I Walked with My Sister… and Raised $1,158!

Thank you to all the generous people who donated to support my walk for my sister in Walk MS: Philadelphia this weekend! I was surprised and so touched by all the people who reached out and donated, and I hope you know much much it meant to me.

My fund-raising goal started out small… but when I quickly reached it within an hour, I raised it. Then raised it again. I’m astounded at how much I raised.

My sister Laurel Rose and me. I love her so much.

I can hardly believe my eyes, but I raised a total of $1,158, all to help my sister’s local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which assists local people living with MS and funds research for a cure. Because I’d raised so much, I was a VIP walker!

And in total my sister’s team—Rose’s Team—raised $4,175! Wow!

Rose’s Team! My sister and the family and friends who love her.

I’m happy to have raised so much, but what meant the most to me was to be on my sister’s side during this walk. She means everything to me, and all I want is for there to someday be a cure for her. On the day of the walk, she was surrounded by family and friends—including our adorable blond mom and her wonderful boyfriend (who I approve of) Dan—and she has so many people who love her!

My sister and her boyfriend during a Fig Newton break on the Walk.

And I know there were even more who couldn’t be there at the walk but who were there in spirit. Thank you to every single person who donated to support me and especially my little sister.

Here are some of us at the finish line. (My sister’s boyfriend makes the best faces in photos! Hilarious. And my mom and sister and are so cute together here.)

Nova, Are You Home Yet?

Tomorrow! I am home tomorrow!

And here are four things I want to tell you now that I’m back to real life:

My new novel 17 & Gone is moving along and I can’t wait to update you and tell you all about it! All I can say for the moment is that the season is Spring 2013 (which could be anywhere from January to April, 2013). I don’t have a cover yet, but the cover nightmare I had—incongruously involving an unrelated cameo from a young Leonardo DiCaprio—has not come true, so we’re good.

The 12-week *online* YA Novel Writing Class I’m teaching with Mediabistro starts NEXT WEEK, on Thursday, April 19, and as far as I know there is still room in the class and you can still apply! I can’t tell you how much I look forward to working with all the writers in the class. We’re going to have a blast… and get a ton of writing done. (I wish I could also tell you I’m teaching the same class in person this summer, but alas my summer schedule is still up in the air as I wait for some applications I have out, so I couldn’t commit. But if I get the chance to teach a future class with Mediabistro, in person or online, I will keep you posted.)

You can still donate to support me in my walk for my sister in Walk MS: Philadelphia next month. Here’s why I’m walking and links to donate if you want to help me reach my fund-raising goal.

And what’s happening next with this blog, huh? It’s time for the resurgence of a blog series you may remember from some months ago:

On Monday, April 16, It’s time for a new round of the YA Debut Interview series, in which I pick ten debut YA novels that I’m excited to read from the upcoming season and do a Q&A with each of the authors. But here’s an exciting thing… For the Summer 2012 series, there are 11 debuts to be featured here! (One of the debuts that had been fall turned out to be summer, and I was way too excited about the book to not include it.) So come back on Monday for interviews with the authors and ways to win signed ARCs and pre-orders of these Summer 2012 YA debuts… Each day I’ll reveal a new debut!

Next time I post, it’ll be from New York City. xo

Walking for My Sister

Surely by now you’ve heard me talk about my baby sister. If you’ve read Imaginary Girls, you may have noticed her name on the dedication page, and maybe you read this interview I did with her on release day. Maybe you were in the audience during one of my readings weeks before the book came out, when she sat on a chair before the stage, and in the darkness surrounding the spotlight it felt like I read only to her.

I adore my little sister, Laurel Rose. If you know me, you are well aware of that, because I can talk about her a lot.

What I haven’t talked about here before is that while I was revising the very last of the editorial rounds of Imaginary Girls—when the story was what it was, and Ruby and Chloe already chose to do what they did… I learned that my own baby sister, the one I would do anything for, was diagnosed with MS. I don’t want to talk about how devastated and helpless I felt, wishing I could take the disease away from her and take it on myself. I want to tell you that my little sister, Rose, is strong and brave and someone I admire to the ends of the earth, even when this disease is hard on her. She is truly amazing, and she will fight this—as will the many of us who love her want to fight by her side.

This May 5, for the first time, I am taking part in Walk MS in Philadelphia—my sister’s city. I am on her team, and all of us are going to do the walk to help fund-raise for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, to help those living with MS today—and to find a cure. This cause is very personal to me, as you can imagine, and that’s why I’m posting about it on my writing blog.

I posted the link to my Walk MS page on Twitter and Facebook last night, where you can donate to support me, and donate to support my sister and her team—and already, within one night, I met my fund-raising goal, thanks to two very, very generous donors! (Thank you so much, Lauren and Christine!!) But Walk MS is over a month away and now I’d love to exceed my goal: for my sister, and for others living with MS. You can donate any amount, nothing is too small, and be a part of my walk beside my sister on May 5. Or you can donate to sponsor my sister’s walk—or her whole team. Up to you!

If you decide to, you can donate here:

Here is more information about my sister’s local chapter of Walk MS and the organization your donation would support.