book review, Something To Do

Enter “the secret life of 6th graders”- Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young

**The posts I write might contain affiliate links or be written in collaboration with businesses or brands. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.**

Am I ever excited today! We’re happy to be on the official blog tour for new release Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young. I’m so glad to see Karen is back with another incredible story LIVE from the sixth grade.

100 Percent

Hundred Percent
by Karen Romano Young
ISBN: 978-1-4521-3890-9 | $16.99
296 pages | 5-5/8 x 8-1/8” | Hardcover | Ages 10 and up
Publication Date: August 2016

The last year of elementary school is big for every kid. In this utterly honest, equal parts funny and crushing, novel perfect for boys and girls alike, Christine Gouda faces change at every turn, starting with her own nickname—Tink—which just doesn’t fit anymore. Readers will relate to this strong female protagonist whose voice rings with profound authenticity and absolute novelty, and her year’s cringingly painful trials in normalcy—uncomfortable Halloween costumes, premature sleepover parties, crushed crushes, and changing friendships. Throughout all this, Tink learns, what you call yourself, and how you do it, has a lot to do with who you are.

Hundred Percent is a powerful read and hits the mark when it comes to viewing the last year of elementary school. Eleven to Twelve years-old can be a very difficult transition from child to young adult, finding one’s voice and discovering that it’s perfectly alright to unfold into someone new. The main character Tink/Christine takes us into her world through all the awkwardness that sixth grade holds. Karen Romano Young is such a brilliant writer. I’m so glad she’s back with this gem of a book and so happy she’s visiting us today.

Karen Romano Young

Karen Romano Young has written nearly two dozen books for children, and has illustrated several, including the groundbreaking graphic novel, Doodlebug (a novel in doodles) and its sequel, Stuck in the Middle (of Middle School). She lives in Connecticut.

Today Karen shares with us some of the inner most secrets of sixth grade. Thank you to Karen’s publisher Chronicle Books, we a copy of 100 Percent to giveaway as well.

Karen’s new book HUNDRED PERCENT has been described by some as “the secret life of sixth graders.” Here are some of her thoughts about this wonderful middle reader book.

I’m not sure what the answer is meant to be and it doesn’t really matter, because this line is what I call my “elevator pitch” — summary great enough to sell you on the book, but short enough to communicate to you during a quick ride on the elevator where I happened to bump into you.

I’m going to tell you some secrets about those secrets. A lot of people — including my mom, my younger sisters, and my best friend — have been trying to tease these secrets out of me. A big part of this is that Tink, the heroine of my book, has a lot to say about her mom, her sisters, and her best friend. She has so much to say about her best friend Jackie that when I finished the book and prepared the dedication, there was only one person I could possibly dedicate it too — my best friend when I was in sixth grade, Barbara.  It was either that or I’d have to be afraid she’d hunt me down and dowse me in — I don’t know, chocolate pudding or cheese-covered popcorn or something like that.

Barbara says she doesn’t remember all this.  That’s okay, I say, because it didn’t happen this way for real. It didn’t? she asks. (She really doesn’t remember.) So I’ve had to do double-duty on the explaining, just to make sure that (a) she doesn’t think I’m telling her whole life story; and (b) she doesn’t think that what’s in the book is what really happened to her.

The secret is that most of the big things in the book happened to me, or to someone near me — including the crimes. When I wrote HUNDRED PERCENT, I started each chapter with an event. (I’m not going to put any spoilers in this post.) Here’s a partial list:

— Girl is forced to spend New Year’s Eve sleeping at kid’s house to help a friend babysit.

— Boy buys girl a little lion at the drugstore.

— Kids write stupid junk all over somebody’s yearbook.

— Girls go out on Halloween as a pregnant lady and a soldier, not realizing the potential relationship between the two.

And so on. This stuff really happened — even the crimes:

— Boy uses wrench to dismantle crucial school facility. . .

— Girl meanly teased by boy takes the opportunity to . . .
All these events did not happen to me, as I’ve said.  Some happened to people I knew — friends at school or kids in classes where I student-taught (including one of the most ingenious crimes I’ve ever witnessed, which impressed me so that I was convinced I had no place in charge of a classroom.)

So I’d set up this event as the turning point of the chapter and then write the chapter leading up to it and down from it and all around it, imagining the event at the center of this group of characters.

100 percent

The main characters, who are based on my friends and family, all look and act a lot like they did in real life. My sixth grade teacher is here in person, his name intact along with his record collection, which introduced me to Frank Zappa.  But WHAT they did and WHAT they said and HOW they said and did it — that’s the stuff of invention on my part.  HUNDRED PERCENT is one hundred percent fiction, as a result.  And you know what they say about fiction; truth is stranger. There’s plenty that got dropped because it didn’t seem believable.

As for truth? Well, I put my foot down on the feelings. I do remember. I don’t know why I remember so clearly, but I do. I do remember how it felt to be involved in a group activity and feel like a part of the group — and then realize that nobody knew you were there (again, no spoilers, but they had their eyes closed). Or how it felt to be barked at. Or how it felt to remember, half way to school, that class pictures were today — but to not be able to remember if you’d brushed your hair.   I’ll admit it, I forced my way back into those memories, did my best to forget the growing up and perspective-getting that followed, and instead to sink in and remember. Sometimes, writing these things, I’d shiver and cry. 

But other times, well. Remember how it felt to have your best friend in the fold-out bed beside you? Or how going out the door in costume on Halloween felt? Or doing well at something? Or telling someone (in actions, if not words) that you liked him? Yeah. I got to re-experience that stuff, too.

**Some of these links are affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may get a very small commission.
This money goes towards postage and supplies to keep books and ideas in the hands of young readers!

Giveaway time! One lucky reader will one a copy of 100 Percent!


ONE winner will receive a copy of 100 Percent! Giveaway begins September 7, 2016

  • Prizing & samples  courtesy of Authors of the above books
  • Giveaway open to US addresses only
  • ONE lucky winner will win one copy of 100 Percent by Karen Romano Young.
  • Residents of USA only please.
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter
  • One entry per household.
  • Staff and family members of Audrey Press are not eligible.
  • Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim prize
  • Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on September 15,2016

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks and good luck!

The day has come! The much-anticipated release of Ascension by Hannah Rials is finally HERE!

Enter this world of vampires, set in the south, and realize you are being pulled in more—and deeper—with each page.


Steeped in the mystery, intrigue and rich history of New Orleans and the secretive world of the Deuxsang, teen vampire, Cheyenne, and her forbidden love, Eli, embark on a very different, and vastly more dangerous, journey as the net of betrayal tightens around them. This intense and fresh novel is enchanting, engrossing and impossible to put down right up to the cliffhanger ending. Remember, the end is not the end.

What an extraordinary debut novel with new and intriguing twists on vampires—a strong female protagonist as one. I already can’t wait for book two.-Jill Murphy Long, author of The Conduit

This book is by the far the BEST YA/Adult fiction that I’ve read in a very long while. So exciting!-Rebecca F

The wait is over-Ascension is here! Thrilling and entertaining, like the experience on a crazy roller coaster. Hannah has grown into the most amazing writer. Watching her journey has been as much fun as holding the book in my hands. A “must read” for YA and thriller fans!-Valarie B


Grab your copy of Ascension HERE and visit Hannah on Facebook, Twitter and on her website.