Via Jaystab on DeviantArt. What a stunner.
Happy first snow, New York City!
5 years ago I went through a phase where the only things I’d read were nonfiction books about the Donner party. As you can imagine, it made me tremendously fun to talk to at dinner parties. Everyone loves a gal that can relate every conversation upstart back to cannibalism. In my defense, this is an incredibly interesting topic; read The Indifferent Stars Above and Desperate Passage and try to argue otherwise. I dare you. Then I grew up to be a children’s book buyer and thought I had to leave that obsession behind me. Reader, I was wrong.
From The New York Times:
For those readers who assumed the horrors of the Donner Party began and ended with the conspicuous consumption of human flesh, the spate of attacks, murders and other tragedies along the way will come as a surprise. One notable aspect of this book — aside from the graphic-novel format — is how Hale tackles the actual eating of people. It’s clear that to the hangman (a childlike figure who is a perfect stand-in for young readers), the prospect of eating pets to stay alive is more unnerving than the idea of eating people. You can eat 65-year-old Jacob Donner, sure, but don’t you dare take a nibble out of Towser the pup!
…Because Hale’s books are full of imagined dialogue, they can’t be strictly categorized as nonfiction, but there’s clearly plenty of research behind them. He addresses this question directly in a section called “Correction Baby.” (“If you’ve got questions, comments or corrections, she’s got answers!”) As to whether James Reed, one of the emigrant party, was as wacky as he is depicted in the book, Hale says, “I think our portrayal of Reed is cartoony, but fair.” It’s probably safe to assume that holds for most of the history here.
Know what I love? I love this book.
Anna’s first book, All Unquiet Things, found me at the exact right time in my life: when I had just finished watching all of Veronica Mars in more or less one sitting and was desperate for more California high school noir. All Unquiet Things is exactly awesome. I now sometimes keep myself awake at night trying figure out if I love that one or Tandem more, but that’s a topic for a different blog post/ therapy session.
I loved hosting Anna at McNally Jackson on the release date of Tandem, and not just because she was kind/ foolish enough to allow me to serve as the event’s moderator.
Couple of gals talkin’ fringe science.
An all-smiles audience.
Bird (themed not flavored) cake.
Signed, sealed, delivered.
Brought to you by [____insert title of YA book here____].
E Lockhart’s We Were Liars isn’t out until May ‘14, so we have plenty of time to talk about how damn beautiful this cover is:
I’m a lucky, lucky gal and got to read this one already. The two blurbs I sent in to the publisher after finishing it were:
"A haunting, beautiful novel about all of the things, tangible and intangible, that are passed down from generation to generation, with an ending you’ll never see coming and won’t be able to stop talking about."
"A tremendous mindf*ck of a novel."
I stand by those both, and by this book, which is amazing. I can’t wait for you to read it.
School of Charm
Lisa Ann Scott
Pub 2-2014, Katherine Tegen Books
I don’t know a single person who was content with who they were as a preteen or early teenager. Those years are full of trying to find where you belong and what your true passions are. Maybe that’s why so much middle-grade fiction is about trying to fit in. Lisa Ann Scott’s School of Charm chronicles the story of Chip, a girl who’s literally, not figuratively, a tomboy in a beauty-queen world.
After the death of Chip’s father, her mother packs up the family and moves them from New York to North Carolina. They move in with Chip’s grandmother, a former beauty queen, and Chip’s sisters are sucked into the pageant world. But Chip has no desire to participate. When she discovers Miss Vernie’s School of Charm – a place for beauty queens and tomboys alike – out in the forest one day, she meets girls and learns lessons that will forever change her perspective about herself and her family.
Chip’s grandmother serves as the villain. She’s a character that’s easy to hate, though her backstory (revealed late in the book) provides some explanation for her actions without excusing them. Chip’s interactions with Miss Vernie and the girls of the charm school are brilliant. Karen and Dana provide contrast to her character – Karen is girly and often flippant, and Dana is headstrong, providing Chip with challenging questions to ask herself. Many times their personalities mesh well, allowing them to discover their true selves. As the story goes on the girls’ personal struggles are revealed, and in those intimate moments with each other, they build each other up in ways they could never do on their own. The time Chip spends with these girls comprises many of the novel’s strongest points.
The story is very well put together, and the moral is excellent. Chip changes from a girl thinking she has to become someone else to be accepted by her family into to a girl who allows her inner beauty to shine. When she does so, it allows her family to see her for who she truly is, and they love her for it.
This novel has few weak points. The characterization of Chip’s mother is somewhat inconsistent; one minute she’s chastising Chip for being too much of a tomboy, and the next she’s defending her actions. Granted, by the end of the novel she’s completely focused her actions toward the latter, but in the middle of the novel it seems like she vacillates between the two extremes.
School of Charm is an excellent middle grade novel. The strong characters, plot, and morals combine to make something reminiscent of a Sharon Creech novel. It’s a fun story that gives the reader more than they expect, making this a book that deserves to sit next to the likes of Bloomability and The Secret Language of Girls.
- Rachel P., 18
When the time comes, please make sure I am buried with this.
This is Landon.
He works here at McNally Jackson and he is the single best piece of proof we have that bookstores will always be important. Let me explain.
Landon does our web orders at work. If you’ve order something via the McNally Jackson website you probably got a confirmation email from him and it was definitely helpful and kind and funny and signed “Web Human,” which is his self-ascribed and entirely perfect job title here.
We recently did a web preorder campaign for Veronica Roth’s Allegiant offering signed copies to our online customers (you can still get signed copies, while our supplies last) wherein Landon wound up communicating with half of Brazil, a nation demonstrably filled with Divergent fans. One customer wrote back asking if Veronica Roth herself was really going to sign her book. After Veronica’s visit to the store on Sunday, Landon sent her the below two pictures.
He got this email back within 25 minutes:
OH MY GOD LANDON I CAN’T EVEN AKSKAKKDJDJAKQMMDL
THANK YOU SO MUCH
I’M HYPERVENTILATING AND CRYING AND OMG
I LOVE YOU GUYSSS!!! YOU’RE THE BEST OKAY? OKAY.
Btw, is that you behind Veronica??? Haha
Your move, Amazon.
Also, now seems like a great time to mention that every copy of Allegiant within the walls of McNally Jackson right now is signed by Veronica. Have at it.