Blackbird Fly book review AND a chat with Erin Entrada Kelly (MMGM)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

     Hi everyone! I can't wait to share with you a few things that have happened this week. Well, actually, there are only two things, but they are a VERY, VERY, big deal so calm yourself down and have a seat. 
     
     Thing One: I got to read "Blackbird Fly". It's a big deal because an MMGM blogger suggested it (My Brain on Books Thanks for the rec!) and I actually found it in my library. I decided to give the book a shot and actually enjoyed it. It was a very interesting book. The story-line was very detailed and gave me a pretty decent picture about the main character, Apple. 

     Thing Two: I got to interview ERIN ENTRADA KELLY! Yes--I know what your thinking, how did this crazy eleven-year-old snag some interview time with an awesome author? The answer is...I kinda went on her blog...and I kinda went into her contacts tab...and I kinda emailed her...and she kinda EMAILED ME BACK!!!! Yes! She really did! I know you're super happy too--but we're going to start off with the review first. (I'm so evil--I'm making you wait--muahahahhahaha!)



     Future rock star, or friendless misfit? That's no choice at all. Apple Yengko moved from the Philippines to Louisiana when she was little, and now that she is in middle school, she grapples with being different, with friends and backstabbers, and with following her dreams.
     Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. Her mother still cooks Filipino foods, speaks a mix of English and Cebuano, and chastises Apple for becoming "too American." It becomes unbearable in middle school, when the boys—the stupid, stupid boys—in Apple's class put her name on the Dog Log, the list of the most unpopular girls in school. When Apple's friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show how special she really is. Erin Entrada Kelly deftly brings Apple's conflicted emotions to the page in her debut novel about family, friendship, popularity, and going your own way.


What I Liked About The Book: This book is mainly about how Apple is teased and bullied because she is Filipino. "Blackbird Fly" opens your eyes to a world of racism--a world where not everything is perfect. And not to mention, in the beginning of every chapter, Apple has tells us her "Second Favorite Song For Now", and throughout the book, you're introduced to multiple Beatles' songs. Not being a HUGE Beatles' fan, I was able to look up the songs and listen to them while I read each chapter. It might've been just my imagination, but I think it made each chapter sound better. That part was pretty cool. 


What I Didn't Like About The Book: I believe that everything has flaws. I think everything from my pillowcase to my green and white socks has flaws--not that you had to know that...ANYWAY...Wait what was I saying again? Oh, right, flaws. I believe that everything has flaws. But unlike EVERYTHING else, "Blackbird Fly" seemed perfectly perfect to me. I now it's hard to believe, but I've yet to see something in that book that I didn't like. If you do find something, please feel free to let me know. 

And now...I VERY lucky to get a chance to interview ERIN ENTRADA KELLY and was glad/sad that it wasn't face to face. 

Pros of being face to face: 
  • I would've gotten to meet her!
  • I would've been able to give Erin an awkward hug!
  • I would've begged to get her autograph!
Cons of being face to face:
  • I would've been too, starstruck and then I would faint and then I wouldn't be able to do any of that stuff up there and then I wouldn't be able to ask her my questions and then and then and then and then...Forget that. Let's start the interview!

And action!

THE FANTABULOUS:
Erin Entrada Kelly!







And THE...
No need for the fancy stuff. It's just me. 


Let the interview begin!!!


Cindy: How did you come up with the plot for "Blackbird Fly"?



Erin: I have a lot in common with Apple, so the plot felt very natural to me. I was the only Filipino in my school and I was very embarrassed of my ethnic background. I wanted to be a writer like Judy Blume; Apple wants to be a musician like George Harrison. Apple and I aren’t the same person, but her story is very familiar. I wanted to write a book that shows people it’s okay to be who you are, no matter what other people think. Like they say: “Be who you are, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”



C: What made you want to be an author?



E: I was born with some weird writer gene, if there’s such a thing. I’ve been reading and writing my whole life. (Well, except when I was a baby, but I’m sure I was thinking of stories back then too). At some point I realized that I could create any kind of world I wanted—all I needed was pen and paper. As long as I had pen and paper, I was okay. I still feel that way.



C: Are there any other authors that inspire you as you write? If so, who?



E: Judy Blume was my biggest influence when I was a kid, but now I’m inspired by just about everything. I read all kinds of stuff—short stories, flash fiction, long novels, short novels, non-fiction, history, everything. I read short stories on unknown blogs. I read lots of online literary magazines. All of it inspires me in one way or another. Even books I don’t like. I’m a true bookworm. Or maybe wordworm, because I don’t just read books.



C: What was your best subject in school? Why?



E: I’m just going to be honest: I didn’t like school at all until I got to college, where my favorite subjects were English and history. Before college, my best subject was always English. In fact, I got a near-perfect score in English on the ACT/SAT; I scored in the 99th percentile. I was very proud of that. I won’t tell you what I got in math and science. Let’s just say it wasn’t the 99th percentile.



C: What is your writing environment like? (Where do you write?)



E: I write mostly at home, because that’s where I’m most comfortable. I like windows. I like notebooks, because I write my first drafts in longhand. I love flowers. I need a bright room with background noise. In fact, I recently shared my writing space—complete with pictures—with author Jenn Bertmann in her Creative Spaces blog. Check it out: http://www.jenniferchamblissbertman.com/2015/04/a-peek-at-creative-space-of-erin.html.



C: What do you think is the hardest thing about writing?



E: Translating what’s in your head to what’s on your paper. Good writing looks easy, but it isn’t. Every sentence has to count. Every scene has to matter. Readers are smart. If they get bored or come to a scene that makes no sense, they’ll skip it. And then they’ll put your book down and never pick it back up again. And no one wants that!

Annnnnnddd....CUT! That's a wrap people. I think this might be my best MMGM so far! My fingers hurt a lot now, so if you'll excuse me, I think I might take a break. Have a nice week! 

If you'd like to check out the rest of the MMGM's or go back to Shannon Messenger's website, click HERE

If you'd like to check out Erin's website, click HERE

12 comments:

  1. WOW! Loving this review--and your blog and general! How cool you got to interview her :). Great insights, great questions, great answers, great stuff. Thanks for sharing--I'll be reading this one soon!

    ~Paige

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    1. Yay, thanks! I really appreciate the support! This book is definitely one of the best that I've read and I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did. :-)

      ~Cindy

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  2. Great premise on this new title. I enjoyed your interview and thought you asked great questions and received honest answers. I'll be adding this title to my TBR list. Very fun post and yes it ranks right up there with the best.

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    1. Awesome! You won't be disappointed! :-)

      ~Cindy

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  3. Oooh, this book sound fantastic! Thanks for the review! :)

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    1. No problem! I'm glad you liked my review! :-)

      ~Cindy

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  4. Great interview, Cindy and Erin! Blackbird Fly has been on my To Read list, but you two just pushed it up to the top. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. YES! It's a must read! I'm glad that it has been pushed up! You definitely won't regret it! :-)

      ~Cindy

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  5. What a fun interview, Cindy. Nicely done. And thanks for the shout-out for my blog. I'm so happy that you were able to get the book and that you loved it as much as I did. Isn't it perfect? I totally agree. And yes, I got to meet Erin (IN PERSON!) and you're right: I was too overwhelmed to even think about asking her for an interview. But I did get her to sign my copy of her book. Someday I hope you get to meet her too. She's a gem of a human being.

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    1. No problem for the shout out, although it should be me thanking you. It was your blog that introduced me to the book! So, um, THANK YOU! And I agree with you on that--Erin is a really inspiring. And I DO hope that I will get to meet her someday. Thanks for the awesome feedback! :-)

      ~Cindy

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  6. Very interesting interview. I always learn something from interviewing an author. Seeing her office was interesting too. I wonder how she keeps it so tidy! Thanks for the post.

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    1. No problemo--that's what they always say...right? Interviewing authors help you when you have lame interviewing skills (like me) and also shows you that an author isn't just a name on a book. It's helpful to know that the person behind an awesome book is a person just like you. :-)

      ~Cindy

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