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Friday, March 14, 2014

(MMGM) Rebecca Behrens, author of When Audrey Met Alice {Review, Interview, Giveaway}

I'm so thrilled to have the awesome Rebecca Behrens stopping by the March MG Madness today! Check out my Review of her super fun book, our Interview, and enter to win a copy...

When Audrey Met Alice
by Rebecca Behrens
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

First daughter Audrey Rhodes re-creates Alice Roosevelt's infamous antics in this fun, smart middle-grade debut

First daughter Audrey Rhodes can't wait for the party she has planned for Friday night. The decorations are all set and the pizza is on its way. But the Secret Service must be out to ruin her life, because they cancel at the last minute-citing security breach and squashing Audrey's chances for making any new friends. What good is being "safe and secure" if you can't have any fun?

Audrey is ready to give up and become a White House hermit, until she discovers Alice Roosevelt's hidden diary. The former first daughter gives Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun...and more problems than she can handle.

Rebecca Behrens’ When Audrey Met Alice is a super cute, super smart, super delightful middle-grade read...yep, it’s super super super! I had SO much fun reading this book and was so sad to see it end.

First Daughter, Audrey Rhodes, did not ask for her mom to be President or to be stuck living in the White House with no privacy, and no fun. With Secret Service tailing her every move and paparazzi ready to reveal her every secret and antic, Audrey isn’t exactly popular at her school, but when she finds the hundred year old hidden diary of former First Daughter, Alice Roosevelt, Audrey finds a kindred spirit. Inspired by Alice’s own clever antics and ways of dealing with being the first First Daughter celebrity, Audrey decides to have her own fun. But her fun comes with trouble and more problems than she might be able to handle.

Rebecca Behrens has expertly crafted a sweet, funny story full of relatable tween woes, hilarious shenanigans, fascinating glimpses into the past, and a whole lot of heart. There’s so much to love about this entertaining story, from the wildly amusing premise to the two spunky, endearingly charming First Daughters.

Told through both the eyes of Audrey, in the present, and Alice, in the past, we get a look at two vastly different time periods, yet two girls who are very similar. Not many kids get to experience being a First Kid, but Audrey’s world feels surprisingly relatable. Her tween drama, longings, frustrations, flirtations with romance, and secrets are all things most young people begrudgingly go through, and Behrens explores these things with so much addicting humor, honesty, and genuineness. Even Alice’s experiences as the First Daughter in the early 1900’s feel timelessly relatable. Behrens vividly and smartly depicts a very modern White House and a turn of the 20th century White House, creating almost two different, yet fascinating settings.

I adored feisty, plucky Audrey! She’s such a genuine, real character and felt like a long lost friend. Audrey has that pitch-perfect middle-grade voice, that’s as endearing as it is amusing and easy to relate to. And Alice? I LOVED Behrens’ version of this famous First Daughter! While Alice’s diary and characterization were fictionalized, Behrens captures the fun, wild-child, vibrant essence that Alice Roosevelt was known for. Alice’s diary entries and antics cracked me up! And I learned some awesome things about this colorful First Daughter too.

My Final Thoughts: There’s so much to love about When Audrey Met Alice: its fun premise, unforgettable heroines, and stellar storytelling. Readers, especially young readers, will love the shenanigans of both Audrey and Alice and appreciate how relatable Audrey’s story is. A definite must read!


What three words best describe When Audrey Met Alice?
History, hijinks, and hilarity

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give When Audrey Met Alice a try?
When thirteen-year-old First Daughter Audrey finds Alice Roosevelt’s long-lost diary, reading about Alice’s outrageous antics gives Audrey tons of ideas of having fun—and gets her into more trouble than she can handle.

Grab a copy of When Audrey Met Alice and answer the following:
favorite chapter? I love Chapter 5, right after Audrey has first “met” Alice and she takes a few first steps toward “eating up the world.”

favorite page? Page 183. Two words: unchaperoned joyride!

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser? Page 74: Audrey’s not looking forward to a State dinner, until she decides to stray from her approved wardrobe choices . . .

What inspired When Audrey Met Alice? How did the story come to be?
When President Obama was elected in 2008, I thought a lot about how the lives of his daughters would change as they headed to Washington. I wondered if being a First Daughter, as exciting as that is, might also be lonely. The idea of a First Daughter struggling with growing up in the White House fishbowl stuck with me. At the same time, I’ve always been very interested Alice Roosevelt’s wild life at the turn of the twentieth century. I wanted to write about a First Daughter, but I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to write about Alice-like one or a contemporary girl. Finally, it hit me: I could combine Alice’s story with that of a contemporary First Daughter, via a long-lost diary.

There are some memorable characters in When Audrey Met Alice, do you have a favorite? What do you love about him/her? Did any of your characters end up surprising even you with the way they turned out?
I really love some of the supporting characters, like the uptight Denise Colbert and the comforting Chef Debra. Those two wound up being foils for each other—one works hard to control Audrey’s antics, and the other encourages her to find herself (although while still following the rules).  I didn’t set out to make Denise an almost-antagonist, so it surprised me, while writing, that she wound up standing in Audrey’s way quite a bit.

If you lived in the White House, what kind of antics and shenanigans would you get up to?
I probably wouldn’t roller skate in the East Room like Amy Carter used to, only because I am not the most coordinated person and I’d be afraid of breaking something. I would definitely host a lot of movie screenings, swim laps in the pool, and sweeten my tea with honey from the White House Beehive. I’d also sneak cookies from the locked “cookie jar,” a rolling tray filled with goodies from the pasty chefs. Assuming I could convince someone to tell me where the key is hidden.

As a middle-grade author, why do you think middle-grade is so important? What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade?
The farther I get from being a tween myself, the more I realize that the way I observed the world as a middle-grader—with wonder, optimism, and curiosity—is the way I’d like to look at it now. The middle-grade years are the age of discovery, and that leads to so much story richness. I truly love writing middle-grade fiction because it is so much fun, to write and to read. Middle-grade readers are eager to go on a journey with you—and that leads to so much freedom and creativity in the writing process.

What is your all time favorite middle-grade book, middle-grade hero, and middle-grade heroine?
This is such a tough question! For book, it’s probably WALK TWO MOONS; for hero, it’s Peter Hatcher from Judy Blume’s Fudge books; and for heroine, it’s Turtle Wexler from THE WESTING GAME. She will always be my favorite.

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at Baking pies! In general, I am not the world’s greatest cook, but I do make a mean from-scratch piecrust.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that I still have (and use) a ten-year-old click-wheel iPod. People look at it like I’m rocking a Walkman.

The last great book I read was  Esperanza Rising is a wonderful historical MG.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by When Audrey Met Alice, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
I would make an Emily Spinach cake, and it would be a chocolate cupcake with mint-green icing—and a sugar or marzipan green garter snake would top it off. Yum!

Thanks so much for stopping by Rebecca! That cupcake sounds super yummy :)

Growing up in Wisconsin, Rebecca Behrens dreamed of becoming the following: a zoologist, an Olympic swimmer, or an author. One out of three isn’t bad! Today she lives in New York City, where she works as a production editor for children’s books. Some of her favorite things are: the beach, bright shoes, running, doughnuts, and laughing.

Win a signed hardcover copy of 
When Audrey Met Alice!
Rebecca has generously offered up one signed copy.
-US/CAN only
-ends 3/31
-must be 13+
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
Fill out the Rafflecopter form:


Melanie Conklin said...

I've heard nothing but great things about this book from friends! I absolutely can't wait to read it. :)

Anonymous said...

I love this series--and the sound of that cupcake!

Unknown said...

I love the cover. I'm really looking forward to reading this.

Katey Howes said...

My daughters are going to love this! We've been reading a lot of nonfiction about famous American women - this will be a fun fictional twist on our theme! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Carl Scott said...

This sounds like a great way for kids to enjoy learning a little more about their country's history and some good life lessons as well. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

Unknown said...

This book sounds like such a fun book to read! This is the type of book that I'll save for when I'm in a reading slump to pull me out of it. Thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

Totally agree on the 5/5. Go Rebecca! Thanks for a chance to win a signed copy.

Michael G-G said...

You had me at shenanigans. Then, when you added "unchaperoned joyride," I was "oh yes, let me read this now!" What a concept!

Unknown said...

(This is Darith L)

It sounds great. :D

Jillyn said...

This is such a cute way to blend history into a fun read. I love it.

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...

Oh this sounds amazing! Such a cool idea!

Anonymous said...

Heehee this sounds like such a cute book! I am always in the mood for humorous historical books! =)

Stitchin in the Sip said...

This book sounds like so much fun. Antics galore! MG fiction at it's best.

Orchid said...

Love the idea of one First Daughter finding the diary of another, and getting into trouble. This definitely sounds like quite the fun read.

anne s. said...

i keep hearing about this book on every blog. must read it already!