Blog Takeover with LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA author Katie Kennedy

Today on the YA Buccaneers, we've invited 2016 YA debut author, Katie Kennedy, to take over our blog -- which believe me, you'll want to check out at the end of this post because it includes a ha-larious little story about her travels to Russia!

But what exactly does Russia have to do with anything?

Well, Katie just so happened to pen one of my absolute favorite YA debuts of 2016, LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA -- which came out July 5th. It features seventeen-year-old Russian physicist prodigy, Yuri Strelnikov, who's been brought to the United States by NASA to help save Earth from a deadly asteroid that's headed our way!

But if somehow you haven't read this one yet, believe me, you so need to go now and add it to your TBR! LTSiA had me laughing hysterically and falling oh-so-in love with all of its characters and gorgeous writing. Don't believe me? Well, you should definitely believe all of the starred trade reviews and accolades that have been streaming in all year:

Goodreads synopsis:

Brimming with humor and one-of-a-kind characters, this end-of-the world novel will grab hold of Andrew Smith and Rainbow Rowell fans.

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize--if there's ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri's 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he's not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe.

And now for Katie's blog takeover....

(Bloomsbury, July 5, 2016)
by Katie Kennedy

Hey, I’m Katie Kennedy, author of LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA. Since my main character, Yuri Strelnikov, is Russian, the YA Buccaneers have asked me to tell you about one of my adventures traveling in Russia. After checking the statutes of limitations, I thought I’d tell you about an ill-timed bottle of vodka.

I was studying Russian in Moscow. My roommate and I threw a party, and in addition to our fellow students, the party goers included a prostitute that one of the guys thought was his date (and even I figured out this was not the situation), and a couple of random young Russian guys who wanted to know the English word for "snot."

These guys had to get home by metro--there was a station across from our hotel--but the trains don't run 24-hrs in Moscow, even though it's bigger than NYC. You're just supposed to go home at a decent hour. It was past midnight—and the last trains pull out at one. A couple of bored, and therefore dangerous, KGB guys wandered between the hotel and the metro station, waiting for people exactly like our guests--Russians who'd been hanging with Westerners and were going home--and maybe need a little interrogation on the way. So we wanted to get those guys out of there while there were still other people on the streets to give them cover.

The party was really dying down, but we were at the bottom of one of the two bottles of vodka I'd bought--so I opened the second bottle. And there was a collective gasp from the Russians present. I didn't know that Russians believe that once you've opened a vodka bottle, you're supposed to drink it. Like, right then. So I had just extended the party by a hard-drinking hour, and condemned our new teenage friends to leave even later.

But who even the heck stays to drink more vodka when it means genuine and imminent physical danger? These guys, that's who.   

So we sloshed down that bottle as fast as we could--the prostitute helped a lot. Then several of the guys in our language program went down and started singing and making a ruckus on the street, drawing the KGB agents after them. Our young Russian friends made a break for the metro station.

They made it into the station, and the students on the street, the ones who were providing the diversion, reported that their train left before the agents chasing them made it down the steps. A narrow escape! I’ll bet our Muscovite friends thought it was worth the risk, though. After all, they got a story to tell—and they learned the English word for “snot.” 

Gotta love those ill-timed bottles of vodka! And now, of course, I'd like to know the Russian word for "snot" -- Katie, some help with that please? 

And because I think Katie is so awesome, I think you all should get to know her a little bit more...

Katie Kennedy is a college history instructor. She used to teach in a fire station. When the alarm rang, the entire class jumped up and ran out of the room. She became an LPN in order to write more accurate medical scenes. She has been lost in Moscow, and rousted by the KGB for sitting in Red Square to eat her ice cream. She has been bitten by a fish.

Katie lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with her husband, daughter, and son, in a town with a million bats. LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA comes out July 5, 2016, from Bloomsbury. 

Katie's sophomore novel, WHAT GOES UP, is slated for release in July 2017.

To find out more about Katie, check out her website  ( and follow her on Twitter at: @KatieWritesBks

You can purchase a copy of LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA through the following links:

Barnes & Noble

Or enter our giveaway below for a chance to win an ARC of LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA, plus a signed bookmark from Katie!!!

Thanks so much to Katie for taking over the YA Buccaneers today and sharing her story with us!!!! And don't forget to enter to win an ARC of LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA, plus a signed bookmark, too -- winner will be selected next week!