Thursday, September 28, 2017

Blog Tour: The Way to Bea

Hey all, I'm bringing you a fantastic blog tour stop for The Way To Bea! Let me know what you think!

Author: Kat Yeh
Pub. Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD, Goodreads

 With a charming voice, winning characters, and a perfectly-woven plot, Kat Yeh delivers a powerful story of friendship and finding a path towards embracing yourself.

Everything in Bea's world has changed. She's starting seventh grade newly friendless and facing big changes at home, where she is about to go from only child to big sister. Feeling alone and adrift, and like her words don't deserve to be seen, Bea takes solace in writing haiku in invisible ink and hiding them in a secret spot.

But then something incredible happens--someone writes back. And Bea begins to connect with new friends, including a classmate obsessed with a nearby labyrinth and determined to get inside. As she decides where her next path will lead, she just might discover that her words--and herself--have found a new way to belong.

 About Kat:
Kat grew up reading, doodling, and scribbling in Westtown. She worked for many years in advertising and sports marketing, while writing children’s books in the wee hours of the night. She currently lives on Long Island where she can see water every day and explore all the bay and harbor beaches with her family.

Website | Twitter |Instagram| Pinterest | Goodreads 

And now we have an amazing interview with Kat!

Why did you have your main character write haikus and not other forms of poetry?

 Oh, Bea... One of my favorite things about her is that even when she isn't able speak out, she still expresses herself and shows the world how she feels on the inside. And poetry is definitely one of those ways. Bea's poetry gives the reader a window to her heart. And the perfect way for them to experience her shifting emotions. 

 Before 7th grade started, Bea was a joyful and exuberant writer & artist, who would often break into sudden silly dances on the sidewalk. Her whimsical free verse poetry was painted in bright colors and curling letters all over her bedroom walls. 

 Until the heartbreak of losing her best friend.
Her best friend who tells Bea that she is just "too much."

 With this, Bea doesn't know how to be anymore. She is being judged for the way she expresses herself. So, what is a poet supposed to do? 

 Bea turns to haiku. A form of poetry with strict rules and structure: Exactly three lines with five syllables, then seven, then five. Because maybe if she is following rules, she can belong again.


 But her worry is  (5)
with seventeen syllables (7)
will she still be too...much        (6)

 So then I guess the question is, who makes the rules anyway...and who gets to decide what and who is too much?

Do you like to write poetry?

 I grew up, believing I would be a poet. I imagined that this job would include sitting by a window each day and dreaming of what to write about. I imagined I would have a wonderful pen – maybe an old-fashioned fountain pen that would make exactly the right thick and thin lines to write my poems with.  I made a vow when I was in third grade that I would write a poem every day for the rest of my life. I made it pretty far. 
The answer is Yes. I love writing poetry. I even snuck some into my first novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE.

What would you want your middle grade readers to take away from this book? What would you hope adult readers to glean from it?

 Hmm. This is an interesting question.
Because if it were middle grade ME reading it, I would hope that this book helped me realize that friendships are complicated. But that does not mean that it's okay for someone to hurt you. And if life is a maze, no matter what unexpected twists and turns you face, YOU are the only one who gets to decide what path to take. And if you hit what seems like a dead end – then YOU get to decide whether you want to turn around, climb over, or forge ahead and create a new path for yourself.

 For my readers, whether they are young or grown, all I can say is that I hope they take from my book whatever it is they need to take from it. 

 There's this saying about how once a book is published, it no longer belongs to the author. And I do really believe this is true. Books belong to the reader. Whoever they are and whatever their backstory. How could it not? They will be reading this story and looking at it through their specific worldview. They will read it and feel as only they can.

 I've had people write to me after they read THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE and thank me for helping them with things that I never dreamed I'd be helping anyone with. They took the book and got what they needed from it. They made it their own. It's a pretty cool thing, isn't it? You put your heart into something and you work and work so hard on it, hoping someone will connect to it. But if and how they do is not up to you. It's up to the reader. After all, it's their book.

Did you have similar experiences within your own friendships as Bea did?

 My main friend group started changing when I was in 9th grade, but it was nowhere near as dramatic as what Bea went through. In my school, the size of my class doubled after 8th grade and even though I still loved my closest friends, we sort of drifted into different groups over time as we grew and changed. I'll add that I'm still super close to these friends and love them dearly even though we had many years (and now decades!) where we didn't hang out. 

 But this experience was definitely what inspired me to write THE WAY TO BEA. I kept thinking: what if this had happened to me in 7th grade instead of 9th...and what if it wasn't a gradual shifting of friendship, but a sudden, hurtful dropping of one. I know losing a friend group is something that is all too common at all ages and it was something I wanted to write about.

If you had to choose your favorite quote from the book, what would it be?

 if I act 
the way 
I wish I were
am I still acting
—or becoming?

 It's a line that Bea writes as she's thinking about how to navigate the confusing world that is middle school. And it's something I think about a lot. Does "acting" ever become "being"? I think the answer is different for everyone. For some people, the idea of "acting" feels like putting on a false front. Like acting a part or pretending. But, I like to think of "acting" as deciding to do something. To act upon it. To accomplish something. Sometimes you just need to keep trying and trying something until you look up one day and see that you've actually done it.

 Giveaway Details:

 3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE WAY TO BEA, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
9/18/2017- Jennifer Mary G.- Interview
9/19/2017- YAYOMG!- Review
9/20/2017- BookHounds YA- Guest Post
9/21/2017- Word Spelunking- Review
9/22/2017- Little Red Reads- Interview

 Week Two:
9/25/2017- Mrs. Knott's Book Nook- Review
9/26/2017- YA Book Madness- Review
9/27/2017- La La the Library- Review
9/29/2017- Cindy's Love of Books- Review
Let me know what y'all think of the book!
Happy Reading,

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