Author Archives: missprint

About missprint

Librarian. Writer. Blogger at Miss Print since 2007. Reader. Feminist. SLJ reviewer. YALSA Hub Blogger. PPYA 2015/16. Amateur spy. Zen. 🦄

The Stone Girl’s Story: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Stone Girl's Story by Sarah Beth DurstMayka and her stone family were brought to life by the markings etched into their bodies–symbols that represent who they are and the stories of their live. Mayka’s father was a talented stonemason. He created fish that could swim, rabbits, birds, and even a turtle before he used everything he had learned to create Mayka a girl who lives and thinks even if she does not need to breath or eat the way humans do.

But stone erodes over time and Mayka’s father is no longer alive to tend to his stone creations. Without a stonemason to maintain them, the stone creature’s markings are fading. Unless a stonemason can recarve their markings Mayka and her stone family will cease to live–becoming nothing more than still statues.

Finding a stonemason won’t be easy. It will force Mayka to leave the only home she has ever known high up on her family’s mountain. Off the mountain Mayka discovers that there is more to the magic that brings her to life than Father ever let on. When her search for a stonemason reveals a threat to all stone creatures, Mayka may not have any time left to wait for a stonemason to save her in The Stone Girl’s Story (2018) by Sarah Beth Durst.

Durst’s latest standalone middle grade fantasy is an evocative adventure where, with the right markings, stone can be brought to life. Durst once again brings her imaginative vision to life in a novel whose heroine is as surprising as her world.

Mayka’s stone family consists of herself and a variety of talking animals eager to help in the search for a new stonemason. The high stakes of this mission are offset with the wonder and enthusiasm with which Mayka explores new lands and makes some surprising friends.

The Stone Girl’s Story is an engrossing adventure and a thoughtful commentary on agency as Mayka realizes that the best way to save herself and her friends might be to do it herself. A delightful addition to the author’s extensive body of work.

Possible Pairings: A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, Frogkisser! by Garth Nix, Princeless Book One: Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin

Be sure to check out my interview with Sarah about this book!

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Author Interview (#11): Sarah Beth Durst on The Stone Girl’s Story

Sarah Beth Durst author photoSarah Beth Durst, one of my favorite authors, is back today to talk about her latest middle grade novel The Stone Girl’s Story which follows Mayka, a living girl made of stone, as she ventures far from home to find a way to help herself and her friends.

Miss Print (MP): What was the inspiration for The Stone Girl’s Story?

Sarah Beth Durst (SBD): I’m a terrible gardener.  Zero green thumb.  Plants see me coming, and they wither in self-defense, anticipating a horrible death from either too much or too little watering.  But I try.  And I’m always optimistic that next year, I’ll remember to weed/water/whatever often enough to have a lovely flower bed.

One spring, after hearing me talk all winter about flowers, my husband bought me a little stone rabbit for my garden, and I nestled it in between the daffodils.  But by the end of the summer, it was so buried in weeds that I couldn’t find it.  So I joked that it had hopped away to join its other stone friends…

That stone bunny became the inspiration for THE STONE GIRL’S STORY (and you’ll see him hopping around the first chapter as one of Mayka’s friends!).

Mayka is a girl made of living stone.  Forever twelve years old, she has outlasted the father who carved her and engraved her body with the stories that gave her life. But now the magical marks that animate her and her stone friends are fading, and she must leave her home for the first time to find help if she wants her story — and those of her friends — to continue.

At its heart, this is a story about stories — what stories shape who you are, who chooses the stories that define you, who tells the story of your life.

MP: Stone creatures in Mayka’s world are brought to life by markings carved into their bodies that describe various attributes and parts of their lives. If you were a stone creature, what are some markings you would want to include in your story?

SBD: I would want my markings to say how much I love stories — really, I think they’re as essential to life as air, water, and food — and how much I love to tell stories.  And I would want my markings to say how much I love my family.  Those are the two things that are most important to me: writing and my family.

Might also want to add a marking saying how fond I am of chocolate.

MP: Mayka leaves her home to find a new stonemason and gets to see the world beyond her mountain home for the first time. Reading this story I was struck by how vivid the locations and landscapes are as Mayka discovers them. Did any real locations inspire the places that Mayka visits?

SBD: Not intentionally, but the world does seep into you and then come out in your writing.  Things you think are beautiful, things you think are important, things that stick in your memory…  All of those things fertilize the soil of your imagination.

Mayka’s world is born of my imagination, but it’s shaped by my love of this world.

MP: Which scene are you especially excited for readers to get to in The Stone Girl’s Story?

SBD: One of the best things about being a writer is being able to invite people into your worlds, your stories, and your imagination.  I can’t wait for readers to meet Mayka and her friends!  I am especially excited for readers to meet Si-Si, a little stone dragon that Mayka encounters on her quest.

I think all stories need at least one talking dragon.  :)

MP: This is a busy year for you with three novels coming out. Last year was equally jam-packed with your YA novel Drink, Slay, Love’s movie adaptation coming out and the release of your first picture book Roar and Sparkles Go to School. (I love that you literally write for all ages now!) With so many projects going on at once how do you balance everything? What does a typical writing day look like for you?

SBD: I write every day.  I know that doesn’t work for everyone, but I find it helpful for keeping up the momentum of the story.  I don’t have a set time or consistent number of hours that I write each day — basically any time I have two hands free and am near my computer, I’m writing.

I typically work on one project at a time.  It takes me a couple days to switch between voices, styles, and worlds, so I prefer to work on one book for a few weeks/months (depending on where it is in the process) and then make the transition to another.

I also always like to know what I’m going to be writing next and will often start a new book on the same day that I finish the prior book.  I don’t like saying goodbye to characters that I’ve grown to love, so it helps if I can immediately say hello to new ones!

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next projects?

SBD: Yes!  My next book for adults comes out on May 15th: THE QUEEN OF SORROW, Book Three of The Queens of Renthia.  It’s the final book in my epic fantasy series about bloodthirsty spirits and the queens who can control them.  Very excited for readers to see how it all ends!

In December, my next YA book, FIRE AND HEIST, comes out.  It’s essentially Ocean’s Eleven with were-dragons.  I just posted the gorgeous new cover over on my website (www.sarahbethdurst.com/FireandHeist.htm).

And I’m currently in the middle of revising next year’s MG book (SPARK, about a girl and her lightning dragon) and adult book (THE DEEPEST BLUE, a standalone Renthia novel with a lot of sea monsters).

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Thanks to Sarah for taking the time to answer my questions!

For more information about Sarah and her books you can also visit her website.

You can also check out our previous interviews discussing Sarah’s other novels here on the blog.

If you want to know more about The Stone Girl’s Story be sure to check out my  review.

Week in Review: April 14–Monday Memories is back!

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

What a roller coaster this week has been! Work was very busy but I’m almost ready for my big training coming up and maybe have the hang of this whole supervising interns thing.

A while ago I decided to do a blog linkup feature called Monday Memories. It never gained much traction as a blog feature but I decided it would be fun to do on Instagram with a hashtag instead of a linkup. I’m using #bookishMondayMemories and am going to try to stick with it every week. If you are on instagram and want to join me, feel free to use the hashtag!

Here’s the first one:

Today I’m resurrecting an old blog feature called Monday Memories with the hashtag #bookishMondayMemories. 📚 I’ll be highlighting some books from my collection that hold a special place in my heart. If you want to join in, be sure to use the hashtag and let me know! 📚 I had a lot of fun photographing these books so I’ll talk more about the actual series tomorrow. Today I want to talk about why it’s so special to me. 📚 This series has a lot of firsts for me as a blogger. One of the first arcs I got for review, the first time a publicist contacted me directly, one of the first times I went to a book signing expressly because I had to meet the author, and one of my first author interviews on the blog. 📚 Meeting Gabrielle and the interview are especially sweet moments. I always love meeting authors for the first time after emailing with them because it gives context to the moment. In this case Gabrielle was also one of the nicest authors to talk to. That interview (the fantastic one!) also took on a life of its own appearing in a paperback edition of books one and two. You never know what you’ll find in bonus material. 📚 I loved following this series from start to finish even if it never gained the attention and acclaim I still think it sorely deserves. I like to think that my reviews and interviews for these books remain some of my best work as a blogger. Perhaps more importantly I always felt like Anya and her world was there for me when I needed them during a particularly bad year. That’s a rare thing. 📚 If you haven’t seen this series yet be sure to grab the first book All These Things I’ve Done from your library and check out the rest of Gabrielle Zevin’s backlist. You won’t regret it! 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #gabriellezevin #chocolate #bildungsroman

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Here are two of my favorite posts I shared on Instagram this week:

How far would you got for a miracle? 📚 Here is a thing that draws everyone to Bicho Raro: The promise of a miracle. 📚 Here is a thing everyone fears after their first miracle: What they'll need to do to complete their second miracle. 📚 The strange magic of miracles has been a part of the Soria family for generations–long before the family left Mexico for the desert of Bicho Raro, Colorado. 📚 Now, in 1962, three cousins are at a turning point where magic and action intersect. 📚 Joaquin wants many things. He wants his family to understand him, he wants to spend time with his cousins, most of all he wants someone to hear him DJing as Diablo Diablo on the pirate radio station he is running with Beatriz from inside a box truck. 📚 Daniel is the current Saint of Bicho Raro. He performs the miracles and he sets the pilgrims on their paths to help themselves. Despite his saintliness he is incapable of performing the miracle he needs for himself. 📚 Her family calls Beatriz the girl without feelings, objectively she can't argue the point. But when unexpected misfortune befalls Bicho Raro, Beatriz will have to reconcile her feelings (or lack thereof) with the logical fact of what she has to do next. 📚 Everyone wants a miracle but when miracles go horribly wrong the residents of Bicho Raro might have to settle for forgiveness instead. 📚 Owls are a big part of this story so of course I had to photograph my copy with some of my owl collection. (I found a bunch of owls I had forgotten after I took the photo, of course.) 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #reyesfilter #maggiestiefvater #owls

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Do you ever buy books because they’re on sale? 📚 I am not made of stone and I admit I often fall for the siren song of a good deal. Then there are the deals that are so good it would be criminal to miss them. 📚 Such was the case with Circe by Madeline Miller which through a series of pricing mishaps wound up being available for preorder on amazon for three dollars. Of course I ordered a copy! 📚 Circe is Miller’s newest novel inspired by Greek mythology (her previous novels are The Song of Achilles and Galatea). 📚 I haven’t read her other books and don’t know what to expect but I have resolved to read more adult fiction this year so hope to get to this in the next month or two. (It might be time to admit to myself that my simultaneous goal of reading more nonfiction might be a lost cause.) 📚 On a superficial level I also love how shiny the cover is and, of course, had to show it off with my shiny manicure. Swipe over for more shots because I just couldn’t pick one. 📚 Is this one on your to read list? Have you read Miller’s other books? 📚 #instabooks #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #circe #madelinemiller #mythology #greekmythology

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

How was your week? What are you reading?

The Bone Witch: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“We have come a long way only to fall apart.”

cover art for The Bone Witch by Rin ChupecoTea never meant to raise her brother Fox from the dead or expected to become a dark asha—a bone witch to those who fear and revile them—but that is exactly what happens setting Tea’s life on a dramatically different course when she is thirteen and comes into her powers.

Asha training is rigorous and takes Tea and her brother far home. Life in the asha-ka is both less exciting and more dangerous than Tea ever could have imagined making it hard for her to ever feel completely comfortable in her new role as an asha-in-training.

But that doesn’t explain what happened four years later to leave Tea banished to the Sea of Skulls where she tells her story to an exiled bard while raising fearsome daeva (demons) to use for dark purposes.

The nobility in the Eight Kingdoms and even the asha elders have always viewed dark asha as expendable–meant to serve their purpose slaying daeva and not much else. Raising the daeva is one step in Tea’s plan to save dark asha lives. The next steps will change the shape of the world forever or break apart the Eight Kingdoms in the process in The Bone Witch (2017) by Rin Chupeco.

The Bone Witch is the first book in Chupeco’s trilogy by the same name. The story continues in The Heart Forger.

Most of this novel is narrated by Tea in the first person as she looks back on her initiation into the world of the asha and her subsequent training. Tea relates these memories to an exiled bard with the jaded detachment brought on by the distance of four years and her own banishment.

The Bone Witch is a tightly wound story filled with intrigue and tension. The story lines of Tea’s past at the asha-ka and her present on the Isle of Skulls build simultaneously to a shocking crescendo as secrets are revealed and loyalties tested. Careful plotting and deliberate reveals will leave readers questioning everything and breathless for the sequel.

Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge, Sabriel by Garth Nix

Warcross: A Review

“Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact.”

by Marie Lucover art for Warcross by Marie LuEmika Chen’s life is a constant struggle. Since her father’s death she’s been drowning in deby as she tries to pay off the medical expenses and gambling debts he left behind. Emika is a stellar hacker but thanks to the arrest on her record she can’t get any jobs near a computer. Instead she works as a bounty hunter tracking down petty criminals who do stupid things like gamble on Warcross and hustling to stay ahead of the competition.

Warcross is the one place where Emika can relax. The virtual reality game is a diversion, a competition, and place where Emika can remember what she loves: coding. With an eviction notice hanging over her head it’s also a place where she can take a big risk and hack into the opening game of the Warcross Championship to try and steal an item and erase her debt.

When the hack goes spectacularly wrong Emika thinks she’s heading for a swift arrest and jail. But instead she is whisked to Tokyo where she meets Warcross’s creator–eccentric young millionaire Hideo Tanaka–and is hired to work as a spy and bounty hunter tracking down a hacker who is threatening the Warcross world.

To cover for her real mission Emika is placed in the Wardraft and becomes part of the Championship. Winning the Championship and finding the hacker could change Emika’s life forever. Getting too close to the truth could change the world of Warcross and beyond forever in Warcross (2017) by Marie Lu.

Warcross is the first book in Lu’s Warcross duology.

Lu has once again created a well-realized and fascinating world where virtual reality and augmented reality are plausibly integrated into everyday life. This plot-driven story is fast-paced and full of action as Emika’s investigation brings her into Tokyo as well as the virtual worlds of Warcross and the Dark World typically inhabited by criminals and hackers.

The coding and gameplay aspects of Warcross can feel convenient while more than one twist will leave readers wondering if a few frank conversations between characters could have avoided many of the novel’s main conflicts. The tension of the championship and the urgency of Emika’s investigation to track down the Warcross hacker, known only as Zero, raise the stakes enough to detract from these holes in the plot.

Warcross is filled with distinct characters from a variety of backgrounds ranging from poor Hammie, a champion Thief in Warcross who uses her winnings to support her family to DJ Ren–a champion Warcross player/French DJ sensation–and Phoenix Rider team captain Asher who is American and flies through Warcross games in virtual reality while navigating the real world in a high tech wheelchair. While Emika is immediately drawn into the camaraderie and competition surrounding Warcross (not to mention drawn to enticing and mysterious Hideo) she knows she can’t let her guard down if she wants to identify Zero and beat the other bounty hunters to the prize.

The high stakes of the Warcross championship blend well with the larger mystery of finding Zero.The excitement and twists, particularly in the second half of the novel, work well to draw readers in and help them ignore the fact that a few frank conversations could solve most if not all of Emika and Hideo’s problems.

This duology starter is filled with inventive world building, top notch characters, and provocative questions about who (if anyone) deserves a redemption arc. Warcross draws readers in with action and gaming, but where it really shines is with the thoughtful meditation on what separates heroes from villains in a world that is anything but black and white. Recommended.

Possible Pairings: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi, For the Win by Cory Doctorow, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration at BookExpo 2017*

Week in Review: April 7: Where is Spring?

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

 

I’m trying to tough it out but this continued cold weather is getting me down. I’m still wearing my heaviest winter coat! In April! It’s very upsetting. Not to mention the constant snowstorms. I know the world is ending and we’re all going to die from the consequences of climate change but still. Have you gotten any spring weather in your neck of the woods?

I started this week feeling a little overwhelmed but am happy to report that returning to my tried and true monotasking and taking things one step at a time has helped me knock a few items off my to do list and get back on track. What do you do to conquer an overly long to do list?

I’m also happy to report that after a rocky go last year order has been restored and I have been approved for Press Registration for BookExpo. I’m not sure if I’ll go but I am on the selection committee for the the YA Editors’ Buzz panel and I do hope to see the editors talking about the books I helped pick. Have you ever gone to a book event or convention?

Here are two of my favorite posts I shared on Instagram this week:

How many secrets are too many? 📚 Jordan Sun is a scholarship student at a prestigious boarding school for the arts. She has a coveted single room and she is slowly getting over a painful breakup. She has also never been cast in a school production. 📚 Reeling from yet another rejection for the school’s new musical, Jordan realizes that her height and her deep voice are holding her back. Jordan doesn’t fit the mold of most female roles and it’s holding her back. 📚 Desperate to prove to her parents and herself that she can land a lead, Jordan decides to audition for an opening at the school’s prestigious a cappella group, The Sharpshooters. There’s just one catch: The Sharpshooters are an all-male group. 📚 Disguised as a boy named Julian, Jordan lands the spot. Her voice fits right in with the Sharps and, surprisingly, Jordan realizes she fits in with the small group of friends too. But Jordan can’t be sure they’ll feel the same way if they find out that her name is Jordan, not Julian. 📚 Jordan meant to keep the Sharps at a distance until she gets the prestige and recognition she wants. But as friendships (and rivalries) grow and the lies mount, Jordan starts to realize that sometimes you have to get close. Even if it means you might get hurt. 📚 What a day! I’ve been so bogged down with work emails and book ordering that I barely remembered to take lunch (late late) and get this post ready. I finished this book last night and it’s a total charmed. A really fun exploration or privilege, gender, and sexuality all wrapped up in a laugh out loud story set at the intersection of high school and a cappella. 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #accapella #ireadya #rileyredgate #noteworthy

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What’s in your bag right now? ▪️ I just got this bag emblazoned with my initials from @danbury_mint. It’s kind of ridiculous but also amazing and I’m loving it. ▪️ I’m also happy to report that the bag can easily fit my planner and a book along with all of my other incidentals (keys, wallet, phone, tissues, etc.). ▪️ I’m starting Defy the Worlds today and I’m so excited to read more about Noemi (a soldier from Genesis, a planet that eschews all advanced technology) and Abel (the most advanced AI in the universe, created by a scientist from Earth—Genesis’s enemy in a long-running war). In Defy the Stars Noemi and Abel hatched a plan to end the war and save both their worlds—but will anyone listen to them? And does it matter if they can never be together? ▪️ Have you read this duology yet? If you haven’t and you’re a sci-fi fan I highly recommend it! ▪️ #instabooks #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booknerd #yalit #yabooks #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booklove #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #currentlyreading #bookandbag #plannerlife #defythestars #defytheworlds #claudiagray

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

How was your week? What are you reading?

Foolish Hearts: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for Foolish Hearts by Emma MillsThe entire construct of a pink party works on the expectation that the guests wear pink. Iris Huang wearing lavender to Amber Brunati’s pink party suggests exactly what she thinks of Amber and the party. But that’s just the way Iris operates–a surliness that is usually balanced out by her sweeter girlfriend, Paige Bruckner. The two have been together for most of high school and always present a united front. Always.

At least they did before Claudia overhears Paige breaking up with Iris. And gets caught eavesdropping.

Being on Iris’s bad side is punishment enough but it gets worst when Claudia and Iris have to write a paper together. Which they fail. Claudia is certain that working with Iris on the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for extra credit promises even more torture.

But somewhere between bombing her audition and shopping for materials to help with costume production, something funny happens. Suddenly instead of sticking to what she knows and keeping her head down, Claudia’s world is starting to get bigger.

Soon Claudia realizes that appearances can be deceiving as she discovers a boy band obsession, the ineffable Gideon Pruitt, and perhaps most surprisingly of all an unexpected friendship with the last person she expects in Foolish Hearts (2017) by Emma Mills.

In her latest standalone contemporary Mills explores friendship, romance, and fandom. Claudia’s world is pretty small. She has her family and her best friend Zoe, her scholarship to a fancy prep school, and all of the culture shock that implies. Claudia also has Battle Quest the massively multiplayer online role playing game she plays with her older brother and sister, her brother-in-law, and Zoe. Together they explore the game and pursue quests to find and vanquish the elusive Lord of Wizard. Claudia knows it’s not the most interesting of lives, but she’s always liked it.

At the start of senior year everything is changing as Claudia considers a near future where she and Zoe will be separated. That paired with Iris’s threat to ruin Claudia if she blabs about overhearing the breakup is more than enough excitement and uncertainty. Usually it would also force Claudia into a tactical retreat to maintain her low profile. Working on the school play changes that as Claudia is thrust into the world of costume creation and becomes a de facto drama coach helping the cast make sense of their dense dialogue.

I almost never say this but everything about Foolish Hearts makes me so happy. This book is all of the things that I loved in This Adventure Ends (including a male lead every bit as compelling and quirky as Frank Sanger) with none of the frustrating parts. Mills’ cast is thoughtfully and effortlessly inclusive (just like real life) and features a cast of memorable, quirky characters readers will love.

Even months after finishing Foolish Hearts I am still completely overwhelmed by how much I love it and how happy this story and these characters made me. A must read for fans of contemporary (romance) novels and anyone who’s ever fallen headfirst into a fandom without looking back. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley, The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Kissing in America by Margo Rabb, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare