New Kids On The Block 2018 with Amy Trueblood

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 2018? 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 Amy Trueblood

A devotee of reading and writing from a very young age, Amy Trueblood grew up surrounded by books. As the youngest of five children, she spent most of her time trying to find a quiet place to curl up with her favorite stories. After stints working in entertainment and advertising, she began writing her first manuscript and never looked back. 

Her debut novel, Nothing But Sky is a Spring 2018 Junior Library Guild selection and will be published March 27, 2018 by Flux. 

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrFacebookGoodreads

Sometimes historical fiction, especially in the Young Adult category, gets a bad rap. When people hear the word “historical” I think they believe it’s synonymous with the words “boring” and “snoozefest”. To be honest, before I started writing historical fiction I would have agreed. But here’s the truth: beyond the headlines and story makers, are the heroes who are quietly making history and their stories are FASCINATING! We need more books about these people. The themes in their lives resonate as much today as they did almost one hundred years ago.

The women who graced the skies as wing walkers in the 1920s and 1930s weren’t so much hell-bent on breaking stereotypes as they were on trying to make a life for themselves. It’s not any different in the world we live in today. Women are still pushing the boundaries of what society believes is the norm. They are shattering ceilings and battling every day expectations. In 2018, it’s almost expected for women to challenge the status quo, but Grace in 1922’s Nothing But Sky is an anomaly. A girl who refuses to play by the rules, not because she has an agenda, but because she has one singular focus: keeping her family together.

No matter the circumstance, we as humans can identify with the need for family connection. From the security that comes with knowing the people we care about will always be around to love and support us. While Grace may look like a daredevil, someone who enjoys living life on the edge, for her, every trick, every moment out on the wing is more about fear of loss than it is about making it to Hollywood.

These same themes can be found in many Young Adult historical books I adore. In Sherri L. Smith’s, Flygirl, Ida Mae is focused on being a pilot while struggling with her commitment to her family. In Stacey Lee’s Under A Painted Sky, Samantha finds that friendship can mean family too. And while he has some raucous adventures, I’d dare say that Monty in Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue holds onto the goal of keeping his one true love, Percy, in his life.

While each of these stories takes place in a different time and place, they still carry the same sense of family and belonging. And no matter how much the world changes, and whether the stories are told from the perspective of someone in 1920 or 2020, the themes of love, support, and family continue to resonate.

A few more Young Adult historical books I love:

Title Nothing But Sky
Author Amy Trueblood
Pages 284 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Historical Fiction
Publication Date March 27th 2018 by Flux
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Grace Lafferty only feels alive when she’s dangling 500 feet above ground. As a post-World War I wing walker, Grace is determined to get to the World Aviation Expo, proving her team’s worth against flashier competitors and earning a coveted Hollywood contract.

No one’s ever questioned Grace’s ambition until Henry Patton, a mechanic with plenty of scars from the battlefield, joins her barnstorming team. With each new death-defying trick, Henry pushes Grace to consider her reasons for being a daredevil. Annoyed with Henry’s constant interference, and her growing attraction to him, Grace continues to test the powers of the sky.

After one of her risky maneuvers saves a pilot’s life, a Hollywood studio offers Grace a chance to perform at the Expo. She jumps at the opportunity to secure her future. But when a stunt goes wrong, Grace must decide whether Henry, and her life, are worth risking for one final trick.

Waiting on…Not That Bad, The Pisces and The Foreseeable Future

Waiting On Wednesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I highlight forthcoming titles which I’m particularly excited about and looking forward to. This weekly event is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Publication Date May 1st 2018 by Harper
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Edited and with an introduction by Roxane Gay, the New York Times bestselling and deeply beloved author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology of first-person essays tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on.

In this valuable and revealing anthology, cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are “routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied” for speaking out. Contributions include essays from established and up-and-coming writers, performers, and critics, including actors Ally Sheedy and Gabrielle Union and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, and Claire Schwartz. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to first-person accounts of child molestation, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest. Like Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things To Me, Not That Bad will resonate with every reader, saying “something in totality that we cannot say alone.”

Searing and heartbreakingly candid, this provocative collection both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.

Publication Date May 1st 2018 by Hogarth Press
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Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety — not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection.

Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. A masterful blend of vivid realism and giddy fantasy, pairing hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, The Pisces is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.

Publication Date May 8th 2018 by Dial Books
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Audrey Nelson is planning for her future after graduation, but she has no idea her future contains a swoony summer romance, Internet fame, or a nursing home.

Audrey’s life has been planned out for her since she was born, and now she’s supposed to attend Whedon College in the fall, where both of her parents work. But Audrey has a different plan in mind: She’s not going to attend college at all. She’s going to earn some money and move to Seattle, the city she’s loved since she was a child. And the best way to earn that money is by working the night shift at the local nursing home.

Seth O’Malley works there, too, and a romance quickly blossoms between them. But things get complicated when Audrey saves the life of Cameron Suzuki, Seth’s ex. A video of her performing CPR at the beach goes viral, and suddenly, Audrey’s wanted for TV interviews and newspaper articles. And just when Audrey starts to love life at the nursing home – and life with Seth – Seattle comes knocking. Does she follow the path she set out for herself, even when it means leaving behind Seth and the cast of quirky patients she’s come to care for? Or does she embrace a future with Seth – at least for the foreseeable future – at the cost of abandoning her dreams?

Now it’s YOUR turn! Which books are you most looking forward to this week? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2018 To-Be-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I count down my top ten choices on a particular theme. This weekly event is hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Top Ten Books On My Spring 2018 To-Be-Read List.

For better or worse, as I’ve gotten older I’ve reluctantly had to accept the fact that I am a mood reader. For this reason, seasonal to-be-read lists are always a little bit tricky for me. There are few things I love to do more than make lists and plans, especially about what to read next, but because I never know what I’ll be in the mood for next, my ability to actually stick to said list is less certain. That said, with new and forthcoming releases from some of my favourite friends and authors (Whitney Gardner! Morgan Matson! Siobhan Vivian! David Arnold!) as well as debut novels I’ve been eagerly anticipating for some time (My So-Called Bollywood Life! Nothing Left to Burn! The Wedding Date! Love and Other Carnivorous Plants!), I doubt I’ll have much trouble sticking to this particular to-be-read list. I also have advance reader and/or finished copies of every single book on this list so I have exactly zero reasons not to read every single book below. Hold me to it, friends!

Today’s selection of books have been listed in no particular order.

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Cameron’s cosplay creations are finally starting to earn her attention – attention she hopes to use to get into the CalArts costume design department for college. But after she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans online.

When Cameron’s family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse.

Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town – her main destination for character reference – is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother’s suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she’s shocked at how easily she’s accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her brother Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her “secret identity” gets more and more entrenched, Cameron’s portfolio falls by the wayside – and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious in this geek girl anthem from You’re Welcome, Universe author Whitney Gardner, complete with fully illustrated comic pages inked by Gardner herself.

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From the author of The Last Boy and Girl In The World and The List comes a bold and sweet summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery — the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best for friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

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The first of two books in an intended paperback original series about a girl whose classic literary crushes manifest in real life. Merrilee Campbell, 16, thinks boys are better in books, chivalry is dead, and there’d be nothing more romantic than having just one guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. She’s about to get the chance to test these daydreams when she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer into Reginald R. Hero High, where all their fantasies come true — often with surprising consequences.

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This is Noah Oakman → Sixteen, Bowie believer, concise historian, disillusioned swimmer, son, brother, friend.

Then Noah → Gets hypnotized.

Now Noah → Sees changes: his mother has a scar on her face that wasn’t there before; his old dog, who once walked with a limp, is suddenly lithe; his best friend, a lifelong DC Comics disciple, now rotates in the Marvel universe. Subtle behaviors, bits of history, plans for the future — everything in Noah’s world has been rewritten. Everything except his Strange Fascinations…

A stunning surrealist portrait, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik is a story about all the ways we hurt our friends without knowing it, and all the ways they stick around to save us.

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Freshman year at Harvard was the most anticlimactic year of Danny’s life. She’s failing pre-med and drifting apart from her best friend. One by one, Danny is losing all the underpinnings of her identity. When she finds herself attracted to an older, edgy girl who she met in rehab for an eating disorder, she finally feels like she might be finding a new sense of self. But when tragedy strikes, her self-destructive tendencies come back to haunt her as she struggles to discover who that self really is. With a starkly memorable voice that’s at turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Love and Other Carnivorous Plants brilliantly captures the painful turning point between an adolescence that’s slipping away and the overwhelming uncertainty of the future.

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Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soul mate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her eighteenth birthday, and Raj meets all the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked when she returns from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek and one of the few people Winnie can count on. Dev is smart and charming, and he challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope and find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy and her chance to live happily ever after? To find her perfect ending, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.

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Just out of high school, Emi Price is a talented young set designer already beginning to thrive in the L.A. film scene. But her artistic eye has failed her in one key area: helping her to design a love life that’s more than make-believe. Then she finds a mysterious letter at an estate sale, and it sends her chasing down the loose ends of a movie icon’s hidden life. And along the way, she finds Ava, and at long last, Emi’s own hidden life begins to bloom.

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The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she’s been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it’s time to evacuate.

Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey – and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks’s dark past come to light, Audrey can’t help but wonder if there’s danger in the pull she feels – both toward this boy, and toward the fire burning in the distance.

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A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in this fun and flirty multicultural romance debut.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century – or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

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Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait — for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster — all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

Now it’s YOUR turn! Which books are on your spring to-be-read list? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

Cover Reveal: Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz

Just in time for #MiddleGradeMonday, I’m thrilled to welcome debut author, Marie Miranda Cruz, to Pop! Goes The Reader as we reveal the cover of her October 2018 contemporary middle grade release, Everlasting Nora! Coming to a bookstore and library near you October 2nd 2018 from Tor Starscape, Everlasting Nora tells the story of twelve-year-old Nora, who lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery. After her mother’s sudden and mysterious disappearance, Nora, along with the help of her kindhearted grandmother, embarks on a dangerous mission to find her. The cover of Everlasting Nora was designed by Danielle Medina with accompanying illustrations by Adam Doyle.

About Marie Miranda Cruz

Marie Miranda Cruz obtained her degree in Biology from one of the oldest universities in Asia. By day, she works as a cytogenetics technologist and writes children’s books by night. She loves to knit fingerless gloves because writers need warm hands. Marie lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two grown up kids and a tankful of ferocious cichlids.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

When I was growing up in the Philippines, I aspired to be an artist. I wanted to do something creative. When it was time to choose a college course, I decided to major in Fine Arts. But my parents, the practical people they are, asked ME to be practical and think carefully about my choice. My peers wanted to be engineers or doctors, and I, caught in the sway of their ambition, chose to major in Biology.

The choice to major in science had been a good one. Working in a hospital laboratory analyzing human chromosomes turned into an interesting, satisfying career. But I still wanted to do something creative. Textile art filled the need but I craved more. I was always an avid reader and when it was time to find books for my children, I noticed a lack of children’s books with Filipino characters. Actually, they were non-existent when my children were young. That’s when I found my creative drive. I wanted to be a writer.

This book has the distinction of not only being my debut, but it is also the very first novel I had ever written. I wanted to tell a story that showed the spirit and strength of Filipino communities, their resilience as a people, and their ability to smile and stay hopeful in their bleakest moments.

My brilliant editor, Diana Pho, and the Tor team did a fantastic job on the cover. Special thanks goes to Danielle Medina for the lovely hand lettering and to Adam Doyle for capturing Nora so beautifully. I hope you enjoy this book of my heart and love Nora as much as I do.

Title Everlasting Nora
Author Marie Miranda Cruz
Pages 288 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date October 2nd 2018 by Starscape
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An uplifting young reader debut about perseverance against all odds, Marie Miranda Cruz’s debut Everlasting Nora follows the story of a young girl living in the real-life shantytown inside the Philippines’ Manila North Cemetery.

After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery, which is the largest shanty town of its kind in the Philippines today.

When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone.

With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Marie Miranda Cruz has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win an advance reader copy of Everlasting Nora! One winner will be chosen at random at the conclusion of the giveaway and the prize will be distributed by Marie when ARCs become available. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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The Writing’s On The Wall: What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold

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.

Title What Girls Are Made Of
Author Elana K. Arnold
Pages 208 Pages
Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date April 1st 2017 by Carolrhoda
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When Nina Faye was fourteen, her mother told her there was no such thing as unconditional love. Nina believed her. Now she’ll do anything for the boy she loves, to prove she’s worthy of him. But when he breaks up with her, Nina is lost. What is she if not a girlfriend? What is she made of? Broken-hearted, Nina tries to figure out what the conditions of love are.

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

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

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

Now it’s your turn! What would you like to see made into a desktop wallpaper next? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!