“You sed it taykes one person to start a revolushun, but that ent true is it? Taykes more than one. One to start it and uvvers to believe it can happen.”

Bearmouth, by Liz Hyder

The genderless protagonist of Liz Hyder’s goes by the name Newt. That name is one of the few things Newt has ever been freely given in the mines of Bearmouth, as they are neither friendly nor generous. The miners must pay the Masters for their boots and their tools, and even the precious candles that allow them to see their work. But work is the…


Let’s be honest, 2019 went way too quickly, and regretfully, I didn’t manage to get as far through my TBR list as I’d hoped. Whereas in 2018, I read a ton of YA fantasy, 2019 saw me branching out more, turning back towards more literary new releases, and even dipping my toes into a few thrillers and other new (for me) genres.

I also made some late-to-the game discoveries, including finally reading Lincoln in the Bardo (which immediately made it onto my list of favorite books of all time), and The Name of the Wind (which I sped through in…


Five days into November, the fireworks are flying, the coffee is flowing, and all over the world, novelists from all walks of life are furiously scribbling away, aiming to reach the goal of writing 50,000 words by the end of the month.

Started in 1999 when Chris Baty was told, in no uncertain terms, that it was impossible to write a novel in a month, National Novel Writing Month — most often abbreviated to NaNoWriMo, or even more conveniently, simply NaNo — has grown over the course of 20 years to become a world-wide celebration of novel-writing. Every year, it…


My writing career as a published author* began at the ripe old age of ten, with a fifth-grade English project. Each of us was to write and illustrate a short story. When we were done, our words and pictures would be printed and bound. We’d be published, with an actual physical book that was our very own!

Though my first book, alas, has been lost in several overseas moves, I still remember the story I wrote for it. It started out with a girl who decided to use her dad’s time machine in order to study for an upcoming history…


Every summer, when I was a child, my mother would plant a garden. My family would drive to the nursery on the other side of town, load our beat-up car with budding impatiens and heavy bags of black soil, and carry them to the beds in our back yard. Beneath the jasmine bush that twined through the fence separating our yard from the train tracks, we’d dig up the winter-hardened soil, lay down new earth, nestle young flowers in their cradles. …


First off, let me put one thing out there before anything else — I went into reading this book with the best intentions and only the fullest sympathy for John Boyne as an author. I knew about the controversy that had erupted on twitter and social media (as it does), and I picked up our shop’s ARC of the book fully intending to focus on what Boyne got right.

Alas, it didn’t turn out to be a lot.

Putting aside the book’s representation of trans issues for a moment (yes, we will get to it), even just in terms of…


They say you don’t need much water to drown in, and I think it must be the same with trees. If the woods are close enough and ancient, perhaps you can lose yourself in them forever, even if they do not stretch into eternity, even if a crow can fly from one end to the other in the hour before sunrise. There are paths of course, and if you do not stray, you will not lose your feet. You will not disappear among the dreaming trees, but you must be careful, first of all, to follow the trail. …


The bell tower stands in some famous city in Italy — Florence, I think, though it could be Naples, Genoa, Milan — definitely not Rome, definitely not Venice: this I know for certain. The bell tower is the important part, though its name still escapes me. I forget the names, but I remember the tower.

Built in Renaissance days, the tower stands on the bones of ancient imperials, rising above the Italian city whose name I have forgotten. It stands five stories tall, or perhaps eight at the most, though in my memory it is thirty, fifty, a hundred. …


Whenever I remember my elementary school years, it is winter. In the tiny town of Bogota, New Jersey, I sit in one of the thirteen classrooms of St. Joseph’s School, diagramming sentences under the supervision of used-to-be-nuns, the wind and sleet howling outside. The church — where I, my parents, and my Titas and Titos, my Aunts and Uncles, bow heads every Sunday under the smoke of incense and candles — connects to this classroom through a maze of corridors. …

Amy Borg

Amy V Borg is a memoir and teen fiction writer, avid reader, sometime adventurer and full-time bookseller. www.reallifeventures.blog

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