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Peter Malone Elliott

A House Between Earth and the Moon

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

A House Between Earth and the Moon by Rebecca Scherm science fiction Viking —March 2022 DINOSAURS!!!!!! For those of you who listen to the podcast that I co-host (“This Podcast Needs a Title“—yay shameless plugs!) and understand that weird reference, you’ll know that I approach pieces of science fiction—whether it be a novel, film, TV show, or otherwise—with a healthy dose of … shrug. It’s not that I don’t understand the value of works like Jurassic Park, I just … don’t really care about them? *Peter ducks profusely as he dodges the proverbial tomatoes thrown at him by readers who <3 dinosaur theme parks and aliens and such.* This delightfully heated discussion with my wonderful TPNAT co-host Erica Davis inspired me to review a novel that very much goes against my natural inclinations: A House Between Earth and the Moon—a complex sci-fi epic that takes place in a near-future world…

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Rowena Leong Singer

By Interviews

Rowena Leong Singer was the Grand Prize Winner of the Literary category in the 2021 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, All Manner of Beasts. I consider myself a pretty well-versed WWII history buff—my grandfather was a bomber pilot who only survived through the bravery of French Resistance workers—so the period has a special place in my family’s heart. But to be completely honest, when I first came across All Manner of Beasts, I realized that there was a huge gap in my knowledge with regards to Japan’s occupation of Manila (where the novel is set). And I would imagine that I’m not alone in that. That in mind, besides just being an incredibly well-written piece of fiction, Beasts will undoubtedly be a vital educational tool for every single person who reads it. So, first and foremost: thank you for writing this. You’re doing the world an incredible service. Can you…

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Shannon Hembree

By Interviews

Shannon Hembree was the Grand Prize Winner of the Young Adult category in the 2021 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, The Only Thing We Have to Fear. The YA psychological thriller genre is one that, admittedly, is a bit oversaturated at the moment. I’ve read a lot of them at this point, so I definitely know what to expect…which is why I was overjoyed when I came across your piece, The Only Thing We Have to Fear. You truly achieved something remarkable with this—you managed to provide a fresh plot twist on a teen kidnapping saga, while still remaining true to the beloved tonal tropes of that subgenre. Furthermore, your writing is gripping, highly entertaining, and compulsively readable. Can you talk a little bit about the genesis of the premise for The Only Thing We Have to Fear? Were these aforementioned marketplace trends on your mind when you were first breaking…

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I Must Betray You

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys young adult historical thriller Philomel Books—February 2022 I wanted to slap myself across the face. Looking back over all the wonderful works I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing for Book Pipeline, I’m proud to say I’ve read across a wide gamut of genres and subject matters. As any critic worth their salt will tell you—what you choose to read/watch and then write about says a lot about who you are as not only a consumer of the arts, but also as a human in general. And I think that my selection of novels and nonfiction so far have given you a pretty good glimpse into my personality. All that said (and ego stroking aside), I recently noticed a glaring hole in my repertoire: I hadn’t reviewed a single Young Adult or Middle Grade novel. *Insert theatrical gasp here* I’m not one of those…

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Victoria Morsell

By Interviews

Victoria Morsell was the Grand Prize Winner of the Mystery/Thriller category in the 2021 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, Awful Necessary Things. I’m an absolute sucker for bleak, slow-burn thrillers set amidst a highly dysfunctional family dynamic. So, it shouldn’t come as a shock that I fell absolutely head over heels for Awful Necessary Things—which, by the way, is full-stop one of the best titles for a novel, ever. Can you talk a little bit about where the inspiration for the narrative came from? What made you want to explore the machinations of familial discord through such a particular genre lens? Wow, thank you! What an amazing compliment. And I’m so happy you like my title. I’ve always been fascinated by family dynamics and especially difficult relationships that are bound together by a fierce sense of loyalty. There is a push and pull that is really interesting between…

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Sorrowland

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon lgbtq+ fiction MCD (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)—May 2021 A befuddled writer walks into a Brooklyn watering hole and is asked to pitch the premise of Sorrowland in a succinct, logline-like manner. Said writer slams down an overpriced beer and wordlessly walks out. Because it just … can’t be done. Did this happen to me? In reality? No. But in my head? Many times over. Because … TIME IS A FLAT CIRCLE! *Peter slaps himself across the face and reminds himself that he isn’t Rust Cohle.* There are plenty of books, films, and TV series that try to be “genre-agnostic”—pieces of art that claim to exist simultaneously in several different genres. In reality (not the one where I’m in True Detective) very few of them truly accomplish the feat. But by my count? Sorrowland could be accurately placed in six: LGBTQ+ coming-of-age, survival thriller, supernatural horror, speculative…

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Penny Berman

By Interviews

Penny Berman was the Grand Prize Winner of the Middle Grade category in the 2021 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, The Odiferous Destiny of Alexander Sparks. In my opinion, probably the most important trait for a brand-new author/novel to possess is an undeniably compelling voice—ESPECIALLY if you’re writing for younger audiences. Other things, like structure, can be taught/fixed. But a commanding voice? You either have it or you don’t. And by goodness gracious, do you have it, Penny. A thousand fold. And in your debut novel, no less! How did you go about developing the one-of-a-kind voice that is shot through the entirety of The Odiferous Destiny of Alexander Sparks? Specifically, what were some of your character points-of-inspiration for Alexander? Thank you for those kind words! Alexander’s voice was inspired by my father who’d managed to survive The Great Depression, WWII, and having two teenagers in the 70’s with…

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All’s Well

By Spotlight: Must-Reads

All’s Well by Mona Awad lit fiction Simon & Schuster—August 2021 Have you ever wondered what you would get if you crossed the bizarre, eerie surrealism of David Lynch with a biting, deliciously dark, female-driven absurdist satire? To be honest? Me neither. Until now. Because that’s exactly what I got with All’s Well by Mona Awad. I can assure you, without any exaggeration, that this is truly the most bonkers, challenging, yet highly rewarding book I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing for Pipeline. The only way I can accurately describe this piece is to categorize the overall effect that it had on me—reading it was like clinging on to the side of a bullet train careening through the Alps. It was whiplash-inducing, exhilarating, and completely upended my belief on what a novel could be. So strap the fuck in. All’s Well follows college theater director Miranda Fitch, a former star…

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Claire Creely

By Interviews

Claire Creely was the Grand Prize Winner of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category in the 2021 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her novel, They Called Her Wild. They Called Her Wild is one of the most creative pieces I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long while—an incredibly ambitious, emotionally complex, and contemporary feminist retelling of the Selkie myth. Despite my Irish & Scottish heritage, I’m ashamed to admit that I had…absolutely no idea what a Selkie was. What inspired you to take on reinventing this piece of mythology, and what do you hope that readers will ultimately take away from it? Thank you! Same—I didn’t know about Selkies until I was researching Irish folklore for my Master’s thesis in 2015. I spent a lot of time digging through old books in the college library searching for folktales. I found a few I loved; the Selkie myth was not one of them….

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Melissa Duge Spiers

By Interviews

Melissa Duge Spiers was the Grand Prize Winner of the Nonfiction category in the 2021 Book Pipeline Unpublished season with her memoir, The Glory Whole. After an introduction from Pipeline, Melissa signed with Dani Segelbaum of the Carol Mann Agency. With The Glory Whole, you managed quite the feat—the piece masterfully weaves a poignant coming-of-age story amidst a horrifying exposé of the Seventh-Day Adventist church, which you grew up in. Most memoirists wouldn’t dare attempt to do both simultaneously, let alone execute as well as you did. The Glory Whole is unsettling, hilarious, and touching all at once. In case you didn’t realize—I’m a huge fan. I’m curious, given the extremely personal nature of the writing, how difficult was the revision process? How were you able to effectively “detach” emotionally and look at the piece through an objective (as much as possible, anyway) editing lens? Oh my goodness, thank you! I don’t know how well I’ve detached,…

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