YA Scavenger Hunt Fall 2016 is here!

Welcome to the 13th YA Scavenger Hunt!

I’m Megan Crewe — author of YA fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction novels including A Mortal Song, the Earth & Sky trilogy, the Fallen World trilogy, and Give Up the Ghost — and I’m your host for this stop of the tour.

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, an blue team, a green team, and a purple team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!


If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.


Directions: Somewhere on this page, I’ve listed my favorite number (hint: the number is highlighted in orange). Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the orange team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

The author I’m pleased to be hosting for the YA Scavenger Hunt today is… Jeff Garvin!

Before becoming a novelist, Jeff Garvin acted on TV and toured as the lead singer of a rock band. He has a BFA in Film from Chapman University and lives in Southern California, surrounded by adorable, shedding beasts. Symptoms of Being Human is his first novel.

And this is his book, Symptoms of Being Human — I love the minimalist cover!


Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And secretly gender fluid. Riley starts an anonymous blog to deal with hostility from classmates and tension at home—but when the blog goes viral, an anonymous commenter threatens to out Riley to the world.

Can’t wait to check this one out! You can order the book via the links here.

Here’s the exclusive bonus material: the alternate beginnings of Symptoms of Being Human. Here’s what Jeff has to say about them:

From first draft to published novel, the part of Symptoms of Being Human that changed most was the beginning. I wanted to create an opening page that drew in the reader immediately, set up Riley’s struggle, and generated momentum to propel the story into the following chapters. In this post, I’ll share three alternate beginnings for Symptoms of Being Human to give you a behind-the-scenes (between-the-drafts?) look at how the novel changed as I worked on it.

From the first draft, begun February 2014
I started the first version with a blog post from Riley. I thought it would be a powerful way to introduce Riley’s narrative voice and simultaneously establish that we’re about to experience a story that is not about (yet totally is about) gender identity. Here’s the original opening:

New Post: Which?

October 1, 6:32 PM

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: am I a girl, or am I a boy?

Don’t worry. I’m used to it; it’s the first thing everyone wants to know—even when they can see me. And, even if they don’t ask, the question hangs there. It shows itself in the narrowing of their eyes, the slight tilt of their heads. At best, it’s invasive curiosity; at worst, open condemnation. Either way, they want an answer: Boy. Or. Girl.

But it’s not that simple. In a digital world, where everything is on or off, black or white, yes or no, it’s hard for people to wrap their minds around something that’s NOT a toggle switch, but a dial. Okay, they say, but you were born one way or the other. Like, biologically. You know, anatomically.

From the second draft, begun in May 2014
The second draft begins quite differently. I scrapped the blog entry in favor of plunging right into Riley’s life as they get ready for the first day at a new school. Here’s the opening from the second draft:

I stand in front of my open closet, casting a flat, even shadow on the clothes hanging within, as though I’m the thing obscuring my own identity from view. I step aside to let the morning sun illuminate the inside of the closet, and I stare at the brand new wardrobe dangling lifelessly from a row of identical oak hangers. These are the clothes my mother so enthusiastically picked out during my nearly unendurable shopping ordeal last week.

From the third draft, written in August of 2014
In the end, I decided I did want Symptoms to begin with Riley’s first blog post, for all the reasons I stated in the introduction to the first draft excerpt. While I definitely captured Riley’s voice in this version, it didn’t have the same impact as the first two drafts, so it was eventually rewritten and cut dramatically.

New Post: Dear Futile Therapy Blog

October 1, 6:42 AM

Dear Futile Therapy Blog,

I don’t want to write you. I don’t want to confess my darkest secrets on a freaking blog. To broadcast my deepest insecurities to the anonymous Internet horde. To fling my flaws into the ether, to be consumed by anyone with a Wi-Fi connection and time to kill, all in the name of therapy. 

As if anyone is going to read this.

God, I sound so bitter. Do I sound bitter to you? I’m not that bitter, I swear. 

Except when I am. 

But seriously, blog. The thought of spilling my guts to an audience of roughly nine apathetic strangers fills me with a sense of self-loathing so profound, Kurt Cobain himself would find it impossible to express in song. And isn’t this whole writing thing supposed to be helping me manage my self-loathing?

O! Sweet irony.

And yet, here we are, blog. You and me, alone on my bed on the morning of my first day at a new school.


This is stupid.

I’m not doing this.

#recovery #therapy #PityPartyOfOneYourTableIsReady

From the finished version, published February 2016
In the end, I was determined to have that first line from the rough draft (The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?) appear as the opening sentence of the novel—but starting with a full-blown blog post slowed the pace of the first chapter too much. So I split the difference and had Riley begin a new post, only to abort it a few lines in—something I’ve done many times in my own blogging life—and then we dive into Riley’s morning before school. Here’s the opening from the published version of Symptoms of Being Human:

New Post: One or the Other

October 1, 6:55 AM

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is:  Am I a boy, or am I a girl?


I stop typing and stare at the cursor, which flashes at me incessantly, as if mocking my inability to write one stupid post.

“Riley!” It’s my mom, calling me from downstairs in her singsongy voice. “If you still want to be early, you’d better come down for breakfast!”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the drafting process for Symptoms of Being Human. Thanks so much for reading.

That was a fascinating glimpse into the writing process! I know I rewrite all my beginnings many times before I get them right — there can be as many as 8 different versions.


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Kathryn Holmes!

But before you go, I’m offering a bonus giveaway right here!

A Mortal Song cover
A lucky winner will receive a copy (in whatever format you prefer) of my newest release, A Mortal Song, plus swag! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

YASH A Mortal Song giveaway
Happy Hunting!


YA Scavenger Hunt Fall 2016 is here! — 57 Comments

  1. I enjoyed the discussion of the three drafts, and especially the eventual solution of taking what worked from the blog post in the first draft but changing the context so that pacing didn’t suffer. Thanks for sharing!

  2. It was interesting to see how the opening of the story changed with each draft!

    Thank you so much for the giveaway opportunity 🙂

  3. I liked the third draft since the blog post was fun and clever. The cover actually reminds me of “Look Who’s Back” which is the “what if Hitler showed up in today’s world?” book. It’s a really hysterical mockumentary style book I enjoyed a great deal.

  4. Thank you so much for being part of YASH! I haven’t read your books yet, but I’ll definately be checking them out now.

    Thanks again!

  5. I like the published version, with the first draft my favorite draft because of that direct line “are you a boy or a girl”

  6. I like the final version – the brevity and the question set a good tone but of he draft versions my favorite was the 3rd

  7. Thanks for the bonus content. Symptoms of Being Human sounds like a good book and the cover is very appealing.

    I also would love to read A Mortal Song.

  8. My first post on my first time doing the scavanger hunt and I’ve already found a new book & author to go on my TBR! Thank you for hosting, Megan, and for sharing the beginnings, Jeff. I think my favourite alternate was the first – for the first line you went with in the published version.

  9. I love both the sound of this book and this kind of extra content – it’s always fascinating to see behind the writing scenes. Thanks!

  10. Just like a lot of people, I liked the 3rd graft. Also, I love how the cover for Jeff’s book is minimalist but still amazing.

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