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Perfect Escape

Perfect Escape

By Jennifer Brown

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Teen Life: Family

Grades: 7-17

Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art — until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.

Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all — with enough distance, maybe she’ll be able to figure everything out. But even in the midst of the road trip’s flat tires, gas-station food stops, and detours to quirky roadside attractions, eventually Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.
With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.

 

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 PRAISE

* “Brown skillfully navigates the emotional complexities and psychological minefields of her characters and their relationship, treating OCD with delicacy without losing sight of the big picture.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Brown paints an unflinching, nuanced portrait of siblings in a family overwhelmed by serious illness….Readers will enjoy the trip.” –VOYA

“[A] road-trip novel with momentum and realistic characters that will have many teen readers hitching a ride.” –School Library Journal

“Kendra’s struggle to face her mistakes will resonate with many young adult readers…intelligent and compassionate.” –Library Media Connection

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

By Annabel Pitcher

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Personal Development: Loss

Grades: 7-17

My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece.

Well, some of her does.
A collarbone, two ribs, a bit of skull, and a little toe.
To ten-year-old Jamie, his family has fallen apart because of the loss of someone he barely remembers: his sister Rose, who died five years ago in a terrorist bombing. To his father, life is impossible to make sense of when he lives in a world that could so cruelly take away a ten-year-old girl. To Rose’s surviving fifteen year old twin, Jas, everyday she lives in Rose’s ever present shadow, forever feeling the loss like a limb, but unable to be seen for herself alone.

Told with warmth and humor, this powerful novel is a sophisticated take on one family’s struggle to make sense of the loss that’s torn them apart… and their discovery of what it means to stay together.

 

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 PRAISE

-An ALA 2013 Notable Books for Children Pick

-A Kirkus Best Children’s Book List Selection

-“Most Deftly Handled” Atlantic Wire 2012 YA/Middle-Grade Award

 

* “[A] striking debut. Realistic, gritty, and uplifting.” –Kirkus (starred review)

* “Straddles that fine line between funny and tragic… As a study of grief’s collateral damage, it deals with the topic realistically without losing sight of hope.” –Booklist (starred review)

* “In this powerfully honest, quirkily humorous debut novel…Pitcher tackles grief, prejudice, religion, bullying, and familial instability.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

* “Compelling and believable…by turns heartbreaking and hysterically funny… This is an important book that could be used in classes and book-discussion groups. Don’t let it fall through the cracks.” –School Library Journal (starred review)

“It lives off the page. It has a warmth you can bask in; an honesty you can cut with a knife.” –The Guardian UK

 

Ling & Ting Share A Birthday

ling ting birthdayLing & Ting Share A Birthday

By Grace Lin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Family Life: Adoption/Multiple Births, Holidays: Birthdays, Personal Development: Individuality, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Family Life: Daily Life and Play

Grades: 1-4

This fascinating, surprising new novel is full of everyday imaginations and truths in the life and future of every teenage girl, as it tells the story of soon-to-be-16 Josie Taylor, who was born on Leap Day.

 

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 PRAISE

★ “The girls’ differing personalities and sisterly affection continue to shine…Once again Lin’s richly colored gouache artwork, based on 1950s children’s textbook illustrations, gives reason enough to celebrate. Tw-inspiring fiction for beginning readers.”– Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “Lin continues to work wonders within the early reader format in twins’ Ling and Ting’s birthday-themed second outing…Despite working with a limited vocabulary, Lin infuses the twins’ every interaction with personality and understated humor, while underscoring the girls’ individuality.”– Publishers Weekly, starred review

“These cheerful stories, with their flat, 50’s-style illustrations, tell an inescapable truth: twins have to negotiate everything.”– New York Times Book Review

“Even though this is a short and simple early chapter book, the characters are fully developed and distinct, and children should be encouraged to infer the protagonists’ traits. An excellent stand-alone purchase or addition for libraries already familiar with these endearing sisters.”– School Library Journal

Me and Mike: Sophie Littlefield Interviews Mike Cooper

With 2013 just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to sit back and reflect on another year of great content and great books. Check back twice daily in the last days of 2012 for a selection of our favorite MulhollandBooks.com posts from the past year!

Sophie Littlefield:  So let’s get the basics out of the way first. You write, I write. You’re the much, much older east coast sibling and I’m the fun-loving west coast one. We both have kids and we both grew up with our noses in books. What else should people know about us to start off with?

Mike Cooper:  We’re bicoastal now but we started in Missouri! – and in a much different time, when children were allowed freedoms that seem extraordinary to me now.  My memory, perhaps unreliable, is that we were completely unsupervised after school and on weekends.  The woods and fields just over the backyard fence were a place of fantastical play: ponds to swim in and skate on, the cemetery and the quarry, the derelict airport with runways like the Bonneville Salt Flats.  How could we not become people who live by our imaginations?

Of course, my stories involve ruthless banksters and exploding helicopters, and some of yours have decidedly noir, even dark elements.  In some ways our lives were difficult and complicated, and that’s as essential as the sunny memories.

We both came to write seriously somewhat later in our lives.  In my case it was after my daughter was born – my wife and I decided that I’d be the stay-at-home parent, and what with two naps a day, I suddenly had time to try what had been only a hobby.  (I took one of those naps myself, true.)  I recall you publishing stories, fiction and non-fiction, for many years before you buckled down to novels.  What was the impetus?

SL: I think the better question is, “What took you so long?” And the answer, of course, is fear. I’m astonished at how much I’ve given away to fear over the years. Oh well, middle age took care of that in a hurry. My first novel was tentative, limp, diluted, and derivative. But I learned something from it and from every one that followed, until I finally ended up writing a novel with teeth.

Nowadays, I seek out opportunities to be brave. Lots of extra points if someone chokes on their coffee when I propose a new project. For instance, when I first told my agent my idea for my January ’13 book (A GARDEN OF STONES, MIRA) the pitch was “Japanese internment in WWII, plus taxidermy.” I stubbornly believe there is an audience out there that longs to be challenged.

Which reminds me. Do you remember when you wrote that short story a few years ago and I read it and told you “that story’s a best-seller for sure, drop everything and turn it into a novel”? And then you spent the next few months writing and polishing and submitting it? Continue reading “Me and Mike: Sophie Littlefield Interviews Mike Cooper”

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly The Same

By Grace Lin

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Curriculum subjects: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Daily Life and Play, Individuality

Grade: 1-4

2011 Geisel Honor Book

 

Ling and Ting are two adorable identical twins, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving–people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same.

 

★ “[I]n the same category as Arnold Lobel’s ‘Frog and Toad'” — School Library Journal, starred review

 

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