HAVE YOU READ THESE? If Not, Then Read them NOW! (Joy Preble)

Part of me hates referring to lesser-known books as flying ‘under the radar.’ The phrase is accurate but it’s so fraught, you know? So let’s make something very clear: There are many, many authors you haven’t heard of who are doing brilliant, amazing work, and many titles that have not crossed your line of vision. The truth is that there are only so many publishing dollars devoted to publicity and marketing. Only a small group of books receive ‘lead title’ treatment. That’s just the way it is. There are word of mouth exceptions, of course, and books that break out anyway (my own debut YA, Dreaming Anastasia—for reasons I still don’t fully understand— was one of those.)  But the reality is, most books and most authors receive just a small piece of that publicity pie, either in terms of marketing or attention. This is not a reflection of quality. It is, however, why most authors expend a sizeable amount of effort and dollars promoting their own work. (like right now when I not so subtly remind you that on May 17th, my newest YA novel, IT WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THIS, arrives from Soho Teen!)

So now that we’re straight on all that, let me tell you about some books and authors I adore. Buy them or borrow them and then if you like them, shout that praise to the world. Encourage everyone to read them, too!

Here are four, in no particular order:

   Last year, Margo Rabb’s KISSING IN AMERICA came out from Harper in a pretty splashy way. But I first fell in fangirl love with Margo’s work with an earlier novel that captures grief in such a kickass amazing way that I’ve read and re-read CURES FOR A HEARTBREAK at least five times. The prose is brilliant and lovely and I am a huge, huge fan of Margo’s writing.  CURES FOR A HEARTBREAK was originally released by Delacorte, but it has been picked up by Harper now and is re-releasing in May, so you will have a chance to find it all over the place!

2.     Adele Griffin has written many award-winning books, and her 2014 title, THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE, received a great deal of well-deserved acclaim. But I became a huge fan of Adele Griffin through her smaller books, so many of which deal with those strange twists and turns of life, situations that are scary and odd, worlds that are cracked, people who don't quite fit the norm. Her storytelling is haunting and absolutely exquisite. Start with LOUD AWAKE AND LOST. Then move to TIGHTER. Then maybe WHERE I WANT TO BE. 

Geoff Herbach is funny. And amazing. And an author you should be reading if you are not. He captures the world of boys so perfectly. But his writing is much, much more than that.  Start with STUPID FAST and then read the whole Felton Reinstein trilogy. You will thank me! 

4.     If you want amazing, minimalist prose, then read anything by Lauren Strasnick. Her work blows me away. Lauren says more in the white space than
many authors say in hundreds and hundreds of pages. Her work touches on loss and love and obsession and the good and bad of family, among many other things. Start with her debut, NOTHING LIKE YOU. Then get all the rest.

I could go on and on. I want to go on and on. But this is enough for now.

What authors and books do you love that you want everyone to know about? Tell us!


  1. I'm gonna love this month's theme. Thanks for starting us off with such great reads!

  2. This is so true, Joy. As a YA Librarian, I read so many REALLY GREAT books that never got the hype and publicity that many of today's "bestsellers" get, but were just as good or better reads. Believe me, I passed those on to the teens!!

    1. Thanks, Tabatha! For every title that gets the 'hype' there are dozens and dozens that just don't get in front of readers so librarians are so important!!

  3. This is a great month!!! My TBR list is gonna get huge! So excited about these and Stupid Fast was AMAZING!!!!!!

    1. Yup, it is! And yes, just this group of us can list so many titles!

  4. What a delight to be in such excellent company. Thanks for this thoughtful, generous post.


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