I'm back from South Portland, ME, where I had a great time, meeting many smart likable independent bookstore owners and managers. Matt Tavares, the illustrator of Lady Liberty A Biography also gave a presentation, which reminded me that no one works harder in children's books than the illustrators. The book is absolutely beautiful (I took a copy when no one was looking), and it was fascinating to hear about his process.
Sadly, I had not brought any of my artwork to get his professional evaluation.
I did bring GPS Thingy, after giving it the winter off. We had a lot of heated discussions on the drive to Maine, but once I got to my hotel room and had a chance to hear its side of the story, things calmed down. It helped me get to and from the hotel several times, as well as getting me back home last night. And since I didn't have to worry about when to make the right turn and when to make the left, I got to think a lot about The World We Live In (aka the third book). I am firmly committed to multiple viewpoints, but beyond that, everything shakes and shifts.
Meanwhile, the dead and the gone has gotten its second official review. This one is from Kirkus, which has a long history of hating my work. So that makes this review all the sweeter:
THE DEAD AND THE GONE
Seventeen-year-old Alex, the son of a Puerto Rican New York City working-class family, attends college-prep Vincent de Paul on scholarship. An after-school job and chores assigned by his building superintendent father keep Alex focused on a better future, with ambitions of attending an Ivy League school through study, hard work and a little faith. But when his parents fail to return home after the catastrophic environmental events following the moon’s altered gravitational pull, Alex suddenly faces the reality of survival and the obligation to protect his two younger sisters. His moral and religious upbringing is continually put to the test as he finds himself forced to take action that is often gruesome if not unethical—like “body shopping,” to collect objects to barter for food. As in the previous novel, Life as We Knew It (2006), realistically bone-chilling despair and death join with the larger question of how the haves and have-nots of a major metropolitan city will ultimately survive in an increasingly lawless, largely deserted urban wasteland. Incredibly engaging. (Fiction. YA)
Among the many things I like about this review (okay, the thing I like the best is the "Incredibly engaging" part) is that it doesn't spend most of its space going- moon/tsunamis/earthquakes/volcanoes. Most of the Life As We Knew It reviews were litanies of disasters, which didn't leave much space for descriptions of the actual story. But now that LAWKI has been out and about for awhile, all that worldwide bad stuff can be shortcutted. Which is fine by me.
Speaking of LAWKI, although I have yet to see a copy of the paperback in a store anywhere, there have been sightings, and I know of at least four copies that have been sold. Okay, I only know of four copies that have been sold, but it's always possible another one has I just haven't heard about. Maybe not likely, but possible.
I'm off to finish unpacking and begin preparations for a weekend visit from my worldly and sophisticated friends. Or maybe I'll just take a nap. An incredibly engaging nap sounds good right now.