Friday, February 15, 2013

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade

Title: Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (Shapers #1)
Author: Nya Jade
Release Date:  Oct 30/2012
Adquired: Print copy provided by author
Goodreads: ADD
Purchase: Amazon/Kobo Books

The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.

As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.

Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.


There are just books that catch you completely off guard, that surprise you with that amazing feeling of "WHOA. I can't get enough of this this!". Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four picked me up, and transported me somewhere that I wanted to stay immersed in, for a long time. Nya Jade has one hell of a knack for words, and was pretty much feeding me feelings of pure and simple magic from the very first page.

It is a seriously rare thing for me to feel an attachment to a character right from the get-go, but Phoebe made it easy to fall for her. I felt like the first couple of chapters provided just enough information for me to become invested in her life-I was already rooting for her, and I didn't even completely know why. The same, if not more, can be said for Hayley, the female side character-and Phobe's eventual confident-we have the pleasure of being acquainted to right away. I typically find such brazenness annoying, and contrived, but Hayley became one of THE most genuine characters I've ever read-the friendship she and Phoebe developed was admirable and real, I couldn't wait to get to their dialogues.

I'm also usually not a fan of instant attraction, and this is probably the only area of the book that gave me pause. Colten Chase is a mega-movie star, the eye target of almost every girl on the Above (and Below) Campus. I won't delve into details, but I wish Phoebe had considered another path for just a liiiittle touch longer, instead of the one she followed in regards to their relationship. With that said however, I enjoyed the scenes of them together, it was written with care and innocence, and did not scream "hormone-enraged," like so many others do in YA these days. 

I wish I could touch on the fantastic-ness of every character (both student AND faculty), but that would take me all day. I LOVED these characters, with an admiration that bordered on the love I feel for my beloved Harry Potter favourites-yes, I WENT there! I am completely comparing this book to the world and characters of Hogwarts. Nya Jade did such a spectacular job of creating a magical aura, and not in the typical way. It's so easy to go all ability/magic crazy when you're writing a world that thrives with magically privileged characters, but Nya was both subtle and generous in a way that made my head and heart hum with joy. I was completely taken by her ability to make me fall so easily for the world, and characters, she built.

I totally want to fan-girl for hours about these pages and it's contents, but I'm weary of giving away too much. Fans of Harry Potter, fantasy, and the paranormal are going to find a rare gem in this book. You will devour this story, and live inside it's world for as long as it takes you to read it-I can personally guarantee that myself!


What was your main inspiration for this book/series?

I wrote the book because the idea of a secret paranormal school, within a regular school, grabbed me and refused to let go. The idea actually came to me as a movie first, but when I had trouble writing the screenplay, I decided to write the book version instead. And when I needed inspiration for the story's setting, I drew from my own boarding school experience. That said, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of shape-shifters at my high school!

Which character did you enjoy writing the most?

Gosh, you're asking me to pick a favorite child! :-) I had fun writing all of the them. That said, I got a kick out of writing a Karli. She's a small side character who is very annoying. It was fun to see how many ways I could make her piss me off!

Why did you chose to write about the paranormal?

I love the paranormal. There's no limit to what you can do in this genre. If you can imagine a world, you can bring it to life in a book. You're free to make up your own rules and mythology.

Can you describe an interesting research moment?

I have a friend whose husband is an ex-Army Special Forces guy. I interviewed him to get a sense of the kind of training he went through. I wanted to have it in mind as I created the spy/military elements of my story. It was interesting to hear a firsthand account of army life. Watching it on TV, or seeing it in a movie, is nothing like hearing it from someone who has lived through it.

What does your next literary project entail?

The next installment of Phoebe Pope's adventure!

Thank you very much for this interview. I appreciate the opportunity! xoxo Nya 


Nya Jade is a singer-songwriter and author based in San Francisco. Her music videos have aired on the VH1, BET, and MTV networks. USA Today hailed Nya as a “young female troubadour worth keeping your eyes and ears on,” in an entertainment feature on up-and-coming singer-songwriters. “Her cool singing voice recalls Sade,” said the LA Times.

Between writing and performing new music, Nya took a musical sabbatical to focus on writing a novel—an endeavor she found quite daunting, until she began looking at each chapter as a verse in a very long song. Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four is her first novel.

In her free time, Nya enjoys hanging out with family and friends, searching for amazing gluten-free desserts, and bargain hunting for her next pair of funky shoes.

Nya holds a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Sociology, both from Stanford University.


A huge thank-you to Xpresso Book Tours for hosting this tour and allowing me to participate, and Nya Jade for kindly sending me a copy of her book to review.

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