It's My Spring/Summer 2019 List!

It’s the hottest weekend of the year, and have I got some hot titles for you! (Forgive the crap writing—it really is hot, and my brain has melted.)

Last season, the three novels I edited all had road trips at the heart of their narratives. This season, there isn’t anything connecting the books (although I might be missing something; again, it’s very hot) other than that they’re gorgeous and brilliant and I love them.

Gabriel Alborozo was a house author-illustrator when I arrived at Holt, and I was excited and proud to work with him on Flora’s Tree House, a tale about siblings Flora and Will, their different styles of play, and how they come together on a carefree summer day. Flora likes using her imagination to write and draw stories, which she then puts in the titular tree house. We knew we wanted to feature the two characters and the tree house on the cover, while also hinting at the book’s imagination themes.

Gabe more than delivered on the final art, creating a verdant, lush image.

Gabe’s beautiful painting with his loose type

Gabe’s beautiful painting with his loose type

With just some minor adjustments and a bolder, easier-to-read title treatment, we had our cover.


Llama Destroys the World is exactly the kind of picture book I love working on—hilarious narrative with a memorable protagonist and bold, appealing art. We had two awesome and essential pieces to include on the cover: the (long) title and the (adorable) character. Illustrator Heather Fox, making her debut with this book, sent a number of sketches, like this one…


And this one…


April Ward, the book’s designer, ran with these directions and put together some comp covers with art from the interiors and Heather’s hand-lettering. We showed the following images to our sales team to get their input.

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Though April, Heather, and I were all leaning toward Option 1—big title plus seemingly harmless, small character felt like comic gold to us—we knew that some of the accounts were favoring big characters on their covers. And it did come down to Options 1 and 2. Happily, Option 1 won out. We compromised by increasing the size of Llama by about 15%.


We finished the cover off with spot UV on the title and character, embossing on the character, and an insanely vibrant fifth color for the background.

One of the first books I worked on when I arrived at Holt was Jonathan Voss’s Brave Enough for Two. It’s a magical, sweet story starring two memorable characters—a little girl named Olive and her best friend Hoot, a stuffed animal—and I was excited to sign up a sequel, Imagine That. In it, Hoot has lost his imagination, and Olive has to help him find it. Patrick Collins (the book’s designer), Jonathan, and I knew we had to feature the characters on the cover, and we wanted to highlight the worlds Olive dreams up. Jonathan’s first effort looked like this:

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Patrick and I loved the energy of the sketch, but we didn’t like that Hoot and Olive were pushed off to the side. And we were hopeful that we could set the title in the same place as we had on Brave Enough for Two. We went back to Jonathan with those notes, and we got this revision:


Everyone was beyond wowed with the composition, and so Jonathan, with the note to make the characters slightly larger, went to final art.


Make sure to take the jacket off the book—the case cover on it is stunning!

I worked on one novel for Spring/Summer 2019, the achingly awesome Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker, making his middle grade debut. Carol Ly, the book’s designer, and I brought on Junyi Wu to do the cover art and some interior illustrations. Junyi’s textured art felt perfectly suited to Christian’s creepy manuscript. Much like the fox kits at the heart of the novel, we want on a journey to get this cover right. First, Junyi sent some rough sketches:


We liked the ideas, but Carol and I wanted more atmosphere and characters that felt more sinister. Round 2 looked like this:


Carol and I were feeling Options 1 and 2, so Carol crafted some gorgeous type for the title, and we presented the options to Sales.


The sales team slightly favored Option 1, so Carol went back to Junyi to have her do some color samples. She gave us a bunch; here are a few.


Carol and I liked how the color brought the setting to life, but we felt like something was getting lost—the cool or creepy factor, or both. We kept coming back to the black-and-white version with only our foxes colored, plus an all-red option that felt extra scary.


Ultimately, we loved the classic feel of the B & W version paired with Carol’s hand-lettering.


We printed the jacket on soft touch paper with spot gloss on the title and foxes. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

Enjoy the reads!

Add It to the List: MAYOR PETE by Rob Sanders, art by Levi Hastings

Mayor Pete Buttigieg has made history as the first millennial and first openly gay man to run for the Democratic nomination for president. By taking this step and being so visible, he is showing millions of kids what is possible.

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I met Rob at an SCBWI conference years ago and have watched his writing career take off—he was the first person who came to mind when I decided to pursue a book about Mayor Pete. I’m thrilled Rob was interested and blown away by the craft, thoroughness, and energy of his manuscript. My awesome assistant Mark has had Levi on his radar for some time—we’ve been waiting for the right project, and for sure, Mayor Pete is it.

Add It to the List: SANTA BABY by Jonathan Stutzman, art by Heather Fox

Another day, another Stutz and Fox production! Santa Baby will be my first-ever Christmas-themed book.

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We’re just TWO WEEKS away from world destruction—Llama Destroys the World on May 7! Heather delivered final art last week for the duo’s second book together, Don’t Feed the Coos, coming in February 2020. The pair is also hard at work on Llama’s next adventure—Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse; I sent my notes on the sketch dummy and manuscript earlier this week. And today, I’m going to dig in to the manuscript for Santa Baby!

It's My Winter 2019 List!

Who’s up for a road trip? I hope all of you because the three novels I’m editing for Winter 2019 all have one!

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise (1/8/19) by Dan Gemeinhart has so many of the things I love about middle grade literature. An unforgettable protagonist in 12-year-old Coyote, a girl full of heart, wonder, and mischief. Honest, authentic issues in the form of the grief Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, deal with every day since the death of Coyote’s mom and two sisters. Genuine humor to offset the serious stuff, generated by the brilliant cast of characters Dan has created. And a journey of self-discovery, as this ragtag group drives from Florida to Washington State.

When designer Carol Ly and I met to talk about the cover, there was no doubt that we wanted to showcase Coyote. We also agreed that we wanted to do something sophisticated to go along with the heavier themes of the book. Carol hired Celia Krampien, who turned in some near-perfect sketches.

I love how evocative this image is, but it feels a bit quiet, which Dan’s book is not.

I love how evocative this image is, but it feels a bit quiet, which Dan’s book is not.

Celia’s composition here is super smart, and I love the movement in the sketch, but…

Celia’s composition here is super smart, and I love the movement in the sketch, but…

this sketch perfectly captures the energy of the character and the story.

this sketch perfectly captures the energy of the character and the story.

Celia went to final art on the third sketch, and after a title change, some experimentation with palette, and some fantastic hand lettering from Michael Burroughs, we had our final cover:


What We Buried by Kate Boorman (February 2019) is a tense psychological thriller that will make your mind expand and maybe even explode. I instantly fell in love with the novel’s damaged protagonists. Liv is sixteen and a former child beauty pageant queen and reality TV star. She’s coming to terms with the mental damage her childhood had on her and the role her parents played. Jory, her older brother, had a very different childhood. Born with a partial facial paralysis, he was relegated to the sidelines by his appearance-obsessed parents. The two have long been estranged, but circumstances force them to work together when their parents vanish. Their road trip through the deserts of Nevada is filled with surreal twists and nightmarish imagery, as the two grapple to reconcile their pasts and maintain a grip on the present. I’ve never read a YA novel that so deftly explores the bond between siblings.

Usually, when I acquire a novel, I can picture what the cover could be, but here, I was like, “Huh?” Happily, I was paired with designer Rich Deas, who is masterful at capturing tone and theme, particularly with complex, darker material. And just as he and I were starting to work together on the cover, the New York Times published a piece featuring a creepy AF piece of art by Matthieu Bourel. Rich brought Matthieu on board, who delivered some super cool comps.


Rich and Matthieu worked closely to find the right model for Liv (Rich already had the perfect image for Jory) and the images that would live in the characters’ faces. Matthieu worked his magic, and then Rich played with backgrounds and type treatment.

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As Liv and Jory’s narratives have equal weight in the novel, we wanted to give them equal “billing” on the jacket. I am IN LOVE with how it turned out.

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Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller (April 2019) is a coming-of-age story focused on the power of the friendship among three young women. Camille knows that she wants an abortion, and she quickly discovers how challenging the system in Texas makes it for young women. As she, Bea, and Annabelle drive from Houston to the Mexico border and then to New Mexico, she’ll share her experiences leading up to the road trip: of being ridiculed at a pharmacy, of being shamed at a family crisis center, of being bullied in court by a condescending judge.

The novel has clear nods to Thelma & Louise, and designer Katie Klimowicz and I discussed doing a photographic cover, maybe a selfie of our three heroines along the lines of this iconic image:

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My mind also jumped to Crossroads, another tale about three young women on a road trip of discovery.

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But the photographic approach felt potentially cheesy and would have necessitated a photo shoot (the stock photos weren’t going to cut it), which would have been hard to pull off—three models, a car, a road that looked like it was in Texas. Katie determined that the best path forward was to do something typographic, which felt right for Sharon’s awesome title and the content of the book. She brought on the brilliant Letterettes, and together, they came up with some polished concepts, including these:


We ultimately moved forward on Option 3, which best captures the narrative: the tire treads speak to the road trip, and the double pink line evokes a positive pregnancy test. The Letterettes worked their magic, resulting in this beautiful final cover.


Enjoy the rides! And please don’t text while driving.

Add It to the List: FITZ AND CLEO

I want to do all of the books with Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox. They’re exceptionally talented, brimming with sensational ideas, and deeply passionate about children’s literature. You’ll first get to see their work together in June 2019 with Llama Destroys the World, followed quickly by Don’t Feed the Coos! (Winter 2020), Fitz and Cleo Book One, Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse (both Spring 2020), Butts Are Everywhere (Putnam Fall 2020), and Fitz and Cleo Book Two. Get ready, world!

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Add Them to the List: New Nonfiction

I haven’t done a lot of nonfiction in my career. I was so immensely proud to work on Some Assembly Required by Arin Andrews and Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill. Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood with art by Sally Wern Comport was a joy to edit. Way back when, I edited Don’t Pigeonhole Me, an adult coffee table book by Mo Willems. And most recently, I partnered with Melissa de la Cruz on Because I Was a Girl: True Stories for Girls of All Ages.

I’m a big fan of books like Little Leaders and Women in Science, and it’s exciting to see the wealth of titles coming out in comparable formats. I was eager to see what I could bring to the table and came up with the idea for Firsts, a series that profiles people who were the first to accomplish something.

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Lately, I’ve been hungry for true stories, often on topics—full disclosure—that I don’t really understand. That’s true of Whose Right Is It Anyway? The Second Amendment and the Fight Over Guns by Hana Bajramovic. I knew only the basics of the Second Amendment, which seemed wrong in an era where gun violence and conversations about gun rights were ubiquitous. After Whose Right Is It Anyway?, Hana will do a deep dive on the Fourteenth Amendment.

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I’ve never in my life done an alphabet book, but Kate Farrell’s text for V Is for Voting was just too good and too timely (voting is always timely) to pass up.

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Finally, I’ve long been a fan of Venus and Serena Williams. What these two women, these SISTERS, have accomplished is truly remarkable. What has always stood out to me about the Williams sisters is how close they are. The two of them have been through some things! Through it all, they’ve not only stood by one another, but they have celebrated each other’s accomplishments, while simultaneously making the world better for female professional athletes. Jamie and Ebony are a match made in heaven.

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A Starred Review for SNOW PONY AND THE SEVEN MINIATURE PONIES (plus some other nice reviews)

I love stars, be they in the sky or in the pages of Entertainment Weekly. I particularly adore starred reviews of books...and Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies just got one from School Library Journal!

*TRIMMER, Christian. Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies. illus. by Jessie Sima. 48p. S. & S. Aug. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481462686. 

K-Gr 2–Children come from miles around to see the aptly named Snow Pony, whose coat is the color of snow and whose mane is as dark as ebony. Known for her hair-braiding and line-dancing skills, Snow Pony regularly puts on shows for an adoring public, along with her best friend, a little girl named Charmaine, and Hunter the dog. But a rival pony, the jealous Queenie, is determined to seize the spotlight and subject the crowds to scrapbooking lessons. This retelling softens the edges of “Snow White” and jettisons the romance in favor of a friendship-heavy plot. No poison here—Queenie merely distracts Snow Pony with a trail of apples that lead her into the woods, where she gets lost and meets seven miniature ponies. While Snow Pony immediately bonds with her new pals, she longs to see Charmaine and Hunter again (and her pals are just as worried about her). Bright illustrations depict winsome settings and characters. Accompanied by sparkling stars, Snow Pony cuts a graceful figure, while the endearingly eccentric, diminutive ponies are squat, with long manes covering their eyes. This version of the tale strikes a whimsical note, eschewing snark in favor of offbeat but kid-friendly humor, and though on the lengthy side, it’ll easily grab children’s attention. VERDICT Fairy-tale reimaginings are common, but this quirky one more than holds its own. A superb story for longer read-alouds and one-on-one sharing.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly also had nice things to say: "This book will top the pile of bedtime favorites in horse-loving households, with jokes thrown in for the grown-ups, to boot." And Booklist justly called me out for being ridiculous: "Trimmer's tongue-in-cheek story is full aware of its ridiculous premise--not to mention the irresistible adorableness of miniature horses--but readers lured by these won't be disappointed."


When you're editing a picture book, you have very regular contact with the project. You communicate with the author to get the manuscript just right. You review copy edits and consult with design. You pore over sketches and then tighter sketches and final art. Pass after pass routes until the book is perfect and ready to go to the printer. You talk about the book with sales and marketing and publicity and librarians, in meetings and at conferences. The time seems to fly, and then, suddenly, you find a finished book in your inbox.

Writing a picture book is a very different experience. You work with your editor to get the story just right--my editor (the brilliant Emma Ledbetter) and I did that back in December 2016. Occasionally, you'll get an email with an update or be asked to review sketches, but weeks, even months, can go by. And then, suddenly, there's a box of books with your name on the cover at your front door.

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I'm proud to have my name on the cover of this particular book—Teddy's Favorite Toy is my most personal story to date and one that speaks to themes I wholeheartedly believe in. Booklist called it a "refreshingly bold story that  makes its message clear without being pedantic" in its starred review. And Publishers Weekly wrote, "Trimmer's [that's me!] smart, closely observed portrait celebrates a boy and a mother whose relationship grows out of mutual respect," also in a starred review. I really love what Horn Book had to say: "The story’s implicit messages—that it should be unremarkable when boys play with dolls; that parents can become superheroic to do right by their children—ring loud, true, and...funny." The book is also a Junior Library Guild selection. 

I hope you enjoy it!

Add It to the List: THE SHAPE OF WATER


Contact: Molly Ellis, Director of Publicity

Macmillan Publishing Group




New York, NY (XX XX, 2017) – Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, will publishThe Shape of Water, an original adult novel that both mirrors and extends the story told by the feature film of the same name. Fox Searchlight Pictures will release the film, which has already won the coveted Golden Lion as Best Picture at the Venice International Film Festival, on December 1, 2017. Based on an original idea by del Toro and Kraus, The Shape of Water has been developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release—one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of film and literature.

The Shape of Water is set in Cold War-era Baltimore at the Occam Aerospace Research Center, which has recently received its most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man captured in the Amazon. What unfolds is a haunting love story between the asset and one of the female janitors on staff, a mute woman who uses sign language to communicate with the creature. The book features illustrations by  visual artist James Jean, and weaves fantasy, fable, and romance to create a tale that is equally gripping on the page as it is on the big screen.

Kraus and Del Toro previously collaborated on the young adult novel Trollhunters, which was adapted into the most-watched family show in Netflix history. It was during a meeting about that project that the two began to develop the idea which became The Shape of Water.

“This is a story I've been thinking about since I was six years old and saw Julie Adams in Creature from the Black Lagoon,” said Guillermo del Toro. “I always hoped she and the creature would end up together, but they didn't. It was over a breakfast with my Trollhunters collaborator Daniel Kraus that he told me about his version of a similar idea and I knew immediately that we'd cracked the story, both for the movie and the book.” 

The Shape of Water is my oldest spark of an idea—I’ve been carrying it around inside me since I was fifteen,” said Daniel Kraus. “But it wasn’t a fully fleshed story until I met Guillermo. Within seconds of telling him the premise, he began filling in the narrative blanks. I love writing with Guillermo because he’s the the most earnest, emotionally open artist I know, and those sensibilities compliment my darker, grittier tendencies.”

“Guillermo and Daniel are two of my favorite storytellers,” said editorial director Christian Trimmer. “And what they have created with The Shape of Water is nothing short of brilliant.”

Trimmer negotiated the book deal with Richard Abate of 3 Arts Entertainment and Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment for World Rights. Publication is planned for February 27, 2018. The film, directed by del Toro and starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, and Richard Jenkins, will be released by Fox Searchlight on December 1, 2017.

TEDDY'S FAVORITE TOY Gets Heaps of Praise!

Teddy's Favorite Toy publishes in just over two months, and the reviews are starting to come in. I'm thrilled to include two STARRED reviews here and to announce that the book is a Junior Library Guild selection. 

Booklist called the book "refreshingly bold," "dynamic," and "appealing." Read the whole review here.

Publishers Weekly noted illustrator Madeline Valentine's "extravagant fashion looks worthy of Project Runway or RuPaul's Drag Race" and called out Teddy's use of "YAS, QUEEN!" (I'm incredibly proud to have written the first picture book to use that magical phrase.) Check out the review here.


My Fourth Book Deal

I've always loved fairy tales. As a child, I sought them out in whatever form they took--picture books, short story collections, Disney films. 

I used to love horses (I still like them, but the passion doesn't run as deep). My friend Heather had one. I vividly remember a photo of her atop it in her chic riding gear. It blew my mind that a kid my age could OWN A HORSE. 

As a children's book editor, I've enjoyed reading fairy tale reimaginings, though I've yet to work on any (hint, hint). So, I decided to write one of my own. Happily, the always brilliant Justin Chanda wanted to work on it, and he reached out to the magnificent Jessie Sima to see if she might illustrate it. (See? I told you--brilliant.) She said yes.

Cover Reveal: BAD GUY

Hannah Barnaby crafted a hilarious story about a child's desire to be the villain (and to torture his sister). As a kid, I preferred to be the hero, Wonder Woman specifically, but I see the appeal. Mike Yamada has brought the story to life with his vibrant, brilliant art. Here's just a taste of what the book will be:



Special thanks to Carter Higgins for doing the cover reveal


Add It to the List: BENT HEAVENS by Daniel Kraus

Just a couple of months after I started at Simon & Schuster, I received a proposal and some sample chapters for The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch. I was beyond desperate to work on the two-book series and celebrated heartily after I won the auction. In a little more than two months, after three-plus years and almost 1500 pages, Zebulon's complete story will be out in the world. 

I thought Daniel might want to take a break after finishing his epic, but no. He's eager to write the next story, and when that one is done, he'll immediately move on to the next one. Daniel has so many stories in him that he's racing against the clock. 

That next story is Bent Heavens, a contemporary--!--story told from the point-of-view of a young woman--!!! It's so different from all of Daniel's previous books but promises to be, as always,  intelligent, terrifying, morally complex, and brilliant.

My Third Book Deal

When I was a little boy, my favorite toy in the whole world was the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman doll.

The resemblance is uncanny!

The resemblance is uncanny!

Oh, how I loved her. She was beautiful and powerful and such good company. I would tragically lose her (and no, I didn't misplace her--I lost her), and to this day, I feel her absence.

The memory of her was triggered by Target's decision last year to stop labeling toys for boys or girls. I have the sense that neither my mom nor dad liked that I spent so much time with a Barbie-like doll, which added a weight to playtime. It was a crappy feeling.

A more political Knuffle Bunny for a slightly older reader, Teddy's Favorite Toy is a love letter to moms. It's also the perfect book for parents who could give two shits about giving their child "gender appropriate" toys. Teddy's Favorite Toy is my most personal story to date, though I've rewritten history to give Teddy a happier ending.

I'm thrilled that Madeline Valentine is illustrating--her work is so cool, and she's here in New York! I might get to meet her! And I've already loved working with Emma. Her notes on the manuscript gave the story more heart and pep.

Add It to the List: The Worldquake Sequence by Scarlett Thomas

When I first started in children's publishing, I was surrounded by amazing middle-grade projects: Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, Bartimaeus. Over the years, I've had a hard time finding middle-grade novels that I wanted to edit. At Hyperion, I worked on books in the three series just mentioned, along with the first books in Robin Mellom's The Classroom series. In my three years at Simon & Schuster, I've edited just three middle-grade books: Red Butterfly and the two Miles Taylor books. Happily, I've just doubled that figure by acquiring the first three books in acclaimed novelist Scarlett Thomas's Worldquake Sequence. 

The first book, Dragon's Green, reminded me of all the things I loved about Percy, Artemis, and Bartimaeus: unforgettable characters, twisty plot, and brilliant world-building. Add to the mix Roald Dahl-esque adults and Harry Potter-like food descriptions and I was sold. Scarlett tackles big ideas in the way that Philip Pullman does with the writing elegance of Katherine Rundell.

Dragon's Green comes out in Summer 2017.

Add It it to the List: THE REMEMBER BALLOONS by Jessie Oliveros, art by Dana Wulfekotte

My taste in picture books was very much shaped by my work with the great Mo Willems. I was fortunate to edit a bunch of Elephant & Piggie books, a couple of Pigeon titles, a Knuffle Bunny project, even an adult coffee-table book. Mo's slightly subversive sense of humor, his expert use of spare text, and his respect for his young readers still influence my picture-book acquisitions--see Ben Clanton, Mike Boldt, Ashlyn Anstee, and Jessie Sima, for example, as well as my own picture books. 

But every now and then, I go for something very different. The Night Gardener was unlike any book I'd ever acquired and also one of the most rewarding experiences. Same goes for Ada's Violin, which is one of the best stories I've ever heard...and it's true!

Add to that short list The Remember Balloons, the debut picture book by Jessie Oliveros. It's easily one of the most powerful picture-book manuscripts I've ever read, taking on a subject matter--dementia--rarely seen in the market. I'm so happy that Dana Wulfekotte is doing the art. She conveys so much emotion with her illustrations, and there's a brightness to her palette that feels right for Jessie's story.

This is my first deal with both Mike at Dystel & Goodrich and Sean at Sean McCarthy Literary. I've known Sean since his days at Sheldon Fogelman Agency...when I was working on Mo Willems's books.



It's My Summer 2016 Novels!

Recently, I shared some background on the creation of the covers for my Summer 2016 picture books. Now, let's get to the novels!

From time to time, it makes sense to try a different approach for the paperback edition of a book, and that's what we did with Attack of the Alien Horde. I sat down with designer Greg Stadnyk and looked at a bunch of superhero comics, movie posters, concept art, and fan art. We drew a lot of inspiration from these graphic images.

Dusty Higgins brought his own interpretation to the idea and delivered this awesome piece of art...

You'll notice that we decided to play up the book title versus the series name, a reversal from our position on the original edition. Greg came up with a TON of options for the title treatment, and I'm super in love with our selection--it's high impact and dramatic. Everything yellow is going to be printed over foil. It's ridiculously cool.

Now that we had a new direction for the series, we needed to come up with a cover for Book Two: Rise of the Robot Army (6/14/16). We knew that we had to feature the robots, and along with Miles, we wanted to incorporate Miles's best friend Henry, as well as new character Lenore (aka Skip). Having this many characters on the cover made our simple graphic approach much more challenging, but Dusty WORKED IT OUT. 

That lead robot and Miles's cape will print over foil for an eye-catching, shimmery effect.

I have two YA offerings for Summer 2016. Cure for the Common Universe (6/14/16) by the wonderful Christian McKay Heidicker follows 16-year-old Jaxon, who may or may not be addicted to video games. If you ask me, he is. His father and stepmother agree with me, and on the very day that Jaxon secures his first real date with a human living young woman, his parents send him off to video game rehabilitation. Now, Jaxon has less than a week to "beat" rehab if he's to make it to his date. Fun, right?

Cure has the big-cast appeal of It's Kind of a Funny StoryThe Breakfast Club, and/or Girl, Interrupted. In rehab, Jaxon will meet like-minded individuals, though he will go out of his way to prove that he's nothing like Soup, Aurora, Meeki, or the other members of his guild. And he will have to confront his shitty worldview, much of it shaped by the games he spends hours playing every day.

Christian did a really fun scavenger-hunt cover reveal a few months back, and he gave props to eBoy, who created the shockingly cool cover art. But let's back up a couple of months. Greg Stadnyk, the designer for the novel, was really excited about the prospect of working with eBoy on this cover, and I was immediately sold on the idea. eBoy's artwork perfectly captures the hyperrealistic worlds Christian's characters spend the bulk of their time in. Initially, we wanted eBoy to create a new piece for us, showcasing the cool setting (the Utah desert), the rehab facility (Video Horizons), and our big cast of characters. But our budget allowed for one character and one simple building--those pixelated worlds don't come cheap!

Still, we asked eBoy to give it a try. The early drafts were pretty bleak. The art was cool, but the whole point in commissioning eBoy was to get an over-the-top, jam-packed video game extravaganza. What we got reminded me of the smallest Lego sets you can buy, the ones with one figure and his hard hat and maybe a cactus. We were still eager to work with eBoy, so Greg and I pored over their archives and licensed a piece of art that fit our vision. That's how we ended up with this masterpiece:

The title and byline will be printed in a fifth color and will have spot gloss on them.

Finally, we have Remix (7/5/16) from the uber-gifted Non Pratt, with whom I worked on Trouble, a novel I was very happy to inherit when I started at S & S. Like TroubleRemix is about friendship. While Trouble explored the early days of a friendship destined to become of the best quality, Remix looks at the struggles two best friends must overcome to keep their friendship intact. 

The story is told from two points of view: Kaz, the more responsible one, who has recently had her heart broken by the boy she thought she'd be with forever; and Ruby, the spontaneous one, who has never been much for romance but who refuses to acknowledge how much she cares about a boy she was, until recently, snogging. (The novel is set in England.) The lives of our two protagonists are about to change dramatically. For one, for their final year of high school, they will not be attending the same school. And two, Ruby's big brother, whom she adores, is moving to California. The girls, mourning their soon-to-be losses, decide to go to a weekend music festival to bond and forget about their worries. 

As is de rigueur in today's industry, we wanted to do something illustrated, so designer Lizzy Bromley combed through her tumblr favorites to see who could capture the right spirit. We settled on the brilliant Istvan Banyai, whose work has graced The New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, and many other fancy publications. After we told Istvan the basic premise of the story, he got to work and delivered many options, like these two:

We loved the energy of the first option and the portrayal of friendship in the second, and we asked Istvan to combine the two while also providing more detail on our protagonists.

After a bit of back and forth, we had an image that we loved, and Lizzy dropped this bomb color and type treatment on it:

That vibrant pinkish red is a fifth color. The full wrap is magnificent--you'll see when you buy the book.

Check out the "Coming Soon" tab to learn more about these books!

It's My Three-Year Anniversary!

Every Tax Day, I'm reminded that, once again, I've forgotten to pay my taxes AND that I'm celebrating the start of another year at Simon & Schuster.

In the three years I've been a member of the BFYR team, fourteen books I've acquired (along with ten that I inherited) have found their way into bookstores, libraries, schools, and homes, with many more to come. I'm very proud of the list I've put together in my time at Simon & Schuster. As a thank-you to you, dear readers, I'm giving away some books. Yes, I know, I should be the one receiving gifts, but please, let me do this.

There are three prize packs.

One lucky winner will receive all of the picture books I've worked on.

One fortunate recipient will get all of the young adult books.  

And one charmed being will win my whole list.

To enter, between 4/14 and 4/21, tag me in a tweet (@MisterTrimmer). Include the link to this post. As an example:

Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons never expire, @MisterTrimmer [link to this blog post]

For a second chance to win, retweet my original tweet announcing the giveaway:


Thanks to all the amazing people I work with for three glorious years!