Announcements

Announcements

SAITS AND MISFITS Cover Reveal

In case you missed YA Highway’s cover reveal yesterday, check out the groundbreaking SAINTS AND MISFITS!

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Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Pre-order SAINTS AND MISFITS on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound, and check it out on Goodreads.

You can follow S.K. Ali at @sajidahwrites, and check out her piece on her quest to find an agent.

Happy PubDay Piper Perish!

Happy PubDay to the phenomenal PIPER PERISH, by Kayla Cagan!

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Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has been Piper’s dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she’s never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper’s sister’s tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper’s art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power when it means giving up so much? Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this dynamic, utterly authentic work featuring interior art from Rookie magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What is home? And who is a person when she’s missing any one of these things?

“A character readers will remember.”-Kirkus Reviews

“Will embolden budding teen artists.”-School Library Journal

“Piper Perish is smart, fresh, and utterly engaging. Infused with a love and respect for art that shines through on every page, Kayla Cagan’s debut is equal parts funny and heartbreaking. You won’t put it down.”-Brandy Colbert, author of Pointe and Little and Lion

“Get ready for all the feels! Urgent, funny, and achingly real, Piper Perish will pull you into her artsy, messy, and love-rich world on the first page and hold you tight until the very end. The voice is so fresh and intimate you’ll swear you’ve known Piper your whole life. I read this book on a tear and when I finished-breathless and teary and hopeful-I not only knew I’d discovered an amazing author, I also felt like I had a new friend. Stop what you’re doing and go read Piper Perish now!” -Leila Howland, author of Hello, Sunshine

“Cagan tells Piper’s story with amazing authenticity. soulful reading for any artistic teen with a dream.”-Booklist, starred review

“After reading Piper Perish I want to start my own handwritten, doodle-filled journal full of creativity, dreams, and adventures. This book captured that excitement I felt when I was a young artist full of hope tackling a big city. If a book could be my BFF, it would be this one.” -Bonnie Burton, author of Crafting with Feminism and Girls Against Girls

“A smart, complicated, emotionally mature, coming-of-age story that leaps off the page and reminds you why you ever dared to dream. Bonus points for every Houston shout-out.” -Pamela Ribon, bestselling author of Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public

“A love-letter to the artistic life, filled with glamour, passion, hunger and heartbreak.” – author, graphic novelist, and two-time Eisner Award Winner Hope Larson

Order PIPER PERISH on Amazon, B&N, and Indiebound, or check it out on Goodreads!

You can follow Kayla on twitter at https://twitter.com/KaylaCagan

 

Happy Pub Day, THE DOLL’S EYE!

Several years ago an author sent me one of the creepiest, delightful, unnerving, exciting stories I’d ever read, and today I’m so excited to see Marina Cohen’s THE DOLL’S EYE hit book shelves! Congratulations, Marina!

Doll's Eye_Cover“An ever present and always-growing sense of dread accompanied by an atmosphere of chills and mystery make this perfect for reading in the closet under the cover of night.”―Kirkus Reviews

“Cohen crafts a pleasingly shivery tale of greed, repercussions, and innocence. A must-have for horror fans.”―School Library Journal

“Cohen makes maximum use of creaking doors and strange shadows to create a delightfully chilling atmosphere, while an unnerving neighbor and whispered rumors heighten the suspense.”―Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

All Hadley wants is for everything to go back to the way it used to be—back when she didn’t have to share her mother with her stepfather and stepbrother. Back when she wasn’t forced to live in a musty, decomposing house. Back when she had a life in the city with her friends.

As Hadley whiles away what’s left of her summer, exploring the nearby woods and splitting her time between her strange, bug-obsessed neighbor Gabe and the nice old lady that lives above the garage, she begins to notice the house isn’t just old and creaky. It’s full of secrets, just like appearance of a mysterious dollhouse and the family of perfect dolls she finds.

Oh, how she wishes her family were more like those lovely dolls! Then one day, Hadley discovers a lone glass eye rolling around the floor of the attic. Holding it close one night, she makes a wish that just might change her world forever.

You can order Marina’s super spooky THE INN BETWEEN on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

Check out Marina Cohen online and on twitter.

Congrats to GENA/FINN, on the 2017 Rainbow List!

Congrats Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson! Their co-authored novel has made the Rainbow List, a bibliography of books with significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content.

41O+px6P4HL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Gena and Finn would have never met but for their mutual love for the popular show Up Below. Regardless of their differences—Gena is a recent high school graduate whose social life largely takes place online, while Finn is in her early twenties, job hunting and contemplating marriage with her longtime boyfriend—the two girls realize that the bond between them transcends fanfiction. When disaster strikes and Gena’s world turns upside down, only Finn can save her, and that, too, comes with a price. Told through emails, text messages, journal entries, and blog posts, Gena/Finn is a story of friendship and love in the digital age.

Find out more about GENA/FINN here, and on Goodreads, Amazon, and B&N.

You can find Kat on her website and twitter, and Hannah on her website and twitter.

Congrats to Shutter, a 2017 YALSA Popular Paperback

9781250044679Congratulations to Courtney Alameda, whose fantastically scary SHUTTER is a 2017 YALSA Popular Paperback! Check out the full list here.

Visit Courtney’s website, follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook. You can also check out SHUTTER on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, and Indiebound.

S.K. Ali Talks with NBC News about #OwnVoices

In this interview with NBC news, S.K. Ali talks about her #MuslimShelfSpace twitter campaign, and the importance of #ownvoices authors. Her debut young adult, SAINTS AND MISFITS is coming June 13th from Salaam Reads!

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You can follow Sajidah at @sajidahwrites, and check out Sajidah’s piece on her quest to find an agent.

 Pre-order SAINTS AND MISFITS on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound, and check it out on Goodreads.

Publishers Don’t Want Good Books

This conversation has happened at every agency in the world (particularly in the kids and teen department).

Agent 1: I’ve got a new project.

Agent 2: Yeah? How is?

Agent 1: It’s good.

Agent 2: Good?

Agent 1: Yeah, good.

Agent 2: Oh…Damn.

Agent 1: Yeah.

Agent 2: *Sips martini* That’s too bad.

imgres.jpgAgents, editors, and maybe you, the author, know the curse of the “good” book. The book that’s perfectly fine, that works, that tells an interesting story, and that is, sad to say, darn near unsellable. The rejections often contain phrases like “didn’t fall in love,” or “just didn’t feel strongly enough,” leavened with genuine compliments about the writing or characterization. After years of learning the craft of story and voice, you’ve finally created a nearly flawless novelone you know is as good (heck, better!) than a lot of stuff on the shelf. And it just…doesn’t…sell.

What’s going on here? Are publishers just crass, cowardly, visionless hacks who take pleasure in crushing the dreams of talented writers, refusing to give even promising careers a chance to get started?

The answer, of course, is no. Nobody is more motivated (apart from the author) to see a book succeed with flying colors than publishers. Believe me when I say us soulless agents and our human counterparts- editors- are wishing and dreaming as hard as you for that Newbery Medal, the debut on the New York Times Best Sellers list, the book signing line that wraps around the block.

It pains me to say it- and it pains all of us in publishing, I promise you- but there typically just isn’t room for “good” books. Publishing is an increasingly competitive space. More and more people want to be published, and the standard for what constitutes a “success” gets higher every day. Publishers have limited space on their lists, and so each novel has to be more than good. It has to be something special.

Of course there are many kinds of special. Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting, Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star, Chris Grabenstein’s Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s LibraryVictoria Aveyard’s Red Queen– four completely different novels, with pretty different audiences, and they all have something in common. These are novels that demand you sit up and take notice. They are more than just functioning stories. They refuse to be ignored.

images.jpgWhen I say publishers don’t want good books, I don’t mean they’re after bad ones either. Nobody is more passionate about compelling fiction than your friendly neighborhood editor, whether the novel in question is a beautiful, heart-breaking, cry-on-the-subway coming of age, or a heart-pounding, unforgettable, so-damn-sexy-you-need-a-time-out fantasy, romance, or action/adventure. Though you may have found writing on the shelf at Barnes & Noble that makes your skin crawl (in the bad way), fiction is a subjective business, and I guarantee that even if it isn’t your brand of beer, every novel published made someone, somewhere, feel something profound- whether it was excitement, intrigue, or love.

Awesome, thanks for that John. Of course I want to be better than good. I want to be special, too. So what do I do?

My advice to my clients, to all novelists (and to myself), is always the same: push yourself. Don’t settle for your first idea, or even your second. Don’t stick with a project simply because it’s written, when you know rewriting or moving on to the next thing will be even better. Can you tell a story? Great. Now ask yourself, why does my story need to be told? What about it is new, what about it pushes boundaries? What about it has, at least, the potential to change a person’s life?

Teens need you. Teens need writers. I know I did. Novels saved my life, and I am one of thousands in that club. So be fearless. When you tell someone what your story is about, what’s their reaction? You want “Wow,” you want, “Oh my goodness, really?” You even want, “You can’t write a book about that!”

We’re all striving to do something great, and most of us ultimately land somewhere between where we started and the stars. If you want to be a novelist, you have to want to be the best novelist, or you’ll never get off the ground. As maddening as it can be, I’m glad the publishing biz is so competitive. It pushes us to be more.

So get good, write a good novel, hone your craft until you are a master of structure.

Then start again.

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Booklist Review of THE DOLL’S EYE

Congrats to Marina Cohen on this awesome review of THE DOLL’S EYE:

Doll's Eye_CoverThe phrase “Be careful what you wish for” takes on ominous significance in this creepy story where wish fulfillment and perfection make for a menacing collaboration. Hadley Jackson, along with her mother, stepfather, and stepbrother, has moved from the city to an old country house that seems to keep losing occupants. Something maliciously magical is brewing, and it emanates from a dollhouse hidden in the attic. The story alternates between Hadley’s perspective and that of the first girl to live in the house, each of whom find that the wishes they make tend to come true—but not as intended. Hadley’s efforts to undo her calamitous wishes lead to an unexpected ending that will surprise readers with its bold, menacing conclusion. Doppelgänger dolls, flesh-eating flies, echoes between realities, and a glass eye contribute to the doomed, gothic undertones of Hadley’s story. As the pieces between past and present fall chillingly into place, they threaten to trap Hadley in a world of her own dreaming. Read this one with the lights on.

— Kara Dean

 

Pre-Order THE DOLL’S EYE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and  Indiebound.

You can order Marina’s super spooky debut middle-grade, THE INN BETWEEN, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

Check out Marina Cohen online and on twitter.

#MuslimShelfSpace, Most Anticipated, S.K. Ali Giveaway

2017 is going to be an amazing year for YA. I’m so excited to see S.K. Ali’s SAINTS AND MISFITS on EW’s list. And in such good company! Check out all those #ownvoices projects.

iovrkqlt_400x400SAINTS AND MISFITS follows 15-year-old Janna Yusuf, daughter of the only divorced mother at the mosque, as she examines her faith and relationships in the wake of an assault. It will also be Salaam Reads‘s first YA novel, which is pretty darn cool.

Speaking of which, you must check out S.K. Ali’s #MuslimShelfSpace hashtag and giveaway. Here’s how it works: tweet a pic of your #MuslimShelfSpace, tagging @sajidahwrites, for a chance to win a Muslim #ownvoices book! Folks have been tweeting their bookshelves full of #ownvoices books by Muslim authors all week, and it’s wonderful.

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You can follow Sajidah at @sajidahwrites, and check out Sajidah’s piece on her quest to find an agent.