Watch This: The "More Than This" book trailer (Candlewick Press)

Here's the enticing book trailer that will help pull you into the opening of More Than This, Patrick Ness' pretty definitively stunning new novel coming in October from Candlewick Press. It's shaping up to be one of my favorite novels of the year.

Patrick Ness, I hasten to add, is the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask And The Answer, Monsters of Men) and the standalone novel A Monster Calls.  So if you haven't read him yet, you've got some catching up to do.

More Than This
by Patrick Ness
Candlewick Press | 9780763662585 | $19.99 | Oct 2013

Patrick Ness: web | twitter

An early review of More Than This in The Guardian UK. (Spoiler alert!)

If I Had A Shelf Talker: "The Templeton Twins Make A Scene" by Ellis Weiner

The Templeton Twins Make A Scene (#2 in the series) by Ellis Weiner, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes (Chronicle Books, Oct 2013)

The Templeton Twins Make A Scene (#2 in the series) by Ellis Weiner, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes (Chronicle Books, Oct 2013)

If I had a shelf talker, this is what I'd say about "The Templeton Twins Make A Scene"

After the alarming and uproarious events depicted in the first book in this series, The Templeton Twins Have An Idea (which revolved around clever twins John and Abigail Templeton, their inventor father Professor Templeton, and the efforts of the quite dastardly twins Dean D. Dean and his brother Dan D. Dean to steal the professor's inventions), the family returns in book two, The Templeton Twins Make A Scene. They have moved on to a new school, TAPAS (The Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Sciences), where the Professor has been hired to invent a new device that will revolutionize the theatre-going experience. This time around, there are mysterious warning messages, a too-helpful male nanny named Manny, and the careful reader will not be surprised when the naughty Dean brothers show up. The quite-opinionated Narrator is also present, narrating away and providing end-of-chapter quizzes to make sure you're paying attention to the story.

Templeton Twins Make a Scene #2
by Ellis Weiner
illustrated by Jeremy Holmes
Chronicle Books | 
9781452111841 | $16.99 | Oct 2013

Coming out in paperback: 

Templeton Twins Have an Idea #1
by Ellis Weiner
illustrated by Jeremy Holmes
Chronicle Books | 
9781452127040 | $6.99 | Sept 2013

More, elsewhere:
The Templeton Twins on tumblr
The Narrator: twitter
Ellis Weiner: twitter
Jeremy Holmes: web

If I Had A Shelf Talker: "Changers Book One: Drew" by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper

Changers, Book One: Drew by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper (Black Sheep / Akashic Books / Consortium, Feb 2014)

Changers, Book One: Drew by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper (Black Sheep / Akashic Books / Consortium, Feb 2014)

If I had a shelf talker, this is what I'd say about "Changers, Book One: Drew"

If you can say one universal thing about high school, it's that every student goes through a lot of changes over the course of their years as high schoolers. Some young adults become more like what they were when they started, others reinvent themselves completely. Some go through multiple reinventions.

The new Changers series takes that universal experience and super-sizes it.   As Book One opens, Ethan Miller goes to sleep, confident that he's as prepared as any sporty rock-and-video game teen boy can be for starting freshman year in a new school in a new town. Fresh kicks, favorite t-shirt, skateboard ready to roll. But when he wakes up, he discovers that he's staring at the face and body of a blonde. A hot blonde. Yep, he's a girl. This could be awkward.

His parents rush to explain that he belongs to a race of humans called Changers. Each year for the four years of high school, Ethan (now named Drew) will wake up in a new body and a new identity. After four years, Ethan/Drew will need to choose which of the four identities and bodies he/she will be for the rest of his/her life.  

The Changers community believes that their purpose is to help lift humans up with greater understanding - who would have more empathy towards their fellow humans than people who have been four completely different people?

Naturally, as in any good speculative novel, there are people opposed to the Changers - the Abiders. And there is a radical wing of the Changers, who are tired of staying in the shadows.

On top of that, Drew has to learn to navigate a completely different social circle – multiple times. And deal with the Mean Girls. And definitely NOT fall in love with another Changer.

I loved what this book had to say about teens and their changing brains and identities in high school - a fantasy metaphor for understanding your everyday ordinary teen reinventions and the deeper reinventions of transgender teens.

Changers: Book One - Drew
by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper
Black Sheep / Akashic Books / Consortium | 9781617751950 | $11.95 | Paper | Feb 2014
Black Sheep / Akashic Books / Consortium | 9781617752117 | $18.95 | Cloth | Feb 2014

More, elsewhere:
T Cooper: web
Changers @ Akashic Books: web

If I Had A Shelf Talker: "Unmentionables" by Laurie Loewenstein

 Unmentionables by Laurie Loewenstein (Kaylie Jones Books / Akashic Books / Consortium, Jan 2014)

 Unmentionables by Laurie Loewenstein (Kaylie Jones Books / Akashic Books / Consortium, Jan 2014)

If I had a shelf talker, this is what I'd say about "Unmentionables"

 "I'm a sucker for beautifully written historical novels – especially a book such as Unmentionables, that can effortlessly toss together the arcane details of Tent Chautauqua circuit planning, early twentieth-century newspaper typesetting, World War One Red Cross volunteers, the economics of Chicago streetcar conductors, radical societies, dress reform, suffrage, and small town race relations. Did I forget to mention the main characters - Marian & Deuce - around whom this novel revolves? Wonderful. This quickly became one of my favorite novels - I'm looking forward to it coming out in January."

Unmentionables
by Laurie Loewenstein
Kaylie Jones Books / Akashic Books / Consortium | 9781617751943 | $15.95 | Jan 2014

More, elsewhere: 
Laurie Loewenstein: web
Kaylie Jones Books: web
Akashic Books: web | facebook | twitter
Consortium Book Sales & Distribution: web | facebook | twitter

 

If I Had A Shelf Talker: "Praying Drunk" by Kyle Minor

Praying Drunk by Kyle Minor (Sarabande Books, Feb 2014)

Praying Drunk by Kyle Minor (Sarabande Books, Feb 2014)

If I had a shelf talker, this is what I'd say about "Praying Drunk"

Praying Drunk caught me by surprise. Conventional wisdom about any collection of short stories dictates that the book in your hands is going to be a browser's paradise. You'll skip along through the stories and find one or two that knock you out, and the rest will be of varying power. But not Praying Drunk – I found the entire book to be of knockout strength. You're warned up front: 

Clue 1: The subtitle of the book is "stories, questions".

Clue 2: There's a warning box ahead of the Table of Contents that tells you the stories are meant to be read in order - it's a book, not just a collection. And in all caps: "DON'T SKIP AROUND."

There are 10 stories in Praying Drunk, and two Q&As, apparently between the author and the authorial voice. 

Ideas and fragments of stories and characters recur and recombine. A fantastical set-up in one story, a futuristic backwoods tragedy, comes back later in the book, retold in the present with gravity and grace. It includes my favorite line in the book:

"The sweet life," the preacher said. "Is made of bitter parts."

 

Amen.

 

Praying Drunk
by Kyle Minor
Sarabande Books / Consortium | 9781936747634 | $15.95 | Feb 2014

Praying Drunk was reviewed in Publishers Weekly: "...the result is an often dazzling, emotional, funny, captivating puzzle"

More, elsewhere:
Kyle Minor: web | twitter
Sarabande Books: web | facebook | twitter
Consortium Book Sales & Distribution: web | facebook | twitter