Sunday, June 25, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 6/25/17

Hello, writers! It was a light week as far as YA news, but I’ve still got some great links to keep you motivated this summer.

If there’s a news story or blog post you found particularly interesting, or you want to share your thoughts on an article, send me a tweet. Or just stop by to say hello!

Enjoy!


Writing for Publication—Queries and Submissions:

Writing for Publication—Book Marketing and Social Media:

Author Interviews:

Adventures in YA Publishing Author Interviews:

Literary Agent News and Interviews:

Writing and Pitch Contests:

Writing Craft:

Writing Inspiration:

Publishing News & Trends:

New YA E-Book Deals:

New YA Book Giveaways:

YA New Book Deals and Releases:

Just for Fun:

Saturday, June 24, 2017

0 Amanda K. Morgan, author of SUCH A GOOD GIRL, on doing what works for you

We had such a good time sitting down with Amanda K. Morgan to chat about her latest novel, SUCH A GOOD GIRL.

Amanda, what book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa? 

Simon Pulse compares the book to PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE, and I have to say they're both good comparisons. I'd also throw in GONE GIRL.

What do you hope readers will take away from SUCH A GOOD GIRL?

I write for enjoyment, so I hope people read my work and get the same feeling.

0 Thank You to the Participants and Mentors of the 1st 5 Pages Workshop!

Congratulations to all of the participants who worked so hard during our June 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop! And a big thanks to Connor Eck, our fabulous agent mentor. And as always, thank you to our talented and fabulous permanent mentors, who read, comment, and cheer on our participants every month!

Speaking of our wonderful mentors, we have exciting mentor news! GIRL ON THE VERGE, by our lovely mentor, Pintip Dunn, cones out on June 27! I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Our July workshop opens on Saturday, July 1. The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?

  • You are mentored by at least two traditionally-published published or agented authors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales.
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants.
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right!
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy.
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works

Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. We will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman, @MelissWritesNow), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

So get those pages ready, we usually fill up in under a minute!

Happy Writing (and revising!)

Erin



About the Author

Erin Cashman is AYAP's  1st 5 Pages Workshop coordinator, and a permanent mentor. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, three kids, and an energetic rescue dog.

Her YA fantasy debut, THE EXCEPTIONALS, was named a Bank Street College of Education best book of the year. For up to date information about the workshop, you can follow Erin on twitter here

Friday, June 23, 2017

0 Confidence and the Writer, Musings from Author Catherine Egan

Author Catherine Egan joins us today to share some thoughts on what many consider to be an oxymoron: the confident writer. Whether you choose outlining, as she does, or another confidence booster, I'm sure you'll agree with Catherine that with each book, we have to convince ourselves we can write it.

Catherine is also celebrating her newest release, Julia Defiant, which is the second book in her Witch's Child series. So be sure to check it out below the post.

The Confidence Trick of Writing a Book, or Failing to Write a Book by Catherine Egan


My fifth book has just come out, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the writing strategies that make me feel safe. I’ve written every book the same way. Here are the well-worn steps I go through, deeply familiar and comforting to me by now:
  1. Lots of brainstorming and note-taking until I have the shape of the whole book in my head
  2. Make a very detailed, chapter-by-chapter outline
  3. Start drafting & update outline whenever I deviate from it
  4. Get to the end, then make an outline of the finished draft
  5. Plot revision using finished outline, and keep adjusting the outline as I revise and rewrite

Clearly, I am heavily dependent on my outlines. When I get stuck, I immediately go to my outline to fix the problem. I feel panicky as soon the story starts to move away from the map I’ve made, and then I have to stop and fix the outline before I can keep going forward. I cling to my outline like a life raft. This is the thing I need that will get me to shore.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

I’ve published five books now, and failed to write at least as many as that. I’ve used an outline every time. It doesn’t matter to me that the outline changes dramatically as I go along, and it doesn’t matter that it sometimes fails me. I’m still convinced I need it.

Lately I’ve been wondering what would happen if I didn’t use an outline. If I compare my first outline to the final outline, it’s obvious that I’m actually more than half-pantser, masquerading as a plotter. The outline has been my confidence trick. Can I write a book without it? Just go with an idea and see what happens? Can I ditch my floaties and throw myself off the dock, plunge into the cold, dark water and see if it will hold me up, or maybe see what I find down there at the bottom? Maybe because I’m becoming more confident, or maybe because I want to give myself a bit of a scare, the idea of it has been tugging at me lately. I imagine a graceless, panicky process, and I imagine myself emerging from it, gasping and flailing but triumphant, holding something beautiful.

Or maybe I’d drag myself out shivering and empty-handed and swear never to do that again, but I might be ready to find out. I’m mostly OK with failure. In fact, if there is one part of writing a book that I think I’m particularly good at, it’s failing to do so.

Here is the thing with failing to write a book: it sucks, it really does – it can feel like a heartbreaking waste of time and effort, a shattered dream – but also, it’s OK. Writing a book gets compared to having a child sometimes – people talk about their book babies, and it is true that just as every child is different, so is every book, and each one will require different things from you, challenge you in different ways. However, the analogy breaks down quickly, in a way that should be reassuring for all writers: if you completely mess up your book, it’s really not such a big deal. You can write another one. You can salvage the failed book for parts (also not recommended with children). You can let go and move on.

Writing a book is always a kind of confidence trick. You have to convince yourself that you can do it. You have to convince yourself that your way of doing it is the right way to do it. You have to convince yourself that failing doesn’t make you a failure. You have to convince yourself that you don’t suck, even when sometimes you do. You have to convince yourself that it’s worthwhile – that your story is worthwhile.

You convince yourself of all of this, and you write and write and write, and then sometimes at the end of all that writing (and all the procrastination and self-doubt and caffeine and Real Life interferences) somehow or other, there’s a book – this thing you made.

Then you do it all over again, but differently.

About the Book:



https://www.amazon.com/Julia-Defiant-Witchs-Child-Catherine/dp/0553533355/
Julia and a mismatched band of revolutionaries, scholars, and thieves have crossed the world searching for a witch. But for all the miles traveled, they are no closer to finding Ko Dan. No closer to undoing the terrible spell he cast that bound an ancient magic to the life of a small child. Casimir wants that magic – will happily kill Theo to extract it – and every moment they hunt for Ko Dan, Casimir’s assassins are hunting them.

Julia can deal with danger. The thing that truly scares her lies within. Her strange ability to vanish to a place just out of sight has grown: she can now disappear so completely that it’s like stepping into another world. It’s a fiery, hellish world, filled with creatures who seem to recognize her – and count her as one of their own.

So is Julia a girl with a monster lurking inside her? Or a monster wearing the disguise of a girl?

If she can use her monstrous power to save Theo, does it matter?

In this riveting second book in the Witch’s Child trilogy, Catherine Egan goes deep within the heart of a fierce, defiant girl trying to discover not just who but what she truly is.

Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

About the Author:

My books: JULIA DEFIANT, JULIA VANISHES, Shade & Sorceress, The Unmaking, Bone, Fog, Ash & Star
My blog: bycatherineegan.wordpress.com
My superpowers: high-kicking, list-making, simultaneously holding two opposing opinions
My weaknesses: fear of flying, over-thinking and then making bad decisions, excessive list-making
My allies: my made-for-walking-in black boots, Mick, the English Language
My enemies: decaf, low blood sugar, the passage of time
My mission: the coexistence of ambivalence and joy.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

0 The Blueprint for Writing a Novel from the First Five Pages to the End

I had the privilege of giving a workshop down in Tampa this past weekend, speaking about what genuinely has to go into the first five pages of a novel. After having been a founder and mentor of the First Five Pages workshop these past six years, I've seen a lot of openings, and a lot of mistakes. I've also seen a lot of brilliant stories that begin in the wrong place.

So what’s the recipe for the perfect first five pages? Where does it begin?

It starts with your protagonist, and it starts long before your story starts, way back at the point where your protagonist had the experience that set her up for failure. Because that's the true reason your readers are going to keep reading your book. They want to see whether that flaw in your character, the thing that holds her back, is going to keep her from achieving the goals that she needs to achieve in order to satisfy the story question that you set up in the initial pages of your novel.

At some point in her life, she was wounded. Hurt. She experienced something that changed the course of her life by giving her a false belief that she has acted on ever since.

Our job as writers is to peel back the onion on our protagonists current behavior to reveal not just the cause and effect that drives events in the present, but the deeper roots of that behavior that lie in the past. That means, that as a rule of thumb, there are going to be at least three seminal events from the past that you are going to have to unveil in the course of telling the story that takes place in the present. These events will reveal how she became the way that she is, how her wound has held her back, whether she knows it o not, and that in turn sets up the expectation that she could--and very likely will--fail to vanquish her inner demons this time as well. Because without doubt, there's no reason for the reader to keep reading.

So what is it that I, as the writer, need to know about my characters before I sit down to write those all important first five pages?

It doesn't matter whether I'm a plotter or a pantser, there are basic things that will have to drive my story forward. Those elements can be put in place on the first draft, or the sixth, but eventually, if I'm to have a successful story, they will need to be there.
  1. I have to know my character’s goals. Because characters without goals are dull. Without a goal, a character can’t really fail, and without failure, there’s no story. Or at least not one that people are actually going to want to read.
  2. I need to know what need those goals will fill. What does my character lack? This can be something external—an elixir if you’re writing a hero’s journey story, or knowledge, or a way to save the world. Or it can be something internal, love, or acceptance, or a family. But whatever it is, it has to be very, very specific to my character, not something that can be applied to everyone.
  3. I need to know what situation has precipitated the urgency for that lack. Why does my character need whatever she needs now as opposed to yesterday? What’s changed that drives her need? 
  4. What wound from the past is this goal and need going to expose? 
  5. How does that wound conspire to keep her from achieving her goals?
  6. How did she get that wound, what specific event, led her to have a misguided belief or warped view of the world that could ultimately be her downfall?
  7. What lesson does she need to learn (theme) before she can achieve success?
  8. How can she best learn that lesson in a way that will push her to the very point where failure looks certain and she stands on the brink of it with no guarantee of overcoming her worst instincts?
  9. Where is the logical point at which to bring the reader into the story? The point where things are about to change for the protagonist because something happens to push her into an action she wouldn’t normally have taken? An action that exposes both her need and goal?
The good news is that once you know those nine things and you set them up in the first chapter, you have a blueprint that you can follow to write your entire book. 

From those initial pages, you can get from one scene to another by asking a simple set of additional questions.
  1. What’s my characters immediate goal and her expectation for how she will go about achieving it?
  2. What happens to upend that expectation?
  3. Does she succeed in achieving her goal in this scene? If so, what’s the complication that necessitates creating a new goal? If she fails, why did she fail?
  4. If she fails, does she fail in a small, recoverable way, or does she fail spectacularly so that it creates a complete twist in were the story is going? (There should be at least three of those large reversals per book—the inciting incident, the midpoint, and the climax.)
  5. How does her wound impact the success or failure?
  6. What’s the outcome of this scene? How does it change what happens next In a way that will continue to push the buttons of the protagonists internal struggle?  (Every scene MUST change what happens next, and it must change it in a causal fashion, in other words, what happens next must happen BECAUSE of what happened before?
  7. What’s the emotional/internal impact of the scene? How does it effect the character’s misconception? What does she learn from her success or failure in this scene? (Every scene must effect her in some way.)
  8. What surprising thing do we learn about the character and her motivations in this scene?

Follow those questions, write the scenes based on these questions, and you get from one scene to the next and eventually end up with a book. A book full of trial and error and surprises, full of conflict and tension. A book in which eery scene ripples from what you set up in those early pages. 

Ultimately, regardless of the type of novel you are writing, whether it's a thriller, a fantasy, a dystopian, or a contemporary, your first pages and every page thereafter are an examination of WHY your protagonist is who she is and why she does the things she does. That's why "start with action" is the most misleading advise anyone can give a writer. That advise is too often interpreted as start with "big" action--explosions, death, something big. But a reader isn’t going to care if your protagonist gets blown up until they know and care about your protagonist and see the value in reading about her.

So that's your single biggest goal for those critical first five pages. Make the protagonist is novel-worthy. Make her extraordinary in some way. Make her funny, or smart, or kind, or a fantastic athlete, or a fantastic daughter or sister or friend. There has to be something about her that is not everyman. Also, there has to be something relatable. We have to be able to connect with what she wants. We have to see that she cares about something to make us care about her. 

And most critically, we have to understand why she cares.

That why not only has to make sense to the reader, it has to be different as well as plausible. It has to be surprising. Unusual. Because the reader is reading because she is looking to learn something about human nature, about herself, as she reads a book. The reader wants to be surprised.

That surprise comes into play in every aspect of the book, from the motivation of the characters to the story premise itself.

Which is why, at the very least, the first five pages of your novel can't be successfully written in their final form until after you know your story premise, your concept statement.

Try it. Put your character's problem and the situation that will expose it and challenge her to overcome it into the following framework:

When EXTERNAL STORY or QUEST forces CHARACTER to confront her INTERNAL PROBLEM or STAKES, the PLOT illustrates the THEME.

Write it and then go back and look at your first five pages and see what needs to be tweaked or changed.

Good luck and happy writing,

Martina


About the Author

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She’s the award-winning author of the romantic southern gothic Heirs of Watson Island series, including Compulsion, Persuasion, and Illusion from Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse and of the Celtic Legends series for adult readers beginning with Lake of Destiny

She lives with her husband, children, and a lopsided cat, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the sorts of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, Quality Streets, and anything with Nutella on it. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

6 New Releases this week 06/19-06/25 plus Giveaway of SUCH A GOOD GIRL

Happy Monday! This week, we're featuring a few new releases and hosting a giveaway for SUCH A GOOD GIRL! There's some awesome books releasing this week so don't forget to check out all of them below.

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


Such a Good Girl
by Amanda K. Morgan
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 6/20/2017

Pretty Little Liars meets Luckiest Girl Alive in this riveting novel about a practically perfect girl who is willing to do anything to make sure it stays that way. Absolutely anything.

Things to know about Riley Stone:

- Riley Stone is just about perfect. (Ask anyone.)
- She has a crush on her French teacher, Alex Belrose. (And she suspects he likes her, too.)
- Riley has her entire life planned out. (The plan is nonnegotiable.)
- She’s never had a secret she couldn’t keep. (Not ever.)
- Riley is sure that her life is on the right track. (And nothing will change that.)
- She’s nothing like a regular teenager. (But she doesn’t have any problem admitting that.)
- Riley doesn’t usually play games. (But when she does, she always wins.)

She thinks a game is about to start…
But Riley always has a plan…
And she always wins.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Such a Good Girl?

My favorite thing about SUCH A GOOD GIRL is Riley, the main character. She's probably the most interesting character I've ever written. Her motivations are very complex, and she has this relationship with her brother that is alternately competitive and loving, and similar feelings toward her friends. Writing someone like Riley was an absolute blast, and I wish I could say more without spoiling the book!

Purchase Such a Good Girl at Amazon
Purchase Such a Good Girl at IndieBound
View Such a Good Girl on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


Julia Defiant by Catherine Egan: Katherine S.
Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh: Mai B.
Roar by Cora Carmack: John S.
The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano: Courtney W.
Want by Cindy Pon: Danielle G.

MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


* * * *


The Girl in Between
by Sarah Carroll
Hardcover
Kathy Dawson Books
Released 6/20/2017

Told in the naive voice of a homeless girl sheltered by her mother from the world, this is a moving debut perfect for fans of David Almond, A Monster Calls, and Room.

In an old, abandoned mill, a girl and her ma take shelter from their memories of life on the streets, and watch the busy world go by. The girl calls it the Castle because it's the biggest place they've ever stayed, a home of her own like no other. The windows are boarded up and the floorboards are falling in, but for her neither of those things matter.

Then developers show up, and it's clear that that their lives are about to change forever. Desperate to save their refuge from the Authorities and her mother from her own personal demons, the girl seeks out the ghosts of the mill. And with only Caretaker the old man who's slept outside the mill for decades around to answer her questions, she begins to wonder what kind of ghosts are haunting both the mill and her mother.

The Girl in Between is a compelling, witty, and at times heartbreaking novel that explores themes of loneliness and grief with effortless warmth and an unforgettable voice that will stick with you long after you've finished.

Purchase The Girl in Between at Amazon
Purchase The Girl in Between at IndieBound
View The Girl in Between on Goodreads

* * * *


Trusting You & Other Lies
by Nicole Williams
Hardcover
Crown Books for Young Readers
Released 6/20/2017

Phoenix can't imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years—do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better?

On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum—the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he's impossible to figure out—and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he's promising Phoenix a summer she'll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?

Purchase Trusting You & Other Lies at Amazon
Purchase Trusting You & Other Lies at IndieBound
View Trusting You & Other Lies on Goodreads

* * * *


Two Roads from Here
by Teddy Steinkellner
Hardcover
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 6/20/2017

Five high school seniors. Two different roads. One life-changing decision. For fans of Tommy Wallach and Patrick Ness comes a thoughtful, funny novel that explores what happens to five teens when they choose the road…and the road not taken.

Should Brian play in Friday’s football game, even though his head really hurts?

Should Allegra commit to college now that her mother’s illness has returned?

Should Cole cheat on the SATs for a chance to get into his dream school?

Should Nikki go all the way with her boyfriend?

Should Wiley tell his best friend that he loves her and risk losing her completely?

These five seniors are about to have an opportunity people only dream about: to experience two potential outcomes of a life-altering decision.

Purchase Two Roads from Here at Amazon
Purchase Two Roads from Here at IndieBound
View Two Roads from Here on Goodreads



Sunday, June 18, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 6/18/17

Happy Sunday, writers!

We've reached the half-way point in June and the pipeline of new YA book releases is going strong! I have interviews below with these debut and seasoned authors, as well as YA adaptation news, and our regular scheduled programming of links on writing craft and publishing trends.

If there’s a news story or blog post you found particularly interesting, or you want to share your thoughts on an article, send me a tweet. Or just stop by to say hello!

Enjoy!

Writing for Publication—Queries and Submissions:

Writing for Publication—Book Marketing and Social Media:

Author Interviews:

Adventures in YA Publishing Author Interviews:

Literary Agent News and Interviews:


Writing and Pitch Contests:

  • Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshops via Brenda Drake: A quick reminder that Pitch Wars opens on August 2, and if you’re polishing your manuscript and query, check out this archive of critiques to help you along. 

Writing Craft:

Writing Inspiration:

Publishing News & Trends:

New YA E-Book Deals:

New YA Book Giveaways:

YA Book Awards and Congratulations:

YA New Book Deals and Releases:

Just for Fun:

Saturday, June 17, 2017

0 Cora Carmack, author of ROAR, on writing things that scare her

We're excited to have Cora Carmack with us to give us the scoop on her YA debut, ROAR.

Cora, what was your inspiration for writing ROAR?

I grew up in Texas in Tornado Alley. From a really young age, I was fascinated with storms. I would always beg to sit on the front porch and watch the clouds for funnels. So, one day during an interview, I was talking about how I’d always wanted to write a book about storm chasers, but hadn’t had the chance because it would require so much research. Then I jokingly said that maybe it would be easier to write a fantasy book about magic storms, and then I could just make up the research. Almost immediately, the idea of magic storms took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Because what’s more beautiful and devastating than a storm? ANSWER: A MAGIC storm.

0 Julie Eshbaugh, author of OBSIDIAN AND STARS, on trusting your instincts

OBSIDIAN AND STARS is the sequel to IVORY AND BONE, and we're pleased to have Julie Eshbaugh swing by to talk about it.

Julie, what did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

Working on Obsidian and Stars taught me to trust my instincts. Originally, when I first thought to write a story set in prehistory, I planned for it to be two books. But once the first book, Ivory and Bone, was in the world, I decided I wanted to expand my original idea to three books and make it a trilogy. I love the world of the books so much, I didn’t want to leave it. But then when I wrote Obsidian and Stars, I realized that the story was always meant to be two books—one from Kol’s point of view, and one from Mya’s point of view. To add a third book would have meant forcing the story to be something it wasn’t. So I trusted my instincts, and I let Obsidian and Stars close out the series, which is now a duology.

0 Keely Hutton, author of SOLDIER BOY, on Dory’s mantra of JUST KEEP SWIMMING

We are honored to have Keely Hutton here to share more about her debut novel, SOLDIER BOY, which tells the story of Ricky Richard Anywar. In addition, we are privileged to have Ricky here to talk about working with Keely to tell his story.

Keely, what was your inspiration for writing SOLDIER BOY?

Short answer: Ricky.

Long answer: In 2012, my cousin emailed me about Ricky, who he’d met while working with non-profit organizations in Africa. Ricky was looking for a writer to tell the story of his time as a child soldier. Five minutes into our first Skype conversation, I knew I wanted to help Ricky give a voice to the thousands of children whose voices were stolen by Kony and the LRA. Ricky and I have been working together on SOLDIER BOY ever since.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

There were many scenes in SOLDIER BOY that were emotionally difficult to write, but one that hit me the hardest was the scene when Ricky and his brother are forced to watch their parents and sisters die at the hands of the LRA. As a writer, I try to emotionally connect with the characters, in hopes that my emotional connection will extend through the characters to my readers. I sobbed writing the last moments between Ricky and Patrick’s mother and her sons. As a mother of two boys, it was heartbreaking to imagine her fear and pain in that moment, knowing not only what awaited her, but the terrible, uncertain fate her sons would be forced to face without her.

0 Kimberly McCreight, author of THE SCATTERING, on an extremely long and exceedingly bumpy road to publication

THE SCATTERING is book 2 in the Outliers series, and we're delighted to have Kimberly McCreight stop by to chat about it.

Kimberly, what is your favorite thing about THE SCATTERING?

My favorite thing about The Scattering is probably the way that Wylie’s personal journey dovetails with the action and adventure of the story. The Outliers trilogy looks at how the world might react if we discovered women possessed an ability—Heightened Emotional Intelligence— that men did not. But it is also the story of one girl trying to make sense of herself in the world, the way we all must do. It’s this push and pull between the broader and more intimate themes that I like the most about the way the book works.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

Like many writers, my road to publication was extremely long and exceedingly bumpy. It took me over ten years and five completed novels before I ever sold one to a publisher. That first novel was Reconstructing Amelia, my first adult novel.

0 Elle Cosimano, author of THE SUFFERING TREE, on there being a time to be brave and take risks

We're thrilled to have Elle Cosimano here to tell us more about her latest novel, THE SUFFERING TREE.

Elle, what was your inspiration for writing THE SUFFERING TREE?

While chaperoning my son’s school field trip to an apple orchard, the bus rolled by this very old and picturesque cemetery in Westmoreland, VA. In the middle of this beautiful green field was a cluster of graves around an old, dead tree. I couldn't get this tree out of my mind. It was gnarled and broken, the bark bleached white. Beneath it lay a handful of worn, mossy, leaning headstones, so old that I couldn’t make out the dates on them when I returned the next day for a second look. I wondered what had happened to the tree—why it had died and no one had cut it down, why no one had bothered to tend to the cemetery or farm the field around it, who was buried there and forgotten. And after a few days of asking myself "what if", the story of The Suffering Tree was born. You can see more pics of the cemetery that inspired The Suffering Tree by clicking here.

0 Catherine Egan, author of JULIA DEFIANT, on unlocking the next book


JULIA DEFIANT is book 2 in the The Witch's Child series, and we're excited to have Catherine Egan join us to share more about it.

Catherine, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

There is a scene in the middle of the book when several of the characters are at the Shou-shu monastery, a betrayal is revealed, and Bianka hands her baby son Theo to Julia. It’s a huge moment emotionally, because Bianka chooses to trust Julia – who betrayed her and kidnapped her son once before – with Theo’s life. But it’s also happening in the middle of a lot of action and fighting. Fight scenes are always tough – you want the writing to flow as fast as the fight, but you also need the important details in there. Scenes with a lot of characters present are hard too – you have to figure out the staging of it, what everybody is doing, make sure everybody is present and the reader has the full picture, but without bogging the scene down with description. That scene was really hard to pull off – a lot of action, a lot of characters, and this key emotional moment between two of the characters. I rewrote it so many times, but I am happy with it now.

My favorite scenes are often the ones that came the easiest – they seem to appear fully formed and don’t require much revision. Two of my favorite scenes from this book are when a super-creepy witch delves into Julia’s memories, and when Julia and her brother have a necessary conversation about their parents and their lives on the walls of the city. I also really love the final scene of the book, but I don’t want to give a spoilery description of that one!

Friday, June 16, 2017

0 Strengthen Your Verbs and Your Writing by L.E. Sterling

It's a struggle every writer faces: keeping your word choices fresh while making them the strongest they can be. It's even more important for verbs as they carry the weight of our action and set the pace for the reader. Author L.E. Sterling is here today to share some great advice for keeping these verbs active and the reader reading. Be sure to check out her newest release, True North, book two in the True Born Trilogy, at the end of the post!

Giving Words Life: Editing for Passive Voice and Verb Strength by L.E. Sterling


This post is for emerging writers who are having trouble diagnosing the problem with their prose. Put it another way, why isn’t the world in your head leaping off the page? You might be wondering about the strength of your character development, your world building, or your plot. But often, problems with prose can be traced right back to the mechanics of your sentences, and can be fixed by following a few basic suggestions. One of the most important ones is editing for passive sentence constructions.

I thought I knew how to write when I finally learned this simple lesson. I had already completed two university degrees after all, a B.A. and an M.A. in Creative Writing. I’d written scores of essays, and had published a novel, short stories, poetry, and dozens of articles. Then I found myself in a PhD program in English Literature. My supervisor had a knack for helping his students develop beautifully written work by helping them understand the mechanics of writing. His lesson on passive sentence construction has served me very well ever since.

Monday, June 12, 2017

14 New Releases this week 06/12-06/18 plus 4 Giveaways!

Happy Monday! This week, we have another four awesome giveaways to feature (4 seems to be the lucky number lately!), including the first two books in the Witch's Child series! We're also shining a spotlight on a few more awesome books so don't forget to check out all of them below.

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


* * * *


Julia Defiant
by Catherine Egan
JULIA VANISHES and JULIA DEFIANT Giveaway
U.S. Only

Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 6/13/2017

Julia and a mismatched band of revolutionaries, scholars, and thieves have crossed the world searching for a witch. But for all the miles traveled, they are no closer to finding Ko Dan. No closer to undoing the terrible spell he cast that bound an ancient magic to the life of a small child. Casimir wants that magic, and will happily kill Theo to extract it. And every moment they hunt for Ko Dan, Casimir's assassins are hunting them.

Julia can deal with danger. The thing that truly scares her lies within. Her strange ability to vanish to a place just out of sight has grown: she can now disappear so completely that it's like stepping into another world. It's a fiery, hellish world, filled with creatures who seem to recognize her and count her as one of their own.

So . . . is Julia a girl with a monster lurking inside her? Or a monster wearing the disguise of a girl?

If she can use her monstrous power to save Theo, does it matter?

In this riveting second book in the Witch's Child trilogy, Catherine Egan goes deep within the heart of a fierce, defiant girl trying to discover not just who but what she truly is.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Julia Defiant?

The really fun thing about writing a sequel is that you have such a strong sense of your world and your characters already. The first book is all about discovery – for the writer and for the reader. Now that I’ve built my playground, though, I really get to play in it. Julia’s world is certainly developed further, especially as they have traveled well beyond Frayne, but I enjoyed developing the long, multi-book arc of character relationships most of all. Julia’s relationships – with her brother, with her ex-lover Wyn and her trusted friend Frederick, with Bianka, whom she has betrayed, with an increasingly menacing Mrs. Och, and with her employer-turned-enemy and would-be mentor Pia – all go to new places in this book. And of course, there is a new love interest for Julia as well.

One of the central mysteries of the series, more pressing in this second book, is why Julia can vanish. Her ability to vanish expands hugely in this sequel, and there are hints as to the dangerous origin of her power. I love laying clues and plotting out reveals over the course of more than one book. This second book doesn’t provide all the answers, but all the pieces of the puzzle are out in the open now. I hope that when readers finally get the answer in the third book, it will be satisfying, and they will remember all the clues without having worked it out ahead of time!


Purchase Julia Defiant at Amazon
Purchase Julia Defiant at IndieBound
View Julia Defiant on Goodreads

* * * *


Obsidian and Stars
by Julie Eshbaugh
Hardcover Giveaway
International

HarperTeen
Released 6/13/2017

In the sequel to Ivory and Bone—the prehistoric fantasy novel that New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman described as a “richly crafted world of life-and-death stakes”—the story shifts to Mya’s viewpoint as vengeful adversaries force her to flee the life she once knew.

After surviving the chaotic battle that erupted after Lo and the Bosha clan attacked, now Mya is looking ahead to her future with Kol. All the things that once felt so uncertain are finally falling into place. But the same night as Kol and Mya’s betrothal announcement, Mya’s brother Chev reveals his plan to marry his youngest sister, Lees, to his friend Morsk. The only way to avoid this terrible turn of events, Morsk informs Mya, is for Mya to take Lees’ place and marry him herself.

Refusing to marry anyone other than her beloved, and in an effort to protect her sister, Mya runs away to a secret island with Lees. And though it seems like the safest place to hide until things back home blow over, Mya soon realizes she’s been followed. Lurking deep in the recesses of this dangerous place are rivals from Mya’s past whose thirst for revenge exceeds all reason.

With the lives of her loved ones on the line, Mya must make a move before the enemies of her past become the undoing of her future.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Obsidian and Stars?

My favorite thing about OBSIDIAN AND STARS is the time period. OBSIDIAN AND STARS, like the first book in the series, IVORY AND BONE, is set in prehistory, at the end of the last Ice Age. I’ve always been fascinated with prehistoric times, and I’ve often wondered about how people who lived so long ago, without any advanced technology or even written language, managed to not only survive, but thrive. All this daydreaming about their lives gave birth to the characters in the books. I tried to imagine not only how they lived, but what they aspired to, who they loved, and what they valued most.

Creating the world of OBSIDIAN AND STARS required a lot of research, but it never felt like a burden because I was fascinated by it all. I read a lot about the first settlers to reach North America from Asia, because I imagined my characters were among the people who crossed the Bering Land Bridge. Archaeologists are discovering new evidence and forming new theories about these first Americans—how they traveled, hunted, and interacted with each other—and many of these new theories had an influence on the stories in both IVORY AND BONE and OBSIDIAN AND STARS. Living in a world where we don’t dare leave the house without our smartphones, it was refreshing to write about such a different time.


Purchase Obsidian and Stars at Amazon
Purchase Obsidian and Stars at IndieBound
View Obsidian and Stars on Goodreads

* * * *


The Suffering Tree
by Elle Cosimano
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Disney-Hyperion
Released 6/13/2017

"It's dark magic brings him back."

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it's their generations-old land the Burns have "stolen." As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori's shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it's clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter's cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family's oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.

From award-winning author Elle Cosimano comes a haunting, atmospheric thriller perfect to hand to readers of the Mara Dyer trilogy and Bone Gap.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Suffering Tree?

I never enjoyed history class when I was in school. I recall having very few passionate, engaging history teachers over the years, and most of my experience learning history involved dry textbooks and the rote memorization of names and dates. Truth be told, most of those names and dates slipped my mind long ago. So when the idea for THE SUFFERING TREE first planted itself in my imagination, I was daunted by the sheer amount of research this book would require of me. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure I was up to it. Imagine my surprise all these years later, to realize that my favorite part of writing this book was the research—that I would actually find joy in it, dancing to djembe drums by firelight in a cornfield alongside plantation life re-enactors, listening to fiddlers in historic taverns, touring tall ships and interviewing historians in the kitchens and sculleries of reconstructed colonial homes. Not the history of names and dates we are obligated to remember in school. But the human experience of it. My favorite thing about this book is the history captured within its pages, and what I learned while bringing it to life.

Purchase The Suffering Tree at Amazon
Purchase The Suffering Tree at IndieBound
View The Suffering Tree on Goodreads



* * * *


Want
by Cindy Pon
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 6/13/2017

From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

Purchase Want at Amazon
Purchase Want at IndieBound
View Want on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Boy by Blake Nelson: Tandi C.
Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger: Michelle M.
Welcome to the Slipstream by Natalka Burian: D S.
Firebrand by A.J. Hartley: Susan T.


MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


* * * *


Soldier Boy
by Keely Hutton
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 6/13/2017

Soldier Boy begins with the story of Ricky Richard Anywar, abducted at age fourteen in 1989 to fight with Joseph Kony's rebel army in Uganda’s decades-long civil war. Ricky is trained, armed, and forced to fight government soldiers alongside his brutal kidnappers, but never stops dreaming of escape.

The story continues twenty years later, with a fictionalized character named Samuel, representative of the thousands of child soldiers Ricky eventually helped rehabilitate as founder of the internationally acclaimed charity Friends of Orphans.

Working closely with Ricky himself, debut author Keely Hutton has written an eye-opening book about a boy’s unbreakable spirit and indomitable courage in the face of unimaginable horror.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Soldier Boy?

You did ask favorite things, right? As in plural? Because I have two: one connected to working on SOLDIER BOY and one connected to the story itself.

My favorite thing about working on SOLDIER BOY is the friendship Ricky and I formed over the last five years. Though the book is finished, Ricky and I still communicate weekly via email, Facebook messenger, and Skype, and he continues to inspire me with his selflessness, courage, perseverance, capacity for forgiveness, and undiminished hope in the face of a world determined to break him. I am privileged to tell his story and honored to call him my friend.

My favorite thing about the story SOLDIER BOY is that despite the heartbreaking horrors it reveals about the decades-long civil war that gripped Uganda and its children, at its core, SOLDIER BOY is a story about the unrelenting strength of the human spirit to find hope in the darkest corners of hell, to escape captivity despite insurmountable odds, and to hold onto humanity when all else is lost. It is a message I hope readers embrace and remember when faced with hardships in their own lives.


Purchase Soldier Boy at Amazon
Purchase Soldier Boy at IndieBound
View Soldier Boy on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


* * * *


An Uninterrupted View of the Sky
by Melanie Crowder
Hardcover
Philomel Books
Released 6/13/2017

Modern history unearthed as a boy becomes an innocent victim of corruption in the underbelly of Bolivia's crime world, where the power of family is both a prison and the only means of survival.

It's 1999 in Bolivia, and Francisco's life consists of school, soccer, and trying to find space for himself in his family's cramped yet boisterous home. But when his father is arrested on false charges and sent to prison by a corrupt system that targets the uneducated, the poor, and the indigenous majority, Francisco's mother abandons hope and her family. Francisco and his sister are left with no choice: They must move into the prison with their father. There, they find a world unlike anything they've ever known, where everything—a door, a mattress, protection from other inmates—has its price.

Prison life is dirty, dire, and dehumanizing. With their lives upended, Francisco faces an impossible decision: Break up the family and take his sister to their grandparents in the Andean highlands, fleeing the city and the future that was just within his grasp, or remain together in the increasingly dangerous prison. Pulled between two equally undesirable options, Francisco must confront everything he once believed about the world around him and his place within it.

In this heart-wrenching novel inspired by real events, Melanie Crowder sheds light on a little-known era of modern South American history—where injustice still darkens the minds and hearts of people alike—and proves that hope can be found, even in the most desperate places.

Perfect for fans of Ruta Sepetys, Matt de la Pena, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Purchase An Uninterrupted View of the Sky at Amazon
Purchase An Uninterrupted View of the Sky at IndieBound
View An Uninterrupted View of the Sky on Goodreads

* * * *


Bad Romance
by Heather Demetrios
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 6/13/2017

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Purchase Bad Romance at Amazon
Purchase Bad Romance at IndieBound
View Bad Romance on Goodreads

* * * *


Life Just Got Real
by Sadie Robertson and Cindy Coloma
Paperback
Howard Books
Released 6/13/2017

From Dancing with the Stars runner-up and Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson comes a fun novel about two teenage girls from different backgrounds and opposite lifestyles who discover there is more to friendship than meets the eye.

Sixteen-year-old A.J. Smith grew up in backwoods Louisiana, repairing cars with her dad and hunting with her brothers. But when her dad dies, her mom drags the whole family to Nashville where everything is different—except A.J. And A.J. knows it will take everything she has to live original.

Kate Kelly grew up in Nashville’s best schools, jetting around the world with glamorous people and wearing clothes from her mom’s trendy boutique. But when A.J. Smith―a new girl from the sticks—shows up, suddenly she’s all the rage: her unusual sense of style, her accent, and especially her dumb converse high tops. Even Kate’s brother, Kaden, seems to be under the new girl’s spell. But Kate has bigger things to think about, including the reality show Real Life. Everyone says the show is her chance to make it big. But then the producers decide to bring A.J. into the show.

Because these girls are so different, the producers of Real Life know that their conflict will be television gold. So the cameras start to roll. Then Kaden asks A.J. to prom, Kate flips out, and things with Kate’s (almost) boyfriend Alex start unraveling fast—all on camera. As the producers try to stir up the drama, Kate’s idea of the perfect prom spins out of control. When Kate’s life goes disastrously wrong, it is A.J. who steps up to help—no questions asked. A friendship between the two girls just might grow—but only if they both live original and stay true to who God made them to be.

Purchase Life Just Got Real at Amazon
Purchase Life Just Got Real at IndieBound
View Life Just Got Real on Goodreads

* * * *


Midnight at the Electric
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 6/13/2017

Kansas, 2065. Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before Launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time … and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.

Oklahoma, 1934. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called The Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire -- and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life -- Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

England, 1919. In the recovery following World War One, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined in ways both heartbreaking and hopeful.

Purchase Midnight at the Electric at Amazon
Purchase Midnight at the Electric at IndieBound
View Midnight at the Electric on Goodreads

* * * *


Murder among the Stars
by Adam Shankman & Laura L. Sullivan
Hardcover
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Released 6/13/2017

After being framed for attempted murder, Lulu Kelly has earned a rest. Unfortunately, there is no rest in Hollywood for a rising starlet. Lulu and her boyfriend Freddie are invited to posh Hearst Castle, where Lulu will be competing against other young actresses for the role of a lifetime. But what’s a house party without a little murder?

After a rival actress is found dead under the dining room table, Lulu makes it her mission to solve the mystery. But illusion is this town’s number one export, and it’s hard to tell the ambitious from the truly evil. As the clues pile up, Lulu and Freddie race to find the killer, even as Lulu becomes the next target.

Purchase Murder among the Stars at Amazon
Purchase Murder among the Stars at IndieBound
View Murder among the Stars on Goodreads

* * * *


Our Dark Duet
by Victoria Schwab
Hardcover
Greenwillow Books
Released 6/13/2017

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

Purchase Our Dark Duet at Amazon
Purchase Our Dark Duet at IndieBound
View Our Dark Duet on Goodreads

* * * *


Saints and Misfits
by S.K. Ali
Hardcover
Salaam Reads
Released 6/13/2017

Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life … starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her … an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster … one who happens to be parading around as a saint. Will she be the one to call him out? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Purchase Saints and Misfits at Amazon
Purchase Saints and Misfits at IndieBound
View Saints and Misfits on Goodreads

* * * *


Summer Unscripted
by Jen Klein
Hardcover
Random House Books for Young Readers
Released 6/13/2017

A summer romance about missed connections and how not to miss out on the love of your life. For fans of Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and Jenny Han.

Girl looks for a sign. Enter: boy.

Rainie doesn’t have a “passion” like her friends do. She’s more of a dabbler—quick to give up and move on. But as graduation approaches, she wishes she had more direction. So when gorgeous Tuck gives a monologue that literally puts into words exactly how she’s been feeling lately, it’s a sign! Tuck is her passion. How could she not have seen it before?

Girl follows boy. Enter: second boy.

Rainie convinces her ex-BFF to let her work at the same summer job as Tuck. She’s got a foolproof plan to date him. But when she arrives, Rainie discovers things aren't that simple. And she meets Milo, a super-cute boy who also works with her. A boy with a complicated past.

Girl needs to figure stuff out. Enter: drama.

Purchase Summer Unscripted at Amazon
Purchase Summer Unscripted at IndieBound
View Summer Unscripted on Goodreads

* * * *


The Leaf Reader
by Emily Arsenault
Hardcover
Soho Teen
Released 6/13/2017

Like a contemporary take on Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle, Marnie Wells comes face-to-face with the occult, discovering she can tell the future by reading tea leaves.

Marnie Wells knows that she creeps people out. It s not really her fault; her brother is always in trouble, and her grandmother, who s been their guardian since Mom took off is ... eccentric. So no one even bats an eye when Marnie finds an old tea-leaf-reading book and starts telling fortunes. The ceremony and symbols are weirdly soothing, but she knows and hopes everyone else does too that none of it's real.

Then basketball star Matt Cotrell asks for a reading. He's been getting emails from someone claiming to be his best friend, Andrea Quinley, who disappeared and is presumed dead. Rumor has it Matt and Andrea were romantically involved, though they d always denied it. A faint cloud of suspicion still hangs over Matt. But Marnie sees a kindred spirit: someone who, like her, is damaged by association.

Suddenly the readings seem real. And they're telling Marnie things about Matt that make him seem increasingly dangerous. But she can t shake her initial attraction to him. In fact, it s getting stronger. And that could turn out to be deadly.

Purchase The Leaf Reader at Amazon
Purchase The Leaf Reader at IndieBound
View The Leaf Reader on Goodreads

* * * *


Thief's Cunning
by Sarah Ahiers
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 6/13/2017

The companion novel to Assassin’s Heart—a riveting fantasy that Printz Award-winning author Laura Ruby said “will keep you turning the pages all night long”—Thief’s Cunning picks up eighteen years later and follows Allegra Saldana as she uncovers the secrets about the line of killers she descends from.

Allegra Saldana has always had to look over her shoulder. As the niece of the infamous assassin Lea Saldana, Allegra is used to hiding from people who want her dead. Once the strongest clipper family in the Kingdom of Lovero, the Saldanas—or what’s left of them—are now the most hunted. Their number one enemy is the Da Vias, whose thirst for retaliation is almost two decades in the making.

At least that’s what Lea has told Allegra her whole life, but lately Allegra’s been feeling like things are being kept from her—including her parents’ identity. So when Allegra finally learns the truth—that she's a Da Via—her world crumbles. Feeling betrayed by the people she trusted the most, Allegra turns to Nev, a Traveler boy whose presence makes her feel alive in ways she’s only dreamed of. But getting caught up in Nev’s world has consequences Allegra never saw coming.

In this dark and enthralling fantasy that fans of Sarah Maas and Leigh Bardugo will devour, one girl must decide whether she’s destined to pay for the wrongs of her family’s past…or if the future is hers for the taking.

Purchase Thief's Cunning at Amazon
Purchase Thief's Cunning at IndieBound
View Thief's Cunning on Goodreads

* * * *


We Come Apart
by Sarah Crossan
Hardcover
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 6/13/2017

From two acclaimed authors comes an emotional story told in verse about friendship, love, and overcoming unbeatable odds.

Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.

Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess's home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?

For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page.

Purchase We Come Apart at Amazon
Purchase We Come Apart at IndieBound
View We Come Apart on Goodreads