Cover Reveal: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones Paperback

As many of you know, I would sell my heart for Dee Moreno and James Lancer. If you don’t know who Dee and James are, then you’re missing out (on the book and my spiel). The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones is an intoxicating blend of fantasy, horror, and romance—a Faustian fable perfect for fans of Holly Black and Stranger Things.

While I do love myself some romance, The Hearts We Sold is not centered around it. It’s a story about Dee Moreno, a girl who has a difficult home life and is about to be kicked from her boarding school—the place where she truly feels free—for lack of funds. But in this world, demons exist to make deals: one human body part in exchange for one wish come true. However, the demon that Dee approaches doesn’t want just any body part—he wants her heart in exchange for her wish. She then becomes a “heartless” and joins a crew that has to take down an otherworldly threat. There are demons that can be outwitted, hearts that can be reclaimed, monsters to be fought, and we learn that love isn’t impossible without a heart.

The paperback isn’t available until on July 2, 2019, but I’m just so excited and in love with the new cover that I wanted to share it with you today! If you’re still not sold (which you should be), here’s a little sampler of the book.

The Book I Never Planned to Write (but am so thankful I did)

by Mary Crockett, author of How She Died, How I Lived

Most days, I am obnoxiously happy. A joyful goofball. I live by my dead mother’s motto: I’d rather laugh than cry.

In short, I might be the last person on earth who wants to sit around contemplating the pandemic of violence against young women. The prospect seems especially grim when I consider that my own teenage daughter is a college freshman this year.

But sometimes a story has its own ideas about how I’m supposed to spend my time. In such cases, I’ve found the story generally wins.

I started writing How She Died, How I Lived several years ago, after a young woman from my community went missing. When she was found dead, I felt utterly gutted. I don’t know why it hit me so hard. I realize it’s a situation that plays out again and again in our headlines—a young woman raped and murdered, left for trash beside the road. But even though I had no earthly connection to the people involved, I felt all the outrage for those countless murders in this one young woman’s death. 

Violence is devastating, first and foremost to the people it directly impacts, but also to the people who exist in its periphery. How She Died, How I Lived tries to show the way a violent act ripples out into a community and releases a sort of fog that shapes how young women see their world and their place in it.

I had so many questions as I wrote—about the consequences of violence; about the role of friendship in healing; and perhaps most of all, about how young women today can face the world knowing with certainty that someone out there, given the chance, would kill them.

The act of writing, even writing from this place of rage, gave me purpose. Just as the characters in this book find solace in each other, I found solace in them. I love the girls in this book. And some of the boys, too. I love that when all is said and done, this is a novel about friendship more than it is about murder. I love that they find some peace through human connection, and I love that they piece together lives worth living in face of senseless violence.

While How She Died, How I Lived was sparked to life by grief and rage, it is my greatest hope that it can, in its own small way, bring healing.


I was one of five. The five girls Kyle texted that day. The girls it could have been. Only Jamie—beautiful, saintly Jamie—was kind enough to respond. And it got her killed. 

On the eve of Kyle's sentencing a year after Jamie's death, all the other "chosen ones" are coping in various ways. But our tenacious narrator is full of anger, stuck somewhere between the horrifying past and the unknown future as she tries to piece together why she gets to live, while Jamie is dead.

Now she finds herself drawn to Charlie, Jamie's boyfriend—knowing all the while that their relationship will always be haunted by what-ifs and why-nots. Is hope possible in the face of such violence? Is forgiveness? How do you go on living when you know it could have been you instead?

6 Things We Learned at YALLFest 2018

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Who’s still recovering from YALLFest this past weekend? 🙋 I’m definitely suffering from Post-YALLFest Sadness Syndrome right now. I may work for a publishing company, but I miss the energy and love for YA books that all of y’all emanated. We’re feeling so blessed because the book gods came through and gave us perfect weather for the weekend. Natali, Katharine, and I had so much fun meeting y’all at both the NOVL S’mores and Pours event as well as the festival day. Thank you to everyone who came by to say hi, even when we weren’t giving out any swag or books! This was my third YALL, and I have to say that it was by far my favorite one.

If you didn’t make it and are having serious FOMO, no worries—here are the things we learned at YALLFest this year:


1. NOVLers are the cutest of all time

 
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We kicked off the weekend with the NOVL S’mores and Pours at the Courtyard Marriott Charleston Historic District’s adorable pergola! First of all, look how cute all the book lovers look together! Second of all, doesn’t NOVL look so stunning over the ivy leaves? We gave a preview of the forthcoming Internment by Samira Ahmed, where all attendees got a limited edition READ TO RESIST baseball cap. Then Monica Hesse came to speak about her most recent novel, The War Outside. It was the perfect start to the weekend, and honestly, we’re still on a high from it.


2. The early bird doesn’t get the bookworm…

 
 

…because the bookworm is already awake and in line at YALLFest. Okay, y’all wake up earlier than we do for YALLFest, and we have to set up entire booths—such dedication. These NOVLers were the first people in our lines on multiple occasions, which means that this LINE START sign basically stayed with them the whole day.


3. We’re true to our pink and blue

 
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Not to toot our own horn, but pink and blue look so good together. It reminds me of cotton candy, which is sweet like all you NOVLers out there. Our booth exploded in pink and blue, which is the only way to go. We hope y’all grabbed these tote bags, buttons, and stickers, because they’re all being redesigned!


4. Book lovers start young

 
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We had not one, but TWO book lovers who insisted on coming behind the booth to experience what it’s like to be a full-time book lover. To be honest, though, we think they rocked it better than we did. Am I looking at NOVL’s YALLFest team for 2035?


5. Katharine gives the best advice

 
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Katharine, a publicist here at LBYR, had a booth similar to Lucy’s to give publishing advice. Whether it be on how to get a book published, how to receive review copies, or how to get your foot in the door in publishing, Katharine had words of wisdom to share. Let’s be real, though—I know from personal experience that she gives the best advice on any aspect of life.


6. We can’t wait for YALLWEST

 
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It might look like we’re exhausted (we were), but we were mainly sad that YALLFest 2018 came to an end. We may be sleep deprived, but we’re still glowing from all the love that y’all showed NOVL this year. Up next is YALLWEST in bright and sunny Santa Monica, and we can’t wait to see y’all there. In the meantime, we’ll bond over YA online!


P.S.—Shout out to these NOVLers for agreeing to my antics and dancing for social media early in the morning. Love y’all!

Books with Things to Do on Your Self-Care Days

Sometimes I want books that set my heart racing. Sometimes I need books that will rip my heart to shreds. Sometimes I need books that propel me into a rage because the world is on fire. But recently I’ve wanted books that put me in a calm state of mind, that chill me out, and encourage me to relax and release all this built up tension I’ve been holding inside. Reading stories that challenge us is important, but so is self-care.

After a V STRESSFUL midterm election, you should take a quick break. So BREATHE. Let it all out, and take care of yourselves, NOVLers. Here are some books with suggestions on how to spend your self-care day:


The Revolution Handbook by Alice Skinner

Now that the midterm elections are over with wins and losses, hope and frustration, take it all out in The Revolution Handbook! In the vein of Wreck This Journal, but made specifically with young feminists in mind, The Revolution Handbook is full of prompts and coloring pages, from practicing making protest signs, to logging scripts for calling your representatives, and to even sewing Trump’s mouth shut! Trust me, it’s very cathartic. 


THe Creativity Project by Colby Sharp

When things feel like they’re falling apart or everything’s crumbling to pieces…create! The act of making something new always revitalizes me and encourages me to keep moving forward. In The Creativity Project, authors, illustrators, and artists alike made projects based on prompts they shared with each other, and encourage others to do the same through prompts they made for you! Channeling all my thoughts and emotions into art is SUCH a relief. And, you know, now you have art. 


Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison

When I’m ever feeling overwhelmed at work, I’ll flip through my desk copy and spend time staring at Vashti’s illustrations: each page profiles a different revolutionary woman from all around the world, and they’re all just so darn cute and sophisticated and soothing. The bios and stories fill me with joy. The illustrations fill me with joy. It’s all around a very joyful book. 10/10, would recommend.


Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement, and More by Mallika Chopra

Our friends over at Running Press Kids just published a fantastic book about meditation and mindfulness! Even though I took a class in college that taught me how to meditate, honestly I’m still not sure how to do it. This is a cute little guide had fun illustrations and guides for the meditation novice, so not even I could mess it up. Take a (literal) breath.  


What’s your favorite way to relax?

What You Need to Know About NOVL at YALLFesT 2018

YALLFest 2018 is just around the corner! Katharine, Natali, and I are so stoked, and we hope you are, too! To get you even more excited, I’ve gathered all the books and author panels in one convenient place just in case you wanted more information about each book and author. If you haven’t seen the schedule yet, check here for more information.

This year, we have Brandy Colbert taking over our Twitter for the day, two NOVLboxes that are up for grabs, and our friends over at JIMMY are doing two ARC drops at our booth! And oh, if you attend any panel and post a photo using the hashtag #NOVLatYALLFest, you’ll get an extra entry into the YALLFest-exclusive NOVLbox.

We can’t wait to meet you and talk all things bookish in Charleston next week!

P.S. Remember to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for the passwords to limited edition swag!


Books

I was one of five. The five girls Kyle texted that day. The girls it could have been. Only Jamie–beautiful, saintly Jamie–was kind enough to respond. And it got her killed. 

On the eve of Kyle’s sentencing a year after Jamie’s death, all the other “chosen ones” are coping in various ways. But our tenacious narrator is full of anger, stuck somewhere between the horrifying past and the unknown future as she tries to piece together why she gets to live, while Jamie is dead.

Now she finds herself drawn to Charlie, Jamie’s boyfriend–knowing all the while that their relationship will always be haunted by what-ifs and why-nots. Is hope possible in the face of such violence? Is forgiveness? How do you go on living when you know it could have been you instead?

ARC Drops:
Saturday @ 1:30 PM // Lollipop, Lollipop at NOVL Booth
Saturday @ 3:30 PM // Let’s Get Real at NOVL Booth


 Note: This is a JIMMY Patterson title.

Note: This is a JIMMY Patterson title.

Ever since her acceptance to UCLA, 17-year-old Raya Liston has been quietly freaking out. She feels simultaneously lost and trapped by a future already mapped out for her.

Then her beloved grandmother dies, and Raya jumps at the chance to spend her last free summer at the ashram in India where her grandmother met and fell in love with her grandfather. Raya hopes to find her center and her true path. But she didn’t expect to fall in love… with a country of beautiful contradictions, her fiercely loyal cousin, a local girl with a passion for reading, and a boy who teaches her that in Sanskrit, there are 96 different ways to say the word “love.”

A modern retelling of the classic Indian legend of Shakuntala and Dushyanta, 96 Words for Love is a coming-of-age story about finding yourself in unexpected places.

ARC Drop:
Saturday @ 3:30 PM // Let’s Get Real at NOVL Booth


Izzy, a practical-minded teen who intends to become a doctor, isn’t happy about her recent move from the Lower East Side across the river to Brooklyn. She feels distanced from her family, especially her increasingly incomprehensible twin brother, as well as her new neighborhood.

And then she meets Tristan.

Tristan is a chess prodigy who lives with his aunt and looks up to his cousin, Marcus, who has watched out for him over the years. When he and Izzy meet one fateful night, together they tumble into a story as old and unstoppable as love itself.

In debut author Shannon Dunlap’s capable hands, the romance that has enthralled for 800 years is spun new. Told from several points of view, Izzy + Tristan is a love story for the ages and a love story for this very moment. This fast-paced novel is at once a gripping tale of first love and a sprawling epic about the bonds that tie us together and pull us apart and the different cultures and tensions that fill the contemporary American landscape.

ARC Drop:
Saturday @ 1:30 PM // Lollipop, Lollipop at NOVL Booth


Rebellions are built on hope.

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today.

ARC Drops:
Saturday @ 12:30 PM // Read and Resist at NOVL Booth
Saturday @ 3:30 PM // Let’s Get Real at NOVL Booth


 Note: This is a JIMMY Patterson title.

Note: This is a JIMMY Patterson title.

I’ve been chased my whole life. As an illegal immigrant in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

ARC Drop:
Saturday @ 11:30 AM // Girl Power Hour at NOVL Booth


Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day her family self-destructed. That was the night Eryn, Magpie’s sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. That was the night of Brandon Phipp’s party.

Now, Magpie is called a slut whenever she walks down the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won’t speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who’ve all been socially exiled like she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a place called Near.

Near is perfect–somewhere where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie’s own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. It’s a place where she can have anything she wants…even revenge.

You Must Not Miss is a twisted and suspenseful tale of magic, menace, and the monsters that live inside us all.

ARC Drop:
Saturday @ 1:30 PM // Lollipop, Lollipop at NOVL Booth


Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them—if they don’t destroy each other first.

We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.

ARC Drop:
Saturday @ 11:30 PM // Girl Power Hour at NOVL Booth


Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam “Kurl” Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that eventually grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and devastating family secrets, Jonathan and Kurl struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship…and each other.

This rare and special novel celebrates love and life with engaging characters and stunning language, making it perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Nina LaCour, and David Levithan.

ARC Drops:
Saturday @ 1:30 PM // Lollipop, Lollipop at NOVL Booth
Saturday @ 3:30 PM // Let’s Get Real at NOVL Booth


Harriet Price is the perfect student: wealthy, smart, over-achieving. Will Everhart, on the other hand, is a troublemaker who’s never met an injustice she didn’t fight. When their swim coach’s inappropriate behavior is swept under the rug, the unlikely duo reluctantly team up to expose his misdeeds, pulling provocative pranks and creating the instantly legendary Amelia Westlake–an imaginary student who helps right the many wrongs of their privileged institution. But as tensions burn throughout their school—who is Amelia Westlake?—and between Harriet and Will, how long can they keep their secret? How far will they go to make a difference? And when will they realize they’re falling for each other?

Award-winning author Erin Gough’s Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is a funny, smart, and all-too-timely story of girls fighting back against power and privilege–and finding love while they’re at it.

ARC Drops:
Saturday @ 11:30 PM // Girl Power Hour at NOVL Booth
Saturday @ 3:30 PM // Let’s Get Real at NOVL Booth


Authors

Brandy Colbert is the author of Little & Lion, Finding Yvonne, and The Revolution of Birdie Randolph.

Friday @ 3:30 PM
Fierce Friday
at John L. Dart Library

Saturday @ 11:00 AM
For Art’s Sake: Writing Art & Music in Novels
at American Theater - Cinema

Saturday @ 1:00 PM
Second Love
at the Charleston Museum

Saturday @ 2:00 PM
Signing
at the Blue Bicycle Books Tent

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Monica Hesse is the author of Girl In the Blue Coat and The War Outside.

Friday @ 3:30 PM
Guest Author
at NOVL S’mores and Pours

Saturday @ 2:00 PM
Feeling Like An Outsider
at American Theater - Cinema

Saturday @ 5:00 PM
Secrets and the Ones Who Keep Them
at American Theatre - Cinema


Kass Morgan is the author of The 100 series and Light Years.

Saturday @ 12:00 PM
Twists and Turns [Moderator]
at American Theater - Cinema

Saturday @ 1:00 PM
Sorry Not Sorry: Prickly Protags
at American Theatre - Ballroom

Saturday @ 4:00 PM
Signing
at Best Friend Train Museum

L.C. Rosen is the author of Jack of Hearts (and other parts).

Saturday @ 1:00 PM
Sorry Not Sorry: Prickly Protags
at American Theater - Ballroom

Saturday @ 2:00 PM
Feeling Like An Outsider
at American Theater - Cinema

Saturday @ 3:00 PM
Signing
at the Blue Bicycle Books Tent

novlbox

The November 2018 NOVLbox!

 
 

It’s a new day and a new month, so you guys know what that means. It’s time to introduce our next NOVLbox curator! We’re doing something a little bit different this month as well…

OUR SPECIAL GUEST CURATOR IS JACK, THE MAIN CHARACTER FROM JACK OF HEARTS (AND OTHER PARTS) BY L. C. ROSEN! 

You’ll get to read his story in Jack of Hearts (which he’s including in the box), but in addition you’ll receive a letter introducing the box written by Jack himself, pretty blue eyeliner, and a bunch of other cool swag items (all that’s featured in the picture above and more).

What’s a NOVLbox? It’s a care package from one of our favorite authors or content creators (or us). What’s inside? Everything in that ^ GIF and more! To find out about the other prizes, keep an eye on the #NOVLbox hashtag on social media.

How It Works:

  1. Enter HERE for a chance to win.

  2. We’ll select & notify the winners at the end of the month.

  3. We'll ship out the boxes in the following two weeks!

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Creeping It A Very NOVL Halloween

Happy Halloween, here are some puns! 👻☠️👽🕷🕸🌚

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The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black

What’s a vampire’s favorite genre? Fangtasy.

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The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Can I make Halloween puns? Of corpse I can!

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The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Dee sold her heart to a demon, just for the hell of it.

Rags & Bones edited by Marissa Marr and Tim Pratt

Why did the skeleton cry his eyes out? Because he didn’t have any body to love.

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Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

This book will turn your world upside down.

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Devils and Thieves by Jennifer Rush

How do you tell if a story is about a devil? By its tail.

What We Should Be Talking About

There’s a lot to be angry about right now. I dread looking at the news or opening Twitter, because I know that after, I’ll leave feeling confused and enraged, stuck in a whirl of white noise. I turn to stories to help take me out of that noise and float me away to another world. But I also turn to stories to hone the noise, and turn it into a weapon.

Being in the mental space and having the right mindset when approaching certain topics is essential, for me at least. It’s hard to read books about things like mental health, violence against women, or racial hatred when these things have affected my life so closely. But I’ll try anyway.

We read these books and hear these stories because we need to. We do it not because it’s easy, but because it’s needed, and sometimes revoking our privilege of comfort is what it takes to humanize and empathize. We need writers who are brave and we need readers who are brave. So I turn to stories, like so many other people I know, and I let stories spur me to action. Our education will never be perfect or as comprehensive as we want it to be, but we try anyway.

Here are some books I think are worth talking about:


How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett

In How She Died, How I Lived, one year ago, Jamie was brutally murdered by chance. But it didn’t have to be Jamie; it could have been any of the five girls that Kyle texted that day, including our narrator. And on the eve of Kyle’s sentencing, our narrator is full of anger, trying to cope, but stuck somewhere between the horrifying past and the unknown future as she pieces together why she gets to live, while Jamie is dead.  

When it comes to violence against women, the blame and reasoning for violence is too often put on women themselves. It’s our fault that we didn’t say anything. This could have been prevented if we just did this, if we hadn’t worn that skirt, if we’d just didn’t answer that text. How can I stand to live, when other women, when other survivors, have to walk with such pain and suffering in their lives? How She Died, How I Lived is about that guilt, that confusion, that rage women live with—and what to do with it moving forward.


Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwin

Inspired by the true story of Matthew Boger and Timothy Zaal, Freaks and Revelations documents a fictional narrative of two teens’ journeys, their violent first meeting, and their peaceful reunion years later. One night in the streets of Los Angeles, Jason (Matthew Boger)—recently homeless after being kicked out by his family when Jason came out of the closet—is attacked and left for dead by Doug (Timothy Zaal)—a 17 year-old Neo Nazi warped by violence and extremism. Years later, Jason and Doug meet again, but go on a different journey together: one of survival, forgiveness, and ultimately hope.  

People do not owe their abusers forgiveness. It is not their responsibility to heal their abusers or to make space for them in their world. But sometimes I feel myself falling into patterns of hopelessness, believing that awful people will be awful forever, and that there’s nothing I can do or say to stop it. Stories of dramatic and impossible change and radical hope and forgiveness help ground me. A dramatic change like Timothy and Doug’s is rare. Matthew and Jason’s space and capacity for forgiveness is also rare. But change and forgiveness can happen—and I’m comforted by stories that remind me of that.


Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

When Marvin Johnson’s twin brother, Tyler, goes missing after a party gone wrong, the world is shocked when Tyler is found dead and a video leaks online of him being shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

In the wake of books like The Hate U Give and All American Boys, it makes me angry how ordinary books like Tyler Johnson are. It makes me angry that it’s timely, and that stories of police brutality and racial violence are still needed, because it still happens all the time, every day, to children living in America. When it comes to problems or systems of power that don’t affect me personally, I know there’s a plethora of things I need to do (including VOTING, listening to others, knowing where and when to speak up), so I know that I absolutely need books like Tyler Johnson—books that are, by themselves, well written, quality stories, but are also essential in my own awareness and education.


Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Williams

In the dusty fields of Zimbabwe, Deo and his friends play soccer while Deo’s older brother, Innocent, cheers from the sidelines. It’s an ordinary day, until the soldiers arrive. Deo and Innocent are forced to run for their lives, fleeing the wreckage of their village for a distant promise of safe haven. Along the way, they’ll face prejudice and poverty that await refugees everywhere, but also kindness from the people they meet as well. On this transformative, emotional journey, Deo and Innocents’ stories will stick with you long after the last page.

There’s so much I don’t know about the world. I’d like to think I’m a well-educated person and am well-informed when it comes to the issues I need to know about. But every day I’m reminded that there’s whole wars that I never knew even happened, or issues I didn’t know even existed. And education, to me, goes beyond just learning facts and understanding “what” happened. It’s also understanding the emotional journeys people go through—I need books like Now Is the Time for Running to tie me to the people, as well as the concrete events and issues I don’t know about.  


What’s the last book that inspired you to act, or a book you think we should be talking about?

events

NOVL at YALLFest 2018

NOV(L)ember is approaching—it’s personally my favorite month. Partially because it’s my birthday month, but mostly because it’s when I get to go to Charleston for a weekend with my favorite people to talk all things YA with fellow book lovers! This year, our friends down the hall at Jimmy Patterson are sharing two of their books at our booth as well!

We have some fantastic authors in attendance, great books in the lineup, and new bookish swag for you to collect, so plan your time wisely, NOVLers. See you in Charleston, and please don’t be shy to say hello!


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listicle

What to Read Based on Your Favorite Shakespeare Play

To read or not to read: that is the question. But for us the answer is always: read. The Bard’s plays have inspired thousands of retellings and even more brand new stories throughout Western culture—and his plays have proven to be timeless again and again. Based on your favorite Shakespeare play, here’s what book you should consider reading next!


If you love The Twelfth Night, read An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker

This one’s technically not an adaptation, but The Twelfth Night plays a big role in Virginia Boecker’s new historical YA fiction novel, An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason! Lady Katherine (an assassin bent on killing the Queen of England after her father is executing for being a practicing Catholic) and Toby (one of Queen Elizabeth’s spies dedicated to protecting her at all costs) are cast as the leads in The Twelfth Night (!), the new Shakespeare play to be performed especially for Queen Elizabeth. 


If you love Hamlet, read Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray

This unique retelling of Hamlet told from the perspective of a modern-day Ophelia is fresh, provocative, and features another strong, powerful, new female voice. In Falling for Hamlet, Ophelia is the daughter of the Danish king’s most trusted advisor and longtime girlfriend of Prince Hamlet. While seemingly glamorous, her life is often the center of the paparazzi who hounds her due to Hamlet’s fame and his overbearing royal family. But after the suspicious death of Hamlet’s father and Hamlet’s dangerous spiral toward madness, Ophelia finds herself torn between loyalty to her boyfriend, her father, her country, and her true self.  


If you love Romeo and Juliet, read Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap

So this one’s technically not inspired by a Shakespearian play, but if you adore star-crossed romances and tragic-but-epic love stories (ie. Romeo and Juliet), Izzy + Tristan by debut author Shannon Dunlap should be your next read! Inspired by the tragic story of Iseult and Tristan, Izzy + Tristan is set in modern-day Brooklyn and tells a romance of first love, gentrification, and the bonds that tie us together and break us apart.


If you love King Lear, read Rule by Ellen Goodlett

Rule, like King Lear, is centered on themes of sibling rivalry and morality. And while not a direct adaptation of King Lear, Rule certainly captures the complexity of power that’s emphasized in King Lear, and the aspects of our humanity we chose to keep, or to give away, in order to acquire it. But unlike King Lear, Rule is a new YA fantasy about three girls who discover they are the illegitimate daughters of the king of Kolonya and must compete for the crown while keeping their deadly secrets hidden.


If you love Shakespeare’s Comedies, read Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Okay, I cheated again with this one. Shut Out’s not a Shakespeare adaptation, but a retelling of a play much, much older than the Bard’s (but just as hilarious, timeless, and smart as Shakespeare’s comedies). Shut Out is inspired by the Greek comedy Lysistrata, which is about a group of Athenian wives who try to end the Peloponnesian War by denying all men of any sex.  In similar fashion, Shut Out begins when high schooler Lissa and the girls of Hamilton High decide to go on a hook-up strike until their school’s boy’s football and soccer teams make peace once and for all.

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The Hackers Behind PHANTOM WHEEL by Tracy Deebs

You’ve been hacked, and all your personal information is now under unprecedented access. Meet the six expert teens trying to take down Phantom Wheel, a devastating virus they created under the impression that the CIA was recruiting them—can they take down the virus before it’s too late?



The digital apocalypse has arrived and the future is here in this addictive technological thriller full of twists and turns. Perfect for fans of Nerve!

Being recruited by the CIA to join a top-secret intelligence program should be the opportunity of a lifetime. For Issa, it’s a shot at creating a new and better life for herself and her siblings. For clever con artist Harper, it’s a chance to bury the secrets of her troubled past and make sure that those secrets stay buried. But for Owen–honor student, star quarterback, and computer-hacking genius–it sounds like a trap. He’s right. Owen discovers that instead of auditioning for the CIA, they’ve all been tricked by a multibillion-dollar tech company into creating the ultimate computer virus. It’s called Phantom Wheel, and it’s capable of hacking anyone on Earth, anywhere, at any time. And thanks to six teenagers, it’s virtually unstoppable. Horrified by what they’ve done, the hackers must team up to stop the virus before the world descends into chaos. But working together is easier said than done, especially as the lines start to blur between teammate, friend, and more than friend. Because how do you learn to trust someone when you’ve spent your entire life exploiting that same trust in others?

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Plan the Perfect Fall Day, Get A Book Rec

It's 👏 finally 👏 here👏—The season of crunchy leaves, apple cider, and constant 65 degree weather! When you're not out and about walking through pumpkin patches, curl up with a good book this fall. Plan the perfect autumn day, and we'll recommend one for you to pick up!

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4 Royal Kingdoms with their Own Secrets

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom…or kingdoms, to be precise. One of the coolest parts of the fantasy genre is the opportunity to build brand new, exciting worlds or bring twists to old fantasy tropes (or do both!). And at LBYR, I’m fortunate to have been introduced to tons of rich, intricate fantasy worlds and the characters that reside in them. Here are some of the kingdoms at LBYR…


The Kingdom of Kolonya

from Rule by Ellen Goodlett

What I loved most about Rule was definitely the detailed world-building through the complex politics of Kolonya court life. The jungle world surrounding the glittering city of Kolonya itself is a fascinating setting, but what makes reading about Kolonya unique is that we see the world not only through what the world looks like, but how the characters in court talk about it, negotiate trade deals for it, and unravel the hidden scandals through its messy military history. Kolonya comes alive because of the characters’ passion (and hatred) of it.

Come back to Kolonya next June when the sequel, Rise, hits the bookstores!


The Kingdom of Elfhame

from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Obviously I can’t get away with writing a listicle about LBYR kingdoms without talking about Elfhame! The Queen of Fae, Holly Black, is renowned for her lush, magical worlds that are equally familiar and unexpected. But I think Elfhame in The Cruel Prince is particularly special since it’s being seen from the perspective of a mortal. All the elements Holly’s known for are there (terrifyingly beautiful faeries, knights and fights for the throne, etc.), but understanding Elfhame through Jude’s eyes makes this world even more perfect and horrifying and urgent—all at the same time.   

I can’t wait for you to return to Elfhame in January when The Wicked King finally comes out!


The Kingdom of Viridia

from Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Okay, but this is one kingdom that I’m glad we don’t live in…Despite the murder, politics, and backstabbing in Elfhame and Kolonya, at least women can freaking read in those kingdoms. While Viridia has a cool Italian-inspired setting, it’s arguably the worst place to live since women have been stripped of their basic human rights. Behind the ball gowns and gondolas, women are mere objects. However even though I wanted to scream at all the men in power in Viridia, I am pretty stoked for all the rebellious women that still come out of it. 

Will women ever be able to read in Viridia? Find out next July in Queen of Ruin!


The Kingdom of Tempesia

from the Frostblood Saga by Elly Blake

Oh man, I feel so bad for Ruby—she’s a Fireblood living in a world of ruling Frostbloods (who are determined to kill all Firebloods, BTW). I’m so sick of this New York City heat I’d move to Tempesia in a heartbeat, but honestly I would die of the cold too (humans are so fragile AHH!). From Ruby’s village, to the Tempesia battlefields, to the secret rebel hideouts, the world of Frostblood is fierce, vibrant, and ultimately fun for all lovers of magic and fantasy!

And Nightblood just came out, so now the trilogy will be complete on your bookshelf!

Everything You Need to Know About the DEAR EVAN HANSEN: THE NOVEL Editions

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel is out in the world, and I think I can speak for everyone at NOVL when I say that we’re so excited for you to read it. Here’s a little sneak peek…

“Why do I have tears in my eyes?” is the exact question I ask each time I think about the novel. The hit broadway musical has become a favorite amongst theatre-goers and non-theatre-goers alike, and the novelization of it will be, too. Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul have created a work of art for forever. But before I write my own novel about my feelings for this book, let me present to you the two exclusive editions…


Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition

Especially for fans, this B&N exclusive edition includes Connor’s list of ten favorite books as well as never-before-seen lists from all four of the authors.

Target Exclusive Edition

This Target exclusive edition features a never-before-seen monologue from Evan and a deleted song from the original Dear Evan Hansen show.


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Bonus: only the first printings of each edition will have the special endpapers that you see in the picture above, so order yours today!


When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore—even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be? 

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

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Direct A Broadway Musical, and We'll Tell You If It Wins a Tony Award

Today is going to be a good day and here's why: your show is going to the Tonys! In honor of Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul, direct a Broadway musical and see if it brings home Best Musical or not.


Dear Evan Hansen, 

Today's going to be an amazing day and here's why...

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore—even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be? 

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.