Tuesday, May 24, 2011

YA Indie Spotlight: Neesha Meminger

Hi Everyone!

Today I'm thrilled to be featuring the lovely Neesha Meminger. Neesha is the author of Shine Coconut Moon, which made the Smithsonian's Notable Books for Children list and was selected as one of the Top 100 Books of 2009 by the New York Public Library's Stuff for the Teen Age. It was also nominated as a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association as well as the online CYBILS award.

Neesha decided to go indie with her second novel, Jazz in Love, which is now available in both print and ebook formats.

Jasbir, otherwise known as Jazz, has always been a stellar student and obedient, albeit wise-cracking, daughter. Everything has gone along just fine - she has good friends in the "genius" program she's been in since kindergarten, her teachers and principal adore her, and her parents dote on her. But now, in her junior year of high school, her mother hears that Jazz was seen hugging a boy on the street, and goes ballistic. Mom immediately implements the Guided Dating Plan, which includes setting up blind dates with "suitable," pre-screened Indian candidates. There's only one problem: Jazz has her sights set on the very UNsuitable new hottie at school. When Jazz makes a few out-of-the-ordinary decisions, everything explodes, and she realizes she'll need a lot more than her genius education to get out of the huge mess she's created. Can Jazz find a way to follow her own heart and still stay in the good graces of her parents?

Neesha was born in Punjab, India, where she lived until she was almost five. For the next twenty years, she was in Toronto, Canada until she moved to the US. As a teenager, Neesha began writing her own stories. In the next decade or so, her writing would appear in various anthologies, journals, and magazines.

Neesha holds a BA in Film and Media Arts from Ryerson University in Toronto, and an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School For Social Research in New York City.

Her independent films have screened at international film festivals, she has taught literature and creative writing courses to undergraduate freshmen in New York, served as a board member for many arts and cultural organizations, and counseled women and youth in crisis.

"Romantic and humorous, with a great teen voice, this novel has a balance of light and serious elements. It's a fun and fast-paced read."

"Meminger found a beautiful balance with Jazz in Love. She keeps its light yet still manages to incorporate themes worth discussing from what's Indian enough to asserting independence. Many readers will be able to relate to Jazz, her worries are universal."

"Jazz in Love is refreshing. It's contemporary YA with color, and lots of it. I loved how easy it is to relate to Jazz even if we're different in terms of culture and religion."

"Meminger does an excellent job with the complications of family life, the clashes of culture, and the clashes between individuals of whatever generation. The characters are complex, and the handling of super-powered attraction and how it skews the world was beautifully handled."

Jazz in Love is available for

The ebook is priced at $3.99, and there is a print version available.

You can find Neesha on the web and keep up with the latest on Twitter by following @NeeshaMem.

Check her out, you guys!