In this week's edition of Endnotes, we take a look at The Bad Ones (Flatiron, Feb.), a YA fantasy from bestselling author Melissa Albert about four seemingly unrelated disappearances in the suburbs of Illinois. In its review, PW said, "Albert successfully evokes adolescence’s fraught hyperreality using richly textured, authentically angsty characters and a storytelling style by turns ethereal and electric."

Here's how the book came together.

Melissa Albert, Author

“The idea for The Bad Ones began with its opening sequence, in which four unrelated people go missing across a town in a single winter’s night. As I wrote, I realized this was a story I’ve been wanting to tell for a long time: one of two girls wrapped up in a thrilling, overwhelming friendship, navigating at different speeds that tricky liminal space between childhood and growing up—plus dangerous magic, of course.”

Faye Bender, Agent/Partner, The Book Group

“When I read the first draft of The Bad Ones, I had that tingly-palms, pulse-quickening feeling that comes when I know I’m in the hands of an author in complete control of her craft. It has all the Melissa Albert hallmarks: an aching dread, complicated female relationships, darkness like a belladonna flower, a story that takes you where you never expect, and all told in writing that stops you in your tracks.”

Jim Tierney, Cover Designer

“The scrawled lettering reflects the teenage angst and urgency of the main characters, the sorrow of the crumbling angel statue represents the somber fragility of a community in crisis, and the vacant weeping eyes hint at the possibility of something supernatural lurking beneath the surface.”

Sarah Barley, Editorial Director, YA, Flatiron Books

“I acquired The Bad Ones based on a partial manuscript in summer 2022, and I didn’t get to read the whole thing for several months after that. Mimi’s imagination is incredible, and I’m always surprised by her choices in revisions. Working with Mimi and observing as she pushes herself and explores new ground with every book is pretty much like getting high for a square like me.”