In Some Other World, Maybe: A Review

In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari GoldhagenIn December 1992 four teenagers head to the movies to see the blockbuster film version of the Eons & Empires comics.

Adam is counting the days until he graduates. When his long-time crush invites him to the movies, he figures it’s his last chance to get the one thing he’s ever wanted in the town he can’t wait to leave.

In Cincinnati, Sharon can barely explain how much Eons & Empires means to her. She can’t imagine the horror of watching the movie with people who don’t understand her passion. Sharon’s decision to skip school to watch the movie on her own leads to potentially devastating consequences.

Technically, Phoebe kisses Oliver first in the cafeteria of their suburban Chicago high school. But it’s Ollie who asks Phoebe on a date and suggests they go see the big new release. Neither of them knows much about the comics but the movie should be a nice setting for their first date (and maybe more kissing). Or it would be if Phoebe’s kid brother would stop following them around and they could avoid everyone they know.

Seeing the movie on opening night will shape all of their lives in unpredictable ways over the next twenty years as their paths cross around the world and across the country. Their lives will entwine as they become friends and lovers, leaving indelible marks on each other. One small decision will have countless ramifications for each of them in In Some Other World, Maybe (2015) by Shari Goldhagen.

In Some Other World, Maybe alternates point of view between Adam, Phoebe, Sharon, and Oliver. Except for Oliver all of the narratives are written in third person. Oliver’s, by contrast, is a second person narration which lends a strange sense of foreboding to his passages.

These characters lives play out and intersect over twenty years against a backdrop of world events ranging from 9/11 to Sully Sullenberger landing his plane in the Hudson. The scope and reach of this story belies the relatively short length of the book.

Goldhagen explores the significant and seemingly meaningless ways people can pass through each others’ lives in this deceptively straightforward novel. Hypotheticals and alternate possibilities loom large for each character–a motif that contrasts well with the idea of parallel worlds which are key to the premise of Eons & Empires.

None of the characters are perfect here. Mistakes are made, lives are messy, and sometimes there is no way to fix that. Just like in real life. Adam, Phoebe, Sharon and Oliver aren’t always likable. They are not always at their best. But who is? In this complicated and confusing world, sometimes all you can do is keep waking up and keep trying. Which these characters do as best they can.

This story offers thoughtful commentary on the ways in which compromising and striving can start to look a lot alike. An introspective meditation on growing up and growing apart filled with characters who are shockingly memorable and utterly authentic, In Some Other World, Maybe is a novel guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams, Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore, The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan, The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie Sue Hitchcock, Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler, Parallel by Lauren Miller, Where Futures End by Parker Peeveyhouse, The Square Root of Summer by Harrier Reuter Hapgood, All the Feels by Danika Stone, Pivot Point by Kasie West

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

Mousequerade Ball: A Counting Tale: A Picture Book Review

Mousequerade Ball by Lori Mortensen and Betsy LewinIn a castle on a hill, in a great big hall, mice are getting ready for the Mousequerade Ball. They dress in their finest, they light up the hall. The mice come to feast and to dance and to have a grand time.

When an unexpected guest–a cat no less!–arrives at the hall, most of the mice are thrown into a frenzy. Just when the ball seems ruined, one brave mouse steps forward and sets the party back on course in Mousequerade Ball: A Counting Tale by Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Betsy Lewin.

Rhyming text lends a nice rhythm to this counting tell that starts with one great hall and builds as preparations are made and guests arrive for the Mousequerade Ball. When a cat comes to the party, the story begins counting down as the guests panic and consider running away. That is, at least, until one lone mouse declares that she has invited the cat to the ball to come and dance (which he does!).

This is a whimsical story that will charm readers of all ages. The counting text and rhymes make it appealing to even the youngest readers. Lewin’s illustrations add a nice dimension to the story with additional details and a touch of whimsy depicting the mice in their finery and frippery.

Mousequerade Ball: A Counting Tale is a great choice for storytime or one-on-one reading. The counting elements, rhymed text, and detailed illustrations guarantee it will stand up well to multiple readings.

Week in Review: May 29

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This is late thanks to the three day weekend. Oops.

I had a lot of fun recapping my BEA trip (the Bean) and sharing some books I’m excited about from Macmillan’s Fall 2016 Librarian preview.

ALSO Pat Kiernan talked to me (and Estelle) on Twitter and it was the best thing ever.

Like, what else can I even accomplish now?

I read This Savage Song this week and it was amazing and life is meaningless now that it’s over. If you’re lucky enough to have an ARC, read it right away. If you don’t, be sure to watch for it in July!

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?

BEA 2016: The Recap

BEA was in Chicago this year and for a very long time, I had no plans of going. I knew the added costs of travel (not to mention room and board) were going to be hard to manage. But as we got closer (still months away, mind) Nicole said that she wanted to go and after talking with my mom I decided I could make it work.

Fast forward through months of selling odds and ends on eBay to fund my flights and room, obsessively checking Chicago weather to figure out what to pack, and lots of other preparations for the trip that I did not expect having not traveled to BEA before (since it’s been in NYC every other year I went) and not traveled in general on this scale in at least ten years.

DAY ONE

Nicole and I knew we wanted to get in some sightseeing in Chicago since we’d never been so we booked an early flight on Tuesday (the day before BEA).

Upon arriving in Chicago we took the world’s longest cab ride to our hotel which was a bit dated but still pleasant enough for our trip. It was also swank as hell from the outside.

After checking in at the hotel and stowing our luggage until a room would be ready, we headed to the best breakfast place in the entire world: Yolk. Yolk was conveniently in walking distance to the hotel and became a favorite spot during our short trip.

Because I was an art history minor in college and love museums, I lobbied heavily for a visit to the Art Institute Chicago next.

I made sure we saw the Thorne Miniature rooms.

Nicole discovered the Art Institute Chicago’s Paperweight collection.

Then we both started to lose steam and decided to head to the gift shop. (Got to get those souvenirs!) This stop proved extremely helpful because I realized it was important to check out some other iconic pieces of art before we left.

After that, it was time to head back to the hotel. We decided to walk along Michigan Avenue to check out some other souvenir shops and window shop back to the hotel.

After regrouping at the hotel Nicole and I headed out to get dinner (dollar burgers at Bar Louie) and explore. I think because we were in a touristy area and near Columbia College Chicago, there was a lot of green space near the hotel and lots of public art in the form of sculptures and murals. So, just walking along Michigan Avenue it was possible to see a lot of beautiful things.

And with that day one in Chicago came to a close.

DAY TWO

It turns out when you travel one time zone over you body never really adjusts to being an hour ahead and you end up being awake really early for no good reason. So although BEA did not officially start until the afternoon, our day started early.

Happily, there were pancakes involved.

Then it was basically time to head to McCormick Place where we discovered that some things are the same in any city (AKA pre-BEA crowds).

BUT all of this line waiting did give me a chance to catch up with Cecelia and Sajda (and make dinner plans with Cecelia–more on that later) and also to meet Christina. Finally! So exciting. As is my way, I forgot to take pictures with almost everyone. So it goes.

Luckily Cecelia was a bit more on point so I at least have this:

The first day of BEA was pretty chill. There were some lines.

There were signings. And, most importantly, there was the new Little Elliot book Little Elliot, Big Fun.

Because so much of the show was scaled back this year, Nicole and I actually got to leave at a reasonable time. So we headed back to the hotel, emptied our suitcase, and got ready for dinner.

I had been asking about places to eat in Chicago for months by this point and one that stuck out was Portillo’s. As soon as Carli told me there were cake milkshakes, I was sold. So I dragged along Nicole, Cecelia and Cecelia’s friend Liza.

Words and even pictures cannot do justice to the sensory overload that is Portillo’s.

It was insane but I think it was also a sort of rite of passage as a Chicago visitor. The cake milkshake was exactly what you would expect of a piece of chocolate cake being put through a blender. I can still taste the icing.

DAY THREE

This was the first full day at BEA and the busiest.

There were tickets to be had.

There were signs to be held.

(I didn’t get that book, incidentally, but holding the sign seemed important.)

There were friends to meet like Val and Shannon and Kristen. There were friends to see like Britt and Cecelia and Sajda. Nicole and I spent a good chunk of BEA hanging out with Sajda and Cecelia which turned out to be an excellent life choice.

There were lots of exciting books!

One of my goals going into BEA this year was to be more selective about books and also to hit up some of the “less big” publishers. Mission accomplished because Sourcebooks was on point this year!

I didn’t take a photo with Zoraida Cordova BUT she did like my nails and had some epic candy swag.

After a full day at the convention center, Nicole and I decided it was high time to see the Bean. I don’t think either of us expected it to be as amazing as it was. But we had a blast!

So many photos ensued.

Like this isn’t even all of the photos yet. I’m still working through sharing them all on Twitter or Instagram. Anyway, it was a blast.

After that it was an easy walk to Giordano’s for their infamous deep dish pizza. The only problem is making the actual pizza took forever so our night wound up being quite long for what, I’m just going to say it, was a fairly horrible pizza experience. It turns out deep dish pizza is only good when it is super hot. And even then the “goodness” is questionable. I will say that the bruschetta we ordered as a starter was delicious. Live and learn!

DAY FOUR

The final day of BEA started quite early. But we had a plan.

After realizing that Chicago BEA is a lot more chill that NYC BEA, Nicole and I decided to get tickets to Maggie Stiefvater’s signing for The Raven King. Because why not?

This involved getting to McCormick Place quite early, waiting in line, getting coffee, and then (finally) getting tickets before heading out to get breakfast. A mad dash back the convention center followed.

There were, unsurprisingly, a lot of lines on this final day of BEA.

My face, I think, sums up my feelings about said lines.

Things got really intense while Nicole and I were waiting for Kendare Blake’s signing. Every year there is one book at BEA that seems to be impossible to get. This year it was Three Dark Crowns. This signing involved waiting for over an hour, several book counts, and repeated warnings that we might not get books.

But, eventually it all worked out!

After finishing up at McCormick Place, Nicole and I had to figure out shipping our books. There was not going to be time to do anything in the morning and we discovered that the local post office hours did not work with our schedule.

But it turns out our hotel had numerous benefits (like a free shuttle to McCormick Place every day) including being across the street from a larger, swankier hotel with a Fedex Store in the lobby. There’s no way around it: shipping books is expensive and I don’t think either of us counted on the level of embarrassment in emptying an entire suitcase (plus two tote bags in my case) of books into a box. Not that we were alone–lots of people were queuing up to do the exact same thing as we left. But it all worked out and I felt a lot better about it than having to deal with BEA shipping.

The swankier hotel also had a gift shop where I found a necklace in a style I’d been searching for without success for the last year.

We closed out our last full day in Chicago with tacos from Flaco’s Tacos (delicious) and some quiet time in our room. And packing.

DAY FIVE

The final day in Chicago wasn’t really a day. It was just time for a nice breakfast (and a souvenir shirt from Yolk, of course), a long cab ride to the airport, and two hours waiting in the security line at the airport.

Once we were checked in for our flight, Nicole and I got some last minute edible souvenirs (popcorn and fancy chocolate) before waiting for the flight home. Then it was time for another long cab ride home.

And with that, BEA 2016 officially came to a close.

My books arrived the next week and at this point everything is squared away. Until next year.

Interested in every book I got at BEA? Check out my 2016 BEA Books Recap.

BEA 2016: The Books

This is a post tracking the books I got each day at BEA and what happened to them because such things interest me. You can also read my more eventful BEA recap in a separate post.

Not shown here: I work in a library and have a lot of blogger friends so I got some books knowing they’d immediately be passed on.

  • Green = Books I read and plan to keep
  • Blue = Books I read and then passed on
  • Red = Books I gave away without reading

Day One

  1. The Female of the Species by Linday Rebar
  2. Little Elliot, Big Fun by Mike Curato
  3. Unicorns Are Jerks (coloring book) by Theo Nicole Lorenz
  4. Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West
  5. The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  6. The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
  7. In Case You Missed It by Sarah Darer Littman
  8. Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman
  9. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
  10.  The Call by Peadar O’Guilin
  11. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
  12. The Graces by Laura Eve
  13. The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch
  14. The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge
  15. Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

Day Two

  1. Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
  2. Little Bot and Sparrow by Jake Parker
  3. Return by Aaron Becker
  4. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
  5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  6. Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
  7. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
  8. Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
  9. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
  10. The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North
  11. The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
  12. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
  13. Warp by Lev Grossman
  14. The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
  15. The Haters by Jesse Andrews
  16. The Romantics by Leah Konen
  17. Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
  18. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  19. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
  20. The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
  21. It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm
  22. The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat
  23. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

Day Three

  1. Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly
  2. Frostblood by Elly Blake
  3. Spindle by E. K. Johnston
  4. Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
  5. Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister
  6. The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
  7. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roerhig
  8. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  9. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  10. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
  11. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  12. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Read and Keeping:

  1. Little Elliot, Big Fun by Mike Curato
  2. Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
  3. Return by Aaron Becker
  4. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
  5. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  6. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  7. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  8. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
  9. The Romantics by Leah Konen
  10. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  11. The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
  12. The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge
  13. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Read and Passing On:

  1. Unicorns Are Jerks (coloring book) by Theo Nicole Lorenz
  2. Little Bot and Sparrow by Jake Parker
  3. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  4. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
  5. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
  6. The Graces by Laura Eve
  7. Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
  8. Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman
  9. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
  10. Frostblood by Elly Blake
  11. Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
  12. It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm
  13. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roerhig

Giving Away Unread:
(These titles were put up for adoption to be read and reviewed by other bloggers.)

  1. Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
  2. The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat
  3. The Call by Peadar O’Guilin
  4. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
  5. The Haters by Jesse Andrews
  6. The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  7. The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch
  8. The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
  9. Warp by Lev Grossman
  10. The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
  11. The Female of the Species by Linday Rebar
  12. In Case You Missed It by Sarah Darer Littman
  13. Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
  14. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Totals:

  • Total books: 51
  • Read and Keep: 13
  • Read and Give Away: 13
  • Give Away Unread: 14

This post was inspired by something similar I saw Hannah create a couple of years ago. Basically, it confirms every suspicion that if you are going to BEA solely for the free books, it’s not worth it. It’s also interesting to me to see how “good” I am every year at picking up books I actually want. (The cost aspect is moot this year because I spent sooooo much more with it being in Chicago but also I got in a lot of sightseeing and fun so it balanced out.) You can also check out my 2015 BEA books post.

Top Fives 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.

missprinttopfivesInstead 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 book 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, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, A Wizard of Earth Sea by Ursula K. LeGuin, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch, 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, And I Darken by Kiersten White