Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Lacey Galbraith

The Truth About the Feechiefolk Freak

Jonathan Rogers’s new YA novel reads like a well-loved folk tale

January 11, 2011 The protagonist in Jonathan Rogers’s latest young-adult novel, The Charlatan’s Boy, is Grady, a twelve-year-old orphan who doesn’t “have any idea who I was or where I come from.” He doesn’t even have a last name. For much of his life, Grady has traveled from village to village alongside “full-bloomed scoundrel” Floyd Wendellson. Together they put on a circus-freak-show performance, with Floyd as the showman ringmaster and Grady “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” Dressed in “muskrat and possum hides,” his face covered in mud, Grady pretends to be one of the Feechiefolk, a mythical group of people who live in the swampy “black waters of the Feechiefen.”

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End Times at the Circus

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb’s new middle-grade novel captures another age in turmoil

November 9, 2010 Hope McDaniels, the star of Kristin O’Donnell Tubb’s latest middle-grade novel, is a thirteen-year-old magician’s assistant. Hope has crawled inside a box to be sawed in half, stood still while knives were thrown her way, and levitated in front of an awed audience. Selling Hope takes place in 1910, during “the world’s first case of mass hysteria,” when the Earth was due to pass through the tail of Halley’s Comet. Tubb will launch the book at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Brentwood on November 13 at 2 p.m.

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Angels in the Outback

Teen Australian author Alexandra Adornetto is poised to take the baton from Twilight’s Stephanie Meyer

September 29, 2010 Vampires, zombies, and now angels: ever since Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight became the twenty-first century’s gold standard by which young adult romances are measured, publishing houses have been trying to hit upon the next soul-mates-and-supernatural YA love story. And thanks to Alexandra Adornetto’s Halo, the angels angle just might stick. Adornetto will read from the novel at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis on October 1 at 4 p.m.

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Making It in Music City

Suzanne Supplee’s new YA novel captures the big dreams of small-town teens

June 30, 2010 It’s graduation day, and there’s little that Retta Lee Jones will miss about Starling High School. Nineteen years old and raised in small-town Starling, Tennessee—about two and a half hours outside Nashville—she’s desperate to “get on with my real life”—the life she’s been “staring out the window and daydreaming about all through high school.” The heroine of Suzanne Supplee’s new novel, Somebody Everybody Listens To, Retta has plans—big ones: Retta Lee Jones wants to make it in country music.

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Home-Town Heartache

Lee Smith’s new story collection captures the pathos of life outside the big city

April 29, 2010 Lee Smith wrote her first novel, 1968’s The Last Day the Dogbushes Bloomed while still an undergraduate at Hollins College. Since then she’s written eleven more, plus three collections of short stories. A playwright as well, Smith’s Good Ol’ Girls—written with fellow author Jill McCorkle and featuring music courtesy of Matraca Berg and Marshall Chapman—made its off-Broadway debut last winter. With her latest effort, Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger: New and Selected Stories, Smith only adds to her successes. As the narrator of “Folk Art” says, “Once you get something going, it takes on a life of its own.” Smith will appear at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis on April 30 at 6 p.m., and at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville on May 1 at 2 p.m.

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Huck Twin

The heroine of Kristin O’Donnell Tubb’s debut children’s novel can stir up a mess of trouble

April 23, 2010 Autumn Winifred Oliver is eleven years old. She fidgets, speaks her mind, and has a talent for drawing. Her neighbors call her “rascally,” “rampageous,” and “up to no good,” but Autumn can’t help it; she’s restless, and most of all—as her creator, Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, clearly states in the title of this charming debut novel—Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different.

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