Cover Reveal – So Long As I’m With You by M.C. Winkkle

Sydney is fifteen years old and has never met a boy before.
The back section of the clinic is all the home she’s ever known.
The doctors and psychologists, the closest thing to a family she’s ever had.
The books in her room, the only glimpse she gets at the world outside her confinement.
But then one day her peaceful existence is turned upside down when young Richard walks into the scene, disturbing what was to be a peaceful reading afternoon—and changing the course of the rest of her life.

This book will be released soon! So follow the author to know when the book drops!

Election Day Recommendations for Young and Old

Hey bookies! Election Day is upon us in the United States, but anywhere you are it’s very important that your opinions are heard! Here’s some election day recs for you to read while waiting in line to vote:

The Voting Booth

Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?

Duke Crenshaw is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight. Only problem? Duke can’t vote.

When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right. And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.

Romantic and triumphant, The Voting Booth is proof that you can’t sit around waiting for the world to change, but some things are just meant to be.

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed

YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

You Say It First

Meg has her entire life set up perfectly: her boyfriend Mason is sweet and supportive, she and her best friend Emily plan to head to Cornell together in the fall, and she even finds time to clock shifts phonebanking at a voter registration call center in her Philadelphia suburb. But everything changes when one of those calls connects her to a stranger from small-town Ohio, who gets under her skin from the moment he picks up the phone.

Colby is stuck in a rut, reeling from a family tragedy and working a dead-end job—unsure what his future holds, or if he even cares. The last thing he has time for is some privileged rich girl preaching the sanctity of the political process. So he says the worst thing he can think of and hangs up.

But things don’t end there.…

That night on the phone winds up being the first in a series of candid, sometimes heated, always surprising conversations that lead to a long-distance friendship and then—slowly—to something more. Across state lines and phone lines, Meg and Colby form a once-in-a-lifetime connection. But in the end, are they just too different to make it work?

Running

In this thoughtful, authentic, humorous, and gorgeously written novel about privacy, waking up, and speaking up, Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was.

But how do you find your voice when everyone’s watching? When it means disagreeing with your father—publicly? What do you do when your dad stops being your hero? Will Mari get a chance to confront her father? If she does, will she have the courage to seize it?

The State of Us

When Dean Arnault’s mother decided to run for president, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone, least of all her son. But still that doesn’t mean Dean wants to be part of the public spectacle that is the race for the White House—at least not until he meets Dre.

The only problem is that Dre Rosario’s on the opposition; he’s the son of the Democratic nominee. But as Dean and Dre’s meet-ups on the campaign trail become less left to chance, their friendship quickly becomes a romantic connection unlike any either of the boys have ever known.

If it wasn’t hard enough falling in love across the aisle, the political scheming of a shady third-party candidate could cause Dean and Dre’s world to explode around them.

Citizen Baby: My Vote

Citizen Baby knows a thing or two about voting. It’s important to meet the candidates (they love babies!) and to call voters. Plus, you get a sticker at the polls! Children and adults alike will enjoy learning about voting in this adorable, informative board book.

Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky — she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery.

Veteran bestselling picture-book author Jonah Winter and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Shane W. Evans vividly recall America’s battle for civil rights in this lyrical, poignant account of one woman’s fierce determination to make it up the hill and make her voice heard.

The Night Before Election Day

Yes! It’s almost here. And the big question is: Who will be our next president? Will our leader be a he or a she? A young citizen gives her take on politics and Election Day in this charming story (featuring a colorful sticker sheet!), told in the style of Clement C. Moore’s holiday poem.

Diary of an Angry Young Man Spotlight and Interview!

Raghav is an ordinary seven-year-old growing up on the ‘good’ side of Colaba in downtown Bombay, India. His family is one of modest means and his life doesn’t allow for many luxuries or indulgences and even at his young age, he is starting to realize that his life could be a lot better; his overly strict, authoritarian father rules the family with an iron fist and dominates his gentle, caring mother, mostly over money matters; his school friends taunt him for not being rich and cool like them; he doesn’t have any friends his own age who can offer company and fun. His is a safe, protected world and he is kept well away from the ‘other’, darker side of Colaba, which nevertheless, holds a deep fascination for him with its colorful, busy alleys bustling with activity, people and mystery – the ‘real’ world as far he is concerned. His small world opens up suddenly one day when, in the midst of the communal riots in Bombay in December 1992, he ends up saving the life of Faisal, a Muslim boy his own age. His act of kindness leads to a lifelong friendship with Faisal and his friends, who all live on the ‘other’ side. He starts secretly spending time on those forbidden streets and discovers a whole new world of camaraderie, warmth and color.
But life has other plans and Raghav’s entire world comes crashing down one day. In the space of a few crucial hours, his childish innocence is ripped away brutally, and he also loses the one person who may have made his world right again – his mother. That fateful day alters the course of his life and the ‘other’ side is the only place he can escape his now truly miserable home life and his bitter father who he resents more and more each day. He never tells even his closest friends about the horrific abuse he suffered the day his mother died, the day a fierce, burning anger took root in his very soul.
Now, 20 years later, all his peers and friends are settling down into jobs and the business of growing up. But Raghav is still trapped between his now suffocating relationship with his father, his own inability to find a job and make a life for himself and the painful memories of his childhood ordeal that still haunt him. And this is
when he meets Rani one day, an orphan beggar girl who knows life on the streets of Mumbai, but not in the way Raghav does. He wants to ‘save’ Rani from the beggar mafia and give her a chance at a better life. His strong need to stand up for something, to truly help someone is fueled by the recent Nirbhaya gangrape case in New Delhi, that evokes painful memories of his own past trauma.
Set in Bombay in 1992 and Mumbai in 2012, and inspired by true events, Diary of an Angry Young Man is a coming-of-age urban drama that explores the complex layers of humanity. And the city that engenders them.

Interview:

1)    What is your book about, in 150 words or less?

Diary of an Angry Young Man is inspired by true events and the protagonist is based on a real person. The book is set in Bombay in 1992 and Mumbai in 2012, the latter around the time of the Nirbhaya rape case, an incident which had shaken the nation and moved it to anger. Among these angry people is one ordinary angry young man whose anger and actions bring him under the radar of both the police and the beggar mafia. In addition, he has unemployment and a volatile home environment to contend with. Through his journey, we see how a disturbed childhood can lead to an unfocused and unstable adulthood. And how hope and clarity can come from the most unexpected of people and places. The genre of the book is Coming-of-Age/Crime/Drama.

2)    What is something that stands out about your book?

The book is based on a real person, an unsung hero who goes beyond his sense of security to make things right for an unexploited young beggar girl otherwise looked upon with casual disregard and as an eyesore by society. A quote from the book, “Everyone is the hero of their own story, but how many are the hero in someone else’s?”

3)    What made you want to write this book?

When I was a kid, there was one particular young man in the area close to where I lived, who had become a figure of childhood folklore of sorts and we knew him only by his nickname. He had achieved a high level of recognition, given the issues he stood up for and the scraps he got embroiled in. He seemed destined to go nowhere in life.

I visited the area years later as an adult, and was surprised to learn about how life had completely turned around for him and his current vocation. His unique journey revealed him to be an unreasonable and fearless man, and I admired his resilience and goodness of heart despite the cards that life had dealt him. I felt compelled to tell the surreal story of this angry young man.

4)    You say this is your fourth book, what are your other three?

I am M-M-Mumbai, HiFi in Bollywood and Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai. In addition, my short story, The Mysterious Couple, was featured in a nonfiction anthology – Something Happened on the Way to Heaven and another short story, Kaala Baba, in India’s first urban horror anthology – City of Screams. My other short stories include The Saas-Bahu Conflict which was published in the HBB Horror Microfiction Anthology and In Your Eyes in Tell me Your Story’s LGBTQ anthology Pride, Not Prejudice : Decriminalising Love.

5)    If this book was optioned to be a movie, who would you like to see playing some of the main characters?

At this point, I could only think of Bollywood actors. But if it were to be an international film, Dev Patel would fit the bill.

6)    Which character is most like you personality wise?

Inspector Amar Satpute. He wants to set people on the right path but understands that there has to be a well-planned strategy in place if one is to achieve a permanent solution. Inspector Amar Satpute is a character that has appeared in two my previous books as well.

7)    What was your biggest challenge in writing?

I live in a busy and noisy city where silence is a luxury. I long to be able to right in complete silence. Of course, there are other challenges that crop up here and there but this one tops the list.

8)    What is something you want everyone to know about your book?

Colaba is a prime and touristy area in downtown Mumbai, which put the city on the world map when the Taj Mahal Hotel and other landmarks were under siege by terrorists in 2008. There has always been a curiosity and mystery surrounding Colaba and this book somewhat unravels that. It takes the reader not only into the modest by-lanes and mindsets of the residents there, but also focusses on the ‘other side’ – the dark underbelly of the area.