Sunday, April 8, 2012

Book Review (and interview!) Alissa Grosso's Ferocity Summer ♥

'cause I am. And I'm not talking about beaches and watermelon and corn-on-the-cob and stuff (although those are among my favorite summer things). Friend and fellow writer Alissa Grosso's new book FEROCITY SUMMER is out NEXT MONTH, and I *just* so happen to have a SIGNED ARC of said book to give away (see deets at the end of this post). Check out this teaser:

“Would you rather be dead and know it, or alive and not know it?”

Scilla Davis is haunted by a horrible accident that she was involved in last summer—a drunken, reckless joyride that ended in tragedy. With a big trial looming, life seems empty, unreal, and utterly hopeless. It’s especially painful watching her best friend, Willow, slowly destroy herself with pills and booze. Yet Scilla can’t seem to wrest Willow—or herself—from a path of self-destruction.

But there might be a possible escape from this nightmare. As a dangerous new drug called Ferocity sweeps the nation, an FBI agent asks Scilla to turn narc and help locate the Ferocity kingpin. In exchange, she could avoid conviction for her role in the accident. All she has to do is deceive and betray people she’s known all her life . . .

You know you want to read this!

So between moving and writing and other things, Alissa had a virtual sit down with me to answer a few questions... 

NZ: Ferocity Summer is set in New Jersey, your home state. Why did you choose this setting? What do you love most about NJ (and why)? Anything you would change? 

AG: Not only is it set in my home state, it's set in the town (Byram Township) where I lived as a teen. I've taken a few liberties, but it more or less is the way it's described in the book. As for why... well, the old saying is to write what you know and I know New Jersey and that little corner of Sussex County pretty well. What I love about New Jersey is that it has it all mountains, farms, beaches, suburbs, cities - few states can claim to have as much variety. Also, there's the food. Bagels and pizza and diners and sub sandwiches and boardwalk French fries and frozen custard. You don't realize how good we have it until you make the mistake of eating pizza out of state. What would I change about the state? I wish it was more affordable. Real estate is just too expensive here, but I guess you pay for greatness! (Thanks to for the Wawa poster!) 

A fellow Jersey Girl, Alissa has, no doubt, been to a Wawa...

NZ: I love the names of your characters, especially Scilla. How do you choose your character names? Do they have special and/or symbolic meaning? 

AG: Thank you. I have a notebook that says "Names" on the front, and it contains a list of names that I jot down as I hear them, read them or make them up. That way, when I get stuck on a character's name I can turn to my trusty resource. This is the point where I'm supposed to provide some deep, literary explanation of the significance of Scilla's name, except I don't really have one. I just thought that Scilla as a nickname for Priscilla sounded kind of cool.

Alissa's first book ends with an amazing twist!

NZ: I'm gonna go all literary on you (or maybe it's because I have Greek on the brain...) but I was thinking the whole Scylla and Charybdis story--after all, the character does find herself in a tough spot, just sayin'. Ferocity Summer and Popular are two very different stories. Was your writing (process, ease, etc.) different? How about the publishing aftermath--the promotion, publicity etc. end of things? 

AG: My writing process for Ferocity Summer and Popular was very different. Popular was more or less written in a linear fashion, beginning to end, just the way you read it. Ferocity Summer was written in pieces. I made several attempts at this story and the original had a lot more (too many!) characters. I eventually decided to focus on Scilla, but then had to put all the different pieces together like I was making a quilt. Popular was my first book, and so I had no idea what to expect as far as promotion and publicity goes. I tried to do as much as I could, and by the fall I was feeling pretty burned out. I think I'm going to be a bit more laid back this time around. 

NZ: I'm always hearing about your shoes, and having seen them in person, I have to say, I'm impressed. :) Can we get a little poetic waxing for your shoe love? Fave pair at the moment? 

AG: I'll admit it. I love shoes. I'm not much of a girly-girl. I hate shopping, but I do have a thing for shoes, and I can be very particular about them. I can remember dragging my mom to something like 30 stores as a teen to find the perfect pair of sandals, but my persistence paid off. Shoes are great conversation starters. I remember when I was in college I had a pair of orange satin boots with glow in the dark heels - they were as cool as they sound. I was walking across the parking garage and my heels were glowing, when another student yelled out that he loved my shoes. It made my day! I've been known to spend some decent money on a nice pair of shoes, but one of the best things in the world is getting a great deal on a pair of shoes. So, I guess my favorite pair at the moment is a pair of purple knee high boots (It's probably ridiculous to have not one but two pair of purple boots.) that I picked up on clearance for three dollars. Three dollars! How could I not buy them?

A shot of Alissa's famous footwear...

Wanna win that ARC? Leave a comment below by Monday, April 16. A random drawing of all entries will be done on Tuesday April 17 (working with the stars here, people--we want the drawing done on an auspicious day!). Of course, this giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!!!

How about some more Alissa? Visit...

Alissa on Indie Bound 

* WTF is Wawa? CLICK HERE to find out! 


  1. I'm going to behave myself and not go all fan girl this time. I'll just say that those are beautiful boots and I would very much like to read this book :-)

  2. Thanks Sarah and Thanks, Nat. Oh, and that's so funny that the Wawa poster is there. As a traveling salesperson by day I hunt out Wawas and Sheetz convenience stores. They have provided me with many an on the go meal.

    1. Wawa is so Jersey. I know they're in a couple of other states, but still...

  3. I really hope I win Alissa's book! It looks awesome!

  4. And I added a teaser, because, you know--it would be helpful!

  5. The cover is fabulous!! Really looking forward to another book :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  6. Thanks for the giveaway! I really love Alissa's boots (I'm so getting a pair of new boots.)


  7. Thanks for the giveaway! Love the books & just learned what Wawa was. Would love to get an ARC to review on my blog.