Cover Reveal: The Looking Glass by Janet McNally

Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday! Today I am absolutely thrilled to welcome someone I admire a great deal both personally and professionally, young adult author and my dear friend, Janet McNally! Janet is no stranger to Pop! Goes The Reader, having generously shared her writing on the blog before in events like Her Story 2016, ‘Tis The Season 2016 and Her Story 2017. Today, Janet and I are collaborating once again to share with you the cover of her sophomore 2018 young adult release, The Looking Glass! Coming to a bookstore and library near you August 14 2018 from HarperTeen, The Looking Glass tells the story of Sylvie Blake, who is left to uncover the truth behind her sister’s, Julia’s, sudden disappearance though she is left with little but inexplicable visions and strange, mysterious clues regarding her sister’s whereabouts to guide her. The cover of The Looking Glass was designed by Jenna Stempel with accompanying illustrations by Hsaio-Ron Cheng. Please read on to learn more about Janet’s mesmerizing sophomore release, including the exclusive cover reveal, complete synopsis, a special note from the author about the novel’s origins and inspiration and a chance to win a signed, advance reader copy of The Looking Glass from the author herself!

The Looking Glass includes many of my favorite things: dance, sister stories, road trips, and fairy tales. Plus quirky boys and Stevie Nicks, just for good measure. I feel a lot of kinship with my narrator Sylvie, and I wanted to explore what it feels like to love someone struggling with addiction, the way it can pull a family apart and put it back together differently.

There’s also the fact that I was a dancer for years, and I’ve always wanted to write a book about ballet. I knew this one wasn’t going to take place in the studio, though. I was willing, like Sylvie, to follow this story wherever it took me, rogue bluebirds, random princesses, sidewalk foxes, and the rest of it. I love the idea of a beloved book’s fairy tale magic (maybe) escaping into the real world. Actually, I love any story that lets us question what’s real.

This cover is as lovely as I had hoped (wait till you see the whole jacket!). It was designed by my favorite cover designer, Jenna Stempel, and illustrated by the fantastic artist Hsaio-Ron Cheng. You must check out the rest of their work. Pure magic.


About Janet McNally

Janet McNally is the author of the novel Girls in the Moon, as well as a prizewinning collection of poems, Some Girls. She has an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, and her stories and poems have been published widely in magazines. She has twice been a fiction fellow with the New York Foundation for the Arts. Janet lives in Buffalo with her husband and three little girls, in a house full of records and books, and teaches creative writing at Canisius College.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads



Title The Looking Glass
Author Janet McNally
Pages 288 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
To Be Published August 14th 2018 by HarperTeen
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Girls In Trouble.

That’s what Sylvie Blake’s older sister Julia renamed their favorite fairy tale book, way back when they were just girls themselves. Now, Julia has disappeared — and no one knows if she’s in trouble.

Sylvie is trying to carry on Julia’s impressive legacy at the prestigious National Ballet Theatre Academy, turning fouettes until the spinning in her head can be blamed on ballet alone. But Julia, ever the star of the show, can’t stay hidden forever. And when she sends Sylvie a copy of their old storybook with a mysterious list inside, Sylvie begins to see signs of her sister everywhere she goes.

She may be losing her grip on reality, but Sylvie has to find out if the strange, almost magical things she’s been seeing — a figure in a red cape walking a wolf; a silver shoe abandoned by a fleeing girl in blue — have anything to do with Julia’s whereabouts.

With the help of her best friend’s enigmatic brother and his beat-up car, Sylvie sets out to the beat of a Fleetwood Mac playlist, determined to return to New York with her sister in tow. But what Sylvie doesn’t expect to learn is that trouble comes in lots of forms — and that the damsel in distress is often the only one who can save herself.

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

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Cover Reveal: Across The Dark Water by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Happy Monday, friends! As regular readers of Pop! Goes The Reader are no doubt aware, there are few things that bring me greater joy than the wonder and whimsy of a fun middle grade novel. You can therefore imagine my delight when I was recently contacted by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, author of the four book Guardian Herd middle grade series with HarperCollins, to ask if I could host the cover reveal for her next novel, Across The Dark Water. Coming to a bookstore and library near you May 1st 2018 from HarperCollins, Across The Dark Water is the first book in Jennifer’s new series, Riders Of The Realm, which can be seen as a continuation of or companion to Jennifer’s previous work. The book jacket of Across The Dark Water was designed by Erin Fitzsimmons and Catherine SanJuan with accompanying illustrations by Vivienne To. Please read on to learn more about this truly magical story, including the exclusive cover reveal, complete synopsis, a special note from the author about the novel’s origins and inspiration and a chance to win a signed, advance reader copy of Across The Dark Water from the author herself!

Hello everyone at Pop Goes The Reader! I’m thrilled to share the cover of my latest book with you today.

Riders of the Realm #1, Across The Dark Water, is inspired by my other middle-grade series called The Guardian Herd. While this series is complete at four books, I didn’t feel finished writing about my characters!

So, I decided to follow a small herd of pegasi who fly across the Dark Water Ocean to seek safer lands. But when they arrive on a new continent, they encounter humans (Landwalkers) and other dangerous creatures.

What I enjoyed about this book was adding a human point of view. 12 year-old Rahkki Stormrunner is so much fun — he’s thoughtful and clever, but he’s also being forced to grow up fast and this sometimes overwhelms him. His favorite animals are the tame pegasi of his clan. When his people capture two wild mares from the refugee herd, Rahkki wants to befriend them, especially the silver pegasus named Echofrost.

But Echofrost doesn’t want to be befriended or tamed! I enjoyed showing the clash of cultures between these two intelligent species. What the humans call “taming”, the wild pegasi call “enslavement”. And when Echofrost tries to explain to the clan’s domesticated pegasi that they are slaves, they are offended!

It was interesting for me to explore the complex relationships between humans and their animals, along with the differences between love and dependence. Toward that end, I threw in some major conflicts with the local giant hordes to encourage the humans and wild pegasi to consider working together — but by choice, not by force.

With one human and one pegasus point of view, readers will have a front row seat to understand both sides of the story!

My publisher asked for input on a cover concept, and I suggested the scene pictured, but that was months ago. Since then, I’ve sat back and waited, having no idea what the final product would look like. When my editor emailed it to me, I was stunned! I love the artistry, the color pallet, and the razor sharp lettering. I think this cover is a perfect representation of what readers will find inside the book: high fantasy, adventure, an exotic world, and flying horses, of course! I would like to thank the incredibly talented artist Vivienne To, and the book jacket designers, Erin Fitzsimmons and Catherine SanJuan.


About Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez received a degree in English literature from UC Berkeley. She is an active horsewoman, a volunteer for U.S. Pony Club, and a proud mother of three children. She’s also the author of the Guardian Herd series, fantasy novels starring wild pegasi. Jennifer draws on her lifelong love of animals when writing her books and when she’s not at her computer, Jennifer can be found riding her beloved mare Maddie. She lives on a small ranch in Northern California with her husband, children, and more than her fair share of pets. To learn more about Jennifer’s Winged Universe of novels, play herd games, and meet the pegasi, please visit: TheGuardianHerd.com

Author Links: TwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads



Title Across The Dark Water (Book 1 in the Riders of the Realm series)
Author Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Pages 448 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
To Be Published May 1st 2018 by HarperCollins
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

A new and exciting fantasy novel — the first in a trilogy — from the imagination of Guardian Herd series author Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. Perfect for fans of Lisa McMann’s Going Wild, Brandon Mull’s Wild Born, or Erin Hunter’s Warriors series.

Deep in the jungles of the Realm, the Sandwen clan live amongst deadly spit dragons and hordes of warring giants. But with their winged battle horses, they manage to keep their people safe.

Twelve-year-old Rahkki is a stable groom for the Riders in the Sandwen army, taking care of his brother’s winged stallion. The Sandwens believe they have tamed all the wild pegasi in their land, and turned them into flying warhorses. But when a herd of wild steeds flies over their village, Rahkki and his clanmates are stunned.

Meanwhile, a small herd of pegasi have journeyed across a treacherous ocean to settle in a new, and free, land. Led by Echofrost and Hazelwind, the Storm Herd steeds are unaware of the Sandwens. But when the unthinkable happens, Echofrost and the rest of Storm Herd will have to come to trust the Sandwens, or both may not survive.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Jennifer has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win a signed, advance reader copy of Across The Dark Water! This contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and the prize will be distributed once ARCs become available. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

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Cover Reveal: Ten After Closing by Jessica Bayliss

Hi, friends! Welcome back for the fourth (and final) day of Cover Reveal Week here on Pop! Goes The Reader! Unfortunately, due to circumstances outside our control, Kristin Reynolds and I will have to postpone the reveal of her cover for her middle grade debut, The Land Of Yesterday, which was originally scheduled for Friday, until next week. That said, we still have one more exciting cover to reveal today, so let’s get to it! Coming to a bookstore and library near you June 5th 2018 from Sky Pony Press, Ten After Closing is told from the alternating perspectives of Winny and Scott, two teens who become hostages and unlikely allies during the holdup of a local café. The cover of Ten After Closing was designed by Kate Gartner with accompanying illustrations by Ulla Puggard. Please read on to learn more about Jessica Bayliss’ forthcoming release, including the exclusive cover reveal, complete synopsis and a special note from the author about the novel’s origins and inspiration!

Ten After Closing was a book of firsts for me. My first YA. My first thriller. My first time playing with structure (TAC is told from the middle out in diverging timelines). It was the fifth book I wrote, but when I entered it into a writing competition, it earned me my first ever chance to be mentored. And, the best moment of all, when I sent it out to the agents who requested it, Ten After Closing became the first book to result in an agent voice mail on my phone.

Firsts is a great way to think about Winny’s and Scott’s stories in this book. They’re two soon-to-be graduates who are facing the new in life and aren’t quite sure how they feel about that. Even before armed gunmen change everything for them when they enter Café Flores at ten minutes after closing, Winny and Scott are people taking first steps toward becoming different people.

Sometimes it takes the unimaginable to learn who we really are.

But, don’t go away from this note thinking TAC is only about their personal journeys; this book is a strap-in and hold-on-for-the-ride kind of read. From the moment I began plotting Ten After Closing, I had two big things on my author checklist: deliciously tense life-or-death moments and lots of swoony romance. Mission accomplished.

As my debut novel, Ten After Closing still has plenty of first-moments in store for me. Like Scott and Winny, I’m now facing the new and taking my own unimaginable ride. Unlike my characters, though, I know exactly how I feel about it — I’m loving every single minute.


About Jessica Bayliss

Jessica Bayliss is a clinical psychologist by day and a writer all the time. She has been a lover of thrillers, ghost tales, and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves—admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers. She also loves to eat, cook, and exercise — in that order — and is a firm believer that coffee makes the world a better place.

Her YA horror novella, Broken Chords (Leap Books), is hot off the presses! Look for her upcoming release, Ten After Closing (Sky Pony Press, spring 2018). For more information about Jessica and about PsychWRITE, her series of courses and workshops for writers, visit: JessicaBaylissWrites.com.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads



Title Ten After Closing
Author Jessica Bayliss
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
To Be Published June 5th 2018 by Sky Pony Press
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

10PM: Closing time at Café Flores. The door should be locked, but it isn’t, Scott Bradley and Winsome Sommervil are about to become hostages.

TEN MINUTES BEFORE CLOSING: Scott’s girlfriend breaks up with him over the phone while he’s in the café’s basement storeroom because he’s late picking her up for the big end-of-the-year party. Now he can’t got to the party, but he can’t go home, either — not knowing his dad will still be in a drunken rage. Meanwhile, Winny wanted one night to let loose, away from her mother’s crushing expectations. Instead, she’s stranded at the café after her best friend ditches her in a misguided attempt at matchmaking.

TEN MINUTES AFTER CLOSING: The first gunshot is fired. Someone’s dead. And if Winny, Scott, and the rest of the hostages don’t come up with a plan soon, they may not live to see morning.

Told from both Winny and Scott’s perspectives, and alternating between the events leading up to and following the hold-up, Ten After Closing is an explosive story of teens wrestling with their own challenges, thrown into circumstances that will test their very limits.

Cover Reveal: Your Destination Is On The Left by Lauren Spieller

Day three of Cover Reveal Week continues on Pop! Goes The Reader today as I welcome literary agent and author, Lauren Spieller, to the blog in order to reveal the cover of her forthcoming 2018 young adult debut, Your Destination Is On The Left! As regular readers are no doubt aware, I have a particular weakness for road-trip stories (In Honor!, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour!), and have been counting the days until the release of Lauren’s, specifically, ever since I first learned of it. Coming to a bookstore and library near you June 2018 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Your Destination Is On The Left tells the story of Dessa Rhodes, a girl whose path has always been shaped by the freedom of the open road, and whose future opens up in new and unexpected ways when her life doesn’t go exactly as planned. The cover of Your Destination Is On The Left was designed by Krista Vossen with accompanying illustrations by Rebecca Elfast. Please read on to learn more about Lauren Spieller’s exciting debut, including the exclusive cover reveal, complete synopsis and a special note from the author about the novel’s origins and inspiration!

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be revealing the cover of my debut YA contemporary today on Pop! Goes The Reader! Here’s a bit about the book and the inspiration behind it:

The idea for Your Destination Is On The Left came to me shortly after I moved to New York in 2014. My husband and I had just hauled a trailer full of our stuff (okay, 75% were my books) all the way from California, and we were reeling from the trip. I was no stranger to long drives — I’d driven from the Midwest to CA and back at least four times during college and grad school — but the trip to New York was by far the longest.

I started to think about how hard it would be to drive for more than a week, which made me think of what is arguably the Original Road Trip — The Odyssey. (Yes, I’m a nerd, why do you ask?). Suddenly my mind was spinning. What if I did a retelling of The Odyssey, but instead of it being about Odysseus, it was about a Greek-American teenager named Dessa? And instead of traveling home after the fall of Troy, she was a nomad, living in an RV caravan, traveling the United States? And what if, instead of battling the monsters of mythology, she was forced to contend with her own personal demons? Before long I was rereading Homer’s epic and researching RV life, not to mention all the wonderful places along Route 66.

Three years later, the book has changed a lot — it’s really more inspired by The Odyssey than it is a retelling — but Homer’s story will always hold a special place in my heart!

After two years of working on Destination, I had no idea what to expect when it came to a book cover. Luckily Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers has an incredible design team, and with the help of my wonderful editor, Catherine Laudone, they came up with a cover I am absolutely IN LOVE with. What you see is East San Francisco Street, which runs alongside the Santa Fe Plaza in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico (where my story is set). The street is lined with artist booths, which is a scene taken directly from my book! In fact, I was recently in Santa Fe, and when we turned onto San Francisco Street and I saw the beautiful Cathedral at the end of the street, I burst into happy tears. It was my cover in real life!


About Lauren Spieller

Lauren Spieller is a literary agent who lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband. When she isn’t writing, she can be found drinking lattes, pining for every dog she sees, or visiting her native California. Your Destination Is On The Left is her debut novel.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads




Title Your Destination Is On The Left
Author Lauren Spieller
Pages N/A
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
To Be Published June 2018 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.com

Dessa Rhodes is a modern-day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs, and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, whom she knows she can never be with. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance. Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.

Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss — and herself — that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving?

Cover Reveal: Letting Go Of Gravity by Meg Leder

Hi, friends! Cover Reveal Week on Pop! Goes The Reader continues today as I have the immense pleasure of welcoming my friend, Meg Leder, to the blog in order to reveal the cover of her sophomore young adult novel, Letting Go Of Gravity! I was fortunate enough to read Meg’s debut, The Museum Of Heartbreak, last year and I fell in love with the subtle, insightful, heartfelt story I discovered within its pages. I’ve been looking forward to Meg’s next book ever since and I’m so honoured I’ve been given the opportunity to share a little about it with you today! Coming to a bookstore and library near you July 17th 2018 by Simon Pulse, Letting Go Of Gravity tells the story of twins Parker and Charlie, two individuals whose lives are paradoxically as intertwined, and as different, as two people’s can be. The cover of Letting Go Of Gravity was designed by Russell Gordon and Maggie Edkins. Please read on to learn more about Meg Leder’s forthcoming young adult contemporary novel, including the exclusive cover reveal, complete synopsis, a special note from the author about the novel’s origins and inspiration, and a chance to win a signed, advance reader copy of Letting Go Of Gravity!

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Staying in the same place for most of your life has its benefits – I knew my hometown like the back of my hand, I was close to my family, and I had a wonderful group of friends I’d cultivated through the years. The downside, however, is that it’s very hard to let yourself be someone else when you’ve lived in the same place your whole life. 

Like my main character Parker, I was always an overachiever: a straight-A student and class valedictorian who got a full scholarship to my university. I expected my time at college to follow suit: everything according to plan. But when I got there, I went through a major bout of depression. Despite having a wonderful roommate, I was lonely, homesick, and filled with a constant sense of dread at having to be in a place that just felt wrong. I felt wrong. 

Ten miserable weeks later, I made the decision to drop out, give up my scholarship, and move home. At the time, I felt like a complete failure. I wasn’t always the bright, shining valedictorian everyone thought I was. I wasn’t the person I thought I was. 

Now, years later, I can see dropping out was absolutely the best thing for me to do. Not only did it eventually lead me to a school that was a better emotional match, it was the first time I made a decision that was mine and mine alone. It can be really hard to forge an unexpected path, to be someone different than everyone around you expects you to be, but it’s also really brave, and making those decisions – the ones that are true to you – can be one of the first steps in really growing up and becoming a person of your own.  

In Letting Go of Gravity, I wanted to look at the ways we let the world define us, and how that can hold us back. And I wanted to explore what happens when you let go of all of that – when you release all your notions about the person you think you are, and start to let yourself wonder about the person you really want to be. 


About Meg Leder

A former bookseller and teacher, Meg Leder currently works as a book editor in New York City. She is the author of The Museum of Heartbreak, the co-author of The Happy Book, and spends her free time reading, looking for street art, and people watching. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Author Links: TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads




Title Letting Go of Gravity
Author Meg Leder
Pages 288 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
To Be Published July 17th 2018 by Simon Pulse
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.com

Twins Parker and Charlie are polar opposites.



Where Charlie is fearless, Parker is careful.



Charlie is confident while Parker aims to please.



Charlie is outgoing and outspoken; Parker is introverted and reserved.



And of course, there’s the one other major difference: Charlie got leukemia. Parker didn’t.



But now that Charlie is officially in remission, life couldn’t be going better for Parker. She’s landed a prestigious summer internship at the hospital and is headed to Harvard in the fall to study pediatric oncology — which is why the panic she’s felt since her Harvard acceptance is so unsettling. And it doesn’t help that her relationship with Charlie has been on the rocks since his diagnosis. 



Enter Finn, a boy who’s been leaving strange graffiti messages all over town. Parker can’t stop thinking about those messages, or about Finn, who makes her feel free for the first time: free to doubt, free to make mistakes, and free to confront the truth that Parker has been hiding from for a long time. 



That she keeps trying to save Charlie, when the person who really needs saving is herself.

As an extra, exciting bonus, Meg has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to win a signed, advance reader copy of Letting Go Of Gravity! This contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and the prize will be distributed once ARCs become available. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway