Crow's Nest: March Madness


I’ve overcome my vertigo and vertigo-related fear of heights to climb atop the Crow’s Nest and share some of the bookish awesomeness on the horizon.

First, did you happen to see the Top Ten Most Literate Cities in the US? This study is completed each year by Central Connecticut State University and takes into consideration criteria such as number of bookstores, educational attainment, Internet resources, library resources, periodical publishing resources, and newspaper circulation.

This year’s Top Ten:

  • Washington, DC
  • Seattle, WA
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Denver, CO
  • St. Paul, MN
  • Boston, MA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • San Francisco, CA

Oh, would you look at that? Both of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are on the list, as well as a few other cities that are home to our Buccaneers! Did your favorite major metropolitan area make the list? If not, plan a visit! Or maybe you can score an Amtrak Writer’s Residency, which is one of the coolest things ever.

March is my favorite month of the year for a number of reasons: the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament. National Pi Day (3.14). The Ides of March. St. Patrick’s Day. Family birthday celebrations. Big movie releases. And spring. In March, the snow usually melts away (or starts to, anyway) and the air is filled with melodic chirps and lovely, fragrant breezes.

And it looks like there are plenty of amazing things happening in the YA world in March, too.



Here are a few new releases we’re excited about:

GILDED by Christina L. Farley - March 1

PANIC by Lauren Oliver - March 4

ASK AGAIN LATER by Liz Czukas - March 11

THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski - March 4

THE NIGHTMARE DILEMMA by Mindee Arnett - March 4

SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy - March 18

Finally, a book that I've been looking forward to getting my grubby pirate mitts on since I first read about in Publisher's Weekly: THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER by Leslye Walton (March 25).

From Goodreads:

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

I'm a gigantic fan of Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende, masters of magical realism. In fact, Márquez's ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE is one of my Top Ten Books of All Time. Comparisons have been made between that book and AVA LAVENDER, and I cannot wait to lose myself in this intergenerational tale. And what a gorgeous cover! Read more about AVA LAVENDER and Leslye Walton HERE.

Hark! What is that I see yonder? ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Stephanie Perkins, arriving at a bookstore near you on April 14!



Catching Fire releases on DVD on Friday, March 7, and The Book Thief on Tuesday, March 11. Disney’s Frozen comes out on Tuesday, March 18.

March 21 is HUGE. Huge, I tell you. For one, it’s my daughter’s birthday and she’s requested that I bring her Subway at lunch. Of course, I may be a little tired from having stayed up past my bedtime to see Divergent at midnight and having to be at work at 8 am.  

You’ve no doubt seen all the trailers, so here’s a little ear candy for you: Snow Patrol’s "I Won't Let You Go" from the Divergent soundtrack. Check it out at Refinery29's exclusive premiere.

Another great movie that hits theaters on March 21? Muppets Most Wanted.  The list of guest stars is long and fabulous and includes my Disney Channel fave, Ross Lynch.



If you'd like to visit two of the Top Ten Most Literate Cities in the US, I've got the perfect reason to do so: The Loft Literary Center's Children & Young Adult Literature Conference. Held this year on April 26 & 27, the conference includes tracks on publishing, topics & issues, and craft and features numerous authors, teaching artists, and publishing professionals. I've been to it several times and it is well worth it. Minnesota in late April is beautiful and we're all super nice here. And literate. Come visit!

Book Expo America is also right around the corner - May 29-31 in NYC.


Here's to melting snow, good books, and movie theater popcorn! March promises to be a wonderful month! What are you most looking forward to this month?