Later, he told me the story of how he had fallen for me at the bus stop: He saw me looking at him and so he stared back, but I didn’t flinch or blush or look away, I just held his gaze. He made faces, and I stared him down. He gestured for me to come over and join him. I looked at him steadily for a few beats more and then looked away. “You were so cool,” he said, already so disappointed by me. “Why aren’t you like that anymore?” I didn’t tell him the truth: that I was not cool, I was shortsighted and too vain to wear my glasses, so I hadn’t seen him at all or registered any of his faces or gestures – he was just another boy-shaped blur at the bus stop. — Catherine Egan explores the lure of the bad boy in “I Love You and I Want To Kill You; Let’s Make Out.”
This is where a narrative about girlhood turns into an appeal about how young people need access to books that speak to them, speak to where they come from, who they are, and who they might become. For much of my childhood and into my teen years, I felt neither here nor there. I was untethered: a mix, a mutt. Eventually, I discovered writers who essentially taught me how to be Hispanic. They taught me that being Hispanic is to exist in a matrix, to be by definition a mash-up, and about how identity is fluid, how it can be both bolted to the rock of the past and also a brave thing with wide wings. — “Thoughts About Bordered and Borderless Girls" by Samantha Mabry
The difference between Google Street View and being there is in the details, and it’s the details that bring the setting the life. It’s the air—the scent and sounds—in a cathedral. It’s knowing the way the sunrise is washed against the sky in the desert, or how it feels to drive for a long time on a straight road that becomes a wet-textured mirage in the distance. It’s feeling the temperature of morning on my skin, and how by midday all semblance of coolness has faded into dry heat. These are details I want to share with my readers, and details I want other writers to share with me. — Kristin Halbrook discusses the benefits of visiting your book’s setting.