Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. A very, very long while.
I’ve been using my Instagram account to share some of the things I used to blog about—book recommendations, behind-the-scenes information about my novels, and occasional reflections on the writing life. And I keep thinking an author newsletter would be a better option than a blog for this stage in my writing career. But the truth is, I haven’t found the time to start an author newsletter, and I already have this blog right here on my website, so I might as well use it to share news for the time being!
So without further ado, here is some news!
My third book, Saint Ivy: Kind at all Costs, came out on May 18, 2021. It’s a character-driven page-turner about a thirteen-year-old girl named Ivy who prides herself on being kind to others but struggles to be kind to herself. There’s a mystery emailer, lots of complicated feelings, and good deal of baking, too. It’s a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and it’s gotten some really nice trade reviews and some generous blurbs from authors I admire, including Corey Ann Haydu, Barbara Dee, and Carrie Firestone. I particularly love this pull quote from Kirkus, which captures exactly what I was trying to accomplish:
Saint Ivy was a very hard book to write, and May of 2021 was a very hard time to release a novel—especially one that’s a little tricky to pitch in a concise way. I’m not sure that Saint Ivy will have the wide appeal of my last book, Up for Air, which continues to reach new audiences and is now available in paperback and as an audiobook. But my sense, based on the readers I’ve heard from so far, is that a lot of the readers who do connect to Ivy’s story really connect to it. The dedication page reads, “For everyone who struggles to be as kind to themselves as they are to others,” and I’ve been so moved by the responses from people who see themselves in Ivy and are inspired by her story to try to be kinder to themselves.
Online reviews can boost visibility and help books reach more readers, especially during these tough times for authors, so if you’ve read and enjoyed Saint Ivy, I’d be so grateful if you could take a few minutes to write a short review. Amazon and Goodreads are especially helpful sites to leave reviews on (and you don’t have to buy a book on Amazon to review it there!). If you’d like to buy a copy, thank you! I’d love for you to buy through an independent bookstore or Bookshop.org if possible, because independent bookstores are wonderful and really need our support, now more than ever. And I’d be happy to mail you a bookmark, signed bookplate, and vinyl sticker if you email me through the contact page of my site (U.S. only, while supplies last).
For my educator friends, I’ve created a free, downloadable Saint Ivy Discussion and Activity Guide, and I’m booking free virtual Q&A visits and low-cost virtual presentations about the story behind the book, and how it went from the flash of an idea in 2011 to an actual published book ten years later. I’ve already heard from a few teachers who are eager to get the book into their students’ hands and think it will be an important one to discuss, including Cassie Thomas, who put together this wonderful review and interview on Teachers Who Read (and who has now obtained a full class set). I’d love to connect with classes and book groups, so please contact me if you’d like to set something up!
I’ve also done several virtual events to spread the word about Saint Ivy, and you can still watch the recordings of many of them. Check out my School Visits & Events page for links to the recording of my launch party with Lisa Graff and virtual panels with many other wonderful middle grade authors.
That’s it for now, but another post with news about my next book, Coming Up Short, will be coming soon!