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1. Happy Publication Day to Jacqueline West

Today is the official publication day of Jacqueline West’s riveting YA novel, DREAMERS OFTEN LIE. Jacqueline is author of the NYT bestselling middle grade series, The Books of Elsewhere, and DREAMERS is her first foray into the YA genre, and she’s done a smashing job of it, too.

“Engrossing . . . A dizzying new twist on one of the Bard’s most famous plays.”

DreamersOftenLie_cv copyDREAMERS is Black Swan meets Shakespeare–a twisty, enthralling story of one girl’s brush with madness:

After a skiing accident that fractures her skull, Jaye is left with a splitting headache and strong delusions. Jaye must keep these delusions secret from her family, doctors, and everyone at school in order to keep her starring part in the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream — even though visions of Shakespeare and [more]

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2. Andrew Brumbach, The Eye of Midnight, and getting “the call”

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Upstart Crow client Andrew Brumbach over at the Literary Rambles blog, where we discussed the release of his debut novel, THE EYE OF MIDNIGHT the harrowing submissions process, and the joy of getting “the call”. Pop over the blog for the full interview, and do be sure to put THE EYE OF MIDNIGHT on your “to read” list today!

The Eye of Midnight

 

 … [more]

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3. Ballad of a Thin Man: David Denby Continues to Not Get It

DenbyJonesRecently at the New Yorker, tetchy old fogey and lousy former film critic David Denby has published a lament about how few teens are reading books these days. He has one great overheard line—a student saying “Books smell like old people”; and he builds in a few caveats (“It’s very likely that teen-agers, attached to screens of one sort or another, read more words than they ever have in the past”); but mostly he is describing a decline of western civilization via smartphone. “If teachers can make books important to kids … those kids may turn off the screens,” he wraps up, making clear his real issue here: a favored primacy of one form of technology (ink on paper) over another (e-ink or pixels on screens).

Here’s the thing: He’s casting a transitional period … [more]

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4. White Writers: Don’t Write Diverse Books. Instead, Read Them.

There have been some great posts this week about the diverse books movement. Jacqueline Woodson’s 1998 article in the Horn Book, titled Who Can Tell My Story has been revived. Ellen Oh’s salient post Dear White Writer takes on diverse books and white privilege. There are numerous other articles and posts I could point you to; the discussion about diverse books is wide, intense, difficult, eye-opening, enraging, encouraging, and exciting.

In the last year, as the conversation about diverse books has picked up steam, a noticeable shift has taken place in my query box. It’s a shift that happens each time the trends change in publishing. Paranormal gave way to dystopian, which gave way to horror, which gave way to contemporary, which has recently given way to…diverse books?

The We Need Diverse Books campaign … [more]

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5. Congratulations to the 2016 ALA Award Winners

It’s a grand day for books, and we’d like to extend our warmest congratulations to the extremely talented 2016 ALA award winners! 37801-2[more]

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6. Cover Reveal: DIG TOO DEEP by Amy Allgeyer

It’s a cornucopia of cover reveals at Upstart Crow this week!

Today, we are thrilled to share the cover for Amy Allgeyer’s riveting debut novel, DIG TOO DEEP (Albert Whitman, April 2016). The good folks at YA Books Central did the official reveal yesterday, and you can hop over there to enter to win a free advance reading copy. b2ap3_thumbnail_Dig-Too-Deep_CvrReveal

It’s not just that Liberty Briscoe feels like an outsider in Ebbotsville, Kentucky. She expected it wouldn’t be easy to move from the city to her granny’s place for her last year of high school. Still, Liberty can’t shake the feeling that something’s not quite right. Everyone says the water’s safe, yet nobody drinks it. When Granny becomes sick, like so many others in town, Liberty starts to wonder about the water, the people who

[more]

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7. Read an excerpt of Leah Konen’s THE LAST TIME WE WERE US

We are so very excited about Leah Konen’s steamy contemporary romance, THE LAST TIME WE WERE US (Katherine Tegen, May 2016). Last Time We Were Us_FINAL

Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life.

She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties and, with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.

Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvy. A million years ago, he was Liz’s best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.

Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing

[more]

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8. Congratulations to the 2015 National Book Award Winners

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FICTION
Karen E. Bender, Refund
Angela Flournoy, The Turner House
Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies
Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles
Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

NONFICTION
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Sally Mann, Hold Still
Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus
Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran
Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light

POETRY
Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn
Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus
Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things
Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine

YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE
Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish
Laura Ruby, Bone Gap
Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep
Noelle Stevenson, Nimona… [more]

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9. Goodreads Ratings and How to Read Them

goodreads Unlike a lot of people in the publishing industry, I regularly review the books I read on Goodreads, and it has sometimes gotten me into trouble. I’ve been a Goodreads member since shortly after it was founded, and I have a lot of friends there whose opinions I follow. And who follow me. Some people in publishing feel no one in our industry should be on Goodreads at all; one editor noted that he won’t buy books from people who have given a negative review to one of his books. Others see it as a betrayal of our small community, that we should all be cheerleaders all the time, and to ever be otherwise is to be an Enemy of Books.

Well, I think that’s a lot of malarky, as Joe Biden might say. Goodreads … [more]

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10. Comment on NaNoWriMo by L

Yikes. I wouldn’t show my nanos to a friend, let alone an agent!

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11. Comment on Ten Commandments of Writing for Children by Tracy Campbell

Great list of “thou shall not”. :-)

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12. Comment on Middle Grade? Teen? Where Do You Draw the Line? by Michael

Going to try and fix this. Apparently there are some broken links in the backend. Thanks for the head’s up and ore on this soon!

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13. Comment on Middle Grade? Teen? Where Do You Draw the Line? by Jonathan Thomas Stratman

When I hit your subscribe banner, I get a page of code. No subscription opportunity. ???

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14. Cover reveal for Christina Mandelski’s THE SWEETEST THING

We are so very excited for today’s cover reveal! THE SWEETEST THING by Christina Mandelski is a fantastic contemporary YA novel about love, loss, and cake, and it’s soon to be re-released on Amazon with this gorgeous new package and some yummy bonus materials.

TheSweetestThing Cover Shadow WEB

When it comes to cake, Sheridan Wells is a true artist. She’s happiest working in the back of her family’s bakery, dreaming of the day her mom will come home. But when her dad makes an announcement that threatens to change their lives, Sheridan launches a desperate plan to find her mother before it’s too late. Add to that a school art project that she can’t seem to start, a moody best friend and the fact that she may or may not have been asked out by the cutest boy in

[more]

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15. Happy Pub Day to Jessixa Bagley’s BOATS FOR PAPA!

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I’m so thrilled to wish Jessixa Bagley a very happy pub day for her debut book, BOATS FOR PAPA. I met Jessixa at SCBWI NY in 2013; that was the first conference I attended with my agent hat on after nearly ten years on the other side of the desk at Simon & Schuster. Jessixa came to my session, politely introduced herself and struck up a conversation. She was a runner-up in the Illustrator Showcase and submitted a dummy called Drift to me after the conference. I opened it and was immediately drawn into the world of Buckley, a young beaver who creates increasingly intricate boats to send to his absent and much missed Papa. And she made me cry. Tears-streaming-down-my-face cry. I sold the book to the brilliant and wonderful Neal Porter. Neal, … [more]

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16. Cover Reveal for THE EYE OF MIDNIGHT by Andrew Brumbach

We’re oh-so-excited for the cover reveal of Andrew Brumbach‘s spectacular debut middle grade adventure novel, THE EYE OF MIDNIGHT (Delacorte, 2016). Hop on over to the good folks at Middle Grade Minded for the big reveal and an interview with Andrew.

 … [more]

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17. Erin Byers Murray wins M.F.K. Fisher Award

logoWe are pleased to announce that Upstart Crow client Erin Byers Murray has won the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing. The award, presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier, is for Erin’s essay “Sense of Self”, which appeared in FoodThinkers in 2014.

Erin is the author of Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm (St. Martin’s Press 2010) and a co-author of The James Beard nominated cookbook The New England Kitchen (Rizzoli 2014). Erin is an enormously talented writer and she has many more exciting projects cooking for the future. Congratulations, Erin!… [more]

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18. Comment on WAITING FOR UNICORNS has arrived! by Sheila King

I didn’t immediately recognize the title, but as soon as I started reading, I remembered it from Baker’s Dozen! Congrats!!

I am entering the next Secret Agent with Authoress (as soon as MG is up).

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19. Accolades for Sarah Tregay’s FAN ART

FanArt_FINALI am fizzy with fangirl-ish glee! Sarah Tregay’s sophomore novel, FAN ART, has been nominated by YALSA (the American Library Association) as one of the best Books for Young Readers, 2015.

This isn’t Sarah’s first time on this fantastic list. Her debut novel, LOVE AND LEFTOVERS, was a YALSA 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults finalist.

FAN ART is a tremendously special book, as it is at the forefront of the movement to create diversity in young adult literature. In FAN ART, seventeen year-old Jamie is in love with his best friend Mason, but is afraid that if he shares his feelings, he’ll lose Mason’s friendship forever. Ever since I read an early draft of the story back in 2011, it’s been my hope that FAN ART would cross boundaries–that it would allow … [more]

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20. WAITING FOR UNICORNS has arrived!

WaitingforUnicorns - jacketThe wait is over! We’re thrilled to celebrate the publication of  Beth Hautala‘s debut middle grade novel WAITING FOR UNICORNS (Philomel Books).

Kirkus calls Beth “an author to watch.” School Library Journal calls her writing “poignant.” Publisher’s Weekly calls Beth’s descriptions “spellbinding.”

Talia McQuinn is much too old to believe in magic, yet she keeps a jar of wishes under her bed. When her whale-researcher father drags Tal to the Arctic for the summer following her mother’s death, she brings the jar along. During her stay, Tal learns of the ancient Inuit legend of the narwhal whale—the unicorn of the sea—she forms a plan to make the biggest wish of her life.

I discovered Beth’s work while participating in the annual agent slugfest known as the Baker’s Dozen Auction, a contest in which … [more]

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21. Comment on Friday Inspiration by Marie at the Lazy W

Running across this at the most perfect moment. Thanks for sharing!

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22. Comment on Ten Commandments of Writing for Children by Marue at teh lazy W

Wonderful article, thank you! I stumbled her after searching for children’s literary agents.
I read Stephen King’s memoir recently and he also stressed “Kill your darlings.” Looking forward to browsing more of your site. Happy new year!

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23. Comment on Blog by Ye Olde Drawer Novels (Repost) | Inkfever

[…] read this fantastic article the other day about drawer novels. If you have a minute to spare, definitely go read it – and […]

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24. Comment on Five years! by Caryn Caldwell

Looks beautiful! Congratulations on your five-year anniversary and on your shiny new website! May you have many, many more anniversaries to celebrate!

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25. Comment on Blog by Jean Reidy, Children's Author » Blog Archive Michael Stearns on Picture Book Writing - Jean Reidy, Children's Author

[…] a great essay from agent Michael Stearns at Upstart Crow. Let it guide you as you prepare for our next Picture […]

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