Big Blue Marble Bookstore Young Adult Newsletter August 9, 2016
   December front window
"And there were songs about a writer writing songs about a writer writing songs about a writer writing songs..."
- Judy Small, "Song About a Writer
What would happen if you could see authors and their writing at the same time, as they go through the writing process?  Or what if your life was in a fantasy story, but that part of the story wasn't about you?  
Our theme for this issue is YA fiction that weaves fantasy and reality together. Or places them side by side for your perusal.  See recommendations below! 
Also, don't hang up your Sorting Hat! See below for upcoming Harry Potter events and other store news, including Dungeons & Dragons and Pokémon GO!
Oh, hey, since we don't have an archive for these newsletters, and I'm no longer adding to the past-selections list on the book club page of our website, I thought I'd list the most recent newsletters with the new recommendations in a post, so keep watch on our blog!

See you soon, 
Books from Years Past...

  Afterworlds  by Scott Westerfeld 
I'll Give You the Sun  by Jandy Nelson
The Tiffany Aching series by  Terry Pratchett 
The Impossible Knife of Memory
 by Laurie Halse Anderson 
Openly Straight  by Bill Konigsberg 
Etiquette & Espionage  by Gail Carriger 
Home of the Brave  by Katherine Applegate 
Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories , edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios 
The Glory Field 
by Walter Dean Myers 
Seraphina  by Rachel Hartman

Highlighting: Hardcover 
Fangirl and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

My original reaction to Fangirl:
Fangirl cover
Three stories in one! Cath is a new college student, rooming for the first time with someone other than her twin sister.  Simon Snow is the protagonist of an almost-eight book series about a young wizard, who might seem faintly familiar.   Carry on, Simon is the slash fanfiction Cath is writing, hoping to finish her version of the story before the eighth and final book comes out. Friendship, romance, writing, important questions of whether fanfic is original writing. Alas, this book left me wanting to read the other two fictional stories all the way through, when we get only excerpts... 

Carry On cover And then, two years later, as if in response to our cries,  Carry On came out! Disclaimer: the details do not follow exactly the plot and excerpts in Fangirl.  Not entirely surprising*, but I still felt a little disappointed. However, there were scenes that gave me chills and déjà vu, due to my not having remembered them from the first book. Anyway: mystery, magic, ghosts, and romance in the air.  Ever wondered about Harry and Draco?  Just saying.

*In fact, Rowell claims to be writing this book as neither the Simon Snow original nor the fanfiction. See her comments here (scroll a bit). So I am a bit surprised after all.
Highlighting: Paperback 
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds cover
It's a bit of a fantasy in itself for a recent high-school graduate to head off to NYC with a publishing contract from a NaNoWriMo* manuscript, but that's the realistic part of this novel. Instead of alternating points of view between characters in the same story, Scott Westerfeld alternates here between Darcy, living a new life in New York, and Lizzie, who can cross over between the living world and the afterworld, and who is the protagonist of Darcy's ever-evolving manuscript.  Actually, what's cool is that while Darcy narrates or agonizes over edits in her own chapters -- how to describe a closet, whether she's co-opting her own culture, whether she should make her ending happier -- but we read the final versions of each chapter in Lizzie's version.  As in Fangirl, a nice look into the writing process.
Highlighting: Hardcover
The Rest of Us Just Live Here
by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here cover
Here's another in between book. This isn't exactly a fantasy story. That is, there is an invasion of Immortals, and there are teens who take it upon themselves to find out everything, and right the wrongs, and possibly die in the process...but this is not their story. While their story is synopsized, briefly, as the first paragraph of every chapter, the rest of the book...covers other kids at the school. Regular kids. And their families and friendships. And the new kid in their crowd. And the secret or not-so-secret crushes, and the meaning of life and love. All regular, normal stuff. Even if one of them might possibly be a god of cats.
Don't hang up your Sorting Hat! More Harry Potter events coming!
Saturday, September 3, 7:00pm.
Time to Talk! Discussion of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Did you love it? Hate it? Does it feel like the eighth book to you? What questions did it answer for you? Did you want to change some of it yourself? Come for discussion led by Lorrie Kim, Potter fan extraordinaire and author of  Snape: A Definitive Reading .

Saturday, September 24, 3:00pm.
GEEK OUT! Hamilton Goes to Hogwarts.
What if the historical figures in the Broadway musical  Hamilton: The Revolution were witches and wizards? Where would the Sorting Hat have put them? We know Lin-Manuel Miranda drew some inspirations for his characterizations from the Harry Potter series; let's see how it affects our understanding of these personalities! Washington: Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, or something else? Jefferson's tactical brilliance: Slytherin or Ravenclaw? And what about Alexander Hamilton himself? Come prepared for a lively battle of wits. Extra points if you can argue in rhyme! Discussion led by Lorrie Kim, author of  Snape: A Definitive Reading.

Lorrie Kim lives in Philadelphia, PA with her clever, grumpy, magical spouse and their Harry Potter-reading offspring, one born between Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince and one in gestation during the publication of  Deathly Hallows.
Check out our  interview with Lorrie
on the bookstore blog!

Finally, come to the store anytime to take photos in our Harry Potter photo booth (aka the front doorway).  Props available during store hours. 
Wiit-Sharpening Potion, by ShockingBlankets
Summer Store News!

dice 1) Playing Pokémon GO? Come battle for control of the Big Blue Marble Gym! Stop in on weekdays, tell us you're playing, and pick up a free soda!
2) Do you play D&D? On Thursdays at 5, we're hosting a weekly Dungeons & Dragons group meeting at the store. Come check it out!  (Dice and books available.)
3) While the Walnut Lane Bridge is closed this summer, balance the traffic, the stress, & the mess with our new  Big Blue Marble Happy Hours
- Every Monday and Tuesday from 4:30 on: Cookies and Milk Happy Hours, featuring Sheila's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Every Thursday from 4:30 on: Thirsty Thursdays - Join us, and all of Mt. Airy Village, for free San Pelligrino sodas and soft pretzels in front of the store while the food trucks are on the block and the neighborhood is a-hopping!
4) If you live in zip codes 19127 or 19128 (that is, Across the Bridge), we are offering free home delivery!
Order by phone (215.844.1870) or by email (, tell us you're in the Free Delivery Zone, give your address, and poof your books will arrive.  (small print - we'll do one delivery run a week, on Thursday or Friday) 
5) We will be offering signed copies of this year's fabulous Kids' Literary Festival poster for sale! For details, email  

Big Blue Young Adult Book Discussion

For adults who read YA and teens who like to talk about books  


We had our final meeting on May 19. Newsletters will continue, with recommendations and reviews, and relevant events.  Feel free to send a review or comment!


Please join us on the fourth Thursday of the month (with some exceptions) for the Big Blue Young Adult Book Discussion, led by Jen Sheffield.  The young adult genre refers to the books under discussion; readers of all ages are welcome.  The books do not have to be big or blue, though that's always nice.


For a list of past selections, check out the Book Clubs page on the Big Blue Marble website.