Friday, 3 November 2017

Goodreads Choice Awards 2017

Just popping my head out of the editing cave to say, with delight, that The Song Rising has been nominated in the Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction category of the Goodreads Choice Awards 2017. As you'll know if you've been following me for a while, this book was difficult for me to write, and seeing it nominated for the best of the year means more to me than I can explain. Thank you to anyone who added it to their shelves, gave it a rating, took the time to review it, or did all three of those things. Thank you for continuing to support this deeply weird series.

I'm not expecting to get past the first round, given the amount of brilliant books in this category, but if you do want to vote for The Song Rising, Paige and I would appreciate it. You can vote here.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Tour recap

Hi, dreamers.

It's been a while since I updated the blog, and so much has happened since then that I thought it was past time I popped in . . .

The Song Rising is published at last, and I'm so thrilled with the response to it. Thank you. This book always felt like a risk, as it's so dissimilar to The Mime Order and you all had to wait two years for it, but I'm glad so many of you have enjoyed it. I feel like this is the last rosy glow of goodwill you'll have towards me before I smash all your hearts underfoot in Book 4. (On the subject of Book 4: It has a working title I love. Fingers crossed Bloomsbury will agree to it.)  

After publication day I did a whirlwind tour of the UK and USA. It kicked off with an event in Glasgow, then I was off to Edinburgh for the official launch party, organised by the fabulous Philippa and Janet from Bloomsbury. During The Song Rising, Paige visits the South Bridge Vaults in Edinburgh, and it turns out you can actually hire part of them for events. Wine by candlelight, having my makeup done by Lauren Gollan, and a giant Join the Revolution banner – I had the time of my life. Thank you to everyone who joined me to celebrate my long-awaited publication day, especially those of you who made your way up to Scotland from other parts of the UK.

Photo (c) Philippa Cotton

Afterwards, I did events in Manchester and London before crossing the pond for the US leg of my tour. In sweltering Arizona, after a ten-hour flight, I spoke with a host of great authors at the Tucson Festival at Books, including V. E. Schwab, Erika Lewis and Marie Brennan, and took a stroll in the Sonoran Desert. In Colorado, I visited Tattered Cover in Denver and got interviewed by Heather, who I first met after my car accident in Kansas City a few years ago. In North Carolina, I was charmed by a Southern hotel with an old-fashioned bath, where the rooms smelled of magnolia, and even more charmed by the team at Flyleaf Books – Banshion, Travis and Colin – who were kind enough to make me proper tea in a pot (!) and source a tray of British biscuits and chocolate. (This is a big deal. Tea is scarce on tour.) In Miami, I tried Cuban food for the first time. In Georgia, I got my teeth into real Southern food – chicken, fried okra and corn muffins – and visited the Margaret Mitchell House on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. And finally, in snowy Toronto, I had one of the most enthusiastic audiences I've had in ages. Questions galore. Then it was back to the UK to do events in York, Sheffield – where I did my first ever Bone Season event in 2013 – and Birmingham, and finally in Oxford, where I spoke with Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Melinda Salisbury for the Oxford Writers' Circle. 

So . . . that was a busy month. And if that wasn't enough travel to be going on with, I've just got back from my trip to Warsaw and Poznań to celebrate the launch of Pieśń Jutra, the Polish translation of The Song Rising

Polish readers have been incredibly supportive of the Bone Season series, so I was thrilled to be invited by my publisher in Poland, Wydawnictwo SQN. During the tour, I did signings in Warsaw and Poznań, got to meet some wonderful YouTubers – Anita, Laura, Maja, Paweł and Zuzanna – and attended Pyrkon, a huge fantasy and sci-fi convention, where I did several panels and made a speech on Strong Female Characters.

I've never seen a convention quite as vast as this one. Some of the panels had hundreds of people in the audience. Attendees can sleep in the complex overnight, so the fun goes on 24/7. Because of that, many of the events started quite late – I had one at 9pm. I wonder if we should try doing something like that at YALC or LFCC . . .

I'm going to post the transcript of my Strong Female Characters speech on here soon, so keep an eye out if you're interested in that sort of thing. 

So that's what I've been up to for the last couple of months. And here's what I have coming up next.

What I'm working on 

I'm delighted to report that I just got my edits for The Priory of the Orange Tree. By some miracle, there isn't a colossal amount of structural work to do on it, so perhaps those 1000+ pages weren't all waffle after all. I'm editing Priory alongside writing the first draft of TBS4, which has passed 60K words. Fingers crossed, if I can manage switching between them, both will be finished by the end of July.

On my bookshelf 

Hild by Nicola Griffin, a semi-fictional imagining of the early life of Saint Hilda of Whitby, was a strange experience for me. Usually I tear through books and finish them in one or two days, but Hild took me weeks – not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because the world was so dense and intricate that I really had to slow down and savour it to keep abreast of what was going on. I have an interest in British history of this period, and I'll admit that I found it difficult to keep up with some of the background conflicts and names, but the focus on the role of women in early Anglo-Saxon society was fascinating. Griffin has a sublime writing style, and I mean that in the Romantic sense of the word. She paints the natural world vividly and intertwines Hild's story with the importance of textile production during this period, focusing on the ‘warp and weft’ of a country divided by fault lines of loyalty and religion. And God, that twist at the end. I'll be first in line for the second book.

Other books I've enjoyed recently are A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson, a high fantasy about Aqib bgm Sadiqi, royal cousin and Master of Beasts in Olorum, and the searing love he finds with a Daluçan soldier (thank you, Banshion, for the recommendation); Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence, a heart-pounding thriller about family, music, gang culture and drugs in East London; The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano, an exquisite retelling of the tale of King Midas – only this time, a princess can turn living things to gemstone; and Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova, which is about brujas in New York. 'Nuff said. 

You must also get to the bookshop and pick up The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia Ember, a Viking-inspired take on The Little Mermaid. It's body-positive, dark, and sexy, and the mermaid society Ember has built is rich with detail.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The music machine

With only nine days to go until The Song Rising, I think it's high time I released my soundtrack for the book. As always with a Bone Season installment, some real songs and pieces of music are mentioned on the page. While The Song Rising isn't anywhere near as musical as the first two books in the series, given that Paige is on the move so much and has no conveniently-placed gramophone to hand, the featured songs are some of my favourites, and one in particular has a large role to play.

In the book

Death and the Maiden – Franz Schubert – Jaxon's Theme
Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes – Rita Streich
The Lost Chord – Adelaide Anne Procter & Arthur Seymour Sullivan

Author's playlist

Ambition – Doves
And I Will Kiss – Underworld feat. Dame Evelyn Glennie – The Jubilee
Ashes – Madi Diaz
Backseat – Carina Round – Nick and Paige's Theme
Cherry Bomb – The Runaways – Maria's Theme
Covenant  – Ilya Beshevli – Warden's Theme
Dance of the Druids
Bear McCreary – A Memory of She'ol

Don't Shy From the Light – Neulore
Dream – Imagine Dragons
Eventide – Brand X Music
Fire – Bipolar Sunshine
Ghosts – BANNERS

I Had No One – David Arnold & Michael Price – Victoria Tower / Colchicum
In Nowheres – The Twilight Sad – The Road to Edinburgh
Kings and Queens and Vagabonds – Ellem
Lord of Light – Ramin Djawadi – Nashira's Theme
Lovechild – Rebecca Clements 
Jaxon and Paige's Theme

Murmur – FirstCom Cinematic Orchestra
No Time for Caution – Hans Zimmer – Vance's Theme
Redbeard – David Arnold & Michael Price – "I am Paige Mahoney"
Running Through Woodland – Message to Bears – Nick's Memory
Salvator Mundi – Thomas Tallis
The Scorch – Shelby Merry – Paige's Theme
Shot in the Dark – Within Temptation
Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight – Low Roar
War – She is We
The Whisperer – David Guetta feat. Sia – Warden and Paige's Theme
You Know Where to Find Me – Imogen Heap

Listen on Spotify 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

A Series of Wildly Different Events

It's almost here

There are now less than two weeks to go until The Song Rising officially hits bookshelves. I've gone all shaky.

Signed Collector's Editions, all ready to go.

By the time The Song Rising is published, it will have been over two years since The Mime Order went into readers' hands in January 2015. Back then, I was certain that the third book would be out within one year, as I knew The Song Rising would likely be the shortest of the seven. As I've discussed in another post, that was not to be.

Sometimes it's felt like the longest wait in the world. Now it's here, however, it feels like no time since I was waiting for The Mime Order to finally make its way into readers' hands, and had that fizzing cocktail of anticipation and terror and excitement sloshing around inside me. Now we're on the home run, I thought I'd talk a little about what you should expect from The Song Rising and the remaining four books in the Bone Season septology.

There are various ways of approaching a long series. One of those ways is to adhere to a pattern. In Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling followed the same rough structure for the first six books. We would begin with Harry at Privet Drive; he would then go to Hogwarts, discover a Voldemort-related threat to the peace, deal with that threat, and return to Privet Drive at the end of the school year. It worked so well because readers always knew what they were getting. If they liked the first Harry Potter book, they would probably like the rest of them. Fans knew what to expect, and we looked forward to that familiarity, knowing there would always be a great twist to keep us engaged. We knew Harry was going to get into some sort of fix with Ron and Hermione, but we didn't know what it would be, or how he would get out of it, and we were addicted to that mystery. We waited to see what would disrupt the ordinary life Harry was trying to lead. Many books, especially in Middle Grade, follow this sort of pattern; The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy and The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton come to mind. It works especially well when the story takes place in a school or workplace (e.g. orphanage, hospital, office), where every day is meant to follow a similar structure. People respond well to familiarity and routine, but look forward to the disruption of the established order. That's what makes that kind of book so enjoyable.

With The Bone Season, I went for a different approach. Because Paige leads a life outside of institutions – she's a thorn in the side of the system, working beyond the rules of society – there was no reason for me to keep to a structure. She had routine to some extent when she worked for Jaxon, and if I were ever to write a series about the adventures of the Seven Seals, it would keep to that disruption-of-routine pattern: Paige would be at Seven Dials, hanging out with Nick and the others, until something came to disturb the peace. The gang would resolve the mystery and be back at Chat's for coffee by dawn. You can get a glimpse of the kind of pattern I would have followed if you read The Pale Dreamer.

As it stands, the series as a whole is not about the Seven Seals hunting down poltergeists in London for the rest of their lives. In The Bone Season, Paige is dragged away from the comfort of routine. When she finally has the chance to return to it, she is no longer able to live that life in good conscience. Without the option of routine for my protagonist, I decided on the opposite approach. Each book would be so different to the last that readers would be unable to guess what would happen in each installment. Unless you're clairvoyant, I'm fairly confident that none of you will have the foggiest idea where the plot of Book 4 will take you, or how it will end. In short, I want the series to feel as if it could bend in any direction at any time.

This approach has its upsides and its downsides. I don't necessarily expect readers to enjoy every Bone Season book equally, for example, because each book is designed to be a slightly different ‘genre’ to the last. The Bone Season was a prison break; The Mime Order was a murder mystery; The Song Rising is, at its heart, a heist, while Book 4 is a touch more political, laced with subterfuge. Books 5-7 are going to be so different tonally, with such a different focus, that I've mentally classified them as a second ‘arc’ to the series, even though they follow the same core cast of characters. I wanted it to be this way so the reader never knows what to expect when they pick up a Bone Season book, and finds it nigh-on impossible to guess the outcome of the series as a whole. All they know for sure – and only because I've confirmed it outside the books – is that Paige will be the narrator all the way through. The risk of that is that if someone loved something about one of the books in particular, they may not always rediscover that one thing in the other installments. The upside is that they might discover something new to love. I truly hope you will.

I can't promise that every Bone Season book will be anything like the first one. What I can promise is that you'll be with Paige for the whole journey, and that she'll take you with her to many unexpected places.  

What I'm working on 

Right now I'm preparing for my Song Rising tour in the US and UK. Dates are above, and more details can be found on my upcoming events page.

I'm also hard at work on the fourth Bone Season book and drafting a summary of a Priory-related project. I went for a meeting with Bloomsbury the other day, and to my relief, my editors love the first draft of The Priory of the Orange TreeMy first round of editorial notes are due in mid-April. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to sharing this book with you - I've worked hard on it over the past few months, and I can't wait to introduce you to the characters and the world. I don't have a release date for you just yet, but hopefully we'll be able to settle on that over the next few months. In the meantime, you can add it on Goodreads here, and here's your very first quote:

On my bookshelf

I've challenged myself to read 35 books for the 2017 Goodreads Challenge. My favourite book so far has been Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo, author of The Spider King's Daughter. It follows five people, led by army deserter Chike, as they escape to the bustling Nigerian city of Lagos to seek a better life. When their worlds collide with those of a disgraced education minister and an up-and-coming journalist, they must make a series of impossible choices.

Another book you must pre-order is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, an unflinching look at the Black Lives Matter movement. The story follows sixteen-year-old Starr, who witnesses the shooting of her unarmed best friend at the hands of a police officer. As well as tackling an important and harrowing subject, Angie Thomas has created one of the best fictional families of all time. Starr's relationship with her father, Maverick, is a real pleasure to read.

Finally, two terrific sequels for you: The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury and Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton. The Scarecrow Queen was a stunning end to the Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy, while Traitor to the Throne has left me desperate for the final book in Amani's story.

Friday, 20 January 2017

The Countdown Begins

We're just over a month away from The Song Rising. I can't quite believe, after all this time, that we're suddenly so close – I've never been more excited to share a book with the world. Scion looks forward to welcoming you all back. 

I'm just popping my head in today to give you a roundup of things you should know before release day.

– The signed Collector's Edition of The Song Rising is still available from Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million in the US, as well as Amazon UK and other retailers. If you'd like one, it's a good idea to get your order in as soon as possible, as these editions are limited. Links are hereRemember, this edition is the only way to get a hardback with a cover in the original styles.

– If you pre-order any edition of The Song Rising, you're entitled to some amazing free tattoos and buttons. See here for details.

    – The Standard Edition of The Song Rising, the white hardback, will have sprayed orange pages. They look beautiful.

    – I've just put up a few of my tour dates for the UK and US here. More to come.

    – For a chance to join me at my book launch in Edinburgh, you can enter Bloomsbury's competition here

     – If you fancy rereading The Bone Season and The Mime Order before the third book comes out, there are several readalongs happening on social media at the moment. Bloomsbury is running one on Goodreads here; several wonderful Instagrammers have banded together to #ReadTBS on Instagram or Twitter (details here), and if Tumblr is your thing, the lovely Books and Cookies is running one here. It's not too late to join in with any of these.

    – If you don't have time to re-read the first two books before March, here's a little toolkit to help you jump straight back into Scion: [x

    – The Spotify playlist for The Song Rising is officially complete! Listen here.

    Friday, 23 December 2016

    Waiting on . . . Friday

    This year I read so many great books that I actually broke a sweat when I tried to narrow it down to ten favourites . . . so instead of an end-of-year roundup, I'm going to do nine of my most anticipated releases of 2017. Much easier.

    Some of these I've read and some I haven't, but I have the feeling you'll want to add them all to your to-read list.

    1. Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renée Ahdieh

    Genre(s): Fantasy

    While researching The Priory of the Orange Tree I've developed a keen interest in feudal Japan, so I'm really looking forward to this story about Mariko, an alchemist and a samurai's daughter, who escapes assassination, dressed as a boy, and infiltrates the gang that tried to kill her. I love a good girl-dresses-as-boy plot and I was a huge fan of Renée's Wrath and the Dawn duology, so I suspect I'm going to love this one. Also, hot damn, that cover.

    2. A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi

    Genre(s): Fantasy

    The Star-Touched Queen was one of my standout reads of 2016, blending Indian folklore with the myth of Hades and Persephone. Its protagonist is Maya, a princess whose fate has put her on a collision course with death. The sequel will focus on Gauri, one of my favourite secondary characters from the first book. Roshani Chokshi is a truly gifted writer – I can't wait to get lost in her beautiful imagery and exquisite turns of phrase again.

    3. The Curses (The Graces #2) by Laure Eve

    Genre(s): Contemporary, urban fantasy

    The Graces – the tale of River, a young woman who becomes obsessed with a family rumoured to be witches and tries to integrate herself into their circle – was a bright star among my 2016 reads; I called it ‘mysterious, beautiful and unnerving’. It's all those things and more. I'm excited, albeit a tad frightened of what Laure has in store for her readers in The Curses, to see how this story ends.  

    4. Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton 

    Genre(s): Fantasy

    Rebel of the Sands was an explosive mix of the Western genre and One Thousand and One Nights. That and its quick-witted heroine made it one of my favourite books of this year. The sequel continues the story of Amani Al'Hiza, the gun-slinging Blue-Eyed Bandit, on her journey as a rebel in the war-torn desert nation of Miraji. I was fascinated by the mythology of Rebel and can't wait to see how it plays out in a palace setting in Traitor.

    5. A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke

    Genre(s): Fantasy

    Cover not yet revealed. I'm fortunate enough to have received a very early proof of Lisa's stunning début, which will hit shelves like a blizzard in October 2017. The quote I gave Scholastic sums up how I feel about it: "It reads like a long-lost fable, rich with beauty and imagination. A world you won't forget." Set in a frozen country named Skane – inspired by Scandinavia – it follows a courageous protagonist named Ósa as she embarks on a journey to save her people from a deadly plague. The atmosphere of this book is its strongest point: chilling, yet utterly beautiful.

    6. Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas

    I can't quite believe the triumphant Throne of Glass series is coming to an end this year. I haven't yet read Empire of Storms, but Queen of Shadows blew me away and I know the final book in the series will do the same. It's still going to be bittersweet to leave these characters behind. Having said that, I'm holding out hope for a Manon Blackbeak spin-off.

    7. The Scarecrow Queen (The Sin Eater's Daughter #3) by Melinda Salisbury

    Genre(s): Fantasy

    The final book in the beautiful, inventive Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy. If you haven't started these yet, you must – the magic system is a unique blend of alchemy and golems and poison, and the female protagonists are complex. I'm beyond heartbroken that this series is ending, but I know that Melinda will finish it in style. Probably by plunging a knife directly into my tattered soul and dancing on my grave.

    8. The City Bleeds Gold (Tellus #3) by Lucy Saxon

    Genre(s): Fantasy

    Lucy's Tellus series has been a lot of fun so far – each book is set in the same world, but in a different country and following different characters. It's a refreshing take on a multi-book series. Each book is a self-contained adventure, and The City Bleeds Gold, about a young man struggling to reconcile his double life as a respectable mask-maker and a criminal, sounds as if it's going to be the best one yet. And that cover.

    9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

    Genre(s): Contemporary

    Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this looks to be one of the most necessary reads of 2017, and it's already set to be a film starring Amandla Stenberg. When sixteen-year-old Starr is the only witness to the murder of her unarmed friend Khalil by a police officer, what she says could destroy her community – or get her killed. I sense this is a book that the world desperately needs, so get it to the top of your to-read list.

    10. The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

    Genre(s): Contemporary

    The Heartbeats of Wing Jones (titled Wing Jones in the UK), written by the wonderful Katherine Webber, is one of the most confident débuts I've ever read and a real gem of a YA novel. Set in Atlanta in the '90s, it follows Wing, a mixed-race teenager with a big heart, as she struggles to contend with a family tragedy that shatters her world. She soon discovers a gift for running that could change her destiny. This one is a life-affirming and hopeful book for the New Year.

    Tuesday, 27 September 2016

    A City for the Dreamers

    A trip to remember 

    Photo (c) Helena Hrstková

    So I just got back to London after a long weekend in Prague. I've wanted to go Prague ever since reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – my favourite YA fantasy – and when my Czech publisher, HOST, invited me, I couldn't believe my luck. I was there to do some interviews, a book signing, and two appearances at the fantasy and sci-fi convention CONiáš to promote the Czech versions of my books, Kostičas and Vidořád, translated by the fabulous Lenka Kapsová.

    Prague is like no city I've ever laid eyes on before. There's a quote I love from Daughter of Smoke and Bone that gave me very high expectations:

    The streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century – or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies.

    As soon as I was settled into my apartment, I went out to see if this city really was as mystical as all that. Immediately I was in a state of wonder. In my first hour of walking, I saw things I don't think I'll ever see anywhere else. A dancing marionette on a bridge of Baroque saints. A tiny gingerbread shop hidden beneath an archway. Absinthiana behind dusty windows. Antiques and well-thumbed books. Love locks clinging to wrought-iron balustrades, their keys long since given into the keeping of the Vltava. A wall claimed by the dreamers, their words a rainbow of hope and defiance. An astronomical clock that reminds you, every hour, that death is waiting, and that greed and vanity are temporal concerns.

    The City of a Thousand Spires won my heart in a single morning.

    Photo (c) Helena Hrstková

    My first public event was the signing at the Neoluxor Palace of Books in Wenceslas Square – the largest bookshop in the Czech Republic. It's always a bit of a gamble on tour as to how many people will turn up, but I was blown away by the number of readers who came to see me – the event was so full that a lot of people were standing, and I ended up signing books for about two hours. It's been quite a while since I've been on tour anywhere, as it's been so long since I last released a new book (see this post), and I could feel myself welling up as soon as I saw the crowd. I'm so grateful to everyone who came to the signing, and to my two appearances at CONiáš, where I had some fun, thoughtful, and challenging questions from both the audience and the moderator. Everyone who spoke to me was so warm, kind and welcoming, and I even got some beautiful gifts from a few people. Thank you.

    A few people also gave me letters at the book signing. It's so kind you to take the time to write to me – however, I'm unfortunately (a) not able to answer at the moment, due to my workload, and (b) not able to answer at all by email, as I don't have a public email address. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can send me a home address via Tumblr message (with a description of the envelope you sent it in, if possible), and I can make a note of it. I can't guarantee a reply, as I have to prioritise my writing at the moment, but I'll try my best to get round to it when I can.

    By the end of this trip, I was also filled, once again, with appreciation for translators, the often-unsung heroes of the publishing world. Without Lenka, my words would never have reached so many people in the Czech Republic. The Bone Season is not a particularly easy book to translate, by all accounts, but from what I heard from readers, the slang and spirit of the story have been carefully preserved in Czech.

    Thank you very much to HOST and the Municipal Library for having me in Prague. I'm thrilled to announce that we just sold The Song Rising in Czech, so you'll definitely be seeing the translation within the next year or two.

    You can see a couple more photos from my trip on my shiny new Instagram. I had a different account a while back and ended up deleting it, but now I've figured out how to use it in a way I like: to celebrate books and words, and to be part of the passionate world of Bookstagram.

    What I'm working on

    Now I'm back in London, I'm also back to work on The Priory of the Orange Tree and the fourth Bone Season book. 

    However, you have not one, not two, but four chances to see me speaking alongside some of my very talented peers in London this month. Check my upcoming events page for details.

    On my bookshelf 

    I haven't been doing a huge amount of reading lately due to my workload, but I must take a moment to sing the praises of Barefoot on the Wind by Zoë Marriott, which I finished on the plane to Prague. It's a stunning retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in the same Japan-inspired fantasy world as Shadows on the Moon. I'm a sucker for Beauty and the Beast, so this was right up my alley. Barefoot on the Wind has a sympathetic and daring protagonist, a morally complex love interest who I immediately adored (and who forms a solid, respectful friendship with the protagonist before romantic feelings blossom), and a haunting setting that I'm still thinking about. I'm looking forward to chairing a conversation with Zoë and Alwyn Hamilton at YA Shot 2016 this month so I can ask her some burning questions about it.

    I'd like to encourage everyone, but Brits in particular, to go out and get The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla – a collection of twenty-one powerful essays about what it means to be black, Asian and minority ethnic in modern Britain. It's an important read, especially in the post-Brexit climate, and it's rightfully flying off the shelves. I learned a lot about the immigrant experience in this country from reading it.

    Finally, I just got my hands on And a Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne, which I'll probably start this evening. If you haven't read the hilarious, feminism-themed Spinster Club trilogy yet, you're really missing out. Grab yourself a copy of Am I Normal Yet? to start your emotional rollercoaster ride with Evie, Amber and Lottie.