Monday, December 21, 2015

Best Reads of 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year....because I get to make a list of books!

In no particular order, here are my Top 10 reads of 2015:

1. I'LL MEET YOU THERE by Heather Demetrios

An emotional, character-driven story that grabbed me immediately. The characters are flawed and real and sometimes frustrating, and the romance is messy and intense. The acknowledgements are just as touching as the book's ending.

2. LITTLE PEACH by Peggy Kern

This is a short but incredibly powerful read. I haven't heard much buzz around this book. It's definitely worth a read. Disturbing as hell, but I powered through it in one short afternoon, then thought about it for days afterwards.    


What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said a million times? It's freaking adorable and made me smile so hard my cheeks hurt. Absolutely delightful in every way.

4. 99 DAYS by Katie Cotugno

Katie's characters are so incredibly frustrating and flawed, but so real that you get sucked into their lives and stories even while you feel like screaming at them. Her prose is beautiful and honest, the dialogue spot-on.


I was lucky enough to score an ARC of this book months before release. There was so much pre-release buzz for this book, and no wonder. It's everything, everything you'd expect, plus more. Beautiful and unique.

6. EMMY & OLIVER by Robin Benway

There are some books I know from the first few pages that I'm going to love, just from the writing and voice. Emmy & Oliver has everything I love in a good YA--realistic dialogue, relatable characters, amazing friendships, a sweet romance, honest emotion, humor, and heart. Just lovely.

7. WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND by Jessica Verdi

Jessica Verdi is my go-to author for unique YA that tackles really tough subjects in an honest, completely readable way. Just like with her last two books, this one deals with something not often seen in YA--in this case, teen fatherhood. And it's my favorite Jessica book yet.

8. DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy

Man, 2015 was a good year for YA. This book is fun, poignant, and hilarious. I enjoyed every minute I spent with its fantastic heroine, Willowdean.

9. MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera

This one emotionally chewed me up and spit me out. I felt like I needed a hug after finishing it. Heart-breaking and unique.

This last one is not YA, but I had to include it because it had such an effect on me:

10. A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara

I read this book almost two months ago and it still haunts me. It's so well-written, the characters and emotions so vivid that it makes you feel like you're living in the story, witnessing it all and feeling every frustration, horror, and happiness right along with the characters. Unforgettable.

What were YOUR favorite books of 2015?

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Agent News

Agent news? you may be thinking. I thought she already had an agent?

Well, you're right. I did. And still I do, but I'll get to that in a sec.

Last week, Carly called and said, "I have some bad news and some good news." She gave me the bad news first: she's no longer representing YA, which means she can no longer be my agent. I was sorry to hear this, of course, because I'd been with Carly since 2012 and we'd gone through a lot over the years--two submission rounds, months of revisions, countless rejections, three offers (in one week!), and finally, a two-book publishing deal.

And then came the good news: one of the newer agents at P.S. Literary read my latest manuscript and loved it. He wants to represent me. Yay! So we got introduced over email. Then we set up a call. Then we spoke on the phone and quickly realized that we're both on the same page with this manuscript. He believes in it, which made me believe in it even more.

The pact was then sealed with virtual high fives and numerous exclamation points on my end. I'm happy to announce that I'm now represented by Eric Smith of P.S. Literary Agency. He's American (unlike me), an author (like me), and also pretty entertaining on Twitter. I'm looking forward to working with him, and I'm so excited to begin this new chapter (heh) in my writing career.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

ANY OTHER GIRL Cover Reveal!

Once upon a time, in the fall of 2013, I signed up for National Novel Writing Month and began writing a story about a fun, outgoing girl named Kat who had same-sex parents. A year later, that story was sold in a two-book deal to Kensington Publishing. And today, I'm going to show you its beautiful cover. (Yeah, yeah, okay, so the cover's been up on Amazon, Goodreads, etc for weeks now, but for today we'll pretend it's not).

First, here's the blurb:

After a disastrous, reputation-destroying party at the end of junior year, Kat Henley has a new plan. When it comes to boys—especially other people’s boys:

Don’t touch.
Don’t smile. 
Don’t charm.

In the past, drawing attention to herself helped distract people from what really makes Kat different—having two gay parents. But it’s also cost her friendships. Kat can’t afford to lose any more of those, especially not her cousin, Harper. They’re spending one last summer together at the lake, where they run into an intriguing newcomer named Emmett Reese. After years of trying to prove she’s just like everybody else, Kat has found someone who wants her because she’s not. A boy who could be everything she wants too—if Harper hadn’t liked him first…

Oh yes. It's about family loyalty and forbidden love and secrets and s'mores and everything summer. And it's probably my favorite book out of all my books. Maybe because Kat and her dads were so much fun to create. And after writing a bad boy in Faking Perfect, it was nice to go back to a nice guy like Emmett. I enjoyed virtually every minute of writing this book and I hope you all enjoy reading it.

Okay, ready for the cover?


Ta-da! I love it. It so perfectly captures the tone of the book. I love the purplish/orangey shades (it is purplish and orangey, right? I don't trust my color judgment after that whole The Dress internet debacle). I love that the girl is wearing a dress, because Kat loves dresses. I love that they're surrounded by water, because the book takes place at Kat's family's summer cottage at the lake.

ANY OTHER GIRL comes out on January 26, 2016. Won't it be lovely to read a nice summer-y book in the dead of winter? You can pre-order it now at one of these places:

And don't forget to add it to your to-read shelf on Goodreads!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

One Week Later

FAKING PERFECT has been out in the world for exactly one week and it's been crazy. And wonderful. I'm overwhelmed by the love and support I received from bloggers, other authors, family, and friends. Thank you all so much!

Here are some of my favorite reviews from the blog tour so far:

"Faking Perfect is about discovering who you truly are, apart from what others think of you, and about learning to live with life’s imperfections." -- Feed Your Fiction Addiction

"This story is absolutely raw and real, done in a tasteful way." -- Writing Pearls

"Faking Perfect is heartbreaking in its intensity and believability." -- Books Direct

"The author did a phenomenal job in creating a complex main character and by writing in the first person POV, the reader is able to experience everything that Lexi does while also getting a peek inside of her mind." -- A Dream Within a Dream

"Overall, Faking Perfect is a great novel with a resounding message." -- The Book Belles

And just...all of this one: Rhea's Neon Journal

Oh, and for the past two days, my little book has been hanging out on the Amazon Top 100 Hot New Releases list for Teen & Young Adult Romance!

Thank you to everyone who Tweeted, Facebooked, blogged, reviewed, promoted, bought, and read FAKING PERFECT. I appreciate every single one of you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


It's today! It's today!

I can hardly believe it. My little book is now out in the world. It's been a long, rewarding journey, and many, many thanks to everyone who was (and still is) a part of it.

Thank you also to all those who pre-ordered. You should have the book on your devices today, and your paperbacks are hopefully in the mail.

If you haven't pre-ordered, you can grab FAKING PERFECT right now:

Oh, and if anyone happens to come across my little book in a store, I would love to see a pic of it.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Faking Perfect News

It's May, which means FAKING PERFECT comes out next month! Well, almost two months, actually, but who's counting besides me?

Bloggers and reviewers, you can now request a digital ARC from Netgalley.

Request ARC

Americans and Canadians, you can now enter to win one of 25 paperback copies of FAKING PERFECT on Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Contemporary YA Authors That Should Be on Your Radar

Let's face it. We can't all be John Green or Sarah Dessen or Rainbow Rowell. They're among the Kings and Queens of YA contemp. Most YA fans know them. Most YA fans have read them. Their books rocket up the best sellers lists and they are talked about, recognized, and celebrated.

I'm a fan of these authors myself, but over the past several years I've discovered and enjoyed many authors who don't seem to be as widely read (but maybe should be). Here are a few of my stand-outs:

Abby McDonald/Abigail Haas

I've been saying for a year and a half now that DANGEROUS GIRLS is the most underrated, under-read YA in existence. And it is. This is the book I shove at people when they ask for a recommendation. I think I even told my cat to read it. It's just that good. The follow-up book, DANGEROUS BOYS, is fantastic as well. Abby writes unputdownable YA thriller like nobody's business.

Laura Wiess

Laura is, in a word, amazing. Her writing is gorgeous, evocative, and brave. Her stories are thought-provoking and heart-wrenching. I needed a box--an entire BOX--of Kleenex when I read ORDINARY BEAUTY. Few books have touched me so much or wrecked me so thoroughly. I know that when I open one of Laura's books, I will spend the next several hours crying. And I look forward to it.

Rebekah Crane

No, I don't just love Rebekah because her name is the same as mine but spelled differently. I love her because her books are hilarious and awesome. I remember getting her first book, PLAYING NICE, as an Amazon freebie. I do not have a good track record with Amazon freebies, but this one was a gem. I scored an ARC of her latest book, ASPEN, and was charmed all over again.

Dahlia Adler

Dahlia is super supportive to authors and I appreciate the time and commitment she puts into promoting, recommending, and blogging about books. She also writes books, and they are fun and engaging. BEHIND THE SCENES was my first Dahlia book, but definitely not my last. She also wrote a New Adult that "didn't make want to scoop my eyes out with a spork." (direct quote from my review) and I'm eagerly awaiting her next YA, UNDER THE LIGHTS (which, FYI, comes out the same day as my next book).

Brandy Colbert

Brandy's debut novel, POINTE, was probably my favorite contemporary YA of 2014. I discovered it while browsing through the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag on Twitter one day. Sometimes an author's writing just clicks with me and that's what happened here. There are a select handful of authors whose Goodreads pages I keep a close eye on, just waiting for a new book to add to my TBR shelf, and Brandy is one of them.

Amy Christine Parker

Cults. Brainwashing. Corruption. Amy hit on a lot of my literary weaknesses with GATED. I was riveted from the first page to the last. This is another author who I feel is under-hyped. Some people put Amy's books in the dystopian or sci-fi category, but after reading the first one, I think they're solidly contemporary. I have yet to read GATED's sequel, ASTRAY, but it's high up on my to-read list.

Jessica Verdi

Jessica brings something really unique to contemporary YA. MY LIFE AFTER NOW tackles an issue I don't think I've ever seen in a YA novel. THE SUMMER I WASN'T ME is about a girl who goes to a religious de-gaying camp. I feel like I can count on this author to bring something new and different to the table. Ever ask yourself "Why hasn't someone written a book about ______?" Well, Jessica is probably writing it.

Who are some authors that you feel should be on everyone's radar? Tell me in the comments. If I haven't heard of them, I'll rectify that ASAP.

Monday, January 19, 2015

15 Things I'd Tell My Younger Author Self

I've been writing pretty much all my life, but it wasn't until 2011 (when I started writing my third book, Out of Nowhere, with the intent of actually getting published) that I decided to make a full-time career out of it. Back then, like a lot of new authors, I had no clue what I was doing or what I was in for. Now that I'm relatively seasoned, I can't help but wonder what I'd tell my younger, greener self if given the chance.

So naturally, I came up with a list:

1. You will meet other authors through Twitter, etc. and feel like you've finally found your people. We're insecure and a little crazy and we talk about publishing and books and cats and food and it's pretty cool.

2. You will go through phases during which all you feel like doing is playing Candy Crush or re-watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix and you'll feel really guilty about it. It's okay to avoid that WIP if you're just not feeling it. For a little while. Then you'd better put away your tablet, get your ass back in that chair, and keep writing.

3. You will experience how simultaneously exciting and terrifying it is to have a book out on submission. You will also learn about patience, handling rejection, and how to take editors' feedback and apply it to your next book.

4. You will learn that beta readers and critique partners are not just important, but downright necessary. It's a daunting thing, sending your baby off for others to criticize, but it's the most valuable learning experience you'll ever have.

5. You will discover that the YA community is awesome, but there's some vitriol too. You'll focus on the awesome.

6. You will discover that most authors are kind, supportive, and lovely, but there are some jerks too. You'll focus on the lovelies.

7. You will get reviews that make you question your writing skills/career/life. But then you'll learn that opinions are subjective and not everyone is going to like your books.

8. You will get reviews that make it all seem worthwhile. And they will make your day.

9. You will feel invisible sometimes. Why doesn't so-and-so respond to my tweet/email me back/read my book/mention my book on their blog/know I exist?

10. You will read other books in your genre and support/promote/shower love on the author. And they'll be appreciative and grateful and maybe even do the same for you.

11. You will learn that even the most famous and successful authors feel insecure sometimes. Even Stephen freaking King probably has doubts about his work. (Well, maybe not)

12. You will realize how random and fluctuating your sales earnings can be. One month you'll make enough to treat yourself to a new laptop, the next month you'll make just enough for a McDonald's Happy Meal.

13. You will stalk your Goodreads author page and keep a close eye on your Amazon rankings. Not all authors do this, but they have way more willpower than you do.

14. You'll compare yourself to other authors and feel like a failure and/or imposter sometimes. Then you'll learn to keep your eyes on your own work.

15. You will discover that the good far outweighs the bad. You're doing what you love and getting paid for it. You can live in yoga pants or pajamas and never leave the house. And even though writing is hard and sometimes lonely, you'll realize how damn fortunate you are to be able to do it for a living.

2011 Rebecca Phillips, you won't regret a thing.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Last Year, This Year, and Beyond

2014 was an exciting year in my writing life.

In February, I finished the manuscript I started during the 2013 National Novel Writing Month. The final product is a novel I'm very much proud of called ANY OTHER GIRL. You can read about it HERE.

In May, this happened:

In June, I started writing UNTIL sixth book, my first New Adult, and the third book in my JUST YOU series.

In September, I saw this cover for the first time...

In October, UNTIL NOW was released and the cover for FAKING PERFECT was revealed on Barnes and Noble.

What's coming up in 2015?

  • All things FAKING PERFECT, which will be released on June 30 (but you can pre-order it right now!)
  • I'll write a new YA book, which will be different (and darker) than anything I've attempted before. I look forward to the challenge.
  • In the second half of 2015, I'll shift focus to ANY OTHER GIRL, which is due out in February 2016 with Kensington Publishing.
  • I'll continue on with this crazy, busy, wonderful ride called Full-Time Author.

I wish you all the best of luck in 2015!