Top Fives: Harper Collins Fall 2019 Preview #harperpreview

Today I’m sharing my top five titles from HarperCollins’ Fall 2019 preview for librarians and educators.

If you want to see all of the tweets from the preview, you can check out of the #harperpreview tag on twitter. (You can also find all of my tweets from the preview too!)

Picture Books

(I’ve been lucky enough to read galleys of these picture books and they are all excellent!)

  1. The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Eric and Terry Fan: All of the animals know to avoid the old scarecrow. But when a baby crow lands near scarecrow in a storm, he doesn’t scare the baby bird. Instead he takes care of it. A lushly illustrated, heartwarming story about found family.
  2. Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin, illustrated by Ebony Glenn: Tameika loves to sing and dance. She can’t wait to audition for her school’s new play. When other students start to wonder if Tameika is too tall, too chubby, or too brown to be this princess, she proves them wrong in this dynamo picture book about chasing your dreams.
  3. The Love Letter by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins: When Hedgehog finds a love letter it makes him feel cheerful. When Bunny finds the same letter she feels helpful. And when the same letter makes its way to squirrel, he feels carefree. When these three friends try to find out who really sent the letter, they learn that a little confusion can lead to a wonderful mix-up.
  4. Mulan: The Legend of the Woman Warrior by Faye-Lynn Wu, illustrated by Joy Ang: A gorgeously illustrated retelling of the classic legend of Mulan–the woman who went to war disguised as a man to protect her loved ones and save China.
  5. A Friend for Bently by Paige Keiser: Bently is lonely as the only pig on the farm. No one else wants to roll in the mud or eat slop with him. And no one will do crossword puzzles. Then Bently hears an oink and when he follows it he finds Daisy, a chick who would much rather be a pig.

Middle Grade

  1. Heroism Begins With Her by Winifred Conkling, illustrated by Julie Kuo: Features profiles of 70 women in different branches of the US military.
  2. Heroes and Hall Passes by Tom O’Donnell: In a mythical realm characters unwind with their favorite role playing game: Homerooms and Hall Passes! When they get transported into their fave game they’ll have to face the biggest challenge yet: middle school.
  3. Ember and Ice Dragons by Heather Fawcett: In an alternate Victorian England a human girl (who was born a dragon!) is swept up in an adventure to save her new home. This is Fawcett’s middle grade debut, you may recognize her name from Even the Darkest Stars.
  4. The Twelve by Cindy Lin: When her sister is captured for her illegal zodiac powers, Usagi must team go with others with zodiac powers to save her.
  5. The Changeling King by Ethan M. Aldridge: This is a sequel so you should read Estranged first, but this follow up story continues the adventure of a human boy and the fae changeling who took his place in the human world.

Young Adult:

  1. I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi: After discovering that Earth is a colony of another planet, three teens have a week to get their affairs in order while the planet decides if it’s time to end the Earth experiment. This sounds a lot like Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente with less singing and more teen angst and I, for one, am here for it.
  2. Our Year in Love and Parties by Karen Hattrup: High concept YA about two characters trying to reconnect and earn their happy ending over one long year. I wish you could have heard the book’s editor, Andrew Eliopulos, talk about this one–I can’t even tell you exactly what it was, but as soon as I heard his presentation I was 100% on board.
  3. Crown of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh: The Road meets The Amazing Race in this story where a girl enters a race to win her freedom. The catch? She has to have her memory erased to compete.
  4. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin: Hi. Hello. Historical witch fantasy. Witch and witch hunter forced into marriage. Please take my money. I have been obsessed with this book since the moment I first heard the synopsis. You should be too.
  5. A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth: Weymouth pitched this to her editor saying “It’s like Downton Abbey. But the houses come to life.” And I think that’s really all you need to know.
  6. Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai: I am never going to summarize this as well as Lai did at the preview. Six years ago Hằng lost her younger brother when he was evacuated in the last days of the Việt Nam War. Now, in 1981, after years of planning Hằng is finally in Texas and ready to find Linh. LeeRoy is on his way to becoming a rodeo star when he’s recruited to help Hằng find her brother. It’s an annoying detour, but he’s knows he can’t abandon her. When she realizes Linh doesn’t remember her, Hằng is unmoored and forced to figure out what happens next. Especially when the only person who seems to understand her when she talks is LeeRoy–the gangly would-be cowboy who never stops talking. This book is gorgeous. It’s already my favorite book of the year–and that’s while knowing there’s a new Garth Nix coming out.

Let me know if any of these were already on your radar or if this post helped you find some new titles for your to read list!

Week in Review: July 13

missprintweekreviewBlog Posts of The Week:

Tweet of the Week:

Instagram Post of the Week:

How My Week Went:

Sometimes I don’t sleep much so this has been a pretty long week. I have a ton of BIG WORK THINGS happening in the second half of July and Mercury is Retrograde and my office is host to a weird assortment of bugs so I’m kind of over summer at this point.

What I Read:

I read Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable and illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw. I think it had some interesting things to say but I also might have not liked it. I’m still processing. My feelings were similarly mixed for There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool which started stronger than it finished. I enjoyed it and think I’m on board for book two but, again, still processing.

Weekly Questions:

  • How was your week?
  • What are you reading?
  • Does anyone even read far enough to see these questions?

Top Fives: Sourcebooks Spring 2019 Preview #sourcebookspreview

Today I’m sharing my Top Five titles to watch for from Sourcebooks’ Spring 2019 preview for librarians and educators. I’m a bit behind on sharing these so many of the titles may already be available at your local library or bookstore.

(I’d also like to share that everyone who attended this preview got their very own unicorn horn and it was glorious.)

If you want to see all of the tweets from the preview, you can check out of the #sourcebookspreview tag on twitter. (You can also find all of my tweets from the preview too!)

  1. The Disaster Days by Rebecca Behrens: It’s The Babysitter’s Club meets Hatchet! Enough said. Inspired by the author’s love of historical fiction and disaster stories.
  2. The Star Shepherd by Dan Haring and Marcykate Connolly: A boy and his dog race to save the stars before their light goes out in this fantasy adventure.
  3. You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman: One teen tries to figure out what to do when the promises of happiness and academic success start to pull him in opposite directions.
  4. The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson: And I Darken. Meets. Eragon. Do I need to say more?
  5. Here There Be Monsters by Amelinda Berube: The cover for this one creeps me the hell out but I’m here for any story that is The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls.
  6. Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant by Anne Gardiner Perkins: This book is a bit of a bonus as it’s being marketed as adult non-fiction. It’s the product of many years of research and includes fifty oral histories. I’m super excited to read it.

Let me know if any of these were already on your radar or if this post helped you find some new titles for your to read list!

Past Perfect Life: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth EulbergAlly Smith loves her life in small-town Wisconsin. After moving around with her father for most of her childhood, Ally is thrilled that they landed in a place where she can feel at home surrounded by friends who are more like family.

She knows that things are going to change soon since she’s a senior in high school but that still feels far away–especially when figuring out if she and her friend Neil are still just friends or becoming something more seems much more urgent.

Ally isn’t sure what to do when she finds out that everything she thought she knew about her perfectly ordinary life has been a lie. Ally’s past isn’t what she’s been told. Her family isn’t what she thought. In fact, her name isn’t even Allison–it’s Amanda.

With her old life blown apart, Ally has to figure out how she can fit herself into this strange new life. And if she even wants to try in Past Perfect Life (2019) by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Find it on Bookshop.

Eulberg’s latest standalone novel veers into mystery and suspense territory with a plot reminiscent of Caroline B. Cooney’s classic The Face on the Milk Carton.

While Past Perfect Life could have become sinister, the story manages to stay upbeat thanks to the vast support system that Ally has around her while her world begins to fall apart. With everything changing, she finds comfort in old friends and new family both in Wisconsin and her new home in Tampa, Florida.

Ally’s first person narration complements the tension of the plot as she learns the truth about her life although the novel’s slow pacing diminishes some of the impact as readers begin to understand the truth about Ally’s family and her past. Well-drawn characters shift the story from black and white to morally ambiguous grey as Ally and readers try to understand what happened and who should be blamed (or forgiven).

Past Perfect Life is a surprisingly gentle story about found family, embracing the messy parts of your past, and learning who you are. Recommended for readers who want a thriller with less nail biting and more friendship and romance.

Possible Pairings: The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando, The Last Forever by Deb Caletti, The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney, Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan, Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

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

We Rule the Night: A Review

“No right choice, no way to win.”

cover art for We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza BartlettRevna is a factory worker helping to create war machines out of living metal for the Union of the North. She is always careful to keep a low profile, careful to do what is expected–it’s the only way to make sure her family doesn’t fall even lower than they have in the wake of her father’s arrest as a traitor. When she is caught using illegal magic Revna is certain she’ll join her father in prison, leaving her mother and younger sister to fend for themselves and possibly destitute.

Linné is loyal member of the Union. In fact, her desire to fight for her country is so great that she defies her general father and disguises herself as a boy to fight on the front lines. No one can dispute her war record, her skill with spark magic, or her heroism. But none of that matters when her greatest secret is discovered.

Instead of the punishment they expect, both girls are given the chance to join a new military unit. The One Hundred Forty-Sixth Night Raiders regiment is comprised entirely of women–unlikely soldiers with the unique ability to manipulate the same magic their enemy has been using to attack them from the air.

The Night Raiders will take on dangerous flights under the cover of darkness, when the enemy least expects it. Success could give Linné the notoriety and recognition she craves while it will guarantee safety and security for Revna and her family. But if the girls want to fly together they’ll first have to survive their training. And each other in We Rule the Night (2019) by Claire Eliza Bartlett.

We Rule the Night is Bartlett’s debut novel. This fantasy adventure was partly inspired by the Night Witches–the actual airwomen who flew night flights for the Soviet Union during World War II. The novel alternates between close third person chapters following Revna and Linné.

We Rule the Night is at its best when it focuses on the girls as they try to make it through their training while constantly pushing against the limits placed on them as women in a patriarchal society run by a dangerous regime. Linné comes from a relative position of privilege as the daughter of an esteemed general, while Revna is part of the Union’s lowest social strata. Because of her precarious position she is also forced to tolerate numerous slights as people assume she is less capable because of her prosthetic legs–something she is keen to prove false even if it means taking on dangerous missions with her new regiment.

With so much riding on the regiment’s success, the sense of urgency and tension is palpable as both girls struggle through their training and early missions. The depth of Bartlett’s characters and stark prose nearly make up for a comparable lack of world building that relies heavily on the book’s inspiration to situate the Union both in the world and the war that started with a rival nation trying to protect sacred godplaces on Union land.

We Rule the Night is a fierce tale of reluctant friendship, war, and what it means to be a hero–especially when you live in a world that refuses to acknowledge the least of what you can achieve. Recommended for anyone who loved Code Name Verity but wanted more battles and fantasy readers who need more feminism and less world building.

Possible Pairings: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Witch Born by Nicolas Bowling, The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis, The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway, Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh, The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II by Elizabeth Wein, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Week in Review: July 6

missprintweekreviewBlog Posts of The Week:

Tweet of the Week:

Instagram Post of the Week:

How My Week Went:

My interns started this week at work and they’re pretty great. I’m also in the thick of prep for Mock Printzmas in July (it’s a book discussion thing we have at work and I am moderating) and helping a colleague plan the annual Harry Potter Birthday party he puts together at the library. Let’s just say there are a lot of plates spinning! I wrote almost ten blog posts this week and I’m feeling a lot better about getting through my backlog (even if I still feel like I’m talking into a vacuum in these posts despite my fun new format–alas).

What I Read:

After finishing Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (so gooooood), I dove into The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe which I’m reading for my library’s Mock Printzmas. I picked the short list almost entirely by myself this year so it’s been a relief to see that the books I went with are pretty okay. Philippe’s debut is very Harriet the Spy meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid set in high school (in other words, main character Norris is a little jerk but he’s still funny too). Next up: Kiss Number Eight  by Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw, There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool, and the bindup of volumes 1 through 7 of Deadly Class before I have to return it to my local library.

Weekly Questions:

  • How was your week?
  • What are you reading?
  • What is your low stakes super power?

Top Fives: Simon and Schuster Spring 2019 Preview #sskidspreview

Here are my top fives from Simon and Schuster’s Spring 2019 preview for librarians and educators. (This preview happened in February and I’m posting this in July so many of these anticipated titles should already be available at your local library or bookstore!)

If you want to see all of the tweets from the preview, you can check out of the #sskidspreview tag on twitter. (You can also find all of my tweets from the preview too!)

Here are the top five titles I’m excited about from the preview:

Picture Books

  1. Duckworth the Difficult Child By Michael Sussman, illustrated by Júlia Sardà: This story is everything my weird picture book loving heart could want. When Duckworth is swallowed whole by a snake he has to get himself out when his parents decide to ignore his difficult behavior.
  2. Seagull and Sea Dragon by Sydni Gregg: Opposites collide in this picture book where opposites aren’t quite as different as Seagull or Sea Dragon might think.
  3. Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed, illustrated by Anoosha Syed: Bilal draws neighborhood kids in when his father asks Bilal to help cook his favorite dish—Daal! This looks delightful.
  4. Leila in Saffron by Rukhsanna Guidroz, illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova: I am always here for new books from Salaam Reads! Leila explores her heritage in this multi sensory story inspired by the author’s own multicultural upbringing.
  5. One Dark Bird by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon: Counting book about Starlings and their flocking behavior (murmurations). I love Starlings! I don’t even need help from Bird Watcher Twitter to find them.

Middle Grade

  1. A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata: Cynthia Kadohata’s new novel was six years in the making. A piercing story about a Japanese-American family who gives up their American citizenship after WWII to return to Hiroshima—never knowing the devastation they’ll find there after the atomic bomb.
  2. Order of the Majestic by Matt Myklusch: This preview started with a fantastic presentation from the author about talking about this series starter where low-key genius Joey as he discovers magic is real—but only if you believe in it. I am obsessed with the tagline: “The world is running out of magic. It needs a miracle. It got Joey Kopecky.”
  3. Cape by Kate Hannigan: Wonder Woman meets Hidden Figures in this high action story set in WWII America where three girls are transformed into new superheroes. Includes 48 pages of comic book panels too.
  4. The Trouble With Shooting Stars by Meg Cannistra: This story is being called Mary Poppins meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding in a story about healing and family.

Young Adult

  1. Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boetju: It’s Judy Blume meets RuPaul’s Drag Race in this debut about a queer teen who finds drag culture and the teen she was always meant to be.
  2. Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond: Yessssss! Interconnected short story collection all about family, culture, and food. Authors include Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, Ron Chupeco, Rebecca Roanhorse. Ahhhhhh.
  3. The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World by Amy Reed: A. S. King meets Alice Hoffman in this story (blurbed by Nova Ren Suma!) where a friendship might literally be able to change the world. A surreal story with a strong sense of place, and a powerful ode to the importance of hope.
  4. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu: “Trauma has a gravity of its own.” In this thriller where a toxic friendship turns deadly.
  5. Start Here by Trish Doller: A story about grief, loss, and how the ties that bind can just as easily unravel.
  6. Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash: Shenanigans ensue when a girl decides to use a virtual reality dating app to try and get her ex boyfriend back.

Let me know if any of these were already on your radar or if this post helped you find some new titles for your to read list!

Dramatically Ever After: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for Dramatically Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

Em Katsaros’s senior year is not quite what she imagined. Her boyfriend is dreamy and sweet. But he’s also five thousand miles away–and still not the best at English since he spent most of his semester in the US making out with Em instead of studying, which makes emailing and texting a challenge.

Then there’s the fact that Em’s dad just got laid off. With money tight and the future uncertain, Em has to hustle for scholarships if she wants to be able to afford to attend her first choice university and its amazing acting program.

Luckily, Em has the perfect plan. All she has to do is channel her scene-stealing acting skills for a speech competition. Making it to the national round of the US Youth Change Council competition means a week in Boston and the chance to win a national scholarship.There’s only one thing standing in her way: Kris Lambert–senior class president, total jerk, Em’s long-time nemesis, and unbelievably her fellow state representative for New Jersey.

Kris seems different once they get to Boston, but Em isn’t easily fooled. With so much on the line, Em is willing to do whatever it takes to secure her win–even if it means she’ll have to pretend to flirt with Kris to throw him off is his game. But as the final competition gets closer, Em starts to realize her strategy to foil Kris might have spectacularly backfired when Kris starts to give as good as he gets in Dramatically Ever After (2017) by Isabel Bandeira.

Find it on Bookshop.

Dramatically Ever After is the second book in Bandeira’s Ever After trilogy which begins with Em’s best friend Phoebe in Bookishly Ever After. Each book in the series functions as a standalone so they can be read independently.

As the title suggests, Em is a dramatic narrator who is always ready to add a little drama to her life whether it means pretending to flirt with Kris during their trip to Boston or over romanticizing her long-distance relationship that may have run its course. Em isn’t always the nicest or easiest heroine. She embraces those parts of her personality and has no patience for anyone who is unwilling to accept all of her on her own terms.

Kris and Em are great foils as both are incredibly aware of each other’s strategies to win the speech competition and determined to prove who’s the best once and for all. As a result Dramatically Ever After is filled with witty banter and aggressive flirting on both sides as Em and Kris start to realize they might have met their match in each other (and that it might not be a bad thing).

Dramatically Ever After brings readers back to Lambertfield and all of its wonderful characters while also expanding the world and giving readers a new perspective on everyone’s favorite drama queen. Romantic comedy style plots, writing that gets better with each installment, and swoons galore make this series a winner. Be sure to start it now so you’re ready when book three, Practically Ever After, hits shelves!

Possible Pairings: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre, Nothing by Annie Barrows, A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Royals by Rachel Hawkins, Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks, Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis, The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan, Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad, Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roate, The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti, Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon, Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, Last Chance Dance by Lakita Wilson

Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Isabel too!

*A copy of this title was acquired for review consideration from the publisher at BEA 2017*

Author Interview: Isabel Bandeira on Dramatically Ever After

Isabel Bandeira is the author of the Ever After series. She’s here today to talk about the second book in the series, Dramatically Ever After, and her new heroine, Em. (Don’t worry, the books all read as standalones so no risk of spoilers for Bookishly Ever After here!)

Miss Print: Dramatically Ever After is the second book in your series. Can you tell me a bit about its inspiration? What was it like returning to a world and cast of characters you already knew while also writing a new story?

Isabel Bandeira: Em’s story was written immediately after I finished Bookishly Ever After. Her voice is incredibly dominant, so Em kept demanding her own story and wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it. If Bookishly hadn’t sold or if it had only been a one book deal, I was ready to switch Dramatically Ever After to a standalone and to query it separately. Em’s character and personality are so strong, she actually had a habit of taking over the other stories, and, when writing the other books in the series, I had to be very careful to let Em be a part of the story without trying to take over the leading role.

Coming back to Lambertfield and the world of PCHS was seamless because I was still in the Ever After world, but I had the fun job of flipping that world around to a new viewpoint. Every single one of us looks at the world and others with our own, unique perspectives colored by our personalities, backgrounds, and beliefs. How Em sees herself, for example, is different from Phoebe’s perception of her or Grace’s, or even the readers’. As writers, the line we have to walk, especially in the first person, is to portray that mental image of self while also showing in actions and others’ reactions a more neutral point of view. Em is a little bit of an unreliable narrator, so it was fun slipping in details readers could see that would, at times, contradict her perceptions. Companion novels or novels with multiple points of view are really nice ways for us, as writers, to learn to be more empathetic because we have to learn to see the same people and places through different lenses.

Miss Print: One of the things I loved about Dramatically Ever After is how different Em is from her best friend Phoebe. We’ve talked before about Phoebe having a lot in common with your teen self as she embraces her inner geek and her love of books (and knitting). What was it like getting inside a new character’s head for this story?

Isabel Bandeira: A lot of me went into Em’s character, too (that being said, I maintain that the character most like me in the series is Phoebe’s big sister, Trixie)! Like her, I’m a huge history dork, love speech writing, and was actually in a (similar concept but there are major structural differences) speech competition when I was a teen, representing my state on the national level and going around Washington, DC with over 50 other teens (all the states plus territories and regions for military families stationed overseas). But… I’m definitely not as outgoing as Em, as bubbly, or as quick to forgive. And she says all the things I don’t have the guts to say, which makes her so much fun to write.

And then there are the external pressures coming from her family. Even though only Em’s dad is an immigrant, compared to both of my parents, she still feels a lot of the things kids of immigrants, like me, feel. That quip about the Greek scholarship? Been there, done that, got badly mistreated by a Portuguese-American scholarship’s organizing committee. The pressure to go to college, be the best student, get the best scholarships, get a logical good-paying job… all of that got wrapped into Em and the worries that helped drive her motivations.

Voice is really important, and it’s more than words and actions. It’s in the details and things like mental comparators the character uses—while Phoebe’s descriptors revolved around things familiar to her in the forms of yarn, books, and archery: “It was soft, like a quivut and cashmere mix,” Em’s mental dialogue reflected her love of Hollywood and history: “She looked like a cross between Rita Hayworth and Katherine Hepburn” and using 17th-century stays as a descriptor for feeling constricted. It’s even conveyed in the use of color—Phoebe, for example, wears and mentions a lot of soft teals and blues and greys, while Em’s world is all about vibrant colors, especially yellow.

Miss Print: Dramatically Ever After takes Em away from her beloved home state to compete in a speech competition in Boston. How did you decide which locations to have Em visit during the competition?

Isabel Bandeira: I chose Boston because it’s such a great city and the perfect place to showcase Em’s love of history. As a history dork, I was easily able to pull on my own wonder and awe from my first visit there years ago to build on Em’s reactions to this world.

The grounds outside the colonial dinner site were modeled after one of my favorite historical sites—Phillipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, NY. You really do feel like you’ve stepped back in time in that place, and I wanted Em to have that space as a backdrop to one of the conversations where she first begins revealing bits of her real, unfiltered self to Kris.

And the MFA: I had to write the MFA into DEA primarily because of the statue of Guanyin. Everyone has points in their lives when they feel hopeless or as if no one could ever understand what they’re going through. That was what I was feeling the first time I walked into that wing of the MFA and saw Guanyin’s statue. I remember looking up and coming to a complete stop the moment I saw that face projecting so much compassion and kindness, and I remember crying and taking comfort from this over two-thousand-year-old statue. Em needed a moment like that, too, and I made sure to work this amazing work of art into Em’s story.

Miss Print: Can you tell me anything about your next project? What can readers expect in Practically Ever After?

Isabel Bandeira: PEA was probably the hardest book of the three to write—how do you take a “perfect” couple, the couple all the other characters in the last two books look up to, and break them up? I love writing Grace and Leia together, and it was not easy to throw challenges their way. But every relationship hits bumps, even perfectly practical ones!

Readers can expect practicality, flawless use of planners and lists, science and engineering, dance, cheer, prom, and lots of the same friendship dynamics we’ve seen in the last two books. I really enjoyed diving into Grace’s discovery of her love of engineering, her rediscovery of her love of dance, that that bittersweet space in time of being on the edge of change. I hope readers enjoy it, too!

Thank you so much for reading Dramatically Ever After and for the interview!!! <3

Thanks again to Isabel for taking the time to answer my questions!

You can see more about Isabel and her books on her website.

You can also check out my review of Dramatically Ever After.