Every now and again we will post short podcasts here and on iTunes, and if you have any thoughts about them—why, we’d love to hear from you. Email us care of podcast@upstartcrowliterary.com, and we’ll discuss the most inspiring and/or objectionable responses below.


Chris Richman here. After many months of consideration, I’ve decided to leave the book world. This isn’t a decision I make easily—for years I wanted to work in publishing, and it was a literal dream come true when I landed a job as a literary agent. I loved finding new talent, working with my clients, and sharing in their triumphs. I enjoyed connecting with writers across the country and the world, and being a part of people’s roads to success.

I’m especially proud to have worked with so many talented people over the years, from my wonderful roster of clients, to the editors who helped shape good stories into great ones, and especially to my colleagues both at Upstart Crow and Firebrand Literary way back when. The biggest debt I owe is to Michael Stearns, who served as a wonderful mentor for me when I was just starting, and now has become a friend. His guidance, sense of humor, and occasional tough love helped me in too many ways to count.

In the end, however, I’ve decided to seek a different route, and I’m happy to announce I’ve started a job in PR and marketing in Philadelphia, and look forward to a shift in careers.

Thank you to everyone who helped along the way, including the writers who shared their work with me. I wish I could have responded to every query more quickly, or signed more clients, or met more people at conferences. But hey, it was a pretty good run that I’ll remember fondly.

Best of luck to you all out there!

Chris Richman

katfWe at Upstart Crow Literary are very excited to announce the publication of Claire Caterer’s debut novel The Key & The Flame, published by Margaret K. Mcelderry books! Claire is a wonderfully talented author who worked long and hard to bring this story of magic and mystery into the world.

The Key & The Flame follows eleven-year-old Holly Shepard, a bookish girl who desperately seeks some escape from her boring life living in the middle of Kansas. When her family takes a trip to England, Holly gets more than she bargained for when she receives an old iron key that unlocks a door to a secret world, and also the potential for magic within her.

Holly is joined on her journey by two tagalongs—her younger brother Ben, and Everett, an English boy who hungers after Holly’s newfound magic and carries a few secrets of his own. Holly, Ben, and Everett go from being ordinary kids in our world to extraordinary guests in a new world–but can Holly and friends be able to muster the courage and rise above her ordinary past to become an extraordinary hero?


A few years ago I was searching very hard for a gripping YA for boys, something with an authentic voice, issues teen boys could relate to, and a plot that grabbed me and didn’t let go. When author E.M. Kokie sent me the query and sample pages for her novel Personal Effects, I knew within five minutes of reading I’d come across something special. The voice was outstanding, the plot immediately grabbed me, and it took only a few days of reading the full story to realize I had to work with this author. I remember stepping off a plane on my way to an SCBWI conference, pulling out my phone, and emailing Kokie while still standing on the runway to say “I’m loving this book! Stay tuned!”

Nearly three years later, I’m happy to report my love of this novel is shared by others, as the response to Personal Effects book has been overwhelmingly positive. Just check out some of the great blurbs Personal Effects has received!

  • PERSONAL EFFECTS is one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time—it’s complex, moving, and beautifully written. I want everyone I love to read this book.” —Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award Finalist, Coretta Scott King Award winner, and Newbery Honor winner
  • “A fine addition to the literature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” —Kirkus
  • Timely, passionate, and political, PERSONAL EFFECTS is a story that needs to be told. Heartbreaking and heart-opening at the same time. —James Howe, author of The Misfits and Totally Joe
  • “Well written and heartfelt, Personal Effects provides much to discuss after the covers are closed. . . . This title is highly recommended for teen readers.” —VOYA
  • “PERSONAL EFFECTS is a smart, rugged, hugely insightful book that elevates an already soaring genre. E.M. Kokie glides along that fine line between comedy and tragedy to tell a sensation story.” —Chris Crutcher, a Margaret A. Edwards Award-winning author
  • . . . Kokie has written a no-holds-barred contemporary YA novel that is right up there with my all-time favorites of the genre.” —Richie’s Picks

Finally, we just learned that PERSONAL EFFECTS earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it an “outstanding debut.” To read the complete review, HEAD HERE.

But you know where you should really head? To your local bookstore, so you can pick up a copy yourself! I promise you, this book will impact you, and is a great read for teens looking for challenging, gripping work. Grab a copy today!

Rejection. Redemption. Romance.

Now that the weather is nice and the sun is shining, I for one am itching to take a road trip. And if you are too, why not start with a dazzling new read by one of teen lit’s best writers?

Antony John.

Antony’s last book, FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, was the recipient of brilliant reviews, lavish praise from authors and readers alike, and the prestigious Schneider Award for Teens.

NowThou Shalt Not Road Trip Antony brings us a fantastic new story: THOU SHALT NOT ROAD TRIP!

When sixteen-year-old Luke’s book, Hallelujah, becomes a national bestseller, his publishing house sends him on a cross-country book tour with his older brother, Matt, as chauffeur. But when irresponsible Matt offers to drive Luke’s ex–soul mate, Fran, across the country too, things get a little crazy. On the trip, Luke must loosen up, discover what it truly means to have faith, and do what it takes to get the girl he loves.

Told with Antony John’s signature wit and authenticity, and featuring smart, singular characters who jump off the page and into your heart, this story is a spiritual awakening and rockin’ road trip in one.

To learn more about Antony, visit him on the web at www.antonyjohn.net

Now start reading!

This winter has been unusually warm here in New York—no doubt that is because some of our favorite Upstart Crows have been heating up the bookshelves with their latest releases!

Yvonne Woon has followed up her debut novel, Dead Beautiful, with a haunting sequel called Life Eternal, continuing the epic journey of star-crossed lovers Dante and Renée.

Kirkus raves for Life Eternal, saying that “Renée’s story is romantic, suspenseful and far from over. A solid read, this one will leave readers wanting more.”

And if you haven’t read Dead Beautiful (which Publisher’s Weekly said has a “Harry Potter start and a Twilight finish”), what are you waiting for? It’s out now in paperback!

Learn more about Yvonne and her fabulous writing at: www.yvonnewoon.com


Katana final CoverI’m thrilled today to announce the publication of KATANA, a sexy, fun, and engrossing story by my client Cole Gibsen. KATANA, published by Flux books, tells the story of Rileigh Martin, a skater girl who suddenly finds herself with the fighting abilities of an ancient Japanese samurai.

From the publisher: “Rileigh Martin wants to believe that adrenaline gave her the strength to fend off three muggers in the mall parking lot. But adrenaline doesn’t explain the voice in her head giving her battle tips and warnings.

While worrying that she’s going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she’s harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana–a deadly Japanese sword that’s also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she’s always been and embracing the warrior inside her.”


Are e-books damaging society? I’ve been thinking a lot about the piece that appeared in the Telegraph this week citing Franzen’sexploding-earth-bomb-clip-art-thumb2794671 hatred of e-books.

I was fully prepared to be annoyed by the article when I read the headline. While I’m not fatalistic enough to link the downward trajectory of society to e-books (or at least not solely to e-books), I enjoyed some of Franzen’s points, particularly this one about permanence of physical books:

“I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.”

I like thinking about books this way. Sure, I own an iPad and a Kindle, and I have a slew of e-books on both of ‘em. I love being able to purchase books on a whim–in the middle of the night, on a rainy Sunday, whatever– from the comfort of my own home. But I often feel a certain hollowness when I’ve completed a download. I like the way a real book takes up space in my life the way an e-book can’t. If I download a book,  visiting friends can’t pull it off of the shelf and thumb through it. My infant son can’t grab it and chew on the corner, leaving little dimples in the jacket (which annoys me now and which I will feel nostalgic  about later when he stops chewing on things).  I can’t slip a piece of paper into the book to mark my place, or tuck the paperwork I’m carrying around with me between the front cover and the title page. I can’t scrawl a friend’s phone number on the inside back cover.

I asked my interns to share their thoughts..”I actually bought both of Jonthan Franzen’s books on my Kindle,” one intern said sheepishly. ” They’re 600 pages long! Who wants to lug that around with them all day?”

Ha ha. Touché, Jonathan Franzen.

There’s certainly nothing to be “bitter” about now that Sarah Ockler’s latest novel has hit the shelves.

With her unique mixture of romance, witty one-liners, and, of course, hopefulness mixed with a dash of heartbreak, Sarah has delivered a confectionary delight-of-a-novel that I am so excited is out in the world. The perfect way to start out 2012!

A little about the book:

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances, a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, (more…)

10194628Today is the official release day my client Sarah Tregay’s debut novel-in-verse, LOVE & LEFTOVERS (Katherine Tegen Books).

I didn’t experience manuscript love at first sight until I read an early draft of LOVE & LEFTOVERS. When it came in on submission, I stayed up all night reading it, elbowing my husband awake and reading him passages that I loved. I had to stop myself from calling Sarah in the middle of the night to offer her representation.

It’s truly a special book, and Sarah is a truly special writer, and we are incredibly grateful to the team at Katherine Tegen Books, who have given this novel the love and attention it deserves. School Library Journal gave LOVE & LEFTOVERS a starred review. Booklist said: “Tregay adds depth with her ability, in just a few words, to palpably express both the emotions of love and physical longings that go along with it. This first novel may make teenage readers’ hearts beat a bit faster.”

Lauren Myracle, bestselling author of SHINE, gushed of LOVE & LEFTOVERS: “Amazing. The most delicious love story I’ve read in ages.”

Here’s a bit about the book: (more…)

Flyaway CoverI’m incredibly excited to celebrate the publication of Helen Landalf’s wonderful debut young adult novel FLYAWAY, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in stores today! If you’ve attended a conference with me over the past few years, you probably heard me speak about a special novel involving a headstrong girl named Stevie and a mother making the wrong choices. It was a long road from Helen’s initial submission and today’s release, but I’m happy to say it’s been worth the wait to see this heartfelt story finally out and available to the public.

From the publisher: “Stevie Calhoun knows how to take care of herself. It’s not like her mom hasn’t disappeared before. So why is Aunt Mindy making such a big deal of it now? It’s not like Mom’s really doing meth. Stevie makes sure of that. Whatever. She’ll go home with Aunt Mindy if it will keep her from calling Child Protective Services—but it doesn’t mean she’ll stay. (more…)

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