Join us for an afternoon of YA fiction as Mysterious Galaxy hosts authors Kayla Cagan, Amy Spalding, Aminah Mae Safi, and Farrah Penn.
Kayla Cagan is both an author and a playwright, having had short plays and monologues published by the likes of Applause Books and Smith and Kraus. Kayla has also contributed stories to comic and essay collections. Her latest novel, Art Boss, is a follow up to her debut work Piper Perish, which received universal praise. Piper has finally made it to New York City, landing a job as an assistant to a renowned artist. However, life in the Big Apple isn’t everything she had expected. Her job is stressful and demanding, taking away time that she could be using on her own art. Piper must find a way to become the independent woman she has always wanted to be, and figure out how to make the kind of art that she needs in her life.
As Amy Spalding’s website puts it: “By day, she manages the digital media team for an indie film advertising agency. By later day and night, Amy writes, performs, and pets as many cats as she can.” Currently, Amy has five published books with a sixth book, The Last Year of James & Kat, due out in 2020. Her latest published novel, The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles), follows Abby Ives, the girl who has been marked as the “sidekick” all her life. She doesn’t mind, though. The fashion-obsessed seventeen-year-old has stayed focused on her blog and dreams of someday rocking the world of fashion. Her dreams seem to be inching closer when she lands a summer internship at her local chic boutique. There’s only one thing standing in her way; Jordi Perez, her fellow intern that she quickly falls for. And that’s only the beginning of her summer troubles. Ultimately, can Amy reconcile her own positive sense of self with the image that others have of her?
Aminah Mae Safi once dreamed of becoming a professor, but has since found her place in the world of writing. As her bio states, “I’m a writer who explores art, fiction, feminism, and film.” She has a BA in Art History and an MA in Islamic Art History. Her debut novel, Not the Girls You’re Looking For, is about a strong-headed teenage girl by the name of Lulu Saad who can’t keep herself from making bad decisions. She makes a mess of her friendships, almost drowns a cute boy, and causes a scene during Ramadan; all in her junior year of prep school. Lulu must learn how to accept other people’s advice and repair the cracks that she has made in her own life before there is nothing left to salvage.
Farrah Penn is both a YA author and a content creator for the popular media company BuzzFeed. Her debut novel, Twelve Steps to Normal, follows a teenage girl named Kira who tries to put her life back together after it seemingly falls to pieces. When Kira’s father enters rehab for his alcoholism, Kira is forced to leave behind everything she knows and loves: her home, friends, and boyfriend. After her father is released and Kira can return home, she wants nothing more than anything to find her old life waiting for her. But, she quickly discovers that the broken pieces no longer fit, and worst yet, her once thought best friend is now dating ex-boyfriend. Just as her father had to in rehab, Kira must discover her own steps to cope with her problems and build a new normalcy.
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Artist Piper Perish has moved from her hometown of Houston, Texas, to New York City. Her days are spent exploring; her nights are filled with painting. It's her lifelong dream come true . . . . Except life in the city isn't as glamorous as it looks from afar. Piper's high-pressure work as an assistant to a famous modern artist takes away time from her own art. And Piper's new friend Grace, a budding activist, has Piper beginning to wonder if making great art is really enough.
In a story that stands alone but can be read as a companion novel to Piper Perish, acclaimed author Kayla Cagan returns with Piper's powerful and utterly authentic journey of growing up into a strong, independent young woman--as she learns how to make life about art, and how to make that art matter. Art Boss will have readers asking big questions along with Piper. What is art for? What can art do? And how can a young artist change the world?
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people's lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby's been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she's thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she's competing against the girl she's kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship.
But really, nothing this summer is going as planned. She also unwittingly becomes friends with Jax, a lacrosseplaying bro-type who wants her help finding the best burger in Los Angeles, and she's struggling to prove to her mother--the city's celebrity health nut--that she's perfectly content with who she is.
Just as Abby starts to feel like she's no longer the sidekick in her own life, Jordi's photography surprisingly puts her in the spotlight. Instead of feeling like she's landed a starring role, Abby feels betrayed. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image others have of her?
Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she'd nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.
Except maybe this time she's done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.
Debut author Aminah Mae Safi's honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if --especially if--you love them.
James Patterson presents this emotionally resonant novel that shows that while some broken things can't be put back exactly the way they were, they can be repaired and made even stronger.
Kira's Twelve Steps To A Normal Life
1. Accept Grams is gone. 2. Learn to forgive Dad. 3. Steal back ex-boyfriend from best friend...
And somewhere between 1 and 12, realize that when your parent's an alcoholic, there's no such thing as "normal." When Kira's father enters rehab, she's forced to leave everything behind--her home, her best friends, her boyfriend...everything she loves. Now her father's sober (again) and Kira is returning home, determined to get her life back to normal...exactly as it was before she was sent away.
But is that what Kira really wants?
Life, love, and loss come crashing together in this visceral, heartfelt story by BuzzFeed writer Farrah Penn about a girl who struggles to piece together the shards of her once-normal life before his alcoholism tore it apart.