Learn more about WriteOut, a writing camp for teens founded by Ally that starts this summer in Cedar City, UT.

breathless reads 2012: marie lu takes us to pasadena, california

For an explanation of the Breathless Reads tour and these guest posts, click here.

*****UPDATE******
The winner of the copy of LEGEND, as determined by the random number generator, is Bethany (comment #1)! Bethany, I don’t have a way to get in touch with you, so please email me ASAP with your mailing address so we can get your book to you! Congrats!

Ally: So, Marie…where are we going? ☺

Marie: We’re headed to Pasadena, California—home of the Rose Bowl!

A: Tell us why this place is important to you.

M: I first moved to Los Angeles for college, and accidentally discovered Pasadena one summer while I was interning for the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. Fell in love with the city, moved there after college, and stuck around ever since. Pasadena is part of the Los Angeles setting I used in LEGEND.

A: So let’s get started! What should we do in Pasadena?

M: Okay, I’m assuming we’re not here during New Year’s, because the main thing to see then would be the Rose Parade. But if this is just a normal day, the first thing a newcomer should see in Pasadena is the Huntington Library and Garden. This was originally the private art collection and estate of California railroad heir Henry E. Huntington; now, it’s a public museum showcasing his amazing collection and gorgeous grounds. Japanese Zen gardens, priceless paintings . . . it’s fun times.

A: It sounds beautiful! But now I’m hungry. Where are we going to eat?

M: Let’s head over to South Pasadena, a super cute little town that’s separate from Pasadena itself. They have a lovely outdoors-y restaurant called Firefly, with delicious scones and Devonshire cream and asparagus omelettes and shrimp n’ grits. And I’m not just saying that because the restaurant has the same name as my favorite sci-fi show.

A: Where to next?

M: Old Town Pasadena! This is a pretty and bustling outdoor shopping/eating area on Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena’s main street. It’s been around for over a hundred years, and many of the buildings still have a lovely, vintage look.

A: I’m hungry again (I know, it’s like you’re on a trip with a small child.) Any other ideas about where/what we could eat?

M: That’s okay, I’m like a small child. I could eat nonstop all day. Since we’re in Old Pas, let’s grab a bite at redwhite+bluezz—delicious cheese platters and charcuterie, wine and champagne tasting flights, seared ahi, and live jazz.

For the last stop on the itinerary, if you’re up for some dessert and a night out on the town, let’s go to POP Champagne & Dessert Bar for some sweets (and more champagne, if it’s just one of those nights).

A: I’ll toast to you with ginger ale! And desserts sound fantastic!

And a few more questions/answers about Pasadena for Marie…

A: Where is the best place to write/read here?

M: For reading: In front of the South Pasadena Library. On a cool, sunny day, nothing’s better than bringing a picnic blanket to the green lawn in front of the library and immersing yourself in a good book.

For writing: I do most of my writing at home, but sometimes I’ll hang out at the Zephyr coffee shop and café. Awesome coffee, cute atmosphere.

A: The best place to buy a book?

M: This one’s an obvi! Vroman’s Pasadena is the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California; it has two locations, but the main Vroman’s is near the intersection of Colorado and Lake. The entire second floor is for Young Adult and children’s literature, and the store hosts some of the coolest events and signings.

A: What song always makes you think about this place?

M:The Back to the Future theme song, because parts of the movies (i.e. a bunch of the suburban houses you see, like Doc’s home and Marty’s mom’s home, etc) were filmed in Pasadena.

A: Thanks, Marie! I’ve never been to Pasadena and now I’d really love to go…

To enter to win a copy of Marie’s book LEGEND (which received FIVE starred reviews!) and a Breathless Reads tour poster, please leave a (just one!) comment on this post by midnight (MST) February 16th. This giveaway is open to US/Canada only. Thanks again to Penguin Teen for sponsoring and for providing the books and posters!




+ comments (62)
  • Bethany
    February 15, 2012

    Great interview! 🙂



  • Rosalyn
    February 15, 2012

    I like the virtual road trip–what a fun idea (and perfect when you’re stuck home in February). I loved Legend–but I had to return it to the library. 🙂



  • Stephanie
    February 15, 2012

    Fun interview. I’ve never been to Pasadena either. But the bookstore sounds amazing! Also, I loved Legend!



  • Pasadena does sound great! I’d love to win Legend.



  • Enna Isilee
    February 15, 2012

    Oh! I ADORED Legend and would love to have my own copy. *fingers crossed*

    Pasadena sounds wonderful and WARM. *shivers*



  • Pica
    February 15, 2012

    What a great interview. Yay for Southern California! I loved Legend, and “seeing” Marie Lu and Ally Condie at the same time – wow! 🙂



  • Heather
    February 15, 2012

    I have an uncle & aunt who live in S. Pasadena. Reading this makes me want to visit them RIGHT NOW! 🙂



  • Ali
    February 15, 2012

    Sounds like a fun place to go. Great interview. It’s always fun and interesting getting to know authors.



  • Amy in Atlanta
    February 15, 2012

    Wishing I could meet you all (Ally and Beth for the second time) in Atlanta next week, but I have chorus rehearsal that night and won’t be able to make it! Have a great time while you’re here! I haven’t read Legend yet and would LOVE to win a copy!



  • Jenny V
    February 15, 2012

    I love Pasadena, especially Old Town and The Huntington. I love that Legend is set in Southern California – a setting I can relate to. Looking forward to the signing at Vroman’s!



  • An
    February 15, 2012

    Thanks for the interview with Marie Lu! I hope to travel to Pasadena and South California one day 🙂



  • 09585039530576373397
    February 15, 2012

    I love how you do the road trip interviews. So different from so many other interviews. Awhile back you did a road trip interview through Southern Utah in which you mentioned the place where I grew up (and the resort where I worked for 5 years) and also you suggested eating at a restaurant which is owned by my husbands good friend. That was a fun one to read!



  • Donna B
    February 15, 2012

    I’m definitely up for a trip to POP Champagne & Dessert Bar! More champagne please!



  • Diana Ault
    February 15, 2012

    This is definitly one of those books on my list of want-to-read. Thanks for this interview and chance to win, Ally!



  • Lisa
    February 15, 2012

    Can’t wait to read it! 🙂



  • 00919832104069670477
    February 15, 2012

    Great interview and I can’t wait to read this book!



  • Mariam
    February 15, 2012

    Fun interview. I am intrigued now to read some of her stuff.



  • Krystel
    February 15, 2012

    I have never been to california, much less pasadena! Sounds like you guys had fun,and such a great interview! Legend has been on my to be read list. I can’t wait to read it



  • JenP
    February 15, 2012

    Pasadena sounds lovely!



  • Emily's Reading Room
    February 15, 2012

    I went to the Rose Bowl once to see BYU play UCLA, it was so much fun! One of the funnest road trips of my life. Great interview!



  • Karlinda
    February 15, 2012

    So awesome you guys are both great!



  • cmhammond
    February 15, 2012

    I have heard Legend is an excellent book! I’d love a copy!!



  • Melissa Garcia
    February 15, 2012

    I live nearby, beautiful place!
    Thanks for the insight!



  • Thuong Tran
    February 15, 2012

    What a delightful interview. Can’t wait to read the book!



  • Vivien
    February 15, 2012

    I’m so jealous!! It looks like a beautiful place to visit 🙂

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com



  • Ashley R.
    February 15, 2012

    I really like the idea of virtual road trips. They’re so fun. I really want to read this book and would love to win a copy! Thanks to both of you!



  • Liz
    February 15, 2012

    Looks like a fun and beautiful city!



  • Brittany
    February 15, 2012

    I loved the “best place to write” and “best place to buy books!”



  • Gabi
    February 15, 2012

    I love Legend! I can’t wait for the sequel.



  • Claire Evenson
    February 15, 2012

    Now I’m excited for a road trip. Sounds amazing



  • Sophia Chang
    February 15, 2012

    lol it’s awesome to see a local neighborhood through the eyes of a tourist. It makes it sound so quaint – I’ll have to check some of these haunts out, though I’d recommend others.

    Yay for the giveaway!!!



  • 17365951009833522538
    February 16, 2012

    I love when novels have settings that we can actually visit! Can’t wait to read Legend!



  • Sallie Mazzur
    February 16, 2012

    The comment above is mine, I didn’t realize my name wasn’t on it. 🙂



  • Susan
    February 16, 2012

    Hi Ally, Please could you tell me where you will be in New York on the 17th February. I have asked Grace, a great friend of mine to pick up a couple of signed copies to send to me in London. Matched has been shortlisted for our annual FAB award and has been voted by local secondary school students as one of the top six teenage books in 2011. 🙂



  • Lauren
    February 16, 2012

    That bookstore sounds amazing! I wouldn’t know what to do with a whole floor dedicated to YA and children’s books…I’d probably spend all day there, and go broke in the process! I’d love to have a copy of Legend! It’s been on my reading list for a while now! Thanks for the great post!



  • Nadine
    February 16, 2012

    I’ve never really explored Pasadena, but the bookstore DOES sound amazing! I almost faint at the idea of an entire floor of YA. *sigh*
    I also watched the trailer for “LEGEND” and hope to read it sometime very VERY soon (whether I buy it or win it, hehe). 😉



  • I’ve heard such good things about this book. And I loved exploring Pasadena.

    I’d love to read this. Thanks for sponsoring this!



  • Janice
    February 16, 2012

    This is a brilliant idea and can’t wait to read the book!!



  • Julie Daines
    February 16, 2012

    Thanks for the great interview and contest. Marie Lu, you are stuningly beautiful!!



  • Heather Dunford Nemelka
    February 16, 2012

    Always looking for a new book to read with my teenage daughter. This book will be a great way for Mom to spend time with her wonderful teen discussing its pages. Thanks!



  • Ashly F.
    February 16, 2012

    I love reading at the library too! In fact I checked Legend out from my library and it is such an amazing book!

    lostnthestacks(at)yahoo(dot)com



  • Danielle Demke
    February 16, 2012

    I love Pasadena too! Now I want to go check out all these new sites I didn’t know about before 🙂 yay– great interview!



  • sarabara081
    February 16, 2012

    Awww, now I want to go to Pasadena! i wish I wasn’t so far away, and stuck in the cold! Thank you for the fun interview and giveaway! 🙂



  • Brittany Hiester
    February 16, 2012

    I would like to have either one of these thank you so much for the giveaway 😀



  • Michelle G
    February 16, 2012

    Awesome post! I’d love to visit Pasadena, I’ve never been to California before but it sounds great.



  • Katie
    February 16, 2012

    My parents got engaged in Pasadena. I’ve always wanted to visit. 🙂



  • Jasmine Stairs
    February 16, 2012

    Wow, it sounds like there are fabulous places to eat in Pasadena! I’m impressed! And intrigued. 😀



  • fishgirl182
    February 16, 2012

    thanks for the fun tour. i love pasadena and it’s great to see it through someone else’s eyes. now i want to go to vromans. 🙂



  • ephrielle
    February 16, 2012

    Vroman’s sounds like a dream. An entire floor of young adult books! I might never leave just sleep among the books.



  • Katrina Coggin
    February 16, 2012

    Would love to win! 🙂



  • Kimberly Corona
    February 16, 2012

    Pasadena sounds like such a beautiful town! That bookstore also sounds awesome!!!



  • ljrTR
    February 16, 2012

    enjoyed this article. interested in the book



  • Katie @ Blook Girl
    February 16, 2012

    I have heard a lot of lovely things about Pasadena in the past, and California in general. It is definitely a place I think everyone wants to and should go to in their lifetime 🙂

    Thanks for this great interview, Marie and Ally! And thank you for the opportunity to win a giveaway, too. Good luck to everyone!



  • Alyssa Sooklal
    February 16, 2012

    Pasadena, CA… that sounds amazing compared to the blehh here on the East Coast (booo winter!). Thanks to both Ms. Lu and Ms. Condie! Awesome giveaway 🙂
    ~Alyssa Sooklal



  • Christy
    February 16, 2012

    I enjoyed reading this interview and would love to be entered in the giveaway.



  • Kay
    February 16, 2012

    Ready to visit to Pasadena! Would love to own the book!



  • Samantha Spinetti
    February 16, 2012

    Thanks so much for the chance. Pasadena sounds like a fun spot to check out! And I do love Back To The Future!



  • Rachel
    February 16, 2012

    So my comment isn’t related to this post, but I wanted to write to you. I was looking for when your next book comes out and I cane across this blog. Anyway, I just finished reading Crossed today. I had re-read Matched last week to have the facts and story fresh in my mind. Anyway, being a working mom of three, I rarely take time for myself. I wanted to thank you for your stories and for the break and rest they gave to me. It felt like much needed ME time. I escaped into the world you describe in your books and it made me feel. We get so stuck in our day to day lives that sometimes we forget about feeling and passion, etc. Thank you fir waking those things up inside of me. I was sad to finish the book and put a temporary end to that world I was enveloped in while reading. Anyway, thank you for giving me that break and sense of escape. 🙂



  • melissa @ 1lbr
    February 17, 2012

    Oh the food! Sounds so delicious. And the weather doesn’t sound to bad either 🙂



  • Kristen Kittscher
    February 17, 2012

    Marie, I’m frequently write at Zephyr, too! I’ll look out for you:-) Enjoyed seeing the tour of our city.



  • Ashley
    February 21, 2012

    This looks great. Adding to my TBR pile. Thanks for the interview and giveaway.



  • Donna Koppelman
    February 23, 2012

    What a beautiful town! Maybe I’ll retire there one day….I always wanted to be the little old lady from Pasadena……




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