Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Monday night we headed into the city for a dinner with Kaui Hart Hemmings, the author of the brand new (out yesterday) YA book Juniors As you can probably gather from the title, Juniors is about juniors in high school on the island of Oahu. Kaui perfectly captures life at that age with the backdrop of a beautiful island that is one of my favorites. From awkward run-ins with the opposite sex, making and losing friends, and dealing with parents Juniors so realistically brings to life Lea Lane and her world on Oahu.

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You may recognize Kaui’s name from her bestselling book The Descendants which was later turned in to a fabulous film starring George Clooney and Shailene Woodley. In Juniors, Lea’s mother is an actress and is shooting scenes on Oahu which makes her someone that people flock to so that maybe some of her stardust will rub off on them. Kaui told me that she created Lea’s mother’s character a bit based on her experience while The Descendants was being filmed. As everyone knows, people tend to come out of the woodwork when success comes your way…sometimes that’s a good thing and relationships form with people you wouldn’t normally have interacted with, but often it’s a negative thing as these people didn’t care to interact with you when you weren’t in the limelight and are now only trying to get something from you.

It was so fun to hear about Kaui’s time on set while the movie was being filmed (and learning that Clooney goes in for the top-of-the-head kiss for shorties like myself and Kaui). Our group of Seattle-area booksellers is so much fun, we always have a great time at these author dinners, but we had a blast with Kaui who was absolutely delightful Thank you to Colleen and Penguin Random House for a wonderful evening.

Head to your local independent bookstore and pick up Juniors today!

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Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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I LOVE Sarah Dessen books, and her newest book Saint Anything is one of her best. Is there anything better to read on a sunny day than one of Sarah’s books?! They are the perfect beach read. Recently, Publisher’s Weekly asked booksellers questions about the upcoming summer and how it was shaping up for bookstores across the country and I, of course, gushed about Saint Anything. Check out the entire article here! BUT the exciting part (no offence to Publishers Weekly…haha) was when I tweeted the link to the article and Sarah promptly replied that I made her day…and then replied a second time thanking me and Pub Weekly for the mention! Total nerdy fan girl moment…it happens. (Thanks Sarah!) Also, I dare you to read Saint Anything and not be totally craving pizza, french fries and dum dums by the time you get to the end.

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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Before reading Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania I didn’t know much about the story of the Lusitania, and now it’s a story I’ll never forget. Erik Larson is such a storyteller and the tale of the Lusitania was so vividly brought to life in the pages of this book. So much research went into finding tons of small scraps of information about the disaster and weaving them into a full picture of the event itself and many of the people aboard the final crossing.

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The individual stories of the people who lived the nightmare make you so invested in the story itself and the outcome. History books must be done well to not read as dull and monotonous …Erik Larson can definitely write history in such a away that you get sucked in.  I couldn’t stop reading this one, and it’s one you definitely don’t want to miss!

Dinner with Teresa Toten

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Last Monday we had dinner at Maximilien in Pike Place Market with Teresa Toten the author of The Unlikely Hero of Room 13BIf you haven’t yet had the pleasure of picking this book up, add it to your To Be Read pile for sure. A lot of the popular YA books are discussing mental illness right now and it’s a very important conversation to be had. Unlikely Hero is about an OCD support group, focusing on Adam (Batman) and Robyn (Robin). I loved the characters, the humor and honesty found within these pages and I know you’ll love it to. Teresa Toten was a fascinating person to talk to and you could see how passionate she is about normalizing the discussion of mental illness in every day life.

And thank you to Random House Kids for a delicious dinner!

Once we get a little more up and running over here I have a signed galley of this great read to giveaway to one of you lucky people! 🙂 Details to come!