Event Recap + Giveaway: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: young adult sci-fi
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: book 1 of the Unearthed duology

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Austin stop of Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner's tour for Unearthed. Local author Amy Tintera (Reboot duology, Ruined trilogy) moderated, and it was a really great event! Check out the Q&A recap with both Amy and the audience, and then be sure to enter my giveaway for a signed copy of Unearthed! For the record, Amie & Meagan are so much fun to listen to because they literally finish each other's sentences, and they're also super thoughtful in their answers. I hope you enjoy!

*note: I type these recaps, I don't record so it's not 100% verbatim, but I do try to get everything down. Every so often I might have a note that includes a story that I didn't get down verbatim, but I still want to share. 

Event Recap:
Amy Tintera: You guys have one of the best pitches for the book. Can you tell us about it?
Meagan Spooner: It's Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft in space, and our readers have told us it's super accurate.

Amy: What was your inspiration?
Meagan: We were on tour for Shattered World...
Amie Kaufman: we had a day off on tour, which is rare, so we were in our hotel room in our pajamas...
Meagan: living it up!
Amie: As you do. And there was an Indiana Jones marathon on tv. When you write, you dissect the books you read, but when you watch something, you don't always do that.
Meagan: You can immerse.
Amie: So we weren't in a reader headspace. We're toward the end, and, during the commercial breaks, we're wondering why you don't see this in YA.
Meagan: Like swinging across things and running and jumping
Amie: And it took us a while during this bitching session, like why isn't this a thing? Who isn't writing it?? Then we realized—we're really slow—WE are writers so we could do it. And we explored what it would look like if we did it.
Ms: Obviously it was gonna be in space.

Amy: Tell us about your cowriting.
Meagan: People think we're cagey about who writes which characters, but Amie writes the boys and I write the girls.
Amie: But we take time to write sample chapters from each so they're consistent in each chapter.

Cool fun fact: Kady in Illuminae was Amie's first female pov character while Ezra was Jay's first male pov character.

Amie: Jules is an indoor pet.
Meagan: He's been on a dig before but...
Amie: He hasn't been in the wild.
Meagan: He's with all his shiny new gear, and Mia shows up with her old scavenged stuff.
Amie: Every character we've done is our take on something we want to see done differently. Lilac is a badass, but she's also a badass in a dress.
Meagan: She doesn't have to trade her femininity for strength.
Amie: Yeah. And in this case, Jules is quiet.
Meagan: He's gentle.
Amie: He's a Ravenclaw that hasn't been in the field.

Note from Mary: I can confirm that Jules is a soft boy™.

Amy: Humans are the scariest thing in this book. Did you set out with that theme?
Meagan: The theme that humans are our own worst enemy is definitely something we started with.
Amie: But nothing terrible has happened, no major wars. We're just doing what we've always been doing.
Meagan: The thought that the danger would be each other felt natural. But also... we're the only ones who can save us.
Amie: We're our own greatest help.

Amy: Was there anything different or challenging in Unearthed?
Meagan: The puzzles, oh man!
Amie:  You're like, future me is gonna nail that, and then you get there and...
Meagan: In the outline, you're like, "put cool puzzle here" and then you come to it later...
Amie: So you have to have the puzzle that the audience can solve as it goes along...
Meagan: And you're like goddamnit.
*everyone laughs*
Amie: So in science fiction, we have specialists.
Meagan: We collect people [Meagan names types of experts they have at their disposal], and we used them all in this book.
Amie: We're like that guy in the basement with the pictures and the threads, and you have to connect them.
Meagan: It was GONNA be a fun adventure romp.

Amy: What is your favorite scene?
Meagan: Getting to the center of the temple and finding what's there...
Amie: I haven't even told Meg this, but she was like "and BLANK is gonna happen and then BLANK and BLANK" and I was like "uh huh, that's EXACTLY how I imagined it," but I had no idea what she meant, I just told her that. And then she sent me the chapter, and I was like "I GET IT!"
Meagan: And that's only about two thirds of the way through; there's a lot after, but it was like we set up dominoes and got to knock them all down.

Amy: This one... it's a duology, right?
Amie: It's a duology.
Meagan: [talking about It's like a good hurt, like when you get off a roller coaster and yell and then get back on.

Amy: Do you prefer duology or trilogy?
Amie: It really depends on the story. The next one looks like a duology.
Meagan: It also depends on how much you want to be in one world. Like you could write two trilogies or three duologies in the same amount of time.

Amy: Can you tell us anything about the movie option?
Amie: It's ACTUALLY coming along. It's uncommon for things to happen. Even when things are going well, it's like you only have FIFTY gates to clear, and if it doesn't clear any of them, it goes away forever.
Meagan: But it has cleared more gates than any of our other projects.
Meagan: The screenwriters working on second version.
Amie: It's really good to feel like..
Meagan: It's in good hands. Sometimes people ask if we're worried it won't be like the book and a. No. And b. It's in REALLY good hands.

Amy: Can you fancast who you'd want to play the characters?
Meagan: We can't really say. Because it might actually be a thing and we're looking at casting soon, we don't want to put that out there.
Amie: But we'd like it to be like [Mary: I forget which, but another YA adaptation] where the kids are maybe new, but the adults are played by established actors.

Amy: Do you have any recent recommendations?
Meagan: A Natural History of Dragons
Amie: I am extremely passionate about a new book called This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada. I was on a flight and going to read one chapter and give myself permission to stop if I wasn't feeling it, and at the end of the flight, my husband literally had to steer me down the aisle of the plane by my shoulders. You should go to the YA shelves and fight over the copies that are there.

Amy: What's next?
Amie: I have three books in eleven weeks, and this is day 4. Obsidio and Ice Wolves. And we're working on the sequel to Unearthed which is currently titled Unrevealed because we're not telling yet
Meagan: I'm working on another retelling of another classic story that I can't share yet.
Amie: But I can tell you it's a gender-swapped feminist badass story that everyone who escaped 2017 deserves.
Meagan: But it's probably out at the end of this year.
Amie: And Jay and I just turned in draft one of what used to be Andromeda but will now have to be called something else because science.

Audience Q: Fave Indy movie.
Meagan: Raiders. I know it's cliche, but.
Amie: Last Crusade

Audience Q: Worst cliffhanger
Amie: *claps* I have opinions. I tend to kill shows when I love them. Seaquest, Earth Two, Terra Nova. And they all end on horrible cliffhangers. So if you love a show, don't tell me.

Purchase Links:

About the Author:
Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling author of Illuminae (with Jay Kristoff) and The Starbound Trilogy and Unearthed (with Meagan Spooner) and Ice Wolves. She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Amie's Links:

About the Author:
Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She’s traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there’s a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there’s no telling how long she’ll stay there.

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.

Meagan's Links:

I'm giving away a signed copy of Unearthed & an Unearthed tote bag! Open to US. Entrants must be 13+. Giveaway is open until 12 AM CST February 1. Please enter via Rafflecopter below; winner will be chosen at random, and odds are determined by number of entries. I reserve the right to disqualify any entries that are not in accordance with my giveaway policies as stated in the Review & Site Policies tab at the top of the page.Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I think Stranger Things ended too soon, even though I know there's a third season coming. I wanted more to hold me over until then.

    1. I just finished season 1, and I kinda think the opposite? Like it's interesting, but I think there's too much "dead air" in each episode. I think they could cut down on the number of episodes and ramp up the intensity. But that's just me.

  2. Replies
    1. ME TOO! I will never not be angry at Fox for cancelling it, especially since it's Fox's fault that it was aired out of order AND they kept switching the night it was on. How are people supposed to watch a show if it keeps changing??

  3. Pitch was cancelled last year and I'm still mad

  4. There was a show a few years ago that I liked - can't even remember the name of it. It was a Netflix show about a virus killing everyone below the age of 21. It was really good and I wished for more episodes but I think it was just one season.

  5. Firefly... and Veronica Mars but luckily both did end up having movie conclusions to wrap things up.

  6. I'm so so excited for this book! Thank you so much for the giveaway, please ignore that it says my entries are from the UK, I have a US address.
    A TV show that I love that ended too soon was FRIENDS <3
    Megan S.

  7. The TV show that ended too soon for me was Chuck.

  8. "What is a tv show you loved that ended too soon?" "Cavemen," the 2007 sitcom. It was so well written, well acted, well produced, an utter delight--and all these herds-of-sheep critics did nothing but hate on it because *of* *course* it couldn't be good! It was excellent!

  9. Wonderfalls. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Ann S