Photo courtesy of Leslie Ranne
Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Witch Boy is one heady brew of a debut—mixing fantasy, reality, family, and identity in a magical middle-grade graphic novel.
This colorful adventure story stars Aster, a sweet and gentle 11-year-old boy with brown skin, red hair, and expressive eyes, whose aptitude for witchery is incompatible with family tradition.
As his white mother, Holly, explains, “Women and men have different types of magic,” Ostertag writes, “and witches pass down their knowledge from mother to ...
Quips on our radar
Parul Seghal photographed by the New York Times
“I like to think of literature and criticism as an act of pushing something forward, of mapping new terrains, internal and external, of doing things with language that reveal something about what it means to read and to live.” —Parul Sehgal, who joined the New York Times’ daily book critics in late July, in the introductory Q-and-A “How a Critic Opens a Book”
“The rejection letters all talk about the fact that the book is too niche, that it ...
Photo courtesy of Carmen Boullosa
When it comes to chronicling turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Mike Wallace takes a novel approach.
“History is written in the grooves,” says Wallace, author of Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898-1919. “There are economic historians, political historians, cultural historians, social historians, gender historians, African-American historians...and people who are specializing in a field may develop particular terminologies of examination that are appropriate for that group.
“The thing is, that’s not ...
We talk to the authors of A SECRET SISTERHOOD
Photo courtesy of Rosalind Hobley
Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney forged a friendship based on mutual admiration and the same aim: to become a (published) writer.
They met as English language teachers in rural Japan in the summer of 2001. Over the years, they workshopped one another’s stories, shared publishing opportunities, taught together, and encouraged one another to keep writing.
“We’d had some successes, but we weren’t getting anywhere particularly fast,” Midorikawa says (Kirkus reached the pair by phone in London). “This eventually ...
You may have read it in the New York Times Magazine: on Monday, November 4, 2013, Sasha Fleischman, 18, a senior at a private high school in Oakland, California, was set on fire by Richard Thomas, 16, a junior at Oakland High School, on the AC Transit 57 bus.
Dashka Slater wrote it after hearing of the horrifying crime from her neighborhood email list.
“The story took place really close to where I live,” says Slater, author of ...
Photo courtesy of Craig Mulcahy
New Orleans native C. Morgan Babst evacuated one day before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Three post-apocalyptic images never left her: a grim waterline, pervasive gray mud, and spray-paint X-codes tattooed by rescue crews—declaring how many saved, how many dead in every building. These visions haunt her eloquent, elegiac debut novel, The Floating World.
“I couldn’t not write this book,” says Babst, who Kirkus reached by phone at home in New Orleans, where she now lives with her husband ...
Photo courtesy of Lisa Plotkin
Roben Farzad’s Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami is a rip-roaring ride through South Florida’s heyday of Kafkaesque excess: the 1980s.
“I want it to transport you,” says Farzad, host of Full Disclosure on NPR One and a Miami native. “I want to give you a sense of place. I want all of us—because I was four, five years old when a lot of this went down—to feel like a fat mosquito on the ...