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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Interview with Hudson Talbott, author of From Wolf to Woof



Don't miss my interview with author and illustrator Hudson Talbott! His new book, From Wolf to Woof is in stores now.

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From Wolf to Woof tells the story of how a relationship between a wolf pup and a boy may have sparked the evolution from wolf to dog. Can you share your inspiration for this book? Did it require any research?
The story is based entirely on the research I did, which included the most recent theories. I wanted it to be a realistic hypothetical - in other words, nobody knows what actually happened in the vast ocean of prehistoric time, but this could have happened.

As for my inspiration, you only have to look into any dog’s eyes to see that look asking “can I trust you? Will you love me? Can we share this journey?”

I have cats - they can be as loving and trusting, but they always know where the exits are, just in case.
Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end? 
My writing is subordinate to my art and both are subordinate to the story and the optimum way to tell it. Doing a picture book is more akin to write a screen play than a chapter book as it is a story told in a series of images, with the text linking the plot points. When I come up with an idea for a book I develop it by looking for the best “photo-ops”, or in my case “art - ops”. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a compelling image in the middle of the book and then figure out how can I get there from here. Once i have the general plot points I do make an outline and often a storyboard. It’s a chart that has several lines of double-squares representing pairs of pages. I have a limited number of pages in a picture book - usually 32, 40, or 48. Having a sense of my frame before I really get started helps me stay focused and let the boundaries inspire me rather than hinder me. I love the challenge of seeing what I can get into a confined space and still tell the story the best way!
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book or author that has provided you with a hiding spot.
“Play of Consciousness” by Swami Muktananda.
Inspiration comes in many forms. Share three people, places, or things that inspire your creativity. 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Ghandi are the three people who inspire me to work toward being who I want to be. I would also add President Obama and my two cats. And most of all, my own curiosity. My creativity seems to be a by-product of my joy and gratitude for the doors that have been opened for me to walk though and explore a bigger me.
What can your readers look forward to next? 
I currently have three book projects and a few other things taxiing down the runway. Very excited about all of them but a bit premature to talk about them publicly yet. Stay tuned!
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About the Author
Hudson Talbott is a published author and an illustrator of children's books and young adult books. Some of the published credits of Hudson Talbott include United Tweets of America: 50 State Birds and Their Stories, Their Glories, Show Way (Newbery Honor Book), Leonardo's Horse, and Safari Journal: The Adventures in Africa of Carey Monroe.
About the Book 
How did dog become man’s best friend? Dogs come in such a variety of shapes, sizes, and breeds, that it is hard to believe that they all have a common ancestor--the wolf! Hudson Talbott takes readers on a fascinating journey through history to see how wolves’ relationships with humans sparked their development into the dogs we know and love today.

Striking paintings, from an adorable wolf pup to a wide range of modern-day dog breeds, illustrate this insightful story of teamwork and friendship. Through the eyes of a prehistoric boy and a lone wolf pup, we see how the bond between our ancestors and these wild animals may have developed. Starting as enemies competing for food, the wolf and the boy realize that they’ll eat better and be safer if they team up. Over time, others catch on, and as many of the wolves become more domesticated, the humans breed them for skills like hunting, herding, pulling, and rescuing. And today, there are more breeds of dog than of any other animal, all thanks to this relationship that started so long ago.
 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cover Reveals - Young Adult (76)



At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Goodreads
Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—and then Tommy vanished.

More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone excerpt Ozzie.

Ozzie doesn’t know how to navigate life without Tommy, and soon suspects that something else is going on: that the universe is shrinking.

When Ozzie is paired up with new student Calvin on a physics project, he begins to wonder if Calvin could somehow be involved. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to deny the feelings developing between them, even if he still loves Tommy.

But Ozzie knows there isn’t much time left to find Tommy–that once the door closes, it can’t be opened again. And he’s determined to keep it open as long as possible.

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
Goodreads
An eerie tale of far-flung villages, dark woods, and creatures that hunt in the night, through which the heroine, Alys, must find her way.

Be Good Be Real Be Crazy by Chelsey Philpot
Goodreads
Three teenagers. One road trip. Countless detours. From the author of Even in Paradise comes a compelling story of self-discovery that is perfect for fans of Paper Towns and Mosquitoland.

When Mia first waltzed into Homer’s small corner of Florida, her bold approach to life changed Homer’s entire world. It wasn’t long before he was hopelessly in love.

Now Mia is moving away—and Homer and his younger brother, Einstein, are helping her drive hundreds of miles to her new home. This is Homer’s last chance to tell Mia how he really feels. And with so many detours in front of them, anything could happen.

In the tradition of Let's Get Lost and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Be Good Be Real Be Crazy is a story about love, friendship, and finding yourself.

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage
Goodreads
Ben touched seven parts of Mira Cillo: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. It was the last one that broke her. In Beautiful Broken Girls, Mira sends Ben on a post-mortem quest to find notes in the seven places where they touched — notes that explain why she and her sister, Francesca, drowned themselves in the quarry lake. How Ben interprets those notes has everything to do with the way he was touched, once, by a bad coach years ago.

But the truth behind the girls’ suicides is far more complicated, and has to do with a dangerous infatuation, a deadly miracle, and a crushing lie. Beth Clark’s cover is delicately spooky, but the teens in the novel are not delicate. Rather, they love fiercely, protect one another unwaveringly, and risk everything to speak the truth. In the way that the hand on the cover hovers near the heart, there is a mystical secret at the heart of Beautiful Broken Girls that I cannot wait to share with readers.

Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles
Goodreads
After her soldier brother is horribly wounded in Afghanistan, Gabriela must honor the vow she made: If anything ever happened to him, she would walk the Camino de Santiago through Spain, making a pilgrimage in his name. The worst part is that the promise stipulates that she must travel with her brother's best friend--a boy she has despised all her life. Her brother is in a coma, and Gabi feels that she has no time to waste, but she is unsure. Will she hesitate too long, or risk her own happiness to keep a promise? An up-close look at the lives of the children of military families, "Beneath Wandering Stars" takes readers on a journey of love, danger, laughter, and friendship, against all odds.

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs
Goodreads

Seven tightly interwoven narratives. Three harrowing hours. One fateful day that changes everything.

Delaware, the morning of April 19. Senior Skip Day, and April Donovan’s eighteenth birthday. Four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the country is still reeling, and April’s rare memory condition has her recounting all the tragedies that have cursed her birth month. And just what was that mysterious gathering under the bleachers about? Meanwhile, in Nebraska, Lincoln Evans struggles to pay attention in Honors English, distracted by the enigmatic presence of Laura Echols, capturer of his heart. His teacher tries to hold her class’s interest, but she can’t keep her mind off what Adrian George told her earlier. Over in Idaho, Phoebe is having second thoughts about the Plan mere hours before the start of a cross-country ploy led by an Internet savant known as the Mastermind. Is all her heartache worth the cost of the Assassins’ machinations? The Light Fantastic is a tense, shocking, and beautifully wrought exploration of the pain and pathos of a generation of teenagers on the brink—and the hope of moving from shame and isolation into the light of redemption.

The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull
Goodreads
The babies were born as the clock struck twelve. A bat fell from the air mid-flight. A silver salmon floated dead to the surface of the river. Snails withered in their shells, moths turned to dust on the night breeze and an owl ate its young. The spell had been cast.

Poppy Hooper has managed to deceive her father into believing that there is nothing mysterious or unnatural about her. He ignores the cats that find her wherever she goes, the spiders that weave beautiful lacy patterns for her, even her eyes - one blue, one green with an extra black dot orbiting the pupil.

Ember Hawkweed is a pitiful excuse for a witch. When the other girls in her coven brew vile potions, Ember makes soap and perfume. Fair and pretty, Ember is more like a chaff than a witch. One of the Hawkweeds will be queen of the witches - but everyone knows it won't be Ember.

When the two girls meet, Poppy discovers her powers, and finds out the truth. Bound by their unlikely friendship and the boy they both love, the girls try and find their place in the world. But the time of the prophecy draws nearer - and the witches won't give up the throne without a fight.

Speak of Me As I Am by Sonia Belasco
Goodreads

Damon and Melanie know something about what it means to lose those you love. Months after his best friend Carlos's death, Damon tries to see the world through the viewfinder of his camera, hoping to understand what Carlos saw – or perhaps what he didn’t. With her artist mother gone, Melanie picks up a paintbrush to feel her nearby, but the set pieces she paints are filled with empty spaces. When fate conspires to bring them together, Melanie and Damon quickly become each other's anchors. But as their friendship deepens into romance, things get complicated fast. They find that they can’t ignore the past forever – especially when working on a school production of Othello triggers memories they both wish they could leave behind.

Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin
Goodreads

Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel.

There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments.

Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal…

Spindle by E.K. Johnston
Goodreads
The world is made safe by a woman...but it is a very big world.

It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen drove the demon out of her husband and saved her country from fire and blood. Her family has prospered beyond the borders of their village, and two new kingdoms have sprouted on either side of the mountains where the demons are kept prisoner by bright iron, and by the creatures the Storyteller Queen made to keep them contained.

But the prison is crumbling. Through years of careful manipulation, a demon has regained her power. She has made one kingdom strong and brought the other to its knees, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. When a princess is born, the demon is ready with the final blow: a curse that will cost the princess her very soul, or force her to destroy her own people to save her life.

The threads of magic are tightly spun, binding princess and exiled spinners into a desperate plot to break the curse before the demon can become a queen of men. But the web of power is dangerously tangled--and they may not see the true `pattern until it is unspooled.

The Swan Riders by Erin Bow
Goodreads
Greta Stuart had always known her future: die young. She was her country's crown princess, and also its hostage, destined to be the first casualty in an inevitable war. But when the war came it broke all the rules, and Greta forged a different path.

She is no longer princess. No longer hostage. No longer human. Greta Stuart has become an AI.

If she can survive the transition, Greta will earn a place alongside Talis, the AI who rules the world. Talis is a big believer in peace through superior firepower. But some problems are too personal to obliterate from orbit, and for those there are the Swan Riders: a small band of humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult.

Now two of the Swan Riders are escorting Talis and Greta across post-apocalyptic Saskatchewan. But Greta’s fate has stirred her nation into open rebellion, and the dry grassland may hide insurgents who want to rescue her – or see her killed. Including Elian, the boy she saved—the boy who wants to change the world, with a knife if necessary. Even the infinitely loyal Swan Riders may not be everything they seem.

Greta’s fate—and the fate of her world—are balanced on the edge of a knife in this smart, sly, electrifying adventure.
Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman

Goodreads
Anne and Teach (the future Blackbeard) are on separate ships and endure horrendous journeys, violence, and even mutiny until arriving in the tropics of Nassau—only to face corrupt politics and danger around every corner.

We Own the Night by Ashley Poston
Goodreads

"Happy midnight, my fellow Niteowls..."

As a candy store employee by day, and mysterious deejay "Niteowl" by night, eighteen-year-old Ingrid North is stuck between rock 'n roll and a hard place. She can't wait to get out of her tiny hometown of Steadfast, Nebraska (population three hundred and forty-seven) to chase her dreams, but small-town troubles keep getting in the way. She can't abandon her grandmother with Alzheimer's, or her best friend Micah--who she may or may not be in love with.

But for one hour each Saturday, she escapes all of that. On air, she isn't timid, ugly-sweater-wearing Ingrid North. She's the funny and daring Niteowl. Every boy's manic pixie dream girl. Fearless. And there is one caller in particular-- Dark and Brooding--whose raspy laugh and snarky humor is just sexy enough to take her mind off Micah. Not that she's in love with Micah or anything. Cause she's not.

As her grandmother slips further away and Micah begins dating a Mean-Girls-worthy nightmare, Ingrid runs to the mysterious Dark and Brooding as a disembodied voice to lean on, only to fall down a rabbit hole of punk rockstars, tabloid headlines, and kisses that taste like bubble tea. But the man behind the voice could be surprising in all the right, and wrong, ways.

And she just might find that her real life begins when Niteowl goes off the air.

The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day
Goodreads

Ash Gupta is having an amazing senior year, hanging out with his tight circle of friends and cranking out the grades his wealthy, immigrant Asian-Indian parents expect. A model student in every way, Ash is on track to earn every school honor there is... except one. It looks as if valedictorian will go to the anti-social, foul-mouthed girl who has been a thorn in his side throughout high school, and that’s just not a part of Ash’s—or his parents’—plan.

Eden Moore’s biggest goal is to escape the poverty that haunts her family. When she’s not babysitting a special needs boy, managing the high school website, or attending classes, she’s studying her ass off. Her perfect GPA should be enough to win her the class valedictorian title, and with it, an endorsement for the full-ride Peyton Scholarship. Eden’s sure this is her chance to get out of her dead-end town and her trailer-park life for good, until she discovers that the arrogant, rich Ash also wants the title and the scholarship that will come along with it—for the prestige.

To both of their surprise, when Eden and Ash are forced to work together on a school project, sparks fly. As they spend more time together, antagonism changes to romance. They start a secret relationship, even though they’re on opposite sides of nearly every social hierarchy their friends and families can imagine—race, class, social status.

Can they put all that behind them and start something real?
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Do you have a favorite recent new cover? Or a favorite from this list? Let me know in the comments!






Friday, May 20, 2016

Interview with Darren Farrell, author of Stop Following Me, Moon!


It's Friday (hurrah!) and to celebrate the end of another long week, I have a fab, funny interview with author and illustrator Darren Farrell! His new book, Stop Following Me, Moon!, hit stores roughly a month ago. If you haven't yet tracked down a copy, I highly recommend you remedy that right away!

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Stop Following Me, Moon features a guilty bear that learns a lesson about sharing. Can you share your inspiration for this story and its main character?

I can picture the exact moment my son and I invented Stop Following Me, Moon!

My family and I live in Seoul, South Korea and one night, after dinner at Shinsegae, which is a nice shopping center with a fancy grocery shop in the basement that is dotted with little food stalls, we found ourselves in a taxi.

Like all taxi drivers, Korean cabbies think they’re in a Formula 1 race, and as we weaved in and out of traffic, we began to climb an elevated highway. There in the sky, in between the tall apartment buildings, appeared a full, orange moon. My son was probably four at the time, and I pointed toward the moon as it disappeared and reappeared behind the buildings.

We were laughing and watching the moon chase us when suddenly I thought…

WHAT IF WE DON’T WANT THIS MOON CHASING US?

I could very clearly picture the king of the forest, a grizzly, yelling up at a full moon and just totally losing his marbles that the moon WILL… NOT… STOP… FOLLOWING… HIM!!

So I knew straight away that I wanted to set the book in a forest, with a clear view of the full moon. And I wanted this huge bear to be the main character. This image just sort of sparked to life inside my head at the same time my brain was saying WHAT IF WE DON’T WANT THIS MOON CHASING US!  

Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end?
I generally begin with a concept that my brain can’t let go of.

For Stop Following Me, Moon! the core idea was this notion of a bear in the woods losing his marbles because the moon is following him–and it really captured my imagination. I’m pretty sure I woke up in the middle of the same night and just started writing down everything that came to mind.

I wrote and wrote and wrote for a couple of nights (I may have been finishing the art for Thank You, Octopus while this was happening, so writing at night was a nice change of pace from sitting in front of the computer coloring and creating spreads all day).
In this mode, I am all over the place. I may shout out something the bear could say and if it makes me giggle, I’ll write it down. I may invent ten different endings–and in fact the original ending for this book featured the bear escaping to a deserted island via a prop-plane he commandeered and momentarily escaping the moon… until… oh no… here it came again.

At some point, I felt like I had a lot of material to work with and then I started cutting and pasting and outlining the story. When the story felt full and awesome, I shared it with my agent and we reworked it a little bit more before sharing with Kate, Lily, and Jenny, the lovely and fantastic team at Penguin Random House who I have grown so much with.

My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book or author that has provided you with a hiding spot.
When I was young, The Three Investigators was my absolute hiding spot. For whatever reason, that book series completely captivated me. And to this day, if I hear the words Carlsbad Caverns – it takes me right back this series. I’m not sure why. I guess they discovered something cool there. Actually, when I was really young, my hiding spot was any book. My grandmother and grand-aunts used to read the encyclopedias to me. If they stopped, I’d cry. So I guess, the old Encyclopedia Britannica collection at my grandmother’s house was my original hiding spot.

My son and I hide in all of the Mo Willems’s Piggy + Elephant books, which we enjoy performing at night before bedtime.
Now I hide in all sorts of art books. I am currently hiding in a book about Olle Eksel.

I also like to hide in really awesome picture books from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. For some reason, I have found so many amazing paperback picture books from the past here in Seoul. New ones. At English book shops and international school book fairs. Who's Mouse Are You? is one of my favorites. And I just picked up 20 Elephant Restuarant, which has a very interesting ending.  

Inspiration comes in many forms. Share three people, places, or things that inspire your creativity. 
School events inspire my creativity in the deepest way. Presenting my hard work to children and teachers and hearing them enjoy it first hand is so wonderful. Creating a book can be a little bit of a solitary experience – so having the opportunity to stand in front of a huge group and experience their giggles and enthusiasm first hand is just incredible.

Non-crowded public transportation inspires me. It’s weird. When I am on public transportation, there is this sense of going somewhere with a purpose – and yet not really having anything to do. This combination is at once relaxing and energizing and so I love to sit and write and brainstorm on trains and buses. I don’t do this often enough. Ideally, I should hop on a Seoul train at 10am (post rush) and ride it all the way across town and back again all day. I’d probably write ten books per year if I did this.


The internet inspires me. Just kidding. The internet distracts me. I HATE YOU INTERNET. Just kidding, internet, I love you. Don’t be mad at me.

Great coffee inspires me. My “office” is a shop in Seoul called Coffee Temple. They make INCREDIBLE cappuccinos and my brain literally says AHHHHHHH when I drink one. I drew most of Thank You, Octopus and Stop Following Me, Moon! at this shop. The owner won top barista in Korea this year and is on his way to the World Barista Championships in Ireland this July! So clearly, my brain isn’t the only brain being inspired by his creations. I hid a coffee cup from his shop on a page in Stop Following Me, Moon! – can you find it?

What can your readers look forward to next?  
My next project is an oversized picture book called Letter Town. Talk about a book you can hide in… it is going to be awesome and invite many, many engaging re-reads.
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About the Author
Darren Farrell is the author-illustrator of the award-winning picture book  Doug-Dennis and the Flyaway Fib . He lives, for the time being, with his family in Seoul, South Korea, where he always makes sure there are no monsters under his son's bed.
About the Book
A hungry bear’s big appetite leads to a lesson about sharing in this silly story perfect for fans of Mo Willems’ Pigeon books
 
Bear is hungry. So hungry that when he spies a squirrel's berry snack, he can't help taking the whole berry bush. Then, when he wanders past a busy beehive, Bear knows he's hit the jackpot. But someone is on to him—the moon! Or so Bear thinks. Before he knows it, Bear is on the run with his stolen snacks, causing a whole lot of trouble for the other animals in the forest.

With big laughs, silly surprises, and a read-aloud-ready refrain, this picture book is perfect for fans of Jon Klassen and Mo Willems.
 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cover Reveals - Young Adult (75)



The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
Goodreads
A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn't mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie's life. That includes taking her job... and her boyfriend. It's a huge risk — but it's just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras
Goodreads
A contemporary YA novel about growing up and learning that loving yourself is more important than trying to be perfect.

AP Exams – check
SAT test – check
College Application – check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for– check

Ultra-high-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has always had a plan—and no room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection comes toa screeching halt when her boyfriend leaks racy pictures of her to the entire school. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Viv feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Viv realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Goodreads
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Don't You Trust Me? by Patrice Kindl
Goodreads
A teenage girl switches identities with a stranger and pulls off a long-term scam in this smart, sarcastic thriller perfect for fans of Ally Carter.

Don’t you trust me? I mean, look at me. Blond, blue-eyed, the very image of innocence. Pretty enough, if you care about that kind of thing. I don’t.

But would a normal person switch identities with some wet mess of a girl at the airport, just to get her to stop bawling about being separated from her loser boyfriend and sent to live with some distant relatives? Nope, she wouldn’t. Yet I did. I’m not as normal as you think. And you’ll just have to trust me on that.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
Goodreads
Some bodies won’t stay buried.
Some stories need to be told.


When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family's property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past... and the present.

Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what's right the night Tulsa burns.

Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham’s lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important question about the complex state of US race relations – both yesterday and today.

Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley
Goodreads

In order to save her family’s farm, Roshen, sixteen, must leave her rural home to work in a factory in the south of China. There she finds arduous and degrading conditions and contempt for her minority (Uyghur) background. Sustained by her bond with other Uyghur girls, Roshen is resolved to endure all to help her family and ultimately her people. A workplace survival story, this gritty, poignant account focuses on a courageous teen and illuminates the value—and cost—of freedom.

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley
Goodreads
In Our Own Private Universe, fifteen-year-old Aki Hunter knows she’s bisexual, but up until now she’s only dated guys—and her best friend, Lori, is the only person she’s out to. When she and Lori set off on a four-week youth-group mission trip in a small Mexican town, it never crosses Aki’s mind that there might be anyone in the group she’d be interested in dating. But that all goes out the window when Aki meets Christa.

Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot
Goodreads

Told in second person, Sad Perfect is the story of a girl and the unique eating disorder that consumes her, the boy she loves, and the monster that tries to keep her from recovery. It’s about imperfect families, finding love and support in the most unexpected places, and discovering the internal strength to conquer anything.

Sometimes We Tell the Truth by Kim Zarins
Goodreads

In this contemporary retelling of The Canterbury Tales, a group of teens on a bus ride to Washington, DC, each tell a story—some fantastical, some realistic, some downright scandalous—in pursuit of the ultimate prize: a perfect score.

Jeff boards the bus for the Civics class trip to Washington, DC, with a few things on his mind:
-Six hours trapped with his classmates sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
-He somehow ended up sitting next to his ex-best friend, who he hasn’t spoken to in years.
-He still feels guilty for the major part he played in pranking his teacher, and the trip’s chaperone, Mr. Bailey.
-And his best friend Cannon, never one to be trusted and banned from the trip, has something “big” planned for DC.

But Mr. Bailey has an idea to keep everyone in line: each person on the bus is going to have the chance to tell a story. It can be fact or fiction, realistic or fantastical, dark or funny or sad. It doesn’t matter. Each person gets a story, and whoever tells the best one will get an automatic A in the class.

But in the middle of all the storytelling, with secrets and confessions coming out, Jeff only has one thing on his mind—can he live up to the super successful story published in the school newspaper weeks ago that convinced everyone that he was someone smart, someone special, and someone with something to say.

In her debut novel, Kim Zarins breathes new life into Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in a fresh and contemporary retelling that explores the dark realities of high school, and the subtle moments that bring us all together.

Someone I Wanted to Be by Aurelia Wills
Goodreads
When an insecure teen starts impersonating someone else, her life spirals dangerously out of control in a realistic, relatable novel about finding yourself—and discovering your true friends.

Leah Lobermier dreams of becoming a doctor, but it’s hard to stay focused on getting good grades when boys make oinking sounds at her in school and her mother spends every night on the couch with a bottle of wine. Leah’s skinny and popular "friends," Kristy and Corinne, aren’t much better and can hardly be counted on for support. When the girls convince a handsome older man to buy them beer, Leah takes his phone number and calls him, pretending to be Kristy—coy and confident—and they develop a relationship, talking and texting day after day. But as the lie she created grows beyond her control, can Leah put a stop to things before she—or Kristy—is seriously hurt?

The Shadows We Know By Heart by Jennifer Park
Goodreads
Leah Roberts’s life has never been the same since her brother died ten years ago. Her mother won’t stop drinking, her father can’t let go of his bitter anger, and Leah herself has a secret she’s told no one: Sasquatch are real, and she’s been watching a trio of them in the woods behind her house for years.

Everything changes when Leah discovers that among the Sasquatch lives a teenager. This alluring, enigmatic boy has no memory of his past and can barely speak, but Leah can’t shake his magnetic pull. Gradually, Leah’s life entwines with his, providing her the escape from reality she never knew she needed.

But when Leah’s two worlds suddenly collide in a deadly showdown, she uncovers a shocking truth as big and extraordinary as the legends themselves, one that could change her life forever.

From debut author Jennifer Park comes a haunting and luminous exploration of love, grief, and the dangerous lies that can bind—or break—us.
The Boomerang Effect by Gordon Jack
Goodreads
It all started with a harmless prank. But now high school junior (and resident stoner) Lawrence Barry is one step away from reform school unless he participates in a mentorship program. His mentee? Spencer Knudsen, a Norwegian exchange student with Spock-like intelligence but the social skills of the periodic table.

Then disaster strikes—Homecoming week. When someone dressed as the school Viking mascot starts destroying the fairy tale–inspired floats, all suspicion falls on Lawrence. Add to the mix a demon Goth girl named Zoe, a Renaissance LARPing group, an overzealous yearbook editor, and three vindictive chickens, and Lawrence soon realizes that his situation may be a little out of control. But Spencer seems to have some answers. In fact, Spencer may be the one friend Lawrence never knew he needed.

The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine
Goodreads

Ansa has always been a fighter.

As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.

With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

Black Moon (Zodiac #3) by Romina Russell
Goodreads

Book 3 in the breathtaking sci-fi space saga inspired by astrology that will stun fans of the Illuminae Files and Starbound series.

One final secret stands between Rho and the enemy. But will the devastating truth be enough to destroy her first?

Rho, the courageous visionary from House Cancer, lost nearly everything when she exposed and fought against the Marad, a mysterious terrorist group bent on destroying balance in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now, the Marad has disappeared without a trace, and an uneasy peace has been declared.

But Rho is suspicious. She believes the Master is still out there in some other form. And looming over all are the eerie visions of her mother, who died many years ago, but is now appearing to Rho in the stars.

When news of a stylish new political party supported by her best friend, Nishi, sends Rho on another journey across the galaxy, she uses it as an opportunity to hunt the hidden master and seek out information about her mother. And what she uncovers sheds light on the truth–but casts darkness upon the entire Zodiac world.
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