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Posted on May 20, 2024 in Blog, International, Portugal

Eyes Open in the Media

Eyes Open in the Media

At the same time as Eyes Open launched two weeks ago, I had a lot of work deadlines, so I haven’t been posting as often as usual. However, a few of those deadlines had to do with interviews that have already gone live or will be in the next few days (and I promised to update when they do).

A huge milestone for me was being featured in Booklist‘s May 15 issue, which focused on historical fiction. Many Booklist issues have a special genre focus, where they include the Top 10 books of the year in that genre. Moonwalking made the Top 10 Arts Books for Youth list in fall 2022. In addition to being named a Booklist Editor’s Choice for 2022, Torch was included in Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth in 2023. Eyes Open‘s inclusion on the Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth, 2024 list marks the second year in a row that I’ve had a YA novel on that list.

Even more gratifying was getting a Spotlight Interview in the same issue. Angela Carstensen had thought-provoking questions that included both Eyes Open and Torch. The interview addresses my choice of writing Sónia’s story in verse, the connections between Portugal in 1967 and the rise of authoritarianism today, how I created the neurodivergent character Tomáš in Torch, and how my work as a translator led to my writing both these YA novels.

This is the first time I’ve ever been spotlighted in a major trade journal and in answering the questions I felt the weight of standing on a larger stage. I appreciate all the contributions of authors who came before me and whose interviews I could use as models for my responses.

Yet no one interview can capture all my thoughts about Eyes Open. I’m fortunate to have other friends and supporters who’ve hosted me on their blogs and sites. Sandra Nickel’s column “What Was On…” presents multiple aspects of her interviewees’ lives, from their reasons for writing their books to what their writing space looks like, and for me, the itinerary of my recent trip to Portugal. is a great resource for schools and especially for teachers at the secondary level. For both Torch and Eyes Open, they’ve partnered with my publisher, Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab, to include a brief interview and reading from each book.

Eyes Open is also available in audiobook, narrated by Soneela Nankani. Once again, the cover is different.

Lerner’s own website has a blog that features interviews with selected authors of new and forthcoming books. Again, the questions have allowed me to go into more depth about aspects of the novel that aren’t in other interviews, including Sónia’s friend at the laundry shed, Zuleika, and her experience as a migrant to Lisbon from Cabo Verde.

Rogue Librarians interviewed me for my first full-length podcast. I thought it would take weeks for them to edit out all my “uhs” and “ums”, but either my recording went more smoothly than I’d expected, or they’re very fast editors. I did have a lot of fun talking with librarians who loved Eyes Open, and you can hear the podcast on Apple Music, Spotify, or on the Rogue Librarians website.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be appearing on a video from the teen-run anti-censorship organization Unban Coolies, and in a piece for Teen Librarian Toolbox talking about the 50th anniversary of the revolution that ended the dictatorship under which my characters live. I’ll add those links as soon as they’re available.

In the meantime, please check out the Educator Guide for Eyes Open, which offers a historical overview of the period, questions for discussion, poetry-related lessons, and classroom activities.


  1. Lyn, I am so behind! I will get questions to you so you can come on the blog to discuss your latest novel. (I wrote two books back to back and am now giving time to more things 😄)

    • Thank you, Linda! I look forward to appearing on your blog and will be sure to add the link as soon as the interview goes live!

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