The Writing’s On The Wall: Let’s Sit Crooked and Talk Straight

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

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I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Good Studio and Latino Type whose clipart and/or fonts I purchased, edited and used in the creation of this wallpaper!

Between The Lines with Catherine Lo

Between The Lines is a sporadic feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which authors and other industry professionals provide further insight into the writing and publishing process in the form of interviews, guest posts, etc. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy as we read between the lines.


About Catherine Lo

Catherine Lo is the author of Easy Prey and How It Ends. She has spent the last decade and a half as a teacher working with at-risk youth. She lives outside of Toronto with her husband and two children.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramTumblrFacebookGoodreads






When I wrote my first novel, How It Ends, I knew exactly where the idea came from. Inspired both by my work supporting adolescents as a teacher and by my own high school experiences, I knew I wanted to write about the ups and downs of female friendship and the impact of mental health on relationships. Armed with that inspiration and with a loose idea of where I wanted the story to go, I sat down to write. The story took shape as I wrote it, and How It Ends was transformed from the spark of an idea into the story I’d needed when I was fifteen years old.

The experience of writing Easy Prey was completely different.

I have no idea where the initial inspiration for Easy Prey came from. As strange as it sounds, I simply woke up one day with three new characters in my head. Their names were Mouse, Drew and Jenna, and they were quite suddenly as familiar to me as if I’d known them for years. I knew what they each wanted most from life, I knew their best qualities and their weaknesses, and I knew the complicated ways they were all intertwined in the story that was to become Easy Prey.

I found myself thinking about this story constantly. It revealed itself to me much like a movie playing in my brain, and I returned over and over again to my favorite scenes, watching as they became clearer over time. For almost six months, I walked around daydreaming about the characters. When my mind wandered, it wandered to the story. Who exposed the photos of Miss Bailey, and why? I knew the answers long before I ever wrote a single word. It was so different than my experience with How It Ends, which I’d written into existence. Easy Prey existed long before I ever tried to write it down.

And while this likely sounds like an ideal scenario when it comes to inspiration, it did come with complications. By the time I felt ready to start writing Easy Prey, I knew the story with such clarity that I was terrified of getting it wrong. Each time I sat in front of my computer, the distance between the blank page and the world in my head was so vast that I was convinced I’d never bridge it. How could I translate the movie in my head into words? There was so much I wanted the story to convey, and I worried that what I loved most about it – the complex histories and relationships between the characters, the way they reveal themselves to each other and to us, the secrets they keep and the lies they tell as they navigate the scandal at the heart of the story – would somehow be lost.

It took a great deal of time and many failed starts. I made charts and diagrams, I wrote and rewrote scenes, I experimented with differing timelines and viewpoints, and slowly, slowly, what was on the page got closer and closer to what was in my head. And then, when the book sold and I had the opportunity to work with the incredibly talented editor Maggie Lehrman, she helped me take the story to whole new levels.

I am extraordinarily proud of the book that’s releasing today. How It Ends may have been the book I needed to read as a teen, but Easy Prey is the book I wanted to read. It’s twisty and dark and complicated and surprising, and I cannot wait for you to discover its secrets.

Title Easy Prey
Author Catherine Lo
Pages 352 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Publication Date October 16th 2018 by Amulet Books
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Only three students had access to a teacher’s racy photos before they went viral. There’s Mouse, a brainy overachiever so desperate to escape his father and go to MIT that he would do almost anything, legal or not. Then there’s Drew, the star athlete who can get any girl’s number — and private photos — with his charm but has a history of passing those photos around. And finally there’s Jenna, a good girl turned rebel after her own shocking photos made the rounds at school last year, who is still waiting for justice. All three deny leaking the photos, but someone has to take the fall. This edgy whodunit tackles hot-button issues of sexting and gossip and will have readers tearing through the pages to reach the final reveal.

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 99: Science Fiction (Part 4)

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 Attack Of The 50 Foot Wallflower by Christian McKay Heidicker, That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston, Ruse by Cindy Pon, The Oceans between Stars by Kevin Emerson, The Pioneer by Bridget Tyler, Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera and The Similars by Rebecca Hanover.

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. The Disasters by M.K. England (Cover design by Jenna Stempel-Lobell, Cover art by Filip Hodas)
02. Attack Of The 50 Foot Wallflower by Christian McKay Heidicker (Cover art by Francesco Francavilla)

03. That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston (Cover design by Elaine Damasco and Theresa Evangelista, Cover art by Elizabeth Traynor)
04. Ruse by Cindy Pon (Cover art by Jason Chan)

05. When Light Left Us by Leah Thomas
06. The Oceans between Stars by Kevin Emerson

07. Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey
08. The Pioneer by Bridget Tyler (Cover design by Jenna Stempel-Lobell, Cover photograph by Jalese Ayana)

09. The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James
10. Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen (Cover art direction by Gigi Lau, Cover illustration by Emmanuel Polanco)

11. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
12. Satellite by Nick Lake (Cover art by Jason Heatherly)

13. Dealing In Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
14. The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

15. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (Cover design by Chloë Foglia, Cover art by Kevin Tong)
16. Avengers Of The Moon by Allen M. Steele

17. The Last 8 by Laura Pohl
18. The Similars by Rebecca Hanover (Cover design by David Curtis)

19. The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
20. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

21. Time and Time Again by Tamara Ireland Stone (Cover art by Sabeena Karnik)
22. After The End Of The World by Jonathan L. Howard

23. The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
24. Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite Mystery and Thriller 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: Let’s Call It A Doomsday by Katie Henry

Hi everyone! Today’s another exciting day on Pop! Goes The Reader as I’m honoured to have been asked to host the exclusive cover reveal for my friend, Katie Henry’s, next novel, Let’s Call It A Doomsday! Katie is no stranger to the blog, having generously written for both the Her Story: Ladies In Literature and New Kids On The Block series before and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome her back today! Coming to a bookstore and library near you August 6th 2019 from Katherine Tegen Books, Let’s Call It A Doomsday follows the story of Ellis Kimball, an anxious teen who is hyper aware of – and prepared for – every possible way the world could end and whose life will be forever altered after a fateful meeting in her therapist’s office one afternoon. The cover of Let’s Call It A Doomsday was designed by David Curtis. Please read on to learn more about Let’s Call It A Doomsday, including a note from the author, an exclusive cover reveal and an opportunity for one lucky reader to win a signed advance reader copy of the novel!


About Katie Henry

Katie Henry is the author of Heretics Anonymous and lives and works in New York City. She received her BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a published playwright, specializing in theater for young audiences. Her plays have been performed by high schools and community organizations in over thirty states.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

When I was fourteen, I was obsessed with survival. I had folders upon folders of printed-out Geocities website pages detailing how to survive a nuclear attack, plane crashes, being stranded at sea, even attacked by a bear. I lived in a city. The only bears were at the zoo. It was not a scenario I was likely to encounter. But I kept it in the folder anyway. Like Ellis, my teenage prepper protagonist in Let’s Call It A Doomsday, I truly believed the only way to deal with my fears was to research all the ways the world could kill me. As I wrote this book, I thought a lot about the concept of belief. Why do we believe what we do? Who gets to determine what’s believable and what isn’t? What ways do gender, or mental illness, or sexuality influence what we believe, especially about ourselves?

This second book is different from my first novel, Heretics Anonymous, in a lot of ways. But once again, the fantastically talented David Curtis has given me the perfect cover: clever, colorful, and culinary-themed. The San Francisco skyline has never looked so good. Neither have canned tomatoes.



Title Let’s Call It A Doomsday
Author Katie Henry
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Publication Date August 6th 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books
Find It On Goodreads

There are so many ways the world could end. There could be a fire. A catastrophic flood. A super eruption that spews lakes of lava. Ellis Kimball has made note of all possible scenarios, and she is prepared for each one. What she doesn’t expect is meeting Hannah Marks in her therapist’s waiting room. Hannah calls their meeting fate. After all, Ellis is scared about the end of the world; Hannah knows when it’s going to happen.

Despite Ellis’s anxiety — about what others think of her, about what she’s doing wrong, about the safety of her loved ones — the two girls become fast friends. As Ellis tries to help Hannah decipher the details of her doomsday premonition, she learns there are secrets Hannah isn’t telling her. But with time ticking down, the search for answers only raises more questions. When does it happen? Who will believe them? How do you prepare for the end of the world when it feels like your life is just getting started?

Katie Henry, the author of Heretics Anonymous, delivers an engrossing and thoughtful tale about how people survive — with some faith in family, friends, and maybe a few prepper forums.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Katie has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win a signed advance reader copy of Let’s Call It A Doomsday! One winner will be chosen at random at the conclusion of the giveaway and the prize will be distributed by Katie when ARCs become available. This contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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New Kids On The Block 2018 with Hayley Chewins

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

Are you a debut author whose book is being published in 2018? It’s not too late to sign-up! If you want to participate in New Kids On The Block this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can send a tweet or DM on Twitter to @Pop_Reader or email me at Jen@PopGoesTheReader.com. I would love to collaborate with you!


About Hayley Chewins

Hayley Chewins grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, in a house so full of books that she learnt to read by accident. Hayley studied classical voice for a year before switching to a degree in English Literature and Italian and holds an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, in a house full of art and music and colour, with her husband and a very small poodle. She believes in two things above all else: the magic of love, and the heroism of sisters. Her debut novel, The Turnaway Girls, will release from Candlewick and Walker Books in October 2018.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

I was born singing.

I used to wake up singing. I used to sing myself to sleep.

And then, somewhere along the line, I stopped.

I became embarrassed.

Ashamed.

Scared.

I kept singing in secret, but it became more and more difficult to share my voice with others.

And then I wrote a book about a girl who sings in secret. A girl who is afraid to sing. A girl who sings anyway. And as I was working on the manuscript, little flights of melody began to whisper within me. I started singing them — in the shower, while I was packing the dishwasher. I started putting words to them. Soon, they became fully fledged songs.

This is one of those songs.

If there’s one thing you take away from Delphernia’s story, I hope it is this: your voice really can change the world — one breathed note, or typed word, at a time.

Most of all, it can change you — from the inside out. I hope you listen when it does.

The song is called Sing To The Sea: A Lullaby and Hayley wrote the melody and lyrics. The music is by Clare Vandeleur, who is an incredible South African composer.

Title The Turnaway Girls
Author Hayley Chewins
Pages 272 Pages
Intended Target Audience Upper Middle Grade
Genre Fantasy
To Be Published October 9th 2018 by Candlewick Press (US) and Walker Books (UK)
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Twelve-year-old Delphernia Undersea has spent her whole life in the cloister, hidden from sea and sky by a dome of stone and the laws of Blightsend. Outside, the Masters — all boys and men — play music. Inside, the turnaway girls silently, silently make that music into gold. Making shimmer, Mother Nine calls it.

But Delphernia can’t make shimmer.

She would rather sing than stay silent.

When a Master who doesn’t act like a Master comes to the skydoor, it’s a chance for Delphernia to leave the cloister. Outside the stone dome, the sea breathes like a wild beast, the sky blinks with stars like eyes, and even the gardens have claws. Outside, Delphernia is caught between the island’s silent Custodian and its ominous Childer-Queen. Outside, there is a poem-speaking prince and a girl who makes Delphernia think of freedom.

Delphernia doesn’t know how to be free in Blightsend. Blightsend can’t be free without her.