Posts Tagged Middle Grade

Interview with Royden Lepp

We have a problem in our house with books. Specifically, the reading of books. I know as a book blogger I should be decidedly pro-reading-of-books, but my wife and I have some safety concerns. Books can and should be read on couches, chairs, in beds, even on swings for especially adventurous types. But our boys

one of my boys demonstrating the safety hazard of a good book

have developed the troubling habit of reading particularly engaging books while walking, eating, and most recently while traveling on staircases. Only the most exciting stories pose this risk, but with authors like Royden Lepp creating hilarious and unique graphic novels like the Jurassic Jeff series, it might be time for a family intervention. 

Royden is exactly the kind of author I’m worried about — someone who has a long history of producing highly engaging and creative work like the RUST series, as well as a huge range of creative offerings and a seemingly endless list of new ideas and concepts. With Jurassic Jeff, Royden blends dinosaurs, aliens, and world domination into an unputdownable middle grade comedy.

And much to the excitement of our boys, I recently had the opportunity to ask Royden some questions about his latest venture into the world of graphic novels. Our interview is below, and while I neglected to ask him for advice about our risky reading dilemma, his insights about the creative process are absolutely worth a look!

 

Chris: Thanks for making some time to chat with me, Royden! Jurassic Jeff is such a fun series — what gave you the idea?

Royden: I love mashing up genre’s and settings. This is a weird one, but I was sitting in a church listening to someone talk and I was doodling in the hand out paper (I like to draw while I listen to people talk). I drew an alien emerging from a flying saucer, surrounded by dinosaurs and I thought “huh, that’s kind of a fun idea”.

Chris: Jurassic Jeff really stands out as something different from a lot of your other work — the palette is really vibrant and fun! What drew you to explore this style?

Royden: Yeah, Jurassic Jeff is my first foray into comedy and middle grade. I wanted to experiment with serial content and comedy and Jurassic Jeff has been a really fun and interesting exploration into another side of me as an author. But honestly I had a son entering middle grade and I was reading some of the books he brought home. Some of them were good but some made me kinda think ‘well I could do that’. My son has a great sense of humor, so I’m always trying to see if I can make him laugh with these stories.

Chris: Well it’s certainly been a hit with the boys in my house! You seem to like blending themes of old and new (I’m thinking especially of the Rust series here)…are there other themes that show up across different projects?

Royden: I’ve never realized that but I suppose it’s true. I think there is some strong imagery across a lot of my projects; young male characters in an adventure or a fight for their lives. Nature, animals, creatures, monsters, robots, and bugs. I love that stuff.

Chris: Well, you also give yourself a lot of options by working in so many different mediums (illustration, video, photography)…do you have a favorite? How did you go about learning so many different artistic formats?

Royden: I must get bored! I think there are mediums that I find so compelling that I can’t stay away from them. Photography was a really nice divergence from drawing and comics in my early 20’s. It’s such a refreshing art form. Photography led very naturally into videography. And strangely it’s all had an influence on my drawings. In RUST I would often think about the shutter speed or the aperture setting of the image I was working on. I also have a very encouraging and supportive wife that pushes me into exploring things.

Chris: Well, speaking of exploring new things, I’d love to get your thoughts about the role of AI in the world of writing and illustration. Could you speak to the potential benefits and drawbacks as generative AI becomes more prevalent in the industry?

Royden: Yeah, everything is about to change drastically. I feel the giant ship of culture creaking and groaning as it starts to head in a new direction. I won’t lie, I’m a bit scared at the moment. Change is hard. But for now I can only keep doing what I love to do; tell stories. I hope A.I. makes it easier for me to get a book done and I hope it doesn’t discourage those who are looking forward to telling their own stories, making their own art. But ultimately, fear of the future is not the way for us to live.

Chris: Well said, and certainly something us creative folks need to hear! So, what’s next for you as an author? Can you give us any clues about new projects you’re working on?

Royden: I just found a home for a really special project that I wrote during the pandemic. I’m elated that it’s going to live a life off my hard drive and in the hands of readers. That’s all I can say about it at the moment but it’s a really special story.

Chris: Well I can’t wait to learn more! Okay…now for the lighting round:

Favorite place to write?

Ideally; Vancouver island staring out at the ocean. Realistically; in my living room with my family (but with headphones on).

Favorite authors?

I’ll say biggest influences; Michel Gagne, Jake Parker, Kazu Kibuishi, Doug Tenapel.

Best dessert?

Baklava

Do you have any pets?

Yes, at the moment my son and I are keeping a leopard gecko named Tang, and two different species of praying mantis, a ghost, and a blue papua giant. The ghost mantis is getting ready to lay eggs.

Favorite elementary school memory?

Running through the woods as fast as my lungs would let me.

Favorite dinosaur?

The Quetzalcoatlus is the most insane creature I’ve ever imagined. A flying reptile the size of a giraffe!?

Favorite piece of advice for other writers:

Find your voice. Other people might write or draw like you but only you can be YOU. Find out what makes your voice unique and lean into it. There’s nobody out there like you.

Huge thanks to Royden Lepp for the interview! Jurassic Jeff: Race to Warp Speed is available now from Penguin Random House. Until next time!

Interview with Author Heather Murphy Capps + Preorder Swag Giveaway!

It’s always a pleasure to welcome an author back to the Mixed-Up Files, but when the author happens to be my friend and former MUF contributor Heather Murphy Capps, it’s an extra-special treat! Today, Heather is here to talk about her sophomore novel, The Rule of Three, which focuses on racism and generational trauma. Lauded by Publisher’s Weekly as “noteworthy” and “illuminating,” the novel is out from Carolrhoda Books/Lerner on August 6. (To learn more about Heather’s fantastic preorder swag giveaway, scroll down for details 👇👇👇)

Interview with Heather

MR: Welcome back to the Mixed-Up Files, Heather! The first time you were here, your debut novel, Indigo & Ida, had just been released. How has life changed for you, now that you’re a published author?

HMC: I actually tell people I am an author. The thing is, my day job is instruction: I teach leadership, writing, and briefing skills to federal employees. Before Indigo and Ida, that was the only way I described my professional life. Now I say, “I teach writing skills to adult professionals and I am a children’s book author.” It’s an amazing feeling.

Why didn’t I do that before? Because I was super self-conscious about how to answer the inevitable question: “Oh, what have you published?” And I would have to say, “well, I am a pre-published author.”

Honestly, I hope all our pre-published friends do NOT follow my lead in keeping their work a secret. I think it’s great to be proud of who you are and what dreams you are seeking, regardless of where you are in the journey. I wish I had realized that before!

The Rule of Three

MR: Let’s turn our attention to your latest book, The Rule of Three, a contemporary novel with fantastical elements. Can you tell us about it? 

HMC: This book is so important to me for so many reasons—it’s got baseball, magical realism, mental health rep, and an important, often overlooked historical story.

When we first meet our protagonist in The Rule of Three, Wyatt, he is working on the first part of his three-part plan for life: 1) land a spot on the local elite travel baseball team; 2) play baseball in high school; 3) play baseball in college.

But his plans derail in the face of mounting racial tensions and microaggressions at school. On one particularly stressful day, he suddenly begins spewing smoke from his hands and feet in response to his stress. He’s watched his father do the same thing his entire life; he just never knew it was a trait he could inherit.

At the same time, he loses faith in his best friend’s willingness to stand by him, and then he gets kicked off the baseball team. Isolated and frustrated, he decides to use his smoke as a superhero talent to target bullies. But then he discovers that the smoke is linked to a painful family history. He and his father can heal if they are both able to face the past.

The Story Behind the Story

MR: What was the inspiration behind the novel?

HMC: I first decided to write this story years ago, when I happened to be talking to friends and mentioned the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philadelphia. They hadn’t heard of the incident and were naturally skeptical. I mean, who wouldn’t be? A city dropping a bomb on its own neighborhood?

Because my friends were so incredulous, I was halfway convinced that even though I lived on the outskirts of Philly that summer and watched the whole thing play out on television, I was remembering it wrong.

When I confirmed for myself that I was correct, I did a VERY informal and limited poll—and interestingly, it seemed most people I asked remembered extreme government responses in places like Waco, TX and Ruby Ridge—not Philadelphia.

Thus, I felt strongly that I needed to tell this important story. It’s sad, but it’s also one that offers a message of hope and resilience. The MOVE survivors eventually returned to their old neighborhood—and bought their childhood home.

I also wanted to write about the way families can pass on a genetic legacy of pain.

Three-Pronged Coping Strategy

MR: At the beginning of the novel, Wyatt puts up with racist comments from classmates, and from his coach, just to fit in. He also uses a three-leveled system to measure—and to cope with—his distress. Can you tell us more about Wyatt’s coping strategy? How does it serve him? How does it hinder him?

HMC: The number three is important to Wyatt—and for good reason. He notes himself at one point in the book that “3” is significant in baseball, math, and survival, to name a few. He organizes his life in threes because the number speaks to him and gives him structure—including his three-part system of reactions to people who stress him out.

Level One: pretend to laugh it off and eventually the bad feeling goes away;

Level Two: pretend to laugh it off but take the bad feeling out on someone else;

Level Three: unable to laugh it off. Eventually, Level Three becomes smoke.

The smoke hinders and scares him, but ultimately it also leads Wyatt to the counselor who helps him and his father begin the healing process.

MR: In a similar vein, Wyatt doesn’t say anything about the mistreatment he’s receiving because he doesn’t want a reputation as a “troublemaker.” This is, unfortunately, a common reaction from kids who are bullied, whether it’s for their skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Can you speak more to this?

HMC: It’s such an unfortunate misconception that you’re being “whiny” or “extra” if you call people out on bad behavior. Even in today’s more aware, evolved culture, the onus is still too often on the person experiencing bullying to put up with it, and I think we still praise those who can look the other way or have a “stiff upper lip.” It’s true that those responses can help deflate a bully—and you can always refuse to dignify their behavior with a response. But while those responses help turn the bully’s attention elsewhere, they don’t get at the root of the problem.

While I think we’ve come a long way in learning to listen to the victim and stop excusing the perpetrator, we still have more work to do.

Understanding Epigenetics

MR: Inherited racism, or epigenetics—the scientific theory that a person’s traumatic experience can affect their genetic material—is a topic that you explore closely in the novel. Can you tell MUF readers more about epigenetics? What kind of research did you do to deepen your understanding of it?

HMC: What we know about epigenetics is that—as I mentioned above—it is a genetic legacy of pain. The descendants of people who have experienced trauma can inherit chronic conditions: diabetes, heart disease, mental illness—without having experienced trauma themselves. Our current understanding is that this inheritance is a product of gene expression (whether a specific gene turns on or doesn’t) rather than a fundamental change in the DNA itself.

I ran across a fascinating study in my research that really spelled it out for me. I want to acknowledge here that my summary of this study is VERY brief, but I do welcome anyone who’s interested to check out this article (one of many that reported this study) for more detailed information.

In 2013, Emory University biologists Kerry Ressler and Brian Dias exposed mice to the smell of acetophenone, a chemical that smells like cherries and almonds. At the same time, they administered small electric shocks. (I have to interject here that the fact that they tortured animals bothers me immensely.) With subsequent generations of mice, they exposed the descendants to the acetophenone smell but did not shock the mice. But—the mice still responded in fear. Ressler and Dias concluded they had inherited their fear of this smell based on previous generations’ trauma.

Again—this is a very brief summary, but even with these spare details it’s enough to see how the study of epigenetics provides important understanding and perspective about one of many reasons descendants of traumatic experiences: the Holocaust, slavery, war, starvation—struggle with physical and mental illness at such high rates.

Ignorance and Microaggressions

MR: Most novels are somewhat autobiographical, and I’m guessing The Rule of Three is no exception. What are the similarities between you and Wyatt? The differences?

HMC: Some of the microaggressions Wyatt faces were drawn directly from incidents that happened in my local school district. Others were drawn from news reports around the country. I’m a lot older than Wyatt, but I am sad to say that when I was his age, I too faced microaggressions and had to figure out how to navigate ignorance at the same time I was trying to work through complicated feelings about my identity.

I wasn’t as brave as Wyatt; I definitely stuck only with Wyatt’s Level One “laugh it off” reaction because I was afraid I wouldn’t have any friends if I chose another response. Wyatt’s three levels of reaction to stress are very similar to mine, even to this day, sans the smoke.

Three Is a Magic Number

MR: The number three is like an additional character in the novel. What is it about the number three that’s so intriguing, and so magical? Also, do you have a special connection with the number three?

HMC: It’s one of my lucky numbers. And I’ve always been fascinated by the notion that the rhythm of three is what people listen for in music, poetry, even when you’re presenting an argument, people naturally listen for three reasons why you think your argument is strong. Religion, mythology, and legend all organize important concepts and characters in threes: Christianity’s three is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; Greek mythology has lots of threes including the Muses and the Furies; the Celts have the all-important triad; and the Buddhist Chintamani symbol for happiness is three circles arranges in a semi-triangular pattern.

Calling All Baseball Fans!

MR: Another non-human character in your book is baseball. Are you are a baseball fan, Heather?

HMC: Huge. I love baseball so much, and was the announcer for my son’s high school baseball team. I actually prefer to watch baseball when I know the players. High school and college ball is perfect: the seats are good, the games are competitive, and the feeling is collegial. (See what I did there? Three reasons.)

Magical Realism

MR: And finally, let’s not forget the third non-human character in your novel: The smoke that emanates from Wyatt’s body when he’s angry or upset, an inherited trait from his father and grandfather. Can you tell us more about the smoke? How did you come up with the idea?

HMC: I knew I wanted to use magical realism as a literary device to tell this story because I needed to find a way to make a painful subject accessible. This led neatly into my other goal, which was to give Wyatt a visible manifestation of stress so that we could actually see what was going on with him.

Originally, he shot electric currents from his body. (This story has been through SO many different incarnations!) But ultimately, electric currents were harder to visualize, and somehow the idea of smoke felt really right. The smoke chose me as much as I chose it as a way to help us all see Wyatt’s pain.

MR: What are you working on now, Heather? 

HMC: Another extraordinary boy character. Can’t wait to say more but I’m not quite there yet!

Lightning Round!

MR: And finally, no MUF interview is complete without a lightning round, so…

Preferred writing snack? Apples and soynut butter, Twizzlers, any kind of salty snack.

Coffee or tea? Both

Cat or dog? Both but currently I only have a cat. My mother’s dog comes to visit frequently, which is wonderful.

 Favorite baseball team? Minnesota Twins

 Zombie apocalypse: Yea or nay? Nay – Zombies are one thing I just can’t get behind. Vampires on the other hand? YES. And of course witches, who are already among us.

Superpower? Teleport! I LOVE the idea of getting places quickly.  Conversely, I do believe the journey is important. But I really hate traffic.

Favorite place on earth? In front of a body of water with a good book, good food, and beloved people.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only three things, what would they be? A book, a cell phone, and some matches

MR: Thank you for chatting with us, Heather—and congratulations on the publication of The Rule of Three!

HMC: Thank you, Melissa! I’ve had such fun chatting with you and thanks for having me back! I will always be so proud that I was once part of this amazing team of writers. <3

Preorder Campaign/Swag Giveaway!

Heather is running a fun preorder swag giveaway for all preorders. (To preorder, click here.) She will send a specially commissioned pack of FOUR baseball cards featuring the main characters in The Rule of Three. This amazing character art was designed by the same artist who did the cover illustration – the fabulous Jethro Unom. To get all four cards, which include fun stats on the back, preorder and then send a copy of your preorder receipt to: heathermcappsauthor@gmail.com

To learn more about the preorder campaign please visit Heather’s website: https://heathermurphycapps.com

(For more on Heather Murphy Capps, check out last year’s MUF interview here.)

Bio

Heather Murphy Capps writes about history, social justice, science, and magic. She is a mother of two, an Army wife, and an education equity activist. As a biracial author, Heather is passionate about creating diversity in publishing. Learn more about Heather on her website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Melissa Roske is a writer of middle-grade fiction. Before spending her days with imaginary people, she interviewed real ones as a journalist in Europe. In London she landed a job as an advice columnist for Just Seventeen magazine. Upon returning to her native New York, Melissa contributed to several books and magazines, selected jokes for Reader’s Digest (just the funny ones), and received certification as a life coach from NYU. In addition to her debut novel Kat Greene Comes Clean (Charlesbridge), Melissa’s short story “Grandma Merle’s Last Wish” appears in the Jewish middle-grade anthology, Coming of Age: 13 B’Nai Mitzvah Stories (Albert Whitman). Learn more about Melissa on her Website and follow her on  TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

June New Releases

It’s June. Time for long sunny days, lots of ice-cream, and a pile of books to get you started on your summer reading lists.
The June New Releases have a lot to offer this year:  Friends, road tips, fires, and new places. Take a look for yourself.

 

 

Asking for a Friend by Ronnie Riley

Eden Jones has exactly three friends. And they’re all fake.

From a web of lies and social anxiety to true friendship and queer joy; this is the wonderful second book from the author of the Indies Introduce and Indie Next List pick, Jude Saves the World.

Why go through the stress of making friends when you can just pretend? It works for Eden and their social anxiety . . . until their mom announces she’s throwing them a birthday party and all their friends are invited.

Eden’s “friends,” Duke, Ramona, and Tabitha, are all real kids from school . . . but Eden’s never actually spoken to them before. Now Eden will do whatever it takes to convince them to be their friends — at least until the party is over.

When things start to go better than Eden expects, and the group starts to bond, Eden finds themselves trapped in a lie that gets worse the longer they keep it up. What happens if their now sort-of-real friends discover that Eden hasn’t been honest with them from the very beginning?

 

 

 

Camp Prodigy by Caroline Palmer

Perfect for fans of Victoria Jamieson and Raina Telgemeier, this heartwarming middle grade graphic novel follows two nonbinary kids who navigate anxiety and identity while having fun and forming friendships at their summer orchestra camp.

After attending an incredible concert, Tate Seong is inspired to become a professional violist. There’s just one problem: they’re the worst musician at their school.

Tate doesn’t even have enough confidence to assert themself with their friends or come out as nonbinary to their family, let alone attempt a solo anytime soon. Things start to look up when Tate attends a summer orchestra camp–Camp Prodigy–and runs into Eli, the remarkable violist who inspired Tate to play in the first place.

But Eli has been hiding their skills ever since their time in the spotlight gave them a nervous breakdown. Together, can they figure out how to turn Tate into a star and have Eli overcome their performance anxieties? Or will the pressure take them both down?

 

 

 

Dinner at the Brake Fast by Renee Beauregard Lute

Dinner at the Brake Fast is a hilarious and heartfelt story about road-trip mishaps, a murderous rooster, facing down anxieties, and unexpected friendship that is a must-pick for readers who loved The Science of Unbreakable Things and The First Rule of Punk.

Tacoma Jones loves working at her family’s roadside diner, the Brake Fast, pouring coffee and serving eggs and muffins to truckers all day long. But tonight, she is finally going to break out her collection of cookbooks and prepare the best dinner the state of Washington has ever seen.

But her excitement is dampened when she learns that today is one of Dad’s bad days, when his depression makes it hard for him to get out of bed.

Tacoma knows she can’t fix her dad’s depression. But what she can do is steal back his prized photograph of his second-best day from her nemesis, the nasty Crocodile Kyle–while also planning a dinner that is sure to brighten up his bad day.

She just might need an accomplice or two to pull off the heist. . . .

 

 

 

 

Fire Escape: How Animals and Plants Survive Wildfires by Jessica Stremer (Author) and Michael Garland (Illustrator)

A timely middle grade nonfiction overview of the incredible ways animals detect, respond, and adapt to wildfires, as well as how climate change is affecting the frequency and severity of these devastating events in nature.

Goats and beavers. Drones and parachutes. Pinecones and beetles. What do they have in common? Believe it or not, they are all crucial tools in fighting, preventing, and adapting to wildfires!

These vicious fires are spreading faster and burning hotter than at any other time in history. Ongoing droughts, warming weather, and a history of poor forest management have extended the traditional wildfire season beyond the summer months. It is a matter of life and death for wildlife worldwide.

This breathtaking nonfiction book focuses on unique angles to a hot topic, including injury rehabilitation efforts, species that use wildfires to their advantage, how to help area repopulation, and the animals that help to prevent/fight wildfires. A riveting, kid friendly text is accompanied by stunning woodcut illustrations and full-color photographs, as well as extensive back matter with glossary, sources, and index.

 

 

 

Lei and the Invisible Island by Malia Maunakea

An exciting follow-up to Lei and the Fire Goddess features a mysterious, invisible island, dangerous spirits, and a newcomer who does not need Lei’s
help . . . or does she?

After saving her best friend and ancestral guardian, Kaipo, from Pele the Fire Goddess’s traps, and successfully preventing lava from destroying her Tūtū’s house, all Lei wants to do is take a nap. The only problem? Kaipo’s ʻaumakua pendant is missing, and without it, he will soon disintegrate . . . emotionally and physically.

So Lei, Kaipo, her favorite talking bat, Ilikea, and newcomer Kaukahi–a fiercely independent fashionista–set off on a journey to an invisible island where they hope to find Kaipo’s pendant. To get there, they’ll have to contend with sharks, jump over a rainbow, and literally float on clouds. And when they arrive? The crew realizes that the missing pendant is the least of their problems. For there are evil spirits on this island, and they’re out for blood.

In this exciting follow-up to LEI AND THE FIRE GODDESS, Malia Maunakea crafts a tale about friendship, family, culture, and what it means to forgive each other, and yourself.

 

 

 

 

Sink or Swim: (A Graphic Novel) by Veronica Agarwal and Lee Durfey-Lavoie 

Summer is here! School’s out, the pool is open, and new adventures with friends await! But what happens when twelve year old Ty’s anxiety has other plans? From the world of Just Roll With It comes a boy-centric graphic novel about accepting yourself even when it’s a little scary.

Bouncing back from a broken arm should be no big deal–but when Ty spends a month off the swim team the thought of getting back in the water is suddenly not as fun as it used to be.

After weeks of ignoring his friends, Ty isn’t sure how to connect with them again in summer camp. They used to have swim team together but after so long without swimming he’s out of shape and afraid of failing in front of them. With his friendships fracturing, will Ty be able to gain confidence in himself and fix everything before it’s too late?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skylight by Patchree Jones

For fans of Hayao Miyazaki, this middle-grade novel welcomes you to an immersive Thai fantasy where twelve-year-old best friends Sofia and Cara explore the boundaries of family, friendship, and learning to forge your own path.

Sofia Luana longs to fit into her Colorado hometown. Constantly bullied by her classmates, who see her as an outsider, Sofia only has her best friend, Cara Felicity, for support. When Sofia’s parents suddenly decide to move to California, her only hope is Cara, who says her family’s moving there, too.

On their plane ride halfway across the country, Sofia and Cara see a magical door in the clouds. The girls soon find themselves in a new land filled with a shapeshifting octopus, winged warriors, and the exiled sorceress Muet starting a war to take the throne.

With her best friend, Sofia must learn to embrace her royal Mehk lineage, figure out who can be trusted, and find the courage to make her own decisions to end the war–or else Muet and her Night Army will extinguish Sofia’s skylight forever.

 

 

 

 

The Cookie Crumbles by Tracy Badua and Alechia Dow 

The Great British Bake Off meets Knives Out in this fun and propulsive middle grade novel following two best friends who must solve the mystery behind a baking competition gone awry.

Laila gave Lucy a cupcake on the second day of kindergarten, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. But the summer before eighth grade, they find out that since they live on opposite sides of town, they’ll go to different high schools. Yuck!

Then Laila’s invited to compete at the Golden Cookie competition, which awards its winner admission and a full ride to the prestigious Sunderland boarding school, and it’s the perfect opportunity. Sunderland doesn’t just have an elite culinary program; it’s also home to an elite journalism track, if only newscaster-hopeful Lucy could build up a strong enough portfolio to impress the scholarship committee.

But when one of the celebrity judges collapses after sampling Laila’s showpiece, rumors of foul play swirl, with Laila rising to the top of the suspect list. Even worse, a major storm has effectively cut off all access to the outside world.

Can the girls find the real culprit and clear Laila’s name before it’s too late?

 

 

 

 

The New Girl: A Graphic Novel (the New Girl #1) by Cassandra Calin

Instagram sensation and Tapas webcomic superstar Cassandra Calin makes her long-form debut with this funny, feel-good middle-grade graphic novel about change.

Goodbye, old life…

Lia and her family are waiting to board a flight across the Atlantic, leaving behind family, friends, and Romania — the only home Lia has ever known. But Lia’s heartache is overshadowed by the discomfort of her first period. As if things weren’t difficult enough! Now Lia is thrust into a world where everything is different: her home, her language, and even her body. With so many changes happening at once, Lia struggles with schoolwork, has trouble communicating with classmates, and has no idea how to manage her unpleasant periods. Will she ever feel like herself again?

Inspired by the author’s own immigration experience, The New Girl is a comically charming story about change and acceptance.

 

 

 

 

See a book  you’d like to put on the top of your summer reading list? Let us know in the comments below.