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The Newest YA Thriller You Never Knew You Needed

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Did Halloween come and go without leaving you with enough of that goose-bumping, heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat, nightmare-inducing deliciousness you love? Then the newest New York Times bestseller, Nightfall, is definitely for you. Reminiscent of some of your those late-night "curl-your-toes" horror movies that you used to stay up watching as a child, this novel follows three teens who live in a world where 14 years of day are followed by 14 years of night. On the day before the 14 years of night and darkness are about to ensue, the teens are accidentally left behind, causing them to have to figure out how to survive on their own against the sinister forest, the darkness and the horrifying creatures that live in it.

Now, if you aren't into fast-paced thrillers, know that this book probably isn't for you. However, if you are a lover of staying up late at night so that you can finish just one more page, then this is definitely a winner. Like all good thrillers, this book has you constantly asking questions and searching to find answers with the protagonists (who you forget are actually just teens about halfway through) up until the very last page. As for the ending, well...let's just say we're glad that there is buzz of a sequel.

We actually got to sit down with Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski, the authors of this up-and-coming young adult novel. We chatted with the authors about everything from their fascination with the eeriness of darkness to what they personally think of their newfound fame in the YA industry.
Having made a career out of writing as an author, radio producer, as well as a journalist for well-known publications like The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly, Jake told us that pausing to write a fast-paced YA series was something that he had always wanted to do, but never taken the time to do until one day, "My wife called me out. She basically made it to where I had to do what I had always talked about and dreamed about doing."
For Peter, the transition from American diplomat to successful YA writer was a lot easier than one would think. "I really enjoyed my time as an American diplomat traveling to places like Israel, Haiti and Paris, but my passion has always been to be a writer," he said. "After Jake and I started working with the supportive staff at Penguin House, I realized that this was a kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I didn't want to pass up."

And how does one come up with the idea of a killer teen novel in which things literally go bump in the night?
For Peter, the idea that a place that is usually comforting and familiar to someone (your home, for example) could instantly become scary in the dark was always a "fascinating concept." As for the inspiration behind the "14 years of darkness," Peter credited his time in a northwest territory of Canada where, from mid-June to mid-August, there are two months of 24/7 sunlight.
Jake stated another source of inspiration. "When Peter and I had been talking about [the concept of] night and dark for a long time. When he used to live in Paris, he ate at a restaurant called the Dans le Noir, where you eat entirely in the dark," he said thinking back. "So we talked about how you can spend an entire novel on darkness, and that kinda got the ball rolling on this novel."

As for how the two are handling the fame and success now that their novel is one of this year's most anticipated YA thrillers and a New York Times bestseller?

"It's definitely weird going from me and Peter telling each other stories to your editor and the publishing house being in on the process," Jake said. "We love going on the road and promoting the book, but for me, going back to the beginning...writing and sharing ideas with Peter...that, to me, is the best part."

"Ask me again in six months! It's all very new," Peter remarked with a laugh. "It's a transition, but I'm loving it so far."

The two authors also had some amazing advice for anyone looking to get into the YA fictional writing scene. "Don't be afraid of rejection or failure...and write every single day," Peter responded almost immediately.

"Don't write YA with 'kid gloves',"Jake added. "Write the story the way you'd write it for an adult, the way you'd want someone to write it for you."

Look out for Nightfall in stores now or online, and while you're at it, grab a blanket and a flashlight - you're gonna need it.
(Cambio Col[lab] is a lab for young creators to showcase their passion and develop their voice. Like what you're seeing? Share it to support their effort!)


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