New Kids On The Block 2019 with Olivia Hinebaugh

New Kids On The Block is a year-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader meant to welcome and celebrate new voices and debut authors in the literary community.

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2019? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at I would love to collaborate with you!

About Olivia Hinebaugh

Olivia Hinebaugh loves all stripes of literature for children. When she isn’t writing fiction, she can be found writing freelance, making art, discovering new songs on spotify, texting her writing buddies, or folding laundry. She lives near Washington, D.C. with her spouse, three kids, a dog that looks like a coyote, and a one-eyed cat. The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me is her debut novel. Her bio feels incomplete without this mention of coffee.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Thanks, Jen, for letting me drop by and talk about my book!

I wanted to talk about my wonderful cover, because each of those beautiful icons on the front relate to something in the book. I’m going to break it down for you! (Spoiler free)

The Bird and The Bee
They are in the title, so I guess that one’s easy, and in case you ‘ve ever pondered “Why birds? Why bees?” there is a handy Wikipedia page about the origins of that phrase.

The Menstrual Pad, The Tampon, The Menstrual Cup
The main character Lacey doesn’t want anyone to feel shame about any normal bodily function. She’s always well stocked, in case she’s surprised by a period, or if any of her friends are. In high school if I ever had a surprise visit from Aunt Flo early period (OK, but seriously, euphemisms like “birds and bees” and “aunt flo” keep things shrouded in shame and mystery, so let’s stop using them so much), I knew the people who always had the goods when I came up short. Those super steadfast friends who were not afraid to carry around a ton of pads because they just didn’t get flustered easily. That would be Lacey.

The Headphones
Lacey and her two best friends Theo and Evita have a band called the Sparrows. Evita is sort of like a singer/DJ and she spends much of her time with headphones on.

The Mouth
So much of Lacey’s sex ed campaign is done by word of mouth. She gives advice to anyone who asks her for it.

The Microphone
This is also referring to the music aspect of the story…but I like to think it also represents finding your voice.

The Peach
It looks like a butt. Also, a certain character might have a cute one, and finding cute butts attractive is nothing to be ashamed of.

The Eggplant
This one is also anatomical. It just makes me laugh. If you pay attention, there might be an eggplant joke in the book. 😉

Birth Control Pills
Lacey’s mom has always made sure Lacey has access to birth control pills if she needs or wants them. Lacey and her mom have open and frank discussion about all sorts of things, which brings me to the next item…

The Condom
I feel as though this is really the central emoji here. Lacey’s activism starts with a condom. And pretty soon, there are condoms basically everywhere. But, hey, the more people who have them, the less embarrassing it is for a person who’s going to be having sex to walk around with it in their pocket. And, like, ditto tampons, right?

The Asexual Pride Flag
This is the one that makes me smile the most, because it is the one image that has gotten the most response. The asexual pride flag is four stripes of black, gray, white, and purple. Evita is asexual biromantic, and she very proudly has a pin exactly like this one on her backpack. Just like how every high school student has a varying interest in, say, football, the feelings about sex are varied as well. Lacey might be sex positive, but the stereotype of “hormonal teenager who can’t help themselves” is pretty darn harmful. It just does not apply to everyone. I feel like this flag being on here is just a little push toward inclusive sex ed.

And that’s it! That’s all of them! In a perfect world, I’d have each of these made into a real pin and find a light blue hoodie to pin them to, but I haven’t done that yet.

All in all, I hope people are intrigued by the cover. I hope they feel empowered by carrying around condoms, even if they are just pictures of condoms.

Title The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me
Author Olivia Hinebaugh
Pages 304 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date January 22nd 2019 by Swoon Reads
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

A teen who’s never even been kissed becomes her school’s unofficial sex expert in Olivia Hinebaugh’s fun, voice-y contemporary YA romance debut.

Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke feels like the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she’s been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.

But then everything changes.

When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls’ restroom. Meanwhile, things with Theo have become complicated, and soon Lacey is not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but her own as well.

Cover Reveal: Color Outside The Lines edited by Sangu Mandanna

Happy Monday, friends! Today is an incredibly exciting day on Pop! Goes The Reader as I have the honour of hosting the exclusive cover reveal for Sangu Mandanna’s forthcoming young adult anthology, Color Outside The Lines! Back in 2012 I was lucky enough to discover a copy of Sangu’s debut novel, The Lost Girl, on the shelves at my local bookstore, and I immediately fell in love with the world and characters she had created within it. Many years and hundreds of books later, I still fondly remember it as one of the most creative, exciting and special young adult novels I’ve ever had the privilege of reading, and I can’t encourage you strongly enough to track down a copy to read if you haven’t had a chance to do so already. Given my love for Sangu’s debut, you can therefore likely imagine how thrilled I was when I was asked to host the cover reveal for Sangu’s latest project, a beautifully diverse, inclusive, empowering collection of stories about characters in love. In addition to its absolutely charming cover (Please give me ALL OF THE HAND-HOLDING!), Color Outside The Lines has such an incredible, tremendously talented list of contributors and I can’t wait to read each and every story in this collection.

About Sangu Mandanna

Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. She now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids. Sangu is the author of The Lost Girl, A Spark of White Fire and more.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

This anthology is very close to my heart and it’s one I’m so, so proud of. The amazingly talented authors involved have written the most gorgeous stories and the incredible team at Soho Teen have designed a cover that really brings this collection to life. I love everything about it: the colours, the text, the hands (those HANDS!) I hope readers fall in love with this cover and with the stories inside, just as I have.

Title Color Outside The Lines
Editor Sangu Mandanna
Contributors Adam Silvera, Samira Ahmed, Michelle Ruiz Keil, Danielle Paige, Eric Smith, Sangu Mandanna, Elsie Chapman, Anna-Marie McLemore, Lauren Gibaldi, Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker, Lori M. Lee, Caroline Tung Richmond, Karuna Riazi, L.L. McKinney, Tara Sim, Lydia Kang
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Publication Date November 2019 by Soho Teen
Find It On Goodreads

This modern, groundbreaking YA anthology explores the complexity and beauty of relationships where differences are front and center. Featuring stories about Chinese ghost pirates, colonial India, a female Hades, Black vigilantes, a flower festival and so much more, Color Outside The Lines is a collection of stories about young, fierce, brilliantly hopeful characters in love.

The Writing’s On The Wall: ‘Tis The Season To Be Cozy

The Writing’s On The Wall is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I create desktop wallpapers inspired by some of my favourite novels, authors, and literary quotes.

1280×800 » 1440×900 » 1680×1050 » 1920×1200 » 2560×1400 » iPhone

I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Marish Design and Connary Fagen whose clipart and/or fonts I purchased, edited and used in the creation of this wallpaper!

WWW Wednesday – Issue 1

WWW Wednesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I highlight what I’m currently reading, what I recently finished reading, and what I plan to read next. This weekly event is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words.

After sharing my lists of the books I’m most looking forward to in 2019 (70 Middle Grade Novels I Can’t Wait To Read In 2019, 150 Young Adult Novels I Can’t Wait To Read In 2019 and 45 Adult Fiction Novels I Can’t Wait To Read In 2019) it didn’t make much sense for me to continue posting my Waiting on Wednesday feature each week after consolidating that into three posts. Instead, I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to try something a little different! I’ve been looking for new ways to discuss what I’m reading on a more regular basis on Pop! Goes The Reader and was really delighted when I discovered Taking On A World Of Words‘ WWW Wednesday feature, which seems like it will help me do just that. I’m so excited to give it a try, so let’s get started!

Title The Water Cure
Author Sophie Mackintosh
Pages 288 Pages
Intended Target Audience Adult
Genre Literary Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Publication Date January 8th 2019 by Doubleday
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The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Virgin Suicides in this dystopic feminist revenge fantasy about three sisters on an isolated island, raised to fear men

King has tenderly staked out a territory for his wife and three daughters: Grace, Lia, and Sky. He has laid the barbed wire; he has anchored the buoys in the water; he has marked out a clear message: Do not enter. Or, viewed from another angle: Not safe to leave. Here women are protected from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland. The cultlike rituals and therapies they endure fortify them against the spreading toxicity of a degrading world.

When their father, the only man they have ever seen, disappears, they retreat further inward until the day two strange men and a boy wash ashore. Over the span of one blisteringly hot week, a psychological cat-and-mouse game plays out. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. Can they survive the men?

A haunting, riveting debut about our capacity for violence and the potency of female desire, The Water Cure both devastates and astonishes as it reflects our own world back at us.

I’ve only just started The Water Cure so I can’t speak too specifically about it yet (I’m currently at 10% in my Kindle edition) but I’m already impressed by how vivid, lyrical and haunting Mackintosh’s prose is. I was in the mood for something drastically different after reading two middle grade novels in a row, and The Water Cure definitely fits the bill! I intentionally learned very little about this book before I began reading because I wanted to be surprised, but I think any novel about women attempting to escape the dangers and damage of toxic masculinity (quite literally, in this case) seems particularly apropos at the moment and I can’t wait to read more!

Title Property of the Rebel Librarian
Author Allison Varnes
Pages 288 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date September 18th 2018 by Random House Books For Young Readers
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When twelve-year-old June Harper’s parents discover what they deem an inappropriate library book, they take strict parenting to a whole new level. And everything June loves about Dogwood Middle School unravels: librarian Ms. Bradshaw is suspended, an author appearance is canceled, the library is gutted, and all books on the premises must have administrative approval.

But June can’t give up books…and she realizes she doesn’t have to when she spies a Little Free Library on her walk to school. As the rules become stricter at school and at home, June keeps turning the pages of the banned books that continue to appear in the little library. It’s a delicious secret…and one she can’t keep to herself. June starts a banned book library of her own in an abandoned locker at school. The risks grow alongside her library’s popularity, and a movement begins at Dogwood Middle – a movement that, if exposed, could destroy her. But if it’s powerful enough, maybe it can save Ms. Bradshaw and all that she represents: the freedom to read.

Equal parts fun and empowering, this novel explores censorship, freedom of speech, and activism. For any kid who doesn’t believe one person can effect change…and for all the kids who already know they can!

I had such high hopes for Allison Varnes’ debut novel about a twelve-year-old girl who starts an underground banned book library for her classmates after her parents spearhead a campaign of censorship against her beloved middle school library but, ultimately, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed by Property of the Rebel Librarian. While the concept of the novel is excellent and has an incredible amount of potential, the execution leaves a little something to be desired. Property of the Rebel Librarian does an admirable job of underlining some of the absurdities of censorship (i.e. June’s parent’s censoring her books after she has already read them), but it doesn’t feel as though the novel takes a strong enough stance against literary censorship and for an individual’s right to read. Because the situation is taken to such a preposterous extreme, it’s a little hard to take these very important issues seriously. Most disconcerting are June’s parents, who are never explicitly condemned for their behaviour in the text. They’re portrayed as well-intentioned and therefore sympathetic and above criticism or reproach, but their relationship with June and her older sister is toxic and borders on abusive. June is a delightful character and the novel’s underlying messages about standing up for oneself and speaking out against injustice are wonderful but I think my expectations got the better of me this time.

Title Ella Unleashed
Author Alison Cherry
Pages 208 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date September 25th 2018 by Aladdin
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Ella Cohen was skeptical when her mom started dating Krishnan just a few months after her parents’ divorce. But two years later, she really likes having her new stepfather around. When she decides to enter a junior dog show, Krishnan even lets her start handling his dog, Elvis. She’s determined to become an expert handler, even after her first show ends in disaster.

Unfortunately, some things are harder to control — like Ella’s dad, who has changed a lot since the divorce. He used to be laid back and fun, but now he hovers over her constantly, terrified she’s going to shatter into a million pieces if she so much as hints that everything in her life isn’t perfect. Ella is particularly upset that his animosity toward Krishnan keeps him from coming to watch her handle Elvis, especially when she wins a lottery spot in the National Dog Show in Philadelphia.

When Ella’s best friends suggest she find her dad a date to the dog show, it seems like the perfect solution. If her dad has a new girlfriend, surely he won’t mind so much that Ella’s mom has a new husband. So Ella decides to play matchmaker, going so far as to create a fake online dating profile in order to find her dad his one true love.

But it turns out people, much like dogs, aren’t always so easy to control, and Ella’s plan backfires at the worst possible moment. Can Ella manage to bring her divided life together in time for her moment in the spotlight?

After being a little let down by Property of the Rebel Librarian, I searched my shelves for something I knew I would enjoy and was quick to select Ella Unleashed, which I was lucky enough to receive for Christmas. Alison Cherry’s middle grade novels never disappoint, and thankfully Ella Unleashed was no exception. The novel’s inclusion of dog shows as one of its primary settings was unique and a lot of fun, and Ella was a sensitive, vulnerable and thoroughly loveable character whose heart was always in the right place, even if it does lands her in some sticky (and often hilarious) situations along the way. Ella Unleashed would make a wonderful gift for a child of separation or divorce, as the novel encourages an open dialogue between parent and child and explores some of the potential fears and uncertainties experienced by a child as their family undergoes this difficult transition. I highly recommend Ella Unleashed and Alison’s other middle grade novels, The Classy Crooks Club and Willows vs. Wolverines for readers of all ages!

Title The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali
Author Sabina Khan
Pages 336 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, F/F Romance
Publication Date January 29th 2019 by Scholastic Inc.
Find It On GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali has always been fascinated by the universe around her and the laws of physics that keep everything in order. But her life at home isn’t so absolute.

Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana’s mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.

Devastated and confused, Rukhsana’s parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh where, along with the loving arms of her grandmother and cousins, she is met with a world of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way and, through reading her grandmother’s old diary, finds the courage to take control of her future and fight for her love.

A gritty novel that doesn’t shy away from the darkest corners of ourselves, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali provides a timely and achingly honest portrait of what it’s like to grow up feeling unwelcome in your own culture and proves that love, above all else, has the power to change the world.

This particular question is always going to be difficult for me to answer because I’m a bit of a mood reader and what I want to read can change from one moment to the next, but I know that I’ll be making The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali a priority in the very near future. Scholastic was kind enough to send me an early copy for review and I’ve been looking forward to Sabina Khan’s debut for months so this is one book I know I’ll be reading very soon!

Cover Reveal: The Green Children of Woolpit by J. Anderson Coats

Happy Monday, friends! Just in time for #MiddleGradeMonday, I couldn’t be more excited to welcome author J. Anderson Coats to Pop! Goes The Reader as we share the exclusive cover reveal for Jillian’s next middle grade novel, The Green Children of Woolpit! Coming to a bookstore and library near you Fall 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, The Green Children of Woolpit was recently featured on Pop! Goes The Reader’s list of the 70 Middle Grade Novels I Can’t Wait To Read In 2019 and I’m so thrilled and honoured to be able to help with its cover reveal today. Please read on to learn more about The Green Children of Woolpit, including a note from the author, an exclusive cover reveal and an opportunity for one lucky reader to win an advance reader copy of the novel!

About J. Anderson Coats

J. Anderson Coats has received two Junior Library Guild awards and earned starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, the Horn Book Review, and Shelf Awareness. The Wicked and the Just was one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Teen Books of 2012 and won the 2013 Washington State Book Award for Young Adults. Her newest book is R is for Rebel, a middle-grade novel about coercion and resistance in a reform school in a fictional occupied country. She is also the author of The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming, a middle-grade novel set in Washington Territory in the 1860s that won the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Middle Grade. The Green Children of Woolpit, a historically-inspired middle-grade fantasy, is forthcoming in fall 2019. Lies and Miracles, set in twelfth-century Wales, is forthcoming from Candlewick Press in spring 2020.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

It’s always an exciting time in the publication process when you know an artist is working on your cover – all the more so when it’s someone as insanely talented as Victo Ngai. Her style is graceful and evocative, and she’s managed to capture the creepiness of this world while still drawing you in. If you want to see more of her work, check out her website! Folks, I love this cover. It makes me think of a picture in an old book of fairy tales. I hope you all love it, too.

Cover art by Victo Ngai

Title The Green Children of Woolpit
Author J. Anderson Coats
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date Fall 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Find It On Goodreads

It is the autumn of 1160, and twelve-year-old Agnes is working the harvest when she hears a frightened voice in the nearby woods. When she goes to investigate, Agnes can’t believe what she sees. There, at the bottom of the deep pit traps dug to protect the village from wolves, are a boy and a girl.

They are shouting in a language no one understands — and their skin is bright green.

The villagers believe the children came from a nearby Flemish settlement and that malnourishment is to blame for their odd color. Agnes alone discovers that these are no ordinary children: They hail from the kingdom of the fair folk. And it is no accident that she was the one to rescue them — Agnes, who has always felt special, is thrilled to hear that her real parents are the king and queen under the hill.

Trusting that the fair folk cannot lie, Agnes ventures underground. But all too soon she learns just how dangerous a place she’s in — and what it will take to break the ancient bargain meant to keep her there.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Jillian has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win an advance reader copy of The Green Children of Woolpit! One winner will be chosen at random at the conclusion of the giveaway and the prize will be distributed by Jillian when ARCs become available. This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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