Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 7, 2019


Little Brown and Company: Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America's Overdose Crisis by Beth Macy

Legendary Comics YA: Enola Holmes: Mycroft's Dangerous Game by Nancy Springer, illustrated by Giorgia Sposito

Sourcebooks: Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod by Casey Sherman

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2022

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Union Square & Co.: A Broken Blade (The Halfling Saga) by Melissa Blair

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

News

Bookseller PK Sindwani New ABA CFO

PK Sindwani

PK Sindwani has been appointed chief financial officer of the American Booksellers Association, succeeding Robyn DesHotel, who stepped down in August, Bookselling This Week reported.

For nearly three decades, Sindwani has been the owner of Towne Book Center & Cafe in Collegeville, Pa. Effective November 4, he joined ABA in a part-time capacity while he helps in the transition of ownership of the bookstore. He will be attending ABA's 2020 Winter Institute in Baltimore, Md.

Sindwani, who holds an MBA from Texas Southern University, has prior experience in finance-aligned positions, including v-p of finance, corporate comptroller and financial accountant. He also served as treasurer of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and has been a participant in ABA events and programs, including the financial workshop, which he presented at ABA conferences and regional shows with DesHotel.

"Allison Hill, ABA's incoming CEO, and I have worked closely on this appointment, and we are especially excited to have a bookseller fill this position," said ABA COO and senior staff member Joy Dallanegra-Sanger. "PK's financial and bookselling experience will be invaluable for ABA's future."


Kensington Publishing Corporation: Such a Pretty Girl by T. Greenwood


Indigo 2nd Quarter: Revenue Down 6%; Net Loss Flat

 

In the second quarter ended September 28, revenue at Indigo Books & Music fell 6%, to C$203.4 million (about US$154.5 million) and the net loss was C$20.5 million (US$15.5 million), a slight increase compared to the net loss of C$19.1 million ($US14.5 million) in the same quarter a year earlier. In the second quarter, sales online and at stores open at least a year fell 8%.

Indigo attributed the decline in revenue primarily to "strong competitive pressures and the company's planned efforts to reduce promotions to improve profitability. Compared to the prior quarter, the general merchandise business had some positive momentum through the back-to-school season and improvements in the assortment, while the book business sustained historical trends. Together with stronger inventory management, this strategic shift in promotional activity led to a margin rate improvement of 1.3% in the second quarter, consistent with the improvements in the first quarter."

CEO Heather Reisman commented: "As we continue to navigate our strategic shift, we are seeing promising early results on key performance measures."

Indigo attributed the net loss rise to "higher amortization in the current period, driven by an increase in the company's capital asset base from its significant store renewal program in fiscal 2019."

The company emphasized that it is continuing a cost-cutting initiative that has reduced operating, selling, administrative and other expenses by C$9 million (US$6.8 million) in the first half of the current fiscal year. This was partly offset, Indigo added, by "costs associated with the opening of net-new stores and some one-time expenses associated with the move of the company's New York office to Toronto."


Tundra Books: The Further Adventures of Miss Petitfour (The Adventures of Miss Petitfour) by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block


At Vintage/Anchor: Messitte Leaving, Herz Becomes Publisher

Suzanne Herz

In a major change at the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Suzanne Herz, executive v-p, executive director of publishing, Doubleday, is taking on the additional role of publisher, Vintage/Anchor Books. At the same time, Anne Messitte, executive v-p, Knopf Doubleday and publisher, Vintage/Anchor, is leaving the company in December.

According to Sonny Mehta, chairman and editor-in-chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Herz will be "fostering alignment between our group hardcover and paperback publishing programs." He added that Herz, whose 35-year career has included stints at Pantheon, Putnam and the Free Press, "shares my view that success in paperback publishing is achieved both by working in concert with teams on the hardcover side and by developing adjacent strategies for the paperback milieu. She recognizes that the reader connection to authors and their work is often fully realized via the paperback publication and through the long tail of their backlist. Indeed, while much of the glory in trade publishing centers on frontlist success, the core of our business is dependent on backlist: maintaining and mining it, refreshing and upgrading key titles, creating and recognizing opportunities for our books and authors, and always keeping the list operationally seductive for readers through academic, media, retail, and social access points."

Anne Messitte

Mehta heaped praised on Messitte, who has been with PRH and its predecessor companies since 1991 and whose accomplishments include discovering E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and building it into "a blockbuster franchise with sales of more than 150 million copies worldwide." He also said that for 20 years, she has "led the Vintage and Anchor Books imprints, invigorating all aspects of our paperback program. As publisher, she has guided the editorial, marketing and publicity teams and worked closely with the authors whose books have shaped one of the industry's leading paperback programs,

"Anne has taken our marquee backlist of over 5,000 titles and run it as a frontlist program, curating opportunities for our authors, optimizing marketing and media promotion for their books, and developing other strategic initiatives--from series publishing to reading groups to academic marketing and movie tie-in programs--all as a means of driving consumer awareness."

In addition, she acquired and edited books for Knopf and Doubleday, including novels by Paulo Coelho and Jennifer McMahon, and launched the Spanish language publishing program, Vintage Español, in 1994.

In another change, Todd Doughty, v-p, executive director of publicity, has been promoted to senior v-p, deputy publisher. "A two-decade veteran" of PRH, he has spent the last 14 years at Doubleday. Herz said his publicity campaigns are "crafted with thought and care and enthusiasm, and always with an eye toward harnessing readers. His execution is flawless, as his work with Margaret Atwood on The Testaments will attest."


MPIBA: Last Chance: The Great Summer Reading Guide


Bookshop's Storm-Damaged Roof Brings 'Tidal Wave' of Orders

On Halloween, a powerful rain storm hit the Whistlestop Bookshop, Carlisle, Pa., and led to a leak in the roof that caused several thousand dollars' worth of damage to the store's inventory, as well as to the roof and ceiling.

On Facebook, owner Jeff Wood posted: "It's only happened once before in 34 years. The rain came down so hard and so fast that a major breach opened above the general fiction section. Mulan and I moved as fast as we could. Hundreds of books have been destroyed. Conservative estimate of some thousands of dollars gone.... I am heartsick of doing triage on my handpicked books. I have been here for 12 hours, and it has been a sad Halloween. Thank you in advance for understanding the challenges in the days ahead."

After sharing the news on social media, however, "his business was flooded with customers and online orders," PennLive reported.

With plans to be out of town over the weekend, Wood used the Facebook post to let customers know why several shelves were suddenly empty, and "the next morning, volunteers were already lining outside, hoping to be of assistance--or at the very least, make a few purchases," PennLive added.  

"I know that people can have an emotional connection [to books], because I've done this for a long time," Wood said. "But I didn't expect that extremely fast reaction on the part of our customers. Literally the next day, there were people outside in their work clothes, wanting to come in and help. I had to sort of fight them off very nicely, and say thanks, there's nothing left to clean up! All day, apparently, that happened. People came in and bought madly."

His post ultimately went viral, and he had a new problem: keeping up with the new business: "It touched a nerve and created a huge response," he said. "That gave us a year's worth of orders on our website in two days. And it caused my poor wife, who was minding the store on Saturday, to feel like a tidal wave had struck her.... To get a year's worth of orders in two days is astonishing. It's very touching."

Wood is now confident the store will bounce back from the loss: "We've been stubborn for 34 years, and we're not about to stop because of a little water. We own this building, we're intensely in love with this building. Books can be replaced. Some of that stuff that has gone out of print, that can't be replaced and that breaks my heart. But everything else can be replaced."


Obituary Note: William Loren Katz

Historian William Loren Katz, "who championed the marginalized," died October 25, History News Network reported. He was 92. Katz was the author of 40 American history books, including Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage; The Black West (a revised edition was published this year); The Lincoln Brigade: A Picture History; and Breaking the Chains: African-American Slave Resistance.

As the general editor, Katz also oversaw the publication of more than 200 edited volumes from The American Negro: History and Literature series and The Anti-Slavery Crusade in America series, published by the New York Times and Arno Press.

In a tribute, Alan Singer wrote that Katz "never separated his work as a historian from teaching and activism. He was especially proud of his anti-Apartheid activism in the 1980s, his work with WBAI-FM radio, and his support for Black Lives Matter. Bill co-authored a picture history about the Abraham Lincoln Brigade for young adult readers and was a strong supporter of their veteran organizations. He wrote books about Black Cowboys and Black Indians and advocated for the rights of indigenous people, which led to him receiving the White Dove Imani Peace Award from the White Dove-Imani-Rainbow Lodge of Ohio. Bill received a lifetime achievement award from the Institute of African American Affairs of New York University and in 2012, a National Underground Railroad to Freedom Award from the National Park Service."

The Zinn Education Project noted that "for nearly 70 years, William Loren Katz was a teacher and author of people's history books for middle and high school students.... His work earned widespread praise from noted scholars including Howard Zinn, John Hope Franklin, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alice Walker, Betty Shabazz, Ralph Bunche, James M. McPherson, and others."

In a memorial published by the Amsterdam News, Herb Boyd wrote: "While I mourn the passing of this esteemed historian, I gladly join the parade of praise now accumulating in publications and online all over the world as they remember a man who was tirelessly devoted to acknowledging the people and history that so often was neglected or simply ignored."


Notes

Image of the Day: Out Like a Lamb

Algonquin's Elise Howard hosted a gathering last night in celebration of Wendy Lamb's retirement as v-p and publishing director of her eponymous imprint at Random House Children’s Books. Pictured: (l.-r.) Joan Slattery, Knopf editor-turned-librarian; Nancy Paulson, publisher of her own imprint at PRH; Wendy Lamb; Elise Howard; Chronicle publisher Ginee Seo; Knopf's Nancy Siscoe; Crown's Phoebe Yeh; and Penguin's Stacey Barney.

Bookstore Video: 'Show Your High Street Some Love!'

British bookseller Village Books in Dulwich "has bagged itself a starring role in this year's newly released Visa UK Christmas advert, which includes one of the store's booksellers singing a solo passage from Queen's 'Somebody to Love,' " the Bookseller reported. The indie, one of 13 shopkeepers featured in the ad, "not only made the final edit but one of its staff, Ella Bucknall, was chosen to close the production by singing the last lines" of the song.

Describing the experience of singing on camera as "nerve wracking," Bucknell said she'd had no formal training "apart from singing in the shower," but that it was exciting to be included.

Village Books owner Hazel Broadfoot told the Bookseller that the shop was approached "out of the blue" a couple of weeks ahead of filming, and the experience turned out to be "a completely different world" and great fun, with the shoot taking just shy of five hours. She added: "Ella's singing was superb," and noted that the shop has already received an uptick in sales.


Chalkboard of the Day: Bards Alley

"Don't forget your reading glasses," noted Bards Alley, Vienna, Va., on its sidewalk chalkboard, which was featured yesterday on the bookshop's Facebook page, along with this sound advice: "It's #Winesday, and we all know what that means: It's time to break out the reading glasses! Drop by between four and six to take advantage of our happy hour specials...."


IPG Adds 11 Publishers

Independent Publishers Group has added 11 more publishers to its distribution programs:

Health Administration Press, a division of the Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives, joined the academic and professional program, effective October 1. HAP is dedicated to fostering healthcare management excellence and producing high-quality content, written by experts in healthcare management.

Trafalgar Square Publishing, IPG's international distribution division, has added several publishers:
G2 Entertainment, one of the U.K.'s premier sports and special interest publishers, effective September 1.
The Indigo Press, publisher of literary fiction and non-fiction and founded by several publishing veterans, effective October 1.
Scandinavia Publishing House, Copenhagen, Denmark, a publishing house specializing in illustrated children's books, Bibles, and inspirational books and gift books for the Christian market, effective October 1.

In January, Trafalgar Square Publishing will be the official vendor of record in the U.S. and Canada for:
Wacky Bee Books, which publishes books for children ages 5 to 12.
Duckbill Books, an Indian, multi-award winning children's book publisher with books aimed at independent readers up to young adults.
Trigger Publishing, which is devoted to opening conversations about mental health and wellbeing and is chaired by former Quarto CEO and Sterling president Marcus Leaver.

IPG has added:

Elva Resa Publishing, founded in 1997 and specializing in resources for adults and children about military family life, effective September 1.
Vesuvian Media Group, a books-to-film corporation dedicated to creating quality entertainment across literary and visual arts, effective September 1.

IPG's Midpoint Trade Books began distribution of Dram Good Books, Ltd, publisher of the world's leading whisky guide, Jim Murray's Whisky Bible, on October 1.

IPG Art began distribution of Royal Collins Publishing Group Inc., an eclectic publisher of titles on Chinese art and other scholarly topics, on October 1.


Personnel Changes at Eerdmans; S&S; Coffee House Press

Laura Bardolph Hubers has been promoted to director of marketing and publicity at Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. She joined the company in 2012 as copywriter and has since been promoted to the positions of publicist and publicity manager.

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Rebecca Suss has been promoted to associate manager, corporate communications, at Simon & Schuster. She was formerly corporate communications associate and joined the department as an assistant in 2017.

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At Coffee House Press:

Nica Carrillo is leaving her position as marketing and sales manager, effective November 15. She will join Epsilon Agency as a client account executive.

Marit Swanson is joining Coffee House Press as marketing and sales manager. She was formerly marketing coordinator for Consortium Book Sales and Distribution.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Judd Apatow on Real Time with Bill Maher

Tomorrow:
HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Judd Apatow, editor of It's Garry Shandling's Book (Random House, $40, 9780525510840).


This Weekend on Book TV: John Lithgow

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, November 9
6:20 p.m. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership (University of North Carolina Press, $30, 9781469653662).

8:50 p.m. John Lithgow, author of Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse (Chronicle Prism, $19.95, 9781452182759).

10 p.m. Newt Gingrich, author of Trump vs. China: Facing America's Greatest Threat (Center Street, $28, 9781546085072). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Coverage of the 40th annual American Book Awards, recognizing "outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America's diverse literary community."

Sunday, November 10
2:30 a.m. Ed Morales, author of Fantasy Island: Colonialism, Exploitation, and the Betrayal of Puerto Rico (Bold Type Books, $28, 9781568588995).

4:40 p.m. Eric Foner, author of The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution (Norton, $26.95, 9780393652574).

5:45 p.m. Lizabeth Cohen, author of Saving America's Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $35, 9780374254087).

7:50 p.m. David Rubenstein, author of The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982120252).

10 p.m. Pamela Newkirk, author of Diversity, Inc.: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Business (Bold Type Books, $27, 9781568588223).

11 p.m. Aaron Glantz, author of Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall Street Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks, and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream (Custom House, $27.99, 9780062869531).


Books & Authors

Awards: Writers' Trust of Canada Winners

Winners have been announced for the 2019 Writers' Trust of Canada awards, "presented for individual works and career achievement, and in recognition of accomplishments in the fields of fiction, nonfiction, short fiction, poetry and literature for young readers."

Jenny Heijun Wills was awarded the CA$60,000 (about US$47,000) Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction for Older Sister, Not Necessarily Related; André Alexis received the CA$50,000 (about US$38,100) Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for Days by Moonlight; and Angélique Lalonde took the C$10,000 (about US$7,620) Writers' Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for her short story "Pooka."

Four authors received C$25,000 (about $19,050) awards for mid-career and lifetime achievements: Stephen Collis (Latner Writers' Trust Poetry Prize); Olive Senior (Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life); Rawi Hage (Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award); and Susin Nielsen (Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People).


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 12:

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker and Megan Scott (Scribner, $40, 9781501169717) updates and expands the classic cookbook.

It's Garry Shandling's Book edited by Judd Apatow (Random House, $40, 9780525510840) includes recollections of the late comedian.

What We Will Become: A Mother, a Son, and a Journey of Transformation by Mimi Lemay (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544965836) is a memoir by the mother of a transgender child.

With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace by Nikki R. Haley (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250266552) is by the former U.N. ambassador.

Wild Life: Dispatches from a Childhood of Baboons and Button-Downs by Keena Roberts (Grand Central, $28, 9781538745151) is the memoir of a girl raised in Botswana and Philadelphia.

The Innocents: A Novel by Michael Crummey (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385545426) follows orphaned siblings subsisting in a remote Newfoundland cove.

The Dog I Loved: A Novel by Susan Wilson (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250078148) follows a convict who trains therapy dogs.

Man's 4th Best Hospital by Samuel Shem (Berkley, $27, 9781984805362) is a sequel to The House of God.

Gravity by Sarah Deming (Make Me a World/Random House, $17.99, 9780525581031) is the boxing champion's YA debut.

The Starspun Web by Sinéad O'Hart (Knopf, $16.99, 9781101935071) is a middle grade fantasy featuring a young girl who discovers she can travel to parallel worlds.

Paperbacks:
No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg (Penguin Books, $10, 9780143133568).

Religion as We Know It: An Origin Story by Jack Miles (Norton, $14.95, 9781324002789).

Movies:
The Good Liar, based on the novel by Nicholas Searle, opens November 15. Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren star in this story of an old swindler and a trusting widow.

Monster, based on the novel by Walter Dean Myers, opens November 15. A 17-year-old is on trial for felony murder.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox (Knopf, $26.95, 9780525654971). "Her unconventional childhood--think playing unsupervised on the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Washington, D.C.--prepared Amaryllis Fox for a career in the CIA. She was recruited because as part of her master's studies at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, she developed an algorithm that was amazingly accurate at predicting where terrorist cells might pop up in the world. Soon, she was deployed as a spy in the Middle East while posing as an art dealer. After 10 years, Fox left the CIA and is now a writer, a current events analyst, a peace activist, and a mother. One wonders what is next in her fascinating life!" --Sally Wizik Wills, Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery, Park Rapids, Minn.

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9781328519030). "This extraordinary memoir is destined to become a classic in the genre. Brodeur is a gifted storyteller with a doozy of a story to tell, as she is 14 years old when her mother makes her complicit in the decade-long affair between her mother and her stepfather's best friend. Everything about this book is rich--the setting on Cape Cod and the strong sense of place; the unforgettable character of Brodeur's mother, the incomparable Malabar; cinematic moments that stop the reader in their tracks; and layer upon layer of provocative themes around mother-daughter relationships, family secrets, and identity. I can't stop thinking about this book." --Allison Hill, Vroman's, Pasadena, Calif. (and future ABA CEO!)

Paperback
Celestial Bodies: A Novel by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth (Catapult, $16.95, 9781948226943). "In this gripping family saga, author Jokha Alharthi--the first female Omani writer to be translated into English--involves you deeply in the personal drama of her characters and in the extended family system, which includes former servants and masters, while also somehow telling the modern history of the country of Oman. I was immediately enthralled by the power and clarity of Alharthi's book, which won the 2019 Man Booker International Prize and is the first book written in Arabic to win it. Don't miss the opportunity to let this important new book sweep you away!" --Arlo Klahr, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8
Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival (Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781547602377). "Carefree Ruby loves playing and exploring the world around her. But one day, she notices a Worry hanging around. At first, she decides to ignore it, but it just grows bigger and bigger, and before long, it's so huge that it's all she can think about. Then she comes across a boy who looks as sad as Ruby feels and who also has a Worry. As the boy tells Ruby about his Worry, though, it begins to get smaller, and Ruby learns that talking about her Worry is a good way to make it go away. An excellent teaching book about managing worry, which everyone has and which may come back sometimes but can get better if you share it with someone who can help you through it." --Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder (Walden Pond Press, $16.99, 9780062836625). "This is the kind of middle-grade book we need more of! The story is a realistic portrayal of the lives of two teenage girls, one grieving the death of her brother and the other homeless due to alcohol and physical abuse in her family, who meet by chance and become friends. It is impossible to determine which girl benefits more from the relationship. It is heartrending but also hopeful." --Diane Howell Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, Ga.

For Teen Readers
The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake (Disney-Hyperion, $17.99, 9781368048088). "Exiled by her family to the small town of Lyric, Maine, after her brother's suicide attempt, Violet is determined to fulfill his childhood dream of finding the shipwreck the town was named after. Her search for answers begins at the town aquarium, where she finds new friends (and even serenades a lobster). Julia Drake's debut is that rare book that will take you from tears to laughter with a single page turn. You will be completely swept away by this beautiful story of love, healing, and forgiveness." --Abby Rice, The Briar Patch, Bangor, Maine

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Would Like to Meet

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters (Putnam, $16 paperback, 368p., 9780525542315, December 3, 2019)

Single Londoner Evelyn Summers once dreamed of becoming a screenwriter. At the age of 12, plucky Evie even declared she was going to become "the next Nora Ephron." But when the first agent to whom she ever showed her work told her, "You just don't have what it takes," her dreams went poof! Evie thus settled into becoming the "longest-serving assistant in the industry," working, for seven years, for William Jonathan (Monty) Montgomery, an eccentric, high-powered, old-school talent agent. It isn't easy to edit scripts, coddle writers' egos and try to make perfect pairings between writers and producers or production companies. The job, however, keeps workaholic Evie--nursing a broken heart--afloat.

Things take a turn when Monty reassures production duo Sam-and-Max that Evie can light a fire under screenwriter Ezra Chester and convince him to finish a script for which he's been contracted. Evie perceives Ezra--an "Academy Award winner, charitable heartthrob, and industry darling"--to be an "arrogant, insufferable arse." She and her friends even bestow him with the nickname "Number One Boychild" or "NOB," for short. The stakes are raised when a possible promotion to agent is dangled before Evie--but only if she can get the NOB to finish his script in three months. The problem, however, isn't just Ezra's highfalutin personality and his writers' block; he is also staunch in his belief that "Oscar winners... don't write rom-coms," and especially not meet-cute rom-coms--referring to the first moment the two love interests meet.

In order to get Ezra to fulfill his commitment on deadline and convince him to stop being so "short-sighted about the genre," Evie agrees to serve as his inspiration and "living proof." She proposes that she can meet a man the way it happens in rom-coms, re-creating meet-cutes from famous films in her own life to prove to Ezra that real-life romance truly exists. She also agrees to write detailed reports on her experiences, forwarding descriptions of her encounters to Ezra.

What ensues is a lively, laugh-out-loud story filled with raucous scenes of Evie's madcap meetings and zany mishaps in fulfilling her end of the bargain--from road trips to holidays to chance encounters. Everything that can go wrong does, including Evie making a child vomit, leaving her name and number in random books around London, and accidentally joining an erotic book group. Evie's lovable, snarky friends cheer her on, adding even more comic relief to Evie's antics, as do a handsome stranger and his young, precocious daughter from the local coffee shop. Debut author Rachel Winters hits all the right notes in Would Like to Meet, a fun and lively millennial rom-com with a heartfelt message that cleverly plays off tropes from a host of contemporary romance movies. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: An aspiring talent agent sets out to prove to an Oscar-winning screenwriter that people can fall in love just like they do in the movies.


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