Jesmyn Ward Is Writing a Middle Grade Novel | Book Pulse

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Jesmyn Ward will write a middle grade novel. In a press release she writes, “Even though I read voraciously as a child, I never saw myself in books. Without narratives to expand my ideas of who I could be, I accepted the stories others told me about myself, stories which diminished and belittled me and people like me. I want to write against that. I’ve wanted to write a middle grade/YA book for years, a book that might reach the child I once was and expand that child’s sense of self.”

She also has news of her next adult novel, it “will be set in New Orleans during the height of the domestic slave trade, and centers on an enslaved woman sent south from the Carolinas to New Orleans, site of the country’s largest slave market.”

Sara Shepard, popular YA author of the Pretty Little Liars series, is moving to adult novels, writing a thriller called The Elizas (Atria: S. & S.). EW has an excerpt.

Briefly Noted

The NYT reviews Sunburn by Laura Lippman (William Morrow: Harper: LJ stars), calling it “cool and twisty [but with] more heart than expected.”  Also Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang (Portfolio: Penguin), writing that despite some flaws “the best parts of Brotopia are those moments when she actively resists the “it’s all good” ethos of the Bay Area and cuts down chauvinism with the disdain it deserves.”

The Washington Post reviews Women Who Fly: Goddesses, Witches, Mystics, and other Airborne Females by Serinity Young (Oxford UP). Putting it in the same company as books by Robert Graves and Carl Jung, Michael Dirda writes “While Young’s occasionally academic tone may limit her audience, this provocative but convincing book certainly belongs on, or at least near, the shelf containing some of the most intellectually exhilarating books I know.”

The Guardian pans 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson (Random), writing “What makes this book so irritating is Peterson’s failure to follow many of the rules he sets out with such sententiousness … one ends his oppressive, hectoring book relieved to be free of him.”

The LA Times reviews Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith (Penguin), calling it a “tremendous, enthralling book.”

Megyn Kelly TODAY creates another bounce, this time for Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces by Dawn Davies (Flatiron: Macmillan).

PBS NewsHour does the same for The Heart Is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai by Elizabeth Flock (Harper).

Akwaeke Emezi writes about writing.

Scholars have found another source for Shakespeare’s plays.

James Comey’s memoir gets pushed up by two weeks.

Reviews for Black Panther are glowing. EW has a round up.

The Stella prize longlist is out.

Authors on Air:

NPR’s Morning Edition interviews Kate Bowler, Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved (Random House).

All Things Considered features The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson (Random; LJ stars) and reviews Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon (Scribner: S. & S.: LJ stars).

Whitney Cummings, I’m Fine…And Other Lies (G.P. Putnam: Penguin), will be on The View today.

Jessica Jones season two gets a trailer. It is based on the comics of the same name. The adaptation airs on Netflix starting March 8. Jessica Jones Vol. 3: Return of the Purple Man by Brian Michael Bendis (text) and Michael Gaydos (art) comes out May 8.

Deadpool 2 gets a trailer as well. It is the #1 trending video on YouTube right now. The film premieres May 18; there are plenty of connected titles.

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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at

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