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Interview with Stephanie Garber, Author of Caraval

For those of you who made it out to Stacey Lee's Launch Party for Outrun the Moon, you've already met the wonderful Stephanie Garber. It was an honor to stand beside her and gush about her friend and critique partner's work. Now we're excited to talk a bit more about Stephanie's first novel, Caraval. Though it's not out until January 2017, there is already a ton of buzz about it in the bookselling world!

She was kind enough to answer a few questions about Caraval and her experience writing it for us! 

"I wanted it to feel like a Baz Lurhman movie and a Florence and the Machine song."

1.       Did you have an “elevator pitch” for Caraval? Did it change a lot?

I don’t know that I ever had an “elevator pitch”, but I did write a query letter for Caraval, (which is basically a longer pitch) and I think I revised it at least one-hundred times. So it changed a lot. I really wanted to make sure I got it right—which you’ll understand after you read my answer to the next question.


2.       What was the hardest part of getting published for you?

Querying, and trying to get an agent was immensely challenging. For people who aren’t familiar with the traditional publishing process, most publishers require that manuscripts be submitted by an agent before they will even look at them. I won’t go into detail about my very painful querying experiences, but I will say that before I wrote Caraval, and signed with my current agent, I wrote 5 other books, queried 3 of them, and received somewhere around 200 rejections.


3.       Who has been your biggest supporter?

My family, especially my parents—who’ve read every manuscript I’ve ever written. They supported me and believed in my dream when many other people told them they shouldn’t. When I queried the first book I wrote I couldn’t even get a literary agent to look at it, but rather than telling me to give up, I remember one day my dad said, “Maybe you just need to write another book.”


4.       What was your inspiration for Caraval?

Caraval was inspired by pretty much all of my favorite things—I wanted to tell a story that I would want to live inside. My hope was to create a beautiful-over-the-top-place, full of magic and romance and wonder. I wanted it to feel like a Baz Lurhman movie and a Florence and the Machine song.


5.       Are any of your characters based off of friends or old acquaintances? You don’t’ have to say who….

Haha! This is a great question. None of my characters are based on anyone I know in real life. However, I do have a younger sister, she’s not anything like the younger sister in the book, but the close sister relationship in Caraval is influenced by my very close relationship with my sister.


7.       How many publishers did you go to before it was picked up?

Caraval actually sold shockingly fast. More than one editor read it the first night my agent sent it out, and eight different editors bid on it when it went to auction.


8.       Who was your favorite character to write?

I had fun with a lot of the characters in this book, but I probably had the most fun creating Legend. From the moment I decided there was a character named Legend, I knew I would have a good time with him. I also loved writing Donatella, my main character’s sister. She is wild and adventurous and says all sorts of things that I would never say out loud, so I especially loved playing with her dialogue.


9.       What are some of your favorite books or authors?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Melina Marchetta—I love all her books, but her fantasy series, the Lumatere Chronicles are my favorite

Sarah J. Maas

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Winner’s Series by Marie Rutkoski

The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson, and I’m sure once I ready The Beauty of Darkness it will be on this list as well.


10.   Do you write in a linear fashion or do you jump around?

I have theory that if I can surprise myself with my writing, it will be more likely to surprise readers. So, I usually write in a linear fashion, because I try to keep what happens next a surprise, until I actually write it.   


11.   Did you ever want to give up?

I love writing so much there was a never a moment where I truly wanted to

give up. But, when I was looking for an agent to represent Caraval I decided that if it didn’t sell, I was going to step away from the writing. Not because I wanted to give up, but because it was such a huge part of my life, I feared it no longer made sense to keep going at it the way I was, if I couldn’t sell a book. I’m not sure if I would have actually been able to step away, but that had been my plan.


12.   A coworker of mine saw you at BEA and heard that you had to move back into your parents’ house to finish the book, how hard was that?

It wasn’t difficult at first. I actually felt blessed that I could move in with them and pursue my dream. However, after that initial euphoria wore off there were many times where I struggled emotionally with the choice I’d made, because I wasn’t doing what most people my age were doing, so there many times where I felt like a failure. And I know a lot of people thought there was something wrong with me because I chose to move in with them. But in the end I’m not only grateful they gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream, I’m thankful that I got to spend this extra time with them, because I know I won’t always have them.


13. What are you currently reading, and/or currently obsessed with?

My current obsession is A Torch Against the Night, which is the sequel to An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. It’s so good! I honestly feel as if I can’t give this book adequate praise, without being spoilery. So, I’m just going to say all fantasy lovers need to read this series.


Currently I’m reading Heartless by Marissa Meyer, which I am loving! Her spin on the world of Alice In Wonderland is so fun, her characterizations are excellent, and her writing is fantastic.


Hopefully Books Inc. and Not Your Mother's Bookclub will have the opportunity to bring Stephanie Garber back into our stores in celebration of Caraval! Stay tuned! 

Highly Anticipated!

The book world is always buzzing about new books, it's kind of our job... and over the past few months, there has been A LOT of buzz about Young Adult books. Here are just some of the books that we're excited to get our hands on, in no particular order! 


Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King

Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King

"A heartbreaking story of a talented teenage artist's surreal awakening to the horrifically unoriginal brokenness of her family from critically acclaimed award-winner A.S. King. 
Sarah can't draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has "done the art." She thinks she's having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she explores the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she's finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can't quite recall. After decades of staying together "for the kids" and building a family on a foundation of lies and violence, Sarah's parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original and yet it still hurts. 
Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of everyday abuse and survival that will linger with readers long after the last page." (Available October 11th)


Timekeeper by Tara Sim 

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

"In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time and a destroyed one can stop it completely. 
It s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors. 
And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny's new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower's clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield's time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he's fought to achieve. 
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he'll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever. 
The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, "Timekeeper" is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab." (Available November 2016) 


Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

How far would you go to save your sister?

"The Night Circus" meets "The Selection "in Stephanie Garber s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. But this year, Scarlett s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval s mastermind organizer. It turns out that this season s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever." (Available January 2017)


Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin

Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin

"Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel. 
There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments. 
Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal " (Available August 2016)


The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha: I m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won't be my story. 
Daniel: I ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store for both of us. 
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? (Available November 2016)


Kids of Appetite by David Arnold

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold

The bestselling author of "Mosquitoland "brings us another batch of unforgettable characters in this tragicomedy about first love and devastating loss. 
Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell. It begins with the death of Vic's father. It ends with the murder of Mad's uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it. But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between. 
This is a story about: 
1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

(Available September 2016)


Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin 

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

The action-packed, thrilling sequel to Ryan Graudin's Wolf by Wolf.
"There would be blood." "Blood for blood." "Blood to pay." "An entire world of it."
For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.
Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.
But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?
This gripping, thought-provoking sequel to Wolf by Wolf will grab readers by the throat with its cinematic writing, fast-paced action, and relentless twists. (Available November 2016)

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron 

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories -- of parents, children, love, life, and self -- are lost. Unless they have been written. 
In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten. 
But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence - before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her. (Available September 2016)


A Torch Against the NIght by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

The astonishing sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, An Ember in the Ashes. 

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. 
Following the events of the Fourth Trial, an army led by Masks hunts the two fugitives as they escape the city of Serra and journey across the vast lands of the Martial Empire. 
Laia is determined to break into Kauf the Empire s most secure and dangerous prison and save her brother, whose knowledge of Serric steel is the key to the Scholars' future. And Elias is determined to stay by Laia s side...even if it means giving up his own chance at freedom. 
But Elias and Laia will have to fight every step of the way if they re going to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene Elias s former friend and the Empire s newest Blood Shrike. 
Helene s mission is horrifying, unwanted, and clear: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape...and kill them both. (Available August 2016)


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland the infamous Queen of Hearts she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. 
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. (Available November 2016)


The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

As one fo the only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of suing her extraordinary sense of smell to mix base notes, top notes, and heart notes into elixirs that help others fall in love--all while remaining incurably alone.

The rules are clear: Falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mim doesn't want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begnias. She dreams of having a normal high school existence, incluidng a boyfriend. But when she accidently gives an elixer to the wrong woman, Mim has to rely on hte lovesick woman's son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation. As she races to set lovers straight, Mim quickly realizes that when it comes to falling in love, the choice isn't always hers to make. (Available Deceber 2016) 


NYMBC To Be Read Pile

So the best part of my job is that I get to read for a living, the worst part of my job is that I have to read for a living. Follow me? As the Not Your Mother’s Book Club event coordinator, I get to read so many amazing books and meet the wonderful authors! BUT, that leaves very little time for me to read books that are not scheduled for events! Over the last year, my TBR pile has been growing. I’ve told myself, and gently whispered to each book as I set it on the pile, “I will read you in November.” November. The month that the whole marketing team heads back into the stores to help with the Holiday rush. Everything goes on hold for two whole months, which means, I can read as many books as I possibly can in 8 weeks. This year’s TBR list is long, but I”m hoping I can at least make a dent! 

Pile of books to be read

Thse are just the few that I have at the office:

- Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

- Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin (Available in November!)

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Mort(e) by Robert Repino


Books waiting for me on my shelves at home or that I have to purchase:

Front Lines by Michael Grant

Front Lines by Michael Grant


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

(Available in September!)


Shadow of the Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo 

(I KNOW! I’m so late on this.)


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

(Also late on this one…)


The Dust That Falls From Dreams by Louis de Bernieres

The Dust That Also Falls From Dreams by Louis de Bernieres


Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

(Available in January)


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Timekeeper by Tara Sim


The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough


The Cinder Spires by Jim Butcher

The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher


The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock


A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Ok… that’s all that I can remember! I’m sure there are about 30 more, but maybe they’ll have to wait for another post. Only 4 months to go before I can delve in!

Historical Fiction of 2016!

With the release of local author Stacey Lee's newest novel, Outrun the Moon coming up this Thursday, we've compiled a list of historical fiction published in 2016!

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare sSchool for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare's is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance througha mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch ofspoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong until disaster strikes. 
On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy's home and school. Now she's forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help she still has the bossy cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?  Released May 24th! Meet Stacey Lee with Not Your Mother's Book Club May 26ths at Books Inc Palo Alto, 7p.m.!


Stone Field by Christy LenziPart 

A stunning debut novel that offers a new look at a classic love story about soul mates torn apart by the circumstances of their time.

Catrina Dickinson is haunted by her past and feels caged in by life in small town Missouri. When she discovers a strange man in Stone Field where her family grows their sorghum crop, her life takes on new meaning. He has no memory of who he is or what brought him to Cat's farm, but they fall passionately in love. Meanwhile, the country is on the brink of the Civil War, and the conflict in Missouri demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.

A passionate and atmospheric reimagining of Emily Bronte's Wuthering HeightsStone Field explores how violence and vengeance perverts the human spirit, and how hatred can be transcended by love. Released March 29th.


The Last Execution by Jesper Wung-Sung

Based on the chilling true story of the last execution in Denmark's history, this award-winning, mesmerizing novel asks a question that plagues a small Danish town: does a fifteen-year-old boy deserve to be put to death? 
On February 22, 1853, a fifteen-year-old Niels Nelson is prepared to be executed on Gallows Hill. This remarkable, wrenching story is told with the alternating perspectives of eleven different bystanders one per hour as the clock ticks ever closer to the moment when the boy must face his fate. Niels Nielson, a young peasant, was sentenced to death by beheading on the dubious charges of arson and murder. Does he have the right to live despite what he is accused of? That is the question the townsfolk ask as the countdown begins. With strong social conscience, piercing intellect, and masterful storytelling, Jesper Wung-Sung explores the age-old question: who determines who has the right to live or die? Released march 22nd.


The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

The adventures of a British girl in China, hunting for the orchid that will save her family. 
Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters growing up in a small English market town in 1861. The girls barely know their father, a plant hunter usually off adventuring through China, more myth than man. Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan reneges on his contract to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid. He will be thrown into debtors prison while his daughters are sent to the orphanage and the workhouse. 
Elodie can t stand by and see her family destroyed, so she persuades her father to return to China once more to try to hunt down the flower only this time, despite everything she knows about her place in society, Elodie goes with him. She has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper "The Osprey," and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China. She comes to find that both the world and her place in it are so much bigger than she d ever dreamed. But now, even if she "can" find the orchid, how can she ever go back to being the staid, responsible Elodie that everybody needs? Released March 8th.


The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn t like being a teenager anywhere else. This deeply moving and authentic debut is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America's Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent. 
Ruth has a secret that she can t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she's always known on her family's fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it's safer to run away than to stay home until one of them ends up in terrible danger. 
Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable book is about people who try to save each other and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed. Released February 23rd.


Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

In this stunningly creative debut, Nicole Castroman reimagines the origins of history's most infamous pirate Blackbeard and tells the story of the girl who captured his heart and then broke it, setting him on a path to destruction. From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn together by a shared desire for freedom, but kept apart by Teach's father, their love is as passionate as it is forbidden. Faced with an impossible choice, Teach and Anne must decide whether to chase their dreams and leave England forever or follow their hearts and stay together. Released February 9th.


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

For readers of Between Shades of Gray and  All the Light We Cannot See, bestselling author Ruta Sepetys returns to WWII in this epic novel thatshines a light on one of the war's most devastating yet unknown tragedies. 
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide.Among them areJoana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to theship that promises salvation, the "Wilhelm Gustloff." Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety. 
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people adults and children alike aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. Released February 2nd.


Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Krakow, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Ania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She's alone.  And then Anna meets the Swallow Man.He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see. 
The Swallow Man is not Anna's father she knows that very well but she also knows that, like her father, he's in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness. Released January 26th.