Today marks the release of my tenth book. TENTH. That number feels totally unreal (…like my age, and the dwindling number of days before Baby #2 arrives). But mostly it makes me feel aware of how lucky I am. To everybody who has ever read one of my books, or who has shared them with other readers: thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you times ten.
If you’re in/near Minnesota, you could come and celebrate with me in person: Tonight — October 22 — at 6:30, I’ll be at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul for the official release party. And on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 1:00pm, the Red Wing Public Library is hosting me for a hometown book celebration, complete with cookies, a book raffle, and make-your-own bottled wishes. Other than a few last school and Skype visits, this is it before baby hibernation begins. Whew.
New York Times–bestselling author Jacqueline West captivates readers with a dark, hypnotic story about the cost of talent—and the evil that lurks just out of sight. Fans of Holly Black and Victoria Schwab will be mesmerized by this gorgeous, magnetic novel.
High school senior Anders Thorson is unusually gifted. His band, Last Things, is legendary in their northern Minnesota hometown. With guitar skills that would amaze even if he weren’t only eighteen, Anders is the focus of head-turning admiration. And Thea Malcom, a newcomer to the insular town, is one of his admirers. Thea seems to turn up everywhere Anders goes: gigs at the local coffeehouse, guitar lessons, even in the woods near Anders’s home.
When strange things start happening to Anders, blame immediately falls on Thea. But is she trying to hurt him? Or save him? Can he trust a girl who doesn’t seem to know the difference between dreams and reality? And how much are they both willing to sacrifice to get what they want?
Told from Anders’s and Thea’s dual points of view, this exquisitely crafted novel is full of unexpected twists and is for fans of Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest and Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood.
This will be my ninth published novel. My eleventh book, if you count poetry collections. It still feels unreal.
Whenever readers ask me which of my books is my favorite, I say something about how I can’t possibly pick, they’re all like my children, each one is different, bladdy blah. But from now on, I think I’ll have to give a different answer.
This one is my favorite. LAST THINGS.
I can’t wait to send it out into the world on May 7th.
Reviews have been lovely so far. A few favorite bits:
…A suspenseful tale wrought from power chords, creeping darkness, and disquieting twists. — Kirkus
West uses evocative language, including song lyrics, to enhance the ominous atmosphere in this updated Faustian thriller; her pitch-perfect depiction of music conjures pulse-pounding concerts and Anders’ passion for metal. A dark and lovely saga, ideal for fans of Brenna Yovanoff and Holly Black. –Booklist
The action escalates like the fast-paced chords of a heavy metal bassline when everything Anders loves is threatened… Hand this worthy addition to any YA collection to fans of mystery, music, and horror.–School Library Journal
Instead of a solo launch, I’ll be part of an amazing YA panel at St. Paul’s Red Balloon Bookshop on May 14, where you can catch me, Pete Hautman (Road Tripped), Kirstin Cronn-Mills (Wreck), and Bryan Bliss (We’ll Fly Away) talking new books, writing habits, and all things YA. Plus there will be treats. If you’re nearby, please come hang out with us. https://www.redballoonbookshop.com/event/mn-ya-spectacular
Ooh — AND — I’ll be a guest on The Jason Show, which airs throughout MN on KMSP/Fox9, at 10:00 a.m. on May 9th. You can catch the episode on Hulu or YouTube later.
I should mention that you can preorder the book right now and make my day. Please choose your favorite independent bookstore if you can (IndieBound can help you out). Amazon and B&N have got it too, of course.
If you do read the book — and better yet, if you like it — you can give me the best writerly gift possible, and recommend it to other readers, or post reviews on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads. All these things matter more than I can say.
Thanks so much, readers. LAST THINGS and I will see you out there.
Coming from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins on 10/9/18.
Even the smallest wish can be dangerous.
Do you see that marble in the grass? The tiny astronaut with one arm raised? The old-fashioned key in the gutter?
Van sees them. Van notices all sorts of things. But usually no one notices Van. He’s small, and always the new kid, easy to overlook. But one day he watches a mysterious girl and a silver squirrel dive into a fountain to steal a coin.
And—even more strange—they notice Van.
Suddenly, the world changes for Van. It becomes a place where wishes are real. A place where wishes can be collected, just like his little treasures. A place where wishes can come true.
But that’s not always a good thing.
Not all wishes are good, you see, and even good wishes can have unintended consequences.
And Van is about to find out just how big those consequences can be.
My first middle-grade fantasy in four years (four years!?!) will be released by Greenwillow Books this fall, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
To all the BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE readers who have been patiently waiting for me to write something in same fantasy/mystery/adventure/eccentric-talking-animal ballpark: Thank you. To everyone who has asked me what I’ve been working on over the past few years and oohed at my sheepish description: Thank you. And to everyone at GWB/HC who is making this story into a real paper book at last: Thank you.
I can’t wait to introduce you to Van and his world this October. In the meantime, look look LOOK at this gorgeous cover! Swirling mist! Sparkling stars! Mystery and magic! Who could ask for anything more?!
To start with the biggest and OLDEST news (and yes, it’s the same giant news I was waiting to share back in February, when I last posted here):
My next middle-grade series has a title, a publisher, and a (vague) release date!!! THE COLLECTORS is forthcoming from Greenwillow/HarperCollins, and you should be able to find it in a bookstore or library near you in Fall 2018.
Here’s the super-official Publishers Weekly announcement:
If you enjoyed THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, then I think this new series is for you. It’s a very different setting and a very different main character, who of course has a whole new set of problems to surmount and mysteries to uncover…but THE COLLECTORS lives in the same quirky-creepy world as THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, and I hope, hope, hope all the middle grade readers who have been asking me for more stories will feel like it’s what they’ve been waiting for. (Plus, it has a talking squirrel. His name is Barnavelt. And I am very fond of him.)
Now, because I’ve procrastinated for so long, I have a double serving of gigantic news to share. Fall 2018 will bring not one but TWO middle grade novels from yours truly.
Last year, the Story Pirates–the New York-based, nationally-loved performance organization dedicated to bringing kids’ stories to life–held a contest asking kids to submit ideas that could inspire a full-length novel, to be written by bestselling author Geoff Rodkey. THE STORY PIRATES PRESENT: STUCK IN THE STONE AGE BY GEOFF RODKEY, AND ILLUSTRATED BY HATEM ALY, BASED ON AN IDEA BY VINCE BOBERSKI, AGE 11 will be released by Rodale Books in March 2018.
Now the Story Pirates are getting ready for a second book — a mystery — which will be written by ME, and which will be released in Fall 2018. So, that’s New News Item #1. New News Item #2 is that the Story Pirates is hosting a second contest right now to gather ideas for a potential mystery book!
The contest is open until July 21. The winner gets $500, ten copies of the book, their name on the cover, and other cool bonuses. If you know any kids between the ages of 6 and 12 who love creating stories (kids need a parent/guardian’s help submitting), check out storypirates.com/spark, and submit your wonderful, creepy, utterly unique ideas. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.
Between these two projects (and some other, still-secret ones!), the rest of my summer will be pretty busy — but if you’re a young writer in the eastern Minnesota/western Wisconsin area, you can catch me at a couple of writing workshops. On July 20 and 27, you’ll find me at Scott County Libraries — Jordan, New Prague, Prior Lake, and Savage, specifically — talking about descriptive writing and character creation. Sign up is now open! Here’s the link to the Scott County Library Summer Reading page; just click on the events calendar link to find more info and enroll.
And in early August, I’ll be teaching at the Summer Writing Intensive at The Shire in beautiful Stillwater, MN. Each week of this two-week intensive features a great menu of genres: fiction, poetry, graphic novels, screenplays and drama, editing, nonfiction — truly something for everyone. If you’re between 6th and 12th grade and in the area, check it out: https://www.smore.com/ft7p4-authors-lead-writing-intensive?embed=1