Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 4, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Epitaph

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 4, 2015


HarperCollins: Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, illustrated by Holly Hatam

Little Brown and Company: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

News

New Investment Firm Backing Perseus Books Group

The parent company of Perseus Books Group, Perseus LLC, which has investments in a variety of companies, has transferred control of its investment funds, including those holding ownership in Perseus Books, to Centre Lane Partners, a private investment firm that focuses on "middle-market" companies--with revenues of between $20 million and $500 million--that have "leading market positions and sustainable competitive advantages in their respective niches."

Perseus Books president and CEO David Steinberger said that the move "will enable the company to focus on accelerating our plans for growth." He emphasized that "the company is not being sold and there is no change in control of the business." Instead, there's "new investment, new money and momentum for going forward. It's a very positive development for us."

Centre Lane co-founder and managing director Quinn Morgan commented: "We work closely with management teams to help great companies grow. Our capital and skills will enable the Perseus Books team to continue to build on its record of growth and accomplishment."

Perseus LLC was the general partner in Perseus Books and included limited partners. Some of those limited partners are continuing their investment in Perseus under Centre Lane.

Perseus Books Group was founded in 1996 by Frank Pearl and Perseus LLC and has grown steadily through a combination of acquisitions and internal growth. Frank Pearl's death in 2012 has led to a period of turbulence that appears to be over. Last year, in a three-way deal, Perseus was going to be sold to Hachette Book Group, which planned to sell Perseus's distribution operations to Ingram, but the deal fell through. At the time, Perseus was estimated to have about $400 million in sales.


William Morrow & Company: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


AAP Sales: Children's/YA Continues Strong Pace

In the first 11 months of the year, total net book sales rose 5.3%, to $14.3 billion, compared to the first 11 months of 2013, representing sales of 1,209 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. Net book sales in November rose 2.2%, to $1.1 billion. The biggest gains for the main were made by higher-ed course materials, up 25.1%, children's/YA books, which rose 14.1%, and professional books, up 13.9%.

Among highlights for the year to date: children's/YA continued to grow, with sales up 20.7%, to $1.7 billion, and K-12 instructional materials gained 11.1%, to $3.2 billion.

Total trade e-book sales have risen 4.5%, to $1.4 billion. Trade paperbacks were up 8.3%, to $1.9 billion. Trade hardcover were down 0.7%, to $2.3 billion. (Note: trade excludes downloadable audio and children's board books.)

By category for January-November 2014: 

 

 


Binc Foundation: Helping Booksellers #MoreThanEver Donation Campaign


Indigo Third Quarter: Revenue Up 2.1%, Net Profit Jumps

In the third quarter ended December 27, revenue for Indigo Books & Music rose 2.1%, to C$339.4 million (about US$272.9 million), and net earnings nearly quadrupled, to $32.9 million (US$26.5 million).

The company noted that revenues rose despite operating five fewer superstores and one less small-format store. At Indigo and Chapters superstores open at least a year, sales rose 5.5%, while sales at Coles and Indigospirit small-format stores were flat. Sales at indigo.ca rose 10.6%.

The increase in revenue was driven, the company said, by continued double-digit growth in lifestyle, paper and toys categories, including "the highly successful American Girl." The core trade books business grew in spite of the lack of major hit titles compared to the same period last year.

Indigo CEO Heather Reisman commented: "We are pleased with these results, which show both top line growth and improvements in profitability. We're confident these results demonstrate customer affection for our brand. Our entire team is focused on continuing to position this vibrant Canadian business for long-term growth and success."


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


Rediscovered Harper Lee Novel to Be Published

Harper Lee

Harper has acquired North American rights to Go Set a Watchman, a newly discovered novel by To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee. The book will be published July 14 this year.

In a statement, Lee said the novel, which she completed in the mid-1950s, "features the character known as Scout as an adult woman and I thought it a pretty decent effort. My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout's childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout. I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told."

After To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, Lee set aside Go Set a Watchman and never returned to it. The manuscript was unearthed last fall by Tonja Carter, Lee's lawyer, who found it attached to an original typescript of To Kill a Mockingbird.

"After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication," Lee said. "I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years."
 
Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, but is set 20 years later. Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father's attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.
 
"I, along with millions of others around the world, always wished that Harper Lee had written another book," said Michael Morrison, president and publisher of HarperCollins US General Books group and Canada. "And what a brilliant book this is. I love Go Set a Watchman, and know that this masterpiece will be revered for generations to come."

Calling the discovery "a remarkable literary event," Jonathan Burnham, Harper senior v-p and publisher, added that it is "an extraordinary gift to the many readers and fans of To Kill a Mockingbird. Reading in many ways like a sequel to Harper Lee's classic novel, it is a compelling and ultimately moving narrative about a father and a daughter's relationship, and the life of a small Alabama town living through the racial tensions of the 1950s."

Harper Lee in 1962

Early reaction to the news was generally enthusiastic, though doubts were raised as well. Charles J. Shields, who wrote a biography of Lee, told the New York Times: "We're going to see what Harper Lee writes like without a strong editor's hand, when she's, quite honestly, an amateur." The Times also noted that "some critics and observers were skeptical" of Lee's role in approving the deal, since the author suffered a stroke in 2007 and has been living in an assisted living facility. Marja Mills, author of The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, said, "I have some concerns about statements that have been attributed to her."

But Burnham countered: "We talked to her through her lawyer and friend Tonja Carter," adding he was "completely confident" Lee understood and approved of the deal and that speaking directly with her "wasn't necessary."

In the Guardian, author Jay Parini summed up a common response to the discovery: "One rarely gets a high-voltage shock in the literary world, a bolt from the blue.... It's important to celebrate a fine American novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, which has introduced half a century of American students to the pleasures of fiction.... It seems unlikely that the publication of another novel by Harper Lee at this stage will make a big difference to anyone, although it will certainly find curious eyes, like my own, eager to read it. And why not?"


Rock Shatters Front Window at Albuquerque's Page 1 Books

Albuquerque, N.Mex., police are searching for the vandal who "threw a huge rock through the window" of Page 1 Books, " KRQE-13 reported, adding that staff "found the damage early Sunday morning and they aren't happy." Nothing was stolen from the bookshop, so a motive for the incident is unclear at this point.

"I had closed the store the night before," said manager Melissa Jansen. "Everything was fine when I left the store at 11 o'clock last night. When I came in this morning, it was pretty much a shock to see a big hole and all of the glass and a lot of cold air."

Jansen told KOAT-7: "It was very shocking. I was in a state of disbelief." She added that the bookstore didn't have security cameras, but had just purchased some.


Skip Dye Promoted at Penguin Random House

Skip Dye

Skip Dye has been appointed v-p, director, sales operations, Penguin Random House, and continues as v-p, director, academic marketing & library sales, Random House and Crown Publishing Groups.

In his new role, Dye will be responsible for a variety of sales functions related to title management, including the oversight of high-profile, high-volume special processing and assessing customer and publisher supply-chain priorities for key titles.

Dye joined Bantam Doubleday Dell in 1996 as v-p, special markets, sales administration, and sales automation, and since then has held several increasingly higher sales positions.

In a memo to staff announcing the appointment, Jaci Updike, president, sales, Penguin Random House U.S., said Dye has demonstrated a "signal ability to join long-term strategic thinking with detail-based practical troubleshooting. His strong relationships, both in the New York office and in the fulfillment centers, combined with his Southern charm and lightning-quick ability to find customer-focused solutions to complex challenges, have earned him the reputation as one of our most valuable problem solvers. With Skip, it's always about what's best for the book, what's best for the customer, and what's best for our authors and their publishers."


Notes

Newbery Winner Kwame Alexander's ALA Slam Dunk

On February 2, 2015, at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Chicago, poet and novelist Kwame Alexander won the 2015 Newbery Medal and a Coretta Scott King Honor for his middle-grade verse novel, The Crossover (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He took a moment that same busy day to talk with Shelf Awareness...  from another planet.

Newbery winner Kwame Alexander
(photo: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Congratulations, Newbery winner! How are you feeling?

I'm on another planet. Obviously I'm not dreaming, but I feel like it. The really cool thing about it is the outpouring of support and camaraderie and love, and just the feeling of community of children's book writers everywhere. This tribe is so awesome, I'm wondering what took me so long to start writing for kids!

The Crossover feels so powerfully personal. Are there any aspects of the book that are autobiographical?

I think the spirit of it is autobiographical, definitely. I don't have a twin. My father wasn't funny. I wouldn't have called him cool. He was a basketball star in high school and college, but basketball wasn't big in our house. I played one year and I wasn't that good. For me, it's tennis. The competitiveness of me playing tennis and becoming very good at it, and the idea of sport as a metaphor in my life, all of that played a huge role in this book, but it wasn't literal.

Tell us about the title. You define "crossover" as a basketball maneuver, but how does that play out in the book's themes?

I knew this was a coming-of-age story, the idea of crossing over from boyhood to manhood. And the crossover is just a wonderful move in basketball that has a lot of rhythm and stop-and-start. That move really represents the idea of poetry in motion, and basketball is poetry in motion.

On that note, we like how your rap-style rhythms and onomatopoeic language evoke the game of basketball. How did the form of The Crossover develop?

For all of my writing life I've been a poet, and so I've had to learn the ingredients that go into making a poem behave. When you look at what those ingredients are-- rhythm, figurative language, originality, repetition, wonderful feelings--well, basketball represents many of those same ingredients: rhythm, repetition, the metaphor of these cats on the floor and the way they move and the conciseness of it. It seemed like basketball could be represented on the page very effortlessly in verse.

It's refreshing that Josh has parents who are there to help support him. Was that an important choice for you, or just how the story ended up unfolding?

It's so funny you ask that because initially, no, it wasn't my plan. As you know, in a lot of middle-grade and YA fiction the parents are done away with so that you can focus on the kids. My familial bonds were always extremely important, so that was my frame of mind at first. But as I wrote the book, I got caught up in this notion that the parents can't be that instrumental. And so the parents were introduced in the book, but they were just sort of there. I told myself, you have a loaded gun, but you haven't fired it. What's the point of introducing these strong parents if you aren't going to utilize that strength to make the story even more powerful? And once I decided that, I thought, well, that's the kind of house you grew up in, you can draw on your own relationship with your family.

One of your numbered "Basketball Rules" is: "Always shoot for the sun and you will shine." Is that a personal motto of yours?

My motto is "Say yes." I believe in saying yes, walking through doors, being intentional, confident, exploratory... and smart. So, saying yes, walking through doors, and figuring it out. I've tried to live my life like that. I think many of those Basketball Rules--and in particular that one--have a lot to do with that motto of saying yes, or more generally, trying to live by a moral code.

If you could say anything to young readers, what would it be?

Books are like amusement parks. They are fun. Demand from the adults in your life--whether it be librarians, educators or your parents--that sometimes you get to pick the rides. --Karin Snelson


'Return of the Great American Indie Bookstore'

"American independent bookstores are thriving in many cities around the country. In fact, rumors of their demise in the age of Amazon.com and e-books are greatly exaggerated. We still love reading 'real' books--that is to say, physical, printed editions," wrote David Hale Smith in an American Way piece headlined "Return of the Great American Indie."  

Featured booksellers were the Mysterious Bookshop, New York City; Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.; Powell's City of Books, Portland, Ore.; Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.; and the Wild Detectives, Dallas, Tex.

Smith, a literary agent who also edited Dallas Noir, observed: "Bookstores are still wondrous, magical little places. There is something special about the community that gathers in and around a great local bookstore. Browsing their aisles is an invigorating experience; the brain fires up at the riot of colorful book jackets, the earthy smell of quality paper and the promise of future hours well spent, tucked away inside your mind."


Personnel Changes at Gallery Books Group

Jennifer Long has joined the Gallery Books Group as associate publisher, filling the position formerly held by Michele Martin. Long most recently led Penguin Group's customer service department and earlier was associate publisher of New American Library. She began her career with Putnam Berkley in 1992, when Gallery president and publisher Louise Burke hired her to run the Publisher's Office.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Resilience on Diane Rehm

Tomorrow on NPR's the Takeaway: Reggie Love, author of Power Forward: My Presidential Education (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476763347). He will also appear on MSNBC's Politics Nation.

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Bill Browder, author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476755717).

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Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Jessie Close and Pete Earley, authors of Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness (Grand Central, $27, 9781455548828).


Movies: In The Lost Lands; The Wife; In Dubious Battle

Milla Jovovich "is in advanced negotiations" to star in Myriad Pictures' In The Lost Lands, adapted from three short stories by George R.R. Martin, Deadline.com reported, adding that this "is the first time that the author's works have been adapted for the big screen outside of HBO's Game Of Thrones." The project will be directed by Constantin Werner. Justin Chatwin is also in the cast. Production begins in Germany later this year.

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The Glenn Close-starring adaptation of Meg Wolitzer's 2003 novel, The Wife, has added cast members Frances McDormand, Logan Lerman, Brit Marling, Christian Slater and Jonathan Pryce, the Hollywood Reporter wrote. Bjorn Runge is directing the project, with Rosalie Swedlen of Anonymous Content, Meta Louise Foldager of Meta Film Stockholm and Maria Dahlin and Gila Ulfung producing.

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Literary adaptation wunderkind James Franco has added another book, John Steinbeck's novel In Dubious Battle, to his growing list of projects. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Franco "has assembled an all-star cast that includes Selena Gomez, Vincent D'Onofrio, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Bryan Cranston and Danny McBride" for the film, which has been adapted by Matt Rager (As I Lay Dying). Principal photography will begin in March.



Books & Authors

Awards: B&N Great New Writers Nominees

Barnes & Noble has announced the six finalists for the 2014 Discover Great New Writers Awards. Winners in each category will receive a $10,000 prize and a year of additional promotion from B&N. Second-place finalists receive $5,000, and third-place finalists $2,500. Winners will be announced on March 4. The finalists are:
 
Fiction:
The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol (Norton)
Elegy on Kinderklavier by Arna Bontemps Hemenway (Sarabande)
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld (Pantheon)

Nonfiction:
Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West by Bryce Andrews (Atria)
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty (Norton)
Untamed by Will Harlan (Grove/Atlantic)


Book Brahmin: Wendy Lee

Photo: Hillery Stone

After graduating from college, Wendy Lee went to China to work as an English teacher. She has featured both cities in which she lived, Fuzhou in Fujian Province and Xining in Qinghai Province, in her novels. The first, Happy Family, is about a young woman from China who becomes the nanny to an American couple with an adopted Chinese daughter. The second, Across a Green Ocean (Kensington, January 27, 2015), deals with a Chinese American family a year after the father dies, when the son goes to China to find out long-held secrets in the family's past. After residing in New York City for 13 years, Lee now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and cat.

On your nightstand now:

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I've watched the TV series but have only started reading the books now. The adaptation seems remarkably faithful thus far (unfortunately, the same people die).

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. The physical book itself is pure magic: the alternating red and green text, the intricately illustrated chapter openers, even the dust jacket that looks like a medieval painting. I don't think the e-book version would have the same effect on a child today.

Your top five authors:

Marguerite Duras, Mary Gaitskill, Ha Jin, Jhumpa Lahiri and Alice Munro.

Book you've faked reading:

Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald. This was assigned for a class, and I think I just looked at the photos.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin. Colwin is well known among food writers, but even to someone who isn't that interested in reading about food, her personal essays are full of life and warmth. Her piece "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant" (which inspired an anthology of the same name) encapsulates everything about being young and living in a New York City apartment that is way too small for you.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine. Tomine does amazing [artwork] for the New Yorker, and his graphic novel about young people looking for love and identity is no exception.

Book that changed your life:

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. Before Lahiri's work, I hadn't read much about Asian-American characters from the generation I identified with: the children of immigrants who retained some of the native country's traditions and habits, but were much more aware of how they clashed with the predominant American culture. This short-story collection was very inspiring to a young writer with my background.

Favorite line from a book:

From the short story "Theft" by Katherine Anne Porter: "In this moment she felt that she had been robbed of an enormous number of valuable things, whether material or intangible: things lost or broken by her own fault, things she had forgotten and left in houses when she moved: books borrowed and not returned, journeys she had planned and had not made, words she had waited to hear spoken to her and not heard, and the words she had meant to answer with bitter alternatives and intolerable substitutes worse than nothing, and yet inescapable: the long patient suffering of dying friendships, and the dark inexplicable death of love--all that she had, and all that she had missed, were lost together, and were twice lost in this landslide of remembered losses."

Which character you most relate to:

I'm not sure, but according to a BuzzFeed quiz, I'm most like Oskar Schell from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: highly intelligent but anxious and depressed, a lover of adventure and stories but often discouraged by reality. Some of this is true.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. The first time I read it, I skipped most of the war parts because I wanted to know what happened to Natasha and Andrei.

Book you wish you had written:

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I love how this book tackles the subjects of artistic talent, success and money--how these things are related and whether they have any bearing on each other. Definitely an interesting subject for a writer!


#Wi10 Buzz Books: Young Adult

When the American Booksellers Association added a separate Children's Institute to the calendar, booksellers worried YA and children's books might no longer be a part of the Winter Institute. But as the great list of authors appearing at WI10 shows, those writing for younger readers are still very much a part of the mix--and part of the buzz leading up to the event. (Also see our previous WI Buzz Books articles: Fiction, Nonfiction, Indie Presses)

Undertow by Michael Buckley (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May, $18.99, 9780544348257)
Known for his Sisters Grimm and Nerds series, Michael Buckley is writing for an older audience for the first time in a YA trilogy that kicks off with Undertow. Comparisons are being made to Rick Yancey and Marie Lu, but booksellers said Buckley corners his very own brand of creepiness in Undertow. When a society of sea-dwelling warriors surfaces on Coney Island, 16-year-old Lyric Walker's world will never be the same--especially when her efforts to help the sea creatures' crown prince assimilate leads to an impossible love. Undertow raises questions about identity, race and belonging and has a xenophobic subplot reminiscent of the movie District 9. "I just love everything that he does," observed Kate Schlademan, owner of the Learned Owl, Hudson, Ohio.

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid (Arsenal Pulp Press/Consortium, April, $15.95, 9781551525747)
Not even 25, Raziel Reid is the youngest person to win Canada's prestigious Governor General's Award for Children's Literature--but there is also a campaign across the border to have the award rescinded for the book's content, which, of course, has made U.S. booksellers even more eager to grab a galley at WI. Reid was just 18 when he heard about an event that greatly influenced his debut novel, the shooting at school of a 15-year-old California boy by the boy he had asked to be his valentine. Newsweek called the crime the "most prominent gay-bias crime" since the killing of Matthew Shepard. In Reid's fictional school, Jude envisions those around him as playing parts on a film set--there are the stars, whom everyone knows and/or wants to know; the crew, who make all the things happen; and the extras, who are anonymous. Jude does not fit in, but with the reluctant help of his best friend Angela, he might be the flamer who challenges all their set roles.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (HaperTeen, Feb., $17.99, 9780062310637)
At the Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis, where Drew Sieplinga is the events coordinator, she said Red Queen was the top book the store's teen book club voted to read. "That bodes well for it," she added. Victoria Aveyard's debut, about a 17-year-old girl with latent magical powers, has been called Graceling meets The Selection. "Power politics, intrigue and romance--wow," was the take from Laura Donohoe, children's buyer at Malaprop's in Asheville.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold (Viking, Mar., $17.99, 9780451470775)
Debut author David Arnold is getting some buzz because he is a stay-at-home dad who wrote Mosquitoland while his son watched Sesame Street, but his character will be remembered for what happens when she does not stay at home. Forced to leave Cleveland to go live with her father and his new wife in Mississippi, Mim hops on a Greyhound back north to be with her "real" mother who is very sick. Along the way she learns a lot about love and loyalty and staying sane. "The characters are really interesting, and they get more interesting as she goes on the long bus trip," said Sieplinga.

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert (Disney/Hyperion, May, $17.99, 9781423197386)
Another closely watched debut, largely because Kelly Loy Gilbert teaches creative writing to teens in San Francisco and also serves on the board of NaNoWriMo--an unarguable phenomenon in the YA world. Conviction is about a kid named Braden who has a fastball that has minor league scouts watching him, but he is up against the nephew of the police officer his father has just been accused of murdering. It is a weight that haunts his every pitch, as Braden faces an unbearable choice.

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach (Simon & Schuster, Mar., $17.99, 9781481418775)
The premise of Tommy Wallach's debut sounds like classic YA fare--four teenagers grapple with finding themselves and their paths in high school--except an asteroid is hurling toward earth, and with a blurry future and everybody else looking up, this group just might find a present more meaningful than they ever imagined. Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, N.Y., said We All Looked Up is one of her favorite YA reads of the year.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (HarperCollins, Apr, $17.99, 9780062320520)
A YA debut from the author of King of Queens: A Novel of Cleopatra, the Vampire and The Year of Yes, who has also edited an anthology with Neil Gaiman. Aza Ray is a girl born with a lung disease who is literally drowning in thin air when she hears someone calling to her from the deck of a ship she sees in the sky--something only her best friend (or more than a friend) Jason believes. But before she can sort out those feelings, Aza finds herself on the sky plane of Magonia, where she can not only breathe but also has special powers, which she might have to use to prevent war between Earth and her new world. The 150,000-copy announced first printing is not bad for buzz, either.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill, Apr., $19.95, 9781595148032, 1595148035)
In this debut, a scholar named Laia goes undercover as a slave in an attempt to save her brother, who has been accused of treason by the Martial Empire--but when she meets the empire's finest (and secretly reluctant) soldier, has she found an ally or a foe? According to Robert McDonald, children's buyer at the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka, Ill., "This story of a meek girl who must find the steel within in order to save her brother feels as contemporary as a headline. And the brutal realm in which she and the boy soldier Elias live feels as real and frightening as any repressive military regime, from any time."

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Scholastic, Feb. $19.99, 9780545576505)
From the author of Esperanza Rising and other award-winning multicultural bestsellers comes a new tale of music, magic and maybe even a real-life miracle. Echo opens in a forbidden forest, where Otto meets three strange sisters who set him on a quest involving a prophecy, a promise and a harmonica that turns up years later in the lives of three other children. A master storyteller delivers a novel where the characters' telling of their stories ties everything together in the most unexpected ways. "I couldn't put it down," said Schlademan at Learned Owl. "It's one of the few times I have read a book and immediately wrote to the publisher about it."

Fallout (Lois Lane) by Gwenda Bond (Switch Press/Capstone, May, $16.95 9781630790059)
In Fallout, Gwenda Bond (author of Girl on a Wire and Blackwood) imagines her girlhood hero Lois Lane as an army brat trying to deal with her new high school--in the big city of Metropolis. Bond's Lois is reminiscent of Veronica Mars and Buffy, and yet is completely original. Bond will release two short stories about the teen Lois prior to the book's publication.

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (Algonquin, Mar., $17.95, 9781616203726)
From the author of Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone comes a ghostly story told in alternating voices of the living and the dead. The characters are Violet, a dancer on the verge of success who worries her secrets about how she got there will come out; Amber, who's been in a juvenile detention center for so long she cannot imagine ever getting out; and Orianna, who, in death, ties them together. Calling The Walls Around Us Suma's best work to date, Hermans at Oblong said: "She weaves a story that will suck you in and chew you up, leaving you dazzled."

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry (Harlequin Teen, May, $17.99, 9780373211425)
The author of the Pushing the Limits series launches a new issue-driven series with Nowhere but Here, about a spoiled 17-year-old girl who spends a summer with distant relatives. Emily learns things about her absent biker dad that make her question just about everything. Then there's Oz, with his "suck-me-in-eyes," who wants nothing more than to join the biker club. When Emily's father asks Oz to keep her safe from a rival club, he sees his big chance for both the club and the girl--even if no one else wants them together.

A Real Guide to Really Getting It Together Once and for All: (Really) by Ashley Rickards (Harlequin, Mar, paper $19.95, 9780373893133)
The star of MTV's Awkward, Ashley Rickards knows just what being awkward means. She's compiled a self-help book that is designed to make teens feel less awkward in every way--just like the big sister you always wish you had. That is, if your big sister was hilarious and had access to experts like Deepak Chopra, financial consultant Zac Bissonnette and celebrity trainer Lalo Fuentes, whose tips she shares here. --Bridget Kinsella


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