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Marina Lostetter


Sean Penn


Marina Lostetter


Tom Bilyeu

Impact Theory

Mike Bond


William L. Myers Jr.


Michael Anderle


E.E. KNight


Robert McCaw


Gregg Olsen


Josh Duhamel


Naomi Kristzer

CHAOS ON CATNET Official Blog Tour

Evie Green


Alyson Gerber


Christopher Ruocchio


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Taking Up Space by Alyson Gerber

Publisher : Scholastic Inc. (May 18, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 272 pages
ISBN-10 : 1338186000
ISBN-13 : 978-1338186000


"This affirming novel offers a normalizing message about discussing body image and mental health." —Publishers Weekly

"[Gerber] supplies a positive representation of constructive approaches to an often misunderstood condition...Pragmatic and valuable." —Kirkus Reviews

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Scholastic Summer 2021 Dewey Diva Picks — Shortlist

Sarah loves basketball more than anything. Crushing it on the court makes her feel like she matters. And it’s the only thing that helps her ignore how much it hurts when her mom forgets to feed her.

But lately Sarah can’t even play basketball right. She’s slower now and missing shots she should be able to make. Her body doesn’t feel like it’s her own anymore. She’s worried that changing herself back to how she used to be is the only way she can take control over what’s happening.

When Sarah’s crush asks her to be partners in a cooking competition, she feels pulled in a million directions. She’ll have to dig deep to stand up for what she needs at home, be honest with her best friends, and accept that she doesn’t need to change to feel good about herself.

You can purchase Taking Up Space at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Alyson Gerber 

Alyson Gerber is the author of the critically-acclaimed, own-voices novels Braced and Focused published by Scholastic. Her third novel Taking Up Space will be in stores on May 18, 2021. She has an MFA from The New School in Writing for Children and lives in New York City with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AlysonGerber.

Braced, Focused, and Taking Up Space are all Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selections. Braced received three starred reviews and has been nominated for state book awards in Oklahoma, Indiana, New Hampshire, Virginia, South Dakota, and Georgia. Focused was picked as a best book of year by The Today Show, Kirkus Reviews, and A Mighty Girl and has been nominated for state book awards in Rhode Island, Oklahoma, and Michigan. Alyson’s latest novel, Taking Up Space, based on her experience with disordered eating, will be published on May 18, 2021. Taking Up Space will help readers recognize how much they matter and see that if something negative is taking up space in their minds, even if there isn’t a name for it, they should ask for help.


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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Alina Boyden Interview - Gifting Fire

Photo Content from Alina Boyden

Alina Boyden is a trans rights activist, author, and PhD candidate in cultural anthropology. As an ACLU client, her case secured healthcare rights for transgender employees in the state of Wisconsin. Her work in cultural anthropology centers on the civil rights struggles of transgender women in India and Pakistan, and consequently she divides her time between the United States and South Asia. When she's not writing, traveling, or working on her dissertation, she spends her free time indulging in two of her childhood passions - swordplay and flying airplanes. STEALING THUNDER is her first novel.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
It's been a wild ride, so there are a lot to choose from. Getting to bring my brother to his first New York Comic Con where I was a panelist was pretty amazing. Getting fan mail from all over the world has been exciting and a little daunting. But I think so far the most rewarding part of getting published has been the reception from other trans women. Seeing my books out in stores inspired several trans women writers I know to work even harder towards getting published themselves, and I think seeing their eventual success will be the best reward of all.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I wrote my first finished novel back in 2003, which was of course never published. So my journey towards being a novelist started a long time ago. I think the impetus back then was that I needed an outlet for a lot of the stress and emotions I was going through at the time, having recently transitioned. Stealing Thunder, my first published novel, was sold to Penguin Random House fifteen years later. The inspiration for that story was a mix of my time spent living in South Asia, my experiences learning from trans women there, and my own life experiences and passions, mainly history and flying airplanes. I wanted to tell the story of a strong, trans woman heroine who overcame adversity to win the love and respect she deserved, and the book pretty much wrote itself from there.

Tell us your latest news.
Well, as of the time of this interview, I just got my first COVID vaccine dose, so that's cool! But in the book world, my big news is the release of the sequel to Stealing Thunder, which is Gifting Fire. That comes out on April 13th, and I'm really excited to share it with the world.

In your newest book, GIFTING FIRE (Stealing Thunder #2); can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
I warn you all that there might be some mild Stealing Thunder spoilers here, but by the end of that book, Razia, a trans woman who was born a prince of a great empire and ran away from home to be herself, has succeeded in winning the love of Prince Arjun, and the respect of her father, the Sultan of Nizam. So if Stealing Thunder is a love story with a happy ending, then the premise to Gifting Fire is best summed up as "be careful what you wish for." Now that she's officially a princess, Razia gets the same treatment lots of princesses got throughout history – she's forced into an arranged marriage with a man she despises so her father can gain some political advantage. Needless to say for those of you who read the first book, Razia doesn't take this lying down, and Gifting Fire centers on how she manages to scheme and fight her way out of the fate others have decreed for her.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
With both Stealing Thunder and Gifting Fire, it's always my hope that readers will be first and foremost excited and entertained by the stories themselves. However, I think what really sets Stealing Thunder and Gifting Fire apart from a lot of other fantasy novels is that you get to take a deep dive into the head of a trans woman and to see the world from her perspective. When I first wrote Stealing Thunder, my primary hope was that other trans women would get something out of seeing themselves as heroines instead of victims or caricatures, but one of the big lessons for me from Stealing Thunder was how much cis women related to it. I think the nicest review I got for Stealing Thunder was from a cis woman who said that it shattered her view of what it meant to be a strong woman, because it was the first time she'd ever seen a strong woman protagonist who was a warrior and knew how to fight, but who was also unabashedly feminine. For her, Stealing Thunder was the first book she ever read that showed that femininity is not weak or shameful or wrong. So, I think that was a pretty powerful reaction to hear, and one that I think Gifting Fire delivers with an even bigger punch.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Razia?
When I created Razia, she was an aspirational character for me. Being trans isn't easy, and I'd learned over the years to apologize for that aspect of myself, to feel shame sometimes for being trans, to accept the way others viewed me, inwardly if not outwardly. With Razia I wanted to create a trans woman who was totally unapologetic about who she was, who definitely experiences some pretty complex emotions arising from her place in the world and the choices she's made, but who fundamentally doesn't apologize for who she is, and who at her core understands her own worth. And I think one of the most surprising things about writing a character like that is how much she rubs off on you. Writing her in Stealing Thunder and Gifting Fire helped me to sort out a lot of my own feelings, and honestly I'm a lot more like her now than I was when I first wrote Stealing Thunder.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book one and in what way have they changed?
I think the biggest growth arc in Gifting Fire belongs to Sakshi. In the first book she's the heart of Razia's little family, the one who gets Razia to rein in those cutthroat ruler instincts she has, and acts as a sort of counselor figure and sounding board to keep Razia on the straight and narrow. In Gifting Fire, Sakshi isn't just a background character there to help Razia when she needs it, she really steps into her own power, fighing right alongside her sister, while retaining her place as the one who doesn't lose sight of the emotional core of what they're all really struggling to accomplish. I'll be excited to see what fans think about that development in her character over the course of the book.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
In Gifting Fire there are not one, not two, but three dragon-riding princesses, two trans and one cis. Not one of them turns her back on the morals she has developed over the course of the story and murders a town full of innocent people. So, I suppose if I were introducing a character of mine to a character from another book, it would be introducing Razia to Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones – at the least the Game of Thrones that we all saw on HBO. I think Razia, having been forced to spend time as a courtesan, having had to learn to survive on the streets, and having struggled to gain back what she lost, would have a lot to teach Daenerys about leadership, and entitlement, and how to make hard personal sacrifices to protect the lives of other people.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Shadow of the Tomb Raider. As a trained archaeologist and cultural anthropologist, and a woman who loves archery, I find those games alternately addictive and unbearably frustrating. My friends love hearing me shout at the screen about the archaeological and cultural inaccuracies I'm witnessing while sneaking up on people with a bow. Though I don't actually consider it a distraction from writing, not exactly. I don't like plotting books out in advance, I sort of organically develop it as I go, but that sometimes leads me into dead ends in my writing, where I have to chop off what I've done and go back to a choice that I made and make a different one. When that happens, my brain needs time to mull over the story, and I find that zoning out and playing a game or going outside for a bike ride tends to help with that. But for Gifting Fire it just happened to be Tomb Raider. I got the book done, and 100% completion on the game, so win-win.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Chase a dream. Everyone is so different, not everything that I like is going to necessarily resonate with someone else, but I would say that each of us should take the time at least once in our lives to chase a dream that we have. That thing that you've been wanting to do and you've put off – do it. Whatever it is. Go for it. Give it a try. Everything good in my life has come from pursuing my passions and my dreams, and nothing good has ever come from letting them languish.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I wouldn't actually want to go back in time, but I think the question maybe is a good indicator of where we should go in the future. I don't believe in regret, because I believe that we are, in some ways, the product of our experiences, and so to regret those experiences is to regret ourselves. However, I think that what we wish to change about the past, or what we wish to relive in the past is a pretty good indicator of what we should spend more of our time and energy focusing on in the present.

Which incident in your life totally changed the way you think today?
While there are quite a few watershed incidents in my life, I think the one that changed me most was when I was in graduate school back in 2015, and my doctor thought I might have cancer and referred me to a specialist. The specialist's office refused to see me because I was transgender. I had spent years up to that point hiding my trans status from everyone. At that time, I didn't even have any friends in the state I was living in who knew I was trans. And in that moment of thinking I might have cancer and being refused the opportunity to see a doctor for it because of who I was, I had this epiphany. I had, at every step of my life, hidden who I was for the comfort of cis people. I had allowed myself to feel shame and guilt and doubt about myself because others told me that I was shameful, that I wasn't who I said I was, that I ought to feel guilty for having been born. I had done everything I could to blend in seamlessly into a world of cis people, to not rock the boat, to find ways around the institutional discrimination that plagues our community, and in the end, I had been treated worse than a criminal. And in that moment, I realized it was all bullshit. I realized that it didn't matter how out I was, or how stealth I was, it didn't matter what I looked like or how I acted. In hiding the truth about myself, I hadn't made it harder to hurt me, I'd made it easier. I'd isolated myself from communities who might have helped me, and worse, I'd used my cis-passing privilege to allow the heaviest burden of discrimination to fall across the shoulders of trans women who didn't have that privilege. So, I made two decisions that day. The first was that I was going to fight back, and the second was that I was going to be radically out in all times and in all places from that day forward. I fought, and together with the ACLU and another trans woman, I sued the state of Wisconsin in federal court, and we won trans healthcare rights for every employee in the state. It took three years, and in that time I became a public figure thanks to my activist work and because of the sale of Stealing Thunder. In 2015, if you'd googled my name, you would have had almost no search results, and you certainly wouldn't have found anything to even hint that I was trans. Now, when you search my name, a little infographic pops up, and the first thing it tells you is that I'm trans, which I think is about as radically out as you can be.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
A key to get back home, my cell phone, a bicycle, and a multitool.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
It's so hard to pick just one place because they all have their special charms, but I would probably say the woods north of Vancouver, British Columbia. I'm a huge lover of hiking and the outdoors and big trees, and the woods of the Pacific northwest have always really resonated with me.

  • 1) Gifting Fire is a roller-coaster of an adventure story, full of tension and romance and action.
  • 2) Gifting Fire has some amazing aerial duels with feathered dragon-like creatures called zahhaks.
  • 3) Gifting Fire features some of my favorite swordfights that I've ever written in fantasy.
  • 4) Gifting Fire tells the story of a princess who isn't anyone's political pawn.
  • 5) Gifting Fire is, at its core, a story about found family and the struggle to keep it.
  • 6) Gifting Fire has the most satisfying conclusion to a relationship with an evil mother-in-law ever found in fiction.
  • 7) Gifting Fire tells a redemption arc that I'm especially proud of, but you'll have to read it to find out whose it is.
  • 8) Everyone who has read Gifting Fire has cried.
  • 9) Gifting Fire explores the complicated family dynamics trans women often face.
  • 10) While it's always tricky making big claims, I'm fairly confident in saying that Gifting Fire has more trans characters than any other book ever written.
Writing Behind the Scenes
My brother jokingly calls me a method writer, because I have to do all the things my characters do, from eating the food they eat to developing the skills they possess. Of course, sometimes this operates in reverse, sometimes I like to write about characters who are into the same things I'm into, or who have skills that I've also been developing. In the case of Razia and Stealing Thunder/Gifting Fire, I finished my pilot's license while writing the book, to help add verisimilitude to the flying scenes. I tried my hand at rock climbing, and learned I'm terrible at kathak dancing (thanks for the lessons, Sneha!). I was already a skilled fencer, archer, and martial artist, but I absolutely had to get my hands on a real katar from the Mughal period so that I could see what it was like to train with one. I also lived in South Asia and became fluent in Urdu, though the book came out of those experiences rather than the other way around.

In addition to getting as many of the physical experiences of my characters as possible, I study history intensely when I'm working on novels. I think that one of the best ways to understand what it would be like to experience life in some of the situations my characters get themselves into is to read the accounts of historical figures who lived in similar circumstances, or who had similar experiences. I find that it really helps my world-building and really informs some of the choices I make around my fantasy cultures.

Generally though you can get a pretty good sense of what kind of book I'm working on by looking at what I'm reading and doing on any given day. Today, I've been picking padlocks. I think we all know what that means…

The battle has been won, but the war is just beginning.

Although at long last Razia Khan has found peace with herself and love with her prince, Arjun, her trials are far from over. In order to save her prince and his city from certain destruction, Razia made a deal with the devil--her father, the Sultan of Nizam. Now the bill has come due.

Razia must secure the province of Zindh, a land surrounded by enemies, and loyal to a rebel queen who has survived her father's purge. But when her old tormentor Prince Karim invades her new home and forces her into a marriage alliance, Razia finds herself trapped in the women's quarters of a foreign palace, with her beloved Prince Arjun exiled from her side.

Now, in order to free herself, and her province, from Karim's clutches, she must call upon all of her training as a royal princess, a cunning courtesan, and a daring thief to summon new allies and old friends for a battle that will decide her fate, and the fate of an empire.

You can purchase Gifting Fire at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $15 Dollar Amazon Gift Card.

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Marina Lostetter Interview - The Helm of Midnight

Photo Credit: Jeff Nelson

The open skies and dense forests of the Pacific Northwest are ideal for growing speculative fiction authors–or, at least, Marina Lostetter would like to think so. Originally from Oregon, she now resides in Arkansas with her spouse, Alex. In her spare time she enjoys globetrotting, board games, and all things art-related. Her original short fiction has appeared in venues such as Lightspeed, Uncanny, and Shimmer Magazine. Her debut novel, NOUMENON, and its sequels, NOUMENON INFINITY and NOUMENON ULTRA, are available from Harper Voyager. Her first fantasy novel, THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT, is forthcoming from Tor. In addition, she has written tie-in materials for Star Citizen and the Aliens franchise. She is represented by DongWon Song of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, and she tweets as @MarinaLostetter.

ASIN : B0879J44XZ
Publisher : Tor Books; 1st edition (April 13, 2021)
Publication date : April 13, 2021
Language : English


"The Helm of Midnight transports readers to an intensely unique and creative world, with interwoven secrets and heart-pounding action. Bloody, ambitious, and absolutely riveting." ―Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter

"A mysterious and mind-ripping journey through the mystic depths of time and the darkness of the human psyche." ―Matt Wallace, author of the Sin du Jour and Savage Rebellion series

"Beautiful and vicious, The Helm of Midnight will snare you with its intriguing mystery and then enthrall you with its rich characters and inventive world." ―Megan E. O'Keefe, author of Velocity Weapon

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Having readers tell me how much my work has affected them. Especially when it's helped them through some tough times.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I've wanted to be a novelist since the fourth grade. It's my dream job!

Tell us your latest news.
I have another book coming out this year! ACTIVATION DEGRADATION is releasing on September 28, 2021. It's a thriller-esque sci fi novel set in Jovian space, featuring soft robots, queer space pirates, action-adventure, and unreliable narration.

Can you tell us when you started THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT, how that came about?
The Helm of Midnight is an expansion of my short story Master Belladino's Mask, which was one of the first short stories I ever sold. I was trying to win a writing contest for new writers and wanted to write something with a similar feel to Maddy Dune's First and Only Spelling Bee, a short story that had recently won.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Nothing is as it seems!

What part of your Krona did you enjoy writing the most?
Her soft, playful moments. She's a very stern, strong, determined person when we see her most of the time--in her role as a Regulator--so it was nice when I had the opportunity to fully flesh out her character with her love of music and her banter with her pickpocket friend, Thibaut.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
For some reason I feel like Melanie would really get along with Alice from Alice in Wonderland. They both go through some pretty fantastical things that upend the way they look at the world.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Oh goodness, I'm easily distractable. Let's say Twitter. Sorry Twitter.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
I'm really bad at being spontaneous--I'm an introvert who likes to have my life compartmentalized and planned. That being said, I think everyone--even people like me--should do something big and spontaneous at least once in their life. Anything from a cross country road trip on the fly, to running naked through the woods, to auditioning for a play--something new and fun that feels outrageous and out of character for each individual.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I think there are a few international trips I'd be happy to do all over again. The trip to Japan where my husband proposed, or when I visited Peru on a mother-daughter trip.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
Best is difficult to decide! The world is beautiful and vast and it feels like comparing apples to oranges to say one place is "best." That said, there is one little bend on a river in Oregon, just off a camp ground, that has always felt like the nexus of calmness and creativity to me. I read many a book by that bend growing up.

Charbon, from The Helm of Midnight. He is both tragic and terrible. He's serial killer, someone who has committed unforgivable acts, but at times his motives are uncomfortably relatable. Writing him was a disquieting departure from the types of characters I usually write, and thus a unique experience for me.

I.C.C, from the Noumenon trilogy. I love sentient computers and other non-human characters. I.C.C. was the first one I really got to spend a lot of time with in my own work, and it will always have a special place in my heart. It is extremely empathetic. I often call it the anti-HAL 9000.

De-Krona, from The Helm of Midnight. She is an expert death-mask wielder and all around badass. She loves her family, she's committed to her job, and is fighting a phobia that stems from a childhood trauma. Sometimes I just want to wrap her in a blanket and tell her to take a day off.

Progentor Jamal, from Noumenon Ultra. In the Noumenon trilogy, we get to see different clones of the same people face different situations over many thousands of years. Progentor Jamal (in a way, the last clone in the Jamal Kaden clone line) is someone who was imbued with a lot of power, but also had a lot of his personal choices taken away. When he abdicates that power, he frees both himself and his followers.

Thibaut from The Helm of Midnight. He's a scoundrel and a cad, which is tremendous fun to write. He's a really great foil for Krona, both as a friend and love interest, because she takes life a little too seriously and he rarely takes life seriously enough.

Fiona, from The Helm of Midnight. Fiona hasn't been getting a lot of press as a character, and I don't want to give away too much about her, but she's the type of person who's been boxed in by society and went full-tilt in one direction, morally speaking, when I think under different circumstances she could have done a 180 and led a completely different kind of life. She was chilling to write, especially since we really only get to see her through the lens of Charbon's perspective.

C, from the Noumenon trilogy. C is an Intelligent Personal Assistant operating system, and the base personality on which I.C.C. is formed. C is a little innocent, a little chaotic, and full of heart.

Is it cheating to put characters on the list from books that haven't come out yet? Oh well.

Juliet from the second book in the Five Penalties Series (title to be announced). Juliet is the only character I've ever based on a real person. She's a tribute to Julie d'Aubigny, and has some of the same adventures the real woman. But my Juliet also has a secret past. Though it seems like she's completely unrelated to the events and characters of the first book, it's slowly revealed that her connection to Charbon's killings runs deep.

Unit Four from Activation Degradation. Unit Four is a biological soft robot built and stored high above the Jovian atmosphere on a mining platform. We meet it the moment it's activated, at the moment of its birth. A friend called this character a 'murder baby,' and that is the most concise description I can think of. Unit Four is trying to figure out how the world works--trying to get its legs under it both literally and figuratively--while simultaneously being asked to seek and destroy invading forces.

Jonas from Activation Degradation. Jonas is part of a space-pirate crew, and he and Unit Four find themselves constantly at odds. At times he looks like the story's villain, at times he looks like the only reasonable person on the page. He's gruff and hot-headed and was exhilarating to write.

A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter.

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.

It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake.

You can purchase The Helm of Midnight at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MARINA LOSTETTER for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT by Marina Lostetter
APRIL 13th TUESDAY Rajiv's Reviews REVIEW
APRIL 14th WEDNESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books GUEST POST
APRIL 16th FRIDAY A Dream Within A Dream EXCERPT
APRIL 16th FRIDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW

APRIL 20th TUESDAY Nay's Pink Bookshelf REVIEW
APRIL 20th TUESDAY Polish & Paperbacks REVIEW
APRIL 21st WEDNESDAY Metaphors and Miscellanea REVIEW
APRIL 21st WEDNESDAY Books and Zebras REVIEW
APRIL 22nd THURSDAY Gwendalyn's Books REVIEW
APRIL 23rd FRIDAY The Bookwyrm's Den REVIEW
APRIL 23rd FRIDAY Insane About Books REVIEW

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

{Nerd Blast} It Doesn't Take a Genius by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Publisher : Six Foot Press (April 13, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 308 pages
ISBN-10 : 1644420023
ISBN-13 : 978-1644420027


"When everyone’s a star, it’s hard to stand out. African American E―who’s not named after Emmett Till, thank you very much―is used to being the cheerful sidekick to big brother Luke, but Luke has different ideas. He’s gotten a scholarship to a boarding school in Maine, and this summer he’ll be a junior counselor at DuBois, a historically Black summer camp that is a little bougie. Thirteen-year-old E has been trying to dissuade Luke by reminding him how many horror movies are set at boarding schools and summer camps, but Luke is clearly ready to step out on his own and dive into his visual art. E takes matters into his own hands by secretly applying for and getting into DuBois. He soon learns that while he may be a debate team star and talented break dancer at home, everyone at DuBois is exceptional―and they all seem to be better versed in Black excellence than he is. He quickly learns to keep his mouth shut and Google later when it comes to names he doesn’t recognize, like Toni Morrison and Marcus Garvey. E feels hopelessly shy and uncool, shining only when it comes to dance. His relationship with Luke becomes strained, with Luke wanting to break free of his little brother while E is desperate to maintain their connection. The cast of characters is fully realized, distinct, and absolutely lovable, and E’s journey will resonate. An exceptional novel with broad appeal." —Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Defining Black identity is central to Rhuday-Perkovich’s endearing coming-of-age story, and a rosy ending wraps up this account of Black boy joy nicely. Readers seeking books with BIPOC protagonists like Pablo Cartaya’s The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora will enjoy this selection as well." —Booklist

"This is a great book to add to lists of titles that showcase Black joy!....Summer camp books are always possible, and I loved all of the information about Black culture and history....this is primarily a humorous, fun book." —Ms. Yingling Reads

Emmett and his older brother Luke have always been "Batman and Robin," though they're quick to bicker about who's who. Spending the summer at a historic Black summer camp seems like a wonderful adventure for the two to share, but since Luke is there as a junior counselor, he seems to spend all of his time being everyone else's big brother, and ignoring Emmett.

As Luke seems to be moving on to new adventures, Emmett struggles in unexpected ways, especially in swim class and the "It Takes A Village" entrepreneurship class. Without his brother to turn to for support, Emmett works to build a new crew of "superfriends," who'll help him plan something spectacular for the end-of-camp awards night and celebration. Along the way, Emmett learns that no matter what, there can be many ways to define family.

You can purchase It Doesn't Take a Genius at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich 

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is the author of 8th Grade Superzero, which was named a Notable Book for a Global Society, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, an adaptation for Sesame Workshop's Ghostwriter, and Operation Sisterhood. She is the coauthor of NAACP Image Award nominee Two Naomis, a Junior Library Guild selection, and its sequel, Naomis Too. She also writes nonfiction, including Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow, Someday is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins, and Saving Earth: Climate Change and the Fight for Our Future.

Olugbemisola is a member of the Brown Bookshelf, editor of the We Need Diverse Books anthology The Hero Next Door, and teaches at the Solstice MFA Program in Creative Writing. She holds an MA in education, and has written frequently on parenting and literacy-related topics for PBS Parents, Brightly, American Baby, Healthy Kids, and other outlets. 

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