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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

VBT & #GIVEAWAY - Queen of Likes by Hillary Homzie


middle grade/tween



Like everyone at Merton Middle School, Karma Cooper’s smartphone is almost another body part. She’s obsessed with her LIKES on Snappypic. When her parents shut down her social media account and take away her smartphone, Karma’s whole world crumbles. She has to figure out what she actually likes and how to live life fully unplugged. This book will jumpstart conversations about how social media is changing the ways tweens are growing up.

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“So we’re come up with a new punishment,” says Dad. “Something that will get your attention.”

Dad looks at Mom and Mom looks at Dad and I can tell that they are a united front against me. “We’re going to close your Snappypic account,” states Dad.

 “What?” My stomach dips as if I’ve just dropped from highest part of a roller coaster. I want to flop against the nearest car in the parking lot. “You can’t do that. It’s my account. It’s private. You can’t.” Every day, I get smiley faces and hearts and balloons and LIKES. All of the time. Waking up and not being able to se what my followers are up to? Being totally cut off like that? My parents might as well send me to Antarctica because I’m going to be frozen out of everything. “This must be some kind of hallucination,” I say. “The parents I know would never do this to me!”

“Karma, I’m sorry,” says Mom. “But I think you are over-reacting. You knew the rules.”

“Please.” I clasp my hands together. “Please, please. Please. I’ll do anything. I’ll babysit Toby as much as you want. I’ll clean the house every single day. I’ll make dinner I’ll—”

“It’s a final decision,” says Dad.

“But I’m like… a professional. I have more followers than some companies.”

“Exactly our point, Karma,” says Mom. “You’re not a company. You’re our daughter and still a kid. And I don’t really love this obsession of yours.”

The parking lot is practically spinning. “You just don’t want me to grow up!”
 I fling up my arms. “Please,” I beg. “Don’t do this.” 

Hillary Homzie will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Hillary Homzie, and I write books for girls who are on the cusp on adolescence but not quite there. They’re stuck, like the piece of carrot, between my teeth. They’re too old to openly play with dolls and pretend they’re lost orphans and too young to schedule their own social life and have boyfriends and girlfriends. It’s a rough patch. Somehow, I’m very in touch with my own inner 12-13 year-old. Perhaps, it’s because it was such a difficult time that the memories are seared in my brain, or maybe I’m just a bit immature. Probably both. Currently, I Iive in Northern California. I have also lived in Denver, Sussex (as in England when I was little), Charlottesville, PhiIadelphia, and Brooklyn. I’m stuck with my family (but I like being stuck). I have three sons, a husband, and a boy dog. At home, I’m quite outnumbered, although we do also have one girl cat. I also teach at Hollins University graduate program in children’s literature & writing, which is the alma mater of Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon. In addition, I also teach at the Children’s Book Academy, which offers interactive online courses in children’s writing, which means I can teach in my pajamas, which I quite like!

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Carpool, cook dinner, clean up the kitchen, take walks with my giant labradoodle, go to the gym, pick-up after my children, cook some more, clean some more, occasionally sleep and desperately search for clean laundry.

Do you have a day job as well?
No. Not unless you’d consider picking up after my sons, walking a giant labradoodle and searching for laundry qualifies as a job, which I think it does. Oh, and I do adjunct teaching so that’s also day-job-ish, isn’t it?

What was your favourite book as a child?
That’s like asking me what’s my favorite finger. I need and love all my fingers and I’ve love all the books that I’ve ever read, even when I hated them. I loved them because hating something teaches you a lot about what you don’t like. And then, by contrast, you can figure out what you do like. Okay, I’ll do my best to answer this extremely challenging question. I remember really grooving on The Secret Garden. I loved the tragedy and the redemption. And when I lived in England I went through a long Paddington phase.

When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
I’ve always been delusional so I realized I was going to be an author when I was about seven. The delusion never ended.

What book do you wish you had written?
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Funny, romantic, says something about how important it is to express yourself, highly entertaining. Did I mention funny?

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Writing and searching for clean laundry.

When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing first by being a storyteller. With my paper dolls and Barbies. And then later, I learned how to write quickly when I was a journalist (newspaper and radio). Finally, I finished my first children’s novel when I was about 30. That book never sold but it did lead to my first publishing deal. An editor at Simon & Schuster read it, liked it and wanted to see more writing. That led to a book deal—a comedic chapter book series, Alien Clones From Outer Space. I had actually started many novels in my twenties but had never finished them. Finishing things is rather important but I didn’t get that for quite some time. Sometimes I’m obstinate.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
It choose me. I’m just locked in my head as a tween and there’s nothing I can do about it. So I could either be in therapy or I could write books for tween girls.

Where do you get your ideas?
Usually through experience. I have two teens and a tween so when I saw how obsessed they were with LIKES on social media I knew I had to write about it. That’s how Queen of Likes was born.

For The Hot List I basically overheard a 12 year-old girl talking about the hot list that was written of the bathroom of the girl’s restroom, and I knew I just had to write a book about it. I wanted to know who started the hot list? How was it maintained? How did it make the non-hot kids feel?

And for Things Are Gonna Get Ugly,  I went back to my eighth grade year when I lived in Menlo Park, California. There were quite a few girls who were popular and also obsessed with their popularity, and I wondered what it would be like to be one of them. And what would happen if they suddenly, magically, turned geeky and intellectual, and that’s how that book was birthed. And then my chapter book series, Alien Clones From Outer Space, came about when my alien clone came to pay me a visit. No, I just thought the whole twin conceit is a good one. Shakespeare used it. It just allows for lots of mistaken identity. And then I thought-- what would I do with a clone of my own…Speaking of which, I could use a clone just about now with my book, Queen of Likes, launching and dinner still needing to be made.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here

 Hillary is the author of the tween novel, THE HOT LIST (Simon & Schuster/M!X) which Booklist says “captures the angst of young teen friendships and fragile identities.” She’s also the author of the middle grade novel, THINGS ARE GONNA GET UGLY (Simon & Schuster/M!X), a Justice Book-of-the-Month, which was just optioned by Priority Pictures, and the forthcoming  QUEEN OF LIKES (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X, April 2016), which is about social media, as well as the humorous chapter book series, ALIEN CLONES FROM OUTER SPACE (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin), a Children's Book-of-the-Month Best Books for Children. Emmy-nominated Suppertime Entertainment developed the books to become an animated television series and it was sold to ABC Australia. Hillary’s young adult fiction has been published in TEEN MAGAZINE and anthologized (MUDDVILLE DIARIES, Avon Books). She has sold non-fiction and fiction projects to Klutz Press/Scholastic Books, The Learning Company and John Muir Books. With her frequent writing partner, Steven Arvanites, she has had film projects developed by Brooklyn Weaver’s Energy Entertainment. Hillary got her start performing and writing sketch comedy Off-Broadway, and was a Heideman Playwrighting Award Finalist. Hillary holds a master's degree in education from Temple University and a master’s of arts degree from Hollins University in children's literature and writing. Currently, she’s a visiting professor of children’s literature and writing at Hollins University. Visit her on the web at and follow her on

Twitter @HillaryHomzie and visit her on Facebook at

Tour Organised By: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


  1. thank you for the chance to win :)

  2. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

    1. Impossible to answer since there are so many. But I've learned a lot from A. Lafaye and Rachel Rodriguez!

  3. I really enjoyed your comments. This sound like such a good story for YA to read.

    1. Thanks, MomJane. I think it's pretty timely!

  4. Great interview!


  5. This is an awesome giveaway and your book sounds like a great read.

  6. Great post - I've shared this with my little sister, she's a bookworm just like me so I was excited to share this one with her :)

  7. I am really enjoying following this tour, thank you for all the great blog posts and excerpts!