|Hi there! Jas Hammonds shares the secrets of their buzzy debut, and we dig into the complicated and sometimes deadly relationships between sisters. Plus, both The New York Times and Time released their top 100 books of 2022 last week—as if our TBRs weren’t long enough already.|
| ||The Introduction|
|Jas Hammonds' Story of Imperfect Families|
Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is transplanted from DC to a small town in Georgia so that her parents can care for her dying grandmother. The Andersons’ arrival shakes up both their family and the town as Avery grapples with secrets, unsolved mysteries, and falling in love with the daughter of her mother’s former best friend.
Jas Hammonds' debut novel, We Deserve Monuments, is out today, but it’s already garnering rave reviews, including from Buzzfeed, who called it “an absolute must-read.” Jas has won awards and fellowships from Lambda Literary, the Highlights Foundation, and more.
The story kicks off when Avery and her parents move back to her mother's hometown. Tell us about Bardell.
Jas Hammonds: Bardell is a fictional town in southeast Georgia, [the kind of place] where people know each other’s business and rumors dangle from the town’s grapevine for decades. The Oliver family is the center of the Bardell universe—their posh hotel and grand plantation home bring in a lot of tourists. And Avery will soon discover her family history is deeply entwined with the Olivers in ways she can’t even imagine.
There's a lot of intergenerational trauma in this story, but also a lot of love and hope. What was important to you about including both?
JH: I wanted to tell an honest story about families. I don’t know any perfect families. There’s always going to be pain tightly woven in with joy. Horrible memories bookending tenderness, fights over the same dinner tables that hold boisterous laughter. I think it’s important for young adult authors in particular to include love and hope in our stories because teens deserve that light. This world can become too heavy, too soon, too young. It was important for me to balance Avery’s growing pains with light-hearted moments where she can just feel like a kid falling in love with herself.
Avery and her mom have a complicated relationship that rings true for anyone who's been a teenager. What inspired it?
JH: My mom has always been very forthcoming about anything I wanted to know about our family history. I could only imagine Avery’s frustration when Zora brushes her questions aside constantly. But at the same time, Zora has valid reasons for withholding information. People don’t exist in a vacuum—a lot of us recycle what we’ve been taught as kids. Conversations about family often led to bitter fights when Zora was a kid, so she’s learned to protect herself by avoiding the topic at all costs. Avery has to make the decision to break these cycles, which is a lot harder than it sounds, as anyone with a complicated relationship with a family member can attest.
Check out three books that inspire Jas:
|Red at the Bone |
|JH: Woodson is a technician with the ability to pack intense emotional weight into a few sparse sentences.|
| ||The Highlight|
|“The day before was nothing special. It was special only because of how unspecial it was, or perhaps by how unspecial it would very soon become. Things were always stranger in retrospect, which was a funny little consequence of time.”|
|Alone with You in the Ether |
|Two people struggling with mental illness meet in a museum and forge a deep connection to each other in this novel about love and art.|
| ||20 Words: Guess The Novel|
|A narrator reflects on the worst boss: a man who valued his cetacean obsession over the lives of his coworkers.|
|Answer in footer |
| ||The List|
|Riveting Psychological Thrillers About Sisters|
|The complicated combination of love and jealousy that permeates sisterly relationships lends itself to a psychological thriller: what’s a person to do when they love someone—but don’t trust them? In You Can Hide, out today, Laurel’s sister claims that someone is trying to kill her. Despite her suspicions about Abigail’s past, Laurel’s determined to protect her. For more gripping stories, check out our suggestions below and see a full list of picks here.|
|The Birdcage |
|Summoned by their father, three half-sisters return to the remote house where they spent a terrible summer two decades earlier to face the secrets they’ve kept since then.|
|Blood Will Tell |
|Responsible Frankie is used to covering for her wild-child younger sister Izzy, but when a car that looks just like Frankie’s is implicated in a kidnapping, Frankie begins to wonder exactly what she’s been covering up.|
|My Sister, the Serial Killer |
|When her beautiful sister Ayoola murders yet another of her boyfriends, responsible Korede is there to clean up the mess (literally). But when Ayoola sets her sights on her handsome co-worker, Korede realizes she may need to put a stop to these deadly break-ups.|
C.L. Polk’s fantasy noir novella is “a heart-wrenching, gorgeous story” (Paste) with “a soaring, perfectly bittersweet payoff” (Publishers Weekly).
|Even Though I Knew The End |
|A disgraced magical detective takes a dangerous case she knows she shouldn’t, hoping to earn back her soul so she can spend her life with the woman she loves.|
|The Best Seller|
Epic fantasy superstar Brandon Sanderson returns to the bestseller lists with the seventh book in the Mistborn Saga.
|The Lost Metal |
|The conflict between a mysterious organization called the Set and Senator Waxillium Ladraian comes to an explosive head.|
| ||Page to Screen|
|White Noise |
|Don DeLillo’s post-modern classic White Noise has been called “unadaptable” but writer-director Noah Baumbach and a star-studded cast prove otherwise.|
|View Trailer |
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