Thursday, May 5, 2011

Urban Falcon

Urban FalconAuthor: Jennifer Caloyeras
Publisher: Diversion Press
Source: Publisher for Review & Blog Tour
Purchase link: Urban Falcon
Reviewer: Megan Bennett for A Cozy Reader's Corner Reviews

About the Book:
Evan Falcon was all set to finish high school in Elbow Creek when his dad's job forced the family to move to Lincoln Heights, a booming metropolis.  Now, his best friend won't even talk to him and he suspects that his mom is having an affair.  Caught between who he used to be and the possibility of who he could become, Evan is thrown in to a world of dating, out of control parties and family drama.

Evan Falcon is uprooted in the middle of his Junior year of high school. He must move from the small town he grew up in to a sprawling urban area away from everything and everyone he knows. Even worse than having to start at a new school in the middle of the year, his best friend won't speak to him and he suspects his mother is having an affair. Evan must cope with these struggles and finds himself forming new relationships, taking new risks, and learning that growing up isn't easy.

The author does a terrific job of telling this story from the point of view of a high school student. For anyone who ever struggled in high school they may be able to relate to this book. From the preppy, rude, and popular crowd to your first love, Evan has to deal with it all on top of problems at home. Overall I felt the book was a little depressing as Evan struggles throughout the whole book. It is tough being 16 and this book brings back many memories. However, I really formed an attachment for the main character Evan. I felt for him throughout the whole book and wished I could boost his self esteem and let him know that life would get better. He was an excellent character for the story and kept his head up even when things were very gloomy. I did find myself wanting more from the story and it was quite predictable. Also, I felt as though some parts of the story were unresolved at the end.

Interview between Tiffany & Jennifer:

Please tell me 5 things about you.
1. I was born and raised in Los Angeles (where I live now) and my husband grew up two blocks away from me.
2. My father is a comedy writer.
3. When I was in my 20’s I recorded two CD’s as a singer/songwriter.
4. I am an insomniac.
5. I love to dance.

What are 3 unique aspects about Urban Falcon?
1. It’s a contemporary, coming-of-age, young adult novel with a male protagonist.
2. I completed a draft of the novel as part of an independent study while receiving my MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia.
3. The protagonist’s name, Evan Falcon, came to me in a very surreal dream. (I get a lot of my ideas if and when I am sleeping)

If someone asked you for one reason why they should read Urban Falcon, what would you say?
I’d say if they’re searching for a nostalgic look at their own high school experience, they should read it. It seems to conjure up a lot of those emotions experiences for a lot of readers (but without all the acne and insecurity!)

Name 3 things you wished you knew about publishing before being published?
1. I wish I had known how important it was to “let go” when you deliver a completed manuscript.
2. I wish I had known how hard it is to sell books!
3. I wish I had had more experience with websites, blogging, social media…I have a blog now: but a year and a half ago I had less techno tools in my toolbox.

Name 3 things on your "to do" list.
Really? Like my daily to-do list? Hm…I feel like my day-to-day life it so boring!

1. Return library books
2. Buy diapers
3. Go to the farmer’s market.

Name 3 things on your bucket list.
1. Travel to Costa Rica.
2. Open an Etsy shop.
3. Write a cookbook.

What are your top 5 favorite books?
1. Birds of America: Lorrie Moore
2. We So Seldom Look on Love: Barbara Gowdy
3. Crime and Punishment: Dostoyevsky
4. Poems: John Ashbery
5. Pastoralia: George Saunders

If you could invite and 5 authors on a cruise who would you invite?
I mean, I’d have to invite the ones that are fun, right?

First off, Zsuzsi Gartner, short fiction writer extraordinaire, bon vivant and kick-ass thesis advisor, then the list would be as follows (George Sauders – because what is being stuck on an island without a little satire, Adrienne Rich (presumably an incredible conversationalist), Melissa Clark (my sister and fiction writer – she’s a good time on a cruise ship!)) and I’d also invite Rick Moody, because he’s easy on the eyes (and then there’s that whole brooding writer thing.)

Name 3 things that help you gain inspiration for writing.
1. Observing others (I can get lost in trying to guess other people’s worlds….it drives my husband crazy).
2. Reading
3. Being out in the world. As a writer, you spend so much time alone in front of a computer. It can be quite isolating and I can negate the whole purpose of what I’m trying to do….connect with others through my writing. So getting out and about it a great antidote.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?
I remember being in the parking lot about to give my first reading / signing, all dressed up, looking down at the ketchup stains my 4-year-ld smeared on my dress during dinner and then nursing my 6 month old in the car, thinking, “is this what all writers go through before their first reading? Isn’t’ it enough that I’m terribly nervous?!?”

What's the most embarrassing author moment you've had?
I get thrown easily….I remember being at a book signing and forgetting someone’s name. I should have known their name. I tried to slyly say something like, “and how do you spell that?” their name was like, akin to “Pat” – you can’t misspell it. Insert foot in mouth.

If you were stranded on an island and could magically name 2 people, 3 things and 1 book you could have to have with you who/what would they be?
How can I not say my kids? But let’s say I didn’t…..

Jane Goodall, Cornell West, avocados (let me warn you all of my “things” are going to be food-related), mangos a bottle of Grenache and….drum roll please……The Confederacy of Dunces. Now that’s a good time!

Do you have another title in the works?
I do indeed! But because these things can be quite sensitive…I can’t disclose it! It’s another YA novel. It involves dogs and takes place in Santa Cruz. I also have a completed collection of short fiction (geared towards an adult audience.)

What is your favorite season?
Ohh, that one’s easy. Fall. Los Angeles doesn’t have real distinct seasons. But I love when it’s time to whip the scarves out and carve some pumpkins.

Your dream vacation would be?
Right now I have Costa Rica on the brain. I have a friend who lives there and I keep seeing photos of he and his three kids running along beautiful beaches. I love nothing more than watching my children run in open space.

But I wouldn’t turn down a food and wine tour of Italy!!!

Best childhood memory?
Summer camp. I went to an amazing farm camp in northern California. I made incredible, lifelong friends there.

Do you have a favorite past time?
I love to cook and play the piano.

If you were given the chance to do any one thing over again, what would you do over?
I feel like everything I’ve done in my life has led me to this moment in time…things are going well! I have a wonderful family and I get to write…things are good, so I don’t think I’d risk changing the course of things for a fouled up moment!

If you were given the chance to re-live any one moment, what would it be?
I loved the experience of living abroad when I was in my early twenties. To spend ten months in a new country (France) was such an eye opening experience. I got to travel to places I only dreamed of visiting: Spain, Scotland, Brussels, Italy….and Morocco. That was a fun year full of adventure.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Spending time with my friends and family in the water!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
All it takes is one agent, one publisher to like your work. Don’t get hung up on rejection. It’s a waste of energy. Keep a forward trajectory.


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