Another review roundup

Awakening Final cover low resThe Horn Book Guide reviews have come out for several of Tu’s recent books. Thought I’d share a couple of the highlights.

Review of Awakening by Karen Sandler

“The innovative premise, detailed world-building, and ethnically diverse cast make this a must-read for science fiction fans.”—Horn Book Review

Review of Diverse Energies edited by Tobias Buckell and Joe Monti

“Riveting protagonists—many LGBT and/ or characters of color—in eleven short stories by authors including Paolo Bacigalupi, Malinda Lo, and Ursula Le Guin grapple with agency, exploitation, disDiverse Energiescrimination, and familial tensions in impeccably built dystopian worlds. With robust treatment of an array of topics (global warming, robotics. mythology, etc.) this is compelling YA social science fiction.”—Horn Book Review


ACat Girl's Day Offnd then the other day I discovered a short but sweet review of Kimberly Pauley’s Cat Girl’s Day Off on Amazon by Geography Club author Brent Hartinger: “Pauley, who’s been pretty good at reviewing books for years, has turned out to also be very good at writing them. Who knew? A breezy delight.


The prices from our Friends & Family sale are slowly changing back (it takes time for these things to process, even though the sale ended on Friday), but so far they’re still reduced on several vendors, so if you haven’t had a chance to check out Cat Girl or other books published by Tu, you might still be able to snap up a deal on the e-book versions. Only, be quick about it—they’ll go back up soon.

If you’ve already taken advantage of the sale—or have already read our books—please consider leaving a review on one of the online booksellers, or on your own blog. We’d love to hear what you think!

Because you know you want to see kitten pictures

Long weekend ahead! I’m really looking forward to enjoying the freedom that I’ve inherited (remembering those who died in the Armed Services) by putting some final touches on my not-so-new-anymore apartment, like hanging pictures on the walls and getting that last set of curtains up. I should probably put the AC in as well. And finally see all those movies I’ve been meaning to see, like Avengers and Hunger Games. And all those manuscripts I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten to yet. Not to mention published books.

I’m starting to exhaust myself just planning the weekend.

I also need to give the house a thorough spring cleaning because I’ve been fostering a kitten.Not that he’s gone yet—he still needs to find a home—but having three cats in this house is making the place stink, even when I’m vigilant. I’m sure there are things I can do to streamline the cleaning process while he’s here, but it’s going to mean some organizing over the long weekend.

At any rate, it occurred to me that I haven’t posted anything about this here, and that I should, just in case anyone is out there ready to give this little guy a forever home (and I’ll probably do the adoption through a local pet rescue just to be sure, perhaps Kitty Kind, to be sure the home he goes to is committed to him). Three cats is okay for temporary measures, but it’s just too much for this little apartment long term. Cute as the little guy is, I can’t commit to him  long-term—it’s not fair to the two I already have, and he needs someone who can.

Here’s the info I’m giving to the rescues as I try to figure out how to list him so that potential owners can find him (Petfinder doesn’t do classifieds anymore and Craigslist feels kind of sketchy for pets, but I could be wrong):

Name: Harlem (because that’s where he was found)

Age: 10-12 weeks

Found: at 7 or 8 weeks in a laundromat at 149th and Broadway in Harlem, where he was dirty and starving, probably abandoned by a human because he didn’t have fleas or other signs of having been on the streets all his life, though he did have a distended belly; he hadn’t eaten for long enough that it took him 3 days to poop after being given appropriate food and water. He is now healthy and happy after a vet visit in which he was tested and came out FeLV/FIV/Heartworm negative, and after antibiotics for his cold and some deworming.

Personality: Lively and hilarious, kind of mischievous! He loves to cuddle–though not when romping about the house, of course. He loves to dash from hiding place to hiding place so you can’t catch him, but he’ll come out for his favorite toy, the ball that runs around in a track. He’s just at that kitten age where he’s discovering all the things he can do, like jump high, which makes tossing him toys and playing with feathers on a stick a lot of fun, but also means that he can now get on kitchen counters. He’s pretty friendly with my two older cats (both 6 years old), though right now he’s teething, which means he needs some patience and some good chewy cat toys for his need to chew/bite when playing. It took him a little time to warm up and want to play with us–at first he just wanted to cuddle, probably because he was sick. But now that he’s gotten all the food and medicine he needs, he’s just a sweet, lovey baby cat who acts like most kittens–mischievous, hilarious, cuddly, and occasionally needing some patience and guidance.

Harlem when he came here to live 3 weeks ago

(sorry, these aren’t the best shots–they’re just cell phone shots in low light)

And how he’s grown in only three weeks!


And just in case you didn’t see me post it last night, check out the cover for one of our fall titles, Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall:


Review roundup–Cat Girl’s Day Off

Like I said yesterday, people are loving our spring books just as much as they loved those we published in the fall (for which we’re still getting reviews in–maybe I should do another roundup of those).

Here’s what people are saying about Kimberly Pauley’s Cat Girl’s Day Off:


In a multicultural family bestowed with supernatural abilities, such as mind reading and laser vision, Nat Ng believes her ability to communicate with cats is more of an embarrassment than a special talent. Only her family and her two best friends, exuberant Oscar and drop-dead gorgeous Melly, know her secret. When a production crew filming a remake of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off comes to the teens’ Chicago high school, Nat reluctantly agrees to join her friends as an extra. Nat might believe that her talent is unexceptional, but cat-loving readers will thoroughly enjoy where her ability leads her as she tours through the same Chicago landmarks seen in Ferris Bueller. This title has the light, buoyant humor of a Meg Cabot book, with the same blend of superpowers and high-school life that won Pauley many fans with Sucks to Be Me (2008). And the cats! Helping, hindering, sniffing out bad guys, sneering at good guys, the cats shamelessly rule.

Publishers Weekly (full review):

Pauley (Still Sucks to Be Me) offers amusing insights into the minds of cats, snappy dialogue, and a fast-paced plot. Readers should easily relate to Nat, and cat-lovers in particular will find a lot to enjoy in this romp.

Kirkus Reviews (full review):

. . . Since there’s no one else ready and able to rescue Easton, Nat and her pair of slightly off-beat friends take on the job. This leads to one perilous situation after another, many of them featuring the italicized thoughts—appropriately laconic and snarky—of the various cats that Nat seeks out for help. Her bumpy budding romance with classmate Ian adds an amusing love interest to the mix. The fantasy elements, solidly grounded in an otherwise real world, seem ever-so-believable. Lively conversation, strong characterizations and a fast pace make this a breezy read. The funny feline thoughts are catnip for the audience.

A worthwhile adventure and an easy sell for feline fanciers who already know what their pets are saying.

School Library Journal (if you are a subscriber, you can access the full review on their site; otherwise, look in the April 2012 print edition):

Pauley’s homage to Chicago and her favorite teen movie is entertaining, hilarious, and exceptionally creative. Populated with wonderfully eccentric and endearing characters, this lighthearted comedy will be an instant hit, especially among teen and tween girls. One thing is for certain—readers will never again look at their feline friends in the same way.

Charlotte’s Library (full review):

Cat Girl’s Day Off is fast and funny, with the spot-on cat comments that liberally sprinkle the pages being especially entertaining. Though Natalie is a well-developed character with genuine teenager-ish concerns, and people’s lives actually are in danger, it’s not a book that takes itself too seriously, which makes it a very pleasant break from reality. . . .

Cat Girl’s Day Off is ostensibly YA—it’s a high school book. But it is one that a middle school kid could read without blushing—no sex, and only a bit of cat-fighty violence. In fact, it’s a perfect one for the eleven or twelve year old cat-loving girl whose not quite ready for the steamy romance of most YA paranormal—this, instead, is a light-hearted mystery with a paranormal premise.

The Happy Nappy Bookseller (full review):

This was fun, silly and easy to get into. I laughed out loud more then once and the mystery aspect of the storyline is handled very well. Some of the best parts are Natalie’s conversations with the cats. Natalie works well with her friends, but the cats are the stars.

Finding Wonderland (full review):

This book is an airy confection filled with hijinks, shady characters, star-struck fanboys and a lot of running around. I found some of the characters slightly over-the-top, and the real-life celebrity parallels were amusing, but this novel has a lot of glitter going for it—and a lot of heart. . . .

Take one missing celebrity blogger—add a stolen pink-dyed cat, a filming on a high school campus, a real catfight, a cat-shelter break-in, Wrigley Field, and whole lot of snarky backtalk from cats. Mix in a breezy fashion to create an absolutely nutty novel which reminds you to never, never, never take suggestions from your feline pet.

Francesca at YA Books Central (full review):

Three quirky friends, a nice, smart love interest, the making of a movie about a teen who decides to recreate Ferris Bueller’s Day Off… all that plus a shape-shifting villain and a cat with attitude? Seriously. It was like I had died and gone to YA heaven. In Chicago. With lots of cats. . . .

The characters were similarly both familiar and surprising. Nat on the one hand fits the mold of the odd-girl heroine, but she never became a stock character. She felt powerfully real – so real I truly cared what happened between her and (*sigh*) Ian, and I really wanted her family to see her in a new light. Oscar and Mellie likewise – in the hands of a lesser writer, they both could have been clichés, but Pauley infused them with full, rich lives and selves. I ended up wishing they were MY best friends, and that I didn’t have to leave them behind when I turned the last page. The urban-fantasy element—that some humans have Talents (not superpowers, Nat’s mother insists)—was utterly believable, and never needed dull exposition to justify its existence.

The (dare I say zany?) madcap adventures in Kimberly Pauley’s truly delightful new book are Hughes-ish in the best possible way, happy ending and all. I can’t imagine finding a better beach book this year, but if I were you, I wouldn’t wait until summer to read it.

Kim at YA Books Central (full review):

This is one hilarious, fun romp that made me want MORE! . . . CAT GIRL’S DAY OFF is a refreshing YA in a sea of dark paranormals out there. . . . A total must read!

Alex Flinn, author of Beastly and Bewitching:

Cat Girl’s Day Off was such a fun, adventurous romp! I couldn’t stop reading it. . . with my cat.

Ingrid King, The Conscious Cat (full review):

The book is absolutely delightful. Written in a lively, breezy, conversational style, told from the extremely likeable protagonists perspective, the story takes the reader on a wild ride involving a kidnapped celebrity blogger, a pink cat, a movie set, and a shape-shifting villain. You’ll have to suspend your sense of belief a little, but that’s actually what makes the book such a fun read. It’s pure entertainment, and it features plenty of cats who all have a lot to say.

And you’ll just have to read the book yourself to find out why the cat on the cover is pink.

Sarah Beth Durst, author of Drink Slay Love and Ice:

It was deliciously adorable! I now desperately want to be able to talk to cats. Thanks for the great read!

Saundra Mitchell, author of The Vespertine:

When I need to read something smart and funny and completely original, I turn to Kimberly Pauley. Cat Girl’s Day Off is a manic, madcap adventure that satisfies from the first page to the last.

A Nook Full of Books (full review):

I can’t stress enough how much I loved this book! It made me laugh a lot, it’s got a hilarious, easy to read plot and absolutely adorable character. Definitely one of my favorite reads this year!

The Hate-Mongering Tart (full review):

Q: How much fun was Kimberly Pauley‘s latest novel?
A: A heck of a lot!  CAT GIRL’S DAY OFF is one hundred percent ridiculous, in the best way possible!

. . . This fun, exciting romp of a book is in part love letter to Chicago, and very much in the spirit of John Hughes.  With all its goofiness, the characters are real and compelling, and totally loveable.  Even better? The villains are just as fun to read.  I’m looking forward to future novels for Kimberly Pauley — I’m sure they’ll be just as refreshing as CAT GIRL.

Blogger whose cat reviewed Cat Girl says it should be a movie

And I so totally agree. (Here’s the cat’s review.)

Hollywood, are you listening? Dani Alexis also has some pithy thoughts on Cat Girl‘s subtle commentary on celebrity culture:

Behind the on-screen action of Cat Girl’s Day Off is a well-played critique of celebrity movie teen squee culture. Without giving too much away, I’ll say that this book manages to look twice at things like celebrity bloggers, paparazzi mobs, celebrity privacy and lack thereof, our habits of overlooking bad behavior in celebrities we’d never overlook in ordinary folks, and more, without ever once becoming preachy, heavy-handed, or tiresome. It does a particularly good job of exploring teen celebrity movie squee culture. Which would be the lifeblood of a movie version, of course, but which would also ask some good questions about it. And unlike The Hunger Games, it doesn’t require 22 teenagers to die horribly in order to bring the subject up.

I also just realized I haven’t yet posted a real post saying “GO BUY MY BOOKS” for this spring, though in all my linkage of reviews and contests on Twitter and Facebook might imply otherwise. For any of you who are not following me at either of those locations (and for those of you who are, who are meaning to but haven’t quite gotten around to it), now’s your chance!

For you e-book aficionados, we’ve got convenience aplenty for you! CAT GIRL’S DAY OFF and VODNIK are both available on Kindle, nook, and Google Books! (We’re still working on iBooks, which takes much longer than the others.) Links below (also note that Google Books has Vodnik and Cat Girl on sale for $7.99, a $2 discount!):

Barnes & Noble nook e-book
Amazon Kindle e-book
Google Play e-book
Google Play e-book


Amazon Kindle e-book
Barnes & Noble nook e-book


(Sorry for the formatting issues—Wordpress seems to be auto-deleting any returns I put in, and won’t put the pictures where I want them on the page. It’s never done this before. Maybe the captions are interfering with the coding?)

And for you fans of traditional hardcover, what we’d really love is if you were to go to your local bookseller and ask them to order it. Barnes & Noble will gladly order it in for you, and the more people who ask for it ordered in, the more they’ll pay attention. You know who especially pays attention? Independent booksellers. Let’s show them that we as readers value diversity on their shelves! Want reviews to show how great these books are? Share the long list of great reviews at the bottom of the book’s info page on our website (Vodnik) (Cat Girl’s Day Off).

If you’d prefer to order online, you can order directly from Lee & Low, or through a wide variety of your favorite online booksellers. Links below to a wide variety, but if you have a favorite bookseller who’s not linked here I’m sure you’ll be able to find it. Note that has free shipping for international readers.

Direct from us, the publisher
Direct from us, the publisher
Amazon hardcover
Indiebound hardcover
Indiebound hardcover
Book Depository hardcover
Book Depository hardcover
Barnes & Noble hardcover
Barnes & Noble hardcover
Books a Million hardcover
Books a Million hardcover
Amazon hardcover

Meeting authors, Kitty Saturday

I haven’t had a chance yet to post about my time at the Ventura/Santa Barbara SCBWI conference over Halloween weekend. I had a great time—the organizers, including Lee & Low author Alexis O’Neill, the V/SB SCBWI RA, were extremely organized, and it was so nice to meet so many authors and illustrators who are either currently published and working on more books, or who are working toward publication. The other guests, Reuben Pfeffer (agent at East-West Literary Agency) and Andrea Welch (Beach Lane Books) were so nice to talk to. It was a lot to fit a lot into one day! But the organizers were able to do it because they kept everyone on track time-wise.

I had my camera with me, but didn’t take many shots. But one thing I did get a shot of was a milestone that any editor would count as a highlight: getting to meet one of my authors for the first time in person. This time it was Karen Sandler, whose book, Tankborn, will be out with Tu in fall 2011. (And I finally met her agent just this Thursday when we and my coworker Miriam met for hot chocolate at Burdick’s—it makes me happy that Burdick’s opened a New York shop just in time for me to move here. I was in love with their Boston shop when I was in graduate school.)

So here’s me and Karen in California on the day before Halloween:

And just for good measure, we haven’t had some good pictures of my cats around here recently, so here’s a whole buncha cute fluffies for ya.

Tildrum wants *you*

To tell me about your favorite children’s book/publishing related websites.
I so seldom actually look at my own front page that it took me until today to realize that not only did I have out of date links on the sidebar from since I’d left Mirrorstone, but that I’d never really updated them when I was still at Mirrorstone!
So I took off the links to specific series that aren’t being published anymore (though I couldn’t resist leaving Hallowmere up there) and need to add a link to the still on-going Dragon Codex books by R.D. Henham, a pen name for several authors including Rebecca Shelley, Ree Soesbee, Amie Rose Rotruck, and Clint Johnston. I love letting people know about books that I’ve worked on because I think you’ll love them.
I added some links for children’s publishing general information: everyone who is first learning about children’s publishing must get to know The Purple Crayon and the SCBWI.
As far as reviewers and authors, I realize how incomplete those lists are. Those are from about three years ago, with small additions made over the years. So, let’s do
a little game. What do you consider the most essential children’s book-related blog? We’ll have three categories: blogs that dish about publishing (no matter who runs it, whether author, librarian, magazine, or reviewer), blogs that review children’s books (any age range), and author blogs. If a newbie came to you and said, "Can you point me in the right direction?" what sites would you recommend to them?
The prize for this game is just the knowledge that you are the go-to guy or gal for this kind of information. Sorry, things are a bit tight here at the Grimoire mansion, and isn’t the glow of doing good better than any material possession anyway?

Dense cat

My roommate apparently told another roommate that she thinks Tildrum is obese. Given that I’d just been noticing how much bigger Tildrum is than Mogget, this had me worried, because I had been thinking that perhaps Mogget wasn’t eating enough but that Tildrum—slight chunk that he is—was just normal. (Mogget, when you get him wet, is smaller than Tildrum, which is surprising given that Mogget is 6 months older. But since they’re both almost full-grown, I hope it’s just that Mogget comes from smaller-cat genes.)

Anyway, so I’ve been researching Manx cats tonight, trying to be sure that Tildrum is indeed just matching breed characteristics–his mother was definitely at least part Manx, a little calico sweetheart, and he was the only full-tailed kitten in the three I saw. One was a stumpy and one didn’t have a tail at all. In fact, I could have adopted his brother instead, who looked exactly like Mogget but with only a stumpy tail, but I figured that would be a little confusing.

(The picture is of Tildrum and his little family before I adopted him. His sister is on the right, the little calico—who had no tail. His brother is on the left, the little black one with a white patch. I’m almost positive that he had more white on him when I saw him in person, which might mean I’m thinking of a different kitten altogether, which might be the little ears in the back. But I think those belong to the mama cat–she seems bigger than anyone else. Tildrum is the little black spot with copper eyes in the center. It’s so hard photographing black cats. I rarely feel satisfied with anything I’ve taken of him lately.)

My discovery: Not only is Tildrum right on with Manx conformation—their longer hind legs and powerful jumping ability call for much more musclier, and therefore heavier, hindends—but I find out he totally would clean up in competition, if he had no tail. 🙂 The breed requirements listed on that page are pretty much Tildrum to a T—minus the no-tail requirement. That especially includes the “surprisingly heavy when lifted.” He’s a dense little one.

Which of course makes me go back to wondering if Mogget is dense enough. But that’s a research project for another day.