In this week's edition of Endnotes, we take a look at Not Nothing (Aladdin, Aug.), the new middle grade novel from Gayle Forman. In a starred review, PW praised the book as "spellbinding" and "wrought with exquisite structuring."

Here's how the book came together.

Laura DiSiena, Art Director, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

“I began my artist search, but I immediately thought of Julie McLaughlin as the perfect match. She has a bold graphic style that can convey nuance and complexity, and has a wonderful sense of composition, so that there can be a lot going on in an image, and yet it will have a strong focus that grabs the viewers’ attention.”

Kristin Gilson, Editorial Director, Aladdin

“Working with Gayle is a pleasure. We have a fair amount in common and a lot of the same points of reference, which makes for a very easy and friendly way of sharing input and ideas. And we’re both terrible with timelines—but we embrace that weakness with a laugh. Most importantly, we have a great respect for what the other person brings to
the process.”

Suzie Townsend, VP and Literary Agent, New Leaf Literary & Media

“When Gayle told me she was working on a project that was a little different—and was narrated by a 107-year-old man—I was thrilled and asked her to send it to me. I could tell that ‘different’ meant it was going to be really special. I fell in love with Josey and Olka and all the fully realized characters who came in and out of Shady Glen. I loved the poignancy of Gayle’s writing, the way the voice felt so warm and had so much humor despite the fact that the characters were going through hardships.”

Gayle Forman, Author

“It took years to crack this book. I first saw it as an adult book and wrote and revised a draft that just wasn’t working. I was on the verge of scrapping it when I sent it to Heather Hebert, owner of Children’s Book World, who has become a friend over the years. She loved the book, but when I said I was thinking of doing it as a middle grade novel, she responded: ‘The whole time I was reading I was thinking—and don’t take this the wrong way—don’t waste this story on the adult market. The kids need this!’ ”