THIS WEEK'S GIVEAWAY
by P.J. Hoover
Tor Teen; First Editio
Piper's world is dying.
Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.
Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed--a sphere of gods and monsters--and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.
An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Solstice?
Ah, this is such a hard question! There are so many things I love about SOLSTICE. So I'm going to cheat a little bit and clump a couple of them together. The thing I love the most about SOLSTICE is the world building. There are two distinct worlds in SOLSTICE: The world above ground, specifically in Austin, Texas, where global warming is destroying the earth, and the world below ground, the underworld. While writing and revising SOLSTICE, the heat of the world was such a real thing. I could feel it and live it and let it soak into me, just like the main character, Piper, does. As for the underworld, it is filled with so many distinct places and people, and I adored bringing these to life. I also love how the two worlds, though so different, parallel each other as the story progresses. Just talking about it makes me want to read it all over again :)
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by Katherine Longshore
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court--and to convince the whole court they're lovers--she accepts. Before long, Anne's popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice, but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart's desire and the chance to make history.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Tarnish?
The characters. Anne's voice came to me while I was on a six-hour drive, and I had to pull off the side of the road and start writing immediately. I originally intended Thomas Wyatt to be a foil and an antagonist, but then she fell in love with him, so I did, too. And the king? I had a fabulous time writing a sexy rockstar Henry VIII. I hardly feel like they are my creation at all. They're rooted in history, but what grew through the writing was beyond my imagining.
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by C.J. Omololu
Walker Childrens; 1 edition
As Cole begins to accept her new life as Akhet, someone who can remember flashes of her past lives, every new vision from her past lives helps explain who she is in this life. As her passion for Griffon grows, she learns to identify other Akhet around her, including Drew, the young self-made millionaire who reveals his startling connection to Cole-he was her husband in Elizabethan England and gave her the ankh necklace that has been returned to her after centuries in hiding. Drew's attentions are overwhelming as he insists that their connection in the past signals their future destiny together, but before she can decide who she truly loves, Cole must learn to harness her unique Akhet abilities if she is to ever understand her role in this strange new world.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Intuition?
My favorite thing about INTUITION was getting to see how the characters have changed and matured over the course of the story. I'm used to characters driving the story and frankly, often making terrible decisions, but I was really happy with how my main character Cole resolves one of the issues that is facing her in this book. This part of the story takes a small, intimate problem and raises it to epic, world-saving proportions and writing the action and figuring out who the bad guys were was a lot of fun. I love the premise that everyone has past lives but only a small group of people remember them, and watching Cole transition and gain knowledge was really great. Hope you enjoy the story!
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by Imogen Howson
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she's been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.
Finally, she's promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she's been seeing the world through another girl's eyes.
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl--Lin--who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose--secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Linked?
LINKED is set in a futuristic world, so my favorite thing is all the fun little bits of made-up technology I've used in the story. My favorite one of all is the self-clearing dinner table.
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This Side of Jealousy
by Lili Peloquin
Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.
If by nothing, you mean everything. The sisters haven't been able to stop fighting since they arrived in Serenity Point two weeks ago. Those two weeks changed their lives. And Serenity Point has changed them.
Charlie has a new group of friends and a new life. Jude and Cybill are beautiful, exciting, and dangerously seductive. And though Sasha is proving to be a friend and confidante to Alice, Alice can't get away from the people, places, and events that mire her in the past.
Alice loves Tommy, but the memory of Camilla, dead and gone, is driving a wedge between them. And Alice's ex-boyfriend Patrick won't give up on her, no matter what she says to keep him away. Jude is slowly giving up his bad boy ways for Charlie, but it's not smooth sailing if Cybill has anything to say about it. And then Nick arrives: Dr. Van Stratten's former intern seems to know things about last summer--things that Jude and Tommy would rather not be revealed. Alice is determined to find out what.
Their family falling apart never would.
While the sisters grapple with the terrible truth about their family, the one-year memorial of Camilla's death looms. The tension mounts and sparks fly as bright as July Fourth fireworks--and Alice and Charlie team up to find out the truth that everyone seems to be hiding.
Until they got to Serenity Point.
Is Camilla their enemy and rival, even six feet under? Or is she their sister, whose memory they have to protect? And what really happened to her that night on the bridge? In a town built on secrets and lies, can the truth stay buried for long?
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about This Side of Jealousy?
This Side of Jealousy is the second book in a three-book series called The Innocents, a combination teen soap opera and whodunnit. Book one is about all about setting up the mystery. And book three is all about resolving the mystery. So book two is the most fun because it's all about deepening the mystery, complicating the mystery. Plus, you really get to spend time with the characters--get to know them, their histories, their eccentricities and, best of all, their secrets!
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A Trick of the Light
by Lois Metzger
Balzer + Bray
Mike Welles had everything under control. He was a good student, an outfielder on the baseball team, a good son, a loyal friend. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they're getting confusing at school. He's losing his sense of direction, and he feels like a mess.Then there's a voice in his head. A friend, trying to help him regain control. More than that: The voice can guide him to be better and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.
Writing with devastating power and precision, acclaimed author Lois Metzger gives us the story of one young man's battle with his own shadows--a spare, stark, and vital tale of the way in which the things we build to protect ourselves can threaten to destroy us.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Trick of the Light?
When I started this book nearly ten years ago, I always imagined the book would be written from the point of view of Mike Welles, age 15. And so I began to tell the story of how Mike starts to hear a strange voice in his head, a voice that frightens him at first but then seems to be trying to help him. Mike is having a hard time; his parents are separating, and there’s a new girl at school he likes, but when he works up his courage to talk to her, he really messes it up. The voice in his head calms him down, and wants to show him the way to become fit and strong, to handle all the chaos in his life.
In an early version of the book, Mike himself was the narrator, although his story was interrupted more and more frequently by the voice. The voice’s suggestions lead to more and more destructive behavior that ultimately threaten Mike’s survival, making it hard, as I found out, for Mike to keep telling his own story. So I played around with several narrators. I tried third-person narration (“he said, she said”). And then I tried telling the book from the viewpoint of Mike’s friend, Amber. At one point in my rewrites, I had Mike’s mother narrating a few chapters.
Then a strange thing happened. The voice in Mike’s head starting telling the entire story all by itself! I was surprised at how the voice felt so comfortable as narrator, as if it had always been destined to be the voice of the book, speaking straight to the reader. “A Trick of the Light” was then rewritten to accommodate this new, disembodied narrator, and that is how I came to write a book told from the point of view of a voice in someone’s head.
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LAST WEEK'S GIVEAWAY WINNERS
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by Allen Zadoff
Hardcover Giveaway (3 Copies)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Winners: Jennifer Pickrell, Rosi, Marjorie
They needed the perfect soldier: one who could function in every situation without fear, sympathy or anger; who could assassinate strangers and then walk away emotionally unscathed. So they made Boy Nobody-a teen with no name or history. The perfect soldier.
Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die -- of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target. But when he's assigned to the mayor of New York City, things change. The daughter seems so much like him; the mayor smells like his father. And when memories and questions surface, the Program is watching. Because somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the kid he once was, the teen who wants normal things like a real home and parents, a young man who wants out. And who just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's mission.
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How (Not) to Find a Boyfriend
by Allyson Valentine
Winner: Jessica Piazza
A funny and smart romantic comedy about getting the guy. . . and finding yourself.
Sophomore Nora Fulbright is the most talented and popular new cheerleader on the Riverbend High cheer squad. Never mind that she used to be queen of the nerds--a chess prodigy who answered every question first, aced every test and repelled friends at every turn--because this year, Nora is determined to fully transition from social pupa to full blown butterfly, even if it means dumbing down her entire schedule. But when funny, sweet and very cute Adam moves to town and steals Nora's heart with his untra-smarts and illegally cute dimple, Nora has a problem. How can she prove to him that she's not a complete airhead? Nora devises a seemingly simple plan to barter her way into Adam's classes that involves her classmates, friends, and her older brother Phil's award-winning AP history paper. But soon, Nora can barely keep track of her trades, and struggles to stay in control of her image.
In the end, the only thing that can save Nora is a chess tournament--that she has to compete in wearing her cheerleading uniform. Can she prove to everyone that she can be both a butterfly and a nerd?
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about How (Not) to Find a Boyfriend?
My favorite things about How (Not) to Find a Boyfriend (I couldn't come up with just one!):
I love the secondary characters. Some people have told me that their favorite character is Nora's little brother, Joshie, and I think he might be my favorite, too. He's funny without trying to be, he's vulnerable, innocent, but with a distinctly impish streak. He's a compilation of kids I've known and loved, especially my own two boys and my brother when he was a little kid. Joshie's was the dialogue that required the least revising because his voice always came out loud and clear, and he spoke so fast I could barely get his words on the page. I also really love the Teapot. She's genuine, full of heart, so present in every moment. I really appreciate her loyalty and her humor. I was so happy that she got to go to the Homecoming dance, and never saw it coming until the moment it did. And I'm still excited for her about the way her story resolves. I've never actually known someone quite like the Teapot; someone so confident to just be who they are without worrying who's watching. She inspires me! And the story is filled with character I would love to know more about. Like Krista's boyfriend, Dex. He's sweet and warm and obviously entirely devoted to Krista. I picture him as being from a very solid family, blue collar, salt of the earth. I still think about him from time to time and wonder what he's doing right now. I love Geoff the fish, Eric (aka Chubby Stripes), Vanessa. I even have a soft spot for Mitch, creepy as he is.
I like the relationships that grow and deepen through the course of the story and how writing them put me in touch with my own past relationships. To write the budding romance between Nora and Adam I had to completely immerse myself in a particularly sweet high school romance with a boy called Michael. The relationship between Nora and her Mom included the same kinds of push and pull that I experienced with my own mother growing up. And when I was in high school, it looked for a while there like my father was leaving us. The anger and hurt I felt back then fueled the conversation between Nora and her father. My relationship with my own father has healed and I am definitely pulling for Nora to go to school in Boston! .
I adore the title! The working title for this book was Swapped, as Nora's swaps are a huge plot point. When the editors suggested changing it I felt very unsure. And when they suggested changing it to How (Not) to Find a Boyfriend, at first I was really uncomfortable. I never would have seen myself writing a novel with such a title. But the more I thought about it the better I liked it. When I saw it on the cover I was totally sold. Now, I think it's perfect.
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by C.J. Daugherty
Katherine Tegen Books
Winner: Simon P.
Allie Sheridan's world is falling apart. Her brother's run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she's just been arrested.
This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends.
But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret group of elite students.
When she's attacked late one night the incident sets off a chain of increasingly violent events. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she finds out that nothing at Cimmeria is what it seems to be.
And that she is not who she thought she was.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Night School?
Cimmeria Academy. The school where Allie is sent by her parents after her arrest is nothing like she expects. She thinks she's going to reform school, with tough kids and iron bars on the windows. Instead she finds it's an extraordinary place -- a sprawling Victorian mansion set amid vast gardens and many acres of forests, and with a ruined castle on the hill above it. It's Hogwarts without witches and she soon falls in love with it.
Buildings like Cimmeria are not at all uncommon in England -- in fact, when creating it, I used as my inspiration a boarding school near my home -- but, as an American ex-pat, I've never stopped being impressed by them. Every time I walk into a school that reminds me of Cimmeria -- as I often do on book tours -- I find myself wishing again I could have gone to a school like that. Had such beauty around me every day.
In Cimmeria I invented my dream school. Of course, it's terribly dangerous there -- everything beautiful has its price.
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by Elana K. Arnold
Ben: Having just graduated from high school, Ben is set to leave Gypsum, Nevada. It's good timing since the gypsum mine that is the lifeblood of the area is closing, shutting the whole town down with it. Ben is lucky: he's headed to San Diego, where he's got a track scholarship at the University of California. But his best friends, Pete and Hog Boy, don't have college to look forward to, so to make them happy, Ben goes with them to check out the hot chick parked on the side of Highway 447.
Lala: She and her Gypsy family earn money by telling fortunes. Some customers choose Tarot cards; others have their palms read. The thousands of people attending the nearby Burning Man festival spend lots of cash--especially as Lala gives uncanny readings. But lately Lala's been questioning whether there might be more to life than her upcoming arranged marriage. And the day she reads Ben's cards is the day that everything changes for her. . . and for him.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Burning?
The best thing, for me, about BURNING was the ability to get into the heads of two characters--Ben Stanley and Lala White. I structured this book so that the odd chapters are in Ben's voice, and the even chapters are in Lala's.
I set the story in a fictional version of a real town, Empire, Nevada. I first heard about Empire on NPR. Empire was a company town, meaning that the entire town was owned by a company that mined gypsum, which is used to make wallboard. But since the housing market crashed, the demand for gypsum has fallen, too, and everyone in Empire had to leave. The whole town shut down. And Empire was located really close to where the annual Burning Man festival occurs.
I started thinking about the teens who lived in Empire, and what their lives must be like in their final days in their town. Right away I heard Ben's story.
Lala's voice was more difficult to find, but I knew she would be a Romani Gypsy. I dove into research and became fascinated with the Gypsy culture, the family dynamics, the particular struggles these people face. And there was so much potential for conflict in the clashing of their worlds, in the burning heat of the desert summer.
I was on fire for this book. Everything about it--the Tarot reading, the scorched landscape, the tension between Ben and his friends, Lala and her fiance Romeo, the shuttering town--I couldn't write fast enough. And the two voices, Ben's and Lala's, drove me forward, demanding to tell their stories.
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by Eve Silver
Katherine Tegen Books
So what's the game now? This, or the life I used to know?
When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game--her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn't really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn't. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Rush?
Does "everything" count as an answer? I love the characters--damaged Miki Jones who draws on an inner well of strength, enigmatic Jackson Tate, easy-going Luka Vujic. I love the dual settings of Rochester, NY and the game Miki's sucked into where she has to hunt aliens or be hunted by them. I love the action; there are a lot of scenes where the reader lives the game right along with Miki. I love the whole gaming aspect. I love the way the reader discovers the answers right along with Miki. But most of all, my favorite thing about RUSH is the fact that I have the chance to share this story with readers.
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by Helen Fitzgerald
Advance Reader Copy Giveaway
Winner: Katy Upperman
When 16-year-old Abigail's mother dies in Scotland--leaving a faded photo, a weirdly cryptic letter, and a one-way ticket to America--she feels nothing. Why should she? Her mother gave her away when she was a baby, leaving her to grow up on an anti-nuclear commune and then in ugly foster homes. But the letter is a surprise in more ways than one: Her father is living in California. What's more, Abigail discovers she has an eighteen-year-old sister, Becky. And the two are expecting Abigail to move in with them.
After struggling to overcome her natural suspicions of a note from beyond the grave (not to mention anything positive) Abigail grows close to her newfound sister. But then Becky is found dead, the accidental victim of an apparent drug overdose. As Abigail wrestles with her feelings and compiles a "Book of Remembrance" of her sister's short life, she uncovers a horrifying global plot aimed at controlling teen behavior: one that took her sister's and mother's lives, with vast implications.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Deviant?
Abigail hates rainy Glasgow. She thinks moving to LA will turn her into someone else; someone who's happy. But it's not where you are that makes you happy or sad, it's who. And no matter where she's living, I love feisty, complex, confusing, confused, Abigail. She's my favorite thing about the book. She's tough but she's also kind, she toes the line but she's also deviant, she longs for intimacy yet she pushes it away. I only wish she loved herself as much as I love her.
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by J.R. Johansson
Winner: Michele Luker
It's been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.
Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he's had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people's fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets--and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.
Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia's eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he's gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it's Parker.
Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Insomnia?
My favorite thing is the twists and turns the plot takes combined with the unreliable narration. With Parker, we have a main character who can't tell what is real and what is not. When the reader is viewing it through his eyes, every aspect of the story is called into question. It makes for quite a bumpy ride.
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Another Little Piece
by Kate Karyus Quinn
Winner: Cassandra Brown
The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn's haunting debut.
On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.
A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.
Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese's fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape--unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Another Little Piece?
Oooh, this is tough! I love the little poems sprinkled throughout ALP. I love the romantic relationship that develops between Annaliese and Dex. I love the layering of time so that flashbacks are sprinkled throughout the current time narrative. However, if I must pick, my very favorite thing is the relationship that develops between Annaliese and the mom. In many ways, I feel that this is the heart of the ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE and that without the mom's steady and constant love, this book would've had a completely different ending.
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by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
Winner: Olivia Hinebaugh
With New Agey parents and a Pakistani heritage, it might have been difficult for Sunny Pryce-Shah to fit in. Thankfully, she had her older, popular cousin Shiri to talk to--until now. Shiri's shocking suicide brings heartwrenching pain and grief, and also seems to have triggered a new and disturbing ability in Sunny: hearing people's thoughts.
It's awful, especially when Sunny learns what her so-called friends really think of her. Feeling more comfortable with the Emo crowd, she tells them about her strange talent and uses it to help cute, troubled Cody. But when his true motives are revealed, she isn't sure whom to trust anymore. Sunny hopes to find answers in Shiri's journal. Was her cousin also cursed with this "gift"? Will Sunny end up like Shiri?
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Underneath?
Much more than I originally expected, the book ended up talking about the messiness of navigating relationships: friendships, family, love--they aren't necessarily easy, and sometimes they even require work (surprise!). Sunny has this gift that enables her to catch glimpses of what's going through others' minds, but in reality, it's not much more than we mere mortals ever get. The work of the relationship still has to be done--the reaching out, the trusting, the giving of ourselves and accepting of the other person. And in the end, Sunny learns how powerful (and sometimes difficult) those seemingly everyday things really are. I didn't approach the book with that theme explicitly in mind; it was just something that emerged as I wrote and re-wrote. Because this particular book was a challenging one for me to write--it's gone through a LOT of drafts and lived through at least two abandonments--it was incredibly rewarding to see themes like this one take shape and give cohesion to the story, making the characters come alive in a way they hadn't for me before.
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by Elizabeth Ross
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service--the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive.
Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.
But Isabelle has no idea her new "friend" is the hired help, and Maude's very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose.
IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS
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by Alex London
Knox was born into one of the City's wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want--the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.
Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.
Then again, neither is Knox's. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox's father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys' resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Proxy?
My favorite thing about Proxy is that it exists at all.
One hears a lot of negative things about the publishing business and working with giant conglomerates, but I have to say, I have had some amazing experiences in my short career working with Penguin Books for Young Readers.
When I started writing for young people, I wrote Middle Grade novels--stories for 8-12 year olds. The series I wrote, The Accidental Adventures, are silly, goofball adventure comedies and Penguin Books has worked hard to help them find their way in the world. So when I showed my editor an early partial draft of Proxy, a futuristic action-thriller with some pretty dark themes, they could easily have given me a song and dance about branding, about consistency, about any number of reasonable business-y things and declined to publish it. But instead, they said go for it. Tell the stories you need to tell.
And so I wrote Proxy and turned it in.
And that was the second surprise I had for my publishers.
In the process of finishing, the main character, Syd, had revealed himself to be gay. I hadn't planned it that way, it just happened and it made sense for him. So, into my futuristic thriller, there came a gay 16 year old boy, fighting for his life against giant corporations and violent criminals and messianic rebels all with impossible odds. There are meditations on debt and society, identity and power, and the meaning of freedom. While Syd's sexuality doesn't play much of a role in the story, it is present, it is part of who he is. He is a lot of things in addition, but being gay is part of him. Hardly the stuff of instant best-sellerdom and hardly standard fare for an action hero, it seemed.
However, instead of balking, instead of telling me to make a change, to put Syd in the closet, my publisher said "Go for it, as long as you keep the story exciting, the characters honest, and tell the stories you need to tell." They helped me to make Proxy the most exciting, moving, and inventive thriller I could make it. They told me to go bigger! They told me to tell the stories I needed to tell.
And I have.
I've been very lucky to work with such a great team, to tell a story that matters to me, and hopefully, will matter to other people too. The process of writing Proxy, of bringing it into the world, has really showed me that young adults are smart readers, engaged readers, skeptical and passionate readers, and that they are hungry for all kinds of characters in all kinds of stories.
So my favorite thing about Proxy is that it is the story I needed to tell.
Also all the part with the robot explosions. I love that part.
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by Jessica Spotswood
With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers--if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.
Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.
In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.
Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Star Cursed?
I love STAR CURSED. It was a steep learning curve for me; in writing it (and rewriting) I learned so much about pacing and stakes. It's full of growing tension as the battle between the witches and the Brotherhood - the priests who outlawed magic - heats up. There's a book burning, a protest, visits to an insane asylum, at least one death, and one enormous betrayal - and we find out for certain which of the Cahill sisters is the most powerful. But even though I tried to keep readers frantically flipping pages, I hope that it never sacrifices character for plot, because writing swoony kissing scenes and intense sibling rivalry are still my favorite things!
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MORE RELEASES IN STORES NEXT WEEK
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The Watcher in the Shadows
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
It was an unforgettable summer....
When fourteen-year-old Irene Sauvelle moves with her family to Cape House on the coast of Normandy, she's immediately taken by the beauty of the place--its expansive cliffs, coasts, and harbors. There, she meets a local boy named Ishmael, and the two soon fall in love. But a dark mystery is about to unfold, involving a reclusive toymaker who lives in a gigantic mansion filled with mechanical beings and shadows of the past.
As strange lights shine through the fog surrounding a small, barren island, Irene's younger brother dreams of a dark creature hidden deep in the forest. And when a young girl is found murdered, her body at the end of a path torn through the woods by a monstrous, inhuman force, Irene and Ishmael wonder--has a demonic presence been unleashed on the inhabitants of Cape House? Together, they'll have to survive the most terrifying summer of their lives, as they try to piece together the many mysteries and secrets hidden in a town torn apart by tragedy, amidst a labyrinth of lights and shadows.
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