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The audacious new novel about family and ambition from “one of the best living mystery writers” (Grantland) and bestselling, award-winning author of The Fever, Megan Abbott.
How far will you go to achieve a dream? That’s the question a celebrated coach poses to Katie and Eric Knox after he sees their daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful, compete. For the Knoxes there are no limits — until a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community and everything they have worked so hard for is suddenly at risk.
As rumors swirl among the other parents, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself irresistibly drawn to the crime itself. What she uncovers — about her daughter’s fears, her own marriage, and herself — forces Katie to consider whether there’s any price she isn’t willing to pay to achieve Devon’s dream.
From a writer with “exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl” (Janet Maslin), YOU WILL KNOW ME is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of parental sacrifice, furtive desire, and the staggering force of ambition.
“Almost unbearably tense, chilling and addictive, YOU WILL KNOW ME deftly transports the reader to the hyper-competitive arena of gymnastics where the dreams and aspirations of not just families but entire communities rest on the slender shoulders of one teenage girl. Exceptional.” — Paula Hawkins, author of the #1 bestseller The Girl on the Train
“Abbott has a knack for dissecting the dark, beating heart of the most all-American activity…It’s vivid, troubling, and powerful—and Abbott totally sticks the landing.” — Booklist, STARRED Review
“Abbott proves herself a master of fingernails-digging- into-your-palms suspense.” – Kirkus, STARRED Review
“In true Abbott style, nothing is predictable here; the plot consistently confounds expectations with its clever twists and turns. Admirers of Patricia Highsmith, Laura Lippman, and Kimberly Pauley are in for a treat.” — Library Journal, STARRED Review
“Thriller Award-winner Abbott (The Fever) takes a piercing look at what one family will sacrifice in the name of making their daughter a champion…Abbott keenly examines the pressures put on girls’ bodies and the fierce, often misguided love parents have for their children.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED Boxed Review
“Abbott is working at the top of her craft, and YOU WILL KNOW ME is a crime novel where the crime is only a catalyst for an accomplished exploration of ordinary people’s unraveling when they become obsessed with the extraordinary among them.” — Shelf Awareness
“[Abbott] does killer teens better than anyone… Menace and more menace.” — New York Daily News
“[A] superb new book” — The Atlantic
“Present-day fiction’s most terrifying chronicler of the inner lives of teenage girls” — Chicago Reader
“Abbott’s ability to build suspense and feed on readers’ fear is nearly unparalleled… It’s both terrifying and gripping.” — Elle.com
“[Abbott] returns to the subject she always captures so intensely: the private desires of teenage girls.” — Entertainment Weekly
“Is there anything Megan Abbott can’t do? We will have to wait for the answer to that question because YOU WILL KNOW ME continues her formidable winning streak. This story of an ordinary family with an extraordinary child is gorgeously written, psychologically astute, a page-turner that forces you to slow down and savor every word… And, yes — please forgive me — she totally sticks the landing.” — Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of Hush Hush
“Megan Abbott’s latest thriller plunges readers into the shockingly realistic life of young, female gymnasts whose severely regulated lives come with unthinkable consequences. Gritty, graphic, and yet beautiful and dreamlike in the way the story unfolds, YOU WILL KNOW ME comes barreling at you with all the power and urgency of a high-speed train, as Abbott asserts herself as one of the greatest crime writers of our time.” — Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl
“That rarefied sweet spot between unnerving psychological suspense and a family drama with heart, YOU WILL KNOW ME induces equal parts dread and unease, empathy and warmth. The pages couldn’t turn fast enough as I dug deeper into the peculiar and fascinating Knox-family world, trying to figure out who was lying, who was telling the truth, and who was dangerous. Luscious writing, a timely and unique premise, and an ending that will haunt you all summer long.” — Jessica Knoll, author of the New York Times bestseller Luckiest Girl Alive
“YOU WILL KNOW ME takes you into the dark heart of family, a journey that feels more menacing with every page. Abbott cranks the tension up in this disturbing tale of exactly what we are prepared to do for our children — I was reading compulsively into the night. A beautifully written, gripping read that feels unshakeably real.” — Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hold on to the edge of your seat, because this is one heck of a ride. You Will Know Me is the kind of novel you won’t be able to put down. Each page will draw you in deeper and deeper until you’re entangled in the suspense, family drama and sacrifice, murder and mystery. Unforgettable and chilling, readers will never look at the quest for Olympic gymnastic’s gold without wondering if the price—spiritually, physically, emotionally—was too much to pay.
Though I don’t read suspenseful thrillers on a regular basis, Abbott has become an auto-read. She takes headline news and makes the stories her own. She creates compelling novels that will test boundaries and values, forcing you to think about personal lines and where to draw them.
This was my reaction:
Megan Abbott, once again, created a crossover novel—written for adults, but appropriate for YA—that’s filled with mystery, intrigue, and tension.
In YOU WILL KNOW ME, the obsession is gymnastics and what a family will or won’t do for their gifted daughter. What is the moral code? Responsibility of coaches, parents, athletes, and even neighbors and extended family?
Abbott will have readers needing to turn the pages. I often correctly guess who the guilty party is or I figure out the major plot twists in novels before they unfold on the page. But not this time, and I loved that!!! So if you’re even a bit intrigued by the premise of the novel and are high school age +, I highly recommend this book!
Thank you to Tandem Literary for sending me a review copy.
View all my reviews
Megan Abbott is the Edgar®-winning author of the novels Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, Bury Me Deep, The End of Everything, Dare Me, and The Fever, which was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Summer by the New York Times, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, National Public Radio, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times.
Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan and received her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. She has taught at NYU, the State University of New York and the New School University. In 2013-14, she served as the John Grisham Writer in Residence at Ole Miss.
She is also the author of a nonfiction book, The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir, and the editor of A Hell of a Woman, an anthology of female crime fiction. She has been nominated for many awards, including three Edgar® Awards, Hammett Prize, the Shirley Jackson Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Folio Prize.
7/26: Book Court, Brooklyn, NY—7:00pm
7/27: St Louis County Library, St. Louis, MO—7:00pm
7/28: Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, NJ—7:00pm
7/29: Astoria Bookshop, Astoria, NY—7:00pm
8/1: Brookline Booksmith, Boston, MA—7:00pm
8/2: Book People, Austin, TX—7:00pm
8/3: Murder by the Book, Houston, TX –6:30pm
8/4: Square Books, Oxford, MS—5:00pm
8/9: Book Passage Corte, Madera, CA—1:00pm
8/9: Books Inc. Opera Plaza, San Francisco, CA – 7:00pm
8/10: Book Carnival, Orange, CA—7:30pm
8/11: Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA—7:30pm
8/20: Mississippi Book Festival, Jackson, MS
9/15-9/18: Bouchercon 2016, New Orleans, LA
What was the inspiration for You Will Know Me?
I’ve always been interested in families of prodigies. How power operates in those families, how ambition does. Then, during the London Olympics four years ago, I saw this video of the parents of American gymnast Aly Raisman watching their daughter’s uneven bar routine and it kind of blew me away. They were so invested in it, so connected to her. They moved as she moved. They knew every beat of the performance. The footage went viral and the response to it was tricky. Some people found it funny, others found it problematic and there was some finger pointing. I think we all struggle with how invested parents should be in their children’s development, but with exceptionally talented children, all that is thrown into high relief.
I could just feel the book taking shape after that. How does that kind of intense focus on a child’s talent affect a marriage, for instance? What about siblings? And families in general fascinate me—the place of the greatest darkness and the greatest light.
You are known for writing shockingly accurate portrayals of teen angst and an uncanny ability to get inside the heads of teen girls. Why are you so drawn to this subject matter?
In some ways because teen girls are still so often dismissed or condescended to. But every woman I know is haunted in some ways by their teen years, by the choices they made then and the way they crafted their identity and developed their sense of self.
And, as a writer, it’s such rich terrain. Everything is in such high relief during those years. All the big emotions of life seem to storm through us every day. When I remember myself at that age, it was like my nerve endings were all exposed. It’s when you’re both at your most curious (and, potentially, risk-taking) and also at your most vulnerable—especially to disillusionment. And when you’re a mom, like the main character in You Will Know Me, you’re in some ways living through it all again through your daughter, which is incredibly complicated.
You Will Know Me is a bit of a departure in that it focuses more on the parents’ perspective. Why did you choose to shift gears in this way?
My last book, The Fever, had three viewpoints, one of whom was the father of two teens, and I really loved it. Exploring the gap between how parents view their teens and how teens view themselves, and vice versa. But it seemed thrillingly different in the case of You Will Know Me. Katie, the protagonist, is so close to her daughter, Devon, because of the way the family has circled itself around Devon’s extraordinary talent. And that closeness fascinates me.
At what point does your child become a stranger to you? Because all children need to break apart from you to become themselves, but is it slower to happen in the case of a prodigy? A case when the parent, like Katie, is so tied up in her daughter’s everyday life?
What research did you do into the world of uber-competitive youth gymnastics when writing You Will Know Me?
Gymnast memoirs were a huge help. I read almost every one I could get my hands on. Both the flag-waving sports ones and the tougher ones too, the exposés. The one that had the biggest impact for me was Nadia Comaneci’s Letters to a Young Gymnast, which is a brilliant book on many levels (foremost her strong voice), and is such a keen distillation of what seems a pure, fire-hardened ambition. I also talked to former gymnasts and had one of them read the manuscript.
And, I confess, watching a lot of YouTube, and diving into online chat rooms, especially those devoted to parents of gymnasts. But the book’s title comes from Nadia, who tells her reader, “I don’t know you, but you will know me.” What could be more enticing to a reader?
What did you learn about this world that surprised you?
Everything! I became very fixated on the mental control and struggles the gymnasts faced. How much it is a head game. And then the sport’s impact on girls’ developing bodies. It is not a universal experience, but for many girls it halts their adolescence in certain ways, or it threatens to, and this prospect fascinated me and worked its way into the novel. Your body is both your greatest gift and your worst enemy. Maybe we all feel that, in a way.
Have any gymnasts or parents of youth athletes read and responded to You Will Know Me yet?
I’ve had a few early gymnast readers who’ve been very supportive. In particular, they’ve responded to the parent-booster culture in the book, the way parents invest in a gym and insert themselves into gym politics. The hothouse environment that the parent viewing area can take on. Or, “gym drama,” as it’s called. Which seems to have all the hallmarks of a great reality TV show, or a Shakespearean play.
After being so close to this world while researching and writing You Will Know Me, will you view the Olympics in Rio this year through a different lens?
I love watching gymnastics and this book reflects a love of, and immense respect for, the sport and the art. But in the end, I think the book is more about family and parent love than gymnastics, so probably my eyes will be more on the families than in past years. More on what it takes for a family to help make an Olympic medalist.
You’re working on TV scripts for your novels Dare Me (for HBO) and The Fever (for TNT). What is it like to adapt your own work for the small screen?
As much as people like to say that TV is the new novel, the two are so very different. By the time you sell it, it’s changed so much from the book—the world has gotten so much larger, you’ve had to create ways to make the story possibilities expand indefinitely—you lose all vanity about your own book. Instead, it’s something entirely new. But the biggest difference is how collaborative it is. Writing a novel, until the last stretch, is utterly solitary. Writing for TV is a cacophony of voices. Sometimes noisy, but never, ever lonely!
You recently joined the writing staff of David Simon’s (“The Wire”) new HBO drama “The Deuce.” How does that work differ from writing a novel? How did your career in fiction inform your work in the writers’ room? When can we see “The Deuce?”
Different in every way. I’d say apples and oranges, but maybe it’s more like apples and a large, cunning mountain lion! As collaborative as developing your work for TV is, being on staff for a show in production is a thousand times more so. You’re there to help in every way you can to bring the showrunners’ ideas to life. I think there are so many crime novelists writing for TV now because we bring a certain facility with plotting, but in the end what’s most exciting in the writers’ room is how different everyone is, how differently we see the world, and yet how we all value the same things: character, story, meaning.
And “The Deuce,” which stars James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, will be on HBO next year. I’ve seen the pilot, and it’s incredible.
Do you have time to work on another book with all of your TV project in the works? What’s next and when from Megan Abbott?
Somehow, I do! I have a new novel in the works called Give Me Your Hand, which will come out in 2018, I think. It’s about two ambitious female scientists who share a secret from their past. Very Hitchcock-inspired, this one.
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Chas is a detective who doesn’t stake out cheating husbands, track down missing persons, or match wits with femmes fatales. Instead of pounding the pavement, he taps a computer keyboard. He can get the goods on anyone, and it’s all to make sure superstar Las Vegas mind reader Wallace the Amazing staysamazing. Thanks to Chas’s steady stream of stealthy intel, Wallace’s mental “magic” packs houses every night.
But when someone threatens to call the psychic showman’s bluff, the sweet gig takes a sour—and sinister—turn. Who’s the clean-cut couple gunning for Wallace with an arsenal of dirty tricks? Why does Wallace keep upping the ante instead of backing down? And just how much does Chas really know about his mysterious boss’s life…or his own? The tangled truth—of blackmail, kidnapping, and false identities—quickly becomes the biggest case of his strange, secret career.
–Publisher’s Weekly writes, “The surprise-filled plot shifts rapidly between illusion and reality, keeping the reader constantly—and entertainingly—off-balance.”
Jonathan Stone, author of the Julian Palmer novels, is a graduate of Yale University, where he was a Scholar of the House in Fiction Writing and twice won the English Department’s John Hubbard Curtis Prize for Best Imaginative Writing. He works in advertising and lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children.
William Lashner’s THE FOUR-NIGHT RUN
“J.D. Scrbacek has just won the biggest trial of his career, but even as he crows to the press, his entire life blows sky-high. Was the bomb meant for him, or for his mobster client? In this seaside casino town where the tables run hot and the tensions run high, the odds say the attorney is a marked man.
Alone and on the run, Scrbacek flees into the city’s forgotten underbelly, a ruined corridor called Crapstown, where he is forced to confront the ghosts of his past, his present, and his future. Somewhere in the sordid stream of his own existence lie the answers he needs. But in order to emerge from the depths of Crapstown, Scrbacek must argue for his life before a jury of the forgotten and the damned. Is he lawyer enough to save his own skin?
From the bestselling author of The Barkeep comes a raucous tale of reckoning, racketeering, and revenge.”
William Lashner is the New York Times Bestselling creator of Victor Carl, who has been called by Booklist one of the mystery novel’s “most compelling, most morally ambiguous characters.” The Victor Carl novels, which have been translated into more than a dozen foreign languages and have been sold all across the globe, include BAGMEN, KILLER’S KISS, FALLS THE SHADOW, FATAL FLAW, and HOSTILE WITNESS. He is also the author of BLOOD AND BONE, THE ACCOUNTING, and, most recently, THE BARKEEP, which was a Digital Book World Number One Bestselling Ebook.
Lashner was a criminal prosecutor with the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. before quitting the law to write fulltime. A graduate of the New York University School of Law, as well as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he lives with his wife and three children outside Philadelphia.
Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story.Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!
LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.
CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .
Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.
Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.
By Amy Christine Parker
Writers are thieves. Everything we put into a novel is stolen: research, our personal lives, things we over hear, other forms of art we’re exposed to. Okay, okay, I know. I’m being a bit overdramatic here—maybe borrowed or inspired is more accurate than stolen—but it just sounds cooler (and we are taking about a heist book here), so I’m rolling with it. When you spend most of your day drinking tea and typing on a computer in a bathrobe while mumbling to yourself, you have to grab the cool where you can. But now that you know I don’t come up with story details straight out of thin air, you probably have questions, like how much of what I wrote in Smash & Grab about the characters or the plot was directly inspired by true events and stuff from my personal life?
Well, that’s my secret.
…Or it was until today.
I’m about to confess.
But let’s keep this between us.
Here, in no particular order are six secret, stolen inspirations for Smash & Grab:
Christian and the Romero Robbers plan to tunnel under the bank: A group of thieves actually did tunnel under a bank in LA years ago. They were never caught.
The movie dumbwaiter in the bank building: the woman who let me tour her bank talked about another, historic bank she used to work for years ago and mentioned that it had a dumbwaiter so that cash from the teller floor could be transported directly to the vault. I loved the idea of it so much, I knew I wanted to have one in Smash & Grab. You can watch someone investigate an old, historic bank in Philly that has a dumbwaiter here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drRB_J5T12E
The dumbwaiter shows up at about 4:10.
The doughnut date scene in the book came about because my husband has two customers who recently opened a doughnut shop here in Tampa called the Mini Doughnut Factory. Yes, their maple bacon one is my favorite!
I chose to name Christian’s group of thieves the Romero Robbers because Night of the Living Dead was the first movie that made me stay up all night and I am a huge Walking Dead fan. They needed masks, why not zombie ones?
Lexi’s fish tattoo was borrowed from a short story I did a long time ago before I was published. The girl in that story had a goldfish tattoo that peeked over the top of her sock. I’ve always liked the image and wanted it to be in something that would be more widely read then that first story. This book was the perfect opportunity!
The character Leo—my main character Lexi’s best friend—has a photography hobby that was inspired by my oldest daughter who is fourteen. She is an amazing photographer and is always documenting our family outings the way Leo does. She discovered her passion for taking pictures while I was writing this book and so into the story it went! Here is one of her photos of her younger sister:
And there you have it, the inside scoop on all the things that came together to make Smash & Grab a reality. Zombies, doughnuts, and dumbwaiters, oh my!
AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at amychristineparker.comand follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.
“I can’t quite put my finger on what is so enthralling about Kenneally’s newest novel, but it totally sucked me in. I loved that Kenneally didn’t go with an easy, traditional happy-go-lucky ending. I also enjoyed the flawed nature of the characters, which made them feel more relatable. This is a great summer read and my favorite novel by Kenneally so far!” –RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
There are no mistakes in love.
Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision—one lie to cover for her boyfriend—and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.
Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?
Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
I really loved the chemistry between Taylor and Ezra! This novel does a great job of sending a message about protecting your friends and what it might cost you. Living life and setting personal goals based on your passions instead of trying to please others, like parents, is a major theme of this novel. Friendship, teamwork and soccer, mean girls, family, relationships and making choices all interweave together in a wonderful, heartfelt, fast-reading YA contemporary with plenty of swoony scenes that will leave you smiling!
A perfect novel for anyone who loves YA contemporary novels.
View all my reviews
Ezra is at the sugar station, pouring half-and-half into a steaming cup of coffee. The sight of him turns my knees to JELL-O. Dark, cropped hair. Serious green eyes that glance away from mine to make sure his coffee isn’t overflowing. The way he licks his lower lip when he’s concentrating. I’ve rarely seen Ezra out of a white button-down Oxford shirt, khakis, and blue plaid tie, which is the dress code for guys at St. Andrew’s. Now he’s wearing holey jeans spotted with paint and a bright-white T-shirt that is magnified by his warm tan. He’s carrying a construction helmet under his muscled arm.
“What are you wearing?” I blurt.
His cheeks flush at my outburst. “What are you wearing? Where’s your uniform?”
I look down at my jeans and cardigan. It’s been weird trying to figure out what to wear—I’ve never had to pick out school clothes before. I own one pair of jeans, because when I’m not at school or soccer practice, I wear dresses and skirts to parties and political events.
“I don’t need the uniform anymore,” I finally reply.
“But you’re a senior.”
“I am, but I’m going to Hundred Oaks now…”
His eyes go wide. “Why?”
“You don’t know?”
“I figured everybody knew. I bet the guys on the International Space Station even know.” Ezra’s face is blank. “It was all over Facebook,” I tell him.
“I didn’t see anything, I guess,” he says quietly. This is not a surprise to me. He doesn’t have a Tumblr or Twitter account. He never posts anything on Facebook. At least not in the past several months. Not that I noticed or anything. I’m no stalker. Well, not all the time.
It’s weird that he’s never online. My brother’s phone is practically fused to his fingers.
“Are you home for fall break already?” I ask.
He rubs the back of his neck, meeting my eyes for a long moment, and just as I’m asking why he’s holding a construction hat—“Isn’t it a little early for Halloween?”—an older man dressed in a T-shirt and dirty jeans comes into the diner and waves at him.
“Ezra, man, let’s go!”
“Take care, Tease,” he says, then hurries out the door and jumps into a truck with a construction logo on the side. As they drive away, he stares at me through the window.
Okay. So that was weird.
Growing up in Tennessee, MIRANDA KENNEALLY dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband. Visit mirandakenneally.com
6/28: YA Bibliophile
6/29: Lost In Lit
6/30: A Backwards Story
7/1: Swoony Boys Podcast
7/4: Andi’s ABCs
7/5: Undeniably Book Nerdy
7/6: Jenuine Cupcakes
7/7: Who R U Blog
7/8: Stuck In Books
ABOUT THE MEMORY BOOK:
They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember.
Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.
So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It’s where she’ll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart–a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she’ll admit how much she’s missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it’s not the life she planned.
ABOUT LARA AVERY:
Lara Avery takes her role as a young writer very seriously; she enjoys wandering the world notebook in hand, making her living off of odd jobs. One of those jobs happens to be publishing the novel Anything But Ordinaryjust two years after getting a degree in Film Studies from Macalester College.
When Lara left home armed with nothing but a basketball scholarship, she told everyone she was going to law school. Then, when she started interning at The Onion and publishing pieces of fiction in national anthologies, she realized her secret plans to be a writer all along.
Though Lara sat down to write Anything But Ordinary everywhere from a 110 degree apartment in Kolkata to a hostel in Berlin, she always felt at home in Bryce’s story. Writing currently from St. Paul, MN, she hopes her debut novel will be the first of many.
LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook
OH MY HEART! It’s aching right now! How do I possibly describe this book? How does one sum up a future unfulfilled, dreams extinguished, love found better late than never, a body ravished, memories stolen, the devastation of a disease?
I need to hug Cooper.
This is a beautiful, heart wrenching, special book, and I loved
Even the ones
my heart into m i l l i o n s
View all my reviews
GIVEAWAY: 3 FINISHED COPIES (US ONLY)
Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who’s not exactly sober most of the time. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn’t care what anyone thinks.
Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents’ overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter — protect her from what, Agnes isn’t quite sure.
Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it’s the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else.
So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn’t hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo’s dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and — worst of all — confronting some ugly secrets.
One thing my readers might not know about me is that I grew up quite poor in a small, southern town. I’ve lived in tiny houses and in trailers – a few different trailers. And growing up, the books I read never reflected that sort of setting. Or, if they did, the books were all about being poor and how much that sucks. Only, I rarely thought much about being poor. Because where I lived, everyone was poor. So my life didn’t revolve around it. It was there, always weighing on the decisions my family made, but me and my friends didn’t think about it a ton. We had crushes and school projects and all sorts of things in our lives, all sorts of stories, that weren’t about poverty.
So in writing RUN, I wanted to write about a town like mine. A town where everyone is either poor or, at best, lower middle class. But I also wanted to show characters living in that town who have lives beyond poverty. Characters who think about poverty on occasion but whose stories don’t revolve around it. I wanted to write about characters that teenage me could recognize.
While the town in RUN, Mursey, isn’t necessarily based on the town where I grew up, it does share some similarities, being small and in Kentucky. The culture is similar, too. And I tried hard to show that sort of world honestly – both the good and the bad. Because no matter how long I live in NYC, in my heart, I am always going to be a poor kid who lived in a trailer in Kentucky.
Kody Keplinger was born and raised in small town western Kentucky, where she began her writing career after penning the New York Times and USA Today bestseller, The DUFF, at age seventeen.The DUFF, now a major motion picture, was chosen as an YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers and a Romantic Times Top Pick. Kody has since written other books for both young adult and middle grade readers. When she isn’t writing, Kody is posting about fashion and body positivity on her Instagram, chatting about her favorite TV shows on Twitter, or making videos for her YouTube account. Kody is also the co-founder of Disability in KidLit and a teacher at the Gotham Writers Workshops in NYC.
Kody is active on social media, so feel free to reach out to her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
3 Finished Copies of RUN (US Only)
Prize pack #2
Prize 1: ARMADA by Ernest Cline Paperback Prize Pack featuring Armada paperback, signed ARMADA poster, signed READY PLAYER ONE poster (and possibly a paperback of Ready Player One).
Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.
Christine Heppermann writes fiction, poetry, and criticism. Her books include Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty (2014), City Chickens (2012), and Backyard Witch (with Ron Koertge, 2015). She currently reviews young adult books for the Chicago Tribune.
Christine grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where she attended an all-girls Catholic high school. As an undergraduate she studied philosophy and literature at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She has a masters degree in children’s literature from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Christine lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her two daughters, two cats, and one husband.
Addie’s boyfriend Nick plays bass in a band. Milo, the lead singer, writes all of the band’s songs and tends to get a little too creative with his lyrics. In short, he sucks. I had a lot of fun making up ridiculous titles for Milo’s songs, but I stole one title from real life! “God Eats at Denny’s” is a song my bass-player husband Eric wrote for The Militia, his high-school “band” (the loose term for him and his friends messing around in somebody’s garage). A sample lyric: “God eats at Denny’s. He really likes their food. He doesn’t always leave a tip because the service is seldom good.” Classic, right? The difference between Eric and his friends and Milo is that they knew they weren’t creating Great Art. They just wanted to make themselves laugh. Other Militia “hits” include “Goats on the Moon,” “Hulk Smash Puny Humans,” and “Pepe Romero and the Steamy Hot Love Bath.” I could have chosen any one of those for the book, but, in the end, “God Eats at Denny’s” won; it’s always been my favorite.
(Here’s a verrrrrrrrrrry old photo of Eric playing in a different-but-related band in college. You could caption it, “Nick and Milo? No, Eric and Snake!”)
In the wake of a devastating plague, two communities emerge as bastions of survival. One is called the City, and its people scrabble for scraps in the wasteland. The other, New Charity, enjoys the bounty of its hydroelectric dam and refuses City denizens so much as a drop of precious water. When City-dweller Cressyda inherits her father’s ranch within New Charity, she becomes intent on opening the dam to all—no matter the cost.
But when Syd reunites with her old best friend, Casandra, a born seer and religious acolyte, she realizes that her plans could destroy the fragile lives they’ve built in order to survive. What’s more, the strange magic securing the dam’s operations could prove deadly if disturbed. Yet when Syd discovers evidence that her father might have been murdered, she is more determined than ever to exact revenge on New Charity’s corrupt.
Pitted against Cas, as well as her own family, Syd must decide how to secure the survival of both settlements without tipping them over the brink to utter annihilation. In this intense and emotional reimagining of the Trojan War epic, two women clash when loyalty, identity, community, and family are all put to the ultimate test.
Growing up, our house sat in the hills of eastern Montana, about 15-20 minutes east of “town.” As such, a little girl like me made her own adventures – on foot, on a bicycle, or – most commonly – on horseback. I had big dreams about riding beyond the horizon, loping over the brown velvety hills to see whatever was on the other side – presumably more velvety hills, or a mountain, or a river, or some wild, green, oasis in our northern desert.
My favorite spot was a clubhouse of sorts in the ravine behind the barn. A cluster of mature juniper bushes had grown into one another, forming a two-room shelter. Shaped not unlike a figure eight, the Bramble House, as I named it, is the basis for a setting in New Charity Blues. Troy’s shelter in the ravine, where he takes Cas after the chaotic Goodwill Dinner, is an extension of the dreams I once had for decorating and adorning my secret hideout. I had hoped for furniture and candles, but what remained was a broom like branch I used for clearing the soft needles from the ground so as to keep them from getting inside my peanut butter sandwiches.
At night, I visited my other favorite spot. I would take my Walkman and hike out to a sandstone outcropping that overlooked the lights of the town in the distance. I wanted to be home with my horses but I also wanted to know what was in those lights.
By the time I left for college, the lights had won the battle. I fell in love with Los Angeles – the way the city grew together, the low hum of energy 24-hours-a-day. I loved how orange the light was, the tiny lizards in the bushes, the smell of the eucalyptus trees.
These memories – these strong bonds to the places I came of age – both as a child and as a young woman – begged me to remember them as I wrote about Syd, a woman torn between love for the City and love for the rugged hills of New Charity. Sharing my secret bramble house was the best way I could think to invite readers into the life of those of us who grew up dreaming horses into unicorns, sandstone into thrones, and trees into castles.
Camille Griep lives just north of Seattle with her partner, Adam, and their dog Dutch(ess). Born in Billings, Montana, she moved to Southern California to attend Claremont McKenna College, graduating with a dual degree in Biology and Literature.
She wrote her way through corporate careers in marketing, commercial real estate, and financial analysis before taking an extended sabbatical to devote more time to her craft.
She has since sold short fiction and creative nonfiction to dozens of online and print magazines. She is the editor of Easy Street and is a senior editor at The Lascaux Review. She is a 2012 graduate of Viable Paradise, a residential workshop for speculative fiction novelists.
Her first novel, Letters to Zell, was released in July 2015 47North. Look for New Charity Blues in April of 2016.