|photo: Kristine Techavanich
S. Isabelle is a reader, writer and hoarder of books. After earning a master's degree in library science, she took that love of reading to youth librarianship. The Witchery, her debut young adult novel from Scholastic, is "a delightfully dark take on magic and boarding school tropes." When Isabelle isn't "throwing books at teenagers," you can find her binge-watching TV shows, drinking heavily sweetened coffee or stressing over baseball.
On your nightstand now:
I've been on a fantasy kick lately, so I'm reading Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. I'm also excited to check out Lauren Blackwood's Within These Wicked Walls--Jane Eyre was my favorite required reading title in high school, and I'm here for all of the remixes of classic lit by marginalized authors.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game. I loved anything with a mystery at the center of the narrative, and I still do!
Your top five authors:
This changes all the time! But I really love Elizabeth Acevedo, Ibi Zoboi, Holly Black, Toni Morrison and Madeline Miller.
Book you've faked reading:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I might pick it up someday, we'll see.
Book you're an evangelist for:
R.F. Kuang's the Poppy War series. I've convinced so many co-workers and friends to read it, and then relished in their excitement and pain. I really can't wait to read Kuang's next books.
Book you've bought for the cover:
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova, though I'll read anything Zoraida writes, so the gorgeous cover is an added bonus.
Book you hid from your parents:
I distinctly remember going to the library as a kid and ditching my dad so I could ask the librarian for Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. I knew that title alone would get me a side eye, but I had to read it because a friend was, and it sounded hilarious. And it was!
Book that changed your life:
When I was a kid, my school librarian got me into Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. They would always hold the new copies for me once they got in, and even let me unwrap them and add the little library stickers. I felt so special! I loved those books, but that experience in itself was instrumental in me becoming a teen librarian. I love now being the person that teens and tweens come to for book recs and getting to see them light up when I put their new favorite book in their hands.
Favorite line from a book:
I have a horrible memory, so this is pretty difficult, but, "Kiss me, Hardy! Kiss me, quick!" from Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity gets me every single time. If you know you know.
Five books you'll never part with:
This is appropriate because I've been meaning to un-haul some of my collection out of my little studio apartment. But I'll never let go of Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko; my signed copy of The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo; Circe by Madeline Miller; The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas; and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It gets two mentions in this interview because I could go on and on about how brilliantly plotted this book is. I get the itch to re-read it every few years and will never stop thinking about how that moment toward the end took my breath away the first time I read it.
Book that became an unexpected favorite:
I'm pretty picky with books because there are just too many that I want to read and so little time. That said, I wasn't initially sure if I'd like Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, but I now consider it an all-time favorite. I cannot wait for the entirety of the series to be published. Give me more space necromancers!