Children’s and Young Adult Newsletter 12: October 2015


Oliver Gylden only wants one thing: to become a Tinker’s apprentice and invent revolutionary devices. His dreams do not include being embroiled in a war between two nations whose opposing beliefs have caused decades of bloodshed. But when dragon-like creatures, created by magic and pieced together with reanimated flesh, destroy his village in a brutal attack, that’s exactly what he gets. Oliver barely escapes the assault, even with the help of Grif, his high-spirited best friend, and Marya, the girl he has secretly loved for years. But Marya has been keeping secrets of her own, secrets that could explain the attacks and shape the outcome of the war. And now that they’re on the run, someone is after them. Someone who knows the truth. Rooted in Russian history and folklore, debut novelist Hannah Fergesen‘s LIGHTNING IN WINTER is a gorgeous YA fantasy set in a richly realized world on the brink of complete devastation. Marya, Oliver, and the spy who follows them must battle each other, the elements, and their own fates in a world where the line between right and wrong is increasingly blurry. Morally complex and deeply felt, this is a sure-footed debut that heralds the arrival of an exciting young talent. Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.

Seventeen-year-old Oliver Wu remembers a few things about Saturday night. He remembers going to a party and seeing his crush Paloma Medina, and the disappointment he felt when she left early. He remembers the room spinning and someone helping him up the stairs. He remembers waking up next to Tarryn, a girl he barely knows, his clothes on the floor. There’s just one notable memory missing. Oliver doesn’t remember saying yes. When Tarryn laughs off Oliver’s panic and tells him to take her out for breakfast, he doesn’t say no. He doesn’t say no to Tarryn for weeks because he’s futilely waiting for an honest answer about what happened that night. The truth is, most guys would’ve loved to wake up in Tarryn’s bed. But for Oliver, it not only contradicts the straight-edge code he’s chosen to live by, he’s almost certain it was rape. His friends shut him out, and the rumors start swirling. Oliver turns inward, trying to make it through the rest of senior year unnoticed. But Paloma, the one person Oliver wants to hide the truth from more than himself, is the one person who won’t back down and accept the change. Opening up to Paloma not only means facing what happened that night, it means airing a truth that could easily rip her world wide open, too. In the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now, S.L. McManaway‘s diversely cast A POSTCARD WOULD BE NICE is a raw, wistful, true look at the complications of falling in love while young, and how the aftermath of a trauma can force you to decide what you really stand for and who you really are. Please note, Jane Dystel is the agent on this project.

Gamer Kat has panic attacks. Skateboarder Meg has ADHD. Kat, fearing just about everything, prefers to be alone, which is convenient since she’s new in town. Meg also knows what it’s like to be alone—her hyperactivity scares everyone away, even her stepdad—and it’s the only thing she fears. But when Kat and Meg are teamed up on a year-long science project, they discover they have at least one thing in common: their obsession with the YouTube star Meg plans to marry, who does walkthroughs of Kat’s favorite video game.  Separately Kat and Meg are a mess, but together they might just be able to battle the negative voices in their heads…if they don’t kill each other first. Debut author Anna Priemaza‘s IF YOU CAN’T FLY is a contemporary YA story of friendship, disability, sex, and video games that will appeal to fans of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell. Please note, Lauren Abramo is the agent on this project.

Mike McKee thought he’d spend his thirteenth birthday doing what he does best, hanging with his friends at his dad’s museum. But after he eats some pickled onion his German grandma saved specially for the occasion, his birthday and his life take a crazy turn. Thanks to that onion, Mike’s now gifted with the ability to create any smell he wants. Not only that, he discovers he’s a Sensor, one of a small group of people who can influence events—even history—by manipulating human senses. That could be awesome—except for the small fact that Mike’s superpower is messing with his brain, igniting headaches and hallucinations. Worse, there’s another Sensor in town, the sinister kind, and if Mike can’t learn how to sensor safely, and soon, he won’t just lose his mind—he and everyone he loves may lose their lives as well. Erika David‘s debut Middle-Grade novel MAGNIFISCENT MCKEE will appeal to fans of Dianne Salerni’s The Eighth Day and Jack Ferraiolo’s The Big Splash, and readers will naturally take to this funny, imaginative tale of a kid who is out to save his world, one scent at a time. Please note, Eric Myers is the agent on this project.

Evie Green’s junior year hasn’t been her best, if you factor in her parents’ nasty divorce, her boyfriend Charlie moving away, and her social climbing bestie Cameron abandoning her for the popular girls. So, following the family motto (when in doubt, bake it out), Evie’s poured everything into her job at her mom’s Venice Beach bakery, mixing, kneading, and tweaking her pastry recipes to perfection, and saving every paycheck for the only thing that’s too skinny about Evie—her college fund. Because tuition at Evie’s dream school, L’Academie du Patisserie in Paris, sure isn’t cheap. Despite Evie’s growing pastry prowess, when limelight-hungry Cameron drags her along to an open call for the Chow Channel’s hot new teen cooking competition, Born To Bake, Evie doesn’t think she has a chance. Sure, Evie’s been a natural in the kitchen since she could hold a whisk, but does she have enough edge and star power to beat out the cutthroat competition for the $100,000 prize? Things heat up in the kitchen when both Cameron and Evie make it to the finals, and they get even hotter when Evie’s super-cute coworker Luke shows up. As the cake batter flies, the claws come out, the cameras circle, and it looks like this behind-the-scenes girl might actually have a shot at baking up the life of her dreams, if she can just come up with a recipe for how to go from wallflower to winner…with a cherry on top. BORN TO BAKE is freelance food and travel writer Jen Stevenson‘s deliciously fun YA debut. Please note, Stacey Glick is the agent on this project.

Red is a cautious and bookish dog. Blue is an impulsive and daring boy. Together, they dream of having a great adventure. One morning, a mysterious map washes up on the beach. Red and Blue set out in search of buried treasure, but soon discover they’re not the only ones with a map-a trio of very tough and determined pirate bears have a copy, too! Red and Blue must race against time and nature to beat the bears to the punch, but as a storm hits and the bears take the lead, their only chance of success is to work together. A charming story of ingenuity and friendship brought to life through Jack Morgan‘s endearing artwork, which artfully combines elements of comic strip illustration and graphic design, RED AND BLUE is sure to become a bedtime favorite of adventure-seekers everywhere. Please note, John Rudolph is the agent on this project.

High schooler Victoria Cruz inhabits two worlds: in one, she is a rock star, thrashing the stage with her husky voice and purple-streaked hair. In the other, currently serving as her reality, Victoria is a shy 15-year old scholarship “good” girl with overprotective Cuban parents, who sleepwalks through her life at Manhattan’s exclusive Evanston Academy. Unable to overcome the whole paralyzing stage fright thing, Victoria settles for living inside her fantasies, where nothing can go wrong and everything is set to her expertly crafted music playlists. But after a chance encounter with an unattainably gorgeous boy named Strand, whose band seeks a lead singer, Victoria is tempted to turn her fevered daydreams into reality. To sing with the band in the heralded Battle of the Boroughs competition, Victoria must face her insecurities and finally expose her fantasy-self by breaking away from her family’s expectations and the traditional life carved out for her. It doesn’t help that she’s falling for Strand at the expense of her current relationship with the sweet, reliable Levi Schuster. Can Victoria risk disappointing those she loves to go after what she really wants? Or must she stay trapped in her yawn-worthy life? In her debut novel, KNOWING VICTORIA, young adult author Janelle Milanes tells a story of finding oneself amidst insecurity, teen angst, and conflicting cultures. Please note, Jane Dystel is the agent on this project.

Nothing is what it appears to be in Steve Monaco‘s THE OTHERWORLDS, which will appeal to fans of Jeanne Du Prau’s The City of Ember and Patrick Carman’s Atherton. Fourteen-year-old Valera Maddox has spent her life in a city at the bottom of the sea, and doesn’t realize that another world may exist above her until the day she ascends close to the ocean’s surface and perceives the light of the sun. Davien Ray has spent his eleven years confined to a gloomy underground city built inside an enormous series of caverns. Thirteen-year-old Tylas Deklin is the only one of the three who has actually seen the sky, though he questions why he can only view it through the huge glass dome that covers his city. All three are marked as troublemakers when they begin to question their oppressive societies; all three escape to and converge on a planet that is foreign to them: Earth. There they will find their presence unwelcome; their illegal-alien status quickly results in their capture and detainment by the authorities. This new world will be even worse than the ones they left behind. As is so often the case in the best science-fiction, THE OTHERWORLDS deals with themes and issues that have become disquietingly common in everyday society and current news events. Its resourceful, resilient trio of protagonists—which expands to a quartet—is likely to bring to mind the refugees and migrants who have fled Syria in recent months, and the xenophobic society it depicts cannot help but conjure thoughts of the backlash against immigrants which is pervading the U.S. and Europe. With strong characterizations and fast-paced plotting, THE OTHERWORLDS establishes Monaco as a YA science-fiction writer to watch. Please note, Eric Myers is the agent on this project.

Julie’s grandpa has been looking for a special chair for a long time. No matter which chair he tries, he can never seem to get comfortable. Some chairs are too small; others are too soft; some are too fancy; and one tall chair in particular takes forever to climb! But Julie has an idea how to help. One day when Julie and Grandpa set out to visit the furniture store, Julie suggests a detour into the park. And there among the ducks and flowers, Julie finds a place to sit-but is it special enough for Grandpa? With THE SPECIAL CHAIR, author/illustrator Jiyeon Pak ( makes a smashing debut, bringing this deceptively simple story to life in a gloriously colorful style reminiscent of Maira Kalman and Calef Brown. Readers will love checking out the details in the artwork while warming themselves with the loving connection between Grandpa and Julie. Please note, John Rudolph is the agent on this project.

It’s a high school divided when Myrna Sampson, the school’s star athlete, is suddenly cut from the swim team right before the state championships. She’s determined to save her dream of someday competing in the Olympics, but she can’t dispute her failing grades, which stem from her parents’ divorce and her father’s deployment to Afghanistan. She’s compelled to fight the system’s grade policy to get back on the team. With the help of some rebel-friends, Myrna launches The A Campaign, a crusade to show that everybody deserves an A in something—whether it’s academics, sports, arts or even in “being annoying,” as is the case with one intriguing boy with potentially divided loyalties. Is Myrna a hero activist for struggling students or just another troublemaker full of excuses? And will she be able to save her dream of swimming in the big race, the one place where her “A” is the biggest and brightest of all? In THE A CAMPAIGN, Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, an award-winning journalist and adjunct professor at Columbia University, portrays the unrelenting pressures put on high school students. Please note, Stacey Glick is the agent on this project.

Like a latter-day Romeo and Juliet, Lexie and Dalton are being kept apart by their families. Close when they were children, they have not seen each other in five years, and Lexie’s last memory of Dalton was seeing him lying in a pool of blood on the floor of her own house. What really happened that night has been carefully kept from her, and she has since compromised her own life with a series of lies in order to survive emotionally. When Dalton turns up at her high school five years later, Lexie is confronted with the fact that her childhood friendship with him has deepened into a love that their families are determined to destroy. Melissa Liban‘s debut novel A POSITIVE SPIN OF EVENTS brings together two teenagers so drawn to each other that, despite all opposition, they refuse to risk losing one another again. Readers of the novels of Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Niven, and Huntley Fitzpatrick will appreciate this story of young lovers triumphing in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Please note, Eric Myers is the agent on this project.

Dr. Lisane Paquette, a Canadian endodontist who has been practicing dentistry for 20 years, has written a 500-word dental-care picture book with a supernatural twist. GABE AND FLORY’S MICRO-ADVENTURES BOOK 1: CAVITUS takes its two sibling title characters into a human mouth by way of a magic microscope. Once inside, Gabe and Flory come up against the aptly-named Cavitus, an acid-spitting monster who is in fact a cavity-causing bacterium. Cavitus is determined to destroy every tooth he can—and every kid who tries to stop him.  Gabe and Flory learn a quick, scary lesson about what happens when you don’t brush and floss. Unlike other childhood oral-health picture books that tend to be descriptive and factual, this one hooks kids by way of a fun and intriguing story.  Paquette’s extensive connections with the dental community—including oral-health social media platforms and websites—will help launch this book all over North America. Please note, Eric Myers is the agent on this project.

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