Teen

DUMPLIN’ Film Finds Its Star!

Literally got chills from this news. Julie Murphy’s DUMPLIN’ has founds its lead, Willowdean, in the fabulous Danielle Macdonald!

Check out the full article in the Hollywood Reporter. 

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More DUMPLIN’ Film News:

DUMPLIN’ a buzz project for Cannes Film Festival

JENNIFER ANISTON to Star in Teen Comedy DUMPLIN’

And check out Julie’s latest book, the absolutely stunning RAMONA BLUE.

Go Julie go!

Happy Pub Day to Saints and Misfits!

Happiest of Pub Days to the phenomenal S.K. Ali, and SAINTS AND MISFITS! S.K. Ali’s debut novel is also the first young adult from Simon & Schuster’s Muslim Voices imprint Salaam Reads.

Order right now on Amazon, B&N, and Indiebound.

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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.

There are three kinds of people in my world:

1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do. They’re in your face so much, you can’t see them, like how you can’t see your nose.

2. Misfits, people who don’t belong. Like me—the way I don’t fit into Dad’s brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother, Mama’s-Boy-Muhammad.

Also, there’s Jeremy and me. Misfits. Because although, alliteratively speaking, Janna and Jeremy sound good together, we don’t go together. Same planet, different worlds.

But sometimes worlds collide and beautiful things happen, right?

3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O’Connor’s stories.

Like the monster at my mosque.

People think he’s holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask.

Except me.

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Follow S.K. Ali on twitter at @sajidahwrites, and check out her piece on her quest to find an agent.

 

Happy Pub Day to Saints and Misfits!

After months of waiting, it’s finally here! S.K. Ali’s critically-acclaimed SAINTS AND MISFITS.

Check out on Goodreads, and get a copy today Amazon, B&N, and Indiebound.

Follow S.K. Ali on twitter at @sajidahwrites , and check out some of the awesome stuff she’s been up to, like this great piece about Ramadan, the importance of #ownvoices authors, and her amazing #muslimshelfspace giveaway.

I’m so fortunate to be working with such a brilliant, passionate, engaged author. Congratulations, Sajidah! You deserve all the joy and accolades today 🙂

Saints and Misfits Cover

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Congrats to Ashok Banker on Y.A. Deal with Delacorte!

In case you missed it on twitter last week, we are popping all the champagne over here for Ashok Banker and THE RISE TRILOGY.

Check out the announcement from Publishers Weekly:

Ashok Banker picKrista Marino at Delacorte has acquired, in a seven-figure preempt, author Ashok Banker‘s The Rise Trilogy, pitched as Six of Crows meets An Ember in the Ashes, with a cast featuring LGBTQIA, PoC, and differently abled protagonists. The #ownvoices series follows a young thief and her gang as they battle to overthrow a brutal tyrant and stay a demon invasion. Publication of the first book is planned for fall 2018; John Cusick at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management brokered the deal for North American English rights.

Ashok reached out to me earlier this year, and I was immediately grabbed by this strange and wonderful universe he’d created. I don’t want to give too much away, but right there in the first chapters I found monsters rising up out of the floor to eat someone’s mother, a multi-faceted heist, and a roof top chase involving magic and flying police wagons. It was weird and wonderful and breathtaking, and I can’t wait for you all to read it. We found the perfect editor in Krista, who edits so many star fantasy writers and loved RISE as much as we do.

I knew I wanted to represent this story, but it wasn’t until Ashok and I got on the phone that I discovered what a warm, wise, and engaged person he is. Ashok is also incredibly humble, which is amazing given how much he’s achieved.

Ashok’s 54 books have sold over 3 million copies, been translated in eighteen languages, and sold in fifty-eight countries. If that weren’t enough, he’s also the pioneer of genre fiction in India; his internationally acclaimed Ramayana Series revolutionized Indian publishing, creating a genre called “Mytho”, now the biggest in the country. He is also the creator and screenwriter of the first Indian TV series in English, and co-creator and screenwriter of the first Malaysian TV series in English, the most watched “Mytho” TV series in India.

 

So yeah, the guy basically invented a genre.

You should follow Ashok on twitter for book news, and also his passionate advocacy for social justice and diversity in publishing: https://twitter.com/ashokkbanker

And more RISE news to come! Congrats Ashok!

S.K. Ali Talks Family, Togetherness, and Ramadan at NBC News

So cool to see SAINTS AND MISFITS author S.K. Ali talking about blended families, togetherness, and Ramadan with NBC News.

With my remarriage nine years ago, my single-parented family of three gained two appetite additions: the nuanced one of my gourmand husband and, for two to three months of the year, that of my teen stepson, Jochua, solidly rooted in good ol’ southern American fare.

Which, for him, being brought up as a Christian, includes bacon. (Thank Allah for quality halal beef bacon ready to do fill-in duty!)

You could say my son Hamza is also a meat ‘n potatoes kind of guy. Halal meat and turmeric-laced potatoes that is. My mother, an amazing cook, has nurtured his taste for good ol’ southern Indian fare.

And then my daughter, Bilqis, turned vegetarian four years ago. The kind of vegetarian who thrives on the sameness of her favorite foods, like veggie sushi rolls, with drizzled spicy sauce on top (i.e. she’ll eat it every day if she could).”

See the full article here.

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Check out SAINTS AND MISFITS (which has garnered three starred reviews!) on Goodreads, and pre-order on Amazon, B&N, and Indiebound.

Follow S.K. Ali on twitter at @sajidahwrites,

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

 

Ten Cliches That Make Agents Roll Their Eyes

f3fc3c45fd59bc3cb7fe8ad224519132Great books break these rules all the time. I’ll say it again: great books break these rules ALL THE TIME.

But here are ten cliches agents see so often in queries and samples, they make us go “ugh, not again.”

 

  1. Characters running hands through their hair. This move almost certainly springs from the era of Jonathan Taylor Thomas hair.

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  2. Dead parents. It needs to be said, even though everyone does it, including me. But remember, grief is not a shortcut to character development.

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  3. Redheaded best friends. Poor redheads, always relegated to the position of bestie. Also, why are best friends so often the fun one, while the hero is a stick in the mud? Yes, shyness is relatable, but it’s okay for your main character to be a firecracker, too.

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  4. Alcoholic moms, especially ones that drink boxed wine. Like ‘Busy Dad’, ‘Drunk Mom’ has become a shorthand for suburban ennui and inattentive, embarrassing parenting. Unless your story is truly about substance abuse, try and find a fresh way to signal mom is less-than-perfect.

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  5. Car accidents! If you’re a parent in YA, you’re probably drunk or dead. If you’re a boyfriend, you’re probably two pages away from a horrible car accident. If Kaydan has to go, why not have him get hit by a falling tree, or skateboard into a meat grinder? Get creative!

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  6. Stories that open with characters moving to a new town. I’m not sure why this is such a common set-up, especially in YA and MG, but rather than kickstart the plot, this device can leave agents feeling like they’ve covering the same old territory. (Oops, slipped into “listicle” voice there. Sorry.)

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  7.  / being forced to spend the summer with grandparents / relatives / country bumpkins of any stripe. I think this one originated in romantic comedies, where the too-busy, too-snobby hero is brought down to earth by the love of a simple man. (There are actually quite a few great books that follow this trajectory, but again, agents see it too often.)

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  8. Amnesia. In chapter one. A great story can explore a hero’s rediscovery of her past, and this plot device isn’t an instant turn-off to agents, but if you’re setting out on your first draft, this may not be the best place to start.

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  9. “I bet you’re wondering how I got myself in this situation.” Direct-address to the reader pulls us out of the story and reminds us we’re being narrated to. I think this is something we’ve picked up from movies and t.v., but in novels we’re ALREADY being narrated to, and don’t need reminding. We want to be immersed in your story and identify with your hero, not hear her monologue.

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  10. Heterochromia. This is one of many writer shortcuts for ‘there’s something different / special about her.’ For some reason it’s usually attributed to girls rather than guys, and sometimes suggest the supernatural. Speaking of which, this picture is creepy.

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If you’ve already queried a sample with one or more of these elements, don’t panic. Agents look past this stuff to see what’s truly original about your work. BUT, while there’s nothing wrong with the above in an artistic sense, the best and most enticing writing feels fresh, so in the future, kill these darlings!

Are there any I missed? Add them in the comments!

Congrats to Don Zolidis on his debut deal!

From Publishers Weekly:

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Laura Schreiber at Disney-Hyperion has acquired playwright Don Zolidis‘s debut YA novel, The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig (A Love Story) , in a preempt. It’s a coming-of-age story set in 1994 Wisconsin, chronicling the on-again-off-again relationship of Amy and Craig, who come to understand each other better through multiple disastrous breakups. Publication date is projected for fall 2018; John M. Cusick of Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management brokered the six-figure, two-book deal for North American rights.

 

 

Not only is Don an incredible playwright (if you were a teen theater-geek in the past ten years, chances are you read one of his monologues), SEVEN TORMENTS is one of the straight up funniest things I’ve read in ages. Congrats Don!

Congrats to Sharon Biggs Waller on her new deal!

Congratulations to Sharon Biggs Waller on her new deal with Simon & Schuster Teen! This is such an important book and I can’t wait for you all to read it.

From Publishers Weekly:

sharonbiggswaller_picChristian Trimmer at Simon & Schuster has bought world English rights to Girls on the Verge, a YA novel by Sharon Biggs Waller. When 17-year-old Camille discovers she can’t obtain an abortion anywhere near her small hometown, she sets off for a Planned Parenthood clinic in the next state. Accompanied by Annabelle, the one-time star of her high school who has wound up stocking shelves, Camille embarks on a road trip of self-discovery in this coming-of-age story pitched as Going Bovine meets Thelma and Louise. Publication is set for spring 2018; John M. Cusick of Folio Jr. / Folio Literary Management brokered the deal.

You can order Sharon’s latest historical YA, THE FORBIDDEN ORCHID (Viking Children’s Books) on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, or check it out on Goodreads.

You can also find Sharon at her website, on Facebook, and on twitter.