One of the privileges of my job is that I sometimes get to read books before their release. This is awesome because nothing makes me happier than finding a great new book and then telling you guys about it. πŸ™‚

This year, one of my favorites is Sharks & Boys by Kristen Tracy:


When 15-year-old Enid Calhoun follows her boyfriend Wick to Maryland for a party, fearful that he might be intending to cheat on her, she finds herself sneaking on board a houseboat where Wick and his friends plan to have a wild night. But before the boys discover their stowaway, a hurricane strikes, and the teenagers are carried miles from the shore and shipwrecked. What follows is a harrowing, yet heartwarming, story of survival, as the teens battle hypothermia, dehydration, man-eating sharksβ€”and along the way, confront their own deepest secrets, including their catalytic roles in the disaster.

(Description from and image from

I first heard about this book last summer when Kristen and I met on the UnREQUIRED Reading Tour. She described it as “The Breakfast Club with sharks.” And of course, that is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I was like, I HAVE to check this out.

You guys. This book kept me in my seat from page one all the way until the end. I was riveted. Because my friend KT? Not afraid to kill people off. And the descriptions of being out on the open water, all alone, with no water and no food…it was enough to make me nervous about ever going out on the ocean again. πŸ™‚

And yet, it’s not this big over-the-top “I SURVIVED” kind of tale–it’s mostly about a girl whose life is falling apart. And she makes one bad decision (well, okay, a series of bad decisions that involve following her possibly cheating boyfriend) and ends up in this life-or-death situation.

And it’s funny. I know that seems counter-intuitive but that’s one of things that makes this book so fresh and enjoyable. It’s not like anything I’ve read before.

For example, Enid’s mom makes wedding cakes, and Enid helps by creating the marzipan (it’s edible almond paste that you can mold into shapes) cake figures of the bride and groom. And Enid takes great care to get them just right, to make them as close to perfect as possible.

So, when she loses it a little while delivering the cake to a wedding–she’s freaking out because her boyfriend may have truly broken up with her and then she’ll be left with dating someone like Gary, the weird awkward groomsman–the marzipan figures suffer:

“I bite the shoes off the groom. It only takes one snap of my jaw, and I’ve got a wad of almond paste in my mouth. I chew it like I’ve been poisoned and marzipan tuxedo shoes are the only antidote. At his pant cuffs, I can see my smooth teeth marks.

Then I lift the bride to my mouth. I’m careful to take just her shoes and leave her delicate ankles intact. As I chew the marzipan, I try to swallow it fast. I want to digest it. I want it to become a part of me. I look at the de-footed bride. If you focus on her head, she doesn’t really seem that different. But if you zero in on her ankles, she looks like she’s been in some kind of unfortunate accident with a butter knife. I run my tongue along my teeth and smile. Take that, I think to unnamed hordes of people out there who think I’m boring. I just did something crazy. I just did something stupid for no good reason at all. And I’m not finished either.”


So, in celebration, I’m giving away TWO signed copies of Sharks & Boys! (We may also have a signed deck of Hyperion playing cards to give away as well. I’m seeing Kristen tomorrow–yea!–and I’ll see what else I can get her to sign.)

There are two ways to enter:

1) Leave a comment below with your worst fear/phobia. (For example, mine would be birds. *shudder* Don’t ask.) Make sure to include your email with your comment so I can contact you!

2) Tweet about your worst fear/phobia and use the hashtag #sharksandboys. (Be sure to use the word “and” in the hashtag and not “&” because punctuation always freaks out the hashtag system on Twitter, don’t know why.)

We’ll draw two winners next Friday, July 15. The contest is open internationally. πŸ™‚

34 comments to “Sharks & Boys Giveaway”

  1. Jordan
    · July 7th, 2011 at 11:20 am · Link

    Snakes. holy cow, snakes. My philosophy is that an animal must have atleave two legs, but no more than four. So snakes and spiders are out of the picture!Yuck! πŸ™‚


  2. Lauren Goff
    · July 7th, 2011 at 11:27 am · Link

    I have a lot of really weird fears. But my biggest fear is being alone. I am also freaked out by condensation on cups and bottles, don’t ask. OH AND CENTIPEDES! I hate centipedes. Way, way too many legs. ::shiver::

  3. Lauren Goff
    · July 7th, 2011 at 11:28 am · Link

    Oh! And my email is don’t ask XD

  4. Victoria
    · July 7th, 2011 at 7:12 pm · Link

    My worst fear is blood. I HATE BLOOD! my parents always ask me if I want to be a doctor, but I always say no because I can’t stand the sight of blood. When i get a cut or scrape or something, I can barely but the band aid on myself because I HATE the sight and smell of blood!

  5. Jessica Liegel
    · July 7th, 2011 at 8:55 pm · Link

    I am a total germaphobe! So I guess the thing I’m most scared of is bacteria and viruses. I can’t stand it when people around me don’t wash their hands after sneezing.. gross!

    Thanks for the giveaway! This book sounds super cute! πŸ™‚

  6. Erin W
    · July 8th, 2011 at 10:45 am · Link

    I HATE spiders! Full stop.

    Thanks for holding the giveaway!

    Erin πŸ˜†

  7. Nina
    · July 8th, 2011 at 10:49 am · Link

    Internationally is becoming my favorite word in the world πŸ˜‰

    My worst fear is a tie between jellyfish and crocodiles. Both facinate me but they freak me out as well since I had close encouters with both creatures (and there was NO GLASS between us *shudder*). My memory tells me they were huge and bloodthirsty and seperate me from some very important body parts (yes, I’m sure if they really wanted to jellyfish could do that ;)) but my parents keep telling me they were rather tiny…but they weren’t the one stepping on these little monsters.

    Still, I can’t go swimming in the sea nor in a lake ever since. 😯

    • Nina
      · July 16th, 2011 at 2:27 pm · Link

      Whoopsie, forgot my e-mail as well (though it’s probably too late anyway πŸ˜‰ )


  8. Sienna
    · July 9th, 2011 at 12:56 am · Link

    Burning alive or drowning are my biggest fears, but Ohhhh Let Me Tell You About My Worst Phobia. OPEN DOORS. I can’t stand open doors. I mean, I’ll sit down in a room, and my friend will start talking to me, or I’ll start writing or reading or whatever, but the whole time, if a door is open, my eyes will keep spaztically twitching back to that stupid Open Door, and I can’t focus until I get up and close it, which is a pain in the butt when A. I’m super comfortable and really don’t want to ruin it, B. My friend is telling my something super important and getting up would be rude, or C. I’m in class. It has happened several times in choir, where I’ll go into a practice room (which, in case you don’t know, is just a little soundproof room where we go to practice things in smaller groups,) and then I’ll leave the practice room with a group of people, and the last person will leave the DANG DOOR OPEN, and I’ll be sitting there trying to listen to the instructor, but that stupid door is open, and I can’t concentrate, so eventually I just get up, run over to it, close it, and then run back to my seat- and I always get the weirdest looks.
    WOW, long enough for you? Sorry ’bout that. πŸ˜‰

  9. ikkinlala
    · July 10th, 2011 at 11:54 pm · Link

    I know it’s not an unusual one, but my worst fear is public speaking.

  10. Rachelle Hayes
    · July 11th, 2011 at 11:18 am · Link

    I used to not care about mice or rodents of any kind, but something happened. There was a mouse, in my bedroom. More specifically behind my bookshelves. Now, no one is allowed to mess with my books so this creeped me out. I kept thinking that he was going to chew my defenseless books to pieces. Mr. Mouse eventually met an untimely death, but I’m still freaking out about mice. So all in all my phobia = mice.

  11. Kawther Abdallah
    · July 11th, 2011 at 11:39 am · Link

    OMG! My phobia is spiders and my fear is cliffhangers in books lol πŸ™‚
    my email is

  12. ZoeRainDasher
    · July 11th, 2011 at 9:44 pm · Link

    I have ailurophobia. Phobia of cats. If I’m at a roadside stall and a cat comes near me, I jump onto the nearest chair or table.

    But, it’s gone better over the years. There are lots of stray cats where I live.

    I am also paranoid that the rats on my roof would jump through the ceiling and fall onto me while I am asleep.

    My worst fear would be not being loved by anyone.

  13. kristen tracy
    · July 11th, 2011 at 11:55 pm · Link

    Stacey Kade, you are a good woman. Thanks for the giveaway. You are sweeter than a deep dish chocolate chip cookie with three scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and four cups of fluff cream.

    • Stacey Kade
      · July 12th, 2011 at 1:50 am · Link

      I don’t know…that deep dish cookie was pretty fantastic. I don’t think I can compete! LOL But thank you and you know how much I love this book–I want people to have it! πŸ™‚

  14. Stacey Kade
    · July 12th, 2011 at 1:49 am · Link

    Oh, you guys are awesome! Being so brave and sharing fears and phobias! You are the best. πŸ™‚ <3

  15. Anna
    · July 12th, 2011 at 3:35 pm · Link


    Well, my worst phobia is, sadly, barking dogs. Now, I’m fine when it comes to calm dogs who merely want a little lovin, but when even a tiny chiguagua comes barking at me I freak and feel the need to climb something high.

  16. Caroline
    · July 12th, 2011 at 7:07 pm · Link

    i really don’t like open heights(I’m fine if there are solid walls or something), most if not all insects, and I get really uncomfortable and hate it when I can’t see where I’m stepping, see the bottom of, or see my feet in some form of body of water like rivers, lakes, ponds and such.

  17. Grace Radford
    · July 12th, 2011 at 10:39 pm · Link

    Spiders! D: And throwing up. I think I’m scared of both equally. >.<

  18. melannie
    · July 12th, 2011 at 11:01 pm · Link

    I’m 18 and I’m still afraid of the dark. When I have to go to the bathroom at night I still wake up my sister so she can walk down the hall with me and then I make her wait for me outside.

    I’m also afraid of germs, I recently took Microbiology in school and I was SO freak out by how many bacteria, virus, parasites and fungi there are! and SO many of them can cause diseases! D:

    I’m afraid of guns too, I can’t even see them. Even if they’re on tv I get chills when I hear a gunshot.

    Animals of all kinds also scare me too, even puppies and baby pandas (they sneeze= germs)

    so basically, I’m a BIG coward. Afraid of practically everything.

    Oh! people who yell also scare me. Why can’t they talk at normal decibels? πŸ™

    thanks for the giveaway, Stacey!

  19. April X
    · July 12th, 2011 at 11:10 pm · Link

    I’m terrified of bugs lol. Especially if they’re big ones. And roller coasters. Thank you for the giveaway πŸ™‚

  20. Lane
    · July 13th, 2011 at 2:01 am · Link

    SNAKES. If I even see one at a zoo or a pet store, I will scream like someone is trying to murder me and run (In heels and a dress no less) and crying, it usually takes someone at least 20 mins to get me to stop screaming, running and crying. It’s REALLY bad. If I see one on tv or a picture of one, I have to check my bed to make sure that there isn’t one IN my bed. Then I have nightmares about them.



  21. Theresa
    · July 13th, 2011 at 9:37 am · Link

    I actually used to be fearless until I had my first anxiety attack at 17. Now I am terrified of heights. My aunt lives in an apartment on the 25th floor and my legs basically start shaking if I try to walk towards the windows. Also flying. I hate planes. Hate them with a passion. I always cry on take off. I don’t mean to and I try not to but I get so freaked out that the tears just start pouring out. It’s awful.

    Email: tmpmarkmajor

  22. Charis
    · July 14th, 2011 at 5:04 am · Link

    I’m mostly fearless, however I have a few fears. The first being needles, while I know they can’t do me any real harm I tend to panic when I see them and know they are going to go in me. I have a slight fear of eating in public when no one else is eating and being judged by it. There is slight Virginitiphobia as well, but I think a lot of people have that. I’m scared of ending up pregnant/giving birth, it does not sound fun. I fear being another face in the crowd, not standing out.

    Now the really weird one, I fear my mom trying to give me ‘the talk’ or asking about my time of month. I already know all that stuff, it would just be awkward.

    Anyway, my email is

  23. Charis
    · July 14th, 2011 at 5:06 am · Link

    Oh yeah, and my worst is probably not standing out.

  24. Margaret
    · July 15th, 2011 at 2:50 pm · Link

    I have a phobia of rashes. Not sure why but I can’t stand them! thanks for the giveaway!


  25. Amanda
    · July 15th, 2011 at 8:58 pm · Link

    Spiders. And heights. *shudders*

  26. Gaby
    · July 16th, 2011 at 1:17 pm · Link

    I have a phobia of small spaces I don’t know I think i have like clastraphobia or somthing it like for example I was in my brothers car one day and then both my sisters got in and then my brother got in and all the windows where closed and I just felt like I couldn’t breath it was so hot and I just wantede to get out of the car but it was child lock and I just freaked

  27. Julie Witt
    · July 16th, 2011 at 2:53 pm · Link

    Spiders! Shudder! I hate even small spiders: They completely freak me out!

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  28. Stacey Kade
    · July 16th, 2011 at 3:28 pm · Link

    Hey everyone, winners have been drawn:


    @HillaryDePiano from Twitter.

    I’m sending email notifications now! πŸ™‚

    • Stacey Kade
      · July 16th, 2011 at 3:29 pm · Link

      Oh, and thank you so much everyone who participated! You guys were so brave and awesome in sharing your fears/phobias! Wish I had books to give all of you. πŸ™‚

  29. Mary Preston
    · July 16th, 2011 at 9:10 pm · Link

    MAGGOTS!!! I can barely write the word without gagging.


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> <img src="" alt="" class="" width="" height="">