Work has been hectic again, but even more so for the last two months as I try to get all of my Fall 2008 novels ready to be sent to copyediting. The deadline is mid-October, and although most of the novels are close, it's going to be down to the wire for some! I have four novels and one picture book on the Fall 2008 list, which is fairly average in terms of number of titles, but I'm not usually juggling this many novels at once. For example, on my Spring 2008 list, I had three picture books and only one novel: The Postcard by Tony Abbott (his follow-up to Firegirl), Crocs! by David Greenberg, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, The Blue Stone: A Journey Through Life by Jimmy Liao (the follow up to Sound of Colors), and Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez.
My Fall 2008 list tentatively consists of:
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley: this is the third YA novel I've worked with Justina on, and she's such a beautiful writer and a pro. This is the first of her novels where the protagonist isn't Asian, but for this story, it just felt right. But of course there's an Asian-American love interest (who gives a whole new meaning to the "Team Jacob" T-shirt I have), a powerful family drama, a trip to China (which was especially timely for me, as I'm in the process of planning a trip to Beijing and Shanghai), geocaching, and rumination on the meaning of true beauty and finding one's direction in life.
Sour White by Sean Beaudoin: think Charlie Kaufman meets Vanilla Sky (in a good way) meets The Matrix. This somewhat cyberpunk YA novel is an incredible, ambitious second book by the author of Going Nowhere Faster which came out this Spring. Sean is such an incredibly strong writer, and I'm excited that he's writing something completely different. This novel will blow your mind, but it's also engaging, humorous, and smart.
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass: this is Wendy's fifth novel with us, and the second that I've worked on with her. Another middle grade novel in the vein of her brilliant Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, this is a story written in three voices. Three very different kids, two girls and one boy, come together at the Moon Shadow campground to see a very special sight--a total eclipse of the sun. Wendy always impresses me with the topics she chooses to write about, and I especially love that she says something different and important in every book that she writes, but never in a didactic way. And her description of the total eclipse, from three different point of views, always leaves me breathless no matter how many times I read it.
Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young: I described this book when I gave my last sneak peak, as this was originally slated for Spring 08. But due to tragic circumstances that involved the art for this book being stolen, as well as the even more tragic timing of Ed Young's beloved wife passing away, this book was put on hold. But Ed is back at work, and just delivered the final art two weeks ago. The book is now in the hands of the designer and is absolutely brilliant and beautiful.
And last but not least, the first book of a deliciously scary and gross horror series, Sorry Night. This is probably the most commercial novel I've ever acquired, and I just love how fun it is. This is a book about teen girl who delights in all things scary. She herself has a phobia of spiders, but pushes herself to embrace this fear. When evil mythical creatures feed on her little brother's fears and take over his soul, she must push herself even farther to try to bring her brother back. I love that this is a horror series with a female hero. And as I'm also afraid of spiders (well, creeped out by them, at the very least), this book challenged me to try to overcome that fear. For all of your enjoyment, here is a photo that reminds me of this book. My colleague Nancy encountered this monstrosity while vacationing on Martha's Vineyard a few weeks ago.
I hope to write more about these books in the future. If you want to check out some of the books I worked on that are out right now, here's a quick list:
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Beatles, Beatlemania, and the Music that Changed the World by Bob Spitz: I absolutely LOVE this gorgeous, illustrated book that was adapted from Bob's adult book The Beatles. This is the perfect gift for Beatles fans of all ages (especially those for whom the 900+ page adult book is daunting), and I loved learning all of the inside stories behind the group and the songs. Special kudos go to designer Alison Impey.Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass: this is the first novel I worked with Wendy on, and it was such a pleasure. This is her first novel-in-verse, and she did an incredible job. Best of all, I loved the imperfection of the main character--Wendy managed to succeed in the difficult task of making a flawed, sometimes wretched main character sympathetic and likeable.The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Piñata for the Piñon Tree by Philemon Sturges, illustrated by Ashley Wolff: this is a posthumous publication of the author's writing, and Ashley has outdone herself in the illustrations, making this a lovely homage to him. This is 12 Days with a Southwestern spin, complete with coyotes, cowgirls, and of course a piñata.I have a few more books coming out in January which I'll write more about then, including Grace Lin's follow-up to Year of the Dog, and Justina Chen Headley's follow up to Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies): Year of the Rat and Girl Overboard, respectively.
Any questions? Want to know more? Ask away!