Hot Off the Proverbial Presses: January 6, 2015

Almost Famous WomenAlmost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman

From “a top-notch emerging writer with a crisp and often poetic voice and wily, intelligent humor”: a collection of stories that explores the lives of talented, gutsy women throughout history.

The fascinating lives of the characters in Almost Famous Women have mostly been forgotten, but their stories are burning to be told. Now Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise, resurrects these women, lets them live in the reader’s imagination, so we can explore their difficult choices. Nearly every story in this dazzling collection is based on a woman who attained some celebrity—she raced speed boats or was a conjoined twin in show business; a reclusive painter of renown; a member of the first all-female, integrated swing band. We see Lord Byron’s illegitimate daughter, Allegra; Oscar Wilde’s troubled niece, Dolly; West With the Night author Beryl Markham; Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sister, Norma. These extraordinary stories travel the world, explore the past (and delve into the future), and portray fiercely independent women defined by their acts of bravery, creative impulses, and sometimes reckless decisions.

The world hasn’t always been kind to unusual women, but through Megan Mayhew Bergman’s alluring depictions they finally receive the attention they deserve. Almost Famous Women is a gorgeous collection from an “accomplished writer of short fiction.”

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Fiction meets nonfiction in these stories of women who were pushed to the fringes of history by their more famous brethren, including Lord Byron’s daughter and Oscar Wilde’s niece.

Vivian AppleVivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle

Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed “Rapture,” all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn’t looking for a savior. She’s looking for the truth.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: What can we say, it’s hard to say no to an intriguing story about that rapture we keep hearing about. We blame “The Leftovers.”

Walking Dead Cutting Room FloorThe Walking Dead: Cutting-Room Floor by Robert Kirkman

NEVER BEFORE SEEN WALKING DEAD PLOTS! For the first time ever: an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at Robert Kirkman’s original, hand-written plot lines for the early issues of the Eisner-award winning series, The Walking Dead! See what plot lines were left on the cutting-room floor and get an in-depth look at how the series came together. This collection includes commentaries on Kirkman’s original plots with never-before-seen material. This is The Walking Dead collector’s item of the year!

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Considering the off the wall ideas they choose to leave in the series, we cannot wait to read about the ideas that didn’t make it to print in The Walking Dead comic books.

All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

WHY WE’RE EXCITED: Honestly? We couldn’t say no to the cover, title or the premise.

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