Cover Reveal: Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison

Happy Monday, everyone! It’s the start of another brand new week, and I’m so excited to be hosting a brand new cover reveal, too! Today, I have the immense pleasure of hosting the exclusive cover reveal for authors Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison and their forthcoming middle grade novel, Every Shiny Thing. Coming to a bookstore and library near you April 2018 from Abrams/Amulet Books, Every Shiny Thing is a novel told in alternating poetry and prose and follows the story of Lauren and Sierra, two friends whose deep and unexpected bond is put to the test when a shared charitable endeavour has the potential to go hopelessly awry. The cover of Every Shiny Thing was designed by Alyssa Nassner, with accompanying art by Kimberly Glyder. Please read on to learn more about this beautiful middle grade release, including the exclusive cover reveal and a personal note from the authors about the novel’s origins and inspiration, as well as an opportunity for one lucky reader to win an advance reader copy of Every Shiny Thing.

The two of us met at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where we both earned MFAs in Writing for Children and Young Adults. We had been critique partners who admired each other’s writing and friends who enjoyed each other’s company for several years before Cordelia offhandedly said, “Hey, we should write a book together.” Laurie agreed, thinking this was a casual, hypothetical idea that maybe we’d get to someday. But later that very day, Cordelia texted with the seed of an idea for the book that would become Every Shiny Thing. And very soon, the characters of Sierra and Lauren crystallized in our minds.

Writing a novel is no easy task, and we’ve both worked very hard to research, revise, and polish this book, but the initial story poured out of us and the whole process of bringing Lauren and Sierra to life has been a joy. We adore these two caring, fun, flawed friends, and we’re thrilled that we’ll get to share them with the world in April 2018 and that the team at Abrams/Amulet Books has created such a beautiful cover for their story.

We love the colors, the shine, the kaleidoscopes – which are an important image throughout the book – and the way the cover design hints that the novel features two narrators. We hope you like it, too!


About Laurie Morrison

Laurie Morrison taught middle school English for ten years and writes books for middle-school- aged readers. She loves iced coffee, the ocean, just-out-of-the-oven pastries, and being outside, even when it’s cold or rainy. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she lives with her family in Philadelphia

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads


About Cordelia Jensen

Cordelia Jensen is the author of Skyscraping, a 2016 ALA Best Book for Young Adults and the forthcoming The Way The Light Bends (Philomel/Penguin, 2018). She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches creative writing in Philadelphia, where she lives with her husband and children.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads




Title Every Shiny Thing
Author Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison
Pages 352 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
To Be Published April 2018 by Abrams/Amulet Books
Find It On Goodreads

In this beautifully constructed middle-grade novel, told half in prose and half in verse, Lauren prides herself on being a good sister, and Sierra is used to taking care of her mom. When Lauren’s parents send her brother to a therapeutic boarding school for teens on the autism spectrum and Sierra moves to a foster home in Lauren’s wealthy neighborhood, both girls are lost until they find a deep bond with each other. But when Lauren recruits Sierra to help with a Robin Hood scheme to raise money for autistic kids who don’t have her family’s resources, Sierra has a lot to lose if the plan goes wrong. Lauren must learn that having good intentions isn’t all that matters when you battle injustice, and Sierra needs to realize that sometimes, the person you need to take care of is yourself.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Laurie and Cordelia have been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win an advance reader copy of Every Shiny Thing! This contest is open to residents of the U.S. and the prize will be distributed once ARCs become available. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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Hot Off The Press: July 2017

Hot Off The Press is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I share a selection of new books being published in the forthcoming month.

Happy Friday everyone! So, because the Her Story: Ladies In Literature event was extended to the first week of July, this month’s edition of Hot Off The Press is a little later than usual, but better late than never, right? (RIGHT?!) Readers have said that they find these cumulative lists of upcoming releases helpful as it gives them a better idea of what to take out from the library or purchase in the coming weeks, so despite the feature’s tardiness this month, I really hope you still find this month’s Hot Off The Press helpful!

Some of the new releases I’m most looking forward to in July include Who’s That Girl by Blair Thornburgh, Final Girls by Riley Sager, The Library Of Fates by Aditi Khorana, The Awkward Path To Getting Lucky by Summer Heacock, The Gallery Of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz and Amanda Wakes Up by Alisyn Camerota! What book are you most excited about this month? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!

Please Note: This is not a definitive list. While I’ve done my best to consult a number of Goodreads lists, online retailers and publisher websites in order to curate a collection of books from a variety of genres and intended for a wide range of age groups and audiences, a great number of books are published each month and this is merely meant as a small sampling of what’s to come.

Publication Date July 3rd, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA
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Seven Island has two houses. One for Hillsingers and one for Quicks.

1964. The Hillsingers and the Quicks have shared the small Maine island of Seven for generations. But though technically family – Jim Hillsinger and Billy Quick married Park Avenue sisters Lila and Hannah Blackwell – they do not mix. Now, on the anniversary of Hannah’s death, Lila feels grief pulling her toward Billy. And Jim, a spy recently ousted from the CIA on suspicion of treason, decides to carry out the threat his wife has explicitly forbidden: to banish their youngest son, the twelve-year-old Catta, to the neighboring island of Baffin for twenty-four hours in an attempt to make a man out of him.

With their elders preoccupied, the Hillsinger and Quick children run wild, playing violent games led by Catta’s sadistic older brother James. The island manager Cyrus and the servants tend to the families while preparing for the Migration, a yearly farming ritual that means one thing to their employers, and something very different to them.

Set during three summer days, Estep Nagy’s debut novel moves among the communities of Seven as longstanding tensions become tactical face-offs in which everything is fair game for ammunition. Vividly capturing the rift between the cold warriors of Jim’s generation and the rebellious seekers of Catta’s, We Shall Not All Sleep is a richly told story of American class, family, and manipulation – A compelling portrait of a unique and privileged WASP stronghold on the brink of dissolution.


Publication Date July 4th, 2017 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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A poignant middle grade debut about the friendship between a white girl and an elderly black woman in the 1960s South.

Alice is angry at having to move to Rainbow, Georgia — a too small, too hot, dried-up place she’s sure will never feel like home. Then she gets put in charge of walking her elderly neighbor’s dog. But Clarence won’t budge without Miss Millie, so Alice and Miss Millie walk him together.

Strolling with Clarence and Miss Millie quickly becomes the highlight of Alice’s day and opens her eyes to all sorts of new things to marvel over. During their walks, they meet a mix of people, and Alice sees that although there are some bullies and phonies, there are plenty of kind folks, too. Miss Millie shares her family’s story with Alice, showing her the painful impact segregation has had on their town. And with Miss Millie, Alice is finally able to express her own heartache over why her family had to move there in the first place.

Tamara Bundy’s beautifully written debut celebrates the wonder and power of friendship: how it can be found when we least expect it and make any place a home.




Publication Date July 4th, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
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Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships ― she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team, and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic tryout, so Maggie feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

No one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to sacrifice in the water to win at love?




Publication Date July 4th, 2017 by HMH Books For Young Readers
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What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home — and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together — scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream — vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible — and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.




Publication Date July 4th, 2017 by Harper
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Though her mind is still sharp, Elizabeth’s eyes have failed. No longer able to linger over her beloved books or gaze at the paintings that move her spirit, she fills the void with music and memories of her family – a past that suddenly becomes all too present when her late father’s journals are found amid the ruins of an old shipwreck.

With the help of Morgan, a delinquent teenage performing community service, Elizabeth goes through the diaries, a journey through time that brings the two women closer together. Entry by entry, these unlikely friends are drawn deep into a world far removed from their own – to Porphyry Island on Lake Superior, where Elizabeth’s father manned the lighthouse seventy years before.

As the words on these musty pages come alive, Elizabeth and Morgan begin to realize that their fates are connected to the isolated island in ways they never dreamed. While the discovery of Morgan’s connection sheds light onto her own family mysteries, the faded pages of the journals hold more questions than answers for Elizabeth, and threaten the very core of who she is.




Publication Date July 4th, 2017 by Ecco
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From one of our most exciting and provocative young writers, a poignant, riotously funny story of how far some will go for love — and how far some will go to escape it.

Hazel has just moved into a trailer park of senior citizens, with her father and Diane — his extremely lifelike sex doll — as her roommates. Life with Hazel’s father is strained at best, but her only alternative seems even bleaker. She’s just run out on her marriage to Byron Gogol, CEO and founder of Gogol Industries, a monolithic corporation hell-bent on making its products and technologies indispensable in daily life. For over a decade, Hazel put up with being veritably quarantined by Byron in the family compound, her every movement and vital sign tracked. But when he demands to wirelessly connect the two of them via brain chips in a first-ever human “mind-meld,” Hazel decides what was once merely irritating has become unbearable. The world she escapes into is a far cry from the dry and clinical bubble she’s been living in, a world populated with a whole host of deviant oddballs.

As Hazel tries to carve out a new life for herself in this uncharted territory, Byron is using the most sophisticated tools at his disposal to find her and bring her home. His threats become more and more sinister, and Hazel is forced to take drastic measures in order to find a home of her own and free herself from Byron’s virtual clutches once and for all. Perceptive and compulsively readable, Made For Love is at once an absurd, raunchy comedy and a dazzling, profound meditation marriage, monogamy, and family




Publication Date July 4th, 2017 by Harper
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook offers a timely novel featuring his most fascinating character yet, a Vietnam vet embarking on a quixotic crusade to track down his nemesis from the war.

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard — that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It may be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It may also help him to finally recover from his wife’s untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and good-hearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn’t always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger’s distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese American who respects David’s fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America’s polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man. The Reason You’re Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.




Publication Date July 4th, 2017 by Scribner
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In this stunning debut collection, Curtis Dawkins, an MFA graduate and convicted murderer serving life without parole, takes us inside the worlds of prison and prisoners with stories that dazzle with their humor and insight, even as they describe a harsh and barren existence.

In Curtis Dawkins’s first short story collection, he offers a window into prison life through the eyes of his narrators and their cellmates. Dawkins reveals the idiosyncrasies, tedium, and desperation of long-term incarceration — he describes men who struggle to keep their souls alive despite the challenges they face.

In “A Human Number,” a man spends his days collect-calling strangers just to hear the sounds of the outside world. In “573543,” an inmate recalls his descent into addiction as his prison softball team gears up for an annual tournament against another unit. In “Leche Quemada,” an inmate is released and finds freedom more complex and baffling then he expected. Dawkins’s stories are funny and sad, filled with unforgettable detail — the barter system based on calligraphy-ink tattoos, handmade cards, and cigarettes; a single dandelion smuggled in from the rec yard; candy made from powdered milk, water, sugar, and hot sauce. His characters are nuanced and sympathetic, despite their obvious flaws.

The Graybar Hotel tells moving, human stories about men enduring impossible circumstances. Dawkins takes readers beyond the cells into characters’ pasts and memories and desires, into the unusual bonds that form during incarceration and the strained relationships with family members on the outside. He’s an extraordinary writer with a knack for metaphor, and this is a powerful compilation of stories that gives voice to the experience of perhaps the most overlooked members of our society.




Publication Date July 4th, 2017 by Random House Books For Young Readers
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Fans of More Happy Than Not, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, and It’s Kind Of A Funny Story will cheer for Adam as he struggles with schizophrenia in this brilliantly honest and unexpectedly funny debut.

Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can’t.

Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret.


Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by HarperTeen
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This laugh-out-loud debut is filled with hilarious awkward encounters, a supportive LGBTQ organization, and too many cheesy lyrics to count — all with the compulsive readability of Audrey, Wait! and Boy Meets Boy.

Junior Nattie McCullough has always been that under-the-radar straight girl who hangs out in the cafeteria with her gay-straight alliance friends. She’s never been the girl that gets the guy, let alone the girl that gets a hit song named after her. But when last summer’s crush, smoking-hot musician Sebastian Delacroix — who has recently hit the mainstream big-time — returns home to play a local show, that’s just what she gets. He and his band, the Young Lungs, have written a chart-topping single — “Natalie” —
which instantly makes Nattie second guess everything she thought about their awkward non-kiss at that June pool party. That it was horrific. That it meant nothing. That Sebastian never gave her another thought.

To help keep her mind off of Sebastian and his maybe-about-her, maybe-not-about-her song, Nattie throws herself into planning the school’s LGBTQIA dance. That proves problematic, too, when Nattie begins to develop feelings for her good friend Zach. With the song getting major airplay and her once-normal life starting to resemble the cover of a gossip magazine, Nattie is determined to figure out once and for all if her brief moment with Sebastian was the stuff love songs are made of — or just a one-hit wonder.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Dutton
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Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to — a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well — maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by HarperTeen
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Matt hasn’t eaten in days. His stomach stabs and twists inside, pleading for a meal, but Matt won’t give in. The hunger clears his mind, keeps him sharp—and he needs to be as sharp as possible if he’s going to find out just how Tariq and his band of high school bullies drove his sister, Maya, away.

Matt’s hardworking mom keeps the kitchen crammed with food, but Matt can resist the siren call of casseroles and cookies because he has discovered something: the less he eats the more he seems to have…powers. The ability to see things he shouldn’t be able to see. The knack of tuning in to thoughts right out of people’s heads. Maybe even the authority to bend time and space.

So what is lunch, really, compared to the secrets of the universe?

Matt decides to infiltrate Tariq’s life, then use his powers to uncover what happened to Maya. All he needs to do is keep the hunger and longing at bay. No problem. But Matt doesn’t realize there are many kinds of hunger…and he isn’t in control of all of them.

A darkly funny, moving story of body image, addiction, friendship, and love, Sam J. Miller’s debut novel will resonate with any reader who’s ever craved the power that comes with self-acceptance.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by HarperTeen
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Anna and The French Kiss meets 13 Little Blue Envelopes in New York Times bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski’s latest teen novel.

I see London, I see France…I see Sydney’s underpants.

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and a half weeks travelling through Europe with her childhood best friend Leela. Their plans include Eiffel Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers.

Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug of war.

In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera…wearing only her polka dot underpants.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by HarperTeen
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The author of Girl Against The Universe and Liars, Inc. plunges readers into a world where the internet is always watching — and judging— in this compelling story about mistakes, repercussions, and online vigilante justice. Perfect for fans of Sarah Darer Littman’s Backlash or Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning Of Everything.

After waking up from a coma, Genevieve Grace can’t remember the car crash that killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTuber turned teen music idol. Genevieve knows she was driving, but because of what’s been reported in the media, everyone assumes the other driver, Brad Freeman, is guilty. As she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread — What if she’s the one at fault?

While the internet and social media viciously condemn Brad, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house near Zion National Park to hide from curious classmates and intrusive reporters. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident. And eventually, she will have to come to grips with what happened…and her role in it.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Leave it to the heroes to save the world – villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage – and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from…

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon.

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Delacorte Press
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The sides have been chosen and the battle lines drawn.

Echo awakened the Firebird. Now she is the only one with the power to face the darkness she unwittingly unleashed…right into the waiting hands of Tanith, the new Dragon Prince. Tanith has one goal in mind: destroy her enemies, raze their lands, and reign supreme in a new era where the Drakharin are almighty and the Avicen are nothing but a memory.

The war that has been brewing for centuries is finally imminent. But the scales are tipped. Echo might hold the power to face the darkness within the Dragon Prince, but she has far to go to master its overwhelming force. And now she’s plagued by uncertainty. With Caius no longer by her side, she doesn’t know if she can do it alone. Is she strong enough to save her home and the people she loves?

Whether Echo is ready to face this evil is not the question. The war has begun, and there is no looking back. There are only two outcomes possible: triumph or death.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Disney-Hyperion
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Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying.

Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she’s running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online-with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj – and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill?

Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.

Readers will love every page of this funny, romantic, aspirational, and ultimately triumphant novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Delacorte Press
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty — in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Doubleday
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From the bestselling authors of The Knockoff, an outrageously funny novel about one woman’s attempt — through clay diets, naked yoga, green juice, and cultish workout classes — to win back her career, save her best friend, and lose thirty pounds.

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin — the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin — her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don’t fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. At a juice shop she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman’s tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place?

A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Scribner UK
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Her life at a crossroads, a young woman goes home again in this funny and inescapably moving debut from a wonderfully original new literary voice.

Freshly disengaged from her fiancé and feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year-old Ruth quits her job, leaves town and arrives at her parents’ home to find that situation more complicated than she’d realized. Her father, a prominent history professor, is losing his memory and is only erratically lucid. Ruth’s mother, meanwhile, is lucidly erratic. But as Ruth’s father’s condition intensifies, the comedy in her situation takes hold, gently transforming her all her grief.

Told in captivating glimpses and drawn from a deep well of insight, humor, and unexpected tenderness, Goodbye, Vitamin pilots through the loss, love, and absurdity of finding one’s footing in this life.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Flatiron Books
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Five-year-old Daisy Gonzalez’s father is always waiting for her at the bus stop. But today, he isn’t, and Daisy disappears.

When Daisy goes missing, nearly everyone in town suspects or knows something different about what happened. And they also know a lot about each other. The immigrants who work in the dairy farm know their employers’ secrets. The hairdresser knows everything except what’s happening in her own backyard. And the roadkill collector knows love and heartbreak more than anyone would ever expect. They are all connected, in ways small and profound, open and secret.

By turns unsettling, dark, and wry, Kennedy’s powerful voice brings the town’s rich fabric to life. Tornado Weather is an affecting portrait of a complex and flawed cast of characters striving to find fulfillment in their lives – and Kennedy brilliantly shows that there is nothing average about an average life.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Riverhead Books
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The moving lifetime relationship between a father and a daughter, seen through the prism of global immigration and the contemporary refugee experience.

An Iranian girl escapes to America as a child, but her father stays behind. Over twenty years, as she transforms from confused immigrant to overachieving Westerner to sophisticated European transplant, daughter and father know each other only from their visits: four crucial visits over two decades, each in a different international city. The longer they are apart, the more their lives diverge, but also the more each comes to need the other’s wisdom and, ultimately, rescue. Meanwhile, refugees of all nationalities are flowing into Europe under troubling conditions. Wanting to help, but also looking for a lost sense of home, our grown-up transplant finds herself quickly entranced by a world that is at once everything she has missed and nothing that she has ever known. Will her immersion in the lives of these new refugees allow her the grace to save her father?

Refuge charts the deeply moving lifetime relationship between a father and a daughter, seen through the prism of global immigration. Beautifully written, full of insight, charm, and humor, the novel subtly exposes the parts of ourselves that get left behind in the wake of diaspora and ultimately asks: Must home always be a physical place, or can we find it in another person?




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Berkley Books
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The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it…

Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
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Perfect for readers of The Secret Life Of Bees and The Help, a perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through one unique family brought together by tragedy.

Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a ten-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred…until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing.

After Robin is sent to live with her loving but irresponsible aunt, Beauty is hired to care for Robin while continuing the search for her daughter. In Beauty, Robin finds the security and family that she craves, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin knows that if Beauty finds her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a desperate decision with devastating consequences. Her quest to make amends and find redemption is a journey of self-discovery in which she learns the harsh truths of the society that once promised her protection.

Told through Beauty and Robin’s alternating perspectives, the interwoven narratives create a rich and complex tapestry of the emotions and tensions at the heart of Apartheid-era South Africa. Hum If You Don’t Know The Words is a beautifully rendered look at loss, racism, and the creation of family.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Algonquin Books
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A riveting and unexpected novel that questions whether a peaceful and nonviolent community can survive when civilization falls apart.

When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community in Pennsylvania is caught up in the devastating aftermath. Once-bright skies are now dark. Planes have plummeted to the ground. The systems of modern life have crumbled. With their stocked larders and stores of supplies, the Amish are unaffected at first. But as the English (the Amish name for all non-Amish people) become more and more desperate, they begin to invade Amish farms, taking whatever they want and unleashing unthinkable violence on the peaceable community.

Seen through the diary of an Amish farmer named Jacob as he tries to protect his family and his way of life, When the English Fall examines the idea of peace in the face of deadly chaos: Should members of a nonviolent society defy their beliefs and take up arms to defend themselves? And if they don’t, can they survive?

David Williams’s debut novel is a thoroughly engrossing look into the closed world of the Amish, as well as a thought-provoking examination of “civilization” and what remains if the center cannot hold.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Hogarth Press
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A sharply intelligent novel about friendship, lust, jealousy, and the unexpected complications of adulthood in the 21st century.

Frances is a cool-headed and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend and comrade-in-arms is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, Frances and Bobbi catch the eye of Melissa, a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into Melissa’s world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband, Nick. However amusing and ironic Frances and Nick’s flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy, and Frances’s friendship with Bobbi begins to fracture. As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally, terribly, with Bobbi.

Desperate to reconcile her inner life to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances’s intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new: a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment. Written with gem-like precision and marked by a sly sense of humor, Conversations With Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Spiegel & Grau
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Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan — a Berkeley mom with an enviable life — went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found, just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie’s death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends.

But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan?

Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth — about Billie, but also about themselves, learning, in the process, about all the ways that love can distort what we choose to see. Janelle Brown’s insights into the dynamics of intimate relationships will make you question the stories you tell yourself about the people you love, while her nervy storytelling will keep you guessing until the very last page.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by William Morrow
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With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of Gods In Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality – The stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy — an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.




Publication Date July 11th, 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Two women from different worlds bound in a quest to save their loved ones.

After a long career as an aid worker, Sabine Hardt has retreated to her native Germany for a quieter life. But when her American niece Lily disappears while volunteering in Uganda, Sabine must return to places and memories she once thought buried in order to find her.

In Uganda, Rose Akulu ― haunted by a troubled past with the Lord’s Resistance Army and a family torn apart by war ― is distressed when her lover Ocen vanishes without a trace. Side by side, Sabine and Rose must unravel the tangled threads that tie Lily and Ocen’s lives together ― ultimately discovering that the truth of their loved ones’ disappearance is inescapably entwined to the secrets the two women carry.

Vividly rendered by Jenny D. Williams, a fresh new voice in fiction, The Atlas Of Forgotten Places delves deep into the heart of compassion and redemption. It spans geographies and generations to lay bare the stories that connect us all.


Publication Date July 18th, 2017 by Razorbill
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A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and The Dawn.

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything — family, her childhood love, and her freedom — to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on one another. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life — and another love — await?




Publication Date July 18th, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Interworlds Agency. They’re not exactly sure what the top-secret program entails, but they know they want in. Rosa has her brilliant parents’ legacies to live up to, and Eddie has nowhere else to go – he’s certainly not going to stick around and wait for his violent father to get out of jail. Even if they are selected, they have no idea what lies in store. But first they have to make it through round after round of crazy-competitive testing.

And then something happens that even NASA’s scientists couldn’t predict…

From the author of the acclaimed Learning to Swear in America comes another high-stakes adventure that’s absolutely out of this world.




Publication Date July 18th, 2017 by Simon Pulse
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From Unhooked author Lisa Maxwell comes a captivating new world filled with magic and deception, about a girl who must travel back in time to find a mysterious book that could save her future.

Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic — the Mageus — live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power – and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order — and the Brink — before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.




Publication Date July 18th, 2017 by Roaring Brook Press
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Jennifer Fenn’s debut novel inspired by true events, about a teenage boy who has stolen ― and crashed ― not one, but three airplanes. And each time he’s walked away unscathed.

Who is Robert Jackson Kelly? Is he a juvenile delinquent? A criminal mastermind? A folk hero? One thing is clear: Robert always defies what people think of him. And now, the kid who failed at school, relationships, and almost everything in life, is determined to successfully steal and land a plane.

Told as an investigation into Robert’s psyche, the narrative includes multiple points of view as well as documentary elements like emails, official records, and interviews with people who knew Robert. Ultimately, Flight Risk is a thrilling story about one teenager who is determined to find a moment of transcendence after everyone else has written him off as lost.




Publication Date July 18th, 2017 by Riverhead Books
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From bestselling author Julie Klam comes a lively and engaging exploration of celebrity: Why celebrities fascinate us, what it means to be famous today, and why celebrities are so important.

“When I was young I was convinced celebrities could save me,” Julie Klam admits in The Stars in Our Eyes, her funny and personal exploration of fame and celebrity. As she did for subjects as wide-ranging as dogs, mothers, and friendship, Klam brings her infectious curiosity and crackling wit to the topic of celebrity. As she admits, “I’ve always been enamored with celebrities,” be they movie stars, baseball players, TV actors, and now Internet sensations. “They are the us we want to be.” Celebrities today have a global presence and can be, Klam writes, “some girl on Instagram who does nude yoga and has 3.5 million followers, a thirteen-year-old ‘viner,’ and a Korean rapper who posts his videos that are viewed millions of times.”

In The Stars In Our Eyes, Klam examines this phenomenon. She delves deep into what makes someone a celebrity, explains why we care about celebrities more than ever, and uncovers the bargains they make with the public and the burdens they bear to sustain this status. The result is an engaging, astute, and eye-opening look into celebrity that reveals the truths about fame as it elucidates why it’s such an important part of life today.


Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by HarperCollins
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We Need Diverse Books founder Ellen Oh returns with Spirit Hunters, a high-stakes middle grade mystery series about Harper Raine, the new seventh grader in town who must face down the dangerous ghosts haunting her younger brother. A riveting ghost story and captivating adventure, this tale will have you guessing at every turn!

Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by Scholastic
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Once upon a time, a girl skipped into the forest and became a zombie.

Wait, no, that’s not how this story is supposed to go. Let’s try again.

Once upon a time, a boy did a horrible job as a sheep-sitter and burned his tongue on stolen pie.

No, children in these stories are always good and virtuous. From the top.

Once upon a time, a king and queen tried to find a princess for their son to marry, and he wound up fleeing from a group of very hairy vampires.

Hmmm…

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales… in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.




Publication Date July 25th 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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A group of friends start a secret society in this out-of-control thriller from the author of The Telling and The Creeping that examines the all-consuming love of lifelong friendship — and what someone is capable of when they’re afraid of losing it.

Izzie loves nothing more than her three best friends, Viv, Graham, and Harry, and the bond the four of them share. And she’s terrified of their friendship falling apart next year when they go off to college. To bind them together, she decides to create that will belong only to them, a special thing that they’ll always share between the four of them. And so they dream up the Order of IV, a secret society devoted to mischief that rights wrongs and pays back debts. At first, it works like a charm — but when the Order of IV’s escapades get recognition beyond their wildest expectations, other people start wanting in. And soon, what started as a game of friendship is spiraling into something dangerous and beyond their control—and before it’s over, they’ll pay the ultimate sacrifice.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by Mira Books
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In thirty-four days, it will have been exactly two years to the day since I’ve had sex.

Having sex wasn’t exactly high on Kat Carmichael’s priority list while her successful bakery was taking off, especially since things hadn’t been working very well in that department. And the last time she and her boyfriend, Ryan, even attempted the act, they found it to be physically impossible — resulting in pain and disappointment for Kat instead of sunshine and orgasms.

With just over a month until their four-year anniversary, Kat calls for a break in her relationship with Ryan, encouraging him to see other people while she throws herself into physical therapy. Yet even with the well-intentioned (but wildly inappropriate) attempts at help from her best friends, Kat quickly discovers that a solo mission may not be the best approach.

Fortunately, physical therapist Ben Cleary, the shop’s best (looking) customer, volunteers to help out — strictly as a friend, of course. But as the line between love and friendship begins to blur, Kat stands to lose much more than a functioning set of lady bits if she can’t figure out what to hang on to…and what to let go.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by HarperTeen
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A beautiful and evocative look at identity and creativity, The Gallery Of Unfinished Girls is a stunning debut in magical realism. Perfect for fans of The Walls Around Us and Bone Gap.

Mercedes Moreno is an artist. At least, she thinks she could be, even though she hasn’t been able to paint anything worthwhile in the past year.

Her lack of inspiration might be because her abuela is in a coma. Or the fact that Mercedes is in love with her best friend, Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her true feelings.

Despite Mercedes’s creative block, art starts to show up in unexpected ways. A piano appears on her front lawn one morning, and a mysterious new neighbor invites Mercedes to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate.

At the Estate, Mercedes can create in ways she hasn’t ever before. But Mercedes can’t take anything out of the Estate, including her new-found clarity. Mercedes can’t live both lives forever, and ultimately she must choose between this perfect world of art and truth and a much messier reality.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by Delacorte Press
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For fans of Pretty Little Liars, Little Monsters is a new psychological thriller, from the author of The Darkest Corners, about appearances versus reality and the power of manipulation amongst teenage girls.

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all — especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by HarperTeen
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Lottie Reaves is not a risk taker. But she’s about to take a leap into the unknown…

When Lottie’s beloved Aunt Helen dies of cancer, it upends her careful, quiet life.

Aunt Helen wasn’t a typical aunt. She was the world-famous author of the bestselling Alvin Hatter series. She knew a thing or two about the magic of writing, and how words have the power to make you see things differently.

In her will, Aunt Helen leaves Lottie a series of letters – each containing mysterious instructions. As Lottie sets about following them, she realizes they’re meant to make her take a risk, and, for once in her life, really live. But when the letters reveal an extraordinary secret about her aunt’s past—and the inspiration for the Alvin Hatter series – Lottie finds herself faced with an impossible choice, one that will force her to confront her greatest fears once and for all.

Part mysterious adventure, part love letter to the power of books, this is a brilliantly woven novel about loving, reading, writing, grieving, and finding the strength to take a leap.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by Scholastic
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Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment –

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by HarperTeen
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Jen Malone, author of teen novels Wanderlost and Map To The Stars, will take readers to the high seas — literally — in this contemporary YA novel about a girl facing the dissolution of her parents’ marriage, a new romance, and self-discovery while sailing down the Pacific coast.

After concluding that her is to blame for her parents’ recent divorce, Cassandra McClure is hoping to stay as far away from her as possible. With a summer of freedom right around the corner, it shouldn’t be too hard. But when a forty-foot sailboat appears in her driveway and her mom announces that Cassie and her brother Drew will be accompanying her on a four-month sailing trip down to Mexico, Cassie’s plans for the summer go, quite literally, overboard.

Once the three set sail, tensions quickly rise. So meeting Jonah — a gorgeous, whip-smart deckhand — is an unexpected bright spot on an otherwise dim horizon. Though she tries to keep him at a distance — considering the upheaval of her home life—their chemistry is impossible to ignore, and Cassie soon finds herself questioning everything: Should she go for it with Jonah? Can she forgive her mom? Will home ever feel the same? With life’s unpredictable tides working against her, Cassie must decide whether to swim against them, or dive right in.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by William Morrow
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A dark, compulsively readable psychological suspense debut, the first in a new series featuring the brilliant, fearless, chaotic, and deeply flawed Nora Watts — a character as heartbreakingly troubled, emotionally complex, and irresistibly compelling as Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander and Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole.

It begins with a phone call that Nora Watts has dreaded for fifteen years—since the day she gave her newborn daughter up for adoption. Bonnie has vanished. The police consider her a chronic runaway and aren’t looking, leaving her desperate adoptive parents to reach out to her birth mother as a last hope.

A biracial product of the foster system, transient, homeless, scarred by a past filled with pain and violence, Nora knows intimately what happens to vulnerable girls on the streets. Caring despite herself, she sets out to find Bonnie with her only companion, her mutt Whisper, knowing she risks reopening wounds that have never really healed—and plunging into the darkness with little to protect her but her instincts and a freakish ability to detect truth from lies.

The search uncovers a puzzling conspiracy that leads Nora on a harrowing journey of deception and violence, from the gloomy rain-soaked streets of Vancouver, to the icy white mountains of the Canadian interior, to the beautiful and dangerous island where she will face her most terrifying demon. All to save a girl she wishes had never been born.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by Viking
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An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours — the entire scope of the novel — she keeps on running.

Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself — the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines—is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.

A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself — from its tender moments of grace to its savage power — Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by Viking
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The Devil Wears Prada meets Primary Colors in this wickedly funny debut novel about a bootstrapping young reporter who lands a plum job at a big-time cable news station and finds her ambitions and her love life turned upside down

When Amanda Gallo, fresh from the backwater of local TV, lands the job of her dreams at FAIR News — the coveted morning anchor slot — she’s finally made it: a six-figure salary, wardrobe allowance, plenty of on-air face time, and a chance to realize her dreams, not to mention buy herself lunch. Amanda Wakes Up takes off as Amanda feels for the first time that she can make her mom and her best friend proud and think about an actual future with her boyfriend, Charlie. But she finds her journalistic ideals shredded as she struggles to keep up with the issues in a ratings-crazed madhouse — battling for hair and makeup time, coping with her sexist (but scathingly handsome) coanchor, Rob, mixing up the headlines with pajama modeling on the street, and showing Benji Diggs, her media maestro boss, that she’s got what it takes.

As the news heats up in a hotly contested election season and a wild-card candidate, former Hollywood actor Victor Fluke, appears on the scene, Amanda’s pressure-cooker job gets hotter as her personal life unravels. Walking a knife’s edge between ambition and survival, and about to break the biggest story of her career, Amanda must decide what she’s willing to give up to get ahead — and what she needs to hold on to to save herself.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by St. Martin’s Griffin
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Sebastian Alvaréz is just trying to hold the pieces together, to not flunk out, to keep his sort-of-best friend Wild Kyle from doing something really bad. And to see his beloved Ma through chemo. But when he meets Birdie Paxton, a near-Valedictorian who doesn’t realize she’s smoking hot in her science pun T-shirt, at a party, an undeniable attraction sparks. And suddenly he’s not worried about anything. But before they are able to exchange numbers, they are pulled apart. A horrifying tragedy links Birdie and Bash together – yet neither knows it. When they finally reconnect, and are starting to fall – hard – the events of the tragedy unfold, changing both their lives in ways they can never undo. Told in alternating perspectives full of the best nerdy banter this side of Ohio, some seriously awesome skate moves, and the promise of a kiss destined to make the world stop turning, The Inevitable Collision Of Birdie & Bash will break your heart and put it back together again.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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A perfect debut novel is like a perfect dress — it’s a “must have” and when you “try it on” it fits perfectly. In this richly patterned story of sisterhood, ambition, and reinvention Sofia Grant has created a story just right for fans of Vintage and The Dress Shop Of Dreams.

World War II has ended and American women are shedding their old clothes for the gorgeous new styles. Voluminous layers of taffeta and tulle, wasp waists, and beautiful color — all so welcome after years of sensible styles and strict rationing.

Jeanne Brink and her sister Peggy both had to weather every tragedy the war had to offer — Peggy now a widowed mother, Jeanne without the fiancé she’d counted on, both living with Peggy’s mother-in-law in a grim mill town. But despite their grey pasts they long for a bright future — Jeanne by creating stunning dresses for her clients with the help of her sister Peggy’s brilliant sketches.

Together, they combine forces to create amazing fashions and a more prosperous life than they’d ever dreamed of before the war. But sisterly love can sometimes turn into sibling jealousy. Always playing second fiddle to her sister, Peggy yearns to make her own mark. But as they soon discover, the future is never without its surprises, ones that have the potential to make — or break — their dreams.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by Doubleday Books
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The Descendants meets Single White Female in this captivating novel about a woman who moves her family to Hawaii, only to find herself wrapped up in a dangerous friendship, from the celebrated author of We Could Be Beautiful.

When Nancy and her family arrive in Kona, Hawaii, they are desperate for a fresh start. Nancy’s husband has cheated on her; they sleep in separate bedrooms and their twin sons have been acting out, setting off illegal fireworks. But Hawaii is paradise: they plant an orange tree in the yard; they share a bed once again and Nancy resolves to make a happy life for herself. She starts taking a yoga class and there she meets Ana, the charismatic teacher. Ana has short, black hair, a warm smile, and a hard-won wisdom that resonates deeply within Nancy. They are soon spending all their time together, sharing dinners, relaxing in Ana’s hot tub, driving around Kona in the cute little car Ana helps Nancy buy. As Nancy grows closer and closer to Ana—skipping family dinners and leaving the twins to their own devices she feels a happiness and understanding unlike anything she’s ever experienced, and she knows that she will do anything Ana asks of her. A mesmerizing story of friendship and manipulation set against the idyllic tropical world of the Big Island, The Goddesses is a stunning psychological novel by one of our most exciting young writers.




Publication Date July 25th, 2017 by Gallery/Scout Press
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From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In A Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman In Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other — ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed — which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style — The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2017 – The End (For Now)

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-three authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?”

Well, another year of Her Story: Ladies In Literature has come to an end, and it’s incredibly bittersweet, as always. In four years of blogging, Her Story is my most sincere and proudest accomplishment, and while I’m always sorry to have it conclude for another year, I’m also overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to share it at all. My hope has always been that Her Story would act as a safe space for women of all racial, cultural, sexual, social and neurological backgrounds to speak their truth and tell their stories without fear of judgement or reprisal. Women spend their entire lives being conditioned to accomodate and prioritize the needs of others, to live in fear of being “too much”. Too loud. Too quiet. Too passive. Too aggressive. Too fat. Too thin. Too promiscuous. Too chaste. Please know that here, you are enough. I have read and treasured every comment and every tweet shared throughout this year’s series, and I’m eternally grateful to have had an opportunity to collaborate with women who inspire, educate, and empower me every single day.

To Robin, Lauren, Hayley, Laura, Rebecca, Rebecca, Laura, Brandy, Gwen, Candice, Dee, Janet, Danika, Lilliam, Tiffany, Jenn, Katie, Tracey, Shannon, Summer, Catherine, Liara, Nic, Whitney, Aditi, Lily, Rachel, Ashley, Emery and Sona: Thank you. I am inspired by your creativity, thankful for your voices, and humbled by your participation and support. Absolutely none of this would have been possible without you and I will never be able to express the depth of my gratitude for all you’ve done. I strongly encourage readers to pick up the work of these thirty brilliant women. After all, you never know where you just might find your heroine.

Missed an opportunity to read any (or all) of the Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2017 essays this year? No problem! Below, please find a list of all thirty posts to explore at your leisure. Simply click an author’s name to be taken to their particular post. Happy reading!

Robin BenwayLauren KarczHayley ChewinsLaura Weymouth

“We were children wrestling with becoming adults in an imperfect world, being raised by imperfect parents, going out into a world that would pay us less, respect us less, while still letting us know that we were too much of something else.”
– Robin Benway

“I realized that not everyone can be as bravely afraid as I was, and still am. I can throw myself into new places, my own various Tarrytowns, and come out the other side, stronger and more vulnerable, all at once.”
– Lauren Karcz

“I remembered the darkness I almost drowned in and the girl who saved me from it. I’m glad Nao got her happy ending. I like to think somewhere, somehow, she’s glad I got mine.”
– Hayley Chewins

“Vicky learns that, yes, our lives may be uncertain, and marked by shifts of light and shadow, but that in the end, it’s ours to choose which we turn towards. I learned right along with her.”
– Laura Weymouth

Rebecca PodosRebecca BarrowLaura SilvermanBrandy Colbert

“Teen girls deserve respect. (…) They stand on battlefields, trying to figure out what it means to be a hero in their own stories.”
– Rebecca Podos

“I like to imagine her now, a woman in her thirties, who was brave enough to ask for help when she was young and now lives and breathes and survives. Who says everything she needs to, out loud. And I like to think maybe I can be that person, too.”
– Rebecca Barrow

“It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be sad. You can mourn a loss and be grateful for all the good things in your life at the same time.”
– Laura Silverman

“When I began writing professionally, I didn’t set out to cover any certain theme or topic, but I always knew I wanted to focus on the stories of black girls. For the girl I was, and the girls I had always needed to read about.”
– Brandy Colbert

Gwen C. KatzCandice AmandaDee RomitoJanet McNally

“How curious that the biggest city in hypermasculine Greece had a woman as its patron goddess, and that they attributed all the highest ideals of Greek masculinity — wisdom, composure, prowess in battle — to her. Maybe they remembered something. Maybe, on some level, they knew that men weren’t the real builders of civilization.”
– Gwen C. Katz

“Theo is not a perfect person, but I think it’s because she was given the space to be flawed that I fell in love with her and, consequently, myself. She showed me that my flaws didn’t have to be put on display, nor did my ‘perfection.'”
– Cam Montgomery

“I’ve since donated most of my stuffed animals, and I know every one of them is somewhere in a little kid’s hands. Hands that will love my treasured friends, and know their names, and know that they are wonderful just the way they are.”
– Dee Romito

“If there’s a mystery to be solved, Trixie will solve it in the end. She won’t give up. That’s what I like best about the heroines of all those mystery novels I read as a girl. They stick with it — whatever it is — until they figure it out. That’s all I can hope to do, lately or ever.”
– Janet McNally

Danika StoneLilliam RiveraTiffany D. JacksonJenn Bishop

“In some ways, we are all time travellers, living either in the past that we can no longer change, or the future, which we cannot control. My goal then, was to be Clare: to exist only in the here and now.”
– Danika Stone

“How do we react in the face of a cruel administration that craves absolute power? I look at the Mirabal sisters, as depicted by Julia Alvarez, as an empowering reminder that you don’t have to have millions of dollars to be able to make a difference. Your voice can be enough to topple weak men.”
– Lilliam Rivera

“To me, Carrie will always serve as one of the best metaphors for embracing your power. Cheers to breaking glass ceilings, blowing people’s minds and burning all previous misconceptions down to the ground. Success is and will continue to be the best revenge.”
– Tiffany D. Jackson

“By all accounts, we had hardly anything in common on the outside. But the inside was a different story. And inside was what mattered when you were twelve. Suddenly, your body felt like a ticking time bomb, a mystery even to you.”
– Jenn Bishop

Katie BayerlTracey NeithercottShannon M. ParkerSummer Heacock

“Minerva was everything I knew myself to be: strong of mind and bold of heart. Maybe because she stuck to what she knew to be right under the most dangerous circumstances. Maybe because I saw that she felt scared sometimes too.”
– Katie Bayerl

“At the time, I’d read countless books with strong female characters, those steel-toed girls who save the world and make boys bleed. This was the first time since my diagnosis that I saw such overwhelming strength in something other than physical power.”
– Tracey Neithercott

“The strength of the women in The Memory Trees is as enduring as trees. It is rooted and selfless, strong and unwavering despite storms. Solid. Dependable. Just like books. And womanhood.”
– Shannon M. Parker

“Bridget is my Patronus. Imperfect and pure and determined to always do better. I owe so very many things to Bridget Jones. Cheers to all the alcohol units we’ve shared, and all the fuckwits we’ve endured.”
– Summer Heacock

Catherine LoLiara TamaniNic StoneWhitney Gardner

“Hermione Granger taught me about courage. She taught me about loyalty and grit and determination. And as I read, I wished I could go back in time and share her with 10-year old me.”
– Catherine Lo

“Esperanza’s background and struggles are very different from my own and perhaps very different from yours too. But her power to define herself in her own way and her ability to value her community and culture, while still breaking free from their limitations, can serve as inspiration for the self-creating dreamer in us all.”
– Liara Tamani

“Like Natasha, I eventually learned to accept that science is great, but there are things it doesn’t (yet?) have a concrete explanation for. Like People. Emotions. Personalities. And that’s okay.”
– Nic Stone

“I wish Luna came into my life a lot sooner than she did. Because even though Luna was strange like me, bullied like me, had seen some darkness like I had, she never seemed to let it stop her. She didn’t wallow. She fully embraced herself.”
– Whitney Gardner

Aditi KhoranaLily AndersonRachel Lynn SolomonAshley Herring Blake

“I want her to persevere, just as I want all women to persevere, to succeed, to taste the happiness and success that could easily be theirs, if perhaps they find a way to just keep going.”
– Aditi Khorana

“She grows from a snarling child to a thorny teen. She lets herself make new friends, fall in love, be vulnerable. She finds her softness and, despite her younger self’s admonishments, she learns to cry. She lets people call her by her birth name. They call her Lily.”
– Lily Anderson

“God forbid we learn about all the great things our bodies can do! We need a massive shift in sex education in this country, and characters like Sam make me hopeful, continue to inspire me.”
– Rachel Lynn Solomon

“Silence is easier, but not always better. For Marin, she could either let her hungry heart swallow her whole or let it break. Sometimes, the breaking is what saves us.”
– Ashley Herring Blake

Emery LordSona Charaipotra

“I am still a little lonely, but not for companionship. But now I believe this core, wispy loneliness is supposed to be there, a gap that character voices were always meant to fill. Maybe that persistent twinge keeps me seeking new characters, keeps me writing them.”
– Emery Lord

“When you don’t see yourself represented, it’s hard to imagine that you ever even could be, that you ever even would have the right to be. You’re so completely erased, you question your very right to exist.”
– Sona Charaipotra

Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Sona Charaipotra

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-three authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Sona Charaipotra

Sona Charaipotra is a journalist and author who’s written for everyone from The New York Times to Teen Vogue. The co-founder of Cake Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent, she spends much of her time poking plot holes in shows like Pretty Little Liars – for work, of course! She’s the co-author of the dance drama Tiny Pretty Things and its sequel Shiny Broken Pieces. She’s proud to serve as the VP of content for We Need Diverse Books.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

As a child, one of my first friends was named Anne. She was a redheaded orphan with a bright spirit and startling curiosity, and she said and did things I only wished I was brave enough to say and do. She’d also long been a wanderer, lonely and a misfit, looking for the place she could call home. As the very brown child of Indian immigrants in a very white town in central New Jersey, I knew that feeling well. To me, Anne and I were kindred, and I spend many days thumbing through the pages wrought by LM Montgomery, causing chaos with Anne, Diana, Gilbert and the others at Green Gables and in Avonlea.

It was not till I was much older that I realized that as much as I related to Anne – a wanderer, a writer, a misfit like me – even in Avonlea, I would have been the odd girl out.

See, for so long, I never saw a brown kid like me on the page. Not in Anne Of Green Gables, not at home with the March sisters in Little Women, not even amongst the ragtag crew of The Baby-Sitters Club. (Though Claudia was pretty cool!) And for the longest time, because of that, I didn’t even realize I was missing. Because when you don’t see yourself represented, it’s hard to imagine that you ever even could be, that you ever even would have the right to be. You’re so completely erased, you question your very right to exist.

It took a long time for me to realize that. And it hit me like a tumbling pile of books the day I discovered a girl like me – an Indian-American girl from ‘80s America who ate pizza with her samosas, wore sneakers with her salwar kameez, celebrated Diwali, then Christmas – on the page. 

I saw her in a book called Bombay Talkie by Ameena Meer, a story about one such young girl who stumbled through her teen years in New England, then traipsed along a heady, wild ride through her familial lands in India. She was not exactly like me by a long shot – bold where I was meek, Muslim to my (pseudo) Hindu, a wanderer like Anne, maybe, but with a wild streak I coveted. But there she was, someone who shared my skin and parts of my soul, right there on the page. I was shocked. I was elated. And I was infuriated. Because it was only then that I realized what I’d been missing all along.

I’d caught glimpses of my experience before – in the immigrant stories of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, in familiar but foreign familial sagas like The Joy Luck Club, in the cold and clear work of Jhumpa Lahiri. But it was never quite mine to claim. So seeing young Sabah trying to unravel herself through the tug-of-war of two intensely divergent cultures was a moment of revelation.

When I met the author of the book at a signing at my college a few years later, I told her as much – and, shyly, I told her about my own writerly ambitions, ones I didn’t let myself admit even to myself until I realized that I was allowed to use my voice, allowed to put myself and people like me on the page. She was so encouraging, that moment honestly gave me the strength I needed to chase my own writing dreams. (And I’m forever grateful, so I remind Ameena of that often).

In the many years that followed, it was still rare to see a kid like the one I was on the page. In fact, my own kid is seven, and it’s still hard for her – which is why I’m such a strong proponent of the We Need Diverse Books movement, and why my partner Dhonielle Clayton and I make the books we do through our company, CAKE Literary. Books like the recent The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi, in which a young hijabi girl with gumption and spirit, not so unlike Anne, gets to play the hero. Hopefully, things are starting to change.

But I’ll be honest, seeing myself reflected, it still has the ability to move me to tears. Case in point? Sandhya Menon’s recent romcom When Dimple Met Rishi. The day my mom saw the book, she asked me if I had posed for the cover – that’s how close that book hit to home. For me – and so many kids like the one I was – those moments are still very rare. I can’t wait till they become all too common.

Title Shiny Broken Pieces
Author Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
Pages 384 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published July 12th, 2016 by HarperTeen
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June, Bette, and Gigi are competing one final time for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company. With the stakes higher than ever, these girls have everything to lose…and no one is playing nice. June is starting to finally see herself as a prima ballerina. But being the best could mean sacrificing the love of her life. Legacy dancer Bette is determined to clear her name after she was suspended and accused of hurting her rival, Gigi. And Gigi is not going to let Bette — or the other dancers who bullied her — go unpunished. It all comes down to this last dance. Who will make the cut? And who will lose her dream forever?

Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Emery Lord

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-three authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Emery Lord

Hi! I’m Emery. I’m the author of four novels about teenage girls: Open Road Summer, The Start Of Me & You, When We Collided, and The Names They Gave Us.

I was born near a harbor on the East coast and raised near a beach, an ocean, a great lake, and the Ohio River. I’m a longtime Cincinnatian, where we love good beer, good music, and our public library.

​I’m married to a scientist who shuts down every wedding dance floor, and we are owned by two rescue dogs.

I believe in the magic of storytelling, Ferris wheels, and you.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

I was a weird and lonely kid, and preternaturally anxious.

I moved a lot, so maybe that was part of it. (Have you seen The Sandlot? I was Scotty Smalls.) But, honestly? I don’t know how much different I’d have been if I’d lived in the same city my whole life. I think some of us are born weird and lonely and anxious.

It felt like imaginations were little chimneys on the side of your head, and teachers loved it when you puffed out little clouds. But my imagination? Spat out aurora borealis, hurricane systems, heat lightning. I was too much, too strange, and I struggled to even understand normalcy enough to emulate it.

I didn’t sleep easily or well, prone to panic spirals about what happened to the dinosaurs, my inability to conceptualize “eternity”, and my encompassing fear of doing anything wrong in school ever. For starters.

Something that is useful, when you are weird and lonely and anxious, is books. They address all three issues! So you’re weird! Great! All the good books are about weirdos. Lonely? I mean, have you met Harry Potter? Anxious? Well, on the good nights, books could transport me far enough away from my worries that I could finally shut my eyes.

Nearly all my most-beloved characters have already been mentioned in previous posts. These are the girls who raised me after my parents went to bed each night: Ella of Frell, Alice McKinley, Claudia Kishi & Stacey McGill, Hermione Granger. Ella made me less fearful of doing things wrong. Alice made me embrace my inquisitiveness, my social awkwardness and questions. Claudia & Stacey sowed the early seeds of best friendship. Hermione made me care less if classmates thought my eager hand-raising was annoying. (I’m sure it was, but I would have saved all their asses from Devil’s Snare.)

But I also read a lot of Saddle Club books, which I don’t hear talked about very much. Stevie, Carol, and Lisa rode horses, and I loved horses. I read Man O’ War and Black Beauty, studied photos and memorized facts and coloring and history, rode whenever I could. But I…did not have a Stevie or Carole or Lisa. I did not have a group of friends at all, let alone one that shared my interests.

The three girls were all so different. Different family lives; different strengths. The books were in third person, so I got to know each of them. They fought sometimes. Made mistakes. Made up.

These books are not the most definitive of my childhood reading life. But these three girls kept me company at a time when I couldn’t really cope. I could, however, imagine myself as the 4th member of their club, and it gave me a template for long-term friendship. There were so many books in the series that I carried on my friendships with Carole, Lisa, and Stevie longer than any friends I left behind when I moved away. Sometimes, I went to bed early at sleepovers because I didn’t know how to interact with girls my age. I laid in my sleeping bag with whichever Saddle Club book I’d brought, and I traveled to Pine Hollow Stables. I observed friendship until I found my footing in real-life friendship.

I am still anxious. I am still weird. I no longer care about containing my imagination or humor or sense of what is interesting in delicate cloud-forms.

I am still a little lonely, but not for companionship. It’s a strange, inborn longing for…something, for someone. But now I believe this core, wispy loneliness is supposed to be there, a gap that character voices were always meant to fill. Maybe that persistent twinge keeps me seeking new characters, keeps me writing them.

And besides, I grew up and found my own Caroles and Lisas and Stevies after all.

They were just in their rooms reading, too.

Title The Names They Gave Us
Author Emery Lord
Pages 384 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published May 16th, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters – in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp-one for troubled kids – Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord’s storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life’s biggest challenges.