After a relatively quiet month, suddenly there is a burst of activity. The AML Conference was held, and the AML Awards were presented. There were four Hugo nominations for works created by Mormons (or Mormons part of a larger group). Four significant works about Mormons were produced by non-Mormon or former Mormon authors recently. Jenifer Nii’s play Suffrage, about polygamous Mormon women and voting rights in the 1880s has gotten very strong reviews from Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Ryan McIlvain’s Elders, which came out a month ago, got him an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, and a NY Times review. American Northwest author Shawn Vestal’s short story collection and British Northwest author Jenn Ashworth’s novel are both about Mormons suffering, without divine aid, written by former Mormons. Orson Scott Card edits a book in honor of himself, and a New York symposium is held over the question of whether to condemn him. Bethany Wiggins gets a Kirkus star for her new YA dystopian novel. There are several other notable new novels, the film adaption of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, BYU students won some prestigious awards, and a Mahonri Stewart play is coming up. Please send any information or corrections to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.
Novel: James Goldberg. The Five Books of Jesus. The first person in the awards’ 36-year history to have won both in Drama (for his 2008 play Prodigal Son) and Novel.
YA novel: Bryce Moore. Vodnik.
Memoir: Joanna Brooks. The Book of Mormon Girl.
Drama: Mahonri Stewart. A Roof Overhead.
Poetry: Karen Kelsay Davies. Amytis Leaves Her Garden.
Adaption: Michael Hicks. The Street-legal Version of Mormon’s Book.
Devotional: Terryl and Fiona Givens. The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life.
Film: Redemption, directed by Thomas Russell.
Short Fiction: Nancy Fulda. “Godshift”.
Middle Grade Fiction. Jennifer A. Nielsen. False Prince.
Humor: Larry Day. “Pat and Pete”.
Honorary Lifetime Membership: Mahonri Stewart. For his plays, his work with Zion Theatre Company and his editing of the upcoming anthology Saints on Stage: An Anthology of Mormon Drama.
Honorary Lifetime Membership: Chris Bigelow. For his work on Irreantum and Zarahemla Books)
Smith-Pettit Award for lifetime achievement in Mormon letters: Eric Samuelsen.
Best Novella: The Emperor’s Soul, by Brandon Sanderson.
Best Related Work: Writing Excuses, Season Seven, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler & Jordan Sanderson. Third year in a row for the group.
Best Graphic Story: Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia, Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media).Fifth year in a row for Tayler and Schlock.
Best Fanzine: Elitist Book Reviews. Steve Diamond, with Nick Sharps, Vanessa Christenson, Shawn Boyles, Daniel Smyth, and Bryce Moore.
Other news and blogs
Dave Wolverton/David Farland’s son Ben was in a serious long boarding accident, and is in a coma and in critical condition. Brain surgery yesterday to relieve pressure on his swollen brain has improved his condition.
Ariel Mitchell, a BYU senior, won the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Harold and Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting award for her play A Second Birth, produced at BYU last fall. Mitchell was recently accepted to NYU, where she will pursue an MFA in writing for musical theatre. This is a very prestigious award. Also Chelsea Hickman’s 10-minute play The Shoelace was a regional finalist, and a national semi-finalist.
At the BYU literary awards, Darlene Young won Second place in the Vera Hinckley Mayhew poetry contest, second place in the Hart-Larson poetry contest, first place in the Academy of American Poets (BYU chapter) contest, and first place in the Elsie Carroll essay contest. That is a lot of awards. Does anyone have a link to the other awards?
Annette Lyon has won a Utah Best of State medal for fiction. She also won the award in 2007.
Ryan McIlvain was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross about his missionary novel Elders. McIlvain bases the novel on his own experiences as a missionary. He has left the Church, but does not come off as anti-Mormon at all. A bit cynical about religion in general, but he looks back at his missionary period with some affection, and does not take any pot shots at the Church. Cool, but will Terry ever interview a practicing Mormon?
Eric Samuelsen on Mormon Literature.
Orson Scott Card, editor. Ender’s World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender’s Game. Smart Pop, April. 2. Blurb: “Go deeper into the complexities of Orson Scott Card’s classic novel with science fiction and fantasy writers, YA authors, military strategists, including: Ender prequel series coauthor Aaron Johnston on Ender and the evolution of the child hero. Burn Notice creator Matt Nix on Ender’s Game as a guide to life. Hugo award–winning writer Mary Robinette Kowal on how Ender’s Game gets away with breaking all the (literary) rules. Retired US Air Force Colonel Tom Ruby on what the military could learn from Ender about leadership. Bestselling YA author Neal Shusterman on the ambivalence toward survival that lies at the heart of Ender’s story. Plus pieces by: Hilari Bell, John Brown, Mette Ivie Harrison, Janis Ian, Alethea Kontis, David Lubar and Alison S. Myers, John F. Schmitt, Ken Scholes, and Eric James Stone. Also includes never-before-seen content from Orson Scott Card on the writing and evolution of the events in Ender’s Game, from the design of Battle School to the mindset of the pilots who sacrificed themselves in humanity’s fight against the formic.”
Kirkus: “A chorus of writers and military experts weigh in on why Card’s Ender’s Game is a work of genius. They make cogent arguments. Strategist John F. Schmitt provides an account of the novel’s significant role as a model for the Marine Corps’ “Maneuver Warfare” battle approach, and there’s a perceptive discussion between writer David Lubar and his daughter, a high school teacher, about how Ender’s situation and responses speak to teens. Songwriter Janis Ian meditates on how Ender (and others) are underestimated because they’re short, and Card’s frequent co-author Aaron Johnston agrees, dubbing Ender a “short Clint Eastwood” (but with compassion). Other contributors recall with awe their first encounters with the story, offer detailed analyses of Ender’s psyche and Card’s writerly technical chops, demonstrate that Ender is a classic mythic hero, or mull over the nature and costs of victory. Card provides an introduction (not seen) and, between each essay, answers to frequently asked questions about the story and its characters. Most of Card’s fans will agree with writer John Brown’s assertion that trying to winkle out a literary work’s “true meaning” kills it, but this tribute may have some appeal to readers with an analytical bent.”
“Should You Be Blacklisted, Mr. Card?”: The Man of Steel Vs. Orson Scott Card. Panel discussion at The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art, New York City. April 10, 7 pm. “DC Comics set off a firestorm in the comic book community when it hired Orson Scott Card, a bestselling author who is also an anti-gay activist, to write a Superman story. But should authors once again be blacklisted due to their political affiliations? This week our panel consists of DAVID GERROLD (The Trouble With Tribbles) who will be skyping in from California on our big screen, JOSEPH PHILLIP ILLIDGE (Milestone Media), PAUL KUPPERBERG (KEVIN), JEFF TREXLER (The Beat), DANNY FINGEROTH (The Stan Lee Universe) ADAM DEKRAKER (The Young Protectors) discuss issues surrounding the hiring of ORSON SCOTT CARD (Ender’s Game), an anti-gay activist, to write a Superman story.”
Jenn Ashworth. The Friday Gospels. Sceptre, Jan 17. General. British publisher, available in the US as an import. A tragicomic novel about a Mormon family in Lancashire, England. The author was raised as a Mormon, but left the Church in her teens. The BBC named her one of the twelve Best New British Novelists of 2011.
Julie J. Nichols (AML). “Five voices speak in alternate sections in this very fine, indisputably Mormon novel. They are the voices of the Leeke family of northwestern England: daughter Jeannie, a teenager still in Young Women, still going to seminary, but neither innocent nor clear, any more, about what’s good and right; father Martin, wretched husband to an ill woman, trapped in a marriage and a life he’s ready to abandon, if he only knew how; twentysomething oldest son Julian, inactive, searching, angry, trapped himself by forces over which he aches to have more control; incontinent wheelchair-bound mother Pauline; and missionary son Gary, returning home in honor tonight, the Friday night of the title, to a set of circumstances he can’t imagine. Maybe he can’t imagine them, but he’s the only person in the world who can meet them—prepared by his upbringing; by his mission; and by the humility he lives with, brought on by his stammer, his innate faith, and the yoke of responsibility he’s borne in the family all these years. The five voices are beautifully distinct, but as each member of the family speaks and then steps back to let another forward, the mitigating circumstances are revealed slowly, bit by bit. Characters named in one section appear through a different lens in the next, and the reader, who sees through a glass darkly at first, begins to see each of the family members “face to face,” so to speak—and the faces are mixed, complex, heartbreaking . . . Ashworth reveals the strange chokehold that Mormon culture has on each of these anguished people through scenes and conversations terribly familiar to those of us raised in it. At first I was tempted to be put off by these—“good” Mormon girl whispering “shoulds” to her wayward friend on the soccer team; bishop’s wife spouting platitudes; horrible YW lessons, worse seminary ones; well-meaning bishop corralling black sheep to try to reactivate him. But then I began to admire how Ashworth presents these prototypical Mormon moments to an audience that may or may not be LDS. They’re neither apologetic nor false. The focus is on the characters, their individual flaws and needs, so that the Mormon part of their lives is seen to be both cause and motivator and the essential backdrop for the decisions they finally make. You can see that I’m working not to give anything away here, because you want to read this novel free from predisposition. You don’t want to know how it ends till you arrive there yourself. I strongly suggest that you do, noting, as you do, Ashworth’s skill throughout in creating character and scene; her facility in allowing plot to move forward and backward in just the right order so that we understand why what’s happening on this Friday has to come together in just this way; and her watchful care in weaving Mormonness into the fabric of the story, so that it’s essential but not overbearing. This may be the best mainstream Mormon novel in a very long time. I see academic papers analyzing it at Sunstone Symposia and Mormon lit classes spending weeks with it, and also non-Mormon audiences being fascinated and repelled by it and drawn to it enormously. Jenn Ashworth was named one of the twelve Best New British Novelists of 2011, and it’s easy to see why. The novel unfolds brilliantly, and its handling of Mormon themes is similarly exemplary. Structurally and thematically, this is one novel not to miss. I recommend it without reservation.”
The Guardian: “Mormonism, with the “aprons and the mirrors, the veils and hats and handshakes and chanting”, is a comic writer’s dream. But The Friday Gospels, written in a medley of five first-person voices, is warmly and sympathetically attuned to its characters’ inner worlds. Each is hampered in some way by the bizarre ideology that twists the Leeke family out of true: wheelchair-using mum Pauline is only the most obviously disabled. Gary, returning from his mission in Utah, has converted nobody in two years; Julian is an oddball apostate; Jeannie is a sad child at the mercy of whoever elects to use her; Martin is a dog of a man, aiming to dump wife and family. It’s a narrative of delusion, desertion and what the Bible calls “kicking against the pricks” . . . Each Leeke family member is plunging into his or her own version of apostasy – and everyone hopes the missionary will clear up the mess. Martin the dad is a classic Ashworth character. His deepest passion is reserved for Bovril, “the bitch at my side”. The choke chain with which he restrains the dog (“gentle reminder … it doesn’t hurt her”) represents the universal condition in The Friday Gospels. Everyone is choking, gagging, dragged along by a hierarchical patriarchy that polices its members . . . Ashworth’s language is never less than inventive and exuberant, and her observations are minute. Omission is sensitively used to express Jeannie’s speechless, flinching shock at what has been done to her: “He. Then he. After a while he. Then I. When he.” Pauline’s paragraphless flood of thought carries her from panic to panic. Pauline, the pious but helpless matriarch, is perhaps the novel’s greatest success. She’s fundamentalist through and through, fearing “Satan’s grip on technology … [the internet] a sewer pipe in your living room”, bullying her daughter, alienating her husband and son, rancorously humiliated by incontinence. But the reader feels for her; the first-person narrative exposes her private suffering and struggle to our pity. In Ashworth’s final dispensation of comic penalties and compensations, Pauline finds release both from delusion and illness – which come to much the same thing.”
The Telegraph: “It will be no surprise to readers of Ashworth’s previous fiction that misunderstandings, lies, an arrest, a kidnapping and a murder soon take centre stage. Her debut novel, A Kind of Intimacy, sketched the inner thoughts of a delusional obese killer. Her second, Cold Light, told the story of a sex offender and a drowned teenager. But The Friday Gospels is a more subtle work than her previous two. Whereas up to now Ashworth has tended towards clunky and occasionally predictable plots, this latest work shows she has grown more skilled in hiding the raw mechanics of her storytelling. Here, her familiar mix of violence and dark humour are finely wrought into a sympathetic, forgiving and absorbing portrait of family life. It is Ashworth’s most confident work yet and one that strengthens her reputation as an author worth watching.
The Independent. “Narrated from five different points of view, this deft, funny and often unsettling quintet of dramatic monologues gradually harmonises into a sensational plot . . . Ashworth skilfully exploits the dramatic monologue to portray her characters’ imperfect knowledge of their imperfect inner lives. The Leekes are practically defined by their inability to communicate with each other, or anyone else. What is especially impressive is how Ashworth shuffles her cast to create maximum narrative tension, and distinguishes one voice from another: Pauline’s torrent of unexamined feelings, or Jeannie’s precise vulnerability. Along the way, there are wonderful set-pieces whose cringe-worthy mix of comedy and pathos put me in mind of Mike Leigh . . . There are parts of The Friday Gospels which suggest that she is not the finished article just yet: Julian’s contradictions didn’t always convince like the others, and the character Nina was a touch too omnipresent. But this is still a serious, distinctive and eminently readable story of faith and family; about the demands of the world and the desires of the individual.”
Elizabeth Petty Benltey. The Sins of the Mothers. Parables, Nov. 11, 2012. General, psychological. Emotionally damaged LDS mother and daughter hurt each other.
Marilyn Brown (AML-list). “It reads like the ultimate psychological scalpel. Bentley is a genius at hitting the nerve of a present-day difficult LDS mother-daughter relationship . . . Although there may be relationships like this in LDS families who claim they love their membership in the Church, I was irritated that I had to stay in this quarrel with these bitter people so long. The destructive anger might have been eased if more humility had happened sooner, especially after the astute counseling the bishop gave (some of the best scenes). Sometimes it seemed “Church” was just a “badge” to be worn. Sometimes I felt the daughter was trying, but it was very clear how the mother had killed the spirit of her child (there are several “twists and “turns” for the reader to discover). I was appalled that the mother could not check the awful things that came out of her mouth, even until the story finally wrapped up in a tenuously positive way. In the deadly melee of the situation, I found some profound truths and applauded them. “No matter what you do, kids will blame you for messing up their lives” was one of them. It was also heartbreaking that the mother “couldn’t exactly point to her own life as an example.” The daughter conceded that her mother was “terrified I’d turn out to be just what she thought of her worst, most stupid self.” I did enjoy some poignant conversations about true love, and when Tamar went through the illness of her pregnancy, she blesses the astonishing organization of the Church: “I was surprised by how reassured I felt at the prospect of people from my enormous Church family calling me every day, pulling me out of my isolation.” Elizabeth does need a good editor. She misses words, connections, punctuation … all items that would make it easier for the reader. But she is a brilliant writer. My hope for this book is that some wayward daughter can get her bitter mom to read it. They both may benefit in the same way that a bat to the head of a donkey wakes him up.”
Carol Warburton. “It was very interesting to me that Bentley could make such a suspenseful novel from a highly toxic relationship between a mother and daughter. She really explores human relationships and what can go awry when someone doesn’t feel loved. The writing is crisp. It does have Mormon content and may not be for everyone, but is beautiful and unpredictable.”
Larry Correia. Instruments of War. Privateer Press, April 3. Novella. Set in the War machine/Hordes video game universe.
Krista Lynne Jensen. The Orchard. Covenant, April 1. General. Romance, based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion. A couple driven apart by her parents gets a second chance. Second novel.
Lindsey Leavitt. Going Vintage. Bloomsbury, March 26. YA romance/humor/chic lit. Blurb: “When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time.”
PW: “Leavitt’s nuanced book is filled with quirky characters that readers will root for and believe in.”
Kirkus: “Mallory’s appealing, sarcasm-tinged first-person narrative voice sculpts a likable teen mildly reminiscent of Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson. Although a far-too-convenient event proves Mallory was wrong about her grandmother’s simpler life, that fails to derail an otherwise admirable look at the advantages, and the downsides, of modern technology—and serious relationships. A funny and even thoughtful look at boyfriends, high school angst and the importance of finding oneself.”
Margot Hovely: “Completely fun, with a relateable, realistic teen main character who had me laughing from the start. Just the right amount of toe-curling romance. No sex.”
Kimberley Griffiths Little. When the Butterflies Came. Scholastic, April 1. Age 8 and above. “Tara’s Grammy Claire has just passed away, her mom is depressed and distant, and she and her sister, Riley, can’t agree on anything. But when mysterious and dazzling butterflies begin to follow her around after Grammy Claire’s funeral, Tara knows in her heart that her grandmother has left her one final mystery to solve. Tara finds a stack of keys and detailed letters from Grammy Claire. Note by note, Tara learns unexpected truths about her grandmother’s life. As the letters grow more ominous and the clues harder to decipher, Tara realizes that the secrets she must uncover could lead to grave danger. And when Tara and Riley are swept away to the beautiful islands of Chuuk to hear their grandmother’s will, Tara discovers the most shocking truth of all, one that will change her life forever.”
Kirkus: The day following her grandmother’s funeral, butterflies begin visiting grieving 12-year-old Tara, who’s swept into a bizarre mystery involving her grandmother, butterflies and a small Pacific island . . . Plucky Tara tells her implausible tale in a colloquial first person, present tense that slips occasionally, allowing readers to feel her grief, wonder, fear and surprise. Inconsistent voice and implausibility aside, middle-grade readers should respond to this perplexing puzzle and its resourceful heroine.”
SLJ: “So begins a choppy, too-big-too-be-true adventure ultimately encompassing the child’s mother’s nervous breakdown, her annoyingly clueless and self-centered dyed-blue-haired older sister, a British butler who arrives to do their bidding, a secret laboratory, and a blow-out finale on an exotic South Sea island…with a token cute boy. Despite the compelling central drama and many excellent descriptive passages, inconsistencies and unbelievable coincidences vie with stop-and-start action to frustrate readers, whose journey toward solving the mystery is kept in check by the meandering first-person narration of Tara, the “Pantene Princess.” Readers would do better to stick with Jennifer Allison’s “Gilda Joyce” books.”
RaeAnne Thayne. Currant Creek Valley. Harlequin HQN, March 26. Romance. Hope’s Crossing Series #4. A chef finds romance at a ski resort.
PW: “Readers turned off by explicit romance will appreciate Thayne’s refreshingly tame fourth Hope’s Crossing contemporary (after Sweet Laurel Falls). Executive chef Alexandra McKnight is about to open her first restaurant but must rely on building contractor Sam Delgado to help make her dream a reality. Through an innocent exploration of friendship, they realize that their difficult pasts have prepared them for a happy future. With a fully developed cast of supporting characters, it’s easy to become immersed in the admittedly stock plot and get carried away to a realistically imperfect small town. The romance between Alex and Sam focuses on the sensuality of two people getting to know each other emotionally rather than sheer physicality—though there’s certainly a touch of spice. Thayne reins in both heartbreak and tenderness; readers might sniffle at a few points, but they won’t sob.”
Shawn Vestal. Godforsaken Idaho. New Harvest, April 2. Literary short stories. Vestal is a former Mormon. He writes for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane WA. Blurb: “Stories of the afterlife, the rugged Northwest, and the early days of Mormonism—by a ferociously imaginative new writer. This stunning debut story collection by an acclaimed McSweeney’s and Tin House contributor will satisfy fans of such short-fiction masters as Denis Johnson and George Saunders, as well as those readers fascinated by the Mormon faith—and those who enjoyed the show Big Love and the musical The Book of Mormon.“The First Several Hundred Years Following My Death” is a comic vision of the afterlife in which everyone in heaven is the age they were when they died—a fantasy both profound and absurd. In the tough, tender “About as Fast as This Car Can Go,” a teenager gets introduced to crime after his father is released from jail, and in “Winter Elders,” Mormon missionaries pursue a man who has left the fold—with gruesome results. In the concluding triptych, Vestal takes on the legends and legacy of Mormonism. “Diviner,” the final piece, is an indelible portrait of the young Joseph Smith, in the days when he was not yet the founder of the Mormon faith but a man hired to find buried treasure.” The last story is told from the POV of Isaac Hale.
Author quote about how his former Mormonism impacted his writing. “Like a lot of people who have left a religion, probably, I was focused for a long time on the hypocrisy of the faithful and the failures of religion. But that is such a standard, clichéd pose–as if only the faithful are hypocritical or ignorant or deluded or weak. I wanted to write about doubters, denouncers, heretics. Though I have left the church, Mormonism is my heritage, and using the materials of Mormonism’s stories to write new ones–even stories that might seem heretical to some–became a way of keeping possession of this heritage.”
David Haglund (Slate): “I cracked open the collection by Shawn Vestal and found a short story called “Winter Elders,” which grabbed me from the opening line: “They materialized with the first snow.” “They” are a pair of missionaries, and the man who sees them in the snow is an ex-Mormon named Bradshaw. This is a tale of missionary work from the perspective of the target. And it is a dark tale. It’s also psychologically astute and elegantly written, like much of Vestal’s book. Other stories dig into the Mormon past and imagine life after death. With his interest in violence and carefully wrought sentences, Vestal occasionally recalls Brian Evenson, who is probably the most accomplished ex-Mormon fiction writer at the moment.”
Kirkus (Starred review): “A provocative and revelatory debut, filled with stories about losing faith and trying (often in vain) to find purpose, mainly set amid the sparsely populated Mormon country of the rugged Northwest. Raised a Mormon and now a columnist in Spokane, Vestal combines formal invention and spiritual depth—even when those depths are dry with spiritual estrangement—in nine stories that establish a unique vision. All but one of these stories has a first-person male narrator, generally one who is struggling with faith or has fallen from it, often one who is drifting without direction. When the all-but-destitute loner narrating the title story says that “[t]he vistas were wide, wide open, like the view from the middle of the ocean,” what he sees as promise strikes the reader as more like emptiness. Broken families, abandoned by the father, fill these stories as well. Two of the narrators are dead; one is in the afterlife (where “the food is excellent….You eat from your own life only. You order from memory, as best you can”), another’s spirit somehow coexists within the consciousness of a young Mormon veteran, returned from World War I, driven mad by his sinful memories. God is mostly invoked in these stories through his absence. “I have tried again to pray,” writes a man, fallen from faith in the early 1800s, following the death of his wife. “Five months since Elizabeth has gone, and I remain unable to find the language….I fear for my soul, for I am angry at Him, and He is silent.” Yet hell is very real, often a hell of the narrator’s own making, with sin central to the human condition. In “Families Are Forever!” (a title that is more threat than promise), a compulsive liar and his girlfriend visit her Mormon parents (with whom she feels tension complicated by faith). “[S]omething about it made me want to change myself entirely,” he says, but he sees through the eyes of her father that “he knew all he needed to know about me—that I was false in my bones.” And he asks, like others in these stories might, “Couldn’t I be someone else, for once?” Plainspoken stories filled with profound ambivalence and occasional flickers of redemption.”
PW: “Vestal focuses on down-on-their-luck types, stubborn men in the dregs of society and on the verge of giving up . . . In Vestal’s bleak vision, hope itself is godforsaken.”
Bethany Wiggins. Stung. Walker Childrens, April 2. YA Dystopian. Second novel. A teenage girl wakes up to find many years have passed, society has collapsed, with many people turned into zombie beasts. Why? Because the honeybee population collapsed, which caused a worldwide pandemic.
Kirkus (starred): “Fiona Tarsis wakes up to a world of nightmares in this fast-paced, fever-bright post-apocalyptic adventure. Her brother’s a monster, her Denver suburb’s a wasteland, and she doesn’t even recognize herself or the 10-legged tattoo on her hand. Fiona has no memory of the last four years or how the world changed, but she quickly learns how dangerous life is outside the wall . . . Fiona loses her innocence but not her hope as she dives into chase scenes, gun battles, gladiatorial fights and a tentative romance with her rescuer/captor Dreyden Bowen. Wiggins muses on the dangers of science and medicine and deftly maps out the chain of events that has led to catastrophe, creating a violent world vastly different from ours but still recognizable. With a stirring conclusion and space for a sequel, it’s an altogether captivating story. Readers will gladly be bitten by this bug.”
VOYA: “The romance between Fiona and Bowen is the most engrossing thing about the plot, played with just the right amount of innocence, tension, and heat. The rest of Stung, unfortunately, feels like a reheated version of other, better dystopian adventures. Fiona does not make a root-able heroine in her rush to play catch-up on the details of the end of the world; she seems more along-for-the ride, leaving her heroes battered and nearly broken in the quest to keep her safe. Much of the backstory and conspiracy feel tacked on at the end, rather than woven throughout. There is a grand love story at the center of Stung—rare and sweet, like the luxury honey has become in the world Wiggins creates—but it is trapped beneath efforts to mimic The Hunger Games.”
Reviews of older books
Orson Scott Card. Ruins (Shawn, Elitist Book Reviews). Like. “I am a big fan of Card’s older work. ENDER’S GAME is a classic. I loved the rest of the Ender series, (the Shadow series not so much) and I loved both WYRMS and TREASON. But I have had a hard time getting into his work lately. This series however feels like a bit of that Old Card coming through . . . During the book as Rigg and his friends go from land to land (called Wallfolds in the book), the group would discover something new, something that those particular inhabitants had spent the last ten thousand years cultivating and exploring. As I was reading I had an uneasy sense that I’d read that before. Card is plagiarizing someone else’s idea I thought. Then I realized where I had read the idea before. It was in a previous Orson Scott Card book called TREASON (an excellent book, one of my favorites of Card’s writing). The idea is still cool here and going from place to place to see what each different set of people had created or discovered was one of the joys of the book. That being said, I think I enjoyed the idea a bit more in TREASON. The book was shorter, more action packed and to the point. That’s not to say that RUINS wasn’t a lot of fun (it was). Just that particular idea seemed better used in that shorter work. RUINS is still a lot of fun. At a time where I had almost given up on Card’s work he comes out with this Pathfinder series to remind us all of why we liked him in the first place. This series isn’t destined to be another ENDER’S GAME. But then what is? RUINS is still fun and worth your while.”
Richard Paul Evans. Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Vanessa, Elitist Book Reviews). Mediocre. “Richard Paul Evans’ writing is fairly straightforward and moves at a steady clip. MICHAEL VEY is definitely a departure from Evan’s more sentimental stories (i.e., THE CHRISTMAS BOX), but like his other work the plot is predictable. The dialogue is frequently tedious (how many times do you have to include “Hello” and “Goodbye” and “How’s it going?”) and Evans tends toward the sappy/corny. The villains–even the principal, who has some pretty odd dialogue–are stock characters without much meat to them beyond being an evil for Michael to overcome. Even the secondary child characters had more depth than the bad guys did. Michael himself is likable enough as the PoV character, with his goofy friend Ostin a convenient side-kick, and the beautiful Taylor as the potential romantic interest. Pretty standard fare. Where the book redeems itself are the themes of friendship and doing what’s right even when it’s hard. The squeaky-clean style and the moral problems MICHAEL VEY addresses is what will appeal to parents; the kids will like seeing Michael save the day, not to mention the idea of kids with superpowers. My teenage daughter liked it and is eager to read the second, but I’m not a fan of Evans’ writing style. This makes the last of the Whitney YA Speculative books for me . . . I’d have to say that Everneath is my favorite of the set.”
Heather Frost. Demons (an equivalent centre of self). “I wanted to like this book more than I did–I think the premise is reasonably interesting, but I had a hard time getting into it. For me, a little more editing would have helped: the action lags in the middle and I felt like there were a few too many scenes describing Patrick’s agony as his disease progressed (one or two would have been plenty for me). I would have also liked to see a more distinct voice for each character–the POV shifts between Patrick and Kate, but often the only distinction I could see was the name change at the head of the chapter; both their voices were pretty similar to me.
Jessica Martinez. Virtuosity (Bloggin’ ‘bout Books). B-. “Because Jessica Martinez herself was a child prodigy with the violin, Virtuosity has a very authentic feel to it. Carmen’s the kind of character that speaks to every reader—despite being a world-class musician, she’s self-deprecating, down-to-earth, and beset with feelings of inferiority and anxiety. It’s easy to empathize with her, simple to cheer her on. The story moves along at a good clip, taking interesting turns that lead to intriguing subplots. To me, the ending felt a little unrealistic and abrupt. That, coupled with some irritating copy editing errors detracted from my reading experience; otherwise, I enjoyed Virtuosity. Not as much as I liked Martinez’ second novel (The Space Between Us) but still, this one is a solid novel and an engaging read.”
Ryan McIlvain. Elders (PW). “Ex-Mormon McIlvain delivers a subtly told debut novel with a tight cast of rounded characters centered on two young Mormons on their missionary work in the fictional Brazilian city of Carinha. The American Elder McCleod, and his local mission companion Elder Passos, clash culturally and philosophically in a conflict that threatens their working relationship. Central to the duo’s frustrations are the church politics that prevent either from successfully applying for a transfer, and a fundamental disagreement about how to best proceed with their only realistic prospect, a local woman named Josefina whose conversion is severely hampered by a reticent husband. The novel keeps character front and center, presenting two protagonists whose worldviews are fully justified by their histories, and yet by their differences seem destined to tangle. Though brief, the novel contains a wealth of fascinating particulars; both the exotic Brazilian location (in the midst of a major soccer tournament), and the finer logistical points of Mormon missionary procedure are described in confident detail that can only be the result of the author’s own experience. This refreshingly zoomed-in story is a great, short read for anybody who wants a different perspective on that church, or who simply wants a character-driven novel done right.”
New York Times (Susannah Meadows): “Although nonbelievers are normally not allowed in a Mormon temple, Mr.McIlvain’s first novel about two young men on a mission in Brazil admits readers to a kind of inner sanctum. The author, a sixth-generation Mormon who left the church, reveals the private agony of one of the missionaries, who doesn’t buy what he’s selling. Elder McLeod’s turmoil is hardly alleviated when he meets Josefina, a woman who answers the door and agrees to hear the missionaries’ pitch. “McLeod noticed the shorts, the legs in them, and quickly looked down.” Not quickly enough. The story doesn’t devolve into the cheap entertainment of Mormons behaving badly. Instead Mr.McIlvain zeros in on the inner struggle, exploring the appeal of faith and the sorrow that comes with losing it.”
Luisa Perkins. The Book of Jer3miah: Premonition (Ivan Wolfe, AML). “I’m actually a little shocked Deseret Book published this. The main character kills someone, with a sword (probably the Sword of Laban from the Book of Mormon, though this is not explicitly stated). While the narrative clearly is modeled on Nephi’s killing of Laban (and thus the sword provides some nice parallels), it’s still a little shocking to read a story where the narrative approves of what would look to any outside observer as murder. Jeremiah has a strong spiritual witness it’s the right thing to do, but I found myself reeling when it happened. However, if this were a generic action/thriller featuring generic action heroes, I likely wouldn’t have blinked. You expect the action heroes to kill the bad guys because, well, they’re bad guys and deserve it. What the creators of “The Book of Jer3miah” have done is to marry an action tale with Mormon theology, which makes for a heady and very compelling brew of suspense and thrills. Orson Scott Card once said the best stories come from mixing two seemingly unrelated ideas and making them work. While “The Book of Jer3miah” is hardly great literature, it is a very well told story. It’s like a Mormon Dan Brown, if Dan Brown bothered to be accurate . . . Overall, this books makes for a nice, quick, entertaining read that manages to also deal with some deeper issues of inspiration and listening to the Spirit. Hopefully there’s a sequel coming soon – I really want to find out what will happen to Jeremiah and his crew next.”
Brandon Sanderson. The Emperor’s Soul (Steve, Elitist Book Reviews). Love. “One of my biggest complaints about Sanderson’s work has been his wordiness. Lot’s of people standing around, doing nothing terribly important to the story . . . I read LEGION, and found it quite entertaining. But it didn’t feel complete. It felt like a pilot to a TV series as opposed to a full story. THE EMPEROR’S SOUL, however, is a complete story that reminded me of why I became such a big fan of his in the first place in reading ELANTRI . . . In my opinion, THE EMPEROR’S SOUL is one of Brandon Sanderson’s best pieces of fiction. Period. The story is tight and focused without an ounce of fat. The dialog is crisp, and doesn’t meander as Brandon has been known to allow. Not only that, but completely absent is the overwrought wit that suffocated ALLOY OF LAW and WARBREAKER. This is a serious story, and that seriousness lends itself into every facet of the narrative. In a story about forging, the biggest question that is presented seems to be “What is art?” Shai’s only ally in this story is Gaotona, the Emperor’s chancellor. Gaotona is frequently confused as to why Shai would spend so much effort on creating a forgery as opposed to creating something new. The beauty of this novella is how Shai’s and Gaotona’s views on art (amongst other things) intersect and merge as the story progresses, causing each character to grow in ways they never could have individually. It was natural. It was perfect . . . One of the many criticisms I have of short fiction (including my own) is how they rarely seem to have a solid ending. They just kind of…stop. SOUL has a powerful ending that is uplifting and as near to perfect as you can get. I’m not going to spoil it (obviously), but I don’t think it could have ended any differently and retained the emotional impact that it had. Brandon Sanderson’s THE EMPEROR’S SOUL is one of the best pieces of short fiction I have ever read. It will be on my Hugo Ballot, and it should be on yours as well. Go buy this novella. You will never regret it.”
GG Vandagriff. Rescuing Rosalind (Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine). 4 stars. “GG Vandagriff is one of those receiving a positive response from readers who want a clean love story filled with romance, action, and a pleasant outlook on life. With Rescuing Rosalind she exposes the beginnings of a collective examination of the morality of a society that perpetuates an elite corps of wealthy people while keeping the vast majority of people tied to a feudal system that perpetuates poverty and hopelessness . . . Vandagriff has created an interesting cast of characters readers will enjoy getting to know. The plot follows the standard form for a Regency Novel, yet contains some delightful variations. Though the time period is prior to the restoration of the gospel and the story really can’t be considered an LDS novel, it will appeal to many LDS readers because of the main characters’ concern for the welfare of others, of their desire for personal agency, and their commitment to moral right over social mores and pressures. I found the story an enjoyable read, but was disappointed that the cover art, doesn’t live up to the exciting, vivacious young woman Rosalind proved to be.”
Lance Larsen. Genius Loci.University of Tampa Press, March 15. The fourth collection of poems by the BYU professor and current Utah Poet Laureate. “Lance Larsen’s fourth collection of poems is as beautifully curated as an art exhibition. Each poem impresses itself of mind and eye and heart like an object brilliantly made and suddenly essential, suddenly necessary. Wry wit, perfectly etched lines, and a talent for finding poems in unexpected places are hallmarks. His is an important, clarifying voice that you don’t want to miss.” —Kelly Cherry, author of The Retreats of Thought: Poems. “These small, smart treasures dazzle us every time. Deceptively simple observational moments offer themselves up with such inviting clarity that we are, to our benefit, startled by a world turned around in the hand– ‘An elevator waiting to be translated into a school bus’ for example. The poems live their bigger stories to be sure, but imaginative, quiet epiphanies make them feel surprising at every turn.” —Alberto Ríos, author of The Dangerous Shirt.
Susan Elizabeth Howe. Salt. Tyler Chadwick’s initial thoughts.
Jenifer Nii. Suffrage. Plan-B Theatre Company. Studio Theatre, Rose Wagner, SLC. April 4-14. World Premiere. “Two sister wives navigate Utah’s little-known place in history as the second U.S. territory to give women the vote. Who knew we had such a rich feminist history?”
Melissa Leilani Larson, UTBA review. “ Jenifer Nii has created a taut, engrossing, seminally female story that made me think long and hard on its thorny subject, and wish I had written it . . . Coming into this play as a LDS woman who can hardly grasp the idea—let alone the practice—of polygamy, I found in Frances and Ruth a bastion of belief; a bare, solid faith that make an unfamiliar family structure comprehensible. There is nothing odd or off-putting in Nii’s depiction of these women and their way of life. The play does not condemn or commend polygamy; it simply portrays it. Frances and Ruth work to feed themselves and their family; they struggle to raise and discipline their children; they defend and practice their faith. The two are the only visible characters in the play, and they refer to each other more by the title “sister” than by name. They are an unlikely pair that, despite their differences, is incredibly devoted to each other. More than anything, that is what the play is about: about a family unit surviving as best they know how, despite looming opposition. enjoyed this production very much, and there are a number of levels to that enjoyment. First and foremost is Jenifer Nii’s elegant dialogue, lean and lovely and carefully constructed. Her words are well chosen and never wasted, and they instantly transported me to the Utah of 1887 . . . I think that’s probably the highest praise I can give a piece that could, in less skilled hands, have been an exercise in bashing or preaching. Suffrage is about people. Days after seeing it, I still care about these sisters who are like—and yet unlike—me. I didn’t come away from the performance incensed; rather, I had a clearer understanding of a social practice I have looked at askance for so long. I felt for these women, for their trials and their victories. Plan-B’s current production of Suffrage is a gem. I highly recommend it. It’s the best play I have encountered touching on polygamy, and I’m grateful to have experienced it.”
Salt Lake Tribune review. “”Suffrage” demonstrates that history was much more complicated than that simple cause and effect. While it isn’t always great entertainment — there are times this drama makes you feel as if you’re trapped in an elevator with two bickering Relief Society sisters — it’s fascinating to watch . . . As Fossen and Young trade opposing lines over the importance of political freedom and domestic duties, keeping score can be hard, if not tedious, if you don’t care deeply about Mormon or Utah history. History lessons, even novel and untold ones, are difficult to make compelling in the spare confines of one stage and two actors. “Suffrage” is far more interesting as a simple story about two women who find what little humor there is in hardship, as polygamy is banned and families are disbanded. Fossen and Young deftly portray the pride, faith and fortitude that certainly must have existed between early Utah women.”
Salt Lake Tribune preview.
Eric Samuelsen review. “Jenifer Nii’s beautiful new play, Suffrage, is playing at Plan B Theatre in Salt Lake. Before I get to the rest of the review, let me say this: you want to see this. It’s terrific . . . It’s a deeply political play, on every level. The national political debate over the passage of the Edmunds/Tucker Act is alluded to. It terrifies both women, and energizes Ruth, who is sure that by organizing Utah women and gathering signatures on suffrage petitions, she can influence the national political debate. She is, in short, hopelessly naive, and Young plays that naivete superbly–Ruth is as appealing a character as a passionate and engaged young person can be . . . But for me, the most interesting political element in the play is the inter-personal politics of a polygamous family. This is a play about wives number 2 and 4, in a 5-wife family. We never meet wives 1, 3 or 5, but they’re alluded to, and we get a very strong sense of them . . . Obviously, I’ve never lived in a polygamous family, nor have any desire, ever, to do so. But in any family, things have to get decided, tasks need to be finished–stuff has to get done. Working out who does what and on what schedule and with what priorities is the task of any family leadership council, whether that council has two members or six. We talk of marriage as a ‘partnership of equals,’ and the Church has certainly toned down patriarchalist rhetoric, and that’s all well and good and valuable, but in the meantime, there are meals to prepare and laundry to wash and families have to work it all out. And who decides? Well, you talk about it, you make decisions, you negotiate. Its politics at its most straight-forward and simple. And the play shows those negotiations, complicated by the fact that Frances, as wife 2, doesn’t enjoy what you might call a presumption of authority from the other women. She has to lead, and she knows full well she may be resented for it. But there’s no one else to do it. That was what I loved best about the play, the interpersonal stuff, involving five women, only two of whom were ever on-stage. What a lovely dissection of inter-family dynamics. But of course the play is also about larger concerns, specifically polygamy and its connection to feminism and the issue of women’s suffrage. And the play ends with a call for all of us in the audience, enlightened 21st century folks that we are, not to forget the struggle for suffrage. And yes, sure, we should remember and honor that struggle. Of course we should. But honestly suffrage, as it appears in the play, is just ‘the thing Ruth’s into.’ It’s not really central to the concerns of the play, which were, to me, much more about polygamy, and its role in our community. And it’s great. If anything, it’s a little embarrassing, as a Mormon playwright, that the finest play describing polygamy from the point of view of plural wives was written by someone not of our culture or faith. That shouldn’t matter, of course–Jen Nii is a wonderful writer, a deep and responsible researcher, and everything in the play rings true, from the language to the characters to their attitudes and testimonies. In fact, she may have had an advantage over a Mormon playwright, in that she went into the project knowing what she didn’t know. An LDS writer might have seen his/her LDSness as a shortcut. “Their attitudes reflect mine–I don’t need to research their testimonies, for heck’s sake.” . . . Anyway, a wonderful play, given a great production. And if I left the theater wallowing in my own conflictedness, well, that’s a good thing for theatre to accomplish.”
Mary Ellen Robertson on the play. “Suffrage doesn’t just describe the situation of two sister wives on opposite sides of women’s suffrage; it describes contemporary struggles in Mormonism as well. It describes the struggle of gay Mormons to be recognized as whole beings by their church. It describes generations of Mormon feminists advocating for change, meaningful inclusion, and women’s ordination. It describes those who feel isolated and alone in their congregations because of their unconventional beliefs, their support of LBGT issues, their political leanings. The play showcases the powerful pressures at work in LDS culture to engender conformity and the strength it takes to speak out, act out and live out with integrity.”
Scott Bronson. Tombs. AML Conference, March 30. Eric Samuelsen introduction to the play. Eric talks about the medieval Feast of Corpus Christi, and the tradition of doing plays about Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. “In Tombs, Scott Bronson shows us a very different Joseph, the kind and caring father to whom our Heavenly Father entrusted his Only Begotten. Joseph has just died, in fact–though we flash back to catch a glimpse of his parenting style–and Mary and Jesus mourn together outside his tomb. But in many respects, Tombs reflects the same impulse that drove the plays of Corpus Christi. It tells us the story of our faith. It reorients us towards our theology, towards the beliefs that center us and define us. It reminds us of what we hold most dear. It’s a deceptively simple play, really. A mother and son mourn together, and she presses him to tell her his plans. They share memories. He has an upcoming task that he dreads—she presses him to let her share his burden. As I re-read the play once again this morning, that word came back to me—burden. In a very real sense, Scott has written a play about unburdening. Through confession and conversation, through memories and recollections. Through atonement. These characters, so familiar, and yet also doctrinally distanced from us, unburden themselves to each other. As we literally unburden, pass on our burdens, of sin and pain and regret and error, to our Savior, who then chooses to bear them himself, for us, out of love. And the play ends with two words, the two words above all others, all Christians wish we could speak. Thank you.”
Scott Bronson FundRazr campaign (like Kickstarter) to help him participate in the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference.
Mahonri Stewart. Farewell to Eden. Echo Theatre, Provo. April 15-27. Zion Theatre Company. The ten year anniversary of its first performance.
The Host. March 29, 2013.Andrew Niccol, director (Gattaca, In Time). Stephanie Meyer, author/producer. Nick Wechsler producer. Starring Saoirse Ronan and William Hurt. It has gotten largely poor reviews. 10% score at Rotten Tomatoes.
Hollywood Reporter on Stephenie Meyer and Mormon images in The Host. “”There were many LDS/Mormon overtones on gender and race embedded in the Twilight series, but The Host seems more connected to to the Mormon faith to me,” says Joanna Brooks, a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches. According to Brooks, The Host‘s broader strokes — from the alien “Souls” (terminology from Meyer’s original text) entering the body of humans to the possible interplanetary afterlife suggested by the film’s conclusion — explore foundational Mormon doctrine.”
Village Voice: “As with the Twilight series, The Host‘s infelicities—drab dialogue, ridiculous plotting, more emotional crises than there is story—are enlivened by its thematic eccentricities. You know how most fantasy adventure films have their orcs or stormtroopers or Germans who the good guys have a grand time genociding? The Host‘s heroine—or heroines, more on that later—actually forbids her friends from killing any of the parasitic space-protozoa who have taken over the bodies of most of the Earth’s population and are actively hunting down the last human survivors. Of course, that’s only after she’s slumped about for much of the story (in true Stephenie Meyer fashion) trying to choose between two hunks who seemed to me interchangeable—despite living holed up in a Utah cave, far from civilization, both seem to have gym memberships and limitless access hair product . . . To the credit of everyone involved, there’s an unsettling tension to these sequences, as well as some of that urgent, real-life–gone–genre-fiction allusiveness that has made Meyer’s books so popular: Here’s a miserable young woman forced to fit into a homogenized society even as a voice inside urges her to rebel, to be herself instead . . . In this new Eden, waiting out an attack from the aliens, Melanie/Wanda spends far too much screentime frumping about, each of her selves in love with a different survivor. This being Meyer’s world, no affair of mind or body is consummated. Much of the movie passes with Melanie/Wanda waiting for men to make her decisions for her—that leader, a kid, both of her paramours.”
Jeff Peterson (Deseret News) criticizes The Host for including a premarital sex scene that was not in the book.
Heaven’s Door (Reviewed by Kevin Burtt, LDS Film Reviews). B-. “Heaven’s Door has an interesting idea at its core: what if someone has a gift of taking away the physical handicaps and maladies of other people…except it doesn’t “heal” them outright, it just moves those physical conditions onto the healer instead? Does she have a moral obligation to share this gift regardless of the consequences — essentially sacrificing herself for the benefit of others? . . . It’s a compelling concept for a film. Unfortunately, Heaven’s Door doesn’t fully develop this idea, nor is it brave enough to follow it to its logical conclusion. The cast is composed of TV vets — Charisma Carpenter (Buffy/Angel) and Dean Cain (Lois & Clark) — and a handful of familiar faces from LDS film (Michael Flynn, Jaci Twiss, David Nibley) but they don’t have much to work with in a screenplay containing banal dialogue and an inconsistent religious message. Being a “family film”, the narrative is compelled to wrap the story up neatly in a happy ending, although how the characters arrive there isn’t adequately explained (nor consistent with the film’s theology). The “fantasy” elements of the movie — the “portal to heaven” and Riley’s healing ability — are part of the premise that you just have to accept, although even under the movie’s own rules, the theology is confusing. Does Riley receive her gift accidentally or deliberately? Why does the portal switch locations randomly? Why do some of the people Riley heals start backsliding for no given reason? Riley’s explanation of why she received her gift (“Adults can’t interfere with divine directives.”) only raises more questions that the film is unprepared to answer. Heaven’s Door is clearly presented as a “pro-faith” film, but faith in what? . . . Heaven’s Door — like other “spiritual” films that provide numerous supernatural elements — may be undercutting its own purpose by presenting what religious believers wish would happen to those with great faith, rather than what actually does. Heaven’s Door has one compelling idea, which is one more than many other films have, so that’s something. The idea of a modern-day ‘scapegoat’ deserves something more ambitious than a made-for-TV movie with stereotypical family struggles and a muddled religious message, though.”
BYU’s Theatre and Media Arts Department and the BYU Student Film Association present the Final Cut Film Festival Alumni Reception, Saturday, April 13th, 2013, 4:30-6:00 PM
New York Times Bestseller Lists, April 7, 14
#16, #15. A MEMORY OF LIGHT, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (12th week). Down from #12. Fell off the Combined Print List. #18, #23 on the PW list. 2820 and 2689 units sold, for a cumulative total 268,880.
#23, x. THE GATE THIEF, by Orson Scott Card (1st week). On the list for one week.
Mass Market Fiction Paperback
#8, #11 THE HOST, by Stephenie Meyer (10th week). Down a tick. #13, #6 on the Trade Fiction Paperback List (13th week). Up a tick. #11, #4 on the Combined Print List, up. #12, #2 on the Ebook list (4th week). #10, #2 on the Combined Print and Ebook list (4th week). #8, #2 on the USA Today list (124th week). #7, #6 on the PW Trade list (12th week). 7754 and 12,411 units sold, for a total of 63,600. #15 and #16 on the PW Mass Market List. 6794 and 9528 units sold, for a total of 49,293.
x, #21 ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card.
CURRENT CREEK VALLEY, by RaeAnne Thayne. USA Today, #128 (1st week). Did not appear on the NYT list.
Children’s Middle Grade
#14, #13 THE FALSE PRINCE, by Jennifer A. Nielsen (4th week).
x, #1 THE TWILIGHT SAGA, by Stephenie Meyer (218th week).
Twilight Books on USA Today list: Nearly all off the list the first week, then #67, #68, #88, #91 on the second week. Why the big jump in Twilight sales?
#9, x. THE MATCHED TRILOGY, by Ally Condie (13th week). Crossed was PW Childrens #23 (2nd week). 3169 units, for a total of 6529. Then fell off.
THE BEYONDERS, by Brandon Mull. Fell off the list after one week at #6. Volume #3, Chasing the Prophecy was #16 at PW Childrens, then fell off. 3720 units, for a total of 13,579. It was #139 at USA Today in its 2nd week, then fell out.