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Happy Book Birthday, UNDER A PAINTED SKY!

Our second March debut is Stacey Lee’s UNDER A PAINTED SKY, a diverse YA western with a beautiful friendship at its heart!


About the Book

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life.

With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

An unforgettable story of friendship and sacrifice—perfect for fans of Code Name Verity.

Add UNDER A PAINTED SKY on Goodreads

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Critical Praise

“A vivid, nontraditional western…with plenty of twists…Growing romantic undertones with hints of uncertain sexuality add bonus interest to a story that distinguishes itself by integrating strands of Chinese lore and wisdom, Christianity, and music with themes of friendship, diversity, and survival.”
Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

“Well-crafted and suspenseful, with more flow than ebb to the tension that stretches like taut wires across plotlines, Lee’s tale ingeniously incorporates Chinese philosophy and healing, music, art and religion, as well as issues of race and discrimination (including abolitionist views and examples of cruel slave treatment)…Emotionally resonant and not without humor, this impressive debut about survival and connection, resourcefulness and perseverance will keep readers on the very edges of their seats.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“High drama, tension, romantic longings, and touches of humor will entice historical fiction fans, and will be a perfect tie-in to social studies curriculum.”
School Library Journal

“You’re going to love this book. It has heroines that will fill your heart with courage, a plot that will keep your blood rushing, and a love story that will take your breath away.”
Francisco X. Stork, award-winning author of MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD

“Under a Painted Sky shines light on an underserved corner of American History in the Wild West with beauty, grace and humor, while deftly addressing race, class and gender politics. Gorgeously imagined, told with wit, insight and characters you grow quickly to love, Stacey Lee brings us a romance adventure of the best order.”
Sherri L. Smith, award-winning author of FLYGIRL and ORLEANS

“Under a Painted Sky is a charming read: funny, poignant, and full of heart. Stacey Lee’s tale of unconventional romance in the West is sure to win fans for her intrepid heroines and their adventures.”
Elizabeth C. Bunce, author of William C. Morris Award-winning A CURSE DARK AS GOLD

“With seasoned confidence, a perfect sense of setting, and gorgeous prose, author Stacey Lee has created one of the most thrilling, compelling, and heartbreaking stories of female friendship and survival.”
Stephanie Keuhn, author of William C. Morris Award-winning CHARM & STRANGE

“A sweeping journey into the heart of the west and the glowing souls of two fugitive heroines. A tale so rich, so captivating, so real you’ll be shaking sand out of your boots.”
Barbara Stuber, author of William C. Morris Award finalist CROSSING THE TRACKS

“Deftly researched, Under a Painted Sky propels readers into the lawless west and life on the Oregon Trail. With a diverse cast, timeless themes, and an addictive plot, this is the YA western I’ve been waiting for.”
Erin Bowman, author of the TAKEN trilogy

“At its heart, UNDER A PAINTED SKY is a classic western full of stampedes, close calls, and saddle sores, but Stacey Lee enhances this familiar landscape and adds new depth and vigor with her unforgettable characters. Sammy reminds us how American it is to keep the best parts of your past while making the most of the present and building toward the future. UNDER A PAINTED SKY is an exciting new journey into the old west, packed with humor, adventure, and enduring friendships.”
J. Anderson Coats, award-winning author of THE WICKED AND THE JUST

“UNDER A PAINTED SKY left me speechless. Hopeful. Smiling. Stacey Lee’s debut is a powerful tale of loss, adventure, and sisterhood. Completely captivating.”
Jodi Meadows, award winning author of  INCARNATE series

“I didn’t know I needed this book until I fell passionately in love with it. I read it feverishly late at night and into the wee hours of the morning and then reread the entire book the very next day. I have always been a huge fan of westerns. But an American western about a Chinese girl and a Black girl who learn to become cowboys and survive the west? Where have you been all my life? Stacey Lee has now become my new favorite author. I’ll read anything she writes!”
Ellen Oh, Founder WeNeedDiverseBooks and author of the PROPHECY series


Congratulations, Stacey, on a beautiful, moving debut!

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March brings us two class debuts, both releasing today! First up, is Moriah McStay’s fabulous EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU. If you’ve ever wondered how a different choice might have altered your life, you must check out this book!


About the Book

One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.


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Critical Praise

“In this thought-provoking first novel, McStay tackles questions of fate, coincidence and the impact of experience…Entertaining and intellectually stimulating.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“McStay entertainingly weaves similar characters and circumstances throughout their worlds…the debut explores the theme of choices and how those choices become the framework for the person who makes them.”
School Library Journal

Congratulations, Moriah, on a fascinating debut!

Moriah McStay and Stacey Lee Reminisce On Their Childhood Libraries

Moriah: The Old Memphis Main Branch Had Its Charms

My childhood library was demolished about fifteen years ago. Now, the city-block area holds new homes. A friend lives in one, right where the children’s section used to be.

The new library is amazing. Bright, Seuss-like trees dot the children’s section. There’s a little, multi-colored Plexiglas house in the rear, nestled against the windows. When they were younger, my kids and I would read picture book after picture in there, until the sun shone through so hot we started melting.

Lovely as it is, it’s not the same as the rundown library from my childhood, the Memphis Main Branch. I couldn’t find any photos of the old façade, let alone the battered wooden card catalog, full of yellowed, dog-eared index cards or the microfiche machine that took forever to load, let alone find whatever you were looking for.

So I can’t share an image of the semi-circular, laminate desk that marked the transition into the Children’s section. Or that long bank of windows overlooking Peabody Avenue, pretty much right where my friend’s house sits now.The library was one of the few places I was allowed to walk on my own, just five minutes away from home. On weekends and after school, I’d sit by that long bank of windows, devouring Roald Dahl and Judy Blume and Encyclopedia Brown until the sun shone through so hot, I started melting.


Stacey: Whittier Public Librarian Still Knows How to Pick Them

When I was growing up, my mom would take my sisters and I to Whittier Public Library every week, our sturdy canvas KCET bookbag in hand.  Mom was, and is a steadfast reader – a book a day keeps Alzheimer’s away – and desired to foster in us a love of books, as well.  Help in this effort came by way of a soft voice, hands clasped together in eternal delight, and a radiant smile.  Her name was Bonnie Weber, and she was the children’s librarian.

While my older sister always seemed to know exactly to which aisle she was headed, it took me forever to choose my books.

Bonnie would gently steer me to me such classics as THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, the works of historical fiction writer Mary Stuart, and Frank. L. Baum’s WIZARD OF OZ, and countless others. I wasn’t always convinced I would like her selection – especially when they had boring covers –but invariably, I would declare it “The Best Book Ever.”

Vivacious and young as ever, Bonnie continues to work at WPL, helping parents and children find the perfect books for their imaginations.




To celebrate their book debuts, Stacey (UNDER A PAINTED SKY) and Moriah (EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU) are giving away signed copies of their books and other awesome prizes, along with two other Fearless Fifteeners, NK Travers (DUPLICITY) and Jenn Marie Thorne (THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT).  Contest ends 3/16/15, 2 pm ET.


Happy Book Birthday, MY NEAR-DEATH ADVENTURES (99% TRUE)!

If you like to laugh, then you will love our last debut of the month, Alison DeCamp’s MY NEAR-DEATH ADVENTURES (99% TRUE!)!


About the Book

It is 1895. Stan is on a mission to find his long-lost father in the logging camps of Michigan. And he’s embellishing all of it in his stupendous scrapbook.

There are many things that 11-year-old Stanley Slater would like to have in life, most of all, a father. But what if Stan’s missing dad isn’t “dearly departed” after all? Who better to find this absent hero/cowboy/outlaw than manly Stan himself? Unfortunately, Stan’s fending off his impossible cousin Geri, evil Granny, and Mama’s suitors like Cold-Blooded Killer Stinky Pete. If only he could join the River Drive, the most perilous adventure of all, where even a fellow’s peavey is at risk.

It’s a wild ride for Stan as he finds out about true manliness. But at least Stan has his scrapbook, full of 200 black-and-white 19th-century advertisements and photos, “augmented” with his commentary and doodles.

Stan’s tale will leave readers in stitches, but not the kind that require medical attention.


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Critical Praise

“A knee-slapper of a debut featuring a narrator who is rather less than 99 percent reliable but 100 percent engaging.”

“Stan is a likable character with an exaggerated view of his abilities and a good heart. DeCamp’s novel is a solid choice for fans of Rodman Philbrick’s The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (Scholastic, 2009).”
School Library Journal

“Set in 1895 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, DeCamp’s exuberant first novel introduces 11-year-old Stan Slater who, readers quickly come to realize, is unknowingly vocalizing some of his rambling thoughts and wild imaginings, saying aloud things better kept to himself…Vintage images with irreverent captions (ostensibly taken from Stan’s scrapbook) and imagined letters from Stan’s absent father pepper the pages, adding another layer of comedy to Stan’s freewheeling narration.”
—Publishers Weekly

Congratulations, Alison, on a riotously funny debut!

A New Book Deal for Courtney Alameda!

Huge congratulations to Class 2K15 member Courtney Alameda  on the sale of her next book, PITCH DARK, and a second novel to Feiwel and Friends! We can’t wait to read them!


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Happy Book Birthday, MONSTROUS!

Also out in the wild today is MarcyKate Connolly’s MONSTROUS! We can’t wait for you to read it too! *releases balloons*


About the Book

The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

Reminiscent of Frankenstein and the tales of the Brothers Grimm, this debut novel by MarcyKate Connolly stands out as a compelling, original story that has the feel of a classic.

Add MONSTROUS on Goodreads

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Critical Praise

“Like a literary mad scientist, MarcyKate Connolly takes bits from classic fairy tales and legends and uses them to assemble a creation that is wholly original and wonderfully strange. Subversive, bewitching, and whip-smart, Monstrous is a marvel of storytelling alchemy.”
—ANNE URSU, author of Breadcrumbs

“A likely read-aloud that has its share of guts, blood, and grim reality within this fantasy land, Monstrous will keep young readers thinking about trust, good and evil, friendship and loyalty, and devotion to community.”

“Magic, fantastic creatures, mythology, and a bit of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein combine here for an exciting…tale.”
—School Library Journal

“Connolly invokes fairy-tale elements with ease, and… the formidable theme of sacrifice resonates far beyond the final page.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Kym’s bravery shines, as she fights against the menacing forces in Bryre and also struggles to figure out where she, a self-described monster of a girl, belongs. This remarkable, absorbing debut will enchant readers.”
REBECCA BEHRENS, author of When Audrey Met Alice

“Pays tribute to classic fairy tales while turning the tradition on its head. A smart, ambitious adventure, led by a heroine whose differences only enhance her humanity.”
EMMA TREVAYNE, author of Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times

“Brave, refreshing, and entirely enchanting, Monstrous is a book that will stand the tests of time.”
CLAIRE LEGRAND, author of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and The Year of Shadows

“This is a dazzling and unique once-upon-a-time about a girl who is part dragon, part bird, part cat, all hero.”
NATALIE LLOYD, author of A Snicker of Magic

Happy Book Birthday, WHEN REASON BREAKS!

The second week of February brings….MORE BOOKS! We’re so excited that everyone can now read Cindy L. Rodriguez’s incredible WHEN REASON BREAKS! *confetti*


About the Book

13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.


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Critical Praise

“When Reason Breaks is infused with a rare blend of suspense and sensitivity, despair and hope. The poetic spirit of Emily Dickinson shines through the gloom of daily struggles faced by modern teens, as they discover the possibilities where they dwell.”
MARGARITA ENGLE, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree

“A sharply drawn, emotionally resonant tale.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Rodriguez cleverly represents Emily Dickinson’s dark side and her reclusive tendencies through the two distinct personalities of her teenage heroines . . . gripping.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Dickinson fans will love the focus on her life and poetry.”

“Latino culture, and bicultural and gay family relationships are woven easily into the story; popular culture references and some romance will also resonate with adolescents. Overall, this text provides important insights into the various stressors that can lead to depression and suicide, as well as the type of support required to move toward potential healing.”
School Library Journal

Congratulations, Cindy, on a beautiful, moving debut!

Cover Reveal for Alexis Bass’s Next Book!

We may have revealed all our class debut covers but that doesn’t mean we’re through – it’s that time of year when we get to share more about our next books! First up, WHAT’S BROKEN BETWEEN US by Alexis Bass was revealed on MTV!


Isn’t it beautiful? And we’re sure the story is as brilliant as Alexis’s debut, LOVE AND OTHER THEORIES!

CITY OF SAVAGES Hits the Shelves!

The day is finally here – after two years of writing, months of querying agents, the submission process, and another year-and-a-half from book deal to bookshelves . . . CITY OF SAVAGES is now out in the world.

It feels spectacular.


It feels surreal.


It also feels slightly terrifying!

The crazy thing is, if I’m honest, even after this long road to publication – the years of writing and subbing and waiting and revising – underneath all of it, there’s an element of denial, because I still can’t fully believe that a story I made up will be out in the world. I’m extremely grateful for this chance, and I’m determined to hold onto this awesome feeling of being lucky enough to share my words with readers who are interested in reading them, regardless of what happens after today.

So I’d like to take this chance to thank my agent, Adriann Ranta, for taking a chance on me and CITY OF SAVAGES, my editor, Navah Wolfe, for making the manuscript better than I ever dared to hope it could be, and my parents and my husband Jeff, for believing in and encouraging me through it all. Thanks to my sisters, Bridget and Jill, for being so fabulous that I had to write a story “about” them, to my early beta readers and critique partners, for encouraging me to pursue the manuscript, and to the Class of 2K15, for all of their support during this wild path to publication.

And perhaps most of all, thanks to the readers who pick up a copy of CITY OF SAVAGES – I hope you find the magic in it that I do, get lost in the dark world of its re-imagined Manhattan, and care enough about Sky and Phee to follow them through all the twists and turns of their dangerous city.

Learn more about Lee Kelly and CITY OF SAVAGES or order now:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Indiebound | Direct

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Happy Book Birthday, SHUTTER!

Class 2K15 has not one, not two, but FIVE books hitting shelves in February! It’s going to be a crazy (awesome) month. First up, is the delightfully scary SHUTTER by Courtney Alameda!


About the Book

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat — a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

Add SHUTTER on Goodreads

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Critical Praise

“This debut novel features a dark, compelling story and more than enough gore to please the most demanding horror reader.”

“A paranormal ghost-hunting story that is a standout in the genre . . . Frightening from the first page, this is sure to please horror fans, particularly those familiar with ghost and vampire legends.”
—School Library Journal

“Alameda keeps the fear dripping from the walls as she plunges headlong into this full-scale thriller . . . A page-turner for thriller fans.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Alameda succeeds at creating hideous creatures that are the stuff of nightmare. The rapid pacing, advanced technology, and limitless weapons just add appeal for readers seeking a supernatural thriller.”

“Alameda’s worldbuilding is strong—this alternate version of San Francisco is dangerous and unpredictable— and her characters evoke shows like Buffy and Supernatural.”
—Publishers Weekly


Congratulations, Courtney, on a fantastic, terrifying debut!