A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just a heart from her donor in this compulsively readable debut.
Seventeen-year-old Chloe had a plan: work hard, get good grades, and attend a top-tier college. But after she collapses during cross-country practice and is told that she needs a new heart, all her careful preparations are laid to waste.
Eight months after her transplant, everything is different. Stuck in summer school with the underachievers, all she wants to do now is grab her surfboard and hit the waves—which is strange, because she wasn’t interested in surfing before her transplant. (It doesn’t hurt that her instructor, Kai, is seriously good-looking.)
And that’s not all that’s strange. There’s also the vivid recurring nightmare about crashing a motorcycle in a tunnel and memories of people and places she doesn’t recognize.
Is there something wrong with her head now, too, or is there another explanation for what she’s experiencing?
As she searches for answers, and as her attraction to Kai intensifies, what she learns will lead her to question everything she thought she knew—about life, death, love, identity, and the true nature of reality.
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Praise for Everything I Thought I Knew
“Everything I Thought I Knew is a page-turning, mind-bending story of hope and healing. The reader will root for Chloe from page one as she navigates her world post–heart transplant and tries to meld her prior reality with her new one. I couldn’t put it down; it is a beautiful debut from a talented new voice in YA.” —Alexandra Ballard, author of What I Lost
The thoughtful balance of self-discovery, humor, and realistic relationships will bring in fans of John Green and Nicola Yoon. Readers looking for a good, cathartic cry will love Chloe’s journey from losing everything she thought she was, to finding the person she was meant to be. —School Library Journal
Romance and quantum physics intertwine in this frothy introduction to multiverse SF. —Kirkus Reviews
This is a satisfying soaper that combines pleasing romance with an enticing touch of the otherworldly. —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
I love books that make me think. And then think some more. And then think, think, think. And Everything I Thought I Knew is one of those that are going to stick with me long after I’ve finished it and make me continue to think about it. It just takes an already thought provoking topic and twists and weaves it into something even more elevated. And it’s a “smart” book with all of the science and real life aspects mixed in.
This book grabbed me from the first page and it was just a wild ride until the end that I still don’t feel like is over with. And that ending, phew, just read it for that alone! I am such a huge fan of endings like this, and let me tell you it’s been a while since an author has delivered so splendidly. But that’s all I’m going to say because, I mean, it’s the end! You’ve gotta read it!
There are just so many different facets to this story that make it a truly impactful read. And the genre bending in this one is mind blowing. But honestly, this is a story about the characters. And these characters deserve to have their stories heard. This is such a brilliant debut and I really look forward to seeing what Takaoka comes up with next!
About the Author
Photo Content from Shannon Takaoka
Shannon Takaoka is a young adult fiction author who wrote her first book at age 12, when she blatantly ripped off C.S. Lewis with an epic fantasy inspired by THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. (Well, maybe it wasn’t that epic — do 10 pages count?) Madeline L’Engle, Charlotte Brontë, Neil Gaiman and a host of other authors inspired her lifelong love of reading, and she’s especially into all things gothic, weird and nerdy. If a story involves time travel, strange science-y stuff or alternate realities, she’s in.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Shannon now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two children and one very needy dog, who is probably leaning on her right now as she’s pecking away on her keyboard. Her debut novel, EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW, about a 17-year-old girl questioning everything about who she is and who she wants to be following a heart transplant, will be published by Candlewick Press on 10/13/2020 and Walker UK in 2021. She promises that it’s a little weird — but in a good way.
– 10 Winners will receive a Copy of EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW by Shannon Takaoka – 1 Winner will receive EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW Storytellers BOX Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
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Think you know what rural America is like? Discover a plurality of perspectives in this enlightening anthology of stories that turns preconceptions on their head.
Gracie sees a chance of fitting in at her South Carolina private school, until a “white trash”-themed Halloween party has her steering clear of the rich kids. Samuel’s Tejano family has both stood up to oppression and been a source of it, but now he’s ready to own his true sexual identity. A Puerto Rican teen in Utah discovers that being a rodeo queen means embracing her heritage, not shedding it. . . .
For most of America’s history, rural people and culture have been casually mocked, stereotyped, and, in general, deeply misunderstood. Now an array of short stories, poetry, graphic short stories, and personal essays, along with anecdotes from the authors’ real lives, dives deep into the complexity and diversity of rural America and the people who call it home. Fifteen extraordinary authors – diverse in ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, and socioeconomic status – explore the challenges, beauty, and nuances of growing up in rural America. From a mountain town in New Mexico to the gorges of New York to the arctic tundra of Alaska, you’ll find yourself visiting parts of this country you might not know existed – and meet characters whose lives might be surprisingly similar to your own.
Nora Shalaway Carpenter, David Bowles, Joseph Bruchac, Veeda Bybee, Shae Carys, S.A. Cosby, Rob Costello, Randy DuBurke, David Macinnis Gill, Nasugraq Rainey Hopson, Estelle Laure, Yamile Saied Méndez, Ashley Hope Pérez, Tirzah Price and Monica Roe
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Praise for Rural Voices
The writers bring authentic voices to their work in addition to their biographies, shared at the back of the book. This collection will be a high-interest read for middle and high school students…This book is a must-purchase for libraries serving middle and high school readers. —School Library Connection
The compilation successfully meets the challenge of serving as a cohesive whole while providing readers with enough variety of tone, pace, and voice to keep the reading experience interesting. A fresh and highly accessible contribution. —Kirkus Reviews
From laughing out loud to holding back tears, readers who enjoy emotionally resonant books will not be disappointed. Those from similar geographic areas will be nodding their heads while every reader, regardless of location, will connect to the universal triumphs and tribulations of teen life. Fans of Rainbow Rowell will dive headfirst into this collection. A great addition that explores an often misrepresented portion of readers. —School Library Journal
Where has this book been all my life? Growing up in rural America, you swiftly realize people don’t quite understand just how rural (or what rural mens honestly) rural America can be. And it can be frustrating when people don’t understand or make assumptions. And this book gets it right. There are things to love when living in a rural community. And things to hate. But to me that type of living will also always be home.
I haven’t had a chance to go “home” in years. And where I grew up will always be home because I miss being that rural. When I moved to the place I’m currently in I had to deal with people telling me it is rural, when in my eyes it’s a city. So, to say I’m a bit homesick would be hitting the nail on the head. And this book really helped to bring a little slice of home back into my life. People just don’t get what rurality is because they don’t know. Unless you grow up in a town people from an hour away wouldn’t even know about you don’t really have anything to go off of. And then trying to understand the complexities and layers of rurality on top of that makes it even more difficult. But this book gets it right. It has those layers. It has the complexities. And it has the good and the bad. Rural living is a way of life for many and while it may not be for everyone, to me it will always make a place a home.
This book is so meaningful to me. Growing up in a rural town I never felt like my experiences were represented in books and movies and tv shows. It’s just something that nobody seems to understand unless they live it. And while I definitely took advantage of it and couldn’t wait to “get out,” now I miss living in such a small community. There are the positives and the negatives, the diversity (it exists, I promise!) and the prejudice, and there are things to love and hate, but I will always seek out a rural community over a city.
About the Author
Photo Credit: Chip Bryan
Nora Shalaway Carpenter grew up on a mountain ridge deep in the West Virginia wilderness. A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program, she is the author of the YA novel The Edge of Anything and the picture book Yoga Frog. Before she wrote books, she worked as associate editor of Wonderful West Virginia magazine, and she has been a certified yoga teacher since 2012. She currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, three young children, and world’s most patient dog and cat.
As a rural-born reader and writer, I’ve often been frustrated by how hard it can be to find accurate, non-stereotypical portrayals of rural culture—which is why I’m so excited about the upcoming launch of Rural Voices! Honestly, there are way more than ten reasons to check out this fantastic anthology that hits bookshelves next month. But here are some of my personal favorites.
10. Authors Who Know Their Stuff: Every single contributor actually IS rural. Most are born-and-raised, while some moved to rural communities a bit later—but they all clearly know, understand, and respect rural places and people on a deep and authentic level.
9. Read About Something Different: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 97% of the country’s landmass is made up of rural areas—but less than 20% of the population lives there. Reading Rural Voices is a great way to start learning about those lesser-known (and often misrepresented) parts of our huge country.
8. Representation, Representation, Representation: Many people don’t realize how diverse rural America is—a misconception often reinforced by popular media portrayals. The stories—and authors—of RV include a refreshingly more varied—and accurate—representation of life in the many different corners of rural America.
7. Sweet Romance: For the romance lovers out there, several stories include endearingly romantic storylines. Check out Best in Show and Close Enough for adorable explorations of first love in all its messy, confusing glory.
6. Creep Factor: Prefer chills up the spine over romantic feels? No problem! Several stories, like The Cabin and The Hole of Dark Kill Hollow, may have you flicking on every light in the house before you finish. You’ve been warned.
5. Fierce Friendships: High school is confusing, exhilarating, and awful—sometimes all on the same day. But good friends can make all the difference. For deep explorations of friends and friendships, check out stories like Fish and Fences and Black Nail Polish.
4.Herbert!!!: Okay, this may be personal preference, but Herbert the 4H Pig is officially my favorite RV character. Head over to Tirzah Price’s unforgettable f/f county-fair romance, Best in Show, to meet him. Be forewarned—he’s a tragic hero (perhaps Hamlet would have been an appropriate name…).
3. Subverting the (Overused) Escape Narrative: I’ll bet you’ve read stories where a young, rural protagonist hates their hometown and is counting down to the day they buy a one-way ticket out. Sound familiar? The rural escape narrative is a trope that’s been done to death—frequently by non-rural writers. Yes, some rural kids long for a more urban environment—but plenty are happy in their rural communities and see no need to “escape.” Check out stories like Home Waits or The (Unhealthy) Breakfast Club to meet characters who are smart, talented…and love the rural places that raised them.
2. Life is Complicated. People are, Too: Most people have complicated relationships with where they’re from. Those of us from rural areas are no different. Rural areas struggle with specific challenges and problems, much of it due to longstanding issues of access and equality, and this undeniably shapes part of the rural experience. Many stories in RV touch upon some of the more complex aspects of growing up rural and don’t shy away from the harder bits. But, as with any marginalized or underrepresented group, rural challenges are best understood—and written about—by those with the inside experience and context to create a nuanced and accurate portrayal.
1. Smashing Stereotypes: The thing I love best about this collection is that it does so much to deconstruct the hurtful, harmful, and often downright inaccurate stereotypes that exist about rural people and places. Hopefully, people will enjoy reading the stories as much as we enjoyed writing them!
ABOUT MONICA ROE Monica Roe was born and raised in a small dairy farming community at the norther end of the Appalachia and is proud first-generation university graduate. While she was studying at Vermont College of Fine Arts, her thesis, entitled “Taking Out the Trash—Confronting Stereotypes of Rural and Blue-Collar Culture in Young Adult Literature and the MFA Academy,” was awarded VCFA’s critical thesis prize. Her first novel, Thaw, was published in 2008. She is also a physical therapist and divides her time between Alaska, where she clinically practices in several northwestern bush communities, and rural South Carolina, where she and her family own a small apiary.
A riveting middle-grade fantasy about sibling bonds, enchanted houses, and encroaching wildness, lyrically told in eerily beautiful prose The grass grew taller than the house itself, surrounding it on all sides. It stuffed the keyholes and scraped against the roof. It shook the walls and made paintings shiver.
Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters’ parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees. They left behind a warning saying never to leave the house or go into the grass. “Wait for us,” the note read. “Sleep darkly.” Ever since then, the house itself has taken care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine–feeding them, clothing them, even keeping them company–while the girls have waited and grown up and played a guessing game: Think of an animal, think of a place. Think of a person, think of a face. Until one day, when the eldest, fourteen-year-old Winnow, does the unthinkable and goes outside into the grass, and everything twelve-year-old Mayhap thought she knew about her home, her family, and even herself starts to unravel. With luscious, vivid prose, poet and author Hayley Chewins transports readers to a house where beloved little dogs crawl into their owners’ minds to sleep, sick girls turn silver, and anything can be stolen–even laughter and silence.
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Praise for The Sisters of Stragarden Place
Lyrical and imaginative, rich and riveting. This is Hayley Chewins at her best, writing about magical girls with secrets and sisters who rise above the odds. An absolute must-read! —Christine Day, author of I Can Make This Promise, an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book
Chewins’ prose is exquisite, her eerie concepts heart-wrenching…Superb, spooky, and unforgettable. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Chewins (The Turnaway Girls) weaves a vivid, otherworldly tale of family and secrets, with a gothic setting that serves as a character in its own right. Through themes of identity, forgiveness, and longing, Mayhap’s unpredictable quest becomes intensely personal, especially as the sisters reinvent their familial relationship. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A strong opening and consistent sense of urgency makes this an ideal choice for reluctant readers interested in slightly spooky fantasy. Give to fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Kenneth Oppel’s The Nest, or The House in Poplar Wood by K.E. Ormsbee. —School Library Journal
What a magical little book! This book is like stepping into an ethereal realm and just getting lost in the magic. It’s just so beautifully written and I could’ve spent many more pages in the story. And I love how it’s not just a sweet and cute magic, but a dark and twisted magic that lures you in. So, basically this is the perfect book for spooky season!
This book is like taking a trip into a lush fairy tale. Everything is not as it seems and magic lives with every breath. This is such a short story but there is so much yet so little within the pages. You feel as if you’ve gone on an incredible adventure, only to find out that you’ve just gone for a stroll. The prose is just so lyrical and poetic (which makes sense, given author) that you can’t help but to fall in love with the story.
This book is a fairy tale without being a play by play retelling of the same handful of fairy tales. I love books that are surreal feeling, so immediately fell in love with this one. I mean it’s ghostly, beastly, and ethereal aka my holy trinity of bookish loves.
About the Author
Photo Credit: SLDV Portrait
Hayley Chewinsis an author and writing coach.She grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, in a house so full of books that she learnt to read by accident. She’s fond of telling people that she writes books about magical girls with secrets—even if that’s not an actual genre. Her books are literary fantasy, surreal fairy tales, or weird magic. (Or: all of the above.)
Her debut, The Turnaway Girls, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2018 and made the American Library Association’s Amelia Bloomer List of Best Feminist Books for Young Readers. Her second book, The Sisters of Straygarden Place, is forthcoming from Candlewick Press on October 13th, 2020, and has already been called “superb, spooky, and unforgettable” in a recent starred review.
Hayley lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with her soulmate/husband/fellow coffee addict, Liale, and their toy poodle, Darfer.
She is represented by Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, otherwise known as The Most Amazing Agent Ever.
An award-winning author tells of a mermaid who leaves the sea in search of her landish mother in a captivating tale spun with beautiful prose, lush descriptions, empathy, and keen wit.
Blood calls to blood; charm calls to charm. It is the way of the world. Come close and tell us your dreams.
Sanna is a mermaid — but she is only half seavish. The night of her birth, a sea-witch cast a spell that made Sanna’s people, including her landish mother, forget how and where she was born. Now Sanna is sixteen and an outsider in the seavish matriarchy, and she is determined to find her mother and learn who she is. She apprentices herself to the witch to learn the magic of making and unmaking, and with a new pair of legs and a quest to complete for her teacher, she follows a clue that leads her ashore on the Thirty-Seven Dark Islands. There, as her fellow mermaids wait in the sea, Sanna stumbles into a wall of white roses thirsty for blood, a hardscrabble people hungry for miracles, and a baroness who will do anything to live forever.
From the author of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book The Kingdom of Little Wounds comes a gorgeously told tale of belonging, sacrifice, fear, hope, and mortality.
One of my goals this year was to read more books based on the sea/ocean. It’s funny that I avoid these stories because I was always a swimmer and a water baby. BUT there’s something about that vast expanse of water (and maybe some trauma from reading Moby Dick at too young an age) that gets my heart pumping for all the wrong reasons. HOWEVER, I aspire to get over this! So, I of course immediately wanted to read Mermaid Moon when I saw it. I mean, just look at that STUNNING cover!
Let me start off by talking about the writing. Oh the glorious and lyrical writing. I love when a book just kind of sucks me into a hole and tells me a story, which is exactly what Mermaid Moon did. It’s kind of genius in a way, and is oh so effective when narrating a fairy-tale inspired story.
Which leads me to the merfolk. They have all the bad boss women and I loved the matriarchal society they dwelled in. It was also so interesting to see Cokal’s take on merfolk and learn so much about them. This book definitely follows some of the traditional aspects of fairy tales, and I really appreciate that. In a time where retellings are almost over saturating the market I seem to find that the ones that stick closer to their dark and mysterious counterparts are the ones that stand out the most for me.
About the Author
Susann Cokal is the author of two books for young adults and two for regular adults. Her third novel, The Kingdom of Little Wounds, won several national awards, including a Michael L. Printz Honor from the American Library Association.
Susann grew up with a roomful of books and Barbies, with whom she acted out elaborate stories. She comes from a Danish family whose traditions have worked their way into her novels. Mermaid Moon takes place in the far northern reaches of civilization, in a Middle Ages in which traces of Viking magic remain. The Kingdom of Little Wounds is set in a watery, witchy, mermaidy kingdom in Scandinavia, 1572. The tale of plotting between three outcasts–a seamstress, a slave, and a mad queen–involves mysterious illness, a conniving count, and plenty of court secrets.
Susann studied medieval history, art history, and literature in Poitiers, France, which gave her the origins and inspiration for Mirabilis, wherein a wet nurse is suspected of working miracles.
She is also the author of numerous short stories, essays, and articles about contemporary literature and pop culture–from supermodels to zoos, gynecology to the concepts of the sublime and horror–and she has been a frequent reviewer for the Sunday New York Times Book Review.
She now lives in Richmond, Virginia, with a lot of cats, a dog, a spouse, and some peacocks that supposedly belong to a neighbor.
This rich literary novel follows Elen, who must live a precarious lie in order to survive among the medieval Welsh warband that killed her family.
Wales, 1109. Three years ago, a warband raided Elen’s home. Her baby sister could not escape the flames. Her older sister fought back and almost killed the warband’s leader, Owain ap Cadwgan, before being killed herself. Despite Elen’s own sexual assault at the hands of the raiders, she saw a chance to live and took it. She healed Owain’s wound and spun a lie: Owain ap Cadwgan, son of the king of Powys, cannot be killed, not by blade nor blow nor poison. Owain ap Cadwgan has the protection of Saint Elen, as long as he keeps her namesake safe from harm and near him always.
For three years, Elen has had plenty of food, clothes to wear, and a bed to sleep in that she shares with the man who brought that warband to her door. Then Owain abducts Nest, the wife of a Norman lord, and her three children, triggering full-out war. As war rages, and her careful lies threaten to unravel, Elen begins to look to Nest and see a different life — if she can decide, once and for all, where her loyalties lie. J. Anderson Coats’s evocative prose immerses the reader in a dark but ultimately affirming tale of power and survival.
I love a good historical fiction, especially one that takes me way back. Wales 1109 was a time of war, fear, and destruction. Spindle and Dagger takes us back to this time and gives insight into the horror Elen, the main character, had to face. Elen is a survivor, while she may not always be the most fearless individual, she still perseveres.
One thing that I often find hit or miss with historical fiction, especially one that takes you this far back in time, is readability. As soon as I started Spindle and Dagger I was struck with how “easy” (for lack of a better term) the story was to get into. The prose was simple yet elegant and I wasn’t struggling to find myself interested in the story, like how I sometimes feel with historical fiction.
The other aspect of this story that I greatly appreciated was the parts where I could gleam how much research the author did for this story. You could tell that this book had a great historical context even though it is a fictional story.
So in essence, if you like historical fiction and gorgeous covers then don’t hesitate and snag a copy of Spindle and Dagger!
About the Author
J. Anderson Coats has received two Junior Library Guild awards, two Washington State Book Awards, and earned starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, the Horn Book Review, and Shelf Awareness. Her newest book is The Green Children of Woolpit, a creepy middle-grade fantasy inspired by real historical events. She is also the author of R is for Rebel, The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming, The Wicked and the Just, and the forthcoming Spindle and Dagger.
In a series of interwoven fictionalized stories, Deborah Noyes gives voice to the marginalized women in P. T. Barnum’s family — and the talented entertainers he built his entertainment empire on.
Much has been written about P. T. Barnum — legendary showman, entrepreneur, marketing genius, and one of the most famous nineteenth-century personalities. For those who lived in Barnum’s shadow, however, life was complex. P. T. Barnum’s two families — his family at home, including his two wives and his daughters, and his family at work, including Little People, a giantess, an opera singer, and many sideshow entertainers — suffered greatly from his cruelty and exploitation. Yet, at the same time, some of his performers, such as General Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton), became wealthy celebrities who were admired and feted by presidents and royalty. In this collection of interlinked stories illustrated with archival photographs, Deborah Noyes digs deep into what is known about the people in Barnum’s orbit and imagines their personal lives, putting front and center the complicated joy and pain of what it meant to be one of Barnum’s “creatures.”
Oh how I love the circus! It has always called to me and I have ALWAYS wanted to join a troupe! But, it is in my blood! Long time ago relatives of mine were actually seal trainers for Ringling Bros. So, I of course JUMPED, no actually, LEAPED at the chance to read this set of short stories early!
Let me just start out by giving a big thank you to making Barnum more human. Too often I find that he is overly fantasized and romanticized, when in all actuality he was just like you and me. Sure he created something splendid and marvelous, but that doesn’t make him the most amazing human on earth. He was just a person. A genius, but still a person.
These stories are instantly easy to get into and I could see them as a great read aloud with older children, and really just anyone who is in love with the circus. They are short stories so they quickly delve into the plot line. Therefore there isn’t a ton of character development, but I still really enjoyed Noyes’ ability to add in some more of the historical aspect of the Greatest Showman and his troupe while also still creating interesting and wondrous plots.
While we see the less magical side that Barnum would scoff at someone looking into, it makes everything he created that much more miraculous in a sense. I also love the deeper dive into his personal and family life. His family was his troupe, which means that oftentimes his family at home was left forgotten. Something that I think many may find hard to swallow.
About the Author
Deb writes for adults and children and is also an editor and photographer. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.