Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 11, 2020


Harper Perennial: The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel

Algonquin Young Readers: Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Andrews McMeel Publishing: How to Draw a Reindeer and Other Christmas Creatures with Simple Shapes in 5 Steps by Lulu Mayo

Houghton Mifflin: No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt

News

Brooklyn's Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab Closing

Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab, Brooklyn, N.Y., is closing permanently on July 15. "This is not goodbye," the store wrote on Facebook. "But it is an ending, and a tearful one."

Maggie Pouncey and Matt Miller opened Stories four years ago and sold books and art and writing supplies for children and teens (with a section for parents) and offered creative writing workshops for kids.

They wrote yesterday, "Since ending our classes, Storytimes, and events on March 13, half of our business has ceased to exist, and with all the uncertainties we cannot see a time in the near future when it would be safe to use our space as it was intended--a small, intimate gathering spot for shared stories, where kids drew and drooled on one another and grown-ups tried not to step on any tiny fingers....

"Our hearts are full of gratitude for this community. The little blue bookshop brought the most wonderful people into our lives--readers of every age, the talented, generous artists and authors, and our amazing staff from whom I learned so much. I can't thank you all enough for the support and love you've given our family and family business over the last four years.

"We don't know what the future holds. We are making a plan for contactless pick-ups and socially distant hugs later this month. We Still Believe Stories Can Change the World! Our mission of connecting families through a shared love of storytelling burns strong. Will there be a Stories Bookmobile? A Stories Podcast? How can Stories live on? Watch this space. And keep in touch, Book Fam. Keep sharing your stories. The world needs them."

In the meantime, Stories' Webshop is open and running a promotion called #KidLitArtSurprise, headed by Elisha Cooper and Ruth Chan and "brought to life by an extraordinary team of illustrators--when you order from us you will get an original piece of artwork from a surprise artist! Perhaps a Jessica Love! Or a Sophie Blackall! Tad Hills! Or Misa Saburi! Brian Floca!"


University of California Press: Smoke But No Fire: Convicting the Innocent of Crimes That Never Happened by Jessica S. Henry


How Bookstores Are Coping: Anti-Racist Wave; Selling Literary Face Masks

Kathy Burnette, owner of Brain Lair Books in South Bend, Ind., said the wave of support she's seen over the past two weeks has been "crazy, exciting and overwhelming." She's received tons of e-mails and social media tags, her Instagram "exploded," donations picked up and orders have gone through the roof. She noted that while some of the most widely circulated antiracist reading lists are hosted on Bookshop, customers were still finding their way to her Indiecommerce site.

Despite all of that support, Burnette continued, certain aspects of the situation have been troubling. For one, it's obvious that people in her area were not ordering books from her before Amazon slowed down their book deliveries in the early days of the pandemic. And, she said, "buying books from me won't solve our country's racist issues." Her store's bestselling antiracist book is one written by a white woman, and while plenty of people are saying that's a good thing, she wonders what it really means and whether it will change anything.

Kathy Burnette

Perhaps the best thing to come from this, Burnette added, has been personal. Before this she'd never referred to Brain Lair as a Black bookstore, explaining that, over time, her own racist thoughts had ingrained Black-owned to mean not good or secondhand. "But Jason Reynolds says 'words can illuminate or erase,' and the absence of 'Black' was erasing who I am. I think, for me, that's the so-called 'good thing' that's come from this--I can be me."

Although she's technically been able to reopen for several weeks, Burnette has decided to stay closed for browsing while continuing to do pick-up and delivery. She does it all herself, and in addition to another part-time job, she has all of the recent online orders still to process. She hasn't been buying much new inventory, and what she does have is hosted by Square and can be seen on her Facebook page. Pick-up consists of her putting customers' items in a bag with their name on it and leaving it on the porch after they make arrangements, and she does deliveries from Thursday to Saturday.

When asked about her community's stance on social distancing and wearing facemasks, Burnette said it's very mixed. There are a handful of places nearby that require masks, limit the number of people who enter and enforce social distancing, and those are the only places she visits. She criticized Indiana's reopening plan as "very unrealistic" and described her community as being "in a tiny pocket of more humane thinkers but we are surrounded by a state full of idiots."

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In Rockville, Md., The Story House is both a pop-up bookstore with a location in the Dawson's Market grocery store and a mobile bookstore in a converted tourist trolley. Owner Debbie Cohen explained that because Dawson's is considered an essential business, the "book nook" in the grocery store never closed, and she's also done a lot of mail order and delivery of books. The book trolley, however, has not been out since the middle of March, and Cohen is uncertain when she'll be able to resume using it.

"It is a very small, confined space and really the antithesis of social distancing," she said. The spring is usually one of her busiest seasons, and she's had to cancel something like 25 book fairs and book events. Having the Book Nook open at Dawson's and seeing increased online sales have helped some, but she still "really took a hit with it." She's managed to do one online book fair via Bookshop and reported that it went well: "Nothing like the revenue from an in-person sale but not shabby."

A little over a month ago, Cohen began selling face masks, and the response has been tremendous. She started by putting a batch of 50 up for sale and they sold out in about two hours. She's been sewing those masks herself, with the help of two seamstresses. Recently, she's started selling masks wholesale that feature literary quotes and are made in a different style than the masks she's been making and selling herself. For the wholesale masks, she added, she's working with a small workshop in Compton, Calif., to print and sew those.

In response to the ongoing nationwide protests, Cohen has put together an anti-racism section at the front of the book nook, and as an individual she participated in a large local demonstration. She's been talking to Rockville's mayor about doing a city-wide read of Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning that would include both the adult and young adult versions of the book, but that is still very early in the planning stage.

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DL Mullen, owner of Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery in Chicago, Ill., reported that she and her team have definitely appreciated the recent surge of support. Things have been very busy, but it's been worthwhile to meet so many new customers. She and her staff have taken part in the ongoing protests, she said, but she hasn't made any kind of official statement because "our mere existence, mission and work for the community should make it clear what we stand for."

On June 3 she reopened her store for limited browsing. Semicolon is open for six hours each day, five days a week, and she and her staff are "loving it." Asked whether her community is amenable to things like wearing masks, Mullen said, "Absolutely. We haven't had any pushback from employees or customers, so I appreciate their interest in keeping one another safe." Her staff, meanwhile, is happy, eager and excited to be back at work.


GLOW: Houghton Mifflin: How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy Raz


International Update: Irish Bookshops Reopen, Aussie Bookseller on Covid-19

Customers have welcomed the opening this week of many bookshops in Ireland (those in shopping centers must wait until June 15). The Bookseller reported that most booksellers "are planning a phased reopening with shorter opening hours and reduced staff to begin with."

"There was huge anxiety beforehand," said former bookseller and Unwin Charitable trust mentor Sheila O'Reilly, who has been visiting and talking with booksellers. She noted that on Monday, people were "eager to get out and go shopping, and to look at the new books [and were] very understanding that not everybody could be in the shop at one time.... Quite a lot of the shops are strongly encouraging customers to [use] hand sanitizer before they come in, so they're not bringing anything into the shop, which seems to be working. Bookshop owners have said to me their customers were impressed with the standard of health and safety, and felt comfortable and safe coming into shops, which is really important."

O'Reilly cautioned that bookshops will struggle if they do not get more support: "I hope to see more bookseller and publisher collaboration, because the publishers must realize the shops need to be supported more. They're not going to survive on the high street if they don't get more support from the publishers."

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Australian bookseller Kate O'Donnell of the Sun Bookshop in Melbourne "was supposed to be visiting Nottingham to take up a residency this year, but when Coronavirus scuppered that plan she instead wrote us this insightful, heartfelt and at times hilarious article," Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature noted. A sampling:

"A day as a bookseller in the time of Covid-19 looks more like repetitive processing web orders that have come in overnight, discovering that our system said we had one copy of Dune but that actually was shoplifted or had otherwise disappeared unnoticed. So you'd call the customer, help them choose something else, sometimes issue a refund (always disappointing). In the first weeks we found ourselves inundated with orders and learning a new way of working was hard. The work is different now, and it's much less interesting. Even though we're still just getting books into the hands of readers, which has forever been the job description, it's more mechanical, or rote. Working retail can be a grind sometimes, but this has been a good exercise in realizing how dynamic, intellectually stimulating and outright fun it is compared to so many other jobs out there....

"I have so many fears for our future: our health, our economy, our government's continual failure to support the arts. But there are still wonderful colleagues in our shop and beyond, and there are books upon books to look forward to in the second half of this year. And I can only imagine the crowd of delayed books in 2021 just waiting for us there in the new world."


Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Tune It Out by Jamie Summer


Longleaf Services Special for Indies

Many university presses that are distributed by Longleaf Services are offering special terms to independent booksellers from now until the end of November. They include the university presses of Calgary, Cork, Cornell, LSU, Manitoba, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and--starting July 1--Purdue.

Terms include plus 5% on all titles and all orders placed between now and November 30. This translates to the following discount codes and rates for indies: T: 50%; S: 45%; X: 25%. Promo code: LLPLUS5. Only orders placed through reps are eligible for the promo offer.

The offer is available to independent bookstores and the trade book departments of college bookstores, and it excludes course adoption orders, though book club orders are welcome.

Longleaf is also extending its net 90 days dating through September 30.

Stores that haven't signed up to receive free freight on shipments totaling at least 10 copies across multiple titles can do so here.


University Press of Kentucky: The Redshirt (University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose) by Corey Sobel


Intellect Buying HammerOn Press

Academic publisher Intellect is buying HammerOn Press, which publishes nonfiction focusing on feminist, anti-racist, trans, queer and anti-fascist subjects. HammerOn Press believes "books are tools that remake the world, techniques for thinking that can transform reality." Founded in 2010, HammerOn Press will become an imprint of Intellect.

D-M Withers, founder of HammerOn Press, will continue to work with the Intellect books team as the series editor of Tools and Transformations series to be launched within the HammerOn imprint. Withers commented: "It is incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to work with a publisher of such integrity, who shares our commitment to developing the author's voices and ideas. HammerOn has found its rightful home."

Holly Rose of Intellect said, "Both Intellect and HammerOn Press are fiercely passionate about what they do, representing small but hugely important communities and subject areas. Both companies have a strong ethos to represent the author's voice. We look forward to building on the foundations established by HammerOn Press and working with D-M and their communities."

Founded in 1984, Intellect has offices in Bristol, England, and Wilmington, N.C. It publishes 101 journals and more than 50 books a year for scholars and practitioners teaching and researching in the arts, media and creative industries. Intellect is distributed in the Americas and Australasia through the University of Chicago Press and in the U.K., Europe, and the rest of the world through NBNi.


Notes

Video: Eagle Eye's Grand Re-Opening Parody Commercial

Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, Ga., featured its very funny "Grand Re-Opening Parody Commercial" on YouTube, noting: "40% Off Green Stickered Books, Folks! Why? Because we thank you for your support and we would rather sell them to you than return them to the publishers. We get in newly published books almost every day and they are displayed for 3 to 6 months. The pandemic put a big hurt on these books and hardly anyone got to browse through them. Now it's time for many of them to go back to where they came from... but, we'd rather give you a chance to buy them at our cost, saving everyone a lot of effort."


Kidlit Resources to Fight Racism and Coronavirus

Much attention has turned to creating resources for kids and teens that work to explain and advance human and civil rights issues, such as #kidlit4BlackLives, the virtual rally held on June 4, that can be watched here.

Until June 19, Dottir is offering a free downloadable PDF of Intersectionallies: We Make Room for All at dottirpress.com. UNC-Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science has made a curriculum around allyship, access and equity available to people who service young readers. The National Council of Teachers of English is holding a virtual conversation with Ibram X. Kendi on June 24 to mark the publication of his upcoming board book, Antiracist Baby, and Jacqueline Woodson curated an antiracist reading list for kids and teens for Oprah's Book Club.

As school years end and solitary summers begin, publishers, authors, artists and other individuals continue to make virtual assets available to young readers. Modeled after their Highlights@Home initiative, Highlights and Baker & Taylor partnered to launch Highlights Summer Activity Bingo, a 12-week summer reading program "aimed at helping libraries stem COVID Slide during the critical summer months" ("the months-long learning loss due to extended school closures"). And Peachtree's resources hub contains activities, teacher's guides, discussion guides and virtual storytimes. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor


#WritersAgainstRacialInjustice Doubles EJI Fundraising Goal

A fundraiser created by six authors under the hashtag #WritersAgainstRacialInjustice has already doubled its initial goal of $10,000. As of yesterday, more than $22,000 from 400-plus contributors had been raised for the Equal Justice Initiative, which was founded by author and lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption).

Writers Against Racial Injustice was launched June 4 by authors Jessica Keener, Lise Haines, Elizabeth Searle, Rosie Sultan, Michelle Hoover and Delia Cabe. The organizers said the Equal Justice Initiative "is an outstanding organization working to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality. As events unfold globally in reaction to George Floyd's horrific death--our streets full of protestors rightfully demanding a world with justice for all--we are motivated to act. We all want to do something with impact, even those with health matters that keep us at home. We felt an urgency to gather our community of writers together and be part of a positive change."

In a Facebook post yesterday, Haines observed: "When I try to imagine how this has been possible, I realize we are standing at a confluence of need, mission, and compassion. The need to do something is urgent and irrefutable. The Equal Justice initiative mission is crucial: to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenge racial and economic injustice, and to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. And it's our good fortune that we're part of a community of writers who work from the compassionate end of life; it is our source material."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Wes Moore on CBS This Morning

Today:
CBS This Morning: Wes Moore, author of Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City (One World, $28, 9780525512363).

Good Morning America: Jac Vanek, Keltie Knight and Becca Tobin, authors of Act Like a Lady: Questionable Advice, Ridiculous Opinions, and Humiliating Tales from Three Undignified Women (Rodale, $22, 9780593136447).

Tomorrow:
NPR's Living on Earth: Brigit Strawbridge Howard, author of Dancing with Bees: A Journey Back to Nature (Chelsea Green, $17.95, 9781603589864).


This Weekend on Book TV: Rep. Ilhan Omar

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, June 13
1 p.m. BookExpo's adult book and author dinner, featuring Zerlna Maxwell, Rebecca Roanhorse, Joy Harjo and Carmen Maria Machado.

2:15 p.m. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist (One World, $27, 9780525509288).

4 p.m. Tim DeRoche, author of A Fine Line: How Most American Kids Are Kept Out of the Best Public Schools (Redtail Press, $26.95, 9780999277621), at Vroman's in Pasadena, Calif.

5 p.m. Chester Finn and Michael Petrilli, authors of How to Educate an American: The Conservative Vision for Tomorrow's Schools (Templeton Press, $24.95, 978599475691). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m.)

6:30 p.m. Book TV looks back at books about American presidents. (Re-airs Sunday at 11:30 a.m.)

Sunday, June 14
1:45 p.m. Alicia Garza, co-author of When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, 9781250306906).

4:30 p.m. Rep. Ilhan Omar, author of This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman (Dey Street, $27.99, 9780062954213).

10 p.m. Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash, author of The Living Presidency: An Originalist Argument against Its Ever-Expanding Powers (Belknap Press, $29.95, 9780674987982).



Books & Authors

Awards: English PEN Translates Winners

Books from 15 countries and 13 languages are among the 19 winners of English PEN's translation awards, including--for the first time--a title from Guadeloupe and a translation from the Latin, as well as the first novel from South Sudan ever to be published in the U.K. Books are selected for PEN Translates awards "on the basis of outstanding literary quality, the strength of the publishing project, and their contribution to U.K. bibliodiversity." See the complete list of winners here.

"In an unprecedented moment--in which it is vital to support the publishing sector and continue to foster its diversity--I am pleased that PEN Translates continues its imperative support for international literature," said Will Forrester, translation and international manager at English PEN. "These nineteen awards go to books of extraordinary variety, united in being exceptional works of literature. English PEN is thrilled to be able to help bring them to English-language readers, and to continue our work in nurturing a diverse literary landscape."

Ros Schwartz, co-chair of the English PEN Writers in Translation committee, commented: "The panel was impressed by the quality and diversity of the submissions, and the range of publishers applying. We are delighted at the outcome, which represents a very broad linguistic and geographical spread across diverse genres, as well as a good gender balance--with almost two thirds of the awarded books by women writers, and over half translated by women."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 16:

The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump by Mary Jordan (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781982113407) is a biography of the first lady.

The Brothers York: A Royal Tragedy by Thomas Penn (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781451694178) profiles key figures in the War of the Roses.

Champions Day: The End of Old Shanghai by James Carter (Norton, $28.95, 9780393635942) explores a single day in Shanghai's history--November 12, 1941--just before the foreign "concessions" were taken over by the Japanese Army.

The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad by Mike Birbiglia and J. Hope Stein (Grand Central, $28, 9781538701515) contains a comedian's thoughts on parenthood.

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316420044) follows a decades-long one-weekend-per-year affair.

The Stone Girl: A Novel by Dirk Wittenborn (Norton, $27.95, 9781324005810) revolves around a depraved club of rich men in the Adirondack wilderness.

The Taste of Sugar: A Novel by Marisel Vera (Liveright, $26.95, 9781631497735) takes place in Puerto Rico on the eve of the Spanish-American War.

The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae (Razorbill, $18.99, 9781984835215) features a teenage girl forced to be a human sacrifice in a ritualistic game between heirs to the crown.

All Welcome Here by James Preller and Mary GrandPré (Feiwel and Friends, $18.99, 9781250155887) is a picture book of haikus about the first day of school.

Paperbacks:
Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht (Tin House, $15.95, 9781947793798).

Butterfly by Ashley Antoinette (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, 9781250136381).


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
Catherine House: A Novel by Elisabeth Thomas (Custom House, $27.99, 9780062905659). "Getting into Catherine House is the key to success. Spend three years here completely removed from the outside world, separate yourself from your life before Catherine House, and when the three years are over, you'll be unstoppable. That's the premise for this evocative and gripping gothic novel. Elisabeth Thomas' ability to create at once an elusive yet highly practical world makes her a stunning new literary voice. Inspired by secret societies, scientific experimentation, and the mysteriousness of finding ourselves, Catherine House is sure to haunt readers." --Stephanie Skees, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, Mo.

Red Dress in Black and White: A Novel by Elliot Ackerman (Knopf, $26.95, 9780525521815). "Over the latter half of the past decade, Elliot Ackerman has established himself as one of the great forces in modern literature. His novels and essays have provided uncommon depth of understanding of a world in constant violent conflict, all written with a superb command of language. His newest novel once again delves into a world of corruption and deception, but this is done at a much more personal level as the crisis of a marriage in Istanbul reflects the underlying rot of society. Set in the course of one day and developed through flashbacks, the reader learns the toll on individuals and society in a world of deceit." --Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

Paperback
Weird but Normal: Essays by Mia Mercado (HarperOne, $17.99, 9780062942807). "I adored this book! I laughed until I cried, I cringed in shared embarrassment, and I read entire essays out loud to anyone who would listen. Although almost any reader will find something to relate to in Mia Mercado's writing, she will speak directly to the hearts of millennials who still remember their hilariously terrible first AIM screennames. For all the laughs, Weird but Normal also delivers heartfelt truths about issues ranging from racism in America to depression. Can't wait to see what Mercado does next!" --Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, N.C.

For Ages 4 to 8
The Ocean in Your Bathtub by Seth Fishman, illus. by Isabel Greenberg (Greenwillow, $17.99, 9780062953360). "This brightly illustrated story reminds everyone of their place in the water cycle. Tons of information fills the pages without feeling overwhelming. I loved the tone and design on this one--there's something for everyone to learn, whether they live near the ocean or far away." --Dwan Dawson-Tape, Sundog Books, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.

For Ages 9 to 12
Pages & Co.: The Lost Fairy Tales by Anna James, illus. by Paola Escobar (Philomel, $16.99, 9781984837295). "During a trip to Paris to visit Oskar's father, Tilly and Oskar ignore the warnings from Tilly's grandparents and wander into a collection of fairy tales… but nothing is normal inside these stories. Back at the London Underlibrary, new head librarian Melville Underwood is trying to bind books and restrict access to Bookwandering. Both Tilly and Oskar, along with Tilly's grandparents and former librarian Amelia, are determined to find a way to stop him. Can they do it before it's too late? The Lost Fairy Tales is the perfect follow-up to The Bookwanderers. Full of magic and utterly enchanting, this is fast becoming my new favorite middle-grade series!" --Rebecca Minnock, Murder by the Book, Houston, Tex.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Private Lessons by Cynthia Salaysay (Candlewick, $17.99, 9781536209600). "Beautifully written, musical, and lyrical, Private Lessons is a coming-of-age novel that pulled at my heartstrings. Claire's relationship with her mother and father had me weeping early on in the book, and I admired and understood her drive to escape her suburban life. Her Filipino heritage is a part of the story but doesn't define her, and the microaggressions that she faces are just like real life--cutting but ultimately unnoticed by anyone but the target. The lens of Claire's journey is beautiful and brilliant and I enjoyed reading about her growing up." --Jackie Jou, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Boyfriend Material

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (Sourcebooks Casablanca, $14.99 paperback, 432p., 9781728206141, July 7, 2020)

Alexis Hall's Boyfriend Material is the sort of romantic comedy that would translate well to film, but is able to achieve a level of depth, intimacy and character development not possible within the constraints of that medium. Hall (Pansies) pairs Luc, the tabloid-fodder son of aging rock stars, with Oliver, an uptight barrister, when each needs a fake boyfriend for a few weeks. Luc needs to rehab his image for his development work for a dung beetle nonprofit, and Oliver needs a date for his parents' anniversary party. A mutual friend sets them up, despite their disastrous meeting a couple of years earlier.

So begins a series of awkward dates, joke-filled text exchanges and mini-breakdowns as Luc sorts out his trust and intimacy problems. " 'Yes. But if we're to do this, we have to do it properly.' I blinked at him. Properly sounded ominous. I was not good at properly. 'You should know I perform very badly in standardised tests.' "

Hall deftly balances heavier plot points such as the reappearance of Luc's absentee father and Luc's past disastrous relationship with abundant humor. This is a deeply funny book, especially for fans of situational and British humor, but it's also a love story so endearing and believable that readers will alternate among laughing, grimacing at Luc's self-sabotage and sighing happily.

While some of the humor comes from Luc's workplace and friend group, the opposites-attract, fake-dating nature of the central relationship is a classic set-up for banter and an incremental--if reluctant--development of feelings. When Oliver visits Luc's apartment for the first time and is confronted with the sheer chaos of the place, Hall's handling of the scene illustrates both compulsively tidy Oliver's innate goodness and Luc's realization that not only has he let nearly everything in his life slide, he'd like to do better for someone he cares about.

Both men have an unhappy history with relationships, so while they are physically intimate with each other fairly early on, it takes longer to build a foundation of trust and love. Boyfriend Material's very few sex scenes fade to black and Hall emphasizes emotional connection and vulnerability.

This novel is as funny as it is romantic, making it the perfect book for readers who need a pick-me-up. --Suzanne Krohn, editor, Love in Panels

Shelf Talker: Alexis Hall's Boyfriend Material is a romantic comedy packed with situational humor, banter and the whole spectrum of messy feelings.


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