YA pre-order alert! Folks, there’s a new can’t-miss book on its way to our shelves. It’s called Legendborn, and it’s the debut YA novel from author Tracy Deonn. Legendborn is a bewitching blend of fantasy and contemporary YA, full of Arthurian legend and Black Girl Magic. If you like books about myth and magic—if you’re into Kiersten White or Tomi Adeyemi or Victoria Schwab or Dhonielle Clayton—you’re going to love Legendborn. Blue Willow staffer Caroline Roberts is certainly a fan, and we can vouch for her excellent taste! Enjoy this Q&A between Caroline and Tracy, then be sure to pre-order your copy of Legendborn, which comes out on September 15. Be warned: There are a few *spoilers* within... so if you need to bookmark this one and come back once you’ve read the book, be sure to do that!
Did you know that we publish new author interviews every month?
We've had the pleasure of chatting with amazing writers and illustrators across a range of genres, so no matter what you love, we've got a Q&A you're sure to enjoy.
Check out some favorites in the gallery below, or scroll down to browse the full archive.
It's no secret that we love YA books around here. They're smart. They're funny. They're thoughtful. They're true. And it's always a joy to share YA books we're excited about with you.
That's why we're here today—to recommend a new book that we just know you'll want to slide to the top of your TBR list: Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith. There are a million reasons we love this book, like its transgender protagonist, amazing rom-com vibes, and its setting in a Texas high school, and we had so much fun chatting with debut author Tobly about all of it. Check it out, then hurry up and read this book so we can talk about it, okay?
Each fall before the holiday season, we spend a lot of time as a staff talking about our very favorite books of the year—the can’t-miss future classics that we know will make for a perfect gift. Sometimes it can be tough to remember all the books that came out over the calendar year. But sometimes, we’ll read something in January or February and just know it will come up in those year-end conversations. That’s what happened with a debut picture book called The Old Truck, by Texas-born brothers Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey. It came out on January 7, and we haven’t stopped loving it since. It’s a beautiful story about perseverance and the passage of time, with striking retro design and unique, stamped illustrations. If you haven’t already read it, we highly recommend picking it up.
Check out our exclusive Q&A with the Pumphrey brothers below, then circle August 4 on your calendar. That’s the day when Jarrett and Jerome are helping us close out our Camp Blue Willow summer author series on Facebook Live! They’ll read The Old Truck and share a fun activity with viewers. We hope you’ll tune in!
Friends, one of our favorite Houston authors has a new book on the way, and we can't wait for you to read it. All the Things We Never Knew is the second YA novel from Liara Tamani, a dear friend of the shop and general author-you-need-to-read. It stars Carli and Rex, a pair of Texas teens who meet on the basketball court, and it's the perfect thing to help you through these lonesome, sports-less times we've been living through. The book is funny, romantic, thoughtful... it belongs on the same shelf as your well-loved copies of With the Fire On High, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, or The Sun Is Also a Star.
As if that wasn't enough, we partnered with Liara to hook you up with some special swag. If you pre-order a signed, personalized first edition of All the Things We Never Knew from us by June 4, we'll send you a branded notebook, pencil, sticker, pin, and bookmark in addition to your book! Liara will also generously make a donation to the Houston Food Bank for every pre-order placed. We were hoping to host a big event with Liara in the store to celebrate the book's release, but we've had to switch to the next best thing: An exclusive virtual launch party taking place via Zoom on June 12! Attending is easy: Order All the Things We Never Knew from our shop, and we'll send you an invitation to the Zoom event. We can't wait to see you there! In the meantime, check out our Q&A with the author.
One of the things we miss most about business-as-usual is bringing great authors to the shop and connecting them with you, our extended family of Houston readers. One of the authors we were looking forward to hosting was Food Network champion-turned-novelist Abby Jimenez, whose latest book, The Happy Ever After Playlist, hits that lovely sweet spot between humor and heartstrings. It's witty and warm, and is a great read for fans of Casey McQuiston, Beth O'Leary, or Jasmine Guillory. (If you don't know those authors yet, don't worry—The Happy Ever After Playlist also picked up a trio of starred reviews!) We've got copies on hand, so give us a call to reserve one. And be sure to enter the $50 Blue Willow gift certificate giveaway sponsored by Forever, Abby's publisher! In the meantime, enjoy a conversation between the author and our very own indefatigable events coordinator, Cathy. And stay tuned for more ways you can connect with us—and with other great authors—during these strange times.
Friends, the current health situation has upended life here at the shop, and has reminded us that our top priority is always to keep our customers and staff healthy and safe. That's meant a lot of event cancellations and a lot of curbside pickup for the last two weeks. We're carrying on as well as we can, but we're still bummed beyond words that one of our event casualties was this year's TeenBookCon festival. To us, the festival is a joyful, life-giving day each year where we get to see a lot of hard work and planning pay off and connect thousands of young local readers with some of our very favorite authors.
Two of those authors—Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones—have written an urgent page-turner of a debut that tackles big topics like race, privilege, violence, and coming together. I'm Not Dying With You Tonight is the story of Lena and Campbell, two very different girls from very different backgrounds, who are forced to rely on one another in order to survive a riot. We know it's not the same as attending a TeenBookCon panel, but we were able to ask Gilly and Kimberly a few questions about the book, what it's like to write together, and which books are on their nightstands. Read on!
Friends, what a month we've had here at the shop, in Houston, and as a country. During times like this, we really do find that there's nothing quite like the comfort of a good book.
On a store programming note, we're devastated not to host so many of our favorite authors in the weeks ahead—we were looking forward to great conversations with authors like Ann Patchett, Angie Thomas, Mac Barnett, and Lisa See. Today, we're here with the next best thing—an exclusive Q&A between Lisa See and Valerie, all about her fabulous book The Island of Sea Women. We've even added a few photos from Lisa's last visit to give the post that Blue-Willow-Bookshop-event feel. It's not the same, we know, but right now it's for the best.
If you already ordered your copy of The Island of Sea Women, or are looking for reading recommendations for the next few weeks, give us a call! We're offering $5 priority shipping right now, and free shipping on orders over $50. You can also take advantage of our curbside delivery program, or just stop in—we're still open as of March 18 and have put additional sanitation measures in place to ensure your safety and the safety of our staff.
There's something especially magical about reading a book set in your hometown, right? Now imagine that the book has multiple starred reviews and glowing blurbs from the likes of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. And that we've been counting down the days until its February 4 release for, oh, about ten months.
That's the situation with The Gravity of Us, the debut YA novel from Phil Stamper. It's part space-race adventure, part queer love story, and it's wise, funny, and charming as all heck. We are absolutely beside ourselves with glee that Phil will be joining us for our eleventh annual TeenBookCon festival at Cypress Woods High School on April 4. You can register for the festival here, then check out the full author lineup to see who else is coming to town. In the meantime, check out our exclusive Q&A with Phil!
Friends, have we told y'all about our favorite hockey books? They're part of a graphic novel series called Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu, and they're just the best. The story follows Eric Bittle, a gay former figure skater and amateur pâtissier who plays on the hockey team at the fictional Samwell University. It's a funny, charming series—you'll love getting to know Bitty's teammates, watching his vlogs, and cheering for him as he comes into his own.
The second and final volume, Check, Please!: Sticks and Scones comes out on April 7. If you're not coming to TeenBookCon on April 4, you can pre-order a signed, personalized copy on our website by April 2, and upload your receipt online before April 6—while supplies last, the publisher will send you a poster featuring Bitty's pregame playlist!
We're so excited to be hosting Ngozi as part of our eleventh annual TeenBookCon festival, where we'll be selling copies of both Check, Please! books for Ngozi to sign. (Attendees, buy your book at the event! You’ll even have a chance to sign up to receive that same exclusive pre-order swag.) You can register for the festival here, then check out the full author lineup to see who else is coming. In the meantime, tide yourselves over with our exclusive Q&A with Ngozi!
Friends, we'd love to tell you about Small in the City, a wonderful picture book by the talented illustrator (and now author) Sydney Smith. At first glance, the premise seems simple enough: A child navigates a city in winter and offers the reader advice about which streets to walk down and which places to avoid. But pay close attention, and you'll begin to realize that the child is speaking to someone in particular. There's a poignant narrative twist towards the end, and the whole thing is full of gorgeous, expressive art. In short, it's a very special book.
We're thrilled that Sydney is coming to Houston for our annual Bookworm Festival on February 1st, alongside eleven other wonderful authors and illustrators of picture books and books for emerging readers. Oh, and hundreds of eager young readers and their families! It's going to be a great morning celebrating literacy in the greater Houston area. You can pre-register for the festival now, or just show up on the day of. Either way, be sure to check out our exclusive Q&A with Sydney!