Also published on this date: Wednesday, January 29, 2014: Maximum Shelf: Shotgun Lovesongs

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves


Indigo CEO to Meet with Community over Store Closing

In an unusual appearance, Indigo CEO Heather Reisman is holding a "town hall" in the Runnymede section of Toronto to answer "questions from the community about the impending closure of Chapters Runnymede" in the Bloor West Village shopping district.

The store was not welcomed when Chapters, which since became part of Indigo, opened it in an old theater in 1998. Now many in the area are protesting the store's closing on February 16 to make way for a Shoppers Drug Mart. recounted that when the store was proposed, "more than 1,500 locals signed a petition demanding that the 1927 site of the Runnymede Theatre--which movie chain Famous Players gave up on in 1997--not be leased to a bookselling monolith.

"Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman and his eventual successor, Bloor West Village city councillor David Miller, both expressed displeasure with the deal.

"But the Ontario Municipal Board upheld a decision to rezone it for retail with the promise of renovations and restorations of the art deco theatre, which ultimately cost Chapters about $5 million in 1999."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Truckee Bookshelf in California to Stay Open

The Truckee Bookshelf, Truckee, Calif., will remain open after customers "stepped up to the plate," owner Debbie Lane told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. In November, the store had said it might close because sales had fallen 25%-30% after it moved to a new location a year ago.

A 10th-grade English class at Truckee High School organized a community rally on November 23 that "generated record-breaking sales for the business," the paper said. In addition, the store raised $6,560 in an online campaign that had a $25,000 goal.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Lane said about the people who came to the rally and the store since then. "You secured our future. You gave us a real leg up, and I can't thank them enough."

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

UC Davis, Amazon Team Up in Pilot Program

Amazon and the University of California, Davis, are conducting a pilot program under which Amazon pays the school 2% of net purchases made by UC Davis Amazon Student members or by users who enter Amazon through a storefront on the home page of the university's store.

The program began last fall, and promises to contribute at least $40,000 to develop a textbook scholarship in collaboration with We Are Aggie Pride, a student group that provides emergency funding for UC Davis students in need. Other revenue will help support student programs and services.

Jason Lorgan, director of UC Davis Stores, called the program "a win-win for the university and its students. The site complements the existing UC Davis retail operations and provides additional items that we're unable to provide. We expect it will generate significant revenue for the university and do not believe it will harm our in-store sales."

UC Davis Stores also offers students online price comparisons among a dozen textbook retailers--including Amazon--and makes it easy to buy from those retailers.

UC Davis Stores has eight locations on campus, in downtown Davis and near the university's Sacramento campus. In its last fiscal year, it had sales of $22.1 million and contributed $1.2 million to help fund the Memorial Union and its student programs and services.

Incidentally, we hear from some general independent bookstores around the country that Amazon continues to send "Dear Independent Bookseller" letters, asking them to join the Amazon Source Program, under which the indies would sell Kindles. The reception to that program, introduced last year, remains chilly.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Firestorm Cafe & Books Closing Temporarily

Firestorm Cafe & Books, Asheville, N.C., will close its 48 Commerce Street location after March 1 "in order to focus the whole of our collective energy on securing a new space, and creating a new Firestorm to occupy it." A community conversation is scheduled for February 12 to discuss plans, "suggest some ways that folks can lend us a hand, solicit feedback on our draft anti-oppression statement and, most importantly, create space to hear your ideas, concerns and desires for a new Firestorm!"

About a year and a half ago, the collective decided to significantly pare down the café's menu, a change that "coincided with the remodeling of the space to accommodate more books," the Mountain Express reported, adding that Firestorm still encountered obstacles, including "limited parking; strong competition from numerous other downtown bookstores; limited space for events; an underwhelming store front, and more."

Firestorm's collective hopes to relocate to a larger space somewhere in West Asheville by mid-summer. "We offer a specialized selection of books," said Travis Schuett. "Within the Southeastern region, you can't get books like you can here. When you're attracting people that are traveling, it's necessary to have parking.... We're taking time to evaluate and find the perfect space for us. Especially after experiencing being here after five years and realizing how much the location has shaped our day to day operations, we want to focus on finding the perfect space."

Third Factory: Avant-Garde Bookshop Pops Up in Gowanus

Nonprofit publisher Ugly Duckling Presse has opened Third Factory, a pop-up bookstore in Brooklyn's Gowanus neighborhood. The shop, which will be up through February, is located on the first floor of the Old American Can Factory at 232 Third St. and Third Avenue, DNAInfo New York reported. UDP is selling its own titles, along with books from other publishers with offices in the building, including Archipelago Books, Akashic Books and One Story magazine.

In addition to offering books and hosting special events, Third Factory "functions as a workspace where shoppers can also see tomes being made. UDP volunteers bind books in the space during 'Presse Day' on the weekends, and Third Factory hosts two artists-in-residence who use the space as a work studio," DNAInfo noted.

"It's kind of like a big experiment for us," said Michael Newton, an editor at UDP.

Penguin Random House's Senior Sales Team

Penguin Random House has made a series of senior sales appointments. The shared goal of the new appointees, said U.S. president and COO Madeline McIntosh, is "to grow our sales by developing and executing marketplace strategies in collaboration with our publishing teams that serve our books, the company in totality, and our diverse account base."

The appointments:

Felicia Frazier, formerly senior v-p, director, sales, Penguin Young Readers, has been named senior v-p, director, young readers sales. The Random House Children's and Penguin Young Readers Sales departments now report to her.

Jaci Updike, formerly senior v-p, director, adult sales, Random House, is now senior v-p, director, adult sales. The Penguin paperback and distributor sales group, the Penguin hardcover sales group and Penguin online and digital sales will continue to be led, respectively, by Norman Lidofsky, president, John Lawton, senior v-p, and Tim McCall, v-p, and will report to Updike, as does the Random House adult sales group.

Katya Shannon, currently v-p, director, adult hardcover field sales, Penguin, has been appointed to a newly created position: v-p, director, special markets. The existing Random House and Penguin special markets and gift sales directors and managers will now report to Shannon.

Julie Black, currently v-p, director, sales strategic planning, Random House, will now support the entire Penguin Random House sales group in this capacity.

Joan DeMayo, currently senior v-p, director, Random House Children's sales and special markets, will step down from her current position and will serve as a direct adviser to McIntosh on a range of initiatives related to sales and business development and will work with the senior management team to assist them with the transition.

Former Barnes & Noble CEO New CEO of Savant Systems

William Lynch, the former Barnes & Noble CEO who abruptly left last July after another round of poor earnings reports, has been appointed CEO of Savant Systems, which the Wall Street Journal described as "a closely held home technology company that uses the Web to manage entertainment devices, security, energy and appliances."

"The smart-home market is exploding," Lynch told the Journal. "Savant has focused on the luxury residential market. Now we're going to take this technology to the mass market."

Lynch spent three years at B&N, focusing mainly on the digital side of the business.

Obituary Note: Andrew Brown

Dr. Andrew Brown, who joined Cambridge University Press in 1976 "and rose through the ranks of the company to became managing director of academic and professional publishing in 2002," has died, the Bookseller reported. He was 63.

WI9: The Great Good Place Takes Center Stage

When Ron Sher founded Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Wash., he took the name of the store straight from the pages of sociologist Ray Oldenburg's book The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons and other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community (first published 25 years ago and available in paperback from Da Capo). In a WI9 breakfast treat, ABA paired Sher (who has since opened a second Third Place in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood) in conversation with Oldenburg about his thoughts on the continued need for third places, beyond work and home, and why he hates the idea of a "virtual" third place.

"By definition," said Oldenburg, a virtual connection is "something completely different" in essence and affect than a real third place where people gather and interact outside of the obligations of work and home.

Sociologist Ray Oldenburg (l.) and Third Place owner Ron Sher.

"The whole American culture has become hostile to third places," said Oldenburg, commenting on what has changed in regard to community since he wrote the book. For example, he said, Chicago once was home to 10,000 taverns and now has only 1,200, and zoning laws have prohibited the construction of gathering places (like pubs) in areas where people actually live. Churches--the most frequent place Americans gather for community--that have grown into mega-places on the side of the highways have found that they serve the community best when they are closer to where people live.

Oldenburg said he has been inspired by Wendell Berry, whom he paraphrased: "All community is local; all else is metaphor." People who think virtual community is community, said Oldenburg, "better rethink it--it's just not true."

Oldenburg listed 11 functions of third places, which range from unifying the neighborhood to providing social support, intellectual forums, strength in numbers and even a place for retired "old coots" to go. He belives that one of the reasons our society is more divided than ever goes back to the loss of a third place for interacting with people of diverse ideas.

"If you connect with people electronically, then you are going to communicate with people who think pretty much as you do," he said. "When we don't get together, we don't become citizens anymore, we become consumers."

Booksellers have reason to hope, he said, because the generation of people who grew up in communities without these gathering places who are now returning to cities to find them.

"Thank God for the regulars," Oldenburg continued, because they are the ones who determine what kind of third place you will have. "Embrace them," he said, because bookstores will become real third places "when your regulars get to know one another." --Bridget Kinsella

WI9: Teen and Tween Advisory Boards

Speaking at a panel last week at Winter Institute 9, Francine Lucidon, of the Voracious Reader in Larchmont, N.Y., said that around 2008, she began experimenting with programs to help "solve the problem of how to get teens in the store." Her first idea was a monthly event series called Free Books and Pizza: on the first Friday of each month, teens would gather at the store to talk books and receive free advance reading copies and food. After realizing just how much money she was spending on pizza, Lucidon shifted the program to Free Books and Cheap Pizza.

From left: Calvin Crosby, Meghan Goel, Francine Lucidon

"It was really successful for two or three years" until a precipitous decline around 2010, Lucidon said. She then stepped back and began to rethink the program. Now, in place of Free Books and Cheap Pizza, there is the YA Alliance. The program, which meets on the last Friday of each month, draws about 15 teens to each session; admission is $10, and members receive free ARCs, snacks and discounts throughout the store. Children 12 and up are invited to join, and YA Alliance members write book reviews of upcoming titles.

Meghan Dietsche Goel of BookPeople in Austin, Tex., shared details of the store's Teen Press Corps, a "very active, responsibility-driven" program for teens 14-18. The members of the Teen Press Corps review upcoming books, write for the Teen Press Corps blog (which is administered by BookPeople), cover BookPeople events, interview authors and attend the Austin Teen Book Festival as correspondents. BookPeople's YA section also features two shelves dedicated to Teen Press Corps picks. For their services, members of the Teen Press Corps receive an employee discount in addition to free ARCs and other perks.

"It's kind of a demanding program," Goel said. Membership to the Teen Press Corps is capped at 10, and writing samples are required to get in. "And they do a lot of work."

At Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif., Calvin Crosby has created the MB14 (Must Be 14) program. To organize the program and draw in members, he partnered with local teachers and librarians who sent teens whom they thought would be good fits. Members of MB14 receive ARCs, have the chance to interview authors both in-store and through Skype events, and write recommendations. MB14 has some 24 members and invites teens between the ages of 14-18. Book Passage has also created a tween advisory group for kids younger than 14 who are "chomping at the bit" to get into MB14.

"The kids are so interested in the entire process of writing a book," said Crosby. MB14 members often propose event ideas and authors to interview; their high level of involvement leads them to feel "a lot of ownership."

The marketing and teen word-of-mouth benefits for stores with teen advisory boards are not hard to see. After moderator Joy Dallanegra-Sanger of the American Booksellers Association remarked that teens who leave these programs are ready-made booksellers, Crosby and Goel agreed. Goel mentioned that one of BookPeople's Teen Press Corps members is a frontline bookseller, and one of the members of MB14, Crosby said, will come into the store on weekends and "just hang out and handsell." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: 10,000 'Heart' Rizzoli

Other Press publisher Judith Gurewich introduced Jan-Philipp Sendker at a reception in Manhattan's Rizzoli Bookstore to celebrate the publication of A Well-Tempered Heart. It's a follow-up to Sendker's bestselling The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, and though it's only been a two-year gap for American readers, in his native Germany there's been more than a decade between the novels. "I didn't plan a sequel," he confided, but "I kept thinking about Julia," the protagonist of both stories. "I wanted to push her aside, but she was such a strong presence that I couldn't.... I realized this story wanted to be written, wanted to be told."

As Sendker signed copies of the new novel, Rizzoli assistant manager Thomas Collins offered an update on the petition to save its West 57th Street home (along with several neighboring buildings) from demolition, an effort that's drawn support from almost 10,000 people in 60 countries. "We're going to be submitting the petition to various officials," including the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the New York City Council, and the mayor's office, Collins reported. "Hopefully we can get a public meeting calendared." --Ron Hogan

Book Trailer of the Day: The War Within These Walls

The War Within These Walls by Aline Sax, illustrated by Caryl Strzelecki (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers), which was named a Batchelder Honor book on Monday at ALA.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gary Shteyngart on Bookworm

Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Noreena Hertz, author of Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World (HarperBusiness, $26.99, 9780062268617).


Tomorrow on KCRW'S Bookworm: Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure (Random House, $27, 9780679643753). As the show put it: "Gary Shteyngart began to write a memoir when he realized that his life story mirrored the story of the twentieth century--that is, the saga of one failed superpower, giving way to another failing one. Shteyngart emigrated from Soviet Leningrad to Queens at age seven, and chronicles his alien coming of age in New York in Little Failure. Shteyngart talks about the book's delicate mix of storytelling, hilarity, and deep sorrow--a concoction, he says, intended to provoke both laughter and simultaneous sighs of oy vey."


Tomorrow on NPR's Tell Me More: Amy Chua, co-author of The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594205460).

Movies: Blood Ties; A Long Way Down

A U.S. trailer and poster have been released for Guillaume Canet's Blood Ties, based on the French film (directed by Jacques Maillot) and novel Les Liens du sang by Bruno and Michel Papet, Indiewire reported. The movie stars Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis and Matthias Schoenaerts. Blood Ties opens March 21.


The first trailer has appeared for A Long Way Down, adapted from Nick Hornby's novel and starring Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Pierce Brosnan and Toni Collette, Indiewire reported. The film hits the Berlin Film Festival next month and opens in the U.K. March 2, but there is no U.S. distributor or release date yet.

Books & Authors

Awards: Costa Book of the Year; Dilys Winn Nominees

Nathan Filer won the £30,000 (about US$49,751) Costa Book of the Year award for his debut novel The Shock of the Fall, BBC News reported. Chair of judges Rose Tremain called the novel "astonishingly sure-footed... This book stood out in a very good list. The voice in which the author has chosen to tell his story is perfectly aligned with the subject matter and very well sustained to the end."

The winner of this year's £3,500 Costa Short Story Award is Angela Readman for "The Keeper of the Jackalopes."


The nominees for this year's Dilys Winn Award, honoring the mystery Independent Mystery Booksellers Association members most enjoyed selling in 2013, are:

Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye (Amy Einhorn Books)
The Black Country by Alex Grecian (Putnam)
Spider Woman's Daughter by Anne Hillerman (Harper)
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Atria)
Pagan Spring by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur)
The Land of Dreams by Vidar Sundstol (University of Minnesota Press)

The winner will be announced at Left Coast Crime in Monterey, Calif., March 20-23.

With Newbery Win, Kate DiCamillo Joins an Elite Club

With the 2014 Newbery Medal for Flora & Ulysses, illustrated by K.G. Campbell (Candlewick Press), announced Monday in Philadelphia, author Kate DiCamillo becomes the fourth to join an elite club of writers--all women, incidentally--who have won two Newbery Medals and one Newbery Honor: Katherine Paterson, E.L. Konigsburg and Elizabeth George Speare. This accolade comes just a few weeks after her inauguration as the fourth National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

You're having quite a year, Ambassador DiCamillo!

I've never been so stunned in my life. It just wasn't on my radar. Funny doesn't win prizes.

How does it feel to know that the Newbery Committee's call came from the place of your birth?

I have to tell you, it was 5:30 in the morning, and the coffeemaker is set for 6. I looked at the phone, and it said, "Philadelphia," which is a loaded word for me. It's a place that has all the resonance of my early years--it's magical to me. Then more magic came when I picked up the phone.

Did it all start with the squirrel? Someone on the Newbery Committee mentioned to us that you said something along the lines of, "But it's a story about a squirrel!"

I'm trying to help them see clearly what they've done. You know, it's about a squirrel. It started with a squirrel and there's a vacuum cleaner in there.

Did you think that if you told them that, they'd take back the medal?

I always think they're going to take the medal away. When it says "Philadelphia," and it's 5:30 in the morning, you think, "Maybe I dreamt it all." I thought, "It's too early, I can't call anybody." So I just came down and wrote.

You wrote? That's amazing. Do you think you'll be able to maintain your writing schedule with the travel involved in your ambassadorship?

People have rattled me significantly, with me thinking I'll be jetting off every single day. Robin Adelson [head of the Children's Book Council, which established the ambassadorship with the Library of Congress's Center for the Book] said I'd go out every other month. I might Skype in between. It's not as grueling as everybody convinced me that it might be.

I found this out during Flora & Ulysses: I need to be out there. It feeds me and it feeds the writing. I feel so much that it's a sacred duty to go out and do this ambassador thing, that I have to find a way to do it. I think I'll have sometimes as much as four weeks of being able to write. I think it will make the writing better. I go out there joyfully, aware of the importance of the message and how much I believe in it and how lucky I am to be able to carry it.

Can you write when you're traveling?

I don't write when I'm on the road. I take a day when I come back to get myself oriented, and then I go back in, and that seems to be better for the writing. The world feeds the writing. It goes right back to the idea that "stories connect us" [DiCamillo's platform as ambassador].

Holly [McGhee, DiCamillo's agent] has read 84 pages of a novel I'm working on. It will keep me company for this stretch. I think I can get that done during my term.

I also have the shorter Deckawoo Drive stories [connected to the Mercy Watson series] I can work on. If I get up in time, if I'm up at 6, and I'm writing and everything's turned off, then I can go out and do the rest of the day. I'll try to protect that.

Tell us about the giant squid painting on Dr. Meescham's wall. Where did it come from? It inspires that terrific quote, "Loneliness makes us do terrible things."

I read in the opening chapter of The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai about a giant squid and how they can go through their whole existence without ever seeing another one of their kind. That stuck in my head. It's not like I can see a giant squid coming when I'm writing. Flora stumbles onto this painting and she examines it more closely. That's the same thing I'm doing. I don't know it's going to be a painting Dr. Meescham painted during a joyful time.

And what about William Spiver?

I don't know. I've had people say he's a lot like Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. He arrived to me much as Sistine Bailey did in The Tiger Rising. She got on a bus, and I said, "What?" And with William it was the same thing. He surprised everyone but Tootie. I loved him from the day I met him.

Given the vocabulary--phrases such as "incandescent with rage" and "capacious of heart"--that children may acquire with this book, could they turn into William Spivers?

There's only one William Spiver. That's part A. Part B, there's been a lot of "what are you doing with the vocabulary?" Why not learn a really exciting word? Children can, and they do. I got a letter from a kid--a normal letter written on ruled paper--then she bursts into sprinkly words like "malfeasance" and "cowabunga," words with sprinkles around them. I never really wanted to go to a dictionary as a kid. I figured it out from context. I shouldn't say that.

How can you say that when, in Tale of Despereaux, the narrator instructs the Dear Reader to go look up "perfidy" just to be sure he or she knows what it means?

As an adult, I studied for the SATs by reading the New York Times and highlighting the words I didn't know and looking them up in the dictionary. But I also realized that I was figuring them out contextually pretty well.

In Flora's life, unexpected people win her over and become her friends--a superhero squirrel, an intrusive boy.

I think that's true for all of us if we're willing to stay open. It's more likely for kids because they're more open than we are. You can learn to love people and they can change your life. At first glance, you don't think they'd be the people to change your life. --Jennifer M. Brown

Book Brahmin: Phillip Toledano

Phillip Toledano was born in 1968 in London to a French Moroccan mother and an American father. He has a BA in English literature and his art education came from his father, who was a full-time artist. Toledano is a conceptual artist--everything starts with an idea, and the idea determines the execution--and his work varies in medium, from photography to installation, sculpture to painting. The themes are primarily sociopolitical, although lately he's strayed into the deeply personal. His fifth book, The Reluctant Father (Dewi Lewis Media, January 14, 2014)--is a chronicle of becoming a father for the first time at the age of 40.

On your nightstand now:

The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain Banks.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

Your top five authors:

F. Scott Fitzgerald, J.D. Salinger, Saul Bellow, W. Somerset Maugham, Evelyn Waugh.

Book you've faked reading:

Most poetry, especially Pablo Neruda's, mostly when I was a teenager, for obvious reasons....

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

Book you've bought for the cover:

That's hard to say, since with e-readers, covers don't mean so much anymore.... I DID read old books in my father's bookcase when I was a kid, because of their saucy covers which actually had nothing to do with the contents--Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham comes to mind.

Book that changed your life:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Favorite line from a book:

"There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired." --from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.

Book Review

YA Review: Beyond Magenta

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin, with photos by the author (Candlewick, $22.99 hardcover, 192p., ages 14-up, 9780763656119, February 11, 2014)

Five transgender teens share their journeys in their own words, with intimate revelations about their inner struggles, their loves, their challenges with family and peers--even crises of faith. It is a testament to Susan Kuklin's (No Choirboy) gifts as a listener and interviewer that her subjects describe their lives with such candor.

Kuklin introduces each teen with a bit of background, and often (but not always) the teen's gender at birth. The first chapter, "Jessy," may be the most accessible for readers ("At first I thought maybe there is something psychologically wrong with me because I was thinking this way, because I was feeling this way. Am I abnormal?"). His family is the most supportive, too. Christina's voice is brasher ("While everyone else my age is saving up for a car or a house,... I'm saving up for a vagina"), and 19-year-old Mariah describes her violent leanings. The accounts reveal not only the teens' feelings of being out of place in their bodies, but also the considerations for those contemplating hormone therapy. A therapist at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York City explains to Jessy that before he could transition, he had to be sure that this was what he wanted to do. "As a trans male, Jessy will need hormone shots, testosterone, for the rest of his life," Kuklin writes. They must be 18, and they must go through four months (16 sessions) of counseling.

Not all of the teens' stories involve hormone therapy. Sixteen-year-old Luke finds a life preserver in Proud Theater in Madison, Wis., where he rehearses a poem for the LBGTQ teen theater group. Cameron, also 16, poses for 11 photos and prefers the gender-neutral pronouns they, them and their. "Some days I'm masculine, and that's pretty weird," Cameron says. "Some days I'm feminine, and that's pretty weird too."

Beyond these journeys, the five teens identify subtle negotiations with society attached to gender (e.g., "When I'm on the subway and I sit with my legs spread out, people respect my space," says Jessy. "Before, when I was still seen as female, people would sit down and squish me"). Two of the teens' parents discuss coming to grips with their children's journeys. For teens contemplating hormone therapy and those wishing to support such teens, copious resources in the back of the book provide information and will help sort out the questions.

Kuklin treats her subjects with tenderness and respect. Her book provides both reassurance and answers to questions that teens may not even realize they have. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: A window into the loves, struggles and victories in the lives of five transgender youth.

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