You probably know Meg Cabot as the author of the wildly popular Princess Diaries Series or perhaps you're reading her Abandon Trilogy. Cabot, who celebrates her 46th birthday on Feb. 1, has written books for middle readers, teens and adults. Expand your Cabot horizons and give her Heather Wells Mysteries a try. We first meet Heather, once a teen rock star and now a residence hall director at New York College, in Size 12 Is Not Fat. The fourth and latest book in the series is Size 12 and Ready to Rock, which was published last year. This entry takes place in summer, which means the college students are on vacation. But Heather's dorm is still rocking, full of teenage girls who are on campus for a music camp. When a famous musician is discovered dead, Heather and her PI boyfriend are on the case. Funny, light and full of terrific characters, this mystery series from Meg Cabot is perfect for celebrating a lazy Saturday.
Stewart O'Nan, who turns 52 on Feb. 4, writes across the genres. Most of his novels are standalones, but at least some are interconnected (Wish You Were Here and Emily, Alone). He might be best known for Last Night of Lobster, although he's not all about relationships and character studies. In fact he teamed up with Stephen King to write A Face in the Crowd, which is perfect for horror fans. His latest novel, The Odds, tells the story of Art and Marion Fowler, a middle-aged couple who decide to spend a weekend in Niagara Falls trying to save both their marriage and their financial wellbeing. In this brilliant look at two sides of a relationship, O'Nan explores lost dreams, forgiveness and taking chances. Because The Odds takes place over a Valentine's Day weekend, it's a great pick for February reading.
Jacqueline Woodson is a prolific writer, with 19 published novels before her 49th birthday, celebrated on Feb. 12. Her books are geared to young adults and explore a variety of current topics from racial issues to drugs, love and family. Her 12 picture books cover subjects that children can relate to, such as welcoming a new baby and making friends. Woodson has won many awards, including Newbery Honor Medals and a National Book Award. Her newest novel, Beneath a Meth Moon, is about Laurel, who is adjusting to the death of her mother and a new home in a post–Hurricane Katrina world. When she is introduced to meth, Laurel loves the way it helps her escape the overwhelming sadness that is always with her. But when she begins to lose herself, she wonders if she can fight her addiction and find real happiness again. Out this month in paperback, this novel would make a wonderful book club selection.
Do you know who Daniel Handler is? Probably not, but you have certainly heard of him by his pen name, Lemony Snicket. This beloved author celebrates his 43rd birthday on Feb. 28. From The Bad Beginning to The End, the (unlucky) 13 books in his Series of Unfortunate Events has entertained readers young and old since 1999. Besides these, Snicket has also written picture books (The Dark will be published this year) as well as adult novels (under his real name). Lemony Snicket fans have reason to rejoice because the author has begun a new series that acts as a kind of prequel to the Unfortunate Event novels. The first of the All the Wrong Answers Series, Who Could That Be at This Hour?, is out now and lets us in on how Snicket "began his apprenticeship in an organization nobody knows about." Read this mysterious, dark and wonderfully illustrated new novel by yourself or with your kids.
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