You Can’t Say “Hiatus” Without Saying “Hi”!

Hi everyone! So, as regular visitors of Pop! Goes The Reader have no doubt noticed, things have been a little quiet around here recently, and if you don’t follow me on Twitter, you might have been curious as to why. I’ve always been reluctant to share too much about myself on the blog, because of a desire to protect my privacy, a fear of being a burden on others, and of having my pain appear performative, so I’ll simply say that emotional exhaustion, coupled with depression and anxiety, made a break from both Pop! Goes The Reader and social media an absolute necessity.

That said, while my hiatus started for one reason, it will continue for another. Though I had every intention of returning to regularly-scheduled posts in April, the truth is that I’m simply not very interested in reading or blogging at the moment, and that’s okay. A love of literature has always been and will always be a significant part of my life but it isn’t the only part. I have other passions and hobbies, many of which I’ve recently had the time to explore and that have brought me a great deal of joy. For example, to help combat my depression I’ve begun running 5-6 miles every other day and, in addition to making me feel better both mentally and physically, this has offered me a wonderful opportunity to set new goals and challenges for myself in regard to my pace, distance run, etc.

Pop! Goes The Reader will be turning four years old in June and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that blogging, like life, is a marathon, not a sprint. I never want Pop! Goes The Reader to become another obligation or something I grow to resent. This blog has always acted as a positive, creative outlet in my life and I have no doubt that allowing myself a little time away from my strict, self-imposed deadlines will only inspire me to try all the harder to offer consistent, quality content when I return. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Regular posts on the blog will resume in May upon which the sign-ups for June’s Her Story: Ladies In Literature event will also open. That said, if you already know that want to participate in this year’s event and would like me to save a date for you, please feel free to reach out before then, whether it be through email (Jen@PopGoesTheReader.com) or DM on Twitter (@Pop_Reader). Availability in this event is limited and spaces tend to fill up quite quickly. I have already saved a handful of dates for authors who have contacted me and expressed interest in participating and I’m happy to continue doing so.

Until then, I would like to take a moment to sincerely thank everyone who was kind enough to send me a message of support since I announced my hiatus on Twitter back in early March. My biggest concern when deciding to take a step back was in disappointing my readers, and your thoughtful DMs, tweets and emails and your willingness to share your own stories with me have helped me more than I can possibly express. I was reminded, not for the first time, how fortunate I am to have been welcomed into the book blogging community. Because for all its faults, flaws and failings, it’s just that: A community. Thank you for your continued and constant patience, compassion, love, and encouragement. I’ll see you in May!

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 76: Literary Fiction (Part 7)

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I pay tribute to some of the best and brightest the publishing world has to offer in the way of book cover design. This feature is inspired by Katie’s feature Cover Love on her blog One Page At A Time. The idea is being used with her gracious permission.

Some of my favourite covers this week include The Fall Of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, A Manual For Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin, Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka, Beautiful Pictures Of The Lost Homeland by Mia Gallagher, After Disasters by Viet Dinh, The Resurrection Of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride, Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett and Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong.

Please Note: I’ve done my best to credit the designers and artists responsible for the beautiful covers below, but was unable to find this information for a number of those listed. If you know of an uncredited designer responsible for any of these book covers, please let me know and I would be happy to include proper attribution in this post. Their work is lovely and deserves to be credited.

01. Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (Design by Christopher M. Zucker)
02. The Fall Of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo (Design by Alison Forner)

03. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
04. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

05. Hurt People by Cote Smith (Design by Abby Kagan)
06. A Manual For Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

07. Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka (Design by Carol Hayes, Art by Kathy Collins)
08. Bad Dreams by Tessa Hadley

09. Beautiful Pictures Of The Lost Homeland by Mia Gallagher (Design by Anna Morrison)
10. Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson (Design by Jaya Miceli, Art by Jarek Puczel)

11. After Disasters by Viet Dinh (Design by Emily Mahon)
12. Hall Of Small Mammals by Thomas Pierce

13. The Resurrection Of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas
14. The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride (Design by Oliver Munday, Art by Malcolm Park and Stuart Brill))

15. Autumn by Ali Smith (Design by Oliver Munday, Art by Boris Michaylovich Kustodiev)
16. The Life-Writer by David Constantine (Design by Zoe Norvel)

17. Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett (Design by Marysarah Quinn)
18. Eat Only When You’re Hungry by Lindsay Hunter

19. Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
20. Between Life And Death by Yoram Kaniuk

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite Literary Fiction covers? Did I list one of your favourites here or is there one I forgot that just has to be included? Let me know in the comments!

Cover Reveal: The Girl With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

Throughout Pop! Goes The Reader’s nearly four year history, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been given a number of really wonderful opportunities for which I’m immensely grateful, and today’s post might be one of the most special ones yet. Today, I have the honour of hosting the exclusive cover reveal for my friend and regular Pop! Goes The Reader contributor, Katherine Locke, and her 2017 Young Adult debut, The Girl With The Red Balloon. Katherine has been gracious enough to write pieces for the blog several times over the last four years years, work that has exemplified the characteristic insight, passion and empathy for which I’ve always respected her, both as a writer and a person. I’ve been eagerly anticipating her YA debut for as long as I can remember, and to have been able to help with this moment in her journey to be publication means the world. Coming to a bookstore and library near you September 1st, 2017 from Albert Whitman, The Girl With The Red Balloon is a book that combines the cold war, magic, time travel (and, yes, kissing!) as the author reimagines and reinvents history in exciting, inspiring new ways. Please read on to learn more about this magnificent YA release, including the exclusive cover reveal and a personal note from the author about the novel’s origins and inspiration, as well as an opportunity for one lucky reader to win an annotated advance reader copy of The Girl With The Red Balloon!

The Girl With The Red Balloon has been a labor of love and my heart book for four years. Seeing it come alive into a real book, one that I can hold in my hands and you can read, is really a dream come true. The book is about Ellie’s quest to return home, but also about her grandfather’s loss of home and escape to freedom, and about Kai’s choice to leave home and protect his sister. It’s about history, and family, and hope, and magic, and choices we make, for better and for worse. I hope you love Ellie, Kai, Mitzi, Benno, and Sabina as much as I do.


About Katherine Locke

Katherine Locke lives and writes in a very small town outside of Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. She writes about that which she cannot do: ballet, time travel, and magic. When she’s not writing, she’s probably tweeting. She not-so-secretly believes most stories are fairy tales in disguise. The Girl With The Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers #1) is her Young Adult debut.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrFacebookGoodreads




Title The Girl With The Red Balloon
Author Katherine Locke
Pages 256 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
To Be Published September 1st, 2017 by Albert Whitman
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.com (Hardcover) ● Amazon.com (Paperback) ● Amazon.com (Kindle) Other retailers coming soon!

Ellie Baum feels the weight of history on her when she arrives on a school trip to Berlin, Germany. After all, she’s the first member of her family to return since her grandfather’s miraculous escape from a death camp in 1942. One moment she’s contemplating the Berlin Wall Memorial amidst the crowd, and the next, she’s yanked back through time, to 1988 East Berlin when the Wall is still standing.

Nobody knows how she got there, not even the members of the underground guild – the Runners and the Schopfers – who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall. Now as a stranger in an oppressive regime, Ellie must hide from the police with the help of Kai, a Runner struggling with his own uneasy relationship with the powerful Balloonmakers and his growing feelings for Ellie. Together they search for the truth behind Ellie’s mysterious travel, and when they uncover a plot to alter history with dark magic, she must risk everything – including her only way home – to stop the deadly plans.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Katherine has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win an annotated advance reader copy of The Girl With The Red Balloon! This wonderful prize will include notes from the author herself regarding her favourite scenes, musical inspiration, fun facts, inside jokes and much, much more. This contest is open internationally and the prize will be distributed once ARCs become available. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hot Off The Press: March 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.

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve received a number of really touching comments and emails from regulars visitors of Pop! Goes The Reader, asking what I’m currently reading, which books they should look out for in the future or informing me that they often use the blog to discover new titles or to better decide what to read next. Wanting to help, but unable to respond to everyone individually, I thought it might be fun to launch a new feature – Hot Off The Press – which I’ll post at the beginning of each month. In it, I’ll share a selection of titles ranging from middle grade to adult that will be released throughout the month. I sincerely hope Hot Off The Press will act as a valuable resource and can help make those decisions as to which books to purchase or put on hold at the library a little easier. Happy reading!

Please Note: This selection is not comprehensive. 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 I can’t possibly list them all.

March 07 Forever, Or A Long, Long Time by Caela Carter (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 21 Miss Ellicott’s School For The Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 28 The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 28 The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 07 Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 07 The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 07 Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 07 Seven Days Of You by Cecilia Vinesse (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 07 Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 07 You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 07 The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 07 Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 Hunted by Meagan Spooner (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 14 A Psalm For Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 The Heartbeats Of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 Freya by Matthew Laurence (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 14 Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 21 Hellworld by Tom Leveen (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 21 Nemesis by Brendan Reichs (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 21 The Hidden Memory Of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 28 Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 28 Overturned by Lamar Giles (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 28 Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 28 Just a Girl by Carrie Mesrobian (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 28 Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 28 Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 28 A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 07 The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 07 Spaceman Of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 07 The Stranger In The Woods: The Extraordinary Story Of The Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 07 One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None Of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 The Idiot by Elif Batuman (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 14 White Tears by Hari Kunzru (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 Word By Word: The Secret Life Of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 14 The Fall Of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 14 The Wanderers by Meg Howrey (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 21 Girl In Disguise by Greer Macallister (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 21 The Cutaway by Christina Kovac (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 21 The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 21 Our Short History by Lauren Grodstein (GoodreadsAmazon)

March 28 The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 28 It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany (GoodreadsAmazon)
March 28 An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole (GoodreadsAmazon)

Cover Reveal: Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer

Good morning, friends! It’s time for another cover reveal and it’s one that’s close to my heart. Today, I have the immense pleasure of hosting the exclusive cover reveal for debut author, Ruth Lehrer, and her forthcoming young adult release, Being Fishkill. Ruth has long been a kind and generous supporter of both myself and Pop! Goes The Reader, and it means so much to be able to help with such a special step in her journey to publication today. Coming to a bookstore and library near you November 17th, 2017 from Candlewick Press, Being Fishkill tells the story of thirteen-year-old Carmel Fishkill who, with a quick reversal of her name, hopes to reverse her fortunes and her future as well, along with the help of a help of her eccentric new friend, Duck-Duck. The cover of Being Fishkill was designed by Pam Consolazio. Please read on to learn more about this fascinating young adult release, including the exclusive cover reveal and a personal note from the author about the novel’s origins and inspiration, as well as an opportunity for one lucky reader to win an advance reader copy of Being Fishkill.

Several years ago my in-laws in New York were ill. All winter my partner and I spent almost every weekend driving back and forth from western Massachusetts to Queens, NY, up and down the Taconic Parkway. Back and forth, back and forth, passing the Fishkill/Carmel highway exit sign each way. “Carmel Fishkill — wouldn’t that be a funny girl’s name?” I said to Amy. “Uh-huh,” she said.

The first sentence of a book came to me next, and I realized that it was Fishkill’s story. The voices of Fishkill and her friend Duck-Duck were so strong that often it was almost like dictation. I completely knew Fishy and Duck-Duck were real girls walking around on the earth. I wish that happened to me more often when I write! I’m so proud that they will be out in the book world come November.


About Ruth Lehrer

Ruth Lehrer is a writer and sign language interpreter living in western Massachusetts. Her fiction and poetry have been published in journals such as Jubilat, Lilith, and Trivia: Voices of Feminism. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, Tiger Laughs When You Push. Her young adult novel, Being Fishkill, will be published by Candlewick Press in November 2017.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads




Title Being Fishkill
Author Ruth Lehrer
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
To Be Published November 17th, 2017 by Candlewick Press
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Maybe being named for a highway sign off the Taconic State Parkway is a sign itself.




“Passing through, passing by,” Carmel Fishkill was born in the backseat of a moving car, unceremoniously pushed into an unfair world. After thirteen years of poverty, neglect, and verbal abuse, it’s time to fight back. The first step: a new name. Carmel Fishkill becomes Fishkill Carmel. Fish – cold and scaly. Kill – don’t mess-with-me dangerous. 



Fishkill’s fierce new defenses falter upon meeting eccentric and logical optimist, Duck-Duck Farina. The two girls form an intense friendship, and Fishkill enjoys a detour into a world of roasted chicken dinners, home-baked cookies, pink ruffled beds, and a mother-daughter code that speaks of love and forgiveness. When the dream tragically implodes, a fast retreat into anger, grief, and isolation is definitely the easiest, most logical route for someone named Fishkill to take.

Poet Ruth Lehrer’s young adult debut is a stunning, revelatory look at what defines and sustains “family.”

As an extra, exciting bonus, Ruth has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win an advance reader copy of Being Fishkill! This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada and the prize will be distributed once ARCs become available. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway