Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 8, 2020


Harper Paperbacks: Something She's Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell

Scholastic Press: Mañanaland by Pam Munoz Ryan

Tor Books: Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Roaring Brook Press: Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice by Mahogany L Brown and Various Authors

Ingram: Booklove, an Exclusive Risk-Free Rewards Program!

Scholastic Press: The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron

News

Madison Street Books Coming to Chicago's West Loop

Next month, veteran booksellers Javier Ramirez and Mary Mollman will open Madison Street Books in Chicago, Ill.

Located in the city's West Loop neighborhood, the store will have around 1,500 square feet of selling space and will sell all-new books for children, teens and adults. The store's adult inventory will focus on fiction, literature and titles from small and independent presses. Mollman and Ramirez plan to have a strong children's section featuring a mural painted by local illustrator Diana Sudyka. In addition to books, the store will stock a small selection of book-related sidelines, along with vinyl records.

Ramirez and Mollman

Ramirez is looking to build a "robust, strong," events schedule, and in fact he and Mollman have already begun hosting events even though the store is not yet open. While a soft opening is planned for February 1, with a "big, blowout" grand opening to follow on February 22, Ramirez and Mollman have had the space since September, and they've hosted a couple of book launches, a rep night and a few birthday parties. During the holiday rush, they operated a pop-up shop almost every weekend.

Along with hosting those early events, Mollman and Ramirez have been reaching out to their new neighborhood in a variety of ways. When they first took over the space, they put a banner in the front window asking people to tell them what they most wanted to see in a new bookstore. Mollman reported that they got around 20 responses, including one from a little boy who wrote only "Dog Man, Dog Man, Dog Man," and they've switched out the question several times since. Said Mollman: "We're trying to engage the neighborhood that way."

A recent reading at the future Madison Street Books

"We want to go into February 1 with as much momentum as possible," explained Ramirez, adding that the first official in-store event will be a reading with Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age, on February 5. He also recalled spending "two months or so sitting with the front door open," greeting curious community members, taking e-mail addresses and "stressing that it's going to be their bookstore."

Both Mollman and Ramirez have been part of the Chicago bookselling community for years, and were booksellers together at the Book Stall in Winnetka, Ill. Before entering the bookselling world, Mollman was an event planner for the First National Bank of Chicago, as well as a lifelong reader and lover of books. She joined the Book Stall when her kids were in middle school and high school, and later worked at Booked, a children's bookstore in Evanston, Ill.

Ramirez, meanwhile, has been a bookseller for around 25 years. Originally from California, Ramirez used to work for Tower Records' book division at the company's main office in Sacramento. In 1995 he moved to Illinois to be a book buyer for a recently opened Tower megastore, and has "been here ever since." He mused that since 1995 he's "worked for or managed just about every indie in Chicago." He was a judge for the Kirkus Prize in 2017 and the National Book Award for fiction in 2019. He also co-hosts Publishing Cocktails, a social event for people in the book industry that takes place every other month, and it was there that Ramirez and Mollman got reacquainted after working together years ago.

When asked how they came to be opening a new bookstore together, Mollman said it was a "little bit of a fluke." While going out to dinner with her husband one night in the West Loop, Mollman passed a storefront with a for-rent sign. She remarked that it would make a good spot for a bookstore--something which her husband was "not unaccustomed" to hearing from her--but this time she called and found the space available. After visiting the space a few times, she ran the numbers and thought it would be viable. Then she figured she'd "see if Javier would be interested in partnering with me."

With less than a month to go until opening, Mollman said, she and Ramirez are looking to "keep the buzz going" in the community while getting the store up and running. Said Mollman: "We want to foster community and be an anchor in the community." --Alex Mutter


Disney-Hyperion: The Magical Yet by Angela Diterlizzi, Lorena Alvarez


Odd Bird Books Opening in Columbia, S.C.

Odd Bird Books will open next month at the historic Arcade Mall, "a revitalized retail space with entrances on Main and Washington streets" in downtown Columbia, S.C., the Post and Courier reported. Benjamin Adams is using a little less than 500 square feet of space for his independent bookstore and hopes to have about 1,000 titles in stock.

"It's cozy," said Adams, who cited his pop-up sales as a vendor at weekly Soda City Market since November and his conversations with locals as reasons for believing that Columbia was ripe for an indie bookstore downtown. "Over and over, I was hearing from people that they wanted a better alternative."

He added that bookstores have been embracing smaller footprints to survive. "They can't beat Amazon and Barnes & Noble at that game of having everything all the time." The key to success for smaller stores, he believes, is the right selection of titles. Odd Bird Books will use its limited inventory to emphasize recently released books that have been attracting attention in the literary world, along with titles Adams believes others will find interesting.

Matt Kennell, City Center Partnership, said a bookstore was on the list of additions that the partnership wanted to attract to the central downtown area. The group had seen that such bookstores were succeeding in other cities. "Consumers seem to be more eager to support businesses that are local and offer personal service than they might have been in years past," Kennell observed, noting that the smaller footprint of locations in the Arcade Mall works well for such smaller retailers. "We've kind of gone full-circle."


Johns Hopkins University Press: Detectives in the Shadows by Susanna Lee


Book Community Rallies for Australian Bushfire Relief Effort

The global book community is rallying to raise funds for bushfire relief efforts in Australia. Noting that Australian authors have donated signed books and other services for an auction to raise funds for Victoria's Country Fire Authority, SBS News reported that a conversation between writers Nova Weetman and Emily Gale snowballed into a larger fundraising effort, under the hashtag #AuthorsForFireys. Authors from other countries, including Rebecca Makkai in the U.S and the U.K.'s Joanna Harris, have also joined the effort.

Top bidders are asked to donate directly to the Country Fire Authority, Victoria's rural fire service. The auction of signed books, illustrations, unusual experiences, one-off opportunities and writers' services ends on Saturday at 11 p.m. Sydney/Melbourne time.

Gale told the Bookseller she was prompted to launch #AuthorsForFireys with Weetman "when the bushfires in New South Wales had gripped the country and it was 'difficult to think about anything else.... Nova asked if I wanted to get together with her to raise some money for the volunteer firefighters.... I got a sense very early on that it was going to be well-supported by the children's and YA community, but [after putting the first tweet into the world on Sunday] by Monday morning it was clear that this auction was going to be a lot bigger than we ever anticipated. Once a few celebrities put their weight behind it, the auction became an amazing runaway train and we've been running after it waving our arms frantically ever since!' "

Booksellers are also doing their part. In a letter to members, Australian Booksellers Association CEO Robbie Egan wrote: "The new year is upon us and we find much of our beautiful country suffering from unprecedented bushfires. I am south enough of the fires to escape danger, but today thick smoke hangs about South Gippsland like a fog. Most of us have family and friends impacted to some degree and many of us feel somewhat helpless despite the desire to help. Some members have pledged a percentage of takings. #AuthorsForFireys is a twitter auction of signed books, illustrations and writers' services to raise funds for the CFA. The CBCA has partnered with GIVIT to raise donations for the purchase of books for fire affected families and communities. Using the ABA's Find a Bookshop search GIVIT will make purchases from stores in these regions.

"In terms of giving books directly, it seems best to understand what needs are so that our efforts are most useful as the schools, libraries and families recover and rebuild. In Victoria, the Premier has announced that material donations are at capacity and that giving money is presently the most helpful approach."

Readings, with seven bookshops in Melbourne, posted on Facebook: "Like so many of you, we've been heartsick watching this unprecedented bushfire crisis unfolding across our country. Readings will be taking donations throughout the month of January to give to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, and we'll match each of your donations (up to A$10,000 [about US$6,920]). Any gift-wrapping donations will also go towards supporting the Red Cross' efforts to fight these fires and rebuild the communities. Contributions can be made with any purchase via the donation boxes on our shop counters or EFTPOS."

Clunes Booktown in Clunes, Vic., noted: "As we return to Booktown HQ, blanketed in smoke, we reel over the devastation caused by the bush fires across the state and country." In addition to #AuthorsForFireys, Booktown recommended several other ways to help, including the Australian Red Cross; GIVIT; Salvation Army Australia ("please give money, not goods"); and "for our wildlife" the RSPCA; WIRES; Australian Koala Foundation; and Koalas in Care Inc.

Perimeter Books in Darebin, Vic., posted an appeal to friends outside Australia: "By now, you would have most likely seen the horrific images coming out of Australia's ongoing bushfire emergency. It is difficult to fathom or express the sheer scale or depth of this ecological and humanitarian crisis.... For what it's worth, Perimeter will be donating our entire profit margin from books sold through the web store this week to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Wildlife Victoria in our home state." 

Kangaroo Island "is a very special place for us at & we've been devastated by the lives lost & flora and fauna decimated by the bushfires," Matilda Bookshop in Stirling, S.A., noted on Facebook. "To help get our precious island back on its feet we'll be donating 15% from the price of each book sold tomorrow to various KI appeals."

Fairfield Books, Fairfield, Vic.: "We normally collect money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation for our gift wrapping but we are changing that to donate to the Vic Bushfire Relief fund instead for a while. It's a partnership between the Victorian Govt, Bendigo Bank and the Salvation Army. 100% of the money raised will go to those in need."

ABA's Egan observed: "What strikes me as I listen to the news of the devastation is that Australians are generous and strong. We are a society built of communities, and we do not exist in isolation. We are interdependent and the greater good--the traditional English concept of the commonwealth--benefits us all. If you are directly affected by the fires, I pledge whatever support the ABA can offer. I am in contact with other Associations to work through what we can do. Please be safe."


The History Press: Wildsam Travel Guides by Various


Causeway Bay Books to Reopen in Taipei

Causeway Bay Books, the former Hong Kong bookstore that "sold books critical of Chinese leaders and fell victim to Beijing's persecution," is expected to reopen in Taipei after the Lunar New Year holiday later this month, Taiwan News reported.

Lam Wing-kee (via)

Lam Wing-kee, who founded Causeway Bay Books in 1994, fled to Taiwan last February after the Hong Kong government proposed a controversial extradition bill that has since been scrapped. Lam was one of five shareholders and staff members of Causeway Bay Books who disappeared into Chinese custody at the end of 2015, Taiwan News noted. He was released on bail and allowed to return to Hong Kong in June 2016 to retrieve a hard drive listing the bookstore's customers, but "jumped bail and went public, detailing how he was blindfolded by police after crossing the border into Shenzhen and spent months being interrogated."

In Taipei, he has raised nearly NT$6 million (about US$200,000) through online fundraising to reopen the bookstore, which he said will serve as a space "for free souls." Taiwan News noted that he has leased a space in a building near the Taipei Metro's Zhongshan Station.

"Although it's on the 10th floor, the store space is very much like the one in Hong Kong," said Lam, who hopes it will become a place where help is given to Hong Kong residents who have moved to Taiwan since Hong Kong became embroiled in protests in June.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 01.20.20


The Experiment Buys Appletree Press

In its first corporate acquisition, The Experiment, the New York City publisher, has bought Appletree Press, Mankato, Minn.

More than 30 years old, Appletree Press specializes in cookbooks, nutrition and calorie counters, and food journals. Its cookbooks and other publications are based on medical and nutritional research and provide lifestyle guidance to individuals and health professionals seeking to address heart disease, weight management, diabetes, and other health and medical conditions. Its bestselling titles include Cooking à la Heart and The Essential Arthritis Cookbook.

Beginning in Spring 2021, The Experiment will publish updated editions of Appletree Press's titles. Among the first reissues are Cooking à la Heart, Let's Cook! Healthy Meals for Independent Living, and The Diabetic Goodie Book.

Linda Hachfeld, founder and publisher of Appletree Press, called the sale "a dream come true. To find another independent publisher committed to publishing practical, nutrition-focused books is like finding the proverbial 'needle in a haystack.' I feel both humbled and blessed to place Appletree Press titles in the capable hands of The Experiment."

Matthew Lore, cofounder and CEO of The Experiment, called Hachfeld "a bona fide superwoman. Every book she published at Appletree is premised on the power of eating and living well to address acute and chronic health conditions. These books have more currency than ever, and we're excited to update them, and to sell them across the entire retail marketplace. Best of all about this deal is Linda's continued editorial involvement--and that she'll also be working with us to pursue the sort of special sales opportunities that have been a hallmark of Appletree Press's success."


Scribe Publications: The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili, translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin


Obituary Note: Alasdair Gray

Author and artist Alasdair Gray, "who blazed a trail for contemporary Scottish fiction with his experimental novels," died December 29, the Guardian reported. He was 85. Gray came to fiction late, publishing his first novel Lanark at the age of 46 in 1981. "As his literary reputation increased, winning both the Guardian fiction prize and the Whitbread novel award in 1992, the elaborate illustrations he created for his books began to draw attention to the pictorial art Gray had been producing all along. The stream of commissions for murals and portraits gradually increased, and he finished his career as one of Scotland's most admired and versatile artists."

Calling Gray "a magnificent talent, a modern-day William Blake," author Ali Smith observed: "He was an artist in every form. He was a renaissance man. His generosity and brilliance in person--felt by everyone who knew him even a little--were a source of astonishing and liberating warmth. The few times I met him in life, he was all these things in a unique combination of polite, frank, detached (or maybe more truly differently attached), sanguine, many-voiced, wise, warm, kind, hilarious, acutely truth-telling, uncompromisingly articulate."

Gray's 30 novels and collections include Unlikely Stories, Mostly (1983), Janine (1982), Poor Things (1992), and illustrated translations of Dante's Hell (2018) and Purgatory (2019).

"What sad news this is that Alasdair Gray is gone," Francis Bickmore, Gray's editor and publishing director at Canongate, told the Bookseller. "It seems hard to believe that Alasdair was mortal and might ever leave us. No one single figure has left such a varied legacy--or missed so many deadlines--as Alasdair Gray. At least through Gray's phenomenal body of work he leaves a legacy that will outlive us all. His voice of solidarity and compassion for his fellow citizens, and his forward-looking vision is cause for great celebration and remembrance."

Friend and fellow writer Ian Rankin told BBC Scotland: "He could take something very personal to him--his background growing up in Glasgow for example--and make it that people around the world wanted to read it. He was part of that thing about taking Scotland out of the kailyard, writing sort of misty stories of Highland villages. Suddenly you were writing about things that meant stuff, writing politically, writing about your own experiences.... His books were beautiful, they were crafted, they were elegant. He had a sense of fun, he was mischievous, he had this huge intellect but he was a 'lad of pairts'--he could do a little bit of everything and he did it all well."

Last month, when Gray won the inaugural Saltire Society Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Scottish literature, the judges said: "For over 40 years, Alasdair Gray's plentiful and diverse work has influenced writers and the literary scene worldwide."


Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers: Jailed for Freedom: A First-Person Account of the Militant Fight for Women's Rights by Doris Stevens


Notes

Image of the Day: Kwame Alexander Abroad

Author Kwame Alexander (The Undefeated) traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, in December to give a keynote speech at the Inaugural Forum on Children's and Young Adult Books, presented by Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism. As the founding editor of the Versify imprint at HMH, Alexander discussed the state of children's book industry and the quality of children's literature in his keynote. Pictured: Alexander; conference coordinator Şule Aygün, of the Directorate General for Libraries and Publications, Ministry of Tourism and Culture; a conference participant; and Turkish children's book author Tülin Kozikogl.

Rick Riordan Presents: Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes (a Pandava Novel Book 3) by Roshani Chokshi


Indie Bookstores Featured on APM's Marketplace

Zenith Bookstore in Duluth, Minn., and owners Angel and Bob Dobrow were featured on last night's edition of Marketplace from American Public Media, which reported that the seeds for the bookshop, which opened two and a half years ago, "were sown on the streets of Manhattan" when they were younger.

"We used to love walking the streets and visiting bookstores, we're both big readers," said Bob Dobrow. They recalled casually saying to one another: "Wouldn't it be fun one day to open a bookstore?"

When he retired a few years ago, "they were packing up boxes and boxes of books, that crazy idea popped in their heads again," Marketplace noted. "Never mind they had never owned any kind of business before, or that people had been predicting the death of small bookstores since the advent of Barnes & Noble, Amazon and e-books. They moved to Duluth, depleted their savings to remodel an old liquor store, and opened for business to much local fanfare."

Since the first year, Zenith's sales have grown about 60%, which they attribute in part to a loyal customer base that is willing to spend a little more on a book to support a local business.

"My wife has this saying, which we repeat a lot, which is, nobody's getting rich but the bills are getting paid." Bob Dobrow observed. When he turns out the lights at the end of each day, "I get goosebumps just looking at what we've created."

Cream and Amber in Hopkins, Minn., was also showcased by Marketplace as "one of at least five new bookstores that have opened across the Minnesota this year. Katie Terhune's shop in Hopkins, just west of the Twin Cities metro, has a cafe and offers six Minnesota craft beers on tap." Terhune said that "we wanted to make a place where good beer and books could come together and people could meet over those two things."


B&N's January Book Club Pick: Dear Edward

Barnes & Noble has chosen Dear Edward: A Novel by Ann Napolitano (Dial Press, $27, 9781984854780) as its January national book club selection. The novel, which was published on Monday, will be the focus of a book club night at B&N stores around the country on Tuesday, February 4, at 7 p.m.

Liz Harwell, B&N's senior director of merchandising, trade books, described Dear Edward as "an extraordinary story of love, hope and resilience centered around the 12-year-old sole survivor of a devastating plane crash. The exploration of trauma and the compelling characters throughout Dear Edward truly warrant thought and discussion, making it a perfect Book Club read."

The Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition of Dear Edward includes a personal essay from Ann Napolitano, as well as a discussion guide.

For more information on the event, click here.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Patti Smith on Tonight

Today:
Fresh Air: Andrea Bernstein, author of American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power (Norton, $30, 9781324001874).

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Nikki DeBartolo and Benjamin Heldfond, authors of Our Happy Divorce: How Ending Our Marriage Brought Us Closer Together (Mascot Books, $24.95, 9781631779978).

Tonight Show: Patti Smith, author of Year of the Monkey (Knopf, $24.95, 9780525657682).

Movies: Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Disney+ has released the official trailer for Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. Directed by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), the project was co-written by McCarthy and Stephan Pastis, author of the bestselling children's book series from Candlewick Press on which it is based. Starring Winslow Fegley as the titular character along with Craig Robinson, Wallace Shawn and Ophelia Lovibond, the movie will launch February 7 on Disney+ in North America.



Books & Authors

Awards: Slightly Foxed First Biography Shortlist

A shortlist has been unveiled for the £2,500 (about $3,230) Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize, presented by Slightly Foxed and the Biographers' Club. The winner will be announced March 10 in London. The shortlisted titles are:

Nicholas Hilliard by Elizabeth Goldring
Self-Portrait by Celia Paul
The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin by Jonathan Phillips
Mother Ship by Francesca Segal
My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay
The Photographer at Sixteen by George Szirtes


Reading with... E.J. Koh

photo: Adam Glaser

E.J. Koh is the author of the  poetry collection A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Editors Prize, and the memoir The Magical Language of Others (Tin House, January 7, 2020). Her poems, translations and stories have appeared in the Boston Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books and World Literature Today, among others. She is the recipient of MacDowell Colony and Kundiman fellowships. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation from Columbia University and is completing her Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Washington in Seattle.

On your nightstand now:

Right now, I'm captured by Bohumil Hrabal's Too Loud a Solitude, a novel translated from the Czech by Michael Henry Heim. The first line inspires my imagination, a tender relationship with books: "For thirty-five years now I've been in wastepaper, and it's my love story."

Favorite book when you were a child:

I don't recall ever seeing my mother read a book in English. But what she did for me was tell me Korean folktales. In one, that I've tried many years to find but have failed, a grandfather goes into the woods with his grandchildren. They come across a tiger who aims to eat the children, but the grandfather strikes a bargain. The tiger may have one body part that belongs to the grandfather for every few feet that the children may run toward their home. When we finally get down to the grandfather's head, the children have made it safely inside.

Your top five authors:

A savage question that demands a savage answer. At present, I feel mentored by the books authored by Don Mee Choi, Mark Strand, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou and William Maxwell.

Book you've faked reading:

Academic texts spark my mind to new ways of thinking. But I've been learning how to set some texts down, without guilt or shame, if it does not seem to do just that thing.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Likely any book in translation. An Irish poet once said to me, "If you want to be a good poet, write poetry. If you want to be a great poet, translate."

Book you've bought for the cover:

My mother-in-law is a philosophy professor in the field of aesthetics. I am enamored by environmental aesthetics as well as typography and book covers. But she has made me more aware of aesthetics across cultures. Some Korean books are too difficult for me to grasp, but I love them for their covers--all of them.

Book you hid from your parents:

Growing up in my family, there was no need to hide what language already so carefully masks. But they, of course, likely saw what I did not think was visible to them. I wonder if they would have liked to see me with any books at all. I was sort of glum and dull, staring out the window.

Book that changed your life:

In my youth, I read Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy. The matter of excess and defect became a concern for years. It was an exercise to see my choices, my pursuits located somewhere along this spectrum of excess and defect. It helped me get to know myself in an unflinching light.

Favorite line from a book:

I'm reminded every so often of Mark Strand's poem "The King." The figure is a tiny ruler in a cape with ermine trim. "I have lost my desire to rule," he says. "My kingdom is empty except for you, and all you do is ask for me."

Five books you'll never part with:

William Maxwell's So Long, See You Tomorrow features Giacometti's sculpture "The Palace at 4 a.m." The drawing of the sculpture is inked across my right forearm. In this way, I'll never part with that sculpture, recalled intimately in that book. Such emotional precision and sharpness of experience left me bowed all those years ago. I'm also thinking about poems: James McMichael's "The Vegetables." It was the first poem assigned in my first poetry class. I had no idea, I was going in without a thought about poetry, but this poem told me everything. Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, translated by David Hinton, introduced me to ancient words. Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings made me feel as though I had a friend. Anything by Don Mee Choi gave me a sense of purpose.

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

Nicanor Parra's Antipoems. One day, I picked it up at a flea market in New York City and it set my imagination on fire.


Book Review

YA Review: Yes No Maybe So

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed (Balzer + Bray, $19.99 hardcover, 448p., ages 14-up, 9780062937049, February 4, 2020)

Yes No Maybe So is Becky Albertalli (What If It's Us?) and Aisha Saeed's (Amal Unbound) powerful response to the "bigotry and hateful rhetoric" that came after the 2016 presidential election.

Shy, awkward Jamie Goldberg, 17, is a Jewish kid who isn't "exactly great at talking to strangers." Example? He literally choked at an interview with a senator and now, instead of interning at the state capitol, Jamie's an errand boy for his cousin, an assistant campaign manager for a Democratic state senatorial candidate in Georgia who's trying to flip his long-time Republican district. Seventeen-year-old Pakistani-American Maya Rehman, who is not "exactly the most adaptable person in the world," has also had her hopes for summer dashed: she was supposed to leave for Italy with her parents after Ramadan; instead, her parents have decided to spend some time apart.

Once childhood friends, Jamie and Maya bump into each other at an interfaith event, where their mothers suggest they volunteer as canvassers for the upcoming local election. As they make their rounds, they encounter racist voters--"Do you really think you're going to get anyone around here to vote for your candidate when they've got you knocking on their doors?"--and anti-Semitic trolls. But the hardest hit comes from H.B. 28, a new bill that "calls for a partial ban on head and facial coverings while participating in certain public activities--including driving a car." H.B. 28 would "disproportionally affect Muslim women" like Maya's mom, who wears hijab. Now, volunteering is about more than winning an election--it's "a chance to fight back." As Maya and Jamie ramp up their activism, their relationship transitions to new levels as well, and their complex but sweet "slowmance" unfolds in alternating chapters.

Albertalli and Saeed's collaboration grew out of their experiences in Atlanta, Ga., campaigning for a Democratic congressional candidate who hoped to change the historically staunchly Republican district. In an author letter, they share their goal of not ignoring the "complexities of our current reality" but instead infusing it with joy and hope. The authors emphasize the importance of exercising the right to vote, especially in local elections, and they nimbly express citizens' frustrations over ugly campaign practices, lack of variety ("Voting for the best of two bad choices still means you're stuck with a bad choice") and a corrupt system. They even equate the political climate with how Maya feels about her parents' separation: "Why do they get all the say in something that affects me too?" The developing relationship between Maya and Jamie acts as a "raft in a sea of bad news." It's filled with lingering romantic moments, awkward cultural misunderstandings and so many doubts. But it's just the right amount of romance to balance the essential message about resistance Yes No Maybe So deftly delivers. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader

Shelf Talker: A Jewish boy and a Muslim girl campaign for an election in this politically charged YA "slowmance" about the power of local activism.


AuthorBuzz: Berkley Books: Lavender Blue Murder (Tea Shop Mystery #21) by Laura Childs
AuthorBuzz: Atria Books: Cartier's Hope by M.J. Rose
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