Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 20, 2015: Dedicated Issue: Brightly

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Atheneum Books: Bulldozer's Christmas Dig by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

St. Martin's Press: The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont

Soho Crime: My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett

Candlewick Press: Hello, Little Fish!: A Mirror Book by Lucy Cousins

Merriam-Webster Kids: Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day: 366 Elevating Utterances to Stretch Your Cranium and Tickle Your Humerus by Merriam-Webster

Other Press: Lemon by Yeo-Sun Kwon, translated by Janet Hong

Ballantine Books: The Maid by Nita Prose


BEA's Industry Ambassador Award Goes to the CBC

The Children's Book Council will receive BookExpo America's 2015 Industry Ambassador Award, which recognizes "major innovators and creative business leaders in the book industry." BEA show organizers said the CBC's work "is both personal and special for its dedication to fostering literacy, diversity and education, making it eminently qualified to receive the award."

Next Wednesday, BEA show manager Steven Rosato will present the award to Jon Colman, executive director of CBC, during a ceremony at 4 p.m. in Room 1E12/1E13/1E14 of the Javits Center.  

"I could not be happier than to be honoring the Children's Book Council this year," said Rosato. "They are supreme advocates for literacy fostering relationships and partnerships with other important organizations such as the unPrison Project, We Need Diverse Books, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. They are a tireless book industry advocate which makes them especially suited to receive this award which was specifically created to recognize industry leadership. They are true leaders."

House of Anansi Press: Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling by Esi Edugyan

NYT Book Critic Janet Maslin 'Downshifting' to Contributor

Janet Maslin

New York Times literary critic Janet Maslin is "downshifting to a contributing role," Capital reported, adding that the Times will hire a third full-time book critic, joining Michiko Kakutani and Dwight Garner, to replace her. The change is scheduled for July 1, after which Maslin "will continue to write regularly for the New York Times but at a somewhat less grueling pace," according to a memo released by executive editor Dean Baquet and culture editor Danielle Mattoon. Maslin spent 15 years reviewing books at the newspaper, after 23 years reviewing film.

"We are hugely relieved that Janet wishes to continue writing, so this is by no means goodbye," Baquet and Mattoon noted. "But we don't want to let the moment pass without remarking on Janet's enormous contributions to our pages.... At heart she's a readers' critic--equally committed to puncturing the pious and heralding the unsung. There's no one like her."

Explaining her decision, Maslin told Capital: "I've been a full-time critic since 1977, which is why the announcement uses 'grueling,' 'grind' and 'frantic' in its first few lines. It's a hard job and I've been doing it a very long time. I've had the Monday slot, which makes for a particularly tough schedule. It had to stop.

"I told the Times I wanted to leave only last Monday. My original plan was to step away from the job and hope to freelance now and then, but they came up with the compromise of having me write a couple of times a month, which was wonderful of them. We're all very happy about this new arrangement."

GLOW: Clarion Books: The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman

Maria Renz Is Bezos's New Tech Adviser

Maria Renz

Noting that for more than 15 years, "one role at Amazon has stood out as perhaps the most coveted: Jeff Bezos's 'shadow,' who acts as an adviser to the CEO, sitting by his side in daily meetings and serving as a sounding board on big decisions," Re/code reported that Bezos recently named 15-year Amazon veteran Maria Renz as technical adviser to the CEO. Renz was most recently CEO of Quidsi, the parent company of, acquired by Amazon in 2011. She replaces former Kindle v-p Jay Marine, who will be heading up Amazon Instant Video in Europe.

Re/code noted that while the appointment of Renz, the first woman to hold the title, "is noteworthy, it also shines a light on the dearth of women in the senior-most roles at Amazon and, more broadly, in the executive ranks of many leading technology companies today. Amazon has seven executive officers in addition to Jeff Bezos and only one, worldwide controller Shelley Reynolds, is a woman."

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

'Save St. Johns Booksellers' Campaign Underway

Damage at St Johns Booksellers

Describing the bookshop and its owner Néna Rawdah as "fixtures of this tight NoPo community," a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to assist St. Johns Booksellers, Portland, Ore., which was forced by the city to close temporarily earlier this month after part of the front of the building crumbled onto the sidewalk.

At the time, owner Rowdah told KATU, "It's a very old building. It is 91 years old. So, dismayed, yes.... I feel like my hands are tied right now waiting for landlord and engineer. I can't even come out here with a broom! It's making me angry."

Rowdah has provided regular updates on the store's Facebook page since then, including this one yesterday: "Well. Your bookstore has been closed for twelve days, and will be for at least a couple more, I have just been told. Some neighbors, Catticut and Sylvia, thoughtfully opened a GoFundMe to help fill the gap when the shop is incurring bills, but not bringing in any income.... Also, thanks to my neighbour @Ricardo Wang there will be a benefit reading and music performance at Plew's Brews on Friday the 29th--more to come!"

Berkley Books: 30 Things I Love about Myself by Radhika Sanghani

MacDowell Colony Launches Diversity Fellowship

The MacDowell Colony artist residency program has announced that a $200,000 gift from an anonymous donor will fund a new fellowship in honor of literary agent Charlotte Sheedy. The fellowship, which grants an annual residency of up to two months at MacDowell, will be awarded to writers representing populations across racial and cultural boundaries.

"The MacDowell Colony commits itself, every day, to supporting, fostering, and nurturing diverse artists in their daily struggle to make art," said MacDowell chairman and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon as he introduced the Sheedy Fellowship. "That commitment is written into the Mission Statement. It's been coded into MacDowell's DNA from the day in 1954 that James Baldwin walked into Baetz Studio and got down to work."

Chabon added: "Isolation, indifference, and lack of opportunity are the common lot of artists everywhere, but for an artist marginalized by cultural difference, as Charlotte Sheedy has always known, those effects are trebled by an inheritance of cruelty and injustice. They are intensified by mechanisms of discrimination both covert and plain as day. For these artists the struggle to make art takes a deeper toll and can lead to deeper despair.... This amazing gift, honoring a remarkable woman who has long been a staunch advocate for and nurturer of writers, will allow MacDowell to fight harder, and hopefully to lasting effect, on behalf of those whose struggle has been so long, hard, and wearying."

Artemesia Publishing, LLC: The Last Professional by Ed Davis, illustrated by Colin Elgie

#BEA15 Buzz Books: Nonfiction

With one week to go until Book Expo America kicks off at the Javits Center in New York City, Shelf Awareness is taking a look at this year's bumper crop of new books with a multi-part series on upcoming books for the summer and fall. Today's list, compiled with the help of publishers and independent booksellers, delves into nonfiction (yesterday's we looked at fiction; installments on YA and middle grade, and children's and early readers will run over the next two days).

In The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey (June 30, Simon & Schuster), author and journalist Rinker Buck recounts his four-month-long journey along the historic Oregon Trail in a covered wagon pulled by three mules. His only travel companions, aside from the mules, were his brother, Nick, and their Jack Russell terrier, Olive Oyl. Their adventure takes them some 2,000 miles, from Missouri to the Pacific Coast; on the way they contend with prairie thunderstorms, runaway mules, scarcity of water and broken-down wagons. Through it all, Buck weaves an engaging history of the trail that took more than 400,000 pioneers across the western United States. Pam Cady, the general manager of the trade books department at University Book Store in Seattle, Wash., said the book was a favorite of virtually all of her buyers. Anne Holman, co-owner of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, likened the book's blend of history and humor to Bill Bryson's 1998 travel classic A Walk in the Woods. "The history is terrific, it's the real deal," said Holman. "And the way they talk, the way they put themselves in the setting, it's just amazing."

Coming September 8 from Picador is Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy, M.D. Tweedy, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University and a practitioner at the Durham VA Medical Center in Durham, N.C., has published articles about the intersection of race and medicine. Black Man in a White Coat, his first book, illuminates his experience as, first, a black medical student and then a black doctor in the predominantly white medical world. "He explores the issues of race and medicine in such a personal and profound way," said Sarah Bagby, the owner of Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, Kans. "He's very open about his thoughts on what happens in an examination room. He really draws you in."

The release of Barefoot to Avalon (Atlantic Monthly Press) on August 4 will mark novelist David Payne's first foray into nonfiction. In 2000, while moving from Vermont to North Carolina with the help of his younger brother, George, Payne looked in the rearview mirror to witness George lose control of the rental truck he was driving, careen into a ditch and flip over. George died in the crash, and Payne's life took a downward spiral from which he struggled to pull himself. Barefoot to Avalon recounts not only the accident and its aftermath but also David's sometimes tough relationship with his brother and a family history of mental illness and addictive personalities. Linda Marie Barrett, the general manager of Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe in Asheville, N.C., praised the book as a wonderful memoir about brotherhood and dealing with grief.

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, returns with Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (September 22, Riverhead). In it, Gilbert delves into her own creative process and the fickle nature of inspiration, offering readers advice on how to move past roadblocks in their own creative lives. Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books and Books in Coral Gables, Fla., expects Big Magic to be huge at his stores. Sarah Bagby, of Watermark Books & Cafe, also expects big things from Gilbert. Said Bagby: "I am completely seduced by everything she writes, because of her voice and her wit."

Between the World and Me, the next book by the Atlantic's senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates, is framed as a letter to his adolescent son and borrows its title from a Richard Wright poem of the same name. Coates recounts his own gradual awakening to the history of racism, violence and oppression in the United States and offers poignant insights into how those legacies play out today. Between the World and Me is Coates's second book; it's due out September 8 from Spiegel & Grau. Christine Onorati, the owner of WORD Bookstores in Jersey City, N.J., and Brooklyn, N.Y., highlighted it as a title to watch out for.

On October 6, writer and musician Patti Smith returns with M Train (Knopf), the follow-up to her National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids. M Train begins in Greenwich Village, at a cafe where Smith has her coffee every morning; from there, Smith takes readers on a journey to 18 "stations" around the world, including La Casa Azul (the Frida Kahlo Museum) in Mexico, an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin and Far Rockaway in New York. Through it all Smith ruminates on art, writing, the state of the world and her deceased husband, Fred Sonic Smith, and interspersed within the narrative are Smith's own black-and-white Polaroids. Watermark's Sarah Bagby picked it as one of her most anticipated fall reads.

Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., identified an "embarrassment of riches" of celebrity memoirs. Among them are Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance, out June 16 from Penguin Press, Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me?, in stores on September 29 from Crown Archetype, and Mary-Louise Parker's Dear Mr. You, expected November 17 from Scribner. In Modern Romance, the former Parks and Recreation star teams up with Eric Klinenburg, a sociologist at New York University, to dissect dating in the modern age. Why Not Me? is Kaling's follow-up to her 2011 hit Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns); in a series of funny, personal essays, Kaling explores topics like America's obsession with the weight of actresses, making and losing friends as an adult, her relationship with B.J. Novak, and many others. And Dear Mr. You is a series of letters that Parker has written to various men, both real and imagined, who have influenced her throughout her life. Both Ansari and Kaling will make appearances at BEA and BookCon.

Rounding out today's list is The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution by Donald R. Prothero (Columbia University Press). Prothero, a paleontologist, uses the discovery of 25 fossils to explore the history of both life on earth and the scientific field of paleontology. Among the highlighted fossils are those of Carcharocles angustidens, a prehistoric shark that could reach over 30 feet in length; Archaeopteryx, one of the fossil record's first birds; Ambulocetus, an ancient ancestor of modern whales that could both walk on land and swim in water; and the famous Australopithecus fossil known as Lucy, one of humanity's earliest ancestors. Chosen by Geoff Nichols, buyer at University Book Store in Seattle, Wash., as one of his most anticipated books for the summer, The Story of Life in 25 Fossils comes out on August 25. --Alex Mutter

Sterling: Dracula: Deluxe Edition by Bram Stoker, illustrated by Edward Gorey


Image of the Day: N.C. Authors for Kids & Teens

Pomegranate Books in Wilmington, N.C., hosted an event called Read Local: NC Authors for Kids & Teens. Authors David Macinnis Gill (Hell's Cross Trilogy), Catey Miller (YARN assistant fiction editor and contributor) and Rebecca Petruck (Steering Toward Normal) talked books and led games featuring N.C. authors Renee Ahdieh, Alan Gratz, Megan Miranda, Carrie Ryan, Megan Shepherd and many more--as evidenced by the piles of books the intrepid booksellers have on hand! Pictured: Miller, store owner Kathleen Jewell, Petruck, sales associate Anne Turlington, Gill.

Booklynn: An Update from the Open Book Bookstore

Lynn Rosen updates us on her new store, Open Book, in suburban Philadelphia. (Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.)

I haven't written recently, because I figured if I tell you what I'm doing every day, you'll just say: "Yeah, same here." Managing inventory. Talking to customers and helping them find books. Planning events and doing outreach in the community. But I thought it was time to update you, let you know our new Open Book Bookstore is moving forward, and that we are enjoying the pleasures of bookselling and learning more about the challenges.

How is running a bookstore now that we're about four months in? It's fabulous. We love it. What could be better than talking to people about books all day? But also, it's hard work and slow going.

One thing I'm really proud of and that I think we're really good at is choosing books. Because our inventory is so small, we are very selective. And it turns out that we're good at making selections. My taste and my husband/business partner Evan's complement each other very well. In fiction, for example, he's more likely to find and support books like Station Eleven (of which we sell many copies!) and The Martian, and authors like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Michael Chabon. I go for the intense and often obscure literary stuff, usually by women authors, like Jane Mendelsohn's American Music (love that book! Have you read it? Please do if you haven't. I'm determined to single-handedly make it a bestseller!) and Martha Cooley's The Archivist (ditto what I said about the Mendelsohn). I've also recently fallen in love with the work of Brian Morton and Kent Haruf (great new book coming out in the end of May, sadly, his last). I'm a huge fan of challenging books like T. Geronimo Johnson's Welcome to Braggsville, which I think is a brilliant novel about race in America.

Author Stuart Gibbs with some young Open Book helpers (Rosen's son Oren is on the far right).

We've also been planning a lot of author events. Recently we hosted middle grade author Stuart Gibbs. I helped run a writers retreat the weekend before with a writing teacher friend of mine. We had Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun, at the store a few weeks ago, and in the space of a few short weeks coming up we're doing events with several local authors including Pam Jenoff, Kathryn Craft, Nomi Eve and former Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez.

And last week I kicked off a free conversational French class that will take place in the store every other Tuesday evening. Eight people came, and several more said they'll come to the next one, so I'm pleased with that. I'm also running a bi-weekly writers group we started about two months ago that has 12 members and is going strong. And for Independent Bookstore Day, we did a successful promo where anyone who spent more than $25 got free fudge. We had personalized containers of Open Book fudge ($5 retail value) made by a company in Atlanta called Sweet Surrender Fudge.

Independent Bookstore Day fudge

The biggest challenge I'm having right now is figuring out how many books to order for each event, and I'd certainly be grateful for advice. You obviously want to have enough books so you don't sell out, but with these free events you never know ahead of time how many people are coming, so how many books is enough? You also want to make a significant-sized pile so you don't offend the author. But we're clearly over-ordering, because after every event we seem to have a lot of books left over, which leaves us with a big return shipping bill. Is there a good way to manage this? I did get some good tips from Heidi Weiland, national sales manager at Sourcebooks, who was helping me order books for the Kathryn Craft event. She suggested I see if the author has been doing a lot of events at nearby stores (she has), in which case I could decrease my order and assume we'll have a smaller, hyper-local event.

In the outreach category, the trees are blooming, the daylight lasts longer, and we can leave the door to the store open to catch the breeze and passersby. We're ordering a new sign for the wall on the side of the building that faces the train station, so hopefully that will also bring in some new customers. And we had a nice bit of press recently from a local paper, so that always helps. I think he summed up our philosophy quite nicely. And we're getting ready for BEA. We're excited to attend with our new bookseller badges, and we hope to see and meet many of you there!

Australian Booksellers Honored

Congratulations to the award winners, announced at the Australian Booksellers Association gala dinner last Sunday:

The ABA Text Publishing Bookseller of the Year 2015: Karen Ferris, Berkelouw Books, Sydney

The 2015 ABA Penguin Random House Young Bookseller of the Year: Gerard Elson, Readings St. Kilda, St. Kilda, Victoria

The ABA Elizabeth Riley Fellowship for Children's Bookselling: Pauline Macleod, children's manager at Riverbend Books, Bulimba, Queensland

The 2015 Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Award 2015: Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, for The 52-Storey Treehouse (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Regional Indie Bookseller Essay Series Launching

Independent booksellers from across the country will be invited to submit personal essays for a nine-book series of regional paperbacks published by Unbridled Books and edited by Carl Lennertz of, with printing support from McNaughton & Gunn. Ron Rice, editor of My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read and Shop, will gather the essays for publication, and Bob Minzesheimer, formerly of USA Today, is writing a foreword for each volume.

The books' content will reflect the territories of the regional bookseller associations. Essays should be about each bookseller's particular experience in his or her current or home state--life, travels, observations--past or present. After design and production costs are recouped, remaining profits will go to a literacy program chosen by the booksellers whose personal essays comprise each volume. Submission guidelines will be available during BookExpo America next week at the Unbridled booth (TM12), and will be e-mailed out after BEA.

"I am so excited that Fred Ramey and Greg Michalson of Unbridled and Julie McFarland at McNaughton & Gunn see the joy of supporting a vehicle for bookseller authors to be published, as well as supporting a literacy cause," said Lennertz, who spearheaded a similar effort a few years ago that resulted in a Great Lakes Reader and Pacific Northwest Reader. "And I'm so proud to also be working with Ron and Bob, two great booklovers."

Ramey noted that he and Michalson "have always admired independent booksellers and we love publishing diverse voices from around the country, so this is a natural for us."

Hut Landon, executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, said he and Lennertz "have discussed timing book publication dates to coincide with Independent Bookstore Day or with Buy Local events in each region. This project sounds very cool. I hope booksellers will send in their essays as soon as a busy bookstore life allows."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Steve Inskeep on Diane Rehm

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Gummi Bears Should Not Be Organic: And Other Opinions I Can't Back Up With Facts (Gallery, $15, 9781476787305).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Steve Inskeep, author of Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594205569).

Movie Trailers: Steve Jobs; The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

The first trailer has been released for Steve Jobs, the biopic from director Danny Boyle that "so far has existed as a theoretical counterpoint to the similar film starring Ashton Kutcher from 2013," reported, adding: "That changes today, with the first trailer for what is sure to be a much classier look at one of the most influential and controversial figures of the computing revolution." Based on the biography by Walter Isaacson, the film stars Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels. It hits theaters on October 9.


"Underestimated by many including us, and kept going by firm fanbase, The Maze Runner is a YA franchise survivor in a sea of also rans," Indiewire noted in showcasing a trailer for The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the second movie based on James Dashner's books. "And it's a feat made more remarkable given there are really no big names in the cast.... But yet, The Maze Runner pulled in a healthy $340 million worldwide last fall on a budget of $34 million." Wes Ball directs the sequel, with stars Dylan O'Brien and Kaya Scodelario returning. The Scorch Trials will be released September 18.

Books & Authors

Awards: Man Booker International; Wodehouse; Desmond Elliott

Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai won the £60,000 (about $92,980) Man Booker International Prize, which is "awarded for an achievement in fiction on the world stage." The judges said that "what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical."

Announcing the winner, Marina Warner called Krasznahorkai "a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful. The Melancholy of Resistance, Satantango and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence. Krasznahorkai, who writes in Hungarian, has been superbly served by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet."


Alexander McCall Smith won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, which is given to a book that best "captures the comic spirit" of the Jeeves & Wooster author, for his novel Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party, the Guardian reported. Organizers described the winning novel as "superbly irreverent," with judge James Naughtie adding that "it's right and proper to couple the names of Alexander McCall Smith and P.G. Wodehouse."

At the Hay Festival on May 26, McCall Smith will be presented with a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after his winning novel, the Everyman's Library edition of P.G. Wodehouse and a jeroboam of champagne. The Guardian noted that "the porcine element of the award was particularly fitting this year, as McCall Smith was formerly part-owner of a small pig farm on the west coast of Scotland."

"I like pigs--I used to have a small pig farm, 20 pigs, until we realized it was a good way of losing money. I'm very pro-pig," said the author.


A three-book shortlist has been announced for the £10,000 (about $15,661) Desmond Elliott Prize, which honors a first novel written in English and published in the U.K. The winner will be revealed July 1. This year's Desmond Elliott shortlist:

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray   

Book Brahmin: Rachelle Dekker

photo: Alyssa Ann Creative

The oldest daughter of author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker writes full time from her home in Nashville, where she lives with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Tyndale House has just published her fantasy The Choosing (May 19, 2015).

On your nightstand now:

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. It's the second in a series and excellent!

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Clearwater Crossing series by Laura Peyton Roberts. My grandmother gave them to me one Christmas, I think just the first three (there are 20 in total), and I finished them all in a matter of days! I was obsessed. That was pretty much the only thing I asked for the next several years. I read the entire series; I still remember moments so clearly. They were the first books to make me laugh out loud and then cry. I was a young teen girl, relating to all the teens I was reading about. They became more than just characters, I knew them. I felt understood by them. It was crazy.

Your top five authors:

Oh, this is hard because there are so many incredible authors. Off the top of my head though: John Green--his stories are simple, elegant, and masterfully crafted. Holly Black--she will take you on a journey you'll be thinking about long after you've finished. Stephen King--his mind is messed up in all the best ways. Libba Bray is one of the most beautiful writers out there. Lastly, C.S. Lewis, a master at expressing theme in story.

Book you've faked reading:

Pride and Prejudice. I'm sure I've told someone, at some point, that I read this novel, but I've only seen the movie. Same with Gone with the Wind, never read it. And let's be honest, I'm probably never going to.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I promise this is true, but I have not recommended another book as much as I recommend White by Ted Dekker. That book changed the way I saw myself. It still gives me chills when I read through the last couple chapters. Tears even, and I know exactly what is going to happen. It's a perfect picture of God's love and the power it has to change people.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I bought this book called Envy--I can't even remember the author (and I gave it away)--because the cover was awesome! It had dark green hues, a single scene of a room with a porcelain tub, a girl sitting inside, her long dark hair dripping down over her face. It was eerie, and right up my alley. The story itself was terrible. I didn't even make it through the first half; that's what I get.

Book that changed your life:

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I was only 12 the first time I read that book, and at the end I thought, I have to do this! Write like this. Find ways to bring story to life in such a way that a warm, strong, talking lion could teach a 12-year-old girl about the true beauty of the cross. Of sacrifice and love. That's a pretty amazing thing!

Favorite line from a book:

This one is near impossible, because truth be told I have a terrible memory most of the time. But I do remember a line from a John Green novel called Looking for Alaska that for some reason has stuck with me: "We all use the future to escape the present." I would also add that we spend so much time thinking about the past that we miss the present, when the present is all we have.

Which character you most relate to:

This question is impossible. All of them! I see myself in all the characters I read and write. That is one of the reasons I love stories so much, because I can easily transport myself into that character's space. But for the sake of the question, I would say I really do identify with YA heroines. It's something about their insecurities, yet their striving to be strong that gets me every time. Probably because I'm the same.

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

I'm a huge fan of YA fiction so I would read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I remember getting to the end of that novel and wishing I had written it! The ride was unlike anything I've experienced before, with vibrant characters, dramatic action, and on the-edge-of-your-seat thrills. I couldn't put that book down.

Book Review

Children's Review: Book Scavenger

The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (Christy Ottaviano/Holt, $16.99 hardcover, 368p., ages 9-14, 9781627791151, June 2, 2015)

In her first novel, Jennifer Chambliss Bertman introduces a smart, resourceful 12-year-old who makes her first true friend through a mutual passion for solving puzzles.

Emily Crane's parents are determined to live in all 50 states. As a result, Emily has adopted the attitude, "How do you open yourself up to hellos when you're already preparing to say good-bye?" But when the Cranes move to San Francisco, Emily meets James, who lives upstairs and enjoys puzzles just as much as she does. They take turns passing messages in a pail, up and down past their open windows. James teaches Emily about decoding tricks and Emily teaches James about the game Book Scavenger, invented by Garrison Griswold, who (like Emily) moved to San Francisco when he was 12.

Through James, whose family has lived in San Francisco for generations, Emily learns all about the Golden Gate City, and what it means to feel tied to a place. Griswold gets mugged in a BART station, and Emily finds a book he left behind: The Gold-Bug by Edgar Allan Poe. She suspects it's the key to a new game Griswold had planned to launch, and her obsession to prove her theory sets in motion a literal scavenger hunt with stakes far higher than any Book Scavenger game Emily has played thus far.

Bertman takes readers on a cable car, the BART and a tour of San Francisco's Lombard Street, plus much more, as Emily, James and Emily's brother, Matthew, hunt down the clues to Griswold's latest game. Corrupt adults thwart the team's efforts, while a kind bookseller supports their mission. The author balances code-breaking with the challenges of figuring out how to be a friend for a heroine who's never had one.

While Emily's parents remain background figures, her relationship with Matthew feels authentic. Both siblings value their independence, but they share a closeness that comes from being one of the few constants for each other in a childhood of serial moves. Matthew, who makes friends easily, offers some sage advice to Emily on their peripatetic lifestyle: "What I finally figured out with all our moving is you miss out on stuff whether you stay or go. So I just decided to... [e]mbrace how we live."

Fans of Escape from Mister Lemoncello's Library will appreciate the abundant titles and literary allusions, and readers will hope for more adventures, hinted at in the book's final lines. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Twelve-year-old Emily loves to solve puzzles, but her greatest challenge may be how to keep a friendship, when she and her family move to San Francisco.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
2. Pucked by Helena Hunting
3. Protecting Cheyenne (SEAL of Protection Book 5) by Susan Stoker
4. Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia Williams
5. The Friend Zone (Game On Book 2) by Kristen Callihan
6. Cape Cod Kisses by Bella Andre & Melissa Foster
7. Gentleman Mentor by Kendall Ryan
8. Double Dare (A Neighbor from Hell Book 6) by R.L. Mathewson
9. Frenched Series Bundle by Melanie Harlow
10. Holding You (Love Wanted In Texas Volume 3) by Kelly Elliott

[Many thanks to!]

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