anti-fairy tale that I imagined – about a girl with a scarred face receiving a chance at beauty only to find that she would rather go through her life physically flawed than emotionally empty. It morphed from there into Mia’s story – which has a similar theme. Mia has a chance at learning about empathy, forgiveness, and unconditional love if she can see past the physical and emotional scars that she has.

Why is NYC a good location for this book?

NYC is city of diversity and possibility. It’s a city where you can lose yourself and you can find yourself – sometimes on the same day! I wanted Mia to move from the tiny town where she was starting to feel claustrophobic and isolated to a city where she has room to move and to grow. Plus, it’s just plain fun to be in NYC. It’s one of my favorite places to visit.

What kind of impact did writing We Were Beautiful have on you personally?

We Were Beautiful came to me during a time of my life where I needed my own redemption story. Mia’s story gave me the courage to make my own amends and move forward from a painful time in my life. That is one of the best things about writing—you get to fight your own demons and hopefully defeat them.

What do you hope readers take away from We Were Beautiful?

I hope that readers allow Mia’s story to help them overcome their own pain. I also hope it gives them the courage to try new things, be vulnerable, and learn that just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

25 March

Spring Essentials: Good Books, Flip-Flops, and Sunglasses

As snow melts and warm breezes fill the air, don’t forget to grab a good book (or two!) as you head out with-flip flops and sunglasses. Spring Break reads? We’ve got the perfect line up! Since January, we’ve released two incredible YA historical fiction novels: Between Before and After and Within These Lines. Each novel is a page-turner filled with intrigue and angst. If historical isn’t your thing, you’ll adore the laugh-out-loud contemporary romance Pretty in Punxsutawneya Pretty in Pink meets Groundhog Day mash-up that reads like a movie.

While you’re on Spring Break (or maybe heading home), keep an eye out for our spring releases We Were Beautiful and No Place Like Here. These contemporary reads are a little more serious, exploring relatable characters and reminding each of us how to find our way back home. Both titles are perfect for the pool, the beach, a lounge chair, or even cozy bedtime reading.

From acclaimed author Heather Hepler comes We Were Beautiful. Mia is a teenager whose severely scarred face is a reminder of the car crash that killed her older sister. When Mia moves to New York City for the summer, she meets a group of friends who understand her grief and guilt and who want her to find a new beginning. This captivating story will help readers heal from scars in their own lives, and Mia’s beautiful, uplifting journey of discovery and learning to push through difficult moments will leave you inspired. We Were Beautiful releases on April 2, 2019.

No Place Like Here from Christina June is a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel. This book is a stand-alone novel, but those who have read previous Blink titles from Christina will recognize the protagonist, Ashlyn Zanotti. When school is out and summer plans look bleak, she must come to terms with her strained relationship with her dad and her own personal demons to find her way back home. No Place Like Here is a gripping story that reminds readers to believe in the power of second chances, even when life leads to unexpected places. No Place Like Here releases on May 21, 2019.

We hope these books find a place on your bookshelf or in your classroom—Educator’s Guides are available for every book mentioned! You can find a book’s Educator’s Guide on the Blink website as soon as it goes on sale (blinkyabooks.com).

Whether reading is just for fun or is a supplement to classroom reading, Blink strives to meet readers where they’re at with clean YA books that are thought-provoking and entertaining. We hope you’ll get to know our list and our authors. Happy spring, and happy reading!


Annette Bourland
Publisher, Blink

20 March

Blink Authors in Action

Several Blink authors made the Tome Literacy Society’s It List this year and attended Tome Con along with approximately 1,800 teachers, students, and media specialists. Tome Con, held at the University of North Georgia in Gainesville, Georgia, includes student competitions, an annual It List of children’s and young adult literature, book club activities, curriculum materials for educators, and an annual conference for both students and educators.

Blink books on the It List this year included: Solo by Kwame Alexander, In 27 Days by Alison Gervais, The Thing with Feathers by McCall HoyleIt Started with Goodbye by Christina June, Losing Brave by Bailee Madison and Stefne Miller, Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean, and The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill.

The conference was an absolute blast. Blink authors led panels on everything from “How To Be an Author” to “Writing Your Story, Beat by Beat”, connected with readers, signed books, hosted giveaways, and made plans to reunite in the future.

While not at the conference in person, Stephanie Morrill participated in a Skype session with students and teachers. She talked for a few minutes and then participated in a Q&A. The entire session lasted for 45 minutes.

Readers and educators in the Southeast should check out the Tome Literacy Society’s website for details about next year’s conference. Some popular Blink titles and authors will be participating in the 2019-2010 festivities.

11 March

#BlinkBlog Author Spotlight: Stephanie Morrill (Part II)

As we continue to celebrate the release of Within These Lines, we are featuring part two of our “Author Spotlight” with Stephanie Morrill!

Get your copy of Within These Lines HERE!

What makes this book special? 

What I hear most from readers is, “I knew hardly anything about the incarceration of Japanese Americans before I read Within These Lines.” While there are other novels about this topic, I would love to see even more!

What kind of impact did writing Within These Lines have on you personally? 

Aside from the educational aspect of writing the book—because I hardly knew anything about Japanese American history before undertaking this novel—I became acutely aware of times in my life that I choose to turn away from hard topics and issues. I do it because caring about someone or something can be painful and costly, so my self-preservation instincts kick in when I’m confronted with hard things. But, as Evalina learns during the story, it isn’t just enough to privately care about something, even though that takes its own kind of courage. Change only comes about when we are bold enough to act on behalf of what we care about.

How are you reflected in Within These Lines (or, how much of you is reflected in the book)?

I think my outrage over the racism and injustice toward the Japanese Americans comes through pretty clearly in the book. I would love to be more like Evalina in my real life, but truthfully I’m much more like Taichi. My tendency has always been to just keep my head down and do what I’m told. His growth over the book and the discovery that there are times when fighting back is the right choice felt really personal to me.

04 March

#BlinkBlog Author Spotlight: Stephanie Morrill (Part I)

To celebrate the release of Within These Lines, we have a special “Author Spotlight” with Stephanie Morrill on this week’s #BlinkBlog! Stay tuned for Part II next week…

Get your copy of Within These Lines HERE!

What was your inspiration behind WTL? 

I’m obsessed with podcasts, especially Stuff You Missed in History Class. They did a two-part episode on Executive Order 9066, which is the order Franklin D. Roosevelt signed that gave the US government permission to evacuate Japanese Americans and put them in concentration camps.

I found these episodes fascinating, and because I’ve always written for teenagers the idea popped into my head, “What would’ve happened if there was a Caucasian teenage girl who was in love with a Japanese American teenage boy, and his family was taken away?” As I researched a little bit, I realized the story could be even more interesting if my Caucasian teenage girl was actually an Italian American teenage girl, since Italy was aligned with Germany and Japan, yet Japanese Americans were the only people group targeted as a whole with the incarceration.

Why is this period of history a good launch pad for this book?

Aside from the obvious answer, that the story is about the incarceration of Japanese Americans and this is the only time in history that the U.S. Government has done this, I was shocked to learn that interracial marriage was illegal in California during WWII. I have several close friends in interracial marriages and to think that their relationship would’ve been unlawful not so long ago sickened me.

What do you hope readers take away from WTL?

My greatest hope for every story I write is just that readers will enjoy it. That’s always in the front of my mind when I’m writing. But if in addition to enjoying Within These Lines, if the book causes readers to awaken to social injustices around them, that would be fantastic too.