Advance Reader Copy, or ARC. My favorite acronym, and the thing that has been getting me into trouble lately. An ARC is a book that hasn’t been published yet, but publishers have printed its uncorrected version so librarians, booksellers, and other people in the industry can read and help promote it. ALA Midwinter was everything I wanted: lots of cool posters featuring book art, good book talks from publishers, great conversations with librarian friends. And most of all, more ARCs than you can even imagine. It was amazing.
Then I got home and remembered I live in a small apartment. Let me explain how publishers behave at conferences, so you can better understand the quandary I got myself into. The people who man different publishers’ booths are basically selling you on taking a copy of their book. You walk by, and the books are stacked on the floor, or displayed on tables, usually with someone nearby to give a quick book talk. “This is one of my favorites we’re publishing this spring. It’s a cross between Pretty Little Liars and Harry Potter. There’s a school where students learn magic, and the main character finds a body on the school grounds…” And so forth.
All the books sound interesting, and even if you are trying to be rational and not pick up too many books, people tell you, “Now, I don’t want to be a pusher, but I have to insist you take this book. It is the best book I’ve read this year. [Description of book.] And we love the author, she’s so funny and passionate. Here, let me just put this in your bag for you.”
So, now you understand the incredible temptation, here is my confession:
I brought home so many books. In the picture above, the ARCs are all stacked on my coffee table, there to stay until I finish them or put them in an inconvenient stack somewhere else. Oh man.
In the meantime, I have been reading as fast as I can to manage this increase in reading materials. So here are a few books that are either out or coming soon.
Some Random Fantasy ARCs
- Dreaming Dangerous by Lauren DeStefano (Coming July 3, 2018)
Plum, Vien, Gwendle, and Artem attend a school for children with special abilities. The four of them share their dreams almost every night, and fight the monsters they come across there. After their dreams start to change, though, Artem goes missing, and the others try to find out what’s going on. This mid-grade novel is fun, and while the climax was not quite what I would have hoped, I would still recommend it.
- The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines by Adam Gidwitz (Coming April 10, 2018)
Elliot moves to a new school just in time to go on a field trip on his first day. After a rocky start, he and Uchenna become friends, and they have to work together when they find a Jersey Devil in the woods. The advance copy of this book doesn’t have much of the final artwork, but I suspect it will be just as entertaining as the story. This would be a great book for maybe a fourth or fifth grader. It has a fast pace, and counts among its characters a professor, villains, and a mythical creature. ‘Nough said.
- W.I.T.C.H.: The Twelve Portals, Volume 1 by Disney
This is a graphic novel about four friends’ discovery that they have magic powers and are able to transform into fairies. As thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds, the four girls struggle to survive school and save the world from invasion by people from other dimensions.
What I didn’t know before reading this is that W.I.T.C.H. is a whole franchise, with a show that ran from 2004 to 2006, and other graphic novels. And yet… I still think Disney needs to update this series to reflect today’s trends. I was surprised to see nudity, but I was much more disheartened by the girls’ excitement over their fairy bodies. When the girls transform into fairies, they are hypersexualized, with full figures and scant clothing. In a time when stories like Princeless (which bucks traditional gender norms) are being written and receiving awards, do we really need a new story that deals with body image in this old-fashioned way?
That’s this week in ARCs. Join us next week for something completely different!