Friday, October 25, 2013

YA Unscene + Giveaway: Celia on the Run by Sarah Mandell

YA Unscene is a meme on Fragments of Life that features unseen or deleted scenes of novels that is followed by a short interview and a giveaway. For the second post, I will be featuring Celia on the Run by Sarah Mandell. This is a YA coming-of-age contemporary.

Book Description:

ebook, 173 pages
February 29th 2012, Untreed Reads

Nick Novaczek is a cautious soul, a 17-year old with a boring life, a predictable future, and a quiet thirst for danger. On the eve of his beloved grandmother's funeral, danger finds him by the motel swimming pool. Her name is Celia and she's everything he's not. This foul-mouthed beauty is hitchhiking across the country to make amends with her estranged father and doesn't carry an ounce of fear or hesitation in her tattered suitcase. She's bad news all around, but for a rule-follower like Nick, she's intoxicating.

Twenty-four hours after speaking to Celia for the very first time, following one extremely lucky night, Nick is hopelessly hooked and "borrows" his parents' car to join her cross-country mission, even though her story is full of holes. It's the mistake he's been waiting his whole life to make. Together, they dodge a train, jump off a bridge, and scam everyone in their path. Nick is blossoming into a teenage fugitive, just like Celia, and he's never been happier. She may not be who she says she is, but she's got his vulnerable heart.

After weeks of detours, with hundreds of miles left to go, their wild adventure starts to unravel. The money dries up, Celia's dark secrets begin to surface, and it's clear they both want vastly different things out of this partnership. Celia is all about no strings attached and severing whatever they may have between them once they reach their destination, while Nick is head over heels in love and wanting a future with the girl in his passenger seat. They seem to reach a new low on a daily basis, but she won't turn back, no matter how desperate things get. After all, this is her trip and Nick is just the driver. Celia's got a charming smile to pay her way, a willing accomplice, a hidden agenda, and an endless supply of lies. Not to mention a gun.

Could you tell us about Celia?
Celia is wild and unstoppable, she lives each day as though it could be her last. Her past is dark, and her future uncertain, so she does what she wants, when she wants, and isn't sorry about anything. A girl with a tough exterior like this is hard to love at first, but Celia has the natural ability to charm her way through any situation.

How did she wind up with Nick?
Celia is hitchhiking her way east, and crosses paths with Nick, a shy rule-follower who's never been anywhere and never done anything crazy in his life. It's not just her beauty hooks him, it's her wild ways and the cross-country adventure she's on. The temptation to join Celia's mission is just too much for him to resist.

Describe Celia on the Run?
Celia on the Run is a dark coming of age story that follows Nick Novaczek, a shy teenager with a quiet thirst for danger, on a wild road trip across the US with a foul-mouthed hitchhiker by his side. Celia’s everything Nick is not. She's out of control and reckless, but following after this beautiful girl on a mission that doesn't really add up, is the mistake Nick’s been waiting his whole life to make. Following weeks of detours, their adventure begins to unravel, but there's no turning back, no matter how desperate they get. Their cross country journey is an emotional minefield, and with each chapter, new danger awaits, different outcomes are possible, but the reader may never guess what will become of these two characters by the time they reach their destination.

Celia on the Run would be recommendable for what kind of readers?
Celia on the Run is suited for YA readers, but it's on the mature side of that genre. There's some language and violence, and it's not a rosy story of a picture perfect couple or a fun vacation on the road. This is a novel about the not so well off youth of America, and a few scenes may be disturbing for some readers.

What is it about this deleted scene that made you delete it?
This scene was from chapter 6, when Nick and Celia are in the wild and carefree part of their road trip across the US. They have to lie, cheat, and steal to get by because they have no money and are technically runaways, but they're having a great time at this point in the story. I removed this particular scene because there are an awful lot of scenes with Nick and Celia scheming and stealing, they get into a fair amount of trouble during the course of their trip, and I didn't want the reader to get distracted by all the mischief they get into in order to survive on the road and miss out of the character development. This story is all about the characters, who they are, who they say they are, and who the become during the trip, not about all the laws they break and the people they swindle. In this scene, you really don't learn much about Nick and Celia, so I felt it wouldn't be missed in the end.

As we all saw, Celia was quite talented with subtleness and a quick hand. How did you mold her character in such a way that she would eventually get these characteristics?
Bits and pieces of Celia's background are revealed over the course of the story, so the reader does eventually get the sense that Celia is a survivor and does what she has to do in order to get by. When I was creating Celia's character, I molded her in such a way that anything she did, whether it was mean, wrong, or illegal, wouldn't bring her any guilt because it was all out of necessity.

Sarah Mandell is a professionally trained artist with a background in commercial interior design. She's also the brains and busy hands behind a thriving indie craft business called Once Again Sam. Even with an ever-expanding collection of creative outlets, she's truly the happiest when she's writing. Sarah is represented by Nine Speakers. Her publisher is Untreed Reads.

Follow Sarah: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

One of you will win Celia on the Run. This is a digital copy so it's open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Looks like a great read. I loved the conflict between the two characters.

  2. I love coming-of-age books so I think I would enjoy this! Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. I'm an elderly reader and author, and I love a book with strong characters any age. I know I will appreciate this book. JoAnn L. Hill