Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

From My Shelf

Editorial Kismet

Little, Brown has just published Underground in Berlin: A Young Woman's Extraordinary Tale of Survival in the Heart of Nazi Germany by Marie Jalowicz Simon, who discarded her yellow star and disappeared into the underground in World War II Berlin. The book's U.S. editor, Tracy Behar, first heard about the book in an unusual way: "My son's friend spends his summers in Berlin with his family. His father, Tom Ertman, is German and a sociology professor at New York University who teaches Third Reich history. Last summer we visited Tom and his wife, historian Susan Pedersen. They are both published authors, so we got to talking about books. Tom started to describe one he had recently finished, a bestseller in Germany, about a young Jewish Berliner who had managed to escape forced labor, deportation and extermination, all while living underground. I could have listened to him for hours; the memoir sounded extraordinary, and unusual in its detailed depiction of what it was like to live in the heart of Nazi Germany during the war."

She made a note to research the book later, but "I hadn't been back at the office for more than a week before an e-mail appeared from agent George Lucas at Inkwell with about 20,000 words of the book in English. George represents Profile Books in the U.K., and they were publishing the book the following spring. So it was really pure coincidence. And a very happy coincidence at that, because I had also acquired Tom Buergenthal's astonishing Holocaust memoir A Lucky Child five years earlier from George and Profile, and it has been extremely successful for us. It felt like kismet."

Behar continued: "It is an absolutely remarkable account of a Jewish woman's daily life in the epicenter of the Third Reich. I've never read anything like it. It's also an important historical document that I believe will be read long into the future. I know this might sound crazy, but I really felt that the book belonged to me and to Little, Brown, and so I jumped in very quickly to acquire it before anyone else had the chance." --Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers

The Writer's Life

Stephanie Gayle: Secrets in a Small Town

photo: Sayamindu Dasgupta

Stephanie Gayle's first novel, My Summer of Southern Discomfort, was chosen as one of Redbook's Top Ten Summer Reads. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Kenyon Review Online, the Potomac Review, Punchnel's and several other publications. She's twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers. She co-founded the popular Boston reading series Craft on Draft.

Idyll Threats (reviewed below), her latest book, stars Thomas Lynch, the police chief of Idyll, Conn. When Cecilia North turns up dead on the local golf course, mere hours after meeting Lynch, he's appalled--because if he reveals that he knows where Cecilia was, he'll also reveal his greatest secret: he's gay.

What gave you the idea to write a story featuring a closeted detective as the main character?

When I began writing Idyll Threats, I didn't know Thomas was gay. It emerged as I got to know him. So it isn't something I set out to do, which is probably a good thing. It can be intimidating to write other perspectives and Thomas: male, a cop and gay, has a lot of perspectives that are different from mine. Of course, once that realization came, the story changed a lot. But all for the better.

Since Thomas is nearly your polar opposite in terms of perspective, how did you step into his shoes? Was it difficult to get to know him?

Thank god for a hyperactive imagination and a well-developed sense of empathy! Thomas was harder than most of my characters to get to know. Because he is not, at the best of times, chatty. He speaks in two-word sentences. When I started, I knew that I didn't want to create a cop who had a super-human intellect or much support from his team. Lonely outsiders make great narrators. He's easy in the sense that he is not ambivalent about anything. He has strong opinions. And he does share one trait with me: We're both suckers for blue-eyed men.

The events of Idyll Threats take place in 1997. How different do you think Lynch's career would be in 2015?

People think everything has changed. It hasn't. Same-sex couples are being denied marriage licenses, despite the Supreme Court ruling. I spoke to a cop about the plausibility of Thomas being closeted. "Oh, absolutely," he said. That was before I told him I'd set the novel in 1997. We tend to see progress as absolute, but it's incremental. So while ground has been gained, I think in the world of policing, Lynch's career would not look much different today.

Lynch thinks about being gay, and about who else might be thinking about it, almost constantly. Do you think it's because he's closeted?

To clarify, Thomas is closeted at work and with strangers. But not with his family or his former partner, with whom he was very close. Thomas has a heightened awareness at work, because his co-workers are casually homophobic. And he rightly fears they'd treat him as "other" if he told the truth. Minorities are constantly reminded of their status in this world, and I think that influences their views.

You're from Massachusetts--was it easy to create a small New England town like Idyll?

I grew up in a semi-rural small town, so it was very familiar to me. But I discovered that in creating a new place, like Idyll, I had to figure out lots of things. What's the government structure like? Does the town have its own school system? How diverse is it? That involved more research than I had expected. But it has been to fun to capture some of the small town quirks I remember and situate them in Idyll. And I'm happy to have a New England setting.

Speaking of research, what is your writing process typically like?

My process starts with a central character, a voice, and extends to story. I accrue details, secondary characters, and subplots as I write. I do a fair amount of research, and I never use it all. But it's fun to read up on forensics and police procedures and legal precedents. Or I think it's fun. In terms of timing, I work 8-5 and I'm not a morning writer. All my writing gets done after work and on weekends. I've been known to take a week of "vacation" and use it to write. I'm pretty bad with outlines. I want to be better. I go through many drafts. When I'm first thinking about a novel I'll write scenes, often out of sequence, just to get to know the characters. Some of them make the book. Some of them don't. And I edit/cut without regret. When I eliminate characters, I never think, "Oh maybe I'll include him in another book." I'm ruthless.

Any sneak peeks about what's next? More Thomas Lynch?

Yes, I'm working on #2 in the Thomas Lynch series. It's funny. I never thought I'd write a series. But I like Thomas enough to take another journey with him. After I finish that, I have another mystery featuring a house cleaner. And who knows, maybe I'll finish knitting that hat I started 18 months ago! (Oh god, I'm never going to finish that hat.)

Ha! Good luck with the hat. And one more question--are you big on puns? With a title like Idyll Threats, it seems like you might be.

I do enjoy a good pun. But I didn't come up with the title. Of my two novels, I am zero for two on titles. My mom came up with my first novel title, My Summer of Southern Discomfort. And my editor, Dan Mayer, mentioned that a title with the word "Idyll" might be good in my second book, especially if we did a series. I mentioned this and my boyfriend, Todd, said, "How about Idyll Threats?" When he found out it was the title, he asked how much he got paid. I told him he'd only come up with two words. "But," he said, "They're on the front of the book!" Six weeks, later I came up with an adequate comeback: "I have two words on the cover too. My name." --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

Book Candy

Literary T-Shirts; Literary Castles and Country Houses

Bustle featured "13 cool literary T-shirts perfect for any book lover going back to school."


Helen Maslin, author of Darkmere, chose her "top 10 literary castles and country houses" for the Guardian.


Noting that children's books are "like security blankets--all warm and fuzzy on the outside, but deeply symbolic on the inside," Brightly collected the "19 best children's book quotes."


"The Saddest Bookworm" is a baby who "knows no greater sadness than the end of a book."


"Writ in blood." Word & Film shared its choices for the "7 best horror films based on books."


For Dr. Who fans, Bookshelf showcased the Little TARDIS Library, which is "on a tour of the U.K. sharing stories with children and young people to help promote their love of reading."

Book Review


Paulina & Fran

by Rachel B. Glaser

Rachel B. Glaser (Pee on Water; MOODS) focuses on two memorable, magnetic characters in Paulina & Fran, a novel of the challenges in friendship and love, beginning in a New England art school.

Paulina is flamboyant, wildly sexual and capable of great cruelty toward her friends. She attacks the world with a confident demeanor but is secretly plagued by an inability to get what she wants, because she doesn't know what that is. Fran is more self-contained, a talented painter but lacking commitment, easily swayed by the love and approval of others. On a school trip, the two are drawn together, owing in part to their lack of other social options, but the bond they form is remarkably powerful, even hypnotic, on both sides. The mesmerizing spell is broken when Fran ends up dating Paulina's ex-boyfriend, setting into motion a series of mutually destructive events that follow the two women--and collaterally the helpless boyfriend--well past graduation.

Paulina can be repellently vicious, while Fran is merely lost; both will occasionally try the reader's patience, but both are finally sympathetic. These are finely detailed, compelling, complex young adults facing archetypical trials: work and art; sex, devotion, obsession and betrayal; the cavernous future; and how to be oneself and be a friend. Their journey is often funny and sometimes horrifying, filled with pretentious art "crits" (critiques), thrift store fashion and homemade hair products. Paulina & Fran is both a glittering, raucous ride and a thoughtful depiction of life: painful and ecstatic. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Discover: A novel about two young art students, the thrills they enjoy and the wounds they inflict on themselves and each other.

Harper Perennial, $14.99, paperback, 9780062377340

The Gates of Evangeline

by Hester Young

"There is nothing more unnatural than losing your child. Not even talking to the dead." Charlotte "Charlie" Cates should know; she's experienced both. At 38, Charlie is divorced, unhappily working in New York City as the managing editor of a woman's magazine, and reeling from the tragic death of her four-year-old son, Keegan. Ambien has provided a nightly escape, but when Charlie decides she no longer wants to numb herself with the drug, the dreams start.

It's one of these dream premonitions that convinces Charlie to accept a job offer she initially doesn't want. Her previous employer is publishing a series of books about high-profile unsolved crimes and wants Charlie to cover the 30-year-old kidnapping of toddler Gabriel Deveau. Charlie is disgusted by the idea of profiting from the disappearance of a small boy; however, she has a change of heart when a dream shows her a boy in a swamp: "Will you help me? The boy asked." With that, Charlie heads for Louisiana.

First-time novelist Hester Young may not have realized she was writing a Southern gothic, but the rich atmosphere of the American South clings heavily to every page in The Gates of Evangeline. From the eeriness of the swamplands, to the grandness of the Evangeline estate, the gothic mood embraces the reader much the same way Charlie's dreams envelop her.

The Gates of Evangeline is a wonderfully evocative, chilling mystery layered with themes of love, faith and devotion that is sure to haunt readers' dreams long after they've turned the last page. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts

Discover: A debut mystery centered on the high-profile kidnapping of a toddler, set in the rich gothic atmosphere of the American South.

Putnam, $25.95, hardcover, 9780399174001

Lost Canyon

by Nina Revoyr

Lost Canyon, a novel by Nina Revoyr, Los Angeles Times Book Prize nominee (The Age of Dreaming), is an exciting blend of literary fiction and thrilling suspense--a harrowing trip into physical danger and a clever meditation on race relations and bravery.

Four Los Angeles denizens embark on what they think will be a challenging but manageable trek in the Sierras; however, their hike goes horribly wrong when they cross paths with warring pot cultivators. Revoyr succinctly captures the dissimilar lives these hikers led before their trip; they are flawed but easy to identify with and empathetic from the get-go. Gwen Foster is black, a counselor for at-risk youths and reeling from the recent loss of one of her charges. Oscar Barajas is a Hispanic single parent and real estate broker, struggling with the falling housing market. Todd Bridges is an affluent white lawyer with a failing marriage. Tracy Cole, the half-Japanese personal trainer who brings them together, is so driven by her need to cultivate her physical prowess and alpha-female-ness, she may land them in over their heads. When violence flares up, each person reacts in believable ways, yet the choices they make are unexpected, revealing hidden depths and fascinatingly veiled motivations. The drug war sets them against racist antagonists with much darker agendas than anything they've encountered in their urban past.

Lost Canyon moves with headlong propulsion, but Revoyr also captures the quieter moments and restorative aspect of physical exertion in nature. She portrays the confidence one can achieve when the near impossible is surmounted, and how a few random events can alter one's life permanently. --Donald Powell, freelance writer

Discover: A thrilling and beautiful hike goes horribly wrong in this subtle look at race and class when a group of Angelinos hit the wilderness.

Akashic, $15.95, paperback, 9781617753541

If You Only Knew

by Kristan Higgins

Wedding dress designer Jenny Tate realizes she's having a hard time distancing herself from her ex-husband, especially when she ends up delivering his baby after his new wife goes into labor unexpectedly. Determined to carve out a life of her own, without this weird ex-family situation, Jenny moves back home to Cambry-on-Hudson. She's excited to be close to her sister, Rachel, and her triplet nieces. It turns out that her move is perfectly timed to lend support when Rachel, who thought she had the perfect marriage, discovers sexts from a colleague on her husband's phone. Rachel isn't sure if she should give Adam a second chance for the sake of their daughters or if their marriage is over.

In a shift from her generally frothier romance novels, Kristan Higgins (Until There Was You) delves into love, sisterhood, loss and grief, as Rachel and Jenny navigate the romantic possibilities and betrayals in their paths. With a perfect balance of laugh-out-loud funny moments--usually created by Jenny's interactions with her extremely handsome neighbor--and some poignant, tear-inducing incidents, as the sisters muse on the death of their father and their own parents' seemingly flawless marriage, If You Only Knew is captivating.

The emotional journeys of these two very different but equally charming sisters makes for excellent reading. Quiet Rachel and outspoken Jenny have to find a way to make peace with their pasts and find a new future, relying on each other the whole way. If You Only Knew is sure to appeal to sisters everywhere. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

Discover: Two sisters face romantic crises: one tries to distance herself from her apparently perfect ex-husband while the other deals with her husband's infidelity.

Harlequin, $14.95, paperback, 9780373784974

Mystery & Thriller

Woman of the Dead

by Bernhard Aichner

In Woman of the Dead, the first in a planned trilogy of crime thrillers, Austrian author Bernhard Aichner introduces readers to Brünhilde Blum--aka "Blum"--the steely, 24-year-old adopted daughter of monstrous, unloving and now elderly parents who run a successful funeral home in Innsbruck. Blum, forced to "lay out the dead since she was seven," uses a family boating trip to settle old scores and liberate herself in a chilling, opening scene that establishes the psychological make-up of Aichner's female antihero.

Evil lurks and follows Blum, even eight years later, after she takes over the mortuary, marries Mark, a dedicated police officer, and gives birth to two beautiful children. When Mark dies in a hit-and-run accident, which later appears to have been murder, Blum, in an effort to transcend her grief, begins her own investigation. She discovers recorded interrogation sessions Mark had with a woman who recounts a graphic scenario where she and two other female immigrants were held captive and repeatedly tortured and raped by five depraved and powerful men with shrouded identities. Blum suspects this case--and those involved--may have contributed to Mark's death and sets off to find the answers that eluded her husband. Via her mortuary background, Blum, a fascinating study in dissociative contradiction, delivers a distinctive brand of vigilante justice.

Aichner has written a vivid, terrifying story. His sparse writing style is fleshed out by provocatively violent scenes, which will draw readers into a grisly, complex web of one woman on a quest for vengeance. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Discover: A female undertaker with a dark, sordid past investigates her husband's murder and takes macabre revenge.

Scribner, $26, hardcover, 9781476775616

Idyll Threats

by Stephanie Gayle

Everyone in Idyll, Conn., is surprised when a young woman named Cecilia North is found shot to death on the town's golf course. It's the late 1990s, and Idyll is not the sort of place that has violent crime, let alone murder. Unfortunately for new police chief Thomas Lynch, everyone in town is watching him as his team attempts to solve the crime. Making the case even trickier is the fact that Lynch saw Cecilia barely an hour before her death. But if he reveals to anyone where he saw her, he'd have to also confess his deepest secret: he's gay.

So Lynch tries to solve the case on his own, without letting his detectives realize what's going on. Idyll may seem idyllic on the surface, but his casual queries soon make Lynch realize that danger, homophobia and prejudice lurk just beneath the surface. He'll have to tread carefully in order to solve Cecilia's murder, without hurting himself politically or personally.

In Idyll Threats, Stephanie Gayle (My Summer of Southern Discomfort) has created an engaging mystery with a believable denouement. But what makes it stand out is its complicated protagonist: Lynch's desperate attempts to find out the truth about Cecilia's death without compromising his own secrets make for fascinating reading. And given the late '90s setting, cell phones are a rarity and Internet searches practically unknown, forcing the detectives to work the case the old-fashioned way, by interviewing the delightfully quirky Idyll inhabitants. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

Discover: A small-town police chief tries to solve a murder, but his best clue would reveal his biggest secret: he's gay.

Seventh Street Books, $15.95, paperback, 9781633880788

Food & Wine

Nuts: 50 Tasty Recipes, from Crunchy to Creamy and Savory to Sweet

by Patrick Evans-Hylton

As the popularity of nut milks and nut cheeses rises and more people embrace a plant-based lifestyle, one of the oldest known sources of food has become one of the hottest health trends today. Patrick Evans-Hylton, food journalist and chef, celebrates nuts, which are portable, protein-rich, nutrient-dense sources of fiber, minerals and vitamins (copper, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc, to name only a few).

Nuts opens with a history primer ("seven types of nuts were found at a 780,000-year-old archaeological site in Israel's Hula Valley in 2002") and the best uses for the 10 most common and accessible nuts: almonds, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Evans-Hylton provides information on how to select, store and prepare nuts (for example, whole raw nuts are not only cheaper, but last longer) and then presents recipes that include staples like peanut butter and almond milk, before venturing into Mushroom-Walnut Sauce and Green Olive-Pistachio Tapenade; soups and sides like Williamsburg Peanut Soup and Herbed Chestnut Bread Pudding with Parmesan Cream Sauce; entrees like Grown-Up Grilled Cheese with Cherry-Walnut Compote, Bacon and Brie; and sweets like Pineapple Upside-Down Macadamia Cookies and Banana-Cashew-Ginger Freezer Ice Cream--even a Nutty Fella Martini cocktail.

Beyond the variety of recipes, fun facts abound: Who knew that the walnut tree doesn't produce until 15 years old and that there are more than 30 varieties of almonds? Nuts is not only informative, but a delicious testament to why this nutritional powerhouse has become a widespread favorite. --Kristen Galles from Book Club Classics

Discover: Why one of the oldest known sources of food has become a popular nutritional trend.

Sasquatch, $19.95, hardcover, 9781632170217


Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement

by Premilla Nadasen

Premilla Nadasen (Welfare in the United States) is an associate professor of history at Barnard and a labor and poverty activist. She believes that storytelling is a vital form of activism and though her prose is sometimes dry, the vivid stories and voices of domestic workers and activists dominate her fourth book, Household Workers Unite.

In 1950, 60% of U.S. domestic workers were African American women. White people romanticized the "mammy" image of such workers, the "content and loyal household worker" who was "one of the family"--a member who used separate doors and toilets, ate leftovers in the kitchen and worked long, unpredictable hours for starvation wages. "Considered difficult to organize, and neglected by most labor organizers, they had no choice but to strike out on their own." Later, as the feminist movement gained strength, the experiences and achievements of household workers were often disregarded by those who imagined that paying for housework would raise its status, and by "nice ladies who have bought their freedom from household work at the expense of those who have no choice."

Nadasen overturns the popular image of African American domestic workers in the mid-20th century as passive caretakers and victims. Instead, she shows that they redefined domestic work as a profession deserving decent pay, proper training and respect, and built influential local and national labor organizations. Household Workers Unite adds a significant contribution to the history and ongoing discussions of labor organization, feminism and civil rights. --Sara Catterall

Discover: An iconoclastic history of African American women who organized and lobbied to improve their working conditions.

Beacon Press, $27.95, hardcover, 9780807014509

Political Science

Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World

by David Vine

David Vine (Island of Shame) spent six years researching Base Nation, visiting more than 60 bases in 12 countries and territories, studying their history, and interviewing military authorities and local inhabitants. He is convinced that, as of 2015, this network of foreign bases does much more harm than good to U.S. national security and the U.S. economy.

Vine calculates that foreign bases, not including those in war zones, cost the U.S. between $72 billion and $120 billion each year. Meanwhile, improved transportation has made it unnecessary to keep so many troops stationed abroad. He describes how bases strain military families, encourage prostitution and human trafficking, damage the environment and contribute to military tensions rather than keeping the peace. He shows that they have harmed foreign relations over decades as the U.S. forcibly removed local populations, collaborated with dictators and organized crime, and maintained colonial relationships with many host nations in direct contradiction of its stated goal to spread democracy.

However, Vine says that the tide is beginning to turn. "The tremendous costs of maintaining such an unparalleled collection of bases abroad have made closing foreign bases one of the rare ideas that draw support from across the political spectrum." He recommends greater Congressional control of military spending, closing of most bases and annual reviews for those remaining. "We have a chance today to make the investments in transportation, science, education, entrepreneurship, energy and housing that have been neglected while trillions of dollars have been poured into unnecessary wars and military bases abroad." --Sara Catterall 

Discover: A strong, well-researched argument for closing most foreign U.S. military bases.

Metropolitan Books, $35, hardcover, 9781627791694

Social Science

No House to Call My Home: Love, Family, and Other Transgressions

by Ryan Berg

Ryan Berg's experiences as a residential counselor and subsequent caseworker for an LGBTQ foster program in New York City have shaped No House to Call My Home, which tells the stories of the many kids Berg came to know at his job. Rodrigo takes unnecessary risks--including going to Central Park to pick up older men for sex--in order to feel more alive. Barbara needs to make a plan for what she will do when she ages out of the system; her father will support her only if she agrees to dress like a woman. Christina picks up johns with an interest in trans girls because they make her feel accepted.

Individually, any one of these young men and women has lived through more hardship than any one person should have to face. Collectively, though, their stories combine to reveal a deeply flawed system that is failing the most at-risk youth in the United States.

"People prefer to ignore tragedy unless there's redemption in the end," writes Berg, but No House to Call My Home does not allow that. There is a lot of tragedy here, and very little redemption. But if the system--and by default, the larger population--can look at the issues that surround LGBTQ youth through a different lens, one that acknowledges the "interconnectedness of systemic racism, homophobia, transphobia, and poverty," perhaps we can start to enact change. The first step is recognizing that there is a problem--and it is impossible to read No House to Call My Home without seeing that as plain as day. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: A moving account of the many challenges and difficulties facing LGBTQ foster youth in New York City and how the system has failed them.

Nation Books, $25.99, hardcover, 9781568585093

Children's & Young Adult

Max the Brave

by Ed Vere

Youngsters will fall in love with Max, the wide-eyed, jet-black kitten with an insatiable curiosity, and the mouse who outsmarts him.

British artist Ed Vere (Banana!) introduces his enchanting kitten hero directly: "This is Max," says the text on a sunny yellow background. "Doesn't Max look sweet?" Opposite, the red backdrop telegraphs a change in mood: "Max looks so sweet that sometimes people dress him up with bows." But the feline's furrowed brow foreshadows trouble, and sure enough, a page turn reveals Max stomping on the pink bow. Why? "Because Max is a fearless kitten./ Max is a brave kitten./ Max is a kitten who chases mice." If only he knew what a mouse looked like... Max fearlessly begins his hunt for Mouse in a tin can. A fly appears, triggering the book's engaging refrain: "Are you Mouse?" asks Max. "No, I'm Fly," says Fly. "But I just saw Mouse scurry by a moment ago." Readers will savor the moment when Max finally finds the creature he's looking for, only to be told, "Who, me? No, certainly not, I'm Monster!" The mouse tells Max that the sleeping artichoke-green monstrosity "over there" is Mouse. "Hmmm, I didn't know Mouse was so BIG," says Max, soon before he is gobbled up by the monster. The next spread is mostly black, but Max's yellow eyes peer out of the bottom right-hand corner. Happily, the monster's sneeze saves Max... "Attchooo!!"

Max's guileless personality and single-minded pursuit of his goal make him the perfect stand-in for toddlers, and older children will appreciate Vere's playful wit and wish for Max's return. --Jennifer M. Brown, former children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: This fearless kitten would definitely catch mice, if he knew what a mouse was.

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99, hardcover, 32p., ages 3-6, 9781492616511

The Astounding Broccoli Boy

by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Like Peter Parker, Clark Kent and Bruce Banner before them, an alliteratively named pair of 12-year-old British boys--Rory Rooney and Karol Komissky--one day find themselves unexpectedly "super." Their superpowers coincide with Rory’s "kind of brown" and Karol's "pinkish white" skin turning--also unexpectedly--broccoli green. Rory's superpower is being able to teleport "slightly." Karol (who goes through two name changes in the course of the book) decodes locked doors while sleepwalking like a "spooky Playmobil." The third member of the green team, Koko Kwok, shows up later; she wants to rule the world (she shares her excellent ideas with the prime minister when they're holding him captive).

Fans of Daniel Pinkwater's wacky novels will devour Frank Cottrell Boyce's (Millions, Cosmic) semi-science fiction, somewhat surreal The Astounding Broccoli Boy. In the mix, readers will find a sleepy prince of England and his insomniac baby; escaped gorillas, reindeer and penguins; a borrowed milk truck; and mass urban panic after "alien" sightings. Beneath all the wildly entertaining nonsense, however, is the story of an unlikely friendship formed after the rockiest of starts: "Grim" Komissky (as Rory used to call him behind his back) bullied Rory relentlessly at school before the two of them were thrown together in a hospital isolation ward. And when Grim (by now called Tommy-Lee) says about a hippo roaming the streets of London, "They're probably misunderstood.... Just because they're big, people probably pick on them and ask them to have fights they don't even want," neither Rory nor the author needs to add a thing to underscore the poignant moment. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Discover: Three inexplicably green kids create mayhem when they decide they must be superheroes.

Walden Pond/HarperCollins, $16.99, hardcover, 384p., ages 8-12, 9780062400178


Author Buzz

Every Time We Say Goodbye

by Natalie Jenner

Dear Reader,

EVERY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE was the hardest book I will ever write, and the most rewarding. I packed everything I could into this book: love and conflict, faith and religion, censorship and resistance, art and moviemaking, fashion and food, cameos by favorite actresses and characters from my earlier books, and above all Rome, my favorite city in the world. I hope that my novel gives you the entertainment and inspiration that nourished me throughout its writing.

Email with the subject line "Every Time Was Say Goodbye Sweeps" for a chance to win one of five copies.

Gratefully yours,
Natalie Jenner

Buy now and support your local indie bookstore>

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: Every Time We Say Goodbye by Natalie Jenner

St. Martin's Press

Pub Date: 
May 14, 2024


List Price: 
$29.00 Hardcover

Happily Ever Maybe
(A Montgomery Ink Legacy Novella)

by Carrie Ann Ryan

Dear Reader,

What happens in a bodyguard romance when both characters are a bodyguard?

All the heat and action!

I love writing workplace romances because things get tricky. And when a one night stand ends up burning up the pages, things get... explosive.

Gus and Jennifer are fiery, kick-butt characters that made me so happy to write.

I hope you love them!

Carrie Ann Ryan

Available on Kobo

AuthorBuzz: 1001 Dark Nights Press: Happily Ever Maybe (A Montgomery Ink Legacy Novella) by Carrie Ann Ryan

1001 Dark Nights Press

Pub Date: 
February 13, 2024


List Price: 
$2.99 e-book

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