Riot Rundown


Today’s Riot Rundown is sponsored by Sponsored by Amazon Publishing.

Raymond feels like he doesn’t belong. Not at school. Not with his step-families. Then a blind woman in his building named Mildred introduces herself with a curious question:Have you seen Luis Velez? Luis Velez is Mildred’s caretaker, and he’s disappeared. As Raymond tries to help Mildred track Luis down, an unexpected friendship blossoms between the two. Raymond helps Mildred with an act of voluntary kindness. Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to. Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a powerful reminder to find beauty in the world.

Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships June 4

It’s the most wonderful day of the weeeeeek: Tuesday! That’s right, it’s new book day! Can you smell the fresh paper on the wind? Hear the pages rustling as they wing their way toward us. Get out your nets, me hearties, and let’s see what we can catch. It’s Alex, with new book releases and nerdy news!

[Editor’s note: This newsletter contains a major spoiler for Game of Thrones, so if you haven’t watched it, skip today’s News & Views section!]

This newsletter is brought to you by Tor Books, proud publisher of An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass.

a woman in a dress with long hair holds a knife, and faces away from the cameraIn Cantagna, being a sorcerer is a death sentence. When a plot to overthrow the Shadow Lord and incite civil war is uncovered, only Romy knows how to stop it. To do so, she’ll have to rely on newfound allies—a swordmaster, a silversmith, and her own thieving brother—to pull off an elaborate heist. And they’ll need the very thing that could condemn them all: magic.

New Releases

Unraveling by Karen Lord – A serial killer chasing a myth that might lead them to immortality haunts the City. A forensic therapist named Dr. Miranda Ecouvo is put on the track to find this killer by Chance and Trickster, brothers she meets during a near-death experience.

Wastelands: The New Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams – An anthology of variably created wastelands, with new stories by Seanan McGuire, Tananarive Due, Tobias S. Buckell, Veronica Roth, and others.

Five Midnights Ann Dávila Cardinal – This tagline is amazing: “Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.” A thriller based on the legend of el Cuco.

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey – Reluctant detective Ivy Gamble, who was born without magic and definitely doesn’t mind that fact, has to solve a murder at a school for mages and reclaim her gifted sister in the process. (Full disclosure: I have the same agent as Sarah Gailey.)

Fire Opal Mechanism by Fran Wilde – Sequel to the gorgeous and heart-breaking The Jewel and Her Lapidary.

The Soul of Power by Callie Bates – A girl who was never supposed to rule finds the crown upon her head and must navigate a political maze she should never have been dropped into.

News and Views has collected livetweets from two really cool panels at BookCon, in case we weren’t envious enough about not being there: Worldbuilding and Rebecca Roanhorse and N.K. Jemisin talk about writing themselves in speculative fiction.

Since Aladdin is upon us, here’s a list of 7 books about djinn! (And while it involves daiva rather than djinn, I’d add that Empire of Sand might hit an adjacent sweet spot.)

First trailer for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is out and it looks utterly gorgeous. Puppets and trauma for everyone!

Next time I’m in Tokyo, I have to go to this sci-fi themed bar.

Four “nonfiction” ebooks about the world of Harry Potter are coming.

Ikea recreated some famous living rooms with their own furniture, including the one from Stranger Things.

New Steven Universe storybook is coming our way: The Tale of Steven.

Ready for another Hidden Figures moment? Here’s an awesome Twitter thread about the only woman who was inside the control room during the Apollo 11 launch.

Robert Pattinson will be the next Batman. This has got to be my favorite tweet about it.

Whether you did or didn’t like the King Bran thing, it’s apparently GRRM’s fault?

The 2019 Eugie Award Finalists have been announced; check it out for a list of some good short fiction to try.

Yeah, we regret you didn’t make The Dark Tower movie horror, too, Ron Howard.

Good Omens easter eggs according to the cast and crew.

Baskin Robbins has some Stranger Things-themed treats.

This Feels Like it Should Be in a Science Fiction Novel Corner

This fascinating review of Underland is here to remind us that our planet can be more fantastic than fiction.

The title: Sonic black holes produce “Hawking radiation,” may confirm famous theory. It just gets cooler from there.

NASA picks three commercial companies to attempt moon landings.

From the department of “I smelled the sour milk so now I’m going to make you smell it too so we can all suffer together, plus holy wow is this some dystopian stuff so silly I don’t think anyone’s ever put it in a novel”: The Department of Energy did a press release that called natural gas “freedom gas” and “molecules of U.S. freedom.”

See you, space pirates. You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me on the (Hugo-nominated!!!) Skiffy and Fanty Podcast or over at my personal site.

Book Radar

The First Trailer for THE KITCHEN Starring McCarthy, Haddish, and Moss and More Book Radar!

Hello, book lovers! As I am writing this, it is Friday and I am typing as fast as I can, so I can get back to watching Good Omens. I am only two episodes in, but so far, it’s great. I hope it lasts. The Deadwood movie also premieres today, and while I don’t have high hopes for it, I am super excited to see it anyway. (I swear I still read books sometimes too.) It was a slow news week, probably because all of publishing was at Book Expo, but I still have a couple cool things to share. Enjoy the rest of your week and remember to be excellent to each other! I’ll see you again on Thursday. – xoxo, Liberty

Sponsored by Gallery Books

For fans of Jodi Picoult and Anna Quindlen, comes The Summer We Lost Her, the new novel by Tish Cohen. An “astonishingly profound…exquisitely written drama” (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You) about a husband and a wife, a missing child, and the complicated family secrets that can derail even the best of marriages, The Summer We Lost Her is an unforgettable read about a parent’s worst nightmare.

Here’s this week’s trivia question: Daphne du Maurier’s cousin was Peter Llewellyn Davies, who was the inspiration for what character? (Scroll to the bottom for the answer.)

Deals, Reals, and Squeals!

normal peopleHulu is adapting Normal People by Sally Rooney.

The Fifth Season is June’s pick for the PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club

Netflix has optioned Sarah Dessen’s YA novels.

Anna North announced that she has written a Western.

Keeley Hawes and Ann Dowd have joined the new Rebecca adaptation.

There’s also a new adaptation of The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe in the the works.

Cover Reveals 

Here’s the first look at The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, February 4, 2020)

Sneak Peeks

the kitchenHere’s the first trailer for The Kitchen with Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss. It’s based on the graphic novel of the same name by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle.

Book Riot Recommends

At Book Riot, I work on the New Books! email, the All the Books! podcast about new releases, and the Book Riot Insiders New Release Index. I am very fortunate to get to read a lot of upcoming titles, and learn about a lot of upcoming titles, and I’m delighted to share a couple with you each week so you can add them to your TBR! (It will now be books I loved on Mondays and books I’m excited to read on Thursdays. YAY, BOOKS!)

Loved, loved, loved:

all this could be yoursAll This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 22)

I can’t remember if I already told you how much I loved this book, so I’m going to do it again. It’s about members of a family who have been lorded over by the abusive narcissist patriarch their whole lives. When he suffers a heart attack, they reflect on his past behavior, and contemplate forgiveness. I LOOOOOVED it. And the ending, holy cats! It was the first time I fist-pumped the air and said “YESSSSSS” while reading an ending. I looked like Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club.

What I’m reading this week:

when I arrived at the castleWhen I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll

Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Theme Music: A Novel by T. Marie Vandelly

Pun of the week: 

I’ve just written a song about tortillas. Actually, it’s more of a rap.

Here’s a kitten picture:

Ask me about my cats.”

And this is funny.

Awwww, adorbs.

Trivia answer: Peter Pan.

You made it to the bottom! Thanks for reading! – xo, L

Today In Books

Book Club Breakup Advice: Today In Books

This edition of Today In Books is sponsored by All the Books, our weekly podcast about new book releases!

A Visual Medium Goes Aural

This fall, you’ll be able to read two dozen comic books…with your ears! Marvel has enlisted Dreamscape Media to adapt some of their classic comic books into an audiobook format available for purchase and borrowing.

This Review Is a Good Omen(s)

Have you watched the miniseries adaptation of the Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman novel Good Omens? At least one person has and enjoyed it. What did you think of the six-part adaptation?

Book Club Breakup Advice

Advice columnist (and author of Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things) Amy Dickinson surely chooses some of the most universal questions to answer. And if you, too, are wondering how to quit your book club, she’s got some tips.

What's Up in YA

✍🏽 Confessions of a YA Tie-In Writer

Hey YA readers: You’ve seen those movie, game, and television tie-in novels exploding lately, right? Let’s hear from one of the writers of those types of books.

“What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Freaky Friday meets She’s the Man in this hilarious contemporary YA about sworn enemies who suddenly find themselves deeply intertwined. Packed with wit and heart, Preston Norton’s second novel brilliantly explores relationships, gender identity, and non-conformity.

Micol Ostow has been writing YA for many, many years. She’s done a little of everything in terms of genre, and my introduction to her work was through her horror (she is one of the winners of this year’s YA honor for the Summer Scares program with her book The Devil and Winnie Flynn).

Micol isn’t here to talk about that, though. One of her big writing arenas is something that absolutely fascinates me: YA tie-ins. You’ve seen them and will continue seeing them — these are YA books that are related to either a movie or TV series or maybe even a video game. Micol’s written a Mean Girls tie-in, and right now, she’s elbow deep in writing the YA tie-in series for Riverdale (which is itself fascinating, as it’s gone from a comic series to a TV show and then back to print in the form of YA books!).

I’ve asked her to talk about what it’s like writing a tie-in series, and she’s here to offer up her ultimate confessions. Let’s give a warm welcome to Micol Ostow — and prepare ourselves to really love the heck out of some tie-in novels.

Confessions of a Tie-In Writer

It is occasionally hard for me to get work done.

Not because I’m a procrastinator, or a woman of a certain age whose questionable multitasking skills often deteriorate into distraction (though I assure you, I am both of those things).

In fact, one of the biggest challenges in my line of work is that, as a sometime tv and movie tie-in writer, it can be a challenge to convince people that I am working.

As a freelance writer, I often work from home. I have a cozy office with a door that closes. But I also have two small children. And when they come home from school and see me on my office couch, laptop beside me and iPad streaming the latest episode of Riverdale, it’s easy to understand how they might get confused.

“I know sometimes my work looks like watching tv,” I tell my oldest, “but I promise you, it’s actually my job.” She’s skeptical (rightly so).

On those occasions, I usher the one or the both of them out of the office and lock the door behind them without remorse. I’m very grateful for the lock on the door. But more than that, I’m amazed to have a job that does so often “look like watching tv.”

    I’ve been a published author since 2005, and a full-time writer since 2007. I began my career in children’s publishing as an editor of young adult fiction, and specifically, commercial paperbacks, many of which were based on licensed properties (some of my earliest projects included the OG “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” “Charmed,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Angel”).

*Another fun tidbit? In my former life as an editor, I had the pleasure of working on a Charlie’s Angels novelization written by kidlit wunderkind David Levithan himself.

I think it goes without saying that my career is objectively awesome.

    While I’ve had the privilege of publishing across a variety of genres and age bands since I first began writing professionally, in the last few years I’ve somehow found my way back to tie-in work, and happily so. An editor friend of mine reached out after acquiring the license to Mean Girls to ask if I’d be interested in working on a novel. I’d just had my second baby and my chapter book series was coming to a close, and the idea of diving head first into a fun, iconic property greatly appealed.

Tie-ins are a strange beast. One needs to be an adroit enough writer to mimic character voice, tone, and style – but not so stylized as to allow any authorial voice to pierce the veil. One needs – in most cases – to conceive of original storylines as tautly-plotted as any original work – but those plots must conform to the situational norms of the television show. And above all, one needs to defer to the creators’ vision of the property itself.

Recently, I’ve been working on original novels and comics for “Riverdale,” the teen-soap-noir drama based on the iconic Archie comic set in the eponymous town. It has been, in a word, a dream.

    (Though technically, that’s two words.)

Riverdale” is exceptionally suited to my particular wheelhouse: I love teen drama, I love mystery, and I love a healthy dose of genre homage. In that sense, this property is no different than an original work of my own – I feel huge connection and ownership to the writing, because I feel such a kinship for the source material.

    That said, it may be my wheelhouse, but it’s not my sandbox; I just play in it. When asked during a recent interview how tempted I am to bend the characters and the storylines to my will, the answer was: Actually, not all that much. It might have to do with having spent so much time on the opposite side of the desk, but I’m all too aware that these characters and scenarios belong to someone else. Unlike fanfic (which I think is a fun and fantastic way to engage with one’s favorite imaginary worlds), this writing isn’t for me. It’s for you – all the “Riverdale” fans out there looking for a fix in between episodes. My role in this case is to be an extension of the creators’ vision, not to course-correct for a pairing I’m ‘shipping or to rewrite the canon to suit my own preferences.

Generally speaking, I’m the sort of person who takes things much too seriously. But when it comes to writing, to creating, I think the best work, ironically, tends to bubble to the surface when we’re playing, stringing thoughts and words and random tangents together with total abandon. Working with comic book characters feels like the ultimate extension of play.

At the same time, it can sometimes feel more “job-like” than writing my original stories: for one, the deadlines tend to be tighter. For another, see above re: conforming to series norms. And last but not least, a tie-in writer has to check their ego at the door. If the licensor isn’t feeling what I’ve created, that’s the final word. There are writers who might find this process too constricting. But for me, I often like having a hand to hold and a rigid-ish road map in this messy and confusing pursuit we call the writing life.

It’s true that sometimes, my work looks a lot like “just watching tv.” I’m not complaining. The only thing better than going full couch potato with my favorite show or movie is day spent with books, with reading or writing. To have made a career of all three feels just right.

Riverdale: The Day Before is available now, and Riverdale: Get Out of Town is also available now. 

Thanks so much, Micol!  And big thanks to everyone reading today. You’re the best — and we’ll see you again later this week!

— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Instagram and editor of (Don’t) Call Me Crazy and Here We Are.

What's Up in YA

🔥 Your YA Ebook Deals are Sizzlin’

Hey YA lovers: Welcome to June and perfect cheap ebooks for summer reading!

“What’s Up in YA?” is sponsored by All the Books, our weekly podcast about new book releases!

Have you listened to our All the Books podcast yet? On All the Books, Book Riot resident velocireader Liberty Hardy and several rotating co-hosts discuss the week’s most exciting and intriguing new book releases from every genre. Stay up to date on the best new books with new episodes every Tuesday (and get bonus recommendations for older books every Friday with the All the Backlist drop-in episodes!). Never miss the buzz on the best new releases: listen to All the Books on Spotify, or your podcatcher of choice.

It’s finally summer here in the middle of the USA — we skipped spring and had an extended winter that led right into summer instead. Which is to say, now all I can think about is grabbing a pile of books and reading in my hammock.

For those of you with hammock reading plans, poolside reading plans, or buried-under-blankets-because-it’s-actually-winter-where-I-am plans, here are some excellent deals to snag. Prices current as of this morning!

I woke up this morning to discover my own anthology (Don’t) Call Me Crazy is $2. If I may suggest picking this book of honest essays and art about mental health, now is the time.

Trish Doller’s fabulous book Something Like Normal, about a teen returning from active duty and struggling with both his relationships and his mental health, is $2. Grab that, then grab Where The Stars Still Shine, about a girl who is given a stable home after a life of instability, also for $2. Her road trip thriller The Devil You Know is also $2.

Meredith Russo’s romance featuring a trans girl main character If I Was Your Girl is $3. An absolutely perfect Pride Month read.

Dip into the world of magical realism with Anna-Marie McLemore’s When The Moon Was Ours for $3.

Although I haven’t yet read Black Wings Beating, I’ve heard nothing but tremendous things about this first book in a series by Alex London. $3.

Jen Wilde’s Queens of Geek, which is a fabulous story about teens at their first fan convention, full of heart, an exploration of friendship and mental health, and more, is $3.

Haven’t yet read Ash by Malinda Lo? You have no excuse. It’s $3, perfect for Pride Month, and it’s a staple in queer YA.

Lois Duncan’s classic I Know What You Did Last Summer is $2.

Impostors, the first book in the spinoff to Scott Westerfeld’s “Uglies” series, is $3.

A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz is $2 and supposed to be great.

Spend $4 and get Lauren Oliver’s Delirium.

Did you know that the Christina Lauren duo, known for their adult romances, wrote a teen horror romance? They did and you can pick up The House for $2.

All three of the books in Neal Schusterman’s The Skinjacker trilogy can be yours for $5. A steal of a deal and excellent collection for those still catching up on all of Schusterman’s back list.

I know y’all know Anne of Green Gables, but if you haven’t read the Emily Starr trilogy by LM Montgomery, you can pick it up for $1. Three books! $1!

Last, but not least, Marieke Nijkamp’s sophomore novel Before I Let Go is $2.


Thanks for hanging out and we’ll see you on Monday with a really great guest newsletter. Until then, happy reading!
— Kelly Jensen, @veronikellymars on Instagram and editor of (Don’t) Call Me Crazy and Here We Are.

Today In Books

Debbie Harry Memoir Publishing This Year: Today In Books

This edition of Today in Books is sponsored by Amazon Publishing.

Before the Broken Star cover image

Debbie Harry Memoir Publishing This Year

Face It, the memoir by Blondie’s Debbie Harry, will publish in October by Harper Collins. Blondie’s rise will be told through a combination of interviews and Harry’s essays. Learn more here.

Normal People Adaptation Gets Straight-To-Series Order

The much buzzed novel Normal People by Sally Rooney has gotten a straight-to-series order from Hulu for the 12-episode adaptation. The show will soon start filming and will air in 2020. Learn more about the novel and adaptation’s creators here.

Netflix Keeps Adapting YA Romance Novels

Following the success of Dumplin’ and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix will be adapting three of Sarah Dessen’s novels: Once and For All; This Lullaby; Along For the Ride. You can look forward to upcoming casting and production news for Along for the Ride as it’ll be the first to be adapted to film.