Two Big Names return next week with titles destined for best seller lists; Clive Cussler with Zero Hour (Penguin/Putnam), as well as Dean Koontz with the new Odd Thomas novel, Deeply Odd(RH/Bantam). Followups to previous successful debuts include Beatriz Williams next after Overseas and Beth Hoffman’s after Saving Cee Cee HoneyCutt.
Although it is being mentioned in the publicity for the sixth Odd Thomas novel, Odd Thomas, the movie, starring Anton Yelchin and Willem Dafoe, is still in limbo. The release has been held up as the producers sue over marketing costs.
The film is finished; Koontz himself raves about it on his site, while being vague on release date. A trailer appeared online recently, so there may still be hope:
Beatriz Williams, who made a splash with the the time-traveling romance Overseas, publishes her second novel, A Hundred Summers, (Penguin/Putnam) set in Seaview, Rhode Island, in 1938, with a cover that screams “beach read.”
Beth Hoffman follows up her 2010 debut, Saving Cee Cee HoneyCutt, with a new novel that is an IndieNext pick for June — “Looking for Me [Penguin/Dorman] grabs the reader from the first paragraph as Hoffman weaves a magical tale of the love of family and nature, the loss of innocence, and the hope that in the future all will be revealed. Set in rural Kentucky and Charleston, South Carolina, this is the story of the gifted and determined Teddi Overman, a furniture restorer, and her missing brother. Teddi’s courage and belief both in herself and in her vanished brother, Josh, inspire all who come in contact with her. Enter the world of the Overmans and emerge with a new perspective on hope and love!” —Lynne LeBlanc, The Fountainhead Bookstore, Hendersonville, NC
Several Y.A. titles arrive next week with advance buzz about their new takes on the subjects of gay identity, bullying and coming-of-age (with a female protagonist called one of the “most memorable since Holden Caufield”). In picture books, a Sesame Street favorite gets renewed life and Amelia Bedelia experiences a significant first.
Sing, Joe Raposo, Tom Lichtenheld, (Macmillan/Henry Holt, CD included)
EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek writes:
If I had to put my money on one spring title this would be it. Raposo’s song, originally written for Sesame Street, strikes a chord in memory but is as timely now as when it debuted 40 years ago. The lyrics build confidence by urging kids to be themselves — trying, failing, then doing it anyway — and are put to a hypnotically cheerful tune. No wonder it’s been beloved ever since its debut in 1971.
Tom Lichtenheld’s pictures do more than illustrate, they illuminate. He tells a story without words of a bird without song. The reader finds herself as an accompanist, singing the song as though it were a soundtrack to the ‘real’ story in pictures. What could have been a saccharine greeting card of a picture book is anything but. This edition contains the original bilingual, Spanish and English lyrics as well as a CD. Not a false note.
WARNING: If songs tend to stick in your head, do NOT press the play button below.
What took her so long? Amelia Bedelia gets her first library card in the sixth title of this new series by Herman Parish, nephew of the character’s originator, Peggy Parish, in which he portrays the literal-minded Amelia Bedelia as an energetic child experiencing important firsts.
Wild Awake, Hilary T. Smith, (HarperCollins/Tegen Books)
Arriving with buzz from YA GalleyChat, this debut is also a top ten Summer ’13 Kids’ Indie Next pick. Featuring 17-year-old Kiri Byrd, called “one of the most memorable characters in young adult literature since Holden Caulfield.” As Kiri begins to realize that her sister’s recent death was not accidental, her own mental health deteriorates. Horn Book says, “Most fascinating in this stirring coming-of-age novel are the blurred lines between perception and reality, genius and madness, peace and turmoil. Debut author Smith embraces the complexities of grief, family dynamics, creativity, mental illness, and love.”
As the title suggests, this novel from the author of the Lambda Literary Award for Young Adult fiction, Out Of The Pocket (Dutton, 2008) takes a new approach to gay issues. Teen Rafe is tired of being the gay poster child in his school, so when he transfers to a new one, he decides to take on a new persona. Horn Book notes, “For a thought-provoking, creative, twenty-first-century take on the coming-out story, look no further.” Readers on GalleyChat called it, “Truthful, sweet, heartbreaking, funny,” with “broad appeal, like Will Grayson, Will Grayson.”
Twerp, Mark Goldblatt, (RH BYR; Listening Library)
On the top ten Summer ’13 Kids’ Indie Next list, this YA debut by an adult authors gets a strong recommendation, “In 1960s New York, sixth-grader Julian ‘Twerp’ Twerski has just returned to school after a weeklong suspension, when his English teacher offers him a deal. If he writes a journal about the incident that got him suspended, Julian can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. At the beginning of the book it’s unclear why Julian and his friends were suspended, but more details come to light as the journal entries progress. The book’s greatest strength is that it calls attention to the important issues of friendship, peer pressure, and bullying without preaching or talking down to the reader. Julian is a flawed character, but he’s someone you can’t help but root for.” —Caitlin Ayer, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
During this week’s YA GalleyChat, our EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek raved about Elizabeth Wein’s forthcoming Rose Under Fire, (Disney/Hyperion, 9/10/13) a companion novel to last year’s Code Name Verity.
We’ve just learned that it is now available on NetGalley — perfect timing for Memorial Day reading. Click here to link directly.
Both books are about a little-know subject, the women who ferried planes in WW II. On Memorial Day, I will be reading Rose Under Fire in honor one of the first female ferried pilots killed in the war, my aunt, Mabel Rawlinson. I never knew her, but, having grown up with her legend, I feel sure she would have loved these books.
Images of Michael Douglas as Liberace in the HBO film, Behind the Candelabra, seem to be everywhere; at the Cannes Film Festival where it premiered yesterday, on magazine covers and in reviews (even in BusinessWeek). American audiences will get their first look at the movie on HBO on May 26.
Yesterday, Terry Gross interviewed the director, Steven Soderbergh on NPR’s Fresh Air. He says he had long wanted to do a movie about Liberace, but it wasn’t until a friend recommended the 1988 book Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace, by the pianist’s lover, Scott Thorson (played by Matt Damon) that he was able to go forward. “When I read that book, it sort of solved all my problems. It gave me a specific time period to deal with; there was the arc of the relationship between the two of them to give me a structure. And that’s when things really started to move.”
Tantor Media re-released the out-of-print title recently, with a new afterword by Thorson, as part of the launch of their new book imprint. Tantor has also released an audio version, narrated by Peter Berkrot (sample here, about the media circus around Liberace’s death of AIDs). An interview with Thorson is featured on Tantor’s web site. He says he hasn’t seen the movie and will see it as everyone else does when it debuts this Sunday on HBO.
It is reviewed in the NYT today by Jane Gross who admits that, as the daughter of a nurse, she is “hardly a disinterested reviewer,” which is a good thing, giving her the ability to connect readers with the stories.
Many libraries own this anthology in modest quantities; Booklist reviewed it, saying, “It’s easy to love these empathetic people, and their beautifully written stories.”
Claire Danes, who began her career with the realistic portrayal of a teenager in the TV series, My So-Called Life, will soon appear on the big screen as the mother of a teenage girl, in As Cool As I Am, based on a coming-of-age novel by Pete Fromm. Published in 2004, Kirkus said it explores “the sexual evolution of a cynical teenage girl who has the spunk and wit to survive two flaky parents and the urges of unbridled adolescence. ”
The trailer was just released (via Deadline). The movie begins a limited run on June 7.
Tie-in: As Cool As I Am, Pete Fromm
On Sale Date: June 4, 2013
Paperback / softback / Trade paperback (US)
$16.00 US / $18.50 Can
Olympic gold medal soccer player Alex Morgan, currently playing for the Portland Thorns, scores with the first book in a planned middle grade series, The Kicks. Book one, Saving the Team (S&S Young Readers), debuts on the NYT Middle Grade Best Seller list at #7 during its in its first week on sale.
The second book in the series, Sabotage Season will be published in September. A third one is in the works.
The author, who died in 2010, was not able to enjoy her book’s belated success. Sourcebooks will release another of her historical novels, Master of All Desires, in July. Her books are available from library e-book vendors.
The “New Adult” genre has been labeled as the hot new category by the media (see USA Today and the NYT). Many of the titles had their success as self-published e-books, showing up on combined best seller lists, such as USA Today‘s and the NYT‘s combined adult lists.
One of the first “New Adult” titles to hit the NYT Young Adult list appeared last week, due to a change in the way the Times calculates the lists. Back in December, YA and Middle Grade lists, formerly lumped together under “Chapter Books,” were separated out, but more importantly for the “New Adult” category, the sales of e-books and print were combined.
On the YA list at #6, after two weeks is a title that won’t be released in print until August, While it Lasts, by Abbi Glines. A self-published success as an e-book, it was acquired by S&S’s Simon Pulse imprint last fall. A recent $1.99 offer for the e-book edition helped to propel sales, landing it on the list.
Landing next week are several titles from big names who need no introductions. John Grisham continues his series featuring 13-year-old legal prodigy, Theodore Boone (you may have to squint to see the title on the cover; it’s The Activist) … Friends Elephant & Piggie return in their 19th adventure in Mo Willems’ A Big Guy Took My Ball! … Jennifer Brown again keys in to a hot teen subject, with a book on sexting, about a girl who sends her bodyfriend a picture that even a Thousand Wordscan’t take back.
Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Matt Davies ventures into the world of children’s books with his first title. While it addresses the familiar theme of facing a bully, the subject is made fresh with illustrations that recall David Catrow crossed with Ralph Steadman and capture Ben’s big feelings as he faces his nemesis.
Not familiar with co-author David Spellman, (featured on the cover)? As a fan of Lisa Lutz’s Spellman Files mystery series, I am pleased to report that her first picture book exhibits her dry sense of humor and appreciation of the absurd, beginning with her faux co-author, the lawyer/older brother/ “good child” from her adult books. Sammy, the protagonist dispenses advice on how to get to “yes” whether making a deal for an ice cream or negotiating for a pet. Illustrator Jaime Temairik wows in her picture book debut with an animated cartoon style and judicious use of infographics.
The sequel to the Coretta Scott King Award winner (and Newbery honor title), One Crazy Summer has received starred reviews from all the prepub sources. In this story, the three sisters return to Brooklyn from their summer in California with their mother and the Black Panthers, portrayed in the previous book. The title, P.S. Be Eleven comes from their mother’s letters to her oldest daughter, Delphine; a caution to not grow up too fast.
Called a “deeply felt and fiercely written debut novel,” in an early review by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, this debut is about a young woman escaping the brutality of Zimbabwe to live with her aunt in “Destroyedmichygen” (Detroit, Michigan). Says Kakutani, “Darling is 10 when we first meet her, and the voice Ms. Bulawayo has fashioned for her is utterly distinctive — by turns unsparing and lyrical, unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative.” It is also an IndieNext pick for June.
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, George Packer, (Macmillan/FSG)
The author of the award-winning The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, Packer writes here about the U.S. “unwinding” into polarized factions and warns that it is “a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working.” Says the New Yorker (for which Packer is a staff writer), “Packer unpacks the current state of United States democracy by weaving together profiles of Americans as varied as tobacco farmers, Washington insiders, Newt Gingrich, and Jay-Z.”
Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, Phil Jackson with Hugh Delehanty, (Penguin Press)
Prepub attention (in the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune, of course) is already causing legendary basketball coach Jackson’s memoir cum self-help leadership book to rise on Amazon
Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech to Philadelphia’s University of the Arts’ 2012 graduating class became a viral hit. Released in book form (HarperCollins/Morrow) this week, it is rising on Amazon.
John Green’s speech to the graduating class of Butler University may not be far behind.
Predating both of them is David Foster Wallace’s speech to Kenyon College in 2005, a viral success later released in book form, This Is Water, (Hachette/Little,Brown). Recently, a short film based on the original was posted to YouTube and has been viewed nearly 5 million times in just ten days.
The “raining-on-the-parade” genre may have begun with a speech that wasn’t actually a speech. It was column by Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune in 1997 about what she would say if she had been asked to give a commencement address (which she hadn’t). An urban legend grew up that this was actually a speech given by Kurt Vonnegut at an MIT graduation. Vonnegut ruefully said he wished that were true, but it wasn’t. The column ended up being published as a gift book by Andrews and McMeel as Wear Sunscreen (the one piece of advice that Shmich found irrefutable) and re-released in a 10th anniversay edition in 2008. Baz Lurhmann turned it into a music video “Everyone’s Free to Wear Sunscreen.”
Pat Conroy’s beloved novel The Great Santini is based on the author’s troubled relationship with his abusive father.
In October, Conroy will publish a memoir, The Death of Santini, (RH/Nan A. Talese; RH Audio; RH Large Print) which, according to the publisher, describes how the two became closer and that love can “conquer even the meanest of men.”
This is a bit confusing since rival network NBC greenlighted a pilot in early January for another series also loosely based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, called, Wonderland. Even “Curiouser and curiouser,” as Alice would say, NBC acquired that project from ABC Studios. In February, NBC announced that it was being pushed back, “because of the scale and complexity of the production, including visual effects” and would be filmed this summer for a possible mid-season pickup.
As enjoyable as rival Alice series might be, we are dubious that the NBC project will come to pass.