Archives: Book Art

Honey Girl 9781632204257 (1)

The cover of Lisa Freeman’s latest YA novel, HONEY GIRL, couldn’t be more spot on with this surf inspired theme. The book’s 15 year-old protagonist, Nani, is quickly showcased as a knowledgeable surfer despite the unspoken rule in post-Vietnam era Santa Monica that “girls don’t surf.” The wave on this cover is the beginning of a rip curl–the leading edge of a breaking wave. The colors capture the warmth and richness of the Hawaiian islands–where surfing was (and still is) the stuff of gods.

Lisa Freeman wasn’t the only author inspired by the island and it’s surfing culture:

“In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing.” – Mark Twain on visiting Hawaii

“Shaking the water from my eyes as I emerged from one wave and peered ahead to see what the next one looked like, I saw him tearing in on the back of it, standing upright on his board, carelessly poised, a young god bronzed with sunburn.” – Jack London on surfing lessons with George Freeth

In 1907, the same year that London experienced the water sport, Freeth made his way over to the mainland (California) and brought his surfing skills along for the ride.

How to survive California’s hottest surf spot: Never go anywhere without a bathing suit. Never cut your hair. Never let them see you panic.

The year is 1972. Fifteen-year-old Haunani “Nani” Grace Nuuhiwa is transplanted from her home in Hawaii to Santa Monica, California after her father’s fatal heart attack. Now the proverbial fish-out-of-water, Nani struggles to adjust to her new life with her alcoholic white (haole) mother and the lineup of mean girls who rule State Beach.

Following “The Rules”—an unspoken list of dos and don’ts—Nani makes contact with Rox, the leader of the lineup. Through a harrowing series of initiations, Nani not only gets accepted into the lineup, she gains the attention of surf god, Nigel McBride. But maintaining stardom is harder than achieving it. Nani is keeping several secrets that, if revealed, could ruin everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. Secret #1: She’s stolen her dad’s ashes and hidden them from her mom. Secret #2: In order to get in with Rox and her crew, she spied on them and now knows far more than they could ever let her get away with. And most deadly of all, Secret #3: She likes girls, and may very well be in love with Rox.

Enter to win one of five free signed copies of HONEY GIRL here!

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Categorized: Authors and Writers

Today, we took a moment to catch up with Bianca Turetsky, author of The Time-Traveling Fashionista series. We talked about fashion, writing for tweens, and of course the newest the fashionista novel, The Time-Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile  (out today!).  Turetsky_FashionistaCle#196

The series follows Louise, a spunky 12-year old vintage fashion aficionado with an unusual (and entertaining) knack for time-traveling to the most stylish “fashion moments” in history. As one reviewer puts it, “no time machine or geekery here” and  Kirkus calls it “suspenseful and immersive history lesson.”

Here’s what Bianca had to say…

1) Louise is an ideal heroine– spunky, smart, and unafraid to stand out. Is her character modeled after yourself when you were her age in any way?  

I’m so happy you feel that way about Louise! I love books with smart female protagonists so I’m glad she came across that way. Like Louise, I was very into vintage clothing and shopping at thrift stores, which was not typical in the suburban CT town I grew up in. But it’s not easy to stand out in middle school and I felt very insecure at that time. Although it didn’t stop me from dressing differently from the crowd! I probably was braver in my head and journals than in real life.

2) Can you give us an idea of the kinds of ensembles we would have found a young Bianca outfitted in?

I went through a time when I wore men’s thrifted shirts and ties. I wore mismatched earrings and socks. And generally a lot of neon. I went through a Laura Ashley and Betsey Johnson phase. Let’s just say I was still figuring it out.

3) What role does fashion play in your life now? Do you have a fashion icon?  

I find fashion to be a fun and creative outlet. I love the Edith Head quote I use in the book: “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” I try and live by that.  I have so many fashion icons: Diana Vreeland, Lauren Hutton, old-Hollywood movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. Currently I love Alexa Chung’s style. She mixes vintage pieces with new younger designers and always makes it her own unique take.

4) Are there any especially important themes in the Fashionista series that you are trying to communicate to young readers? 

I think it’s important to embrace the thing that makes you different. Maybe your passion is not vintage fashion, but the hobby or outlet you have that your friends don’t is what makes you special- whether it’s math or crocheting or baking. Everyone else will catch up with you!

5) Did you encounter any inherent challenges associated with reaching and appealing to a younger audience? How did you go about learning the language of tweens? Read more »

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When Awen is kidnapped from her rural village and confined at Crickhowell, where Miss Nina runs a thriving business in the muse trade, her misery eventually fades into relief. She finds a kind music teacher, discovers a new friend, and her only requirement as a student is to study the art of singing-her favorite thing in the world. However, Awen soon realizes that Miss Nina’s goal is not simply to train voices. She is trying to take them away. Determined to escape this fate, Awen becomes swept up into the intrigues of a scheming subordinate teacher, a salacious workman, a quirky artist-patron, and a handsome blond horseman. When both her own voice and the music around her mysteriously fade into silence, Awen’s only hope is to turn against the very artist she was commanded to inspire.

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OK, this jacket is stunning. Indisputably stunning. You may have seen it, standing out among the crowd of books at Barnes & Noble or your local indie–stark and no-nonsense, just like its story.

For lovers of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, for lovers of dystopian fiction, adventure novels, and the wild outdoors, journalist turned novelist (not easy to do), Peter Heller’s THE DOG STARS, is a book you won’t want to miss if you plan to be part of a national literary conversation. Read more »


Nichole isn’t just a lovely and generous person – she runs Beyond the Margins, a great books community and promotional avenue for fellow writers – she’s also the author of this novel, which on the basis of the jacket alone, made us want to run to the beach with it. That is, if a beach were anywhere in the cards for this August.

Just know that it’s not purely a “beach read,” but smarter and more literary, with more depth, that lovers of Claire Messud (whose Emperor’s Children was also set against a post 9-11 backdrop) to Allison Winn Scotch will enjoy. Maybe even a little Elizabeth Strout inspired. Here’s a short synopsis:

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How long have women been waiting for a substantive book on fashion? And why is it so many of us women are obsessed, to the bewilderment of men, by one particular accessory?

In her first book on shelves today: Women From the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us (Harper), new author and rising star, Rachelle Bergstein, Read more »


I’m excited to get acquainted with the Hannah Vogel series, not merely because of its captivating book jacket and intriguing plot – I don’t usually read mystery – but because the author appears to be one of those genuine, real however successful, people one comes across only so often  in the virtual world. I’ve also recently noticed good female mystery authors – save the Sue Graftons and Janet Evanoviches of the world are particularly hard to find. (See this interesting article by Meg Wolitzer in The Times: “On the Rules of Literary Fiction for Men and Women.”)
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Amy is an ambitious and cool young editor who edits lifestyle, pop culture and celebrity books for Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. I love everything Amy does, because her books are diverse as they are original. Naturally, I was excited when she “tapped” me on this original, if quirky, book just out this week, from new author Vicki Riordan, made for the hidden tap dance enthusiasts among us. I didn’t even know I was one, but I’m looking forward to reading it, and not merely because the jacket grabbed me. Glancing at the book art alone, I’m transported to my inner Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, back in the days when the performance arts mandated talented singing as well as tap dancing (if you can believe it). Voila, the jacket, and some nice praise Riordan has already picked up below:

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The latest book by Arthur Phillips, next on my reading list, and in his usual, ambitious style:

Most reading this blog are likely already aware of this book, and have maybe even bought it? For those who aren’t familiar, I encourage you to look no further than the book’s summary:

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