Your Tu Books holiday book-buying guide

Hanukkah is in full swing, and Christmas is right around the corner. Thinking about getting a book for that teen or kid in your life? Or for the adult YA reader in your life (you are welcome in this no-judgement zone; we love YA too!). Don’t forget to include Tu Books in those plans! Here are a few examples of people you’re looking to find a gift for.

For the reader looking for comedy (sometimes light, sometimes a little morbid):

Cat Girl's Day OffGalaxyGames-FinalFront

For the teen looking for something with an edge:

Diverse EnergiesWolf Mark front cover FINALTankborn-Cover-Final

For the middle-grade reader or young teen looking for a “clean” read:

Summer of the MariposasCat Girl's Day OffGalaxyGames-FinalFront

For fans of folklore and fairy tales:

Summer of the Mariposas

For fans of science fiction, especially technology and space-related:


For fans of Twilight:

Wolf Mark front cover FINAL

For fans of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Chicago:

Cat Girl's Day Off


Got any other kinds of readers in your life that need a Tu Book recommendation? Ask away in the comments!

Review roundup–Vodnik

Tu’s spring books are getting great reviews! Here’s what people are saying about Vodnik.

Kirkus Reviews (full review):

An American teen encounters monsters both fantastical and human in the land of his birth.

After a fire destroys their home, Tomas and his parents move to Slovakia, a country Tomas hasn’t seen since he was 5 years old. He’s unconcerned about the move; scarred from a childhood fire and painfully shy, Tomas hasn’t got any friends to leave behind. Trencín, at first, seems wonderful. There’s a truly fabulous castle, and he’s made his first real friend: his cousin Katka. But Katka is dangerously ill, and Tomas’ attempts to help are complicated by his first experiences with racism. In the United States, Tomas is white; in Slovakia, the olive skin he inherited from his Roma grandfather marks him as a Gypsy and a valid target for abuse. Nothing can help Tomas—and more importantly, Katka—except the mythical creatures Tomas started seeing almost as soon as he landed in Slovakia. It’s unclear whether he can trust the watery vodník or the fire víla, but they both promised to help. A first encounter with racism blends well with a compelling fantasy adventure . . . .

A shy boy blossoms in this surprisingly witty debut.

Dan Wells, author of I Am Not a Serial Killer and Partials (full review):

1) Vodník has a unique and quirky group of monsters, and a “magic system” you haven’t seen anywhere else. . . .

2) Vodník is about a clash of cultures. I’ve never lived in Slovakia, but I have lived outside of the US, and Vodník captures perfectly the stages of culture shock, fascination, acceptance, and love that comes from discovering a new country. . . .

3) Vodník takes this culture clash, and the classic YA search for identity, and ramps them up with a full-on exploration of racism. The main character has some Roma (gypsy) heritage, which never mattered in the US, but becomes a very big deal in Slovakia, and this out-of-nowhere plunge into racism really opens his (and the readers’) eyes. . . .

4) Vodník is actually funny. I’ve read so much YA that thinks it’s funny but isn’t, and even worse, YA that tries to use pop culture references and fails horribly. Nothing’s worse than an author trying way too hard to seem clever and cool. The author of Vodník pulls it off almost effortlessly.

I loved Vodník, honestly much more than I expected to. It’s well-written, unique, and clever. It’s a breath of fresh air in a very popular genre, and I can’t wait to see what Moore gives us next.

Martin G., Sneak Peek Reviewers Club at School Library Journal:

Bryce Moore has done something most authors can’t do; he has created a story with a completely different type of mythology. . . . The originality of the myths is a good change of pace from Greek or Roman myths. The story reminded me of how there are still new voices in writing. This was no “boy meets girl over summer break” or “humans dating vampires” story. The author has created a great new type of mystery and legend, and I’m one reader who can’t wait to see if this story continues to develop. I’d be proud to have this book in my personal library.

Brandon Sanderson, #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Mistborn series, Warbreaker, Elantris, and co-author of A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan:

Vodník is compelling, interesting, and darkly humorous. I think you’ll love it.

Finding Wonderland (full review):

Now, THIS is what I’m talking about. No werewolves. No vampires. No British isles fairytale constructs. No Arthurian legends, creaky with age, being unfolded and poorly cleansed of the dust of ages for the nth, nth, nth time. No. This is neither the U.S. nor the UK, but Trenčín, [Slovakia], baby.

And it’s got big, sharp teeth.

Or, you know, big, drown-y-and-then-throws-you-in-a-teacup hands. Whatev. Point: it’s vicious and dark and dangerous…and completely amicable, in a “just doing my job” kind of way. It’s also full of The Crazy, and funny. This is a Tu-worthy book, indeed – another hit out of the ballpark for Lee & Low’s amazing little imprint that could.

Karen Sandler, author of Tankborn:

The best part about Vodnik is that it’s set within a country and culture I’ve never read about before. There is much cool new (to me) folklore in the story, far beyond the typical vampire/werewolf/shapeshifter memes. The story is fast-paced, the humor is laugh-out-loud funny, and it’s just creepy enough that at least one night I had some pretty whacked-out dreams as a consequence of reading it so late. If you want an exciting, adventurous book that’s completely out of the ordinary, you gotta read this book.

Valerie Stein, Fabulous Fiber (full review):

I was hesitant to try this one, afraid it might just be a vampire book in disguise. What a dark and delightful surprise it was to step between these pages, and to follow Tomas, our mysterious hero, on a series of adventures we never would have expected. Tomas is Romany, and as a storyteller, he does a pretty fine job. Because he’s our narrator, it takes a while to understand that he has survived a drowning. And that it left him with terrible burn scars . . . That’s where the story starts to get interesting. It almost feels as if this contrast, this dichotomy, echoes throughout the book in other polar opposites: water vs. fire, life vs. death, good vs. evil. But not vampires. Thankfully, not vampires. There is wonderful characterization, wonderful dialogue which feels true, whether it’s Tomas and his cousin, or Tomas and the mythological beings who turn up in the story too. The blend of contemporary and ancient is skillful, and one is drawn into Tomas’ reality, as different from normal as could be. Add to this engaging story the layers and undercurrent of tensions between the Romany people and the Slovaks who share Tomas’ new home in Slovakia, and you have a real winner. This is a great MG and YA offering with twists to keep it fresh.

Just a Guy Who Reads Books (full review):

Moore gleefully and delightfully knits the real world and the fantasy world together. His characters crackle and fizz, and are exactly the right level of snarky. Moore prefaces each chapter with a snippet from a guide book for “deaths” – the folks whose job it is to collect souls – which are fantastically amusing, and sometimes even relevant. The story line is relatively simple, but there’s plenty of action, and enough twists that predictions are difficult. This was an entirely enjoyable read, an amazing first novel (well, second, but perhaps the first doesn’t count?), and you should go and read it. Right now! Your life may depend on it . . .

Elitist Book Reviews (full review):

VODNIK is a YA novel that revolves around Slovakian folklore, and this angle is what makes Moore’s novel such a compelling read. It’s so fresh and different. These mythological creatures Moore has brought to life on the pages are so different from what I normally read in folklore-centric novels. It’s hard for me to do anything but applaud. Seriously. The act discovery that Tomas goes though—both external and internal—makes VODNIK have a more broad appeal that most basic YA novels.

Beyond Dragons and Wizards (full review):

Vodnik smacked me in my face and showed me that true wit, sarcasm, earnest story-telling, multi-layered plotting, grit, and fairy tales can all inhabit the same book. . . .

Sony the Book Lover (full review):

I enjoyed Vodnik immensely the bridge between the old world and new set against the backdrop of a medieval castle. I liked the conflict “the [bigot] gang” added, after Tomas has a horrible encounter with them. That made me so angry, he’s forced to learn to protect himself thus becoming stronger, and has the has the added benefit of making Tomas better equipped to face the Vodnik. I thought the story was original, the setting was amazingly quaint and old world. I was introduced to Slovakian legends which I thought was cool.

So Many Books, So Little Time (full review):

Vodnik is an excellent read for those who are looking for fantasy with a spark of something new. I had a lot of fun reading a mythology less common than the usual fantasy/urban fantasy fare, and that newness made up for the slight pacing and predictability issues that snuck in and out of the chapters. Tomas is a reluctant hero that many a young reader will be able to relate to- and he deals with some hard issues like racial prejudice and bullying that are important for folks to read and think about. It is a book about growing up, as many young adult books are, but it avoids being preachy and remains pleasant. It is a book about family and love and everything that draws one person to another.

If you are looking for an enjoyable read, give Vodnik a shot. You won’t look at a tea cup the same way again.

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

So, a few things have happened recently

In case you’ve missed the tweets/Facebook posts about these things, I thought I’d put them all here for you to refer to.

Last week’s #yalitchat on Twitter now has a full transcript. An abridged post, getting to the meat of the discussion and clarifying some of the conversations, will be posted soon.

Susan Morris at the Amazon blog Omnivoracious interviewed me about writing cross-culturally.

ETA: Stephanie Kuehn over at YA Highway also interviewed me. Want to know how I became an editor? Read it all here!

And, best news of all, Tu’s spring books have gotten some really great blurbs.

On Kimberly Pauley’s Cat Girl’s Day Off:

Cat Girl’s Day Off was such a fun, adventurous romp!  I couldn’t stop reading it . . . with my cat.”—Alex Flinn, author of Beastly and Bewitching

“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.”—Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer and The Vespertine


And last but not least, on Bryce Moore’s Vodnik, #1 New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson said:

“Vodnik is compelling, interesting, and darkly humorous. I think you’ll love it.”

ETA: Bryce is giving a way an advance copy of the book, so if you’d like to read it early, check out the details on Bryce’s blog!


Obligatory holiday buy-my-books post

Hey, remember how I published three books this fall? If you’re looking for great reads for the science fiction or fantasy buff in your life, you should remember Tu’s go some great books! Here are some links for you in case you need them, or go down to your local bookseller. If they don’t have the books in stock (B&N has Tankborn and Wolf Mark, but sometimes an indie might not), ask them to order them in! The more a book gets bought in a local indie, for example, the more they take notice and think maybe it should be on their shelves.

Galaxy Games: The Challengers by Greg Fishbone

Indiebound: Find a copy at your local independent bookstore! Google e-book

Amazon: Hardcover  E-book

B&N: Hardcover and E-book

Ipad & Iphone: E-book

Things are looking up for Tyler Sato (literally!) as he and his friends scan the night sky for a star named for him by his Tokyo cousins in honor of his eleventh birthday. Ordinary stars tend to stay in one place, but Ty’s seems to be streaking directly toward Earth at an alarming rate. Soon the whole world is talking about TY SATO, the doomsday asteroid, and life is turned upside down for Ty Sato, the boy, who would rather be playing hoops in his best friend’s driveway.

Meanwhile, aboard a silver spaceship heading for Earth, M’Frozza, a girl with three eyes and five nose holes, is on a secret mission. M’Frozza is the captain of planet Mrendaria’s Galaxy Games team, and she is desperate to save her world from a dishonorable performance in the biggest sporting event in the universe.

What will happen when Ty meets M’Frozza? Get ready for the most important event in human history—it’ll be off the backboard, around the rim, and out of this world!

Tankborn by Karen Sandler

Indiebound: Find a copy at your local independent bookstore! Google e-book

Amazon: Hardcover  E-book

B&N: Hardcover and E-book

Ipad & Iphone: E-book

Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated when the time comes for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. High-status trueborns and working-class lowborns, born naturally of a mother, are free to choose their own lives. But GENs are gestated in a tank, sequestered in slums, and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.

When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds a host of secrets and surprises—not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night. With the help of an intriguing lowborn boy, Mishalla begins to suspect that something horrible is happening to them.

After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan with their new friends to save the children who are disappearing. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, one that may reveal secrets no one is ready to face.


Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac

Indiebound: Find a copy at your local independent bookstore! Google e-book
Amazon: Hardcover  E-book

B&N: Hardcover and E-book

Ipad & Iphone: E-book

Luke King knows a lot of things. Like four different ways to disarm an enemy before the attacker can take a breath. Like every detail of every book he’s ever read. And Luke knows enough—just enough—about what his father does as a black ops infiltrator to know which questions not to ask. Like why does his family move around so much?

Luke just hopes that this time his family is settled for a while. He’ll finally be able to have a normal life. He’ll be able to ask the girl he likes to take a ride with him on his motorcycle. He’ll hang out with his friends. He’ll be invisible—just as he wants.

But when his dad goes missing, Luke realizes that life will always be different for him. Suddenly he must avoid the kidnappers looking to use him as leverage against his father, while at the same time evading the attention of the school’s mysterious elite clique of Russian hipsters, who seem much too interested in Luke’s own personal secret. Faced with multiple challenges and his emerging paranormal identity, Luke must decide who to trust as he creates his own destiny.



And just a reminder that in the spring we’ll have two more great books for you to check out!

Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley

Never listen to a cat. That will only get you in trouble.

Actually, scratch that. Listening to cats is one thing, but really I should never listen to my best friend Oscar. It’s completely his fault (okay, and my aspiring actress friend Melly’s too) that I got caught up in this crazy celebrity-kidnapping mess.

If you had asked me, I would have thought it would be one of my super-Talented sisters who’d get caught up in crime fighting. I definitely never thought it would be me and my Talent trying to save the day. Usually, all you get out of conversations with cats is requests for tummy rubs and tuna.

Wait . . . I go back to what I said first: Never listen to a cat. Because when the trouble starts and the kitty litter hits the fan, trust me, you don’t want to be in the middle of it.


Vodnik by Bryce Moore

Teacups: great for tea. Really sucky as places-to-live-out-the-rest-of-your-eternal-existence. Very little elbow room, and the internet connection is notoriously slow. Plus, they’re a real pain in the butt to get out of, especially when you’ve gone non-corporeal.

When Tomas was six, someone—something—tried to drown him. And burn him to a crisp. Tomas survived, but whatever was trying to kill him freaked out his parents enough to convince them to move from Slovakia to the United States.

Now sixteen-year-old Tomas and his family are back in Slovakia, and that something still lurks somewhere. Nearby. Ready to drown him again and imprison his soul in a teacup.

Then there’s the fire víla, the water ghost, the pitchfork-happy city folk, and Death herself who are all after him.

All this sounds a bit comical, unless the one haunted by water ghosts and fire vílas or doing time in a cramped, internet-deprived teacup is you.

If Tomas wants to survive, he’ll have to embrace the meaning behind the Slovak proverb, So smrťou ešte nik zmluvu neurobil. With Death, nobody makes a pact.