Monthly Archives: October 2018

David Levithan at the Tattered Cover

    Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to attend David Levithan's book signing at the Tattered Cover. David's latest book, Someday, is the sequel to Every Day, a wonderful story about A, a soul who changes bodies every day.  

     David is one of my favorite writers and also an aspirational figure in the world of children’s publishing. Not only is he the prolific author of many of my favorite books, he’s also an editor at Scholastic Press and the head of his own imprint. I mean, wow! 

    During the event, David read a scene from the book that highlighted A's depth of character. A is not your ordinary YA book hero. They're something spectacular. I cannot wait to dive into Someday! 

    In addition to the reading, David had a wide-ranging conversation with Kristen Gilligan, owner of TC.  There were a lot of great takeaways. My favorite: David spends about 2/3 of the total time it takes to write a book on the first few chapters, as he gets to know the characters and the story. 

     This is reminiscent of what Laini Taylor said about her writing process at a workshop I attended last year. She might rewrite the opening act up to 60+ times in order to figure out the right way into her story. 

    I love hearing about authors' processes. This gives me encouragement because sometimes it feels like my YA novel in progress is trying to kill me.

     One more cool thing about David, he’s a true ambassador for children’s literature. Throughout the hour long discussion, he continuously championed and recommended other books and authors.

     A few of those books: Odd One Out by Nic Stone, one of my October book picks; I Felt a Funeral in My Brain by Will Walton, a book David edited and that I lost my mind over back in August (also mentioned on this blog); and a graphic novel, Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka.

     Overall the event made me so grateful to be on this incredible writer’s journey. And for authors like David whose books changed my life. Write on!

October YA Book Wildness

October is so rich in YA book releases it’s almost otherworldly. The month kicks off with Swing, described by author Kwame Alexander as his most important book yet. David Levithan is back with a sequel to one of my all-time favorites, Every Day. And we finally get to step into the Silvertalli universe with What If It’s Us. Many late nights are in my future!

Swing by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

If you’ve spent any time with me, you know Kwame is one of my favorite writers. His powerful storytelling, on the page and at events, is remarkable and inspiring. Not to mention, he’s prolific, with new books hitting the shelves on the regular. Swing, like Solo, also co-written with Mary Rand Hess, will no doubt showcase both writers’ incredible talent with free verse. I cannot wait.

 Summary from Blink (Harper Collins): Things usually do not go as planned for 17-year-old Noah. He and his best friend Walt (aka Swing) have been cut from the high school baseball team for the third year in a row, and it looks like Noah’s love interest since fifth grade, Sam, will never take it past the best friend zone. Noah would love to retire his bat and accept the status quo, but Walt has got big plans for them both, which include making the best baseball comeback ever, getting the girl, and finally finding cool. October 2

Someday by David Levithan

Another prolific and beloved author drops his second YA book this year. As in, two books in 2018! David Levithan is a magician.  Someday is the sequel to Every Day, which features my favorite main character of all time—A. A is a soul who wakes up in a different body each and every day. And because David is amazing, the bodies he drops A into are the full range of the human experience, with varying skin color, gender and sexual orientation. David gives me, and every other YA writer, something to aspire toward.

Summary from Knopf:  For as long as A can remember, life has meant waking up in a different person’s body every day, forced to live as that person until the day ended. A always thought there wasn’t anyone else who had a life like this.

But A was wrong. There are others.

A has already been wrestling with powerful feelings of love and loneliness. Now comes an understanding of the extremes that love and loneliness can lead to — and what it’s like to discover that you are not alone in the world.

In Someday, David Levithan takes readers further into the lives of A, Rhiannon, Nathan, and the person they may think they know as Reverend Poole, exploring more deeply the questions at the core of Every Day and Another Day: What is a soul? And what makes us human? October 2

Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Neal Shusterman is a living legend. Dry, written with son Jarrod Shusterman, promises to be another masterfully crafted page turner. Even if the premise sounds more like reality than any of us would like.

Summary from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: The California drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive. October 2

History vs Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don’ Want You to Know by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams, Illustrated by T.S. Abe

In the coming years, we will continue to see underrepresented historical figures brought to life, including women. I’m excited! Let’s rewrite our history, starting with the truth. In History vs Women, the non-fiction text is accompanied by full-color illustrations of each remarkable woman who helped shape our lives today. The truth will set us free.

Summary from Feiwal & Friends (Macmillan): Rebels, rulers, scientists, artists, warriors and villains. Women are, and have always been, all these things and more. 

Looking through the ages and across the globe, Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency, along with Ebony Adams PHD, have reclaimed the stories of twenty-five remarkable women who dared to defy history and change the world around them. From Mongolian wrestlers to Chinese pirates, Native American ballerinas to Egyptian scientists, Japanese novelists to British Prime Ministers, History vs Women will reframe the history that you thought you knew. October 2

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Becky and Adam are two of YA’s most exciting authors. They both deliver stories with heart, but in very different ways. Becky’s books are warm and fuzzy, with lovely endings. Adam, on the contrary, writes the never-ending gut punch. The Silvertalli universe should be an interesting mix of the two. My feels probably can’t handle it.

Summary from Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins): Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them . . . ?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t nail a first date even after three do-overs?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

What if it’s us? October 9

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

 Last year’s Dear Martin was a fantastic addition to the canon of children’s literature. Now author Nic Stone is back with what promises to be an outstanding sophomore book. Told in three voices, this coming of age novel explores friendships, crushes and figuring it all out, which is always so easy to do.

Summary from Crown Books for Young Readers:
Courtney "Coop" Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn't mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl. 

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed "new girl" would be synonymous with "pariah," but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I'm right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .
October 9

Home and Away by Candice Montgomery

This book had me at hello. Confident female football player, bi boy best friend, major identity questions. Yes, yes, and yes. This debut from Candice Montgomery feels like the flying start of an exciting author career.

Summary from Page Street Publishing: Tasia Quirk is young, black, and fabulous. She's a senior, she's got great friends, and a supportive and wealthy family. She even plays football as the only girl on her private high school's team.

But when she catches her mamma trying to stuff a mysterious box in the closet, her identity is suddenly called into question. Now Tasia’s determined to unravel the lies that have overtaken her life. Along the way, she discovers what family and forgiveness really mean, and that answers don’t come without a fee. An artsy bisexual boy from the Valley could help her find them―but only if she stops fighting who she is, beyond the color of her skin. October 16

This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender

 This title though! Plus, it’s from one of the best publishing imprints around. Balzer+Bray debuted Angie Thomas, Becky Albertalli and Ibi Zoboi, and now Kheryn Callender. They are another author to watch!  

 Summary from Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins): Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings. Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.

Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel, but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.

After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after? October 30

More YA Books Coming in October

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee—October 2

The highly anticipated sequel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Felicity Montague must use her wits and wiles to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor—even if she has to scheme her way across Europe to do it.

The Spy with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke—October 2

In a nuclear arms race, you’d use anything for an edge. Even magic.

Words We Don’t Say by KJ Reilly—October 2

Joel grapples with the aftermath of a tragic loss. He tries to make sense of the problems he sees around him with the help of banned books, Winnie-the-Pooh, a field of asparagus, and many pairs of socks.

 Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore—October 9

The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria—October 9

By the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city—or themselves.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi—October 16

First love and breakdancing told from the perspective of Shirin, a 16-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta—October 30

Teodora di Sangro is used to hiding her magical ability to transform enemies into music boxes and mirrors. Nobody knows she’s a strega—and she aims to keep it that way. The she meets Cielo—and everything changes.

 Jack of Hearts and Other Parts by LC Rosen—October 30

Pretty Little Liars meets Dan Savage in this YA debut about an unapologetically queer teen working to uncover a blackmailer threatening him back into the closet.