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Author Post: Andrea Beatriz Arango

I’ve always loved books that are in conversation with each other. As a kid, and now as an adult, the references that authors would sprinkle throughout their novels seemed like small gifts—side quests I could explore once I was done reading that particular book. Twelve-year-old me didn’t have the gift of Google, but that didn’t stop me from doing my very best to follow the breadcrumb trails some authors left behind. Iveliz Explains It All is written in verse because Iveliz loves poetry. This, combined with the fact that kids nowadays often have their own phones or can easily connect to the internet at school, shaped the references I included for Iveliz’s readers to find.

I don’t remember when I first discovered spoken word poetry, but I was old enough that this discovery happened on YouTube and not in real life. I remember watching, transfixed, wishing that slam poetry nights and competitions existed anywhere close to home. Not so I could perform myself, necessarily, but so I could watch. I was hypnotized by the confidence of these poets and their way with words, enamored with how much more these poems felt like storytelling and not just verse. Discovering this kind of poetry not only shaped me as a writer but completely transformed how I taught poetry. Teenagers who once had groaned at the thought of our poetry unit were now engaged. These poets spoke to them in ways the ones in their textbooks didn’t, and I loved getting to see some of them write their own poems to perform in class.

It would be many more years before I discovered novels-in-verse, but when I finally did, it was like everything I loved about spoken word and novels had merged into an art form I could have never imagined. Here were written poems, storytelling poems, speaking an entire novel without a single paragraph. These books were beautiful, heartfelt, and just begging to be read aloud.

Elizabeth Acevedo was the first Latinx poet I found who did both. Her slam poems about her name and her hair had me in tears. When The Poet X came out a few years later, I knew she was carving a path to something different, though I didn’t yet believe publishing my own work was a dream I could achieve. Later, during the pandemic, I found Elisabet Velasquez on Instagram. She had a book deal by then, and I remember thinking: There are Puerto Ricans out here doing this. Yo puedo hacer esto también. The poem Iveliz’s friend Amir gives her toward the end of the book is from Elisabet’s debut YA novel, When We Make It, because by the time Iveliz and I had reached the end of this story, it felt like we had made it, too.

All this to say that there are so many poets out there sharing their words through various media. The internet has made it so wonderfully easy for people to experience each other’s work. And while I don’t know if every reader will look up the poets I reference in my book, I’d love to imagine teachers and librarians using these references in lessons—showing kids that there are so many different ways to be an artist, to be a writer, and if they want to create poetry, they absolutely can.

Andrea Beatriz Arango

Andrea Beatriz Arango

Andrea Beatriz Arango was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She has an EdS in reading education, and works as a public school ESOL teacher by day and as a writer by night. Andrea balances her life in Virginia with trips home to see her family and eat lots of tostones de pana. When she’s not busy, you can always find her enjoying nature in the nearest forest or body of water. Iveliz Explains It All is her debut novel.

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New Fall 2022 Young Adult

Berliners

Berliners By Vesper Stamper

A riveting story about the rivalry between two brothers living on opposite sides of the Berlin wall during its construction in the 1960s, and how their complicated legacy and dreams of greatness will determine their ultimate fate.

A city divided. A family fractured. Two brothers caught between past and present.

Berlin, 1961. Rudi Möser-Fleischmann is an aspiring photographer with dreams of greatness, but he can't hold a candle to his talented, charismatic twin brother Peter, an ambitious actor. With the sudden divorce of their parents, the brothers find themselves living in different sectors of a divided Berlin; the postwar partition strangely mirroring their broken family. But one night, as the city sleeps, the Berlin Wall is hurriedly built, dividing society further, and Rudi and Peter are forced to choose between playing by the rules and taking their dreams underground. That is, until the truth about their family history and the growing cracks in their relationship threaten to split them apart for good.
 
From National Book Award-nominated, critically acclaimed author-illustrator Vesper Stamper comes a stark look at how resentment and denial can strain the bonds of brotherhood to the breaking point.

The Dragon's Promise

The Dragon's Promise By Elizabeth Lim

From the New York Times Bestselling author of Six Crimson Cranes comes the thrilling next adventure! A journey to the kingdom of dragons, a star-crossed love, and a cursed pearl with the power to mend the world or break it... Fans of Shadow and Bone will devour this soaring fantasy.

Princess Shiori made a deathbed promise to return the dragon's pearl to its rightful owner, but keeping that promise is more dangerous than she ever imagined.



She must journey to the kingdom of dragons, navigate political intrigue among humans and dragons alike, fend off thieves who covet the pearl for themselves and will go to any lengths to get it, all while cultivating the appearance of a perfect princess to dissuade those who would see her burned at the stake for the magic that runs in her blood.



The pearl itself is no ordinary cargo; it thrums with malevolent power, jumping to Shiori's aid one minute, and betraying her the next—threatening to shatter her family and sever the thread of fate that binds her to her true love. It will take every ounce of strength Shiori can muster to defend the life and the love she's fought so hard to win.

Friends Like These

Friends Like These By Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

"Sharp, atmospheric, and wildly fast-paced"—Jessica Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of They'll Never Catch Us

From the author of Lies Like Wildfire comes another page-turning thriller about the little lies we all tell before the truth sets us free—perfect for readers of Karen M. McManus and Diana Urban.


Mistake number one . . .

Fun-loving Jake tells his girlfriend, Jessica, that they have to go to Tegan’s end-of-summer party in their tiny California beach town. Jessica doesn’t like parties, and she doesn’t like Tegan, who has an obvious, obsessive crush on Jake. But she agrees to go, to make Jake happy. 

Mistake number two . . .

Something awful happens at the party. Something so embarrassing that Jessica doesn’t know if she can ever get over it—and Jake will do whatever it takes to earn her forgiveness. And now a girl is missing. Everyone is a suspect. And Jake seems to have a lot to hide. . . . 

When a body is discovered at the beach, friends start turning on friends, and lies start piling upon lies. What happened could destroy their lives. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Mistake number three . . .

Soul of the Deep

Soul of the Deep By Natasha Bowen

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Skin of the Sea, in which the world must pay the price for one mermaid’s choice, and a dark force reverberates across realms. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and those eagerly anticipating the live-action film adaptation of The Little Mermaid.

One life.
One choice.
One sacrifice.

To save those closest to her, Simi traded away everything: her freedom, her family, and the boy she loves. Now she is sworn to serve a new god, watching over the Land of the Dead at the bottom of the ocean.
 
But when signs of demons begin to appear, it’s clear there are deeper consequences of Simi’s trade. These demons spell the world’s ruin . . . and because of Simi, they now have a way into the human realm.
 
With the fate of the world at stake, Simi must break her promise and team up with a scheming trickster of a god. And if they succeed, perhaps Simi can also unbreak her heart along the way, and find herself again.

"Epic and original . . . Simi's story will stay with me for a long time.” —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Instructions for Dancing

Caste (Adapted for Young Adults)

Caste (Adapted for Young Adults) By Isabel Wilkerson

In this young adult adaptation of the Oprah Book Club selection and New York Times bestselling nonfiction work, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson explores the unspoken hierarchies that divide us across lines of race and class. Revealing and timely, this work will speak to young people who are engaged more than ever with the world around them, or to anyone who believes in a more just existence for all.

Readers will be fascinated by this young adult adaptation of the New York Times bestselling nonfiction work as they follow masterful narratives about real people that reveal an insidious phenomenon in the United States: a hidden caste system. Caste is not only about race or class; it is about power—which groups have it and which do not. Isabel Wilkerson explores historical social hierarchies, including those in India and Nazi Germany, and explains how perpetuating these rankings dehumanizes vast sections of society. Once we learn the reasons behind caste and see the often heartbreaking effects, Wilkerson says, we can bridge the divides and make way for an inclusive future where we are all equal.

Random House Teachers and Librarians