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Launchpad: HAPPY HOUR, by Marlowe Granados

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Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.

LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

Today we're launching Marlowe Granados' debut novel Happy Hour, which is being championed by Jen Sookfong Lee, who writes, "In Happy Hour, Isa, a young woman whose future is stretching out in front of her, moves to New York City, where every chance meeting is an opportunity to start fresh. Funny and complex, Happy Hour is not just a coming-of-age romp, but a loving exploration of young womanhood, of the ways we carry our pasts and identities with us wherever we go, and the deep friendships we accumulate and lose along the way. So often, women, and especially women of colour, in their 20s are dismissed in popular culture, and Granados provides us with the exact opposite experience. Isa is authentic, wry, sad, thoughtful, and joyful, as full a human as a reader could ever want."

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Launchpad: Swimmers in Winter, by Faye Guenther

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Swimmers in Winter, by Faye Guenther, which Emily Schultz praises: "Guenther traces the paths of women in the city, struggling to survive, keep themselves fed and afloat while also falling hard for each other. In turns sexy and tender, tough and head-swirling, these characters will leave you changed."

The book is currently available as an e-book, and will be out in print in August.

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence:.

Swimmers in Winter is a short story colle …

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The Books Behind WORRY

Worry is Jessica Westhead's new novel, a compelling and unsettling story about threats real and imagined—and where one draws the line. Kim Fu calls it "an irresistible novel from its first pages to its devastating end." 

In this recommended reading list, Westhead names titles that informed her work as she conceived and developed her novel. 

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In Lands and Forests, a superbly stark and brooding short-story collection by Andrew Forbes, the wilderness is a constant presence. It offers hope to the disillusioned, broken men and women who populate Forbes’ bleak and beautiful stories, and fills them with reverence, peace and awe. But it can just as easily fill them with unease and dread. In Worry, the lake and forest (ha, see what I did there?) is a constant presence as well, offering my characters the promise of a fun, carefree vacation and a welcome break from rules and responsibilities, but also awakening long-dormant grief and fear in Ruth, my main character. Lands and Forests is also adorned with some of the most ravishing cover art (designed by M …

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Sparking Conversation in the Classroom: The Big Dig by Lisa Harrington

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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Reviewing The Big Dig

The Big Dig by Lisa Harrington is the perfect young adult novel to spark meaningful discussions on a variety of topics. Teachers are familiar with the difficulties that students face when they have to move and change schools. This story can help ease the transition as readers can relate to the main character, who is faced with the challenge of making new friends and adapting to a new community. Each of the three main characters is unique in their own way. Although their personalities would seem to naturally clash, they accept each other’s differences and forge a very strong friendship.

It’s 1977, and shortly after dealing with the loss of her mother, Lucy is sent by her father to live with her Great-Aunt Josie for the summer. There, she meets two friends, Colin and Kit, and they create everlasting friendships. Together, they attempt to help Lucy uncover the truth she is seeking.

Harrington does a fantastic job of bringing the reader into Lucy’s head. As the reader follows fourteen year-old Lucy to Nova Scotia for summer break, the author makes you feel as if you are with her, every step of the way. Each page contains elements that are described in such detail that you feel as though you can smell, hear, and taste (even Josie’s poor …

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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Friendship Books for February

Book Cover Kiss Me I'm a Prince

Our children's librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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Friendship and frost go hand in hand in these warm and cold tales for February.

In Kiss Me! (I'm a Prince), by Heather McLeod, illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan, Ella is skeptical when she meets a frog prince asking for a kiss. The promise of being a princess doesn't hold much clout for a basketball-playing little girl like Ella. She'd have to wear a gown, keep it clean, and she wouldn't be able to play much. So she carries the frog around in her pocket, refusing his request, until a courtier arrives to claim him. The frog returns home, still a frog, asking for the kiss of a true friend now, because he too wants to "play happily ever after." Age 4+

Book Cover Yuck a Love Story

Yuck, A Love Story, by Don Gillmor, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay, is similar in its endearing humour. Austin Grouper's world changes when a girl his age moves in next door. He pretends Amy isn't worthy of his attention but when her birthday invitation arrives in the mail, Austin dresses up as a cowboy and …

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