Tag Archives: Sarah McCarry

New Releases – July 2015

Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler (Spencer Hill Press)

Book Description: Young actor Josh Chester has never been sure that acting is for him–he’s mostly interested in the parties and the hot Hollywood girls that come with the job. But he ends up taking a job on the hit TV series Daylight Falls, opposite Vanessa Park, a girl who is immune to his charms and also his polar opposite. Vanessa loves her job, despite her parents’ disapproval. She’s pretty certain about everything in her life, until she meets her new career handler, a gorgeous girl named Bri. Then things start to get a little confusing.

Under the Lights features an adorable romance between two young women, all set against the backdrop of Hollywood. As Vanessa confronts her emerging feelings for her handler, Bri, her co-star Josh confronts his realization that the Hollywood scene might not really be his cup of tea. Under the Lights is a story of self-discovery: learning that the person you always thought you were might not actually be the case anymore.

You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison (HMH Books for Young Readers)

“By junior year Maggie is resigned to being the overweight girl who will never be an A-lister. But she doesn’t dwell on it … and she has a great job at a record store. She also has a faithful best friend in Nash, who shares her taste in “teachers, music, art, literature, and boys.” Conflicts emerge when “new guy” Tom enters the scene, making Maggie’s and Nash’s hearts flutter. … In this compassionate first novel, Dinnison adeptly portrays the rising and falling hopes within an unconventional love triangle.” — Publishers Weekly

Adrift by Paul Griffin (Scholastic)

“In a terrifying survival story in which past traumas are as visceral and intense as present circumstances, five teenagers try to stay alive after becoming lost off the Atlantic coast. Raised in a blue-collar neighborhood in Queens, friends Matt and John are working in Montauk, N.Y., for the summer when they meet 17-year-old Driana Gonzaga, her Brazilian cousin Estefania, and Estefania’s boyfriend, João. … Profound moments … will haunt readers as much as the lethal injuries, worsening weather, class friction, and psychological instability the teenagers face.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Paperweight by Meg Haston (HarperTeen)

“This realistic tale opens as Stephanie (Stevie) arrives at a 60-day residential treatment facility for eating disorder, located in rural New Mexico. … Despite her flaws, it is hard not to feel for Stevie. A carefully constructed buildup still lends to a quick read, which is hard to put down. Haston deals respectfully with the difficult subject matters of eating disorders and focuses on the recovery rather than the disease.” — School Library Journal

Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones (Little, Brown BFYR)

Book Description: You don’t belong with us.

These are the words that echo through the minds of all immune Americans-those suffering the so-called adverse effects of an experimental vaccine, including perfect recall, telepathy, precognition, levitation, mind control, and the ability to change one’s appearance at will.

When great numbers of immune individuals begin to disappear, fear and tension mount, and unrest begins to brew across the country. Through separate channels, superpowered teenagers Ciere, Daniel, and Devon find themselves on the case: super criminals and government agents working side by side. It’s an effort that will ultimately define them all, for better or for worse.

The Blind Wish by Amber Lough (Random House BFYR)

“As in the series opener, Zayele—raised as a human and untrained in using her magic—makes the titular wish and sets certain events in motion. The heart of this story is really twofold: how the sisters and secondary (human) characters Yashar and Rahela begin to find their places in a rapidly changing world; and the action-packed war that ends only in the face of an even bigger threat, ultimately pitting two human-jinn alliances against one another. … Enjoyable, thoughtful, packed with action, consequences, and a few kisses—readers will wish for a third book right away.” — Kirkus

About a Girl by Sarah McCarry (St. Martin’s Griffin)

“The conclusion to the ”Metamorphoses“ trilogy (St. Martin’s) follows Tally to a small town outside of Seattle where she seeks out her maybe-father to learn more about her past and her family. The place feels full of magic and people who intrigue her. Tally has a hard time thinking straight here, and her dreams are filled with vivid and terrifying images of blood. She falls for the mysterious Maddy, a girl who seems to hold the answers to her many questions. … This edgy, smart, and challenging title combines mythology, punk rock, science, a quest, feminism, art, dreams, and the power of stories and storytelling with unforgettable results. The well-developed cast of characters is racially and sexually diverse. The emphasis on the importance of female relationships—as family, as lovers, and as friends—is a welcome exploration of the many levels of intimacy. ” — School Library Journal, starred review

Show and Prove by Sofia Quintero (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

“Academic ambition and hip-hop intersect in the South Bronx, where two friends spend a summer growing up and, unwillingly, apart. Quintero details the summer of 1983, when the teens work what appears to be their final summer together as camp counselors. Raymond ”Smiles“ King is a smart, ambitious black teenager who has recently lost his mom to sickle cell anemia, and Guillermo ”Nike“ Vega is a Nuyorican Casanova and break-dancer who attempts to woo beautiful Sara, a new, mysterious girl in their neighborhood. … The story is powerful and thought-provoking, an homage to a climactic hip-hop era, when friends are caught between aspirations and predetermined social disadvantages. A must-read for fans of Walter Dean Myers’ All the Right Stuff and other lovers of proud urban realism.” — Kirkus

Down by Law by Ni-Ni Simone (Dafina)

Book Description: Lesson #1: You come for me, I come back even harder for you. Fair exchange. No robberies.

Isis Carter got schooled early on in surviving the streets. When some girls put a beatdown on her, she took back what was hers. When her brother was killed and her mom, Queenie, bailed, Isis fought to stay strong. And when her dad abandoned her for his new family, sixteen-year-old Isis buried the hurt by looking out for herself—and hookin’ up with bad boy Fresh…until a run-in with the law shatters Isis’s world and threatens to destroy her future.

Now the only person Isis can rely on is herself…until her secret crush K-Rock steps in. But when Isis lets her guard down, will she be given a second chance to get her life straight or will it cost her everything?

Hollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie Tejeda (Bloomsbury Spark)

Book Description: From the moment she first learned the truth about witches…she knew she was born to fight them. Now, at sixteen, Iris is the lone girl on the Witch Hunters Special Ops Team. But when Iris meets a boy named Arlo, he might just be the key to preventing an evil uprising in Southern California. Together they’re ready to protect the human race at all costs. Because that’s what witch hunters do. Welcome to Hollywood.

Naked by Stacey Trombley (Entangled Teen)

Book Description: When tough teenager Anna ran away to New York, she never knew how bad things would get. After surviving as a prostitute, a terrifying incident leaves her damaged inside and out, and she returns home to the parents she was sure wouldn’t want her anymore.

Now she has a chance to be normal again. Back in school, she meets a boy who seems too good to be true. Cute, kind, trusting. But what will he do when he finds out the truth about her past? And when a dark figure from New York comes looking for Anna, she realizes she must face her secrets…before they destroy her.

(Main character is half Puerto Rican.)

The New Order by Chris Weitz (Little, Brown BFYR)

Book Description: They thought they were the only ones left. They were wrong. After the unexpected revelation at the end of the first book, Donna and Jefferson are separated. Jefferson returns to NYC and tries to bring a cure to the Sickness back to the Washington Square tribe, while Donna finds herself in England, facing an unimaginable new world. Can the two reunite and prevent an even greater disaster than the Sickness? This second book in The Young World trilogy will keep you at the edge of your seat.

For All the Girls Who are Part Monster

By Sarah McCarry

mccarry-aboutagirlWhat I remember about being seventeen and right at the edge of the life that was waiting for me is hard to put into words. I was smart and mean and funny and brave; I thought I was very tough, and very brilliant, and I was, though not at all in the ways I assumed. Some writers talk about the book of their heart; all three of my books live close to that synecdochic muscle, but Tally, the narrator of About A Girl, is a love letter to that girl I used to be. Cocky and sharp and un-humble, fierce and fearless and a little unkind, finding her way in the world and a way to seeing outside herself: not humility, which I (still) think is overrated, but compassion, which is a lifetime in the learning, and in short enough supply in the world we’re tasked with living in. Tally is clever in a way I never was, the language of mathematics as natural to her as the language of dreams is, and was, to me, but out of all the girls I’ve written, she’s closest to all the girls I’ve loved.

People always accuse women of writing autobiography, as if our imaginations are too tiny to conjure up stories we haven’t lived: I can tell you now that none of what happens to Tally ever happened to me. Like Tally, I’ve longed after the secrets of the universe, though she’d scoff and then some at my sad insistence on tarot decks and astrology charts. I’ve danced in the woods and fallen in love with witches and monsters, but none of them were three thousand years old; I’ve drunk at Kate’s bar in a town that’s real, but it was staffed by ordinary people instead of old gods. My parents are still-married Republicans, not a queer painter and her poet best friend and his husband and a long-dead siren. I failed physics—on purpose, in protest, but still.

But that lick of fire that runs through her, that arrogance and joy and wild-burning light, that faith in her own self, her own questions, her own leap and her own quest: that was mine, and though it’s tempered now by a lot of lessons and a lot of living, Tally’s voice sings in me still. May you love her as much as I do, and may you be reminded of the genius that lives in you, too.


sarahmccarrySarah McCarry (www.therejectionist.com / @therejectionist) is the author of the novels All Our Pretty Songs, Dirty Wings, and About A Girl, and the editor and publisher of the chapbook series Guillotine.

About a Girl is available for purchase.

Diversity Digest – October 2014

Welcome to another installment of our Diversity Digest! October has been jam-packed with diversity news, posts, and a zillion awesome book cover reveals, but I want to start off by giving a tip of the hat to DiYA co-founder Cindy Pon who orchestrated our first-ever theme month, focusing on middle grade books.

Diversity in YA obviously focuses on YA, but many librarians and readers have asked us for recommendations for books for younger readers, too. If you missed any of our guest posts from wonderful MG authors such as Jacqueline Woodson, Cece Bell, Sharon G. Flake, or Ami Polonsky, you can catch up on all of them here. And while DiYA readers might not read too much MG, please pass the links on to your friends, colleagues, and kids who do!

Diversity in the News

woodson-browngirlThe National Book Award finalists in Young People’s Literature have been announced, and the books are a very diverse bunch: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Noggin by John Corey Whaley, The Port Chicago 40: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin, Revolution by Deborah Wiles, and Threatened by Eliot Schrefer. Congratulations to all the NBA finalists!

The Guardian reports on modern fairy tale retellings that reinvent tradition, including Neil Gaiman’s new The Sleeper and the Spindle which includes an illustration of a same-sex kiss, and my lesbian retelling of Cinderella, Ash.

CNN takes a stab at what teens will be reading next, and our own Cindy Pon provides some answers, including one that we really hope is true: diversity!

Meanwhile, YA Highway take stock of The Landscape of YA Lit: A State of the Union, and also concludes: diversity!

Think About It

Awards season is now fully upon us, and We Need Diverse Books issued a request for awards judges to remember that some books about minorities contain problematic story lines or representations.

Here’s a long, thoughtful, and detailed interview with Alaya Dawn Johnson (Love Is the Drug, The Summer Prince) at Gay YA.

Corinne Duyvis (Otherbound) asks if diverse characters are only OK as long as they’re not “too diverse” (The Guardian).

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez writes about Pig Park and the Cosmic Race: Diversity and Identity in My New YA Novel at Latin@s in Kid Lit.

Over at YA Highway in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Samantha Mabry writes that “Books help tell us who we are.”

At the end of Banned Books Week, I blogged about a question I get all the time: Have your books been banned? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think.

Two Girls Kissing & Other Covers I Never Thought I’d See

October brought two cover reveals that take lesbian representation to a new level (finally!) in YA. Coming June 30, 2015, is Dahlia Adler’s Under the Lights (Spencer Hill), a contemporary romance about actors in a teen TV show:

adler-underthelights

And coming July 14, 2015 is Sarah McCarry’s About a Girl (St. Martin’s Griffin), a genre-bending twist on Medea and two girls (who are not white!) falling in love:

mccarry-aboutagirl

Read more about the cover for About a Girl at MTV News.

October also brought a fresh new interpretation on representing gender via the cover for I.W. Gregorio’s None of the Above (Balzer + Bray), coming April 28, 2015:

gregorio-noneoftheabove

Read a Q&A with the book’s art director and designer at The Book Smugglers.

Here are a few more covers for upcoming diverse books to keep your eye on:

oct2014-newcovers1 oct2014-newcovers2

What To Read Next

Just in time for Halloween, Lee & Low offers a list of Thirteen Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition.

canales-tequilawormThe Day of the Dead, or El Día de Muertos, is observed in Mexican communities this weekend, and YALSA has some suggestions for YA books that incorporate this holiday.

Stacked put together a YA reading list for Hispanic Heritage Month (it was Sept. 15-Oct. 15) featuring books written by Hispanic authors or featuring Hispanic characters.

Teen Librarian Toolbox rounds up a list of new LGBT YA books released this fall.

Book Riot serves up 5 South Asian YA titles to read as well as a list for Coming Out and Coming of Age: YA LGBTQ Books.

Looking for the best books by or about American Indians? Check out the lists on American Indians in Children’s Literature.

The Guardian offers a UK-focused list of their 50 best culturally diverse children’s books.

Flow charts more your speed than lists? We Need Diverse Books has created a diverse YA flow chart, and here’s one at YALSA’s The Hub focusing on contemporary diverse YA.

Let’s Make a Deal

Here are this month’s new deals for diverse books. If you have sold a diverse book recently (or in the future!) and want to tell us about it, please email us at diversityinya@gmail.com.

charlottehuangGoing Geek by debut author Charlotte Huang has been acquired by Wendy Loggia at Delacorte, for publication in 2016. According to Publishers Weekly, “In the story, a girl is forced to stand up for who she really is – if she even knows – when her friends dump her and she is forced to hang out with the fringe crowd at school.”

Anything Could Happen by debut author Will Walton has been acquired by David Levithan for Scholastic’s PUSH imprint, to be published in summer 2015. According to Publishers Weekly, “The novel follows a gay teen’s coming-of-age in the South, where he must navigate new friendships, small-town traditions, and family history – all while being hopelessly in love with his best friend.”

saenz-benjaminThe Inexplicable Logic of My Heart by Printz Honor author Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe), “a YA novel set in El Paso about family and friendship, life and death,” has been acquired by Anne Hoppe at Clarion Books, for publication in spring 2016 (Publishers Weekly).

Free Diverse Short Fiction Online! No $ Required, Seriously

Inscription Magazine, a free online magazine for teens that focuses on short fantasy and science fiction, is now live. Check out their stories “Lord of Time” by Livia Blackburne and “Anjali” by Rati Mehrotra.

The Book Smugglers have also launched their new online short fiction publishing company, and while their stories aren’t always specifically YA, they are YA-friendly. Check out their first story, part of a series of fairy tale retellings, “Hunting Monsters” by S. L. Huang.

The Advice Roundup: Thoughts on How to Write Diversity

Corinne Duyvis reminds science fiction and fantasy writers to mind their metaphors with regard to disabled people and stereotypes (SF Signal).

kohler-nosurrenderChristine Kohler describes the detailed research she undertook while writing her historical novel No Surrender Soldier, about a Chamorro teen boy, set on Guam in 1972 (Cynsations).

Transgender teens Katie Rain Hill and Arin Andrews talk to Stylite about writing their memoirs.

Here’s a wide-ranging interview with author Annameekee Hesik about writing, publishing, and lesbian YA at Gay YA.

Debut author Adam Silvera offers some advice on how to write gay YA books at CBC Diversity.

The NaNoWriMo blog has been featuring posts all month on how to write diverse books. Check them all out here.

Inside the Publishing Business

The Horn Book hosted a Mind the Gaps Colloquium at Simmons College on Oct. 11, 2014, which focused on diversity and the lack thereof in children’s books. Read the recap from Lee & Low here.

Publishers Weekly held a panel about diversity in children’s publishing at Penguin Random House, featuring Alvina Ling (exeducive editorial director of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), Stacey Barney (senior editor at Penguin/Putnam), and Jason Low (publisher of Lee & Low). Read the (somewhat depressing) report about the panel at PW.

Publishers Weekly also has a pretty thorough roundup of mainstream publishing’s perspectives on diversity in the science fiction and fantasy genres, focusing primarily on adult SFF but also including quite a bit of commentary from children’s and YA publishers: Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014: How Multicultural Is Your Multiverse?.

Last But Not Least

#WeNeedDiverseBooksWe Need Diverse Books has really upped the ante this past month. Not only did it announce a collaboration with School Library Journal and the creation of the Walter Dean Myers Award and Grants for diverse literature, it also launched a $100,000 IndieGogo campaign to fund these and other advocacy efforts.

At only one week into the monthlong fundraising campaign, WNDB has already raised almost half its total goal! Among the perks you could get for donating to WNDB are original holiday notecards, T-shirts, tote bags, agent critiques, and original art by Grace Lin and DiYA’s own Cindy Pon.

If you haven’t donated yet, please consider joining us in supporting WNDB and diversity in YA and children’s literature. Go to IndieGogo to find out more and see all the perks, and #supportWNDB!