The Cover Wars

Arthur Louis Pullman III lives in his grandfather’s shadow. The first Arthur Louis Pullman, an iconic Salinger-esque author who wrote the American classic A World Away, died in Ohio a week after he disappeared from his family’s California home. What happened in that week—and how much his actions were influenced by his advanced Alzheimer’s—remains a mystery.

Arthur’s future is crumbling. Stripped of a college scholarship and starting to lose his grip on reality, he’s sent away to live with his aunt and uncle. There, Arthur discovers a journal written by his grandfather through the fog of his dementia, the narrator pining for something he can’t quite understand and the final sentence containing a train route and a destination.

Eager to escape his own demons, Arthur embarks on a cross-country train ride, guided only by what he thinks are clues from his grandfather. As he decodes the cryptic writings, he learns there’s a greater story to his grandfather’s life buried beneath his disease. Arthur’s journey is complicated by a shaky alliance with a girl who’s keeping secrets of her own and escalating run-ins with the rabid Pullman fan base. Arthur’s not the only one chasing the truth.

Samuel Miller intricately weaves a story about family legacy, self-acceptance, and the difference between running toward something and running away from it.

Janet: The bottom section of the cover is very pretty indeed; the cover as a whole is lovely enough that I may pardon the “lite” – which spelling had better have its roots in the narrative! Anyway. The story sounds interesting, although haven’t we seen this recently, with a girl protagonist and her author grandmother?

Jane: This is quite a lovely cover, and the premise sounds interesting.

Nafiza: Did you guys notice the man on the cover? I just did and whoaaa. How cool. I really love this cover. The back copy sounds interesting. I’d read it.

Darrian dreams of writing for the New York Times. To hone his skills and learn more about the power of words, he enrolls in Mr. Ward’s class, known for its open-mic poetry readings and boys vs. girls poetry slam. Everyone in class has something important to say, and in sharing their poetry, they learn that they all face challenges and have a story to tell–whether it’s about health problems, aging out of foster care, being bullied for religious beliefs, or having to take on too much responsibility because of an addicted parent. As Darrian and his classmates get to know one another through poetry, they bond over the shared experiences and truth that emerge from their writing, despite their private struggles and outward differences.

Janet: The back copy tells rather than draws in, but it sounds fabulous all the same. Journalism, poetry, and classmates become friends. The only thing I don’t like the sound of is boys vs. girls poetry slam. Tbr for sure. The cover is so neat!

Jane: A male character who dreams of being a writer and chooses to enroll in a poetry class – hurray! What a refreshing change from the “angry jock hates poetry/writing and is forced to take a class with an unorthodox teacher and discovers the power of the written/spoken word” narrative. We talk a lot about positive representation for girls, but it’s also vital that male readers be given options in representation – there’s nothing “unmanly” about writing, reading, poetry or any other pursuit!  I’m not a fan of the boys vs. girls plot point, because I think there’s enough division in the world as it is, and these kinds of devices can be downright dangerous for young people with gender identities that fall outside the norm. And who knows, maybe that will be addressed in the text.  I think this looks like a pretty awesome pick!

Nafiza: Everything Janet and Jane said. I think it’ll make a fantastic addition to my bookshelves. *cheese*


After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.


But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.


As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

Janet: The cover is preeeeeety! Also beautifully ominous. If I read this after dark, Nafiza, I’m texting you at the scary parts. (You put this cover on here, you have to deal with AAAAH JUST DROP IT AND RUN PLEASE I’M BEGGING YOU at 1:30 am. <3)


Nafiza: This is terrifying. I like the cover but I would not read this because I value sleeping at night. Janet, please don’t text me at the scary parts. I’m more chicken than you are.

Most kids would dread the start of middle school and the year-long Explorations project that comes with it, but Ana knows that her + her best friend Lily + their plan to write and sell their own cookbook is a recipe for success. Lily’s not just the perfect partner in culinary crime–she’s also the only person in the world who understands Ana’s need to wash her hands five times before picking up a spatula, and would never make fun of her for it.

But Ana and Lily’s plan for edible entrepreneurship turns into one big baking disaster when they’re assigned to different partners for their projects. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Lily seems more excited to get to know her new partner than bummed about being separated, Lily and her new friend plan to use the cookbook idea for themselves–and they didn’t even ask! Worse, Ana’s partner is Dasher, the strange new girl from Alaska, and she wants to do their project on the weirdest thing imaginable: sled dog racing.

Dasher’s dogs are scary, slobbery, and decidedly not germ-free, but Ana thinks she’s found a loophole when she agrees to bake pancakes for spectators while Dasher mushes in a local race. That is, until Dasher sprains her ankle and has to drop out of the running. Can Ana learn to mush–and overcome her anxiety–in time to save her friendships, finish her project, and compete in the big race?

Janet: The short answer is no, Ana cannot learn to mush in time to compete in the big race (sled dogs are tough!), but since this is a work of fiction, I bet she manages it anyway. The cover is super cute and I was in from the words “partner in culinary crime”. (Hey, Yash!) This promises to be a fun, sweet, food-and-dogs-and-friendship MG novel. Tbr.

Jane: Aww, this looks cute and sweet. and there is a subtle hint at Ana perhaps having something akin to OCD, without it really being portrayed as a big deal. Looks like something that kids would definitely grab off the shelf.

Nafiza: I, too, would grab this off the shelf. Any book that deals with food is an automatic yes for me.

An all-star collection of essays about activism and hope, edited by bestselling YA authors Tim Federle and Maureen Johnson.

Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. They’re ready to stand up and be heard – but with much to shout about, where they do they begin? What can I do? How can I help?

How I Resist is the response, and a way to start the conversation. To show readers that they are not helpless, and that anyone can be the change. A collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope, How I Resist features an all-star group of contributors, including, John Paul Brammer, Libba Bray, Lauren Duca, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, Alex Gino, Hebh Jamal, Malinda Lo, Dylan Marron, Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, Rosie O’Donnell, Junauda Petrus, Jodi Picoult, Jason Reynolds, Karuna Riazi, Maya Rupert, Dana Schwartz, Dan Sinker, Ali Stroker, Jonny Sun (aka @jonnysun), Sabaa Tahir, Daniel Watts, Jennifer Weiner, Jacqueline Woodson, and more, all edited and compiled by New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson and Lambda-winning novelist Tim Federle.

In How I Resist, readers will find hope and support through voices that are at turns personal, funny, irreverent, and instructive. Not just for a young adult audience, this incredibly impactful collection will appeal to readers of all ages who are feeling adrift and looking for guidance.

How I Resist is the kind of book people will be discussing for years to come and a staple on bookshelves for generations.

Janet: THAT COVER. Given that cover, is the back copy even necessary? I can’t wait to read this!

Jane: So many of my favourite people are on this cover!! Yeah. I’m not even a “young person” anymore and I want this. Gimme.

Nafiza: I’m so proud of my girl Karuna for being here. I WILL READ THIS.

Review: Lair Of Dreams by Libba Bray

Review: Lair Of Dreams by Libba Bray

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities … […]