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There’s a particular kind of buzz that you hear a lot in the world of young adult literature, where a book is described as “the next ____________,” where ____________ is whatever YA movie adaptation has just done particularly well at the box office. You may have heard that kind of buzz about our May selection, Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes.
I’m here to tell you, that buzz does this book a disservice. Forget everything you’ve heard. This book is not the next Hunger Games. Sabaa Tahir is not the next J.K. Rowling. But a year or two from now, I do think we’re going to be hearing that a lot of books are the next Ember in the Ashes.
I find myself reluctant to tell you much about this book. I want you to discover its world and story for yourselves. What I will tell you is that, in it, you’re going to meet characters who have to make impossible choices, who are each in their own way constrained by their circumstances, and who long for hope and freedom in a world of capricious violence and injustice. Their story, like the best stories, will leave you breathless, racing through its pages to find out what happens, but dreading the end of the story, when there are no more pages to turn.
An Ember in the Ashes is a special book, a book better than the buzz that precedes it. It’s a story of hope in the face of despair and light when darkness seems poised to swallow the world. I hope you love it as much as I did. I hope it takes your breath away. -- Stephanie Appell, Manager of Books for Young Readers
Here's how it works:
We will select a new young adult book each month, have the author sign first editions of the book, and send it to our club members. That's all there is to it! You can count on the following:
A signed, first edition book twelve times a year
Hand-picked titles recommended by Parnassus booksellers
We hope you love the books we choose, but if you don't, you can return a selection within two weeks of receiving it.
You will be charged the list price of the book, plus a $6.00 shipping charge if applicable.
Note: If you choose in-store pickup, we will hold your signed first edition for up to two weeks, after which time we will charge your account $6.00 and ship your book to you.
If you'd like to see whether we have extra signed copies of any of these titles available for purchase, please call us at (615) 953-2243.
What would you do if you—and everyone else on the face of the planet—had eight weeks to live? If, in eight weeks, there was a two-to-one possibility that Earth would be obliterated by an asteroid no one saw coming? Would you still go to school or your job? Would you get in your car to go see distant relatives one last time? Would you go to the grocery store? Would you pay for your groceries? Would you finally tell that one person what you really think of them, how you really feel?
This is the situation that the characters of Tommy Wallach’s stunning debut novel, We All Looked Up, find themselves in. Peter, Anita, Eliza, and Andy are all people you think you know: The star basketball player, the likely valedictorian, the moody girl whose reputation precedes her, the cheerful stoner. But We All Looked Up isn’t some Breakfast Club meets Armageddon shiny Hollywood story about how everyone realizes that labels and stereotypes are unfair and then they hug it out before the end of the world. Wallach is interested in much more uneasy questions: Why would you do the right thing, if there were no consequences for doing the wrong thing? In a choice between what you want and what will do the least harm, how do you decide? How do you make the most of the time you have?
Because, of course, we aren’t so different from Wallach’s characters. Sure, there’s probably not an asteroid hurtling toward us on a path of likely destruction. But our time, too, is short. What will we do?-- Stephanie Appell, Manager of Books for Young Readers
I think about a lot of factors when I’m deciding which book I’m going to send to you each month. I want to make sure our selections represent all the diversities that exist in the world of YA: diversity of genre, diversity of characters, diversity of authors, and diversity of experience. But I’m also looking for something else.
I’m looking to read the last page, close the book, and not be able to stop myself from saying, “Whoa.” I’m looking for amazing characters or a voice that leaps off the page. Above all, I’m looking for a book so intangibly awesome that, if I could, I would get up on the roof of the store with a loudspeaker to shout at the top of my lungs how great it is.
David Arnold’s Mosquitoland is all of those things. Readers, I am almost jealous of you, because I can only ever re-read the crazy, unlikely, incredible roadtrip of Mim Malone and all the characters she meets along the way, but you! You get to open this book and meet her for the first time! And oh, readers, you are going to love her. She is brash and bold and hilarious and honest and determined to get from Jackson, Mississippi, to Ashland, Ohio, no matter the obstacles in her way—and you get to go along for the ride.
When you get back, I hope you’ll join me up on the roof. -- Stephanie Appell, Manager of Books for Young Readers
Where are you from? Where do you belong? What happens if that changes? These are the universal questions at the heart of Renée Watson’s luminous debut young adult novel, our February selection, This Side of Home.
It’s the beginning of senior year, and Maya Younger knows who she is, where she’s from, and where she wants to go. She’s Nikki’s twin sister, Essence’s best friend, Devin’s girlfriend. She lives on Jackson Avenue. Next year she and Nikki and Essence are all going to college together at a historically African American school. But Maya’s last year of high school is going to be a year of changes: Her school, her friendships, her relationship, and the neighborhood around her. Suddenly Maya feels like her world and her dreams for the future have been turned upside-down. How will Maya, Nikki, and their community move forward to embrace change without erasing their past?
Renée Watson constructs Maya, Nikki, and their neighborhood from the ground up, in thoughtful, sometimes stunningly beautiful prose. Maya is so proud of who she is and where she’s from, and she so desperately wants to do the right thing, but as the people and places around her change, she struggles to know what the right thing is. She’s a wonderfully human teenage character, full of questions and stumbling her way toward answers, and the way her story unfolds over the course of this year in her life is quietly fantastic. I hope you’ll agree. -- Stephanie Appell, Manager of Books for Young Readers
Holly Black’s delicious and masterfully crafted The Darkest Part of the Forest is a fairy tale of sorts, but it will make Tinkerbell seem like a cute fluffy bunny by comparison. It's the story of Hazel, her brother, Ben, and their town, Fairfold. Fairfold is a pretty normal town, except for the Folk who live in the forest around the town and the horned boy who’s been sleeping in a glass coffin for longer than anyone can remember. It’s a story about magic and destiny, and about the lengths you might be willing to go, the things you might be willing to do, for the one you love. It’s a story about whether and how, afterward, you can live with what you’ve done. And it’s a story about how the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, each other, and our world have the power to shape the people we believe ourselves to be and the world we believe we live in. But don’t worry—it’s just a story ...
There’s a monster in the wood
She’ll get you if you’re not good
Drag you under leaves and sticks
Punish you for all your tricks
A nest of hair and gnawed bone
You are never, ever coming ...
--Stephanie Appell, Manager of Books for Young Readers
I have a confession to make: I love this time of year. I love everything about it. When holiday-themed car commercials began playing the day after Halloween, I smiled. When I went to the movies at Opry Mills later that week and saw that they’ve already put fake snow and evergreen garlands on all their signs, I grinned. I love traditional Christmas carols and radio-friendly fare like “White Christmas” and “Silver Bells.” I love when the time changes and it’s dark by five and you can’t go outside without a scarf. I love picking a tree and stringing lights and the smell of a house filled with evergreen and cookies in the oven. And if it snows? If it snows this year, I will be over the moon.
Yet even after all that, I was skeptical when I picked up our November/December 2014 YA First Editions Club selection, My True Love Gave to Me. Short stories? Wouldn’t I finish each one and think, “Why isn’t this a novel? I don’t want the story to end yet!” And how many holiday-themed romance stories can one book really hold before they start to get repetitive, like when the CD player in your car breaks and just keeps playing “Jingle Bells” over and over?
But oh, readers, I was so wrong. Each story in this collection is unique, written by some of the most talented YA writers working today, and they’re all writing at the top of their game here. Like the perfect cup of hot cocoa, each story is so satisfying, I never found myself wanting more. No matter how you feel about this time of year—whether, like me, you wish it would last about two months longer, or whether you’re just hoping you’ll emerge relatively unscathed on the first day of 2015—there is a story in this book for you. --Stephanie Appell, Assistant Manager of Books for Young Readers
I don’t remember the last time I laughed as hard at a book as I did when reading 100 Sideways Miles, our September/October 2014 Young Adult First Editions Club selection. I don’t mean little chuckles. I mean gasping for breath, tears leaking out of the corners of my eyes, full-on dying of laughter.
100 Sideways Miles is the story of Finn Easton, a 16-year-old boy whose circumstances have given him an unusual perspective on the world and his place in it; Finn’s best friend, Cade Hernandez, a foul-mouthed trickster whose friendship with Finn is more important than either boy realizes; and Julia Bishop, the first girl Finn will ever love. As the son of the author of a cult science fiction novel whose protagonist bears an uncanny resemblance to Finn himself, Finn feels trapped in the story of his own life. 100 Sideways Miles chronicles Finn’s first steps toward a future of his own creation. It’s profane. It’s profound. It’s also one of the most honest representations I’ve ever read of teenage boyhood in all its irreverent, sensitive, frustrating, and contradictory glory.
I hope you enjoy your time with Finn, Cade, and Julia as much as I did. --Stephanie Appell, Assistant Manager of Books for Young Readers
In The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone, two-time National Book Award nominee Adele Griffin has created a “portrait of the artist as a young woman” for the 21st century, and she’s done it in a truly unique way. Here’s the premise: Addison Stone is a talented girl whose artistic career is cut short by her untimely and mysterious death. The book is an assembled collection of interviews with Addison’s family and friends, press clippings and photographs, and reproductions of Addison’s stunning paintings—all an attempt to reveal the girl behind the headlines and to retrace her journey toward one fateful night on the Manhattan Bridge. What emerges is a collection of voices, each of which insists theirs is the true story of Addison Stone. Addison herself is the only absent voice, silenced by her death, but owing in part to Griffin’s deftly constructed narrative, Addison’s presence haunts every page.
I hope you’ll be as engrossed as I was by the story of Addison’s life, her loves, her struggles with mental illness and the demands of fame, and most of all by the astonishing art she created in her brief but brilliant life. --Stephanie Appell, Assistant Manager of Books for Young Readers
“Thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart, We Were Liars is utterly unforgettable.”
-- JOHN GREEN, New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars
“Seriously, I cannot WAIT for this summer when We Were Liars becomes the huge phenomenon I know it will be. Cannot WAIT.”
-- SARAH DESSEN, New York Times bestselling author of Just Listen
“So, E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars showed up the other day, and I ended up NOT GOING TO BED because WAS READING and OH MY GOD.”
-- MAUREEN JOHNSON, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Star
“A haunting tale about how families live within their own mythologies. Sad, wonderful, and real.”
-- SCOTT WESTERFELD, New York Times bestselling author of Uglies
“Ann Brashares’ narrative’s strength lies in the small, observed details of the everyday. ‘None of us is remotely free, but at least I get to walk in the sunshine and grow flowers, eat raspberries and swim in the ocean.’ While primarily an appealing romantic thriller, The Here and Now also serves as a potent reminder that we inherit the future we buy with our actions today.”
-- CASSANDRA CLARE, New York Times bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments
“This gripping story is set in a world unlike any other and inhabited by beautifully imagined characters that stay with you long after the last page. As always, Brashares expertly captures the wonder of love’s enduring power.”
-- SARA SHEPARD, New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars series
“The sins—and scars—of the fathers are visited upon their children in this raw and unique novel about a teenage girl struggling through the PTSD of her veteran father. At turns heartbreaking, at turns funny, the narrative in this book is so spot on I wanted to give Hayley my phone number so she would have a friend in times of crisis. Seriously—does ANYONE write troubled teen characters with the realism, grace, and soul of Laurie Halse Anderson?”
-- JODI PICOULT, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller
“A haunting and truthful depiction of emotional bravery, sacrifice, and service. Another masterpiece from one of our greatest laureates.”
-- RUTA SEPETYS, New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray
From James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams ... and your worst nightmares.
The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.
From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life -- or perhaps afterlife -- of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world. A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He "remembers" dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place?
It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What's going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .
"The Passage" meets "Ender's Game" in an epic new series from an award-winning author. On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.
Joey Harker is a hero.
After mastering the ability to walk between dimensions, Joey helped save the Altiverse from destruction. But the rival powers--one of magic, one of science--who seek to control all worlds are still out there, and InterWorld's peacekeeping mission is far from finished.
When a stranger named Acacia does the impossible and follows Joey back to BaseTown, things get complicated. No one knows who she is or where she's from--or how she knows so much about InterWorld.
Dangerous times lie ahead for Joey and the mission. There's a traitor in the group of Freedom Fighters, and if Joey has any hope of saving InterWorld, the Altiverse, and the mission, he's going to have to rely on his wits--and, just possibly, on the mysterious Acacia Jones.
The Silver Dream is a riveting sequel to InterWorld, full of bravery, loyalty, time and space travel, and the future of a young man who is more powerful than he realizes.
It's 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel "Between Shades of Gray, " Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
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