What do Cleopatra's daughter, a North Carolina delicacy called livermush, and a pickpocket who can see magic have in common? Well, I edited books about all three of them, and I talk about all three of them in the terrific Scholastic Summer/Fall 2011 Preview, now available online:
All three books are featured in the YA section, and include:
Joanna Pearson (out in July; in the YA preview around the 7:30 mark). This book for some time was called The Young Anthropologist's Guide to High School, as Janice Wills is, indeed, a young anthropologist who applies her love of the discipline and her sharp wits to life in Melva, North Carolina, complete with high school social groups, confusing mating habits, and the most horrible coming-of-age ritual of all: the annual Miss Livermush pageant. Janice's voice is S.O.J.A. -- Straight Outta Jane Austen -- in its piercing insights and the hilarious way they're expressed, and the Publishers Weekly review this week called it "rewarding, honest, and quite funny" -- all exactly right!
Elizabeth C. Bunce (out in November, 8:15). This sequel to StarCrossed shows our heroine, the pickpocket/forger/spy Digger, back in her beloved hometown of Gerse, navigating the cross-currents of the magical civil war she ignited, and fighting a private war of her own in her quest to prove her friend Durrel Decath innocent of the murder of his wife . . . a quest made all the more complicated by Digger's falling in love with him herself. I call it a "fantasy noir" in the video for its blend of magic, mystery, and the darker sides of human nature and the world Elizabeth has created; but it's also just plain kickass, filled with daring escapes, double-crosses, and disguises; secret poisons, old friends, and surprises -- with sometimes each of the latter two things providing the other. If you're a blog reviewer interested in getting an ARC, send me an e-mail at chavela_que at yahoo.com with your blog and postal addresses. . . . I can't fulfill all requests, sadly, but I'll gladly do the best I can.
Vicky Alvear Shecter (out in August, 9:20). Did you know that Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and General Marcus Antonius of Rome were not just giants of doomed romance and ancient history, but parents? Indeed they were, and this wonderful book introduces readers to their daughter Cleopatra Selene. The first third of this novel describes Selene's life in Egypt, living in luxury, studying in the great library of Alexandria (swoon!), and adoring her passionate parents. But when the greedy Roman soon-to-be emperor Octavian defeats Cleopatra and Antonius at Actium, and precipitates their deaths soon after, Selene is taken to live in Octavian's household in Rome, where she finds both romance and treachery in her fight to fulfill her own dream of returning to Egypt. I could really just write "Swoon! Swoon! Swoon!" the whole rest of the space here for the incredible sensual details Vicky includes about life in the ancient world, the epic sweep of the personalities and drama, and the sizzling romance. . . . The thinking girl's perfect summer read.
I hope you'll check out the video and all of these wonderful novels!