Our Fall Lineup is here!
Join us every second Thursday of the month to discuss these compelling stories and characters with our booksellers and fellow YA fans.
September: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
October: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
November: Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Lena and Campbell aren’t friends. When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.
This Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition includes two additional chapters, a Q&A with the authors and more.
by Shelby Mahurin
Bound as one, to love, honor, or burn. Book one of a stunning fantasy duology, this tale of witchcraft and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Kendare Blake and Sara Holland. Set in a world of powerful women, dark magic, and off-the-charts romance, book one of this stunning fantasy duology will leave readers burning for more.
by Ruta Sepetys
Madrid, 1957. Under a fascist dictatorship, Spain hides a dark secret, even as tourists flood in with the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is 18-year-old Daniel Matheson, who arrives with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Lives and hearts collide, revealing a dark side to the sunny Spanish city.
The Barnes & Noble YA Book Club Edition includes photos, deleted scenes, the author’s personal source materials, and more.
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Ruta Sepetys talks about the power of listening and how it unlocks compassion and empathy.
A look at historical context with news clips reporting on Spain under Franco and the silent revolution taking place amidst his dictatorship.
Q: In your debut novel, Between Shades of Gray, you drew inspiration from your family’s own Lithuanian heritage. You returned to this part of the world in your Carnegie Medal-winning novel Salt to the Sea. The Fountains of Silence is set in 1957 Madrid during Francisco Franco’s regime. What inspired you to write about this moment in history?
A: My previous novels are all published in Spain and when I’ve toured there, the readers have always displayed deep empathy and compassion for difficult and hidden history. But when I asked the readers in Spain about their own country’s history, some told me that it was too complex to explain or understand. Around the same time, my publisher sent me an article describing the experience in Spain during the Franco dictatorship. I knew very little about Spain during the Franco era and wanted to learn more. I became motivated to give voice to what I felt was an underrepresented part of history…
Writing The Fountains of Silence was quite challenging. My previous books all contained threads of my personal family history. I felt acquainted with the topics and was able to write those stories from the inside out. Since I have no family ties to Spain, I had to write The Fountains of Silence from the outside in. So I created a main character who is an outsider—an American visiting Spain from Dallas.
Q: Scattered throughout the book are excerpts from interviews, news articles, and memorandums that offer further historical context about Franco’s regime and Spain’s relationship with the United States. How did you go about conducting your research for The Fountains of Silence? Was there a fact or story you came across that you found particularly surprising or fascinating?
A: Because the subject was new for me, I insisted on doing more research than normal. I spent seven years researching The Fountains of Silence and I could have spent seven more!
When I begin my research process I cast a very wide net and read as much nonfiction, memoir, and testimony as possible on the subject. After that initial phase I narrow down and target specific topics and events that I want to pursue more deeply. Generally those relate to a detail that haunts my heart in some way. And then I begin the one-on-one interview process. Inevitably, while interviewing true witnesses and experts, additional topics will arise that I add to my list.
I took several trips to Spain and toured various parts of the country. I rented an apartment in Madrid and set out each morning trying to walk the path of the characters I was creating. Each day was different. I explored Vallecas, the area where Ana’s family is from. I spent time in the master tailor’s shop, learning about the intricate process to create a suit of lights. I visited the old Inclusa, the orphanage, and interviewed a retired doctor who had worked there for decades. I attended a meeting in Madrid with adults who are associated with the children allegedly stolen during the regime. I interviewed many people and read countless books for research. Some of the most fascinating research was exploring the hotel property where much of the story is set. The hotel was formerly a palace, and some elements (like the courtyard fountain, the ballroom, and marble hearths) are still original to the palace. A hotel is a house of secrets!
Q: You have referred to yourself as a “seeker of lost stories” and have dedicated your career as a writer to shining a light on lesser-known aspects of history. Why is it important for us to share our stories and examine our history, even when the past is difficult to confront?
A: Confronting the past can be so challenging. But sometimes, during dark and difficult moments, we discover a strength we never knew we had. That strength brings meaning and context to suffering. I look for those threads of hope and resilience and try to weave them into my characters. I think it’s important to study the past because it gives us context for the present. With knowledge of the past, we can learn and grow in order to create hope for a more just future.
“…Last night, I’d been fleeing to the sanctuary when I saw Lou. Hidden in the corner, draped in shadows, she’d stood so still I’d almost missed her. Her tears had been the only movement. They’d spilled down her cheeks in a silent stream—the sort of tears that could drown a person, the sort that left scars beneath the skin—but she’d remained silent, staring at a smear of blood on the foyer floor. The metallic syringe next to it….”
You’ve asked for it. Our booksellers have asked for it. And now it’s here! The YA Book Club is a place for YA fans to gather in our stores across the country to discuss compelling stories and characters each month- asking What would you have done? For our summer launch, we will be featuring debut authors across genres. Join as we celebrate these new voices we can’t wait to hear more from.