In this preview of Friday’s YA Editors’ Buzz Panel, which will be livestreamed here from noon to 1:15 p.m. ET, the participants share their enthusiasm for the books they chose to spotlight.
Calista Brill, editorial director of First Second, on Displacement by Kiku Hughes, a graphic novel about a teen who is pulled back in time to witness her grandmother’s experiences in WWII-era Japanese internment camps:.
I’ve been a fan of Kiku for years. I still remember how my heart went pitter-pat when I saw her name in my inbox for the first time. It really was one of those things that feels meant-to-be in retrospect! The story that Kiku is telling in Displacement is more important than ever right now, as the pandemic is providing new openings for xenophobic and racist forces in the American political landscape. Also, Kiku’s cartooning style is perfect for this story. Her work is superbly clear while still having a quiet, dreamlike quality to it. In her supremely talented hands, Displacement manages to be at once a meditation and an urgent call to action.
Nick Thomas, senior editor at Levine Querido, on Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger, illustrated by Rovina Cai, a debut novel whose title character is a girl who lives in an America shaped by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not:
There’s a moment early on in this novel when Elatsoe is trying to convince her dad that her cousin was murdered, not killed in an accident. He does the whole doubtful dad thing, but then at the end of the chapter, just when you’re not expecting it, he says, “I believe you, Ellie,” and the chapter ends. And the book is on. It was such an electric moment for me when I read it the first time, and luckily, the first of many such surprising, beautiful, funny moments in Elatsoe. Darcie is that kind of special writer.
Susan Chang, Tor Teen senior editor, on Eventide, Sarah Goodman’s debut fantasy thriller set in 1907 rural Arkansas, where a teen who tries to unearth the past discovers sinister secrets:
Though I wasn’t the book’s original acquiring editor, when I took over on Eventide, I knew we had something special on our list. I’ve always loved historical fiction and Sarah Goodman has drawn on much research and her own family history to create a believable setting of rural American life in the early 1900s. She takes that setting and adds just the right touch of eeriness and mystery, perfect for the Halloween season. But more importantly, it is the story of the love of sisters and the lasting connection and strength of families.
Whitney Leopard, Random House Graphic senior editor, on The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen, a graphic novel starring Tiến, a Vietnamese-American boy who is keeping a big secret from his family and friends, and who tries to navigate life through fairy tales:
The Magic Fish was the very first book acquired for the Random House Graphic imprint. Trung is not only an amazing creator, but a truly gifted storyteller who can bring such a personal story to life in a way that will resonate with all types of readers. Not to mention, Trung’s artwork makes you wish that real life could be that beautiful. We knew this graphic novel was special from the beginning and once it was completed, it became perfectly clear how extraordinary it is. And that’s why we wanted to feature it on this Buzz Panel.
Julie Rosenberg, Razorbill senior editor, on Hayley Krischer’s Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf, a debut novel about sexual assault and female empowerment, which centers on Ali and Blythe, two unlikely friends who are both hiding deep secrets:
I was immediately dazzled by Hayley Krischer’s voice—it’s impossible to look away from. I loved the story’s layers, from the nuanced female friendships to the stark and empowering discussions surrounding sexual assault, to the burden of perfection placed on girls and women. I received this just after the Kavanaugh hearing, which made it feel timely. Yet the reason I submitted it for this Buzz Panel is because it’s not really timely at all—so many people have experiences like Ali’s and Blythe’s, and I wanted to shine a light on their heartbreakingly enduring stories in a venue that would spark important conversations.
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