by Veronica Rossi Publisher: Delacorte Press Release Date: June 23rd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
A reimagining of the story behind Agent 355–a New York society girl and spy for George Washington during the Revolutionary War–perfect for fans of Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key and the novels of Julie Berry.
Rebellious Frannie Tasker knows little about the war between England and its thirteen colonies in 1776, until a shipwreck off her home in Grand Bahama Island presents an unthinkable opportunity. The body of a young woman floating in the sea gives Frannie the chance to escape her brutal stepfather–and she takes it.
Assuming the identity of the drowned Emmeline Coates, Frannie is rescued by a British merchant ship and sails with the crew to New York. For the next three years, Frannie lives a lie as Miss Coates, swept up in a courtship by a dashing British lieutenant. But after witnessing the darker side of the war, she realizes that her position gives her power. Soon she finds herself eavesdropping on British officers, risking everything to pass information on to George Washington’s Culper spy ring as agent 355. Frannie believes in the fight for American liberty–but what will it cost her? Inspired by the true “355” and rich in historical detail and intrigue, this is the story of an unlikely New York society girl turned an even unlikelier spy.
– What is your writing process like? Are you a pantser or plotter?
I have been both at different points in my career but, generally, I can say that I am a plotter who likes to go rogue! I like to have a map—but I’m very comfortable venturing into unchartered territory if the inspiration strikes. Often, that’s when I know I’m getting to the good stuff!
– What was it like to see the cover of your novel for the first time?
Awesome. It’s a moment that never gets old. You have this idea of what your story is, and it’s 100% yours—totally inhabited in your mind. So to get a cover is the first real moment that a mirror is held up to your story, in a way, and you see what it looks like to other people.
–What books are on your TBR right now?
My TBR is soooo long! So here are probably the next five books I’ll get to:
BEACH READ by Emily Henry
WHITE FRAGILITY by Robin DiAngelo
MIDDLEGAME by Seanan McGuire
THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi
21 LESSONS FOR THE 21st CENTURY by Yuval Noah Harari
Thanks so much for hosting me!
VERONICA ROSSI is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the UNDER THE NEVER SKY series. She was born in Rio de Janeiro, grew up in California, and graduated from UCLA. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two sons, one of whom just surpassed her in height. Find her online at veronicarossi.com or on Twitter at @rossibooks.
by Lexa Hillyer Publisher: HarperTeen Release Date: March 17th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Everyone in Devil’s Lake knows the three golden Malloy sisters—but one of them is keeping a secret that will turn their little world inside out….
No one knows exactly what happened to Kit in the woods that night—all they have are a constellation of facts: icy blue lips and fingers cold to the touch, a lacy bra, an abandoned pick-up truck with keys still in the ignition. Still, Tessa, even in her fog of grief, is certain that her sister’s killer wasn’t Boyd, the boy next door whom they’ve all loved in their own way. There are too many details that don’t add up, too many secrets still tucked away.
But no matter how fiercely she searches for answers, at the core of that complicated night is a truth that’s heartbreakingly simple.
Told in lush, haunting prose, Frozen Beauty is a story of the intoxicating power of first love, the deep bonds of sisterhood, and a shocking death that will forever change the living.
Secrets, secrets. Everyone had them. Everyone kept them from Lilly, kept her out.
This is what comes of curiosity, the wind whispered, hard and cold in her ear, swishing up into her skull. She shuddered. Snow soaked her boots.
As the youngest of three, this was the story of her life: this winter coldness, this left-out-ness, this butt-out-and-don’t-complain-or-you’ll-sound-like-a-whiny-baby-ness.
But here they were now: two glowing yellow headlights through the swirl of falling snow, through the blur of fading streetlights, through the dark of Route 28. Twin golden keys to the fucking treasure.
And she had to have it, she thought, her hands shaking—had to know the secret. Between Kit and Tessa, Lilly was always excluded from the things that really mattered. But this time, she would know, would force her way in. The warmth of the golden orbs called to her with some kind of dark, irrepressible magic, and there was so little magic in this world. Lilly only wanted her share.
It was a Saturday night. Lilly and Mel had been having their customary Saturday night sleepover at Mel’s house, which sat just on the edge of Devil’s Lake, the weeds and trees in her backyard giving way to the protected woods. Lilly had started to believe that their friendship was back on track. But when she’d awakened after midnight to find Mel gone, and the bedroom window cracked open, letting in a tiny but steady stream of frigid air, she’d had to assume the obvious: Mel had snuck out.
And if she had snuck out, it could only be for one reason: to meet up with Dusty, her on-again-off-again something. After all, Mel had been texting furiously all night, even during the rom-com sex scenes.
In a mix of disappointment and curiosity, Lilly had pushed open the bedroom door and crept down the quiet hall, past the den where all of Mel’s dad’s hunting rifles hung proudly in a row, polished and gleaming black even in the dark. Mel wasn’t in the house.
So, naturally, Lilly had slithered through the front door, into the slowly filling pocket of snow by the side of the house, then went in search of her friend—and answers. Maybe Dusty’s car would be parked around the corner of the cul-de-sac.
But what she’d found was a whole other kind of secret. Not more than the length of a football field down the main road sat a truck, its engine still going. Only yards from the edge of Mel’s property, if you cut through the woods.
And it wasn’t just any truck. The red truck. Boyd’s red truck. It was parked at the side of the road near the preserve, a hulking metal animal heaving its breath into the cold . . . and of course, her curiosity had snagged like a loose-knit sweater on a chain-link fence.
She felt that pull, that need to understand.
She reasoned: what if Boyd needed help, needed her?
A flash of doubt flooded Lilly’s brain for a minute. What if Mel had gotten back already and wondered where Lilly had gone?
No—Mel was with Dusty, she was sure of that much. Mel had chosen her loyalties.
Now: a male voice drifting out over the wind. The sound of a car door slamming. She was almost there, and the heat of discovery drove her on.
But it was so cold. So cold and so dark. The sparse streetlights did little to help, spinning patches of air into gold-hued snow blurs. She had to hurry.
Lilly scrunched her winter hat down lower. Still squinting, she made out a figure—no, two figures—floating from the shoulder of the road, toward the looming darkness of the woods that backed up to Devil’s Lake from Route 28.
Mel and Dusty?
Mel and Boyd?
Voices took clearer shape in the air as she got closer, though the words themselves wove and dodged and blew away. Holding her breath, hidden by the hounding snowfall and the heavy dark, she came all the way up to the driver’s side—the side facing the road—without the figures noticing. She peered through the window. The keys were still in the ignition, a faint silver clump dangling in shadow.
Shivering, she rounded the back of the truck, careful to stay hidden from view behind the glow of the taillights.
A guy and a girl, arguing.
Her heart hammered. She had to strain to see them in the bad light and the fierce snowfall, but she recognized Boyd by his height and his hunting hat. And the girl with him wasn’t Mel at all. . . .
She was unmistakable. She wore no hat, and her golden hair shone even in the darkness.
It was Kit.
Lilly took a step back. Was she being crazy right now? You didn’t just traipse along the road late at night by yourself, in the middle of a storm. She should head back. What was she thinking?
But then again, she could almost hear Tessa’s voice in her head: weren’t Boyd and Kit—the ever-trusted boy next door and the older sister everyone in school looked up to—up to something crazy, too? Tessa was always talking about likelihoods and hypotheses. Lilly wasn’t exactly a star at science, but you didn’t have to be a neurosurgeon to solve this equation: if you were those two and you were driving around in Boyd’s truck together on a Saturday night, in secret—you didn’t pull over in a storm, either. Not unless something was wrong. Not unless something wasgoing on.
Lilly watched from behind the truck as Boyd put his hand on Kit’s arm, and she shook, possibly crying.
Was he grabbing her now? Had she let him?
Slowly he pulled open her coat.
Lilly shuddered hard. Kit said something, but Lilly caught only snatches of her words: please and you’re making a mistake and I don’t believe you.
The racing of Lilly’s heart became a loud ringing through her ears and head. What was happening? Kit’s voice, dancing on the wind, seemed to ebb and peak and break.
Lilly trusted Boyd; of course, she did. Hell, she loved Boyd. But she also knew how angry he got sometimes. Once he’d shoved Tessa so hard she’d fallen into the gravel on the playground and torn open her shin. Then again, that had been right after Tessa kneed him in the balls. They were ten then, and nothing like that had happened since.
But still. Lilly remembered. Lilly always remembered.
She stood on the verge of calling to them when Kit got quiet, moving closer to Boyd. Then she was touching his face. And he was leaning down, and they were kissing—mist rising from where their faces met.
Hot breath in the cold night.
So they weren’t fighting.
A flash of mortification.
Everyone was coupling off, hooking up, lying to Lilly about it.
She backed up toward the road, the thrill of voyeurism bursting suddenly into hot shame. A car rushed past her and honked.
She gasped, startled, realizing how easy it would have been to get hit.
Sweat tickled the back of her neck even in the freezing cold. Had the honk drawn Kit’s attention? The last thing she wanted was for Kit to think she’d been spying—which was, of course, exactly the truth. The last thing she needed was to give anyone more ammo for treating her like a fucking kid,one more reason to say butt out or I told you so.
Quickly, without looking back, she raced through the trees, taking the shortcut into Mel’s backyard. She couldn’t have been gone very long, but still. A person could die out here, on a night like this.
Icy pellets of snow blew into her eyes and Lilly could hardly see at all now—but that didn’t stop her from replaying the moment she had just witnessed over and over again: Boyd’s plaid hunting hat as he leaned down toward Kit’s face, and their lips met, and they kissed.
And above them, in the winter air all around them, the echo of Kit’s voice, saying please.
Later, long after she’d curled back onto her side of the trundle bed in Mel’s room—after she’d awakened the next morning to her friend lying beside her, softly snoring—Lilly would recall that word, please,and know for certain that it had been Kit’s final plea for her life. That if only she had stayed, or shouted, or called for help, maybe things would have gone differently.
Maybe her sister would still be alive.
Lexa Hillyer is the Founder and President of Publishing at Glasstown Entertainment, an all-womxn creative development and production company located in New York and Los Angeles. She is also the author of Frozen Beauty, Spindle Fire, Winter Glass, and Proof of Forever, all young adult novels published by HarperCollins, as well as the poetry collection Acquainted with the Cold from Bona Fide Books. Acquainted with the Cold was the 2012 gold prize winner of the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Poetry and received the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize. Her work has been featured in a variety of journals and collections including Best New Poets 2012, and she has received several honors for poetry. Lexa earned her BA in English from Vassar College and her MFA in Poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She worked as an editor at both HarperCollins and Penguin, before founding Glasstown Entertainment along with New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Oliver. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter and their very skinny orange tree.
by Isabel Ibañez Publisher: Page Street Books Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.
Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.
When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.
Not too long ago, I owned a design and stationery studio. While I dabbled in various paper goods, the main thing I illustrated and sold were greeting cards. These were bright and colorful, always whimsical and usually showcased a pun or two. I love drawing and perfecting my lettering technique, and often those two elements showed up in my stationery.
When my editor reached out to me and asked if I knew of any Bolivian artists Page Street could hire to design the cover, I almost laughed. I am an artist and I am also Bolivian. I submitted a handful of other artists I admire along with my own portfolio. A week or two later, I was hired for the job.
I sat down to design the cover, expecting to flounder or buckle under the pressure. Sometimes it takes me days to figure out a concept, to even think of an idea that might work. But in this instance, I saw the cover of WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT instantly. I had the color scheme, the layout, the style—all of it felt incredibly clear. When I was done, I immediately sent it to my editor and she loved it. She sent it to the rest of the team and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
This was the cover.
I had done it. But then … doubt set in. How could I have sent in the first draft and not at least tried other layouts? What if there was a stronger idea buried in my mind somewhere? So I went back and asked if they wanted to see anything else from me. But they loved the cover as is, and with the exception of a few minor tweaks, the concept was approved, and it stayed. So I took a breath and realized that I needed to trust I’d done the best job I could. But imposter syndrome is a real thing and for a few weeks, I was that I’d pulled it off.
It wasn’t until I held a proof of the cover concept in my hands that I believed what everyone else had been telling me: the cover was beautiful. Looking at it now, dressed up in bright colors and silver foil, displaying my whimsical style and love for folklore-ish art, I wonder how I could have ever doubted myself.
I’m so proud of it.
Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and is the proud daughter of two Bolivian immigrants. A true word nerd, she received her degree in creative writing and has been a Pitch Wars mentor for three years. Isabel is an avid movie goer and loves hosting family and friends around the dinner table. She currently lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband, their adorable dog, and a serious collection of books. Say hi on social media at @IsabelWriter09.