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GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Lydia Kang, author of CONTROL

It’s hard to believe 2013 is coming to a close, but here we are, wrapping up our year of Lucky13 debut author interviews with Lydia Kang, author of CONTROL! Here’s the official blurb:

Set in 2150 — in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms — this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

When their overprotective father is killed in a terrible accident, Zel and her younger sister, Dylia, are lost in grief. But it’s not until strangers appear, using bizarre sensory weapons, that the life they had is truly eviscerated. Zel ends up in a safe house for teens that aren’t like any she’s ever seen — teens who, by law, shouldn’t even exist. One of them — an angry tattooed boy haunted by tragedy — can help Zel reunite with her sister.

But only if she is willing to lose him.

Welcome to the OneFour blog, Lydia and congrats on your debut! In Zelia’s world, there are humans with unique — illegal — genetically engineered traits. A child might be born with extra limbs or the capacity to speak 700 languages while playing the piano. Which of these traits was your favorite to explore and why? 

Wilbert’s trait was definitely the most fun. At first I figured, “Kid with two heads. That’s fun, right?” But it had to be more than that. What would be great about having two brains? Twice as much intelligence? Somehow that didn’t make sense. Memory? What about sleep? I latched onto that idea and made him a kid that can be awake 24/7 by switching consciousness between brains. My editor was really sharp and pointed out that somehow his brainstem needed to connect to both brains, otherwise how would he breathe okay all the time? (My editor is smaht like that.) And so…that’s Wilbert!

One of the hats you wear is as a physician, correct? Just how far did you have to stretch the realm of the possible for these physical traits?

They’re stretched pretty far. I mean, retinoic acid and limb regeneration is neat in newts, but in people? A very far stretch. Still, I wanted to put a dose of some scientific reality behind why each trait existed. And each trait was researched to make at least the fiction make sense within certain rules of physiology.

CONTROL opens with such exquisite world-building — from magpods to the agriplane to hair styling wands. I imagine you locked yourself away inside a library for years to feed these details. What was your favorite piece of research that lead to some part of this futuristic America?

Thank you! The easiest way for me to imagine things like this is to look around at what’s wrong and needs fixing in the world we live in now. Friction is a major drain on gas mileage, so I removed it by levitating the automobiles, hence the magpods. And bad hair days! Boy, that one was fun to fix with the styling wand.

Zelia is a whip-smart girl who’s always looking for the good in people. If she were to attend Hogwarts, which house would she be sorted into?

Gryffindor. She would have been Hermione’s study buddy and together they’d have banished their frizzy hair and saved the day with their brains.

Since this is the first in a series, what can we look forward to in future books? (More illegal genetic experiments?)

I’m taking the kids out of Neia (Nebraska/Iowa) and into new territory. And I’m making life very, very hard for Zelia, just when she thought things were hard enough. And yes, more kids with more wacky traits!

And as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

I was a huge fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Laura is my hero, in that she’s resourceful, unapologetically smart, and a careful observer of life and human nature. I also adored any children’s lit that had good food scenes. I must have been a very hungry child. Like the Beaver’s dinner in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? I practically have that scene memorized (ah, the gloriously sticky marmalade roll!). Also, once I got into my teens, I became a huge Bronte and Austen fan. There are several nods to Pride and Prejudice in Control, if you’ve an eye to find them. I’ll give you a hint–my character names are anagrams. 🙂

Thank you so much for stopping by, Lydia, and congratulations again!


Lydia Kang is an author of YA fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. She is an internal medicine physician and has a blog where writers can learn the most accurate way to maim their characters. She believes in science and knocking on wood, is a bit of a salt addict and thinks Star Wars should have been ewokless. You can find Lydia by visiting her website and on Twitter.

Where to buy the book:
Indiebound | Barnes and Noble | Amazon
Powell’s | Books-A-Million | Book Depository



Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.

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Happy 14th Day: December

It’s the last 14th Day announcement of the year–which means we’re SO CLOSE to our debut year! I’m filling in for Amber, which means of course I’m going mad with power. Onto the news!

Releases

Robin Constantine is ending the year right with the release of THE PROMISE OF AMAZING on December 31, 2013.

Heidi Schulz has a release date (September 16, 2014) for her HOOK’S REVENGE

Lori M. Lee’s GATES OF THREAD AND STONE is set for release on August 5, 2014.

SPIRIT’S KEY by Edith Cohn is due for release on September 9, 2014.

Sales and Rights

THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY by Tracy Holczer sold in a two-book deal at auction in Germany.

THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN by Annie Cardi will be sold as an audiobook through Brilliance Audio.

THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin has been picked up by France (Jean Claude Lattes), Germany (Rowolht Verlag), Norway (Cappelen Damm) and Brazil (Editora Schwarcz

Meredith McCardle‘s THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN will be an audiobook.

Websites

Chris Struyk-Bonn has a new website.

Heidi Schulz has a new website.

Nikki Sheehan has revamped her site.

Jen Malone has a new website.

Dana Alison Levy has a new website.

Blurbs and Reviews

GILDED by Christy Farley received a blurb from Jessica Khoury, author of ORIGIN and VITRO: “Farley brings South Korea’s fascinating culture and mythology into vivid detail in this shining debut, and Jae is a compelling heroine. An exotic, thrilling read, GILDED had me utterly entranced!”

WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE by Rebecca Behrens got a shiny review in Kirkus: “This charming debut brings Alice Roosevelt to life when 13-year-old “first daughter” Audrey finds Alice’s century-old diary and turns to it for advice…An appealing journey and a fascinating life.”

Giveaways

Meredith McCardle is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite version of THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN to celebrate her cover reveal (see below).

Christine Kohler is giving away a copy of NO SURRENDER SOLDIER on Goodreads during January.

Cover Reveals

Danielle Ellison’s SALT:

Danielle L. Jensen’s STOLEN SONGBIRD:

Ryan Gebhart’s THERE WILL BE BEARS

Dahlia Adler’s BEHIND THE SCENES

Meredith McCardle’s THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN

Annie Cardi’s THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN

That’s all the news for this month. See you in January (2014!!!) for more OneFour news!

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GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Amie Kaufman, co-author of THESE BROKEN STARS

Today we’re interviewing Lucky13 author Amie Kaufman, whose debut YA novel THESE BROKEN STARS  (co-authored by Meagan Spooner) hits the shelves today!

Here’s the blurb:

THESE BROKEN STARSIt’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Congratulations on your debut, Amie! THESE BROKEN STARS was a gorgeous love story with a haunting twist. (And that cover! Absolutely stunning.) Can you share where you found the inspiration for the book?

Thank you so much for having me! The inspiration for the book honestly came about piece by piece. My co-author Meg and I were playing with these characters for a long time before we ever thought about giving them their own book. We both love to write just for fun, and we’d put together little pieces about them and send them back and forth, get them into trouble and bail them out. The scenario we picked was because I wanted to play around with something involving a shipwreck, and Meg wanted space, so we crashed a spaceship and then let the story unfold from there! We’re both big science fiction fans and we love a good hate-to-love relationship, so we drew inspiration from years of reading, film and TV, from Firefly to Pride and Prejudice.

Tarver and Lilac come from very different worlds, and face an entirely new one after the disaster aboard the Icarus. How did you go about creating such a complex universe?

We gave it a LOT of thought. There’s a post on how we handled the development of gender, culture and class here, but obviously it went way beyond that. We did a lot of research, and consulted a lot of specialists to get our science right—we have a NASA physicist, a demolitions expert and a doctor on hand to help us out! Our editor had us write what we call the Starbound Encyclopaedia—dozens of pages about the universe our stories are set in.

What was it like co-writing the book? Did you and Meagan face any major challenges, and if so, how did you overcome them?

We love it! Honestly, if readers have half as much fun reading as we did writing, we’ll be delighted! Co-authoring means you’ve always got someone to brainstorm with, always got someone to help you fix a problem, or challenge you to make something better. People often expect we struggled with being on different continents, but with video conferencing, text and phone calls we found it easy, and the time difference meant we could each work while the other slept.

What’s been the most unexpected aspect of your journey to publication so far?

Hmmm. Good question! Silly as it sounds, I think what’s been most unexpected has been the support we’ve received from other writers, from readers and bloggers and everyone we’ve encountered. There are so many people willing to help you learn, share their wisdom and reach out often unprompted. It’s been wonderful.

THESE BROKEN STARS is the first in a trilogy. Can you share anything about the sequel(s) for us to be excited about?

The sequels are companion novels, so they’re set in the same universe, and the events are related to those in THESE BROKEN STARS, but you’ll meet new characters each time. (Though you may also spot a familiar face or two….) So mostly, I’m so excited to introduce readers to Flynn and Jubilee, our characters in THIS SHATTERED WORLD. Flynn’s a rebel, and Jubilee’s one of the soldiers sworn to stop him. It’s a bad situation all round.

As this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d love to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid!

I was SUCH a bookworm as a kid—I guess some things never change! I adored THE DARK IS RISING by Susan Cooper, and in fact I still read it every Christmas! I also loved SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS and its many sequels by Arthur Ransome, a series about a group of kids in the Lakes District who camp, sail and transform themselves into explorers and pirates every summer. And finally, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA by Jules Verne was my introduction to science fiction, and I knew even as I read it that things were never going to be the same again.

Thanks for stopping by, Amie, and congrats on your debut!
Amie KaufmanABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amie Kaufman is the co-author of These Broken Stars, the first in the Starbound trilogy, and writes science fiction and fantasy for teens. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

You can find Amy online here:
And you can buy THESE BROKEN STARS here:
Stephanie Diaz is 21. She graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in film production. She’s a Whovian, Browncoat, and publishing intern. Her work is represented by Alison Fargis of Stonesong. The first book in her debut YA sci-fi EXTRACTION trilogy will be published by St. Martin’s Griffin on July 22, 2014. You can follow Stephanie on twitter: @StephanieEDiaz.
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Mad For Middle Grade: Congratulations, Lucky 13s!

We have a very special post today… one that we have been planning since the summer!

As you may know, our “Mad For Middle Grade” series was originally inspired by the Lucky 13s’s “Meanwhile… Middle Grade” installments. And today, as we enter into the last month of 2013, we are so excited to celebrate the extraordinary middle grade debuts of our Lucky 13s friends! We can’t recommend their books enough, and it has been an honor watching them gracefully and successfully navigate their debut year!

Congratulations, middle grade authors of the Lucky 13s! YOU DID IT!

Here are our shout-outs to these spectacular 2013 debuts:

MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT
By Caroline Carlson

Magic Marks the SpotCaroline Carlson’s The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot is a spectacularly refreshing breath of sea air. The book features a winning combination: a plucky heroine, a pet gargoyle, and all sorts of characters who are not at all what they seem. Our heroine must battle pirate bureaucracy and entrenched discrimination (when she applies to be a pirate she is directed instead to Miss Pimm’s Finishing School of Delicate Ladies), as well as hold her own in sword fights and other battles of the more straightforward type. This book, the first is a series, offers humor and adventure that landlubbers and pirates alike will love.

Reviewed by Dana Alison Levy, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER, Delacorte/Random House

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THE KEY AND THE FLAME
By Claire M. Caterer

The Key and The FlameIn THE KEY AND THE FLAME, Claire M. Caterer weaves a wonderful, timeless fantasy where children travel to an otherworldly land in the classic tradition of Narnia and Fantasia. The rich, atmospheric world-building, both in magical Anglielle as well as in present-day England, pulled me right into the adventure, as did the wide cast of whimsical characters. Clever Holly is just the sort of brave, quick-thinking heroine I love to root for, and I loved her transformation as she learns to access her own magical powers. Eagerly awaiting the sequel!

Reviewed by Rachel Searles, THE LOST PLANET, Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan

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THIS JOURNAL BELONGS TO RATCHET
By Nancy Cavanaugh

This Journal Belongs to Ratchet“Unique” hits a whole new level in Nancy Cavanaugh’s This Journal Belongs to Ratchet. One-of-a-kind main character Ratchet (real name Rachel) captures your imagination and your heart in this wonderfully fresh take on a young girl’s experience growing up with a dad who loves but doesn’t understand her. Ratchet’s quest for a friend and to find her own “style” without the help of a mom is a roller coaster ride of ups, downs, and twists that she captures in her home-school journal. Smiles and heartaches abound when you join Ratchet on her unforgettable journey of self-discovery. Whatever you do, don’t miss the trip!

Reviewed by Gayle Rosengren, WHAT THE MOON SAID, Putnam/Penguin

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PARCHED
By Melanie Crowder

ParchedReading Melanie Crowder’s superb debut PARCHED was a visceral, almost physical experience for me. Set in a future with almost no remaining fresh water, it didn’t take long for me to feel the dryness of the landscape–and of the thirsty characters’ mouths–like it was my own. I attribute this to the author’s extremely skillful use of language; in a book as sparely written as PARCHED, every word counted. My favorite chapters were those told from the perspective of Nandi the dog–just astonishingly good, evocative writing. Readers won’t soon forget this book.

Reviewed by Tara Dairman, ALL FOUR STARS, Putnam/Penguin

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GENIE WISHES
By Elisabeth Dahl

Genie WishesFirst off, what a fantastic cover! No, we are not supposed to judge books by their covers, but this cover fits the novel so well that I kept flipping back to it while reading. That’s Genie on the cover, and her navigation through fifth grade is both thoughtful and wonderfully true-to-life. The episodic narrative rings true and made me feel like I was in fifth grade all over again.

My favorite scene takes place in the middle of the book,when Genie goes to a popular girl’s makeup party. Elizabeth Dahl managed to speak volumes on each character in that small scene. It was a pure joy to read!

Reviewed by Robin Herrera, HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL, Amulet Books

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SKY JUMPERS
By Peggy Eddleman

Sky JumpersYou won’t want to think twice about jumping in to Peggy Eddleman’s SKY JUMPERS. Make the leap, and you’ll experience an exhilarating adventure through a uniquely invented world. You’ll meet thrill-seeking, twelve-year-old Hope, who, in the process of capturing a few villains, is also likely to capture your heart. I love books about kids figuring out how they can contribute to their community. And Hope’s search for purpose drew me in, along with my favorite character to worry about, five-year-old, Brenna. She likes to tag along, and who can blame her? Hope’s adventures are worth following.

Reviewed by Edith Cohn, SPIRIT’S KEY, FSG/Macmillan

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BETTER NATE THAN EVER
By Tim Federle

Better Nate Than EverYou know how sometimes you hear about a book and you think “no seriously, I need this book like yesterday,” and then when you finally get it, you’re positive it won’t live up to your high expectations? Tim Federle’s Better Nate Than Ever soared over mine like an alien on a moonlit bike ride. Nate observes everything in his world in that hilarious yet achingly honest way kids do before they put on the convoluted goggles of adulthood. If you’ve ever felt like you didn’t fit in or ever wondered if you had the courage to follow your dreams–or if you sing Sondheim in your sleep–then you’ll want to check this one out.

Reviewed by Michelle Schusterman, I HEART BAND, Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin

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THE PATH OF NAMES
By Ari Goelman

The Path of NamesFrom magic to mobsters, summer camp to Jewish mysticism, ghosts to creepy secret societies, Ari Goelman’s The Path of Names has it all. It’s funny, magical, and completely original, but that’s not the most impressive thing about the book. Where it really stands out is in how vivid and immersive it is. Whether I was back in 1940s New York where David is trying to keep his secret from the Illuminated Ones or holed up in the modern-day with Dahlia, navigating the frustrations and spooky goings-on of summer camp, the world was absolutely real. The Path of Names is enormously, confidently accomplished, and what is more, it’s great fun. It’s exactly the type of adventure I love.

Reviewed by Patrick Samphire, SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB, Christy Ottaviano Books/Macmillan

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EVERY DAY AFTER
By Laura Golden

Every Day AfterEvery Day After is one of those books you know will be an instant classic. The character development is rich, the setting is so real that you start to feel like you have GooGoo Clusters stuck in your teeth (a candy that the Depression-era protagonist, Lizzie, longs for), and the themes are timeless. A story about a young girl staying strong in the face of economic troubles is so relevant today, and Lizzie’s determination is a model to anyone, of any age, who is struggling. But this is also a marvelous middle-grade book about community, friendship, and finding yourself—and one with plenty of sweet humor.

Reviewed by Rebecca Behrens, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE, Sourcebooks

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THE FLAME IN THE MIST
By Kit Grindstaff

The Flame in the MistKit Grindstaff’s The Flame in the Mist has a creepy, evocative title, and a cover to match. From the golden rats peeking out from under the girl’s hood to the army of ghosts lurking behind, you know you are in for a spooky tale, best read curled up by the fire. Jemma’s story, as it unfolds, offers enough twists and turns and hair-raising near misses to keep readers on the edge of their seats. But Grindstaff counters this spookiness with warm friendships and family loyalty, crafting a story that builds to a totally satisfying ending.

Reviewed by Dana Alison Levy, THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER, Delacorte/Random House

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SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY
By Karen Harrington

Sure Signs of CrazyTwelve-year-old Sarah has a big problem to solve: once summer ends and school begins, she’ll have to do the Family Tree Project. And everyone will find out about her family’s secret. Karen Harrington does a remarkable job weaving humor and heart into this story without ever making light of the tragedy at its core. Sarah’s quirks (from her best friend Plant to her secret letters to Atticus Finch) and her brutally honest observations about love, kissing, and the power of words make her a character you won’t soon forget.

Reviewed by Michelle Schusterman, I HEART BAND, Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin

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THE NEPTUNE PROJECT
By Polly Holyoke

The Neptune ProjectIn this unique MG dystopian, global warming has threatened Earth’s environment to the point where scientist undertake THE NEPTUNE PROJECT, creating human hybrids genetically engineered to live underwater. Nere doesn’t realize she’s one of these experiments until she’s forced to leave her mother and the life she’s known to dive deep below the ocean with the dolphins she’s always loved and trained. I especially appreciated how the author’s love and respect for the ocean comes through so clearly in this story, without being the least bit preachy. I think readers will enjoy the unique setting, as well as the non-stop adventure!

Reviewed by Jennifer Malone, AT YOUR SERVICE, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster

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THE WIG IN THE WINDOW
By Kristen Kittscher

The Wig in the WindowKristen Kittscher’s The Wig in the Window hooked me from the first page with seventh grader Sophie Young repelling out her bedroom window–sneaking out for a late night reconnaissance mission with her best friend, Grace Yang. Spying on the neighbors started out as a game, but when they begin to suspect that their school guidance counselor is hiding something, and that she might be dangerous, they dive headfirst into solving the mystery.

There was much to like in this book, but I have to commend Kittscher especially on her pacing. She kept me turning pages right up until the conclusion.

Reviewed by Heidi Schulz, HOOK’S REVENGE, Disney-Hyperion

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BULLY.COM
By Joe Lawlor

BullydotcomIn Joe Lawlor’s Bully.com, Jun Li is in big trouble. Someone has posted terrible things online about the most popular girl in school–and Jun is the number one suspect. He has only days to prove it wasn’t him or face the threat of expulsion.

I really enjoyed the friendship between Jun, a more comfortable with computers than people junk-food junkie, and Chris, a tough girl basketball star. On the surface, they have little in common, but their friendship works. It’s fun to see them use their different strengths as they try to uncover the real bully, before it’s too late.

Reviewed by Heidi Schulz, HOOK’S REVENGE, Disney-Hyperion

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SUNNY SWEET IS SO NOT SORRY
By Jennifer Ann Mann

Sunny Sweet Is So Not SorryJennifer Mann’s Sunny Sweet is So NOT Sorry delivers funny and heartfelt soul balm to older sisters coping with the menace-and-mayhem monsters known as “Little Sisters”. The story, told through older sister Masha’s eyes, on a day that begins and ends with little-sister created havoc, captures with authentic finesse the sense of frustration and love that vie in an older sister’s heart. It was a delight to follow Masha through her snowballing disaster and then into her moment of truth which deftly leaves open the possibility that Little Sisters might be worth something after all.

Reviewed by Jennifer Downey, THE NINJA LIBRARIANS, Sourcebooks

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THE GLITTER TRAP
By James Mattson and Barbara Brauner

The Glitter TrapJames Mattson and Barbara Brauner’s Oh My Godmother: The Glitter Trap is a sparkly fun book for middle grade readers full of bad names (Lacey Unger-Ware!), bad haircuts (bangs!), and really, really bad spells (pickles falling from the sky!) It’s laugh-out-loud funny in the cheekiest sort of way, though its heart deals with the toughest part of middle school—fitting in. I loved Lacey’s sense of humor, the fast-paced disastrous action, and the fun illustrations throughout the book. And bonus—there’s glitter on the cover!

Reviewed by Skila Brown, CAMINAR, Candlewick Press

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RUMP: THE TRUE STORY OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN
By Liesl Shurtliff

Rump

Think you know the real story of Rumplestiltskin? Guess again!

Liesl Shurtliff took the traditional story of Rumplestiltskin and completely turned it on its ear… and, gosh, was it magical! Not only is RUMP one of the cleverest fairy tale retellings I’ve ever read, it’s also laugh-out-loud funny, adorably charming, and wholly captivating. Rump’s quest was engaging and heartfelt, and I found myself rooting for him the whole way. The tension and conflicts made for an excellent plot arc! For all those who love fairy tales, smart retellings, humor, adventure, and a dash of magic, this book is–it has to be said–golden.

Reviewed by Lauren Magaziner, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES, Dial/Penguin

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TRASH CAN DAYS
By Teddy Steinkellner

Trash Can DaysTeddy Steinkellner’s Trash Can Days has a lot going on within its pages: multiple points of view, a diverse cast of characters, and a format that is a scrapbook of reports, status updates, posters, lists, songs, and more. It’s hard to pull off a novel using four distinctly different voices, but Steinkellner did this in a masterful way, while still delivering a gut-wrenching story about friendship, middle school, and fitting in. Every reader will find something that rings true in these pages. I expect this one will soon be a classic and loved for generations to come.

Reviewed by Skila Brown, CAMINAR, Candlewick Press

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GOLDEN BOY
By Tara Sullivan

Golden BoyGolden Boy brings to light a shocking human rights tragedy in Tanzania–the effects of Albanism. It’s bad enough that Habo feels responsible for his father’s abandonment, but when forced to move to Mwanza, he discovers something far worse. Sought for his body parts, as they are thought to bring good luck, Habo decides it’s best to leave his family for the safety of Dar es Salaam, but attracts the attention of a fearsome man wielding a machete who tracks him like an animal. With a deft hand, Tara Sullivan has created an engaging read for middle graders that is one part heartbreak and two parts triumph.

Reviewed by Tracy Holczer, THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY, Putnam/Penguin

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BROTHERHOOD
By A.B. Westrick

BrotherhoodA.B. Westrick’s Brotherhood is the powerful story of Shad, a fourteen-year-old in the post Civil War south who is secretly taking free reading lessons at an all-black school, all while his impoverished and war-torn family is growing increasingly involved with the KKK. This book does not sanitize the issue of racism for younger audiences, but rather shows just how difficult it was to do the right thing in a time when everyone you love tells you that it’s wrong to befriend African Americans. This book impressively conveys the atmosphere and voice of the Confederate south while making Shad a sympathetic narrator.

Reviewed by Ryan Gebhart, THERE WILL BE BEARS, Candlewick Press

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GONE FISHING
By Tamera Will Wissinger

Gone FishingFor fishing tomorrow, it’s just us two. Not Mom, not Grandpa…not Lucy.

What can I say about Gone Fishing? Only that this Junior Library Guild Selection will leave you turning pages, not just to find out how Sam comes to deal with his pesky little sister horning in on his fishing trip with his dad, but how all different manner of poetry is introduced to the reader. From free verse to couplets, interspersed with silly illustrations, this middle grade book of verse is accessible and engaging. Tamera Will Wissinger has created a collection of poetry reminiscent of Shel Silverstein. A must have for school and home libraries.

Reviewed by Tracy Holczer, THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY, Putnam/Penguin

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Congratulations to our Lucky 13s friends for an excellent debut year! We are so proud of you all! ❤

Have a happy, healthy, and cookie-filled holiday! We’ll see you in our debut year (!!!!!!!!!), and we are so excited to share our books with you very soon! Wish us luck as 2014 quickly closes in (eeeeep)!

Lauren Magaziner is a 4th grader at heart, watches way too much TV, and loves to steal people’s toes to make Toecorn, which tastes like chewy, meaty popcorn. Only one of those is true. (Okay… you caught me. They’re all true.) Her MG debut THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES—about a boy who becomes a witchling’s apprentice in a town full of dangerous, Toecorn-loving witches—is forth-coming from Dial/Penguin on August 14, 2014.