Friday, August 29, 2014



Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code. Yvonne’s the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, available since May from Sky Pony Press. Yvonne’s other writing credits include two nonfiction books for kids: Avril Lavigne (a biography of the singer) and Publishing (about careers in the field). You can visit her website at


In Pandemic, only a few people know what caused Lilianna Snyder's sudden change from a model student to a withdrawn pessimist who worries about all kinds of disasters. After her parents are called away on business, Lil’s town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread fatal illness. With her worst fears realized, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

Buy links:
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I stood on the smoking corner behind school reveling in my aloneness. Not many smokers had the same schedule, which made the corner the perfect place for solitude. We always stayed a foot off the high school property, near the big oak tree, and since we were allowed to leave during last period study hall, we weren’t technically breaking any rules.

As if rules mattered.

“Hey, got a light?” Jay Martinez asked, interrupting the quiet. In the fall, he’d moved from Arizona to live with his aunt down the block from my house.

I handed him my half-smoked cigarette. Cupping the burning ember, he used it to light his own. He didn’t fit in with the other smokers, but then neither did I. My black clothes, basic ponytail, and minimal makeup placed me in my own category. Maybe Lazy Goth. But the nice thing about smokers was that they didn’t exclude anyone.

“Thanks.” Jay passed my cigarette back to me.

“Is New Jersey always this cold in April?”

Being the new guy at school made Jay the flavor of the month with the other sophomore girls. They craved him in a nauseating kind of way. He was dark, tall, and lanky, and tended to over-communicate. Totally not my type. Now he ruined my aloneness with weather chatter. I shrugged so he’d get the idea that I wasn’t in a talking mood.

“Ethan was hoping to run into you,” he said.

Another shrug. I’d managed to avoid my ex for months. No reason to change the pattern now.

“So . . . do you have Robertson for bio?” he asked.

I nodded. Jay definitely wasn’t taking the hint.

“What are you doing your report on?”

“Emerging diseases,” I said, finally giving up on staying silent.

“Cheerful stuff.”

The school projects I chose did favor the dark this semester. American history report? The decision to drop the bomb. English book talk? A collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. Thematically, Ebola hemorrhagic fever fit right in.

“What are you writing about?” I flicked the accumulated ashes. “Lung cancer?”

He smiled. “The biology of taste. I write restaurant reviews on my blog and that was the closest topic I could think of. Do you like eating at restaurants?”

Leaning slightly forward, he held eye contact a little too long for me. Was he flirting? Nervous, I pulled my sweater tighter around me and crossed my arms. A flirtatious guy was the absolute last thing I needed in my life. No boyfriends, no coy conversations for me. Not anymore.

1 comment:

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Thanks for featuring Pandemic today!