Sunday, January 15, 2017

Blog Tour (Spotlight): The Warden's Daughter by Jerry Spinelli

“[A] poignant, coming-of- age story. . . . Spinelli again shows his mastery at evoking a particular time and place while delving into the heart of a troubled adolescent.”—Publishers Weekly

"The prison community is a powerful backdrop for Cammie’s turbulent coming of age, populated with messy lives that brighten in Cammie’s presence but that have their own demons to tame."The Bulletin

Jerry Spinelli, one of the biggest names in children’s literature, offers readers a unique and unforgettable story in THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER (Knopf Books for Young Readers / on sale January 3, 2017), a novel about a preteen girl finally coming to grips with the pain of losing her mother years earlier. THIS is the must-read book of 2017, and it will haunt your heart and mind long after you have read the final page.

Cammie O’Reilly is the warden’s daughter, living in an apartment above the entrance to the Hancock County Prison. But she’s also living in a prison of grief and anger over the mother who died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. And in the summer of 1959, as twelve turns to thirteen, everything in Cammie’s life seems to be in flux. Cammie’s best friend, Reggie, is discovering lipstick and American Bandstand. A child killer is caught and brought to her prison. And the only mother figures in her life include a flamboyant shoplifter named Boo Boo and a sullen reformed arsonist of a housekeeper named Eloda. All will play a role in Cammie’s coming-of-age. But one in particular will make a staggering sacrifice to ensure that Cammie breaks free from her past.
The New York Times has called Spinelli “a poet of the prepubescent. . . . No writer guides his young characters, and his readers, past these pitfalls and challenges and toward their futures with more compassion.” In THE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER, he masterfully spins a tale of loss, redemption, and love like no other. Not only does this book demonstrate the power of kindness, but it also makes readers realize that kindness can be hidden in the least likely people and places.

About the Author

JERRY SPINELLI is the author of many books for young readers, including Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Milkweed; Crash; Hokey Pokey; Wringer; and Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal; along with Knots in My Yo-yo String, his autobiography. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, poet and author Eileen Spinelli. You can follow Jerry on Twitter at @JerrySpinelli1 and visit his website at

by Jerry Spinelli
An Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers hardcover / On sale January 3, 2017 / 978-0-375-83199-7
352 pages / $16.99 / $22.99 Can. / Ages 9–12 / Ebk: 978-0-553-49463-1 / $10.99
Available as an audiobook from Listening Library.

Fans, Writing, and Jerry Spinelli

Jerry Spinelli Talks The Warden's Daughter

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Best from 2016 (January): This is Where it Ends (Spotlight)

"[A] compelling story of terror, betrayal, and heroism… This brutal, emotionally charged novel will grip readers and leave them brokenhearted."--Kirkus Reviews

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Paperback: $17.99

The #1 New York Times Bestseller!
Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun.
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
The auditorium doors won’t open.
Someone starts shooting.
Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
A Buzzfeed Best YA of 2016 

#1 Young Adult Debut of 2016
Publishers Weekly Bestseller 
Winter ’15 Kids Indie Next List
Goodreads YA Best Books of the Month
Buzzfeed 5 YA Books You Should Be Reading This January 18 of 2016’s Most-Anticipated YA Novels
BookRiot 15 Books out in 2016 You Should Mark Down Now
A Goodreads Choice Award Finalist for Young Adult Fiction

Brief Review

No one wants to think about a school shooting, yet they occur all too often. When Columbine happened, we said "never again." And then came Sandy Hook. As a teacher, it never fails to cross my mind on a daily basis that I could be walking into a situation where I will encounter a school shooter. It seems, though, to get pushed to the back of mind as the year progresses uneventfully. Not until we have our annual lockdown drill is it brought back to the forefront. As I sit silently with my students in the corner of the room, we look at each other and wonder, "what if this were the real thing?," and we pray that we never know the answer.

In this book, four students from Alabama's Opportunity High School provide a timeline of the events of a school shooting. They are all connected to the shooter, Tyler, in some way (sister, girlfriend, girlfriend's brother, and ex-girlfriend). Each tells his/her perspective of what happened on that tragic day. The timeline is told as a flashback, which helps to provide some clarity of the plot of the events of the day, and the description of the events doesn't lose any intensity. While we hope we only ever read about such tragedies in fiction, school shootings are more common than ever, and this book helps to shed light on those connected to a school shooter as well as the decisions made (both heroic and tragic) amidst chaos.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Spotlight Tour: The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

“This engaging story will appeal to all readers and will help troubled teens realize that there can be help out there for what’s going on in their lives.” School Library Connection

“A stirring close-up of a family haunted by emotional trauma.” Kirkus

Forced to return to his estranged family, John discovers how hard it is to truly go home.
It’s been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family—until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John’s homecoming is far from happy.

As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She’s sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn’t far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself.

About the Author

Stacie Ramey attended the University of Florida where she majored in communication sciences and Penn State where she received a Master of Science degree in speech pathology. She lives in Wellington, Florida, with her husband, three children, and two rescue dogs. Visit

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