Out of Darkness

“This is East Texas, and there’s lines. Lines you cross, lines you don’t cross. That clear?”

New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive.

Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion–the worst school disaster in American history–as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.

“[This] layered tale of color lines, love and struggle in an East Texas oil town is a pit-in-the-stomach family drama… A tragedy, real and racial, swallows us whole, and lingers.” – The New York Times Book Review

★ “A powerful, layered tale of forbidden love in times of unrelenting racism.” – starred, Kirkus Reviews

★ “The work resonates with fear, hope, love, and the importance of memory…. Pérez …gives voice to many long-omitted facets of U.S. history.” – starred, School Library Journal

“Elegant prose and gently escalating action will leave readers gasping for breath at the tragic climax and moving conclusion.” —Booklist

“Anyone who dares read this agonizing star-crossed love story will end up in about six billion numb and tiny pieces. Absolutely stunning.” – Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity

“As stunning as it is truthful, a narrative shaped by history and love that honestly explores racism, abuse and a young woman’s tenacity to fashion a life on her own terms.” –Daniel A. Olivas, Huffington Post

Recipient of the 2016 Américas Book Award from the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs.

The Knife and the Butterfly

16-year-old Azael wakes up to find himself surrounded by a familiar set of concrete walls and a locked door. Juvie again, he thinks. He knows his MS13 boys faced off with some punks from Crazy Crew. There were bats, bricks, chains. A knife. But he can’t remember anything between that moment and when he woke behind bars. Azael knows prison, and something isn’t right about this lockup. No phone call. No lawyer. No news about his brother or his homies. The only thing they make him do is watch some white girl in some cell. Watch her and try to remember.

Lexi Allen would love to forget the fight, would love for it to disappear back into the Xanax fog it came from. And her mother and her lawyer hope she chooses not to remember too much–at least when it’s time to testify. Lexi knows there’s more at stake in her trial than her life alone, though. She’s connected to Azael, and he needs the truth. The knife cut, but somehow it also connected.

“An unflinching portrait with an ending that begs for another reading.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An uncompromising look at two characters most readers would otherwise look away from.” —Booklist

“Azael is a dynamic and sympathetic main character with an authentic voice…. This hard-hitting novel [will be an] an assured success in libraries serving high school students.” —School Library Journal

“Based on a true incident, this work of fiction is gritty, sad, and not for the faint-hearted.” —VOYA

“Harrowing, heart-rending, and ultimately hopeful. This is the book I wish I’d had the guts to write!” —Jordan Sonnenblick, author of After Ever After and Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

What Can't Wait

“Another day finished, gracias a Dios.” Seventeen-year-old Marisa’s mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. An ordinary life–marrying a neighborhood guy, working, having babies–ought to be good enough for her.

Marisa hears something else from her calc teacher. She should study harder, ace the AP test, and get into engineering school in Austin. Some days, it all seems possible. On others, she’s not even sure what she wants.

When her life at home becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere, and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn’t sure what she wants–other than a life where she doesn’t end each day thanking God it’s over.

But some things just can’t wait.

“Pérez fills a hole in YA lit by giving Marisa an authentic voice that smoothly blends Spanish phrases into dialogue and captures the pressures of both Latina life and being caught between two cultures…. Un magnífico debut.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This solid debut deftly explores the daily struggle of some students to persevere in the face of long odds.” —Booklist

“Pérez’s debut is a realistic portrayal of challenges faced by immigrant families and conflicting cultural norms . . . Strong-willed but emotionally vulnerable, Marisa is aware that pursuing a life that’s fulfilling on her own terms comes with a price, and her bittersweet decision leads to an honest and satisfying ending.” —Publishers Weekly

“Pérez’s perspective on Mexican American culture in Texas is authentic; the gritty setting and hard-knocks characters carry the story.” —The Horn Book Guide

“Pérez breathes credible and engaging life into her calculus-loving protagonist and the assorted adults and youth with whom she copes, on whom she relies, and against whom she battles. —VOYA

“A timely, realistic and unflinching portrayal of an unfortunately pressing problem for many immigrant teens.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This strong first novel makes an excellent choice for populations with large numbers of immigrant students.” —School Library Journal

“In a heart-wrenching struggle of friendship, family allegiance, and finding love, Marisa discovers what it truly means to leave the expectations of everyone else behind and become an individual who follows after her hopes and dreams.” The ALAN Review

Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America

For most of America’s history, rural people and culture have been casually mocked, stereotyped, and, in general, deeply misunderstood. Now an array of short stories, poetry, graphic short stories, and personal essays, along with anecdotes from the authors’ real lives, dives deep into the complexity and diversity of rural America and the people who call it home. Fifteen extraordinary authors—diverse in ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, and socioeconomic status—explore the challenges, beauty, and nuances of growing up in rural America. From a mountain town in New Mexico to the gorges of New York to the arctic tundra of Alaska, you’ll find yourself visiting parts of this country you might not know existed—and meet characters whose lives might be surprisingly similar to your own.

“The variety of formats, such as poetry and graphic stories, along with a variety of voices, helps keep the pages turning and interest high. From laughing out loud to holding back tears, readers who enjoy emotionally resonant books will not be disappointed. Those from similar geographic areas will be nodding their heads while every reader, regardless of location, will connect to the universal triumphs and tribulations of teen life.”

School Library Journal

“A generous handful of the tales offer particularly rich storytelling—S. A. Cosby’s story of a fraught encounter between a wealthy Black entrepreneur and his blue collar Black employee over a missing watch; Ashley Hope Pérez’s poem in which stealthy references to sexual abuse are tucked among verses extolling the beauty and camaraderie of rural life; and stories by Rob Costello and Nasugraq Rainey Hopson in which teens in the Catskills and in Alaska confront specters from respective local lore.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

An NPR Best Book of 2020; a Bank Street Best Book of the Year 2021; YALSA Best Fiction; 2022 Winner of Two Nautilus Gold Awards: Best Overall Mid-Grade & YA Fiction and Best Mid-Grade Fiction; Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

Have you ever wanted to be a superhero? Join a fandom? Create the perfect empowering playlist? Understand exactly what it means to be a feminist in the twenty-first century? You’ve come to the right place.

Forty-four writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, they share diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like. Come on in, turn the pages, and be inspired to find your own path to feminism by the awesome individuals in Here We Are.

“Sophisticated yet entirely accessible, the collection is valuable both for the breadth of thought and perspective it represents and for the support it directs toward readers.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This scrapbook-style guide book has everything any teen would every want to know about feminism packed into one fun, unique package . . . an inspiring read for young adults that examines where feminism stands today, and what we need to do next to help it succeed in the future.”
—Bustle

“A pithy, accessible guide where young people can find support and answers to their questions, from what does feminism mean to how to be a real-life superheroine . . . generous, informative . . . This timely anthology offers words and role models to help young people . . . as they chart their own course.”
Washington Post

“An incredibly engaging collection of essays, and one of the most important non-fiction YA reads of the year. Buy it for every teenage girl in your life. Buy it for every teenage boy in your life. Buy it for every teenager who doesn’t conform to the gender binary. Hell, I know many, many adults who would benefit from the messages contained in this diverse celebration of feminism . . . In short, I can’t recommend this book enough.”
—TheYoungFolks.com

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All materials © 2022 Ashley Hope Pérez. Author website by Websy Daisy.