young adult

SAITS AND MISFITS Cover Reveal

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

Saints and Misfits Cover.jpg

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!

Piper-Perish_FC-from-catalogue-386x566.jpg

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.

    2015-07-29-1438212463-9583390-hairgelformenlonghair-thumb
  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.

    gsawredo2

  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.

    pretty-redhead-young-teen-girl-freckles-20448276.jpg

  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.

    karen-box-wine.gif

  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!

    hqdefault

  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.)

    gettyimages-200299935-001_super-1

  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.)

    190516_grandmother_grandkids-720x405

  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.

    giphy

  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.

    1af

  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.

    cc7b136cdf49bd8371e8d434459932d8

 

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 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.

Most-Anticipated #OwnVoices 2017

11 of Our Most Anticipated #OwnVoices Reads of 2017

So excited to see S.K. Ali, along with Folio Jr’s own Julie Murphy and Jenny Han on this list!

You can follow S.K. Ali 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.

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!

sajidah_alis_muslim_bookshelf_660c14276f25de4c40d8969ba6546f21.nbcnews-ux-600-480.jpg

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.

#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.

C1TZCXlXAAYGK2V.jpg

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

Congrats to Don Zolidis on his debut deal!

From Publishers Weekly:

donzolidis_pic

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 Christian!

Congrats to Christian McKay Heidicker on his latest deal with Simon & Schuster! From Publishers Weekly:

unnamed.jpgChristian Trimmer at Simon & Schuster has acquired Christian McKay Heidicker‘s YA novel Throw Your Arm Across Your Eyes and Scream. Pitched as Pleasantville meets Cloverfield, the novel follows 15-year-old Phoebe, daughter of the woman who was carried to the top of the Empire State Building by King Kong, in a world where the horrors of 1940s and 50s sci-fi movies are everyday occurrences. Publication is planned for summer 2018; John M. Cusick of Folio Jr. / Folio Literary Management brokered the deal for world rights.

You can find Christian online at http://www.cmheidicker.com/ and https://twitter.com/cmheidicker 

Get his debut CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound, and check it out on Goodreads.

“A plugged-in young adult comedy about the pain of unplugging… perfect for teen gamers and readers who are fans of Jesse Andrews and John Green.” (School Library Journal)

“Heidicker’s debut crackles with twitchy energy… this is a fun, absurdist romp through gaming culture, populated by zany characters and a quest narrative worthy of its own game.” (Booklist)

Congratulations Sajidah Kutty on her debut deal!

From Publishers Weekly:

9vEV8jr1Zareen Jaffery at S&S’s Salaam Reads has preempted world rights to Saints, Misfits, Monster and Mayhem, the debut YA novel by teacher and artist Sajidah Kutty. The novel 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. The book will be Salaam’s first YA novel. Publication is slated for summer 2017; John M. Cusick of Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management negotiated the deal.

I’m so excited that Sajidah’s beautiful novel will be Salaam Reads’s first young adult publication. This is such an important book, and it found its perfect home.

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