Anticipated Reads from the Fall 2016 #MacKidsPreview

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend Macmillan’s Fall 2016 preview. The event was at Macmillan headquarters in the Flatiron Building and organized by Macmillan’s School & Library marketing department. The preview covered books from Farrar Straus Giroux, Feiwel & Friends, Swoon Reads, Imprint (Macmillan’s newest imprint), Henry Holt, Roaring Brook Press and First Second.

Instead of recapping the entire preview, Estelle pointed out that I could do some kind of top five list of books I’m excited about.

Without further ado, here are ten books I can’t wait to read from Macmillan’s Fall 2016 preview:

Picture Books:

  1. Good Morning City by Pat Kiernan, illustrated by Pascal Campion: If you aren’t a fan of New York One, you aren’t going to understand my excitement for this book. If you are, however, you’ll know that Pat Kiernan being the author is a big draw. Having read an early copy of this title, I can tell you it’s a delightful story about the city waking up in the early hours of the morning. Campion’s illustrations are stunning. If you have any interest in picture books set in the big city, this is a must read.
  2. How to Find a Fox by Nilah Magruder: Foxes are sneaky and harder to find than you’d think in this sweet debut about staying positive.
  3. Cat Knit by Jacob Grant: Cat and Yarn are best friends. But one day Cat’s little girl decides she wants to play with yarn too. Afterwards yarn is changed and Cat isn’t happy in this story about accepting change.
  4. First Light, First Life by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Julie Paschkis: From the team behind Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal come a multicultural creation story.
  5. Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol: One grandmother embarks on an epic quest to find some peace and quiet to finish her knitting. Complete with black holes and space travel. Subversive and irreverent, this debut is already being compared to Extra Yarn.

Middle Grade:

 

  1. Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley: This debut middle grade novel is illustrated Jillian Tamaki (of This One Summer fame). With a heroine compared to Ramona Quimby and a pitch that says this book is perfect for older fans of Clementine even picky middle grade readers (like me) are extremely excited.
  2. Super Happy Party Bears by Marcie Colleen, illustrated by Steve James: In this full color read perfect for reluctant readers (and younger readers), the Super Happy Party Bears live in the Grumpy Woods where parties and dancing solve a surprising number of problems. An anticipated eight book series.
  3. The Left-Handed Fate by Kate Milford: A new middle grade fantasy set in Nagspeake. A high seas adventure set during the War of 1812 where a privateer ship is looking for a magical war engine that can end all war.
  4. Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke: An unusual take on Jack and the Beanstalk with Hatke’s signature artwork and connections to his first graphic novel series, Zita the Spacegirl.
  5. Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard: Bera finds a baby human and decides to protect it. The only problem? A lot of things in troll land want to eat or kill baby humans. A dark premise but tender at heart.

Young Adult:

  1. A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody: Groundhog’s Day meets Some Kind of Wonderful in this YA novel where a girl spends an entire week repeating the worst Monday of her life.
  2. Into White by Randi Pink: Latoya’s prayer to be “anything but black” is answered in this story inspired by the author’s own experiences as a black girl at a mostly white high school. With a fantastic cover and a unique premise this review is already being touted as provocative.
  3. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roerhig: In this auspicious debut readers are drawn into a thriller filled with action and emotion. Thrillers seem to be the micro-trend of 2016 so expect this one to get a lot of buzz.
  4. Nemesis by Anna Banks: A princess’ unique ability is about to be weaponized forcing her to flee to an enemy kingdom where an inconvenient romance starts between her and the enemy prince.
  5. The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker: In a world where genetic engineering goes mainstream, only to be shot down during an anti-discrimination suit in the Supreme Court, the teens who received these genetic advantages find themselves in the minority. A debut pitched as Kyle XY meets Homeland (with just a touch of Gattaca).

 

The Winner’s Kiss: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

*The Winner’s Kiss is the third book in Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy which begins with The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime. As such this review contains major spoilers for books one and two!*

“She thought, fleetingly, that this must be what memory was for: to rebuild yourself when you lose the pieces.”

The Winner's Kiss by Marie RutkoskiArin and Kestrel should be on opposites sides in the war that is brewing between Valoria and its newly independent colony Herran. Yet, despite all appearances to the contrary they have been on the same side–that is, Kestrel has been on Arin’s side–from the outset.

Arin is certain that Kestrel is getting exactly what she deserves serving at the Emperor’s shoulder while she watches her father prepare to make war with Herran.

He’s wrong.

Instead, one impetuous decision has led Kestrel to the northern tundra as a prisoner. A traitor to her own country desperate to escape.

Arin and Kestrel have always been bound by their decisions–deliberate acts and willful lies that have pulled them away from each other again and again. With the threat of war growing every day, both Kestrel and Arin will have to redefine victory–and trust–if they hope to find their way back to each other or the people they’ve worked so hard to save in The Winner’s Kiss (2016) by Marie Rutkoski.

The Winner’s Kiss is the third book in Rutkoski’s Winner’s Trilogy which begins with The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime.

This novel starts off soon after the climactic conclusion of book two. Arin prepares for war in Herran while Kestrel is brought to a prison work camp in the Valorian Tundra, both haunted by the decisions that have led them to this point.

Rutkoski manages to strike the perfect balance between character-driven introspection and nail biting tension throughout the novel. Arin and Kestrel are broken, sometimes in small ways and sometimes larger, because of their ties to Herran and to each other. Their own attempts to heal and rebuild play out against the grand battle looming over who will control Herran moving forward.

This book is the exact right conclusion for this series and the one that the characters deserve. The Winner’s Kiss delivers everything readers of this trilogy have come to love and expect while expanding Arin and Kestrel’s world even further with still more insights into these two shrewd and talented characters. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, A Wizard of Earth Sea by Ursula K. LeGuin, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Guess Who Haiku: A Picture Book Review

Guess Who, Haiku by Deanna Caswell and Bob SheaIn Guess Who, Haiku (2016) by Deanna Caswell and Bob Shea team up to create a really unique picture book.

Caswell plays with the Japanese poetic form of haiku to create several riddle type poems asking readers to guess which animal is being described including a cow, a bee, a horse, a bird, a frog, a fish, a mouse, a cat, and a dog. The poems work together to move the book along to different animals until the big finish where children are the subject of the final poem.

Bob Shea’s exuberant illustration style works well here to create bold pictures for the reveal of each animal. The design of the book also lends a zany bit of charm to this humorous title that reads a bit like a game show adventure.

The book finishes with an explanation of how haiku’s are written and a bit more about the form from Caswell. Large illustrations and a unique (smaller and more square) trim size make this an eye-catching book with lots of appeal.

After reading Guess Who, Haiku the only question is why we have not received the gift of a haiku picture book earlier. Make up for lost time and be sure to check this one out as soon as you can!

Week in Review: May 22

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

In all honesty, it’s been harder to bounce back from BEA than I expected. I still feel like I’m playing catchup and I’m a bit tired even a week later.

I’m working on reviews, my BEA recaps, and a post about the Macmillan preview I went to last week so lots of exciting stuff to come!

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my May Reading Tracker.

How was your week?

Princeless Book One: Save Yourself: A Graphic Novel Review

Princeless by Jeremy Whitley and M. GoodwinAdrienne Ashe doesn’t want to be a princess. It’s boring and, to be brutally honest, she doesn’t understand why princesses always need to wait for a prince to do the rescuing anyway.

That doesn’t stop Adrienne’s parents from locking her in a tower on her sixteenth birthday. It also doesn’t stop Adrienne from bitterly complaining out the injustice and pointing out how she doesn’t even look like a stupid traditional princess with her brown skin and dark, curly hair (not to mention her prowess with a sword!).

Instead of pining for some handsome prince, Adrienne spends her time in the tower befriending the dragon guarding the tower. When Adrienne finds a sword hidden in the tower, she decides she has waited to be rescued long enough.

With a sword in her hand and a dragon by her side, Adrienne sets out to escape the tower and rescue her other sisters in Princeless Book 1: Save Yourself (2012) by Jeremy Whitley and illustrated by M. Goodwin.

Princeless Book 1: Save Yourself collects the first 4 issues of Princeless. It is the first of four bindups. There is also a spinoff series.

Whitley delivers a frank and self-aware story that is refreshingly and unapologetically feminist. Adrienne is a no-nonsense heroine who isn’t afraid to do what she thinks is right and point out hypocrisy and double standards when she sees them. This plays out to especially good effect when she meets up with a girl who makes armor for warriors and discovers the vast inequity between standard armor for men and women.

Goodwin’s illustrations bring this story to life with wry humor and charming artwork that beautifully compliments the story. The facial expressions for characters throughout are especially priceless.

Princeless Book 1: Save Yourself is a great set up for this series. Whitley and Goodwin introduce many of the key players and the basic premise of the series while also delivering a lot of fun arcs along the way. This series is a delightful addition to the typical princess and anti-princess fare. Highly recommended for readers of comics, fans of fairy tales and retellings, as well as anyone looking for a new kickass heroine to cheer on.

Possible Pairings: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale, Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde, Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Summer Days and Summer Nights Blog Tour Q & A with Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After. She is also the editor of My True Love Gave to Me, an anthology of holiday-themed short stories. Stephanie returns as an editor with this latest collection of summery short stories.

Today Stephanie is here to answer a couple of questions about working on the anthology as part of the blog tour for Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins.

Miss Print (MP): This is the second anthology you’ve edited. What was the inspiration? What did you give your contributing authors in the way of guidance or prompting as they began their stories?

Stephanie Perkins (SP): The inspiration for the second anthology was . . . the first anthology. Working with my friends was such a joy, and I relished the opportunity to work with eleven new authors. All of them had so much to teach me both as an author and an editor. I’m always looking for opportunities to become better at my craft. Pulling apart these stories, inspecting their seams, digging in deeper—it’s a brilliant way to learn new tricks. And I’m a good editor, so I think/hope that my work was helpful for them, too.

I gave the authors only three guidelines: Their story had to take place during the summer, romantic love had to be involved, and—no matter how dark the situation got—it had to end on a note of hope.

MP: Your contribution to this collection is a new story featuring Marigold and North (previously seen in My True Love Gave to Me). What was it like revisiting these characters? Did you always know that there would be more to their story?

SP: I’m not sure if I always knew a continuation of their story was worth telling, but I did know where their future was headed. In the early days, I was working under the assumption that I wouldn’t HAVE another chance write about them, so I was trying not to think about it too much. If that makes sense.

But . . . I have a hard time letting go of characters. I always have. So when the summer anthology came to fruition, I knew immediately that I would continue their story. Now, I’m happy with how I’ve left them. In the first story, North helped to heal Marigold. This time, she helped to heal him. They’re good.

MP: How does editing a short story collection compare to writing a full length novel? Did you have a favorite part of the process here? Did your process as an author influence your process as an editor?

SP: It’s easier. A lot easier. I only had to come up with original content for 1/12th of the 400 pages! My writing process is slow and generally agonizing, so . . . yeah. It’s just not even close.

But it’s a huge part of the reason why I love to edit. I’m a slow drafter, and I prefer the tinkering, shimmering stages of editing and revising. It’s where a good story becomes great. My nitpicky brain loves working on that level—finding a better word, a tighter theme, a more developed character, a more textured setting. And I absolutely love helping other authors to find their own deeper, truer stories.

I think most authors become a better editor as they become a better writer. I’m the opposite. I started off with stronger editorial skills, and, as they improve, they’re helping me to become a better writer.

But, being an author, I will say that when I’m wearing my editorial hat, I heap a LOT of praise onto the other authors. I leave tons of notes for them in the margins and mark every single passage or phrase that I love. Writing is difficult work, and I always appreciate it when my own editors take the time to mark their favorite bits. Praise also shows me how to revise my work! It teaches me which parts are the good parts! And that’s revising in a nutshell: adding more good parts, removing the bad parts.

Thank you to Brittani Hilles at St. Martins Griffin for organizing this blog tour and thank you to Stephanie for this great Q & A!

Tell the Wind and Fire: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees BrennanLucie Manette was born in the Dark City, where Dark magicians or those with families connected to Dark magic are kept close to the Light but not too close. She grew up in the Dark until her father was arrested. But that was two years ago. She’s out now.

Using cunning and strategy, Lucie saved her father when he was condemned. She brought them both into the luxury and relative safety of the Light.

Now, Lucie tries to put her time in the Dark behind her. She can offer no help to the people she loved and left behind when the city is ruled by the power and might of the magicians and politicians on the Light Council. It’s easier to keep a low profile and protect her father and spend time with her boyfriend, Ethan.

Lucie’s precarious world comes crashing down when a weekend trip goes horribly wrong and Ethan is accused of treason. Carwyn, a mysterious boy from Ethan’s past, can deflect suspicion but he, too, is hiding a secret that could ruin Ethan and his family.

Unrest is growing in both the Light and the Dark. When revolution comes, Lucie will have to decide which secrets to keep and which truths to tell. As she struggles to protect herself and those she cares about, Lucie will stop at nothing to save both Ethan and Carwyn. With luck and determination she can save one of them, but only one in Tell the Wind and Fire (2016) by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Tell the Wind and Fire is a stand alone novel inspired by (and loosely retelling) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Rees Brennan sticks to the structure of the original story while also adding her own spin to mark this book as the well-developed urban fantasy that fans of the author have come to expect. The contrast between Light and Dark magic as well as a richly detailed version of New York City come to life with vivid descriptions and carefully executed world building.

This novel brings a decidedly feminist slant to this familiar story. Instead of focusing on any of the male characters, Tell the Wind and Fire focuses its narrator, Lucie Manette. Throughout the novel, Rees Brennan gives Lucie (and her father) significantly more agency than they ever got from Dickens.

Lucie is a shrewd and calculating heroine. She is a survivor and she admits the high cost of that survival in a world where the stakes can literally be life and death. Lucie manipulates her femininity and her perception in the public eye to do what she must to keep herself and those who matter safe as both sides of the revolution vie to use her as a symbol for their cause.

Tell the Wind and Fire is everything you want in a retelling of a beloved classic. This novel will make you miss and want to re-read Dickens’ sweeping novel while also asserting itself as a strong novel in its own right. Highly recommended.

Possibly Pairings: The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, Legend by Marie Lu, Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson, Code Name Verity by Elizbeth Wein

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

email review to childrens_publicity@hmhco.com