I think Blackbirds will be ready to send back to my agent around the last week in January. I'm doing my second-to-last read-through and still tweaking some key scenes, but I feel it's almost there. :-)
As far as recreational reading goes, here are three books on the top of my list of must-have 2011 novels:
by Saundra Mitchell
I've read Mitchell's enjoyable first novel, Shadowed Summer, and featured her on my Suburban Vampire blog. Not only does she write about ghosts, which makes her a must-read author in my eyes, but she's now entered the world of historical fiction, which makes her über-cool. The Vespertine involves a teenaged girl who experiences prophetic visions during sunsets in 1889 Baltimore. I love the cover and the premise, and I've already pre-ordered my copy through Powell's.
by Karen Russell
The book is adult fiction, not YA, but one of the narrators is a thirteen-year-old alligator wrestler named Ava who journeys through the swamps of Florida and the Underworld to save her sister from a ghostly lover. The book will be available February 1, and I can't wait to join Ava and her eccentric family on their adventures.
THE NEAR WITCH
by Victoria Schwab
I learned about this particular YA read a few months ago on Susan Adrian's blog. Described as "part fairy tale, part love story," Schwab's novel includes "a boy who seems to fade like smoke," children who disappear from their beds, and "a witch that just might be more than a bedtime story." We'll have to wait until August for this one, but I'm looking forward to its debut.
I'm sure many, many more books will make it on my must-read pile soon. Happy reading to everyone in 2011.