Guest post: So Shelly author Ty Roth + giveaway

It’s a huge honour to have Ty Roth, author of the up and coming YA novel, So Shelly, guest posting on my blog today. For those who haven’t heard of the book, I’ve asked Ty to tell us about the book, the significance of the title, the importance that poetry plays in his novel and of course, a brief introduction to the characters.

So Shelly. So Shocking! 
About the book:
So Shelly is the story of three friends, all modern-day high school students, whose lives and personalities are based upon those of the second generation of English Romantic poets:

George Gordon (Lord Byron); Percy Bysshe Shelley; and John Keats.

After Shelly dies in what’s ruled a “sailing accident,” the other two steal the urn containing her ashes from her wake and attempt to fulfill her final wish to have them scattered on the very beach where her body washed ashore.

In the process of completing their quest, Keats, as narrator, reveals the story of the trinity’s pasts, together and apart.

The inspiration behind the title:
The title for the novel emerged over years of discussing the life and poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley in my senior English classes, where I often found myself referring to his romantic philosophies and naïve, Pollyanna-like endeavors as being “So Shelley” – as in “It’s so Shelley to think that he could change the world through poetry.”

From there, the idea of a tragic novel about a similar-minded, modern-day, teenage romantic was spawned. I then incorporated the two most famous members of Percy Shelley’s literary circle, Lord Byron and John Keats, as additional characters, and the novel was born.

Romanticism is, in general, a world view for young people; therefore, the subject matter was a natural fit for a young adult novel. Wanting a female protagonist, I converted the title character to a girl and changed the spelling to “Shelly.”

To be honest, I half-expected the publisher to change the title, but I think they recognized something unique and attention-getting about it that effectively complements the story.

The characters:
Although the Percy Bysshe Shelley character is named in the title, as happened in real life, she is largely overshadowed by the scandalous exploits of and the force of personality that is the Lord Byron character (named Gordon Byron in the novel).

John Keats, as narrator, often sinks into the background of the story from where he is better positioned to observe and report. A challenge for readers of So Shelly is the essentially flawed nature of each of the main characters.

To a large extent, modern readers expect to fall in love with at least the protagonists in the novels they read.

In my novel, however, (largely due to my attempt to adhere as much as possible to the actual personalities of the prototypical characters), Shelly, Byron, and Keats can be more-than-a-little off-putting.

Byron is narcissistic, Shelly can be abrasive, and Keats is typically aloof; therefore, they can be difficult to “warm up to.”

The poetry:
Divided into three sections, each of which begins with a poem or an excerpt from a poem from one of the three Romantics, So Shelly attempts to do for high school literary magazines what Glee has done for high school glee clubs.

Shelly, Gordon, and Keats each are members of Trinity High School’s literary magazine’s staff, and each contributes pieces for publication.

However, largely due to poetry’s sadly underappreciated status in contemporary society, I chose to utilize the narrative aspect of some of the actual poets’ work, especially concerning Byron and Shelley, and have them primarily produce pieces of prose fiction.

If nothing else, So Shelly, forges out a unique space in today’s world of YA literature. Called “lurid yet literary” by Kirkus Reviews, it pushes the edges of typical young adult fare with its inclusion of a number of unsettling realities drawn from the poets’ lives, its frank treatment of a variety of adult themes, its use of challenging vocabulary and figurative language, and its many layers of interpretive meaning.

The giveaway:

One lucky winner stands the chance to win a pre-ordered copy of So  Shelly. The book is set to be published in February this year, so the wait won’t really be all that long.

All you need to do is to simply enter your details here and tell me why you are looking forward to reading So Shelly!

- You must be older than 13 in order to enter this giveaway
- Giveaway is open to any country that the Book Depository ships to.
- Being a follower of this blog is NOT required.
Special thanks to Ty for taking time out of his busy schedule to do this guest post. I don’t know about you, but I am certainly looking forward to reading So Shelly!

To find out more about the author, you can visit his website here and follow him on twitter here.


I really want to read this one! Nice guest post. Bookmarked. Thanks for the giveaway. I want to read So Shelly because it sounds SO original, and the cover seems so prophetic and mystical. Love it.

cc932005 at hotmail dot com
brandileigh2003 said…
I saw you signed up for Loving the Reviews Challenge- glad to have you!
I am excited to read So Shelly!
Aisle B said…
Thank you for coming by Tammy's The Book Fairy Haven.

This is the place for reading about up and coming works & Tammy has been my constant reading radar detector.

I must say I'm really intrigued in reading So Shelly since the inspiration touches on some of the most prolific writers of our times. Any chance Mary Shelly might be subtly playing into this plot?? Does Frankenstein ring a bell and the tale of how it came to be?? Just a thought.

Hmmm so testing my karmic luck and wishing everyone the same turn at chance.

Here's my email

Thanks for the giveaway and Tammy blaming you for my breaking the buying ban...AGAIN! ;)
Jenny said…
I'm so excited to read this one! This was a fun post, I love knowing how authors picked their book titles:) It was interesting to read why he chose to use poetry at the beginning of the three sections as well. Thanks for this giveaway Tammy!
Anonymous said…
Great giveaway!! :)

You've won an award on my blog! :) Check it out
Clover said…
Wow, what a wonderful guest post and amazing opportunity to win the book. I love the sound of this one and I'm still in awe of that gorgeous cover!! Please, let it be me! :)
So Shelly sounds great! The cover is so pretty! I'll definitely check this one out!
This book has been on my wishlist forever now, and the author's take on it just makes me want to read it even more! Great post!

iswimforoceans (at) gmail (dot) com
Lu said…
Thanks so much for the giveaway!
I really want to read this book because its sounds amazing!

chidoryx AT hotmail DOT com

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