The Book Cellar is hosting a fantastic panel of debut YA authors at Sulzer Library! The authors include: Megan Bannen (The Bird and The Blade), Gloria Chao (American Panda), Sarah Henning (Sea Witch), and Jessica Pennington (Love Songs and Other Lies).
Megan Bannen is a librarian and the author of The Bird and the Blade. In her spare time, she collects graduate degrees from Kansas colleges and universities. While most of her professional career has been spent in public libraries, she has also sold luggage, written grants, and taught English at home and abroad. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, their two sons, and a few too many pets with literary names.
The Bird and the Blade:
A sweeping and tragic debut novel perfect for fans of The Wrath and the Dawn and Megan Whalen Turner. The Bird and the Blade is a lush, powerful story of life and death, battles and riddles, lies and secrets from author Megan Bannen.
Enslaved in Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom . . . until the kingdom is conquered by enemy forces and she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father across the vast Mongol Empire. On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a scheme to use the Kipchaks’ exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into an impossible love. Jinghua’s already dicey prospects take a downward turn when Khalaf seeks to restore his kingdom by forging a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the daughter of the Great Khan. As beautiful as she is cunning, Turandokht requires all potential suitors to solve three impossible riddles to win her hand—and if they fail, they die.
Jinghua has kept her own counsel well, but with Khalaf’s kingdom—and his very life—on the line, she must reconcile the hard truth of her past with her love for a boy who has no idea what she’s capable of . . . even if it means losing him to the girl who’d sooner take his life than his heart.
Gloria Chao is an MIT graduate turned dentist turned writer. She currently lives in Chicago with her ever-supportive husband for whom she became a nine-hole golfer (sometimes seven). She is always up for Dance Dance Revolution, cooperative board games, or spontaneous dance parties. She was also once a black belt in kung-fu and a competitive dancer, but that side of her was drilled and suctioned out.
At seventeen, Mei Lu should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies. With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese. But when she reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?
From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.
Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.
Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt. Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after. But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad—or on two legs—without Evie’s help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend’s humanity—and her prince’s heart—she discovers, too late, what she’s bargained away.
Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her novel, with her husband Josh and their son, Rory. Love Songs & Other lies is her debut novel.
Love Songs and Other Lies:
Back-of-the-classroom anonymity is all Cam wants from the tiny Michigan town he’s now calling home. A new life uninterrupted by the drama he left behind. And with most of his free time spent at the nursing home with his Alzheimer’s-afflicted grandmother, he might just make it through senior year unnoticed. Unless his curiosity ruins it all. When a voice on the other side of the curtain sparks his curiosity, his search for the mystery girl quickly turns into a confusing mix of friendship, musical adventure, and a love he didn’t expect…or want.
Eighteen months after being turned into the #1 Fan of the Breakup Anthem, Virginia “Vee” Miller is trapped on a Battling Bands reality show tour bus. With her first love. Between playing fake-girlfriend to one band member and faking friendship-only interest in Cam, it’s not exactly what she had in mind. Because Cam sees right through her, and his determination to win her forgiveness is causing its own TMZ-worthy problems for Vee. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s willing to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.