- The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands (murder, mystery, and adventure set in a fantastical London, circa 1600)
- This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs by Gary Paulsen (a funny memoir)
Today I am thrilled that we are sharing the cover for Wandering Wild. I always get excited for cover reveals, but this one feels particularly special. Wandering Wild was originally supposed to be published by Egmont in October of 2015, but after the U.S division of Egmont closed last year, Wandering Wild lost it’s first home. Thankfully it’s found a new home with Sky Pony Press, and it will be coming out May 3, 2016.
And here is Jessica’s GORGEOUS cover!!
Raised by Wanderers, sixteen-year-old Tal travels the roads of the southern wild in her Chevy by day and camps in her tent trailer at night. Hustling, conning, and grifting her way into just enough cash to save her fifteen-year-old brother, Wen, from bare-knuckle fighting was once enough to keep her dreams of traveling the whole world at bay. Everything changes when the Wanderers set up camp in a little town called Cedar Falls.
There, Spencer Sway, a boy Tal tried to hustle at a game of billiards, keeps popping up into her life—and worst of all—into her scams. Buttoned-up, starched-and-ironed Spencer talks of places where Tal’s truck can’t take her. His promises of traveling across oceans are almost enough to shatter her love of the Wanderer life.
When a boy shows up at camp, ready to make good on a nearly-forgotten arranged marriage to Tal, Tal and Wen make a pact: No matter the cost, they will use their limitless skills of grift to earn the bride price and buy back her future—even if Spencer Sway gets used along the way.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? I had an opportunity to read an early version of Wandering Wild, and I can promise it’s just as good as it sounds.
And because Jessica is such a lovely person, she’s also written up an extremely helpful post for us today:
Whenever I speak to a writing group, I always finish up with some light Q&A. As the author of Wandering Wild, a magical realism story, I’m often asked if I can give a definition of magical realism. I usually give my favorite definition: A story that is not decidedly supernatural but can possibly encompass the supernatural.
Once, as I was moving on the next question, I overheard an audience member stage whisper to his friend, “She’s wrong.” I wasn’t offended because, if I was honest, my definition was oversimplified. The next time a man approached me at a conference with this question, I decided to delve into my English major definition, starting with the Latin American origins and the fact that we call magical realism a “genre” in the children’s literature world while it’s truly a literary mode. An author friend standing nearby said she could see the man’s eyes glazing over. Recently I’ve realized that magical realism isn’t something I can sum up in a few words because, in the current market, many stories are considered magical realism that don’t fit the classic mold.
Many agents ask for magical realism submissions, but agents also complain that writers often call their stories magical realism when they aren’t. Correctly identifying your genre in your query letter is important because it shows agents you’re professional and you’ve done your research. If you’re trying to figure out if your story can be classified as magical realism, my favorite definition is a good place to start. If you’re in a position to query agents with a complete manuscript, it’s important to dig a little deeper. Here’s a test to help you do that.
If you’re unsure if you’ve written a magical realism story, the key is examining your story’s otherworldly elements. Ask yourself this question: What is the explanation for the otherworldly events in your manuscript?
If you’re interested in adding a few magical realism reads to your to-be-read list, here are some excellent titles that are arguably (and some not-so-arguably) classified as magical realism:
Now it’s time for our giveaway! Jessica’s publisher has generously donated an ARC of Wandering Wild and if you’d like to win it, all you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below.Add a Comment
I seem to have an affinity for those books which are magical and strange and not entirely definable. Sitting down to the write this review, it occurs to me how difficult it is to describe this book. I can tell you what it’s about, but to describe the experience of reading it almost makes me feel like I’ve had a spell cast on me myself. There is a palpable sense of unreality throughout as Aidan journeys to unravel the mysteries of himself and his family. Aidan can’t remember entire swaths of his life and he doesn’t even realize it. He drifts along as in a fog, feeling barely there at all. Until the day an old friend comes back into his life and lost memories begin to shake themselves loose from their bindings. But who bound Aidan’s memories, and why? You have to tell your story true, and not everyone... Read more »Add a Comment
I have a tiny addiction to Joseph Bruchac's KILLER OF ENEMIES books, as you'll note from my original review, the review of the ROSE EAGLE novella, and the fact that I do cover reveals for the KILLERS series - which I don't often even notice are... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Full disclosure: I consider the author a friend of mine, though we've never yet managed to meet in person. (Darn it.) I read this book out of affection, but am raving about it, because I found it to be flat out astounding.One of the weird things... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Some people decide to read more books written by women and underrepresented writers. Others decide to try and read fewer YA novels featuring rail thin girls wearing big, foofy dresses on the cover... but, yeah. YA. Foofy dresses. It's a Thing. Less... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
To begin with, this isn't a YA novel. It's a crossover adult novel, recommended for older YA readers due to some violence and disturbing interactions and attitudes. Lila Bowen is a pseudonym for Delilah Dawson, a familiar YA author. If you like... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Another Western with a youthful protagonist, Laura Anne Gilman's novel is the first in a sweeping new series. I read it -- passed it along to Tech Boy who also read it and said, "Wow, it just... worked." What's harder to say is... why. And we aren't... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Welcome to our Mary Poppins chat–the final classics discussion for the year! At the end of the post, you’ll find info on how to tally up your reviews if you participated in 2015, as well as what we think we’ll be doing going forward. Wendy: I’ve literally seen the movie Mary Poppins over a hundred times. (What can I say, as a child, when I loved things, I loved them intensely.) I can’t remember how far into those viewings that I decided to read the books, but I was surprised to find how much I loved them–just as a much, but in a very different way. Layla: While I’ve definitely seen this movie several times, I don’t think I’ve ever read this book! So thanks for finally bringing this one to the front of my queue, Wendy. It was really different from what I was expecting, I’ve got to say –... Read more »Add a Comment
The Game of Love and Death is perilous indeed. This is one where I shouldn’t reveal too much of how the book unfolds as it is best left to the reader to discover all of the mysteries and intricacies on their own. At its core this novel is a reflection on love, and loving, and life. On what it means to love, and what it means to love in the face of overwhelming obstacles. “Someday, everyone you love will die. Everything you love will crumble to ruin. This is the price of life. This is the price of love. It is the only ending for every true story.” This is the story of Flora Saudade and Henry Bishop. Two people who are kept apart by the standards of their time, but also by the very forces of Love and Death themselves. It is a heart achingly beautiful story and one... Read more »Add a Comment
It's a truth acknowledged universally &tc. that I am not the artsy person in this blog duo. A.F. - she draws, she's Cybil'd, she has the degree, etc. - so she has the relationships with the graphic novel companies the graphics are her schtick. I...... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Wendy Mass, I wrote the following:
The Last Present is the final book in the Willow Falls (or "birthday") series, realistic fiction with just the right amount of magic, courtesy of Angelina, the mysterious old woman with the duck-shaped birthmark. Angelina is seemingly the architect of all that occurs in Willow Falls, the town where nothing happens by coincidence and everything happens for a reason. Readers of the series will delight in revisiting their favorite characters - Leo, Amanda, Tara, Rory, David and all rest, as their stories intertwine and the story of Angelina is finally revealed. ... I'm sad to see it come to an end. It's been great fun!Apparently, I wasn't the only one who was sorry to see the Willow Falls series come to an end. In the forward to Graceful (Scholastic, 2015), Wendy Mass writes that her readers let her know "IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS" that they were not ready for the series to end. Graceful (due out tomorrow) is a gift to her readers.
Children's Book Week was just last week, and thanks to First Second we're still celebrating--throughout April and May, MacTeenBooks has organized a massive multi-blog tour featuring Five Questions with a wide range of amazing cartoonists for kids... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Reader, after you finished Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assasains series and powered through Julie Berry's The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place and frothed through the lighter Finishing School novels by Gail Carringer and plowed through... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Honestly? I did not see this one coming.Some of us in the kidlitosphere who have grown up in a faith have frequently bemoaned the scarcity of accurately, positively and creatively depicted faith in children's fiction. (Please note I said "faith" and... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Alice Hoffman is the author of many books for adults, a few of which have been made into movies, and a handful of books for young readers. Her newest book, Nightbird, brings magical realism, a genre mastered by Gabriel García Márquez, to middle grade readers in a way that is compelling and appropriate. Magical realism, which presents magical or unreal elements in an otherwise mundane settingAdd a Comment
After I sighed enviously through Susan White's Ten Thousand Truths and longed to live on a magical farm like that (despite the fact that there's nothing magical about having to dig and drudge and deal with small, mad chickens who don't want you to... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Summary: I don't know why I put off reading this one for so long. I really love A.S. King's writing, and every time I read one of her books I'm pretty much blown away. This one's no exception. Trying to summarize it is only going to make it sound... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
This book is one off-the-beaten-track for me. It's definitely a MG chapter book, and skews quite a bit younger than the books we usually review here -- but I'm reviewing it anyway, because I'm excited that I'll have the opportunity to meet the... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Summary: Horror fans take note: if you're a fan of, say, Holly Black, Neil Gaiman, Edgar Allan Poe--you will not want to miss this graphic novel compilation of spooky tales by webcomic artist Emily Carroll. It's beautiful, and frightening, and... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
How do you review an unreviewable book? The entire book reads as if it is a dream. How do you describe a dream? There is an impossibility in trying to make sense of what can not be made sense of. I can try to describe to you the aspects that correlate with reality. But when they take a sudden nose dive into the magical, the inexplicable, the surreal…how do I explain that? This is a book full of contradictions. It is a fairytale and it is not. It is a love story and it is not. It is a mythical retelling and it is not. On the surface, this is a book about a young woman who has been kidnapped and about her teenage friend’s struggle to come to terms with what happened. But it is so much more than that. What it is is a compelling, tautly told story... Read more »Add a Comment
I guess you know I'm not a "real" old-school Science Fiction person - "real" Science Fiction people can make it through H.P. Lovecraft. I can't. I've tried. It's not his labyrinthine sentence structure and 19th century word choices - I've read a lot... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment
Summary: Happy book birthday—two days ago—to Nova Ren Suma's latest YA offering, The Walls Around Us! This title shares a lot with Imaginary Girls, most noticeably the atmosphere of strangeness and the slow unfolding of past and present events;... Read the rest of this postAdd a Comment