July 26, 2017

Of Jenny and the Aliens Blog Tour: Meet the Characters + Giveaway

Of Jenny and the Aliens

Author: Ryan Gebhart

Genre: YA Contemporary/Sci-Fi
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press
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When boy meets girl meets alien, the angst of first love gets an extraterrestrial intervention in a tale both outrageously funny and full of heart.

Ten years after Earth sent messages out into deep space, there has been an answer. Music from a distant planet has reached the world’s radios. Are aliens about to invade? No one knows, and almost-eighteen-year-old Derek doesn’t really care, because at a wild end-of-the-world party, Jennifer Novak invited him to play beer pong, and things, well, progressed from there. Derek is in love. Deeply, hopelessly in love. He wants it all — marriage, kids, growing old on a beach in Costa Rica. For him, Jenny is the One. But Jenny has other plans, which may or may not include Derek. So Derek will try anything to win her — even soliciting advice from an alien who shows up in his hometown. This alien may just be the answer to Derek’s problem, but is Derek prepared to risk starting an interstellar war to get his girl? Just how far is he willing to travel to discover the mysteries of the universe — and the enigma of love?
Meet the Characters

Derek Stratton (aka “ScroboCop” aka “Ducky” aka “Double D”): Derek's not his real first name. He's embarrassed by his first name, he's embarrassed by most everything about himself and his history, so he constantly feigns apathy, keeping his true emotions and identity close to the chest. That is, until Jenny comes along and he dares himself to be genuine for once in his life, with pretty messy results. He's a Texan who, as a child, moved to Ohio after his parents divorced and he chose to live with his mom. He smokes, he drinks, he's a beast at Mario Kart and beer pong, he's borderline depressive, and he believes in the traditional notion that everyone has a One True Love, and that Jenny might be his. The Cleveland Browns are his team. Nintendo GameCube is his gaming system. And he likes the red Starbursts best.

Jennifer Novak: Jenny wants to start her own line of T-shirts, her own TV show, she's an even bigger beast at beer pong than Derek, and she hates social constructs. She's approachable, she's quick to love and even quicker to act. She wants to explore everything life has to offer, and she's well-aware that these traits have given her a reputation for being slutty. She despises the fact that people think the trauma in her past life defines her as a person today. She wants world peace. And she likes the yellow Starbursts best.

Mark Shugar: Mark has been Derek's best friend since they met on the swim league in middle school. He played JV football until he got kicked off for having weed in his locker. He's equally loyal and selfish. He's the best kind of friend and the worst kind of friend. Like Jenny, he's also a slut and he's not ashamed to admit it. “Solid poops” and “No pants!” are his self-proclaimed catch-phrases, he keeps his room clean, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are his team. And he has never once stated his opinion about Starbursts.

Karo: Karo doesn't actually have a name, he just made one for the sake of convenience for Derek. Karo lives on a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system, he's an amazing musician, and he thought it would be fun to be the first of his kind to be heard by humanity. Humans think he's a monster because of his menacing sharklike teeth, but he's in a loving relationship and odds are he holds no ill-will toward anyone. The beauty of the Maumee River never ceases to amaze him, he lives on a ranch with his grandmother, and concepts such as war and jealousy are foreign to him. And I ran out things to say about Starbursts.

Deborah Stratton: Debbie is originally from Cleveland, moved to Austin as a kid, married her high school sweetheart and had a child with him (Derek), but she filed for divorce when she found out he had a long-term affair with a co-worker and a secret second child. She kept his last name though. She's a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan, she has anxiety disorder and depression, and she's like Derek in so many ways. Derek hates to admit how true this is.

Avery Stratton: Avery is Derek's half brother who lives with their dad in Texas. Even though he's only thirteen, he's taller than Derek, trendier than Derek, and he got the Nintendo Switch the day it came out, but prefers Playstation because: “Nintendo doesn't make many good titles.” He was supposed to go on a date with his dream girl Kayla, but ended up in Ohio to celebrate Derek's eighteenth birthday instead, and he resents anyone and everyone he can for this atrocity.

Derek's Dad: I just now realized while writing this interview that I never gave him a name in the book. Oops. I guess we can call him Keith. Or Chad. Those sound like dad names. Anyway, Keith is in love with Debbie, Derek's mom. Chad is also in love with Abby, Avery's mom. He's middle-aged and thinks he should have had his love life figured out at this point, and he's frustrated that he's nowhere close. And he hates that he's ruined so many lives simply because he's in love with two people at the same time.

Ryan Gebhart is the author of the middle-grade novel There Will Be Bears, about which Publishers Weekly said in a starred review, “ Fully developed characters, complex and realistic relationships... and a spot-on narrative voice...make this story stand out. About Of Jenny and the Aliens, the author says, “This book is about first love and discovering that we're not alone in the universe, and how maybe those two things aren't that different from each other.” Ryan Gebhart lives in Ohio.

His debut young adult Of Jenny and the Aliens, about first love and discovering that we're not alone in the universe, will be released Spring 2017 with Candlewick Press.

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