Monday, January 4, 2010

The Mark - Review and Giveaway

If you knew that someone was going to die today, would you tell them? The Mark explores this question in an amazing story that is going to be published in just a few short weeks. Here is the excerpt about the book:

Sixteen-year old Cassie Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back. The one time she pointed it out taught her not to do it again, so Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today. Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her? Most importantly, if you know today is someone's last, should you tell?

The first line from The Mark is: There is nothing like the gut-hollowing experience of watching someone die, especially when you know it's coming. Whew! From the very beginning I was hooked on this story. Cassie follows a guy with the mark off the bus and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. We watch as she figures out what she has been seeing her whole life - the mark around a bunch of kids playing in a schoolyard and even a glow around her beloved grandmother. There have been a few "I see dead people" books out over the years, but don't be fooled - this one was completely different from anything I've read.
I have to admit - I'm picky with my YA. I get frustrated with unnatural dialogue or teen characters doing things that aren't in their nature, but there was none of that in this book. The dialogue was spot-on, the action was just right and best of all, the writing is fast-paced and intelligent, causing you to think hard about what you would do if you were in Cassie's situation.

There is a romance thread in The Mark, and that adds a second layer of excitement which Jen handles in an unexpected way - I was cheering when Cassie makes her hard decisions. Jen didn't opt for the easy way out and the effort really pays off in the book.

I love the premise of seeing a mark on someone when it's their day to die, and frankly when I read about it the first time I wished I'd thought of it first. Good thing I didn't, because Jen turned a good idea into an awesome book. You should go out and grab a copy when it debuts on January 19th - you can preorder it here (I already did because I want a hard copy for myself before it is covered with those pesky award stickers). Better yet, you can win an ARC from me (in full disclosure, we have the same publisher, although I would love The Mark no matter who put it out). All you have to do is go to Jen's cool website, and then come back here and tell me in the comments something that you notice about it. Anything - what is the background like? Something funny in her bio? Comment before midnight on January 10th and I will draw a random winner on January 11th from all of the comments and send it right along to you. This international contest is open to anyone over the age of 13.

You may notice on her blog that Jen is giving away an ARC of Dirty Little Secrets, so while you're there, go ahead and enter her contest too.
With the upcoming release of The Mark as well as other great books from the Tenners list, 2010 is shaping up to be a great year!


Kristin said...

Hi, CJ,

I read about Dirty Little Secrets in Jen Nadol's blog, and I can't wait to snag a copy.

I'm also psyched to get a copy of The Mark. In an effort to win your giveaway, I've visited Jen's website and can tell you this: we both hail from Reading, PA. In fact, we went to the same high school and were good friends. I can attest to her love of Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Erasure. :)

Keeping my fingers crossed. And good luck with Dirty Little Secrets!


Erin said...

Hi CJ,

I just came from Jen's contest and thought that I would enter this one was well.

I am excited about both of your books!!

The thing that I noticed (that was kind of funny) about Jen's website is that she is from Reading, PA and the photo of her from highschool. She said that Taylor Swift is from there as well and the funny thing is that Jen's old photo of herself from highschool looks a little bit similar to Taylor Swift...


Thanks for the opportunity to win.
erin (.)dubrock(@)comcast(.)net


Jessy said...

I'm really looking forward to reading the Mark, it's at the top of my TBR pile. On Jen's website I learned that her favorite band in high school was the Stand.

I'm also excited to get my hands on Dirty Little Secrets. I think the topic you chose is so unique. I can't wait to read more on hoarding.


Anonymous said...

Both The Mark and Dirty Little Secrets are on my wish lists. They both have great storylines that are really interesting.

Melis said...

okay this may make me look insane, but in Jen's December 9th post she is showing the lovely box of pretty book covers...does the top one look like it is floating out of the box all magic like to anyone else? LOL yeah...didn't think so, but it's an odd thing I noticed haha

Snazel said...

When I went to Jen's site, I did notice that she is doing a giveaway of your book as well! :D She is published by bloomsbury, and the background is a rough grey.

Jennie Smith said...

Let's be random here... there is a person with an umbrella on her header AND her site is "Proudly powered by Wordpress!!"


I have both your and Jen's book on my Debut challenge for 2010! I can't wait to read them both and have even more great authors to share with my students!!

Good luck everyone!

Kathy Martin said...

Here's what I noticed at Jen's blog and website. I loved the round sunglasses on her high school picture and the thrift shop clothes.

I also have your book and Jen's book on my Debut Authors list and can't wait to read them and share them with my students.


Jahe said...

Wow, went to Jen's website and first thing I noticed was her pic...sporting full on Boy George ensemble. Total flashback.

The excerpt for The Mark definitelt caught my attention...hopefully I will win the ARC.

~*Ruby*~ said...

What I've noticed from Jen's blog -- her blog's header photo and her front page features people walking in the rain! Someone to the right is holding up an umbrella. Wonder where that photo's from?

She's also got the same hometown as Taylor Swift!!

Congratulations on your novel! Please enter me in the drawing for an ARC. Many thanks! :)

rubs.escalona [at]

Karen said...

I love the background on Jen's blog and I love that your book is reviewed and offered in a giveaway there and you are doing the same thing for her book here! That's great support! I'd love to win Mark for my HS library!

Aylie said...

Both Dirty Little Secrets and The Mark look awesome! I went to Jen's website, and really liked the homepage picture that outlines a person in the background with a yellow light.

Chloe said...

Can't wait to read Dirty Little Secrets! :D

I love the photo when you first open Jen's website! And I thought it was interesting that she went to college in Washington, D.C.; I visited there last November and loved it!


Sab H. said...

She has 3 kids!! And I love that picture of her wearing those shades!

Great giveaway

yabliss AT gmail DOT com

Jenny N. said...

I noticed Jen's website was designed by KTF Design who does low cost and innovative web design for writers.


Anonymous said...

Great giveaway! I've been wanting to read The Mark!

I found out from Jen's bio that she liked to dye her hair when she was in high school.

hanjie.1992 @

Anya said...

I love her background! Its pretty dark and its raining...there are three people walking and talking but theres one person that really caught my eye. The one with her back to us and the umbrella. Theres a yellow light surrounding her like a halo. I guess that might be "The Mark"
Its pretty;)

Shelli said...

this sounds so good!

cynjay said...

Thanks for the comments guys - keep 'em coming!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

Hi-I'm super excited to read The Mark! I love the picture on Jen's site-the rainy day and umbrella in the city is dark and romantic. I also liked that Jen had the guts to post a high school photo-I could never do that!:)

greenbeanteenqueen at gmail dot com

timestandstill said...

The Mark is definitely on my to-read list. Very intriguing.


jocelyn said...

This looks like a really cool book, and I love the pictures on Jen's website. On the main page, the picture is a bleak rainy day but I notice the people in the photo are smiling. It's a neat picture.

barnsdale11 said...

Well, she posted in her blog a while ago about "video secrets", and a longer while ago she posted about things that weren't supposed to teach her how to write, but did, anyway. The title of her web is "What's up", with a very urban look... anything else?


Inked Books said...

I found out the Bleeding Violet came out yesterday! I wanna read that one too.


Perfect Blue Moon said...

I noticed that the background is a grey! hehe


Bonnie M. said...

I've been wanting to read this one. Would love to enter the contest. :D

I went to Jen's site. I noticed how she covers a lot of books and different book giveaways. I have more stuff to add to my GoodReads "To Read" pile now.

wakeupangel at gmail dot com

mellisarock said...


I visited her site and learned that she doesn't know how to upload a vlog...hope she does a post about that if she learns how for the rest of us too! I think that a vlog with an online reading would be fun too!

mellisarock at yahoo dot com

The Mark sounds like a book I would really enjoy! Thanks for the chance to win!

mindy said...

i saw that she uses wordpress and has your contest as well thanks minsthins at optonline dot net

Brooke said...

Hmm well I noticed that her blog is simple... Nothing to really clutter it up...

LittleEagle said...

There is a heading under recent comments: Release Day: The Secret Year & Leaving Gee’s Bend. I definitely am interested in The Mark.

Linda Kish said...

She tried to do a vlog and discovered tan is not her best color and her office wall is very cluttered.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

hockeylass72 said...

hi :D i was actually on jens blog when i read her post about your book 'Dirty Little Secrets', the blurb alone is amazing and i cant wait to get hold of the rest of it. and if her review is anything to go by, it will definately be placed on my favourites list, and i may review it myself for my student newspaper... keep up the good work :D x

ContestAndCo said...

I noticed the "Dirty Little Secrets: Review & Giveaway" (and I will try!:))

austenfan said...

Jen's header looks really cool. Kinda dark but personal and unique. :)

Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to read The Mark. :)


Bunny B said...

Awesome giveaway! I went to Jen's website and I think the main picture of the person under the umbrella that is 'marked' is really cool!! I love the plot of the story, and that pic makes it look creepy! Can't wait to read it :) Thanks!

bunnybx at gmail . com

YA Vampire Books said...

The Mark sounds awesome! <thanks for having this contest :)

I learned...that Jen looked super cool in high school! haha


Ashley R. said...

what i liked about her site, is she has a video of the upcoming books that are coming out in january, febuary and march. now i have a whole list of books to read! thanks for the giveaway!

Ashley R.

ck.twilighter said...


I just came over from Jen's blog!!=) I am a person full of color but for some reason I love blackish backgrounds. My blog has a black background as well. I also love her header: "What's Up From the Desk of...." I think that is very creative.

Thank you for hosting this contest. I am beyond eager to read both your books!!=)

bison61 said...

In high school her favorite book was The Stand also one of my favorites!

tiramisu392 (at)

Spav said...

I really want to read this book.

I noticed that she grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania. Same as Taylor Swift!


Nancye said...

Jen's site is pretty cool! I learned that Jen lives north of NYC in an old farmhouse with her husband and three young sons.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

I Heart Book Gossip said...

Jen has a pretty cool site. She updates by telling us her day or just contests around the web.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Ari said...

another one on my *to be reviewed for 2010 debut author challenge* list.

*along with yours :)*

I noticed that the banner had a man holding a umbrella. O.o

*just in case*

Shelli said...

Love it! thanks. she did a contest on your book - planned?

cynjay said...

Yeah - we have a bit of a mutual admiration society going ;)