Friday, May 17, 2013

Review, Interview, and Giveaway: Orleans (Sherri Smith)

First came the storms.Then came the Fever.And the Wall.
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.
Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.
Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 7th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
ARC Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Sherri L. Smith

Sherri L. Smith's life can best be summed up geographically. Born in Chicago, IL, she spent her childhood in Staten Island, NY, Washington D.C., and Upstate New York. Her parents divorced when she was twelve. A year later, she moved back to Chicago with her mother and big brother. After high school, it was off to New York City for college, San Francisco for graduate school, and then Los Angeles, to make movies. 
Sherri has worked in film, animation, comic books and construction. Film highlights include Tim Burton's MARS ATTACKS!, where she worked in stop-motion animation—a truly cool art form. Sherri also worked for three years at Disney TV Animation, helping to create stories for animated home video projects.
After leaving Disney, Sherri found an unlikely home with a construction company, working in a triple-wide trailer on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport. From there she spent nine hilarious years working at Bongo Comics, the company that brings you THE SIMPSONS in print. Currently, Sherri happily spends her days writing novels and visiting her readers in schools and libraries across the country.
She lives in Los Angeles with the love of her life, and is currently working on her next book.

Contact Sherri Smith
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1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book? 

My mother was New Orleans native who survived Hurricane Katrina. The idea for ORLEANS came from our experience during and after the storm. 

2. Who is your favorite character in the book? 

Fen, hands down. I wish I was as tough as Fen (without all of the hardship that made her that way)! 

3. Which came first, the title or the novel? 

If you mean, the idea for the book, then I’m not really sure. Fen came first, at least her speaking voice. Titles usually come pretty quickly for me, though. The title was definitely in place when the book was no more than an idea. 

4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why? 

There are so many scenes I was excited to write because of the imagery, so it’s hard to pick, but I quite like the race in the dark to the Institute. I wasn’t sure how effectively I could write a scene where Fen is essentially blind. And the image of the chasing flames… I just thought that was too cool not to put in a book! 

5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now? 

Never give up. You’ll want to. In the course of a career (a book, a sentence) roadblocks will be thrown your way. Some of them come from inside—the internal editor, self-doubt or just good old-fashioned confusion. You know when you are reading for hours and suddenly look up, how disorienting it can be? Especially if someone starts talking to you, it takes your brain time to rack focus and leave the story for the real world. Writing can be like that, except you look up and it’s like you’ve trailed off mid-sentence and have no idea what you are doing there. So you take a deep breath and keep going. Some roadblocks come from the outside world—time demands, family, money, day jobs. I take comfort in knowing that they only exist to prove how much I want to write. And I keep on writing. 

6. What do you like most about the cover of the book? 

I like that it instantly reads “adventure.” Cover art that presents a literal window onto the world of the book is always exciting to me. It’s like Alice through the looking glass—I can’t wait to dive on through. 

7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2013? 

I’m bummed because the book I was most looking forward to this year just got pushed to 2014. It’s Cecil Castellucci’s next novel, TIN STAR. Think of it as Casablanca in space with a kick-butt heroine. I got to read an early draft of it and can’t wait to see how it turns out. Look for it in February of next year. I know I will! 

8. What was your favorite book in 2012? 

Is it weird that 2012 seems so long ago? I had to look up my little list of books from last year. Three or four stand out, but I’d have to say FEED by M.T. Anderson. It’s not often I read a book and think, “I wish I’d written that.” Start to finish, it’s brilliant. 

9. What’s up next for you? 

I am currently using this interview to procrastinate. I’m actually hard at work on my next book, DROSSELMEYER. It’s a retelling of E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker.” Most of you know it from the Tchaikovsky Christmas ballet, but I promise you, there is so much more to play with. It’s going to be fun. 

10. Is there anything that you would like to add? 

Thanks for chatting with me, Beth!

First let me say that I LOVED the cover to this book!!! It is really perfect for this book and I found myself continually turning back and looking at it. It is a true depiction of survival and this is what Orleans is ALL ABOUT!!

Orleans is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, young adult story. This is VERY different than any other dystopian I have ever read. This story focuses more on the truth of what is happening rather than focusing on the characters lives. The author focuses on world building and I truly loved that. Most dystopians are mainly about a love interest and just add a small amount of world building where as I felt as though I was in Orleans with the characters. 

I loved the main character, Fen. She was soooo intense and I loved the way she kept her word and fought to protect Baby Girl at all costs. She survived so many horrible experiences and wanted nothing more than to give Baby Girl a good life and I just felt myself cheering for her. 

I wasn't sure about Daniel when he was first introduced. I couldn't decide whether to consider him a “good guy or bad guy.” In the end I found out. (no spoilers here! HA!) 

Sherri Smith could have added a romance in with Daniel and Fen but instead she decided to create more of a deep friendship and dependency that made their survival attempts even more intense. 

I really enjoyed this book. It had lots of moments where I couldn't wait to turn the page to see what happened. This is a young adult book but it did have some intense moments that almost could make it adult and I loved that about it! 

So needless to say I will be looking for future books by the incredible Sherri Smith!!!

Sherri Smith has GENEROUSLY offered a SIGNED ARC of Orleans as well as a Delta Relief Fund dog tag! Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!! And it would be awesome if you would leave a comment thanking Sherri for this incredible giveaway!!


  1. This book sounds amazing! And that cover is fantastic. I want to get my hands on this one. I loved the interview and your review!

    Kay @ It's a Book Life

    1. Oh and my favorite Dystopian novel would have to be Insurgent, The Hunger Games, or The Handmaid's Tale. That is a really hard question to pick just one!

  2. I'm glad you really enjoyed this one! I have a copy of it that I hope to get read this summer. I loved hearing a bit more about it and the author as well. Wonderful interview and review!

  3. Thanks so much for the qiveaway!!! Orleans sounds like it's right up my ally! I hope I win!

  4. My favorite dystopian novel has to be hands down the Hunger Games trilogy for sure. To be more specific, Mockingjay. Then I would have to say the Chemical Garden beautiful and poetic!!!

  5. I really like Poison Study by Mary V Snyder!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Haven't heard about that one! I will have to check it out!

  6. My favorite dystopian novel right now is "The Fifth Wave" by Rick Yancey. Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. Ohhh...I am about to start reading it now and Cant wait!!!!

  7. Thank you so much! My favorite dystopian is Legend by Marie Lu.