The Art of Lainey


Here’s a selection of some of the new YA novels hitting the shelves this week (18th - 24th May). For more on new releases and all things YA lit, visit our website, follow us here and on Twitter, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: May 20th
Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1) by Jennifer Echols
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: May 20th
New guy Will wants to get serious, but Tia isn’t interested in commitment. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings.

Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 20th
When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn’t hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.

Dollhouse (Dollhouse #1) by Anya Allyn
Publisher: Paper Lantern Lit
Release date: May 20th
Four teenagers chance across a mysterious, crumbling mansion in the depths of the mountains. One of them is about to vanish. One of them is lying about what he or she knows. None of them will escape the fate awaiting them in the terrifying Dollhouse, a place of nightmarish horrors and insanity.

End Times by Anna Schumacher
Publisher: Razorbill
Release date: May 20th
Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.

Infinite Sky (Infinite Sky #1) by C.J. Flood
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 20th
Opening with a funeral, Iris is mourning the boy in the casket - but who is it? Sam, her tearaway brother, or Trick, her tentative boyfriend? Over one long hot summer, we find out just how their three lives were turned upside-down.

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release date: May 20th
When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic.

Mortal Enchantment (Mortal Enchantment #1) by Stacey O'Neale
Publisher: Phoenix Reign Publishing
Release date: May 20th
In Kalin Matthew’s world, elementals control the forces of nature. At sixteen she will leave the life she’s built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she’s attacked and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.

Reborn (Shadow Falls: After Dark #1) by C.C. Hunter
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release date: May 20th
For Della Tsang, Shadow Falls isn’t just a camp: it’s home. As a vampire who’s never fit in with her human family, it’s the one place she can truly be herself. But when a mysterious new guy arrives at camp, Della’s whole world is thrown into turmoil. Chase is a vampire with secrets, who knows more than he’s telling.

The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2) by Ashley Elston
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: May 20th
Anna Boyd almost lost her life to get what she wanted most in the world: freedom. But just when it seems that her family has finally escaped Witness Protection, the illusion that Anna could resume a normal life comes crashing down. Anna will do whatever it takes to protect the people she loves and win her life back once and for all.

The Staff of Serapis (Percy Jackson and the Olympians/The Kane Chronicles) by Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: May 20th
In this adventure, Annabeth encounters more oddities in the subway than usual, including a two-headed monster and a younger blond girl who reminds her a little of herself.

The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release date: May 20th
When Franny and her older sister Valentine are summoned by their Aunt Theodora from foggy San Francisco to sunny New York City for one summer, they begin to unearth secrets and answers about Aunt Theo’s glamorous and romantic past, and they have a few romantic adventures of their own.

Threats of Sky and Sea (Threats of Sky and Sea #1) by Jennifer Ellison
Publisher: Self-published
Release date: May 20th
Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father’s past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King’s army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne.

Turn It Up (Varsity #2) by Melanie Spring
Publisher: Poppy
Release date: May 20th
Fresh from the excitement of Regionals, the Northside High JV cheerleaders have set their sights on the prize – Nationals. But even the most devoted Timberwolves can’t eat, sleep, and breathe cheer. When Chloe discovers that one of their own needs help, can the squad rally to support their teammate?

V is for Villain by Peter Moore
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: May 20th
Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Though Brad’s basically a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. But when they’re pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles, and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he’s on.

Out of Control by Sarah Alderson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Release date: May 22nd
When 17 year old Liva witnesses a brutal murder she’s taken into police custody for her own protection. But when the police station is attacked and bullets start flying it becomes clear that Liva is not just a witness, she’s a target.

Reckoning (The Silver Blackthorn Trilogy #1) by Kerry Wilkinson
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Release date: May 22nd
In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society - Elite, Member, Inter or Trog - but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.


What was your worst breakup? Team Epic Reads shares their stories during this week’s Tea Time!

I try to write stories as they unfold in my brain, letting my characters do and say what they want to do and then gradually shaping their actions into books that (hopefully) work for both my readers and me. I wanted The Art of Lainey to be a very positive, girl-power story, not just another romance. I hope that people find joy in Lainey and Bee’s adventures, and perhaps even think of their own close friendships as they read.

Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey arrives in bookstores later this month. We’re super-excited for you to read it! 

YEAAHHhhhH I redesigned her pre-timeskip version too //wheezes

Name: Lainey
Age: 19
Height: 6'4"
Occupation: Navigator of the Drowsy Pirates 
Epithet: Sharp Fist

Here are the rest of her crew mates (so far) that are all made by friends of mine :‘v some of the info on their character cards is needing to be updated, but I’m linking them anyway just to show them off shshhshh

Captain: Ed

First Mate/ Navigator: Lainey

Sharpshooter: Magee

Cook: Riley

Doctor: Lucy

Shipwright: Katashi 

Musician: Xavier

Demolitions Expert: Brutus

Lainey & Bianca's Favorite Passages from THE ART OF WAR

Lainey: What’s up, internet peeps? My name’s Lainey and I’m the main character from Paula Stokes’s The Art of Lainey. Right now, my bestie, Bianca, and I are hanging out here talking about our favorite parts of The Art of War. Who knew I liked classic literature? I’m finding out all kinds of stuff about myself this summer.

Bianca:  Hi! I go by Bee for short. Lainey and I are going to start by telling you guys a little bit about the book.

Lainey: Oookay. So The Art of War is a book written by this guy I like to call Dead Chinese Warlord. It’s about soldiers and strategy and stuff, but some of it relates to modern day competitions. Bonus—it’s also pretty short. ;-)

Bianca: Right. Sort of. The Art of War is by Sun Tzu, a Chinese military general and strategist. It’s divided into eight parts and deals with things like leadership, espionage, and military maneuvering. It’s been translated into tons of foreign languages and is required reading for students, soldiers, and businesspeople across the globe. You should probably read the whole book—especially if you’re embroiled in your own strategic battles—but here are our favorite parts, just in case you want a little preview.


Number 5: “All warfare is based on deception.”

Lainey: This is one of the few lines in the book I could understand without Bianca’s help. Plus, how often does a Dead Chinese Warlord give you permission to lie in order to get what you want?

Number 4: “Ponder and deliberate, before you make a move.”

Bianca: I’m a slow and thoughtful kind of girl, so this is one of my favorite quotes. Again, it seems so basic, but when you think about battles—wars, sports competitions, or relationships—how often do people actually do this? Lainey went into full freak-out mode the instant Jason broke up with her.

Lainey: That is so not true!

Bianca: Yes it is. You would have sent Jay twenty texts if I hadn’t been there to stop you.

Lainey: Not twenty! I mean, probably not … I don’t think.

Bianca: Whatever. Crisis mode is not where most people do their clearest thinking. Sun Tzu was spot on when he instructed his generals to think before they attack.


Number 3: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Lainey: When I first read this, I was like “Duh, of course I know myself and I know Jason, too.” But then as the summer went on, I realized I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, about either of us. I kept coming back to that line, wondering if I was changing or if I had just been oblivious to certain things.

Bianca: I vote for oblivious. :D

Lainey: Oh, ha-ha.


Number 2: “Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting.”

Bianca: You can think about this quote in so many ways. In war, maybe it means that the best plan is to negotiate a treaty or surrender to minimize loss of life. On the soccer field, it might be saying that the best plays are the ones where you evade the defense instead of trying to plow right through them. Maybe in relationships it means success comes from compromising.

Lainey: Or success comes from being a master manipulator who can bind people to your will and make them think it was all their idea… .

Bianca: Sometimes you scare me.

Lainey: What can I say? I guess there’s a Dead Chinese Warlord inside of each of us, waiting for a chance to break out. ;-)

Number 1: “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

Lainey: My favorite quote from the whole book. “Fall like a thunderbolt” sort of became my mantra during the summer. Be fierce. Be decisive. Be all in. I kept waiting for my fall-like-a-thunderbolt moment. And when it finally arrived, it did not disappoint.

Want to know Lainey’s “fall- like-a-thunderbolt” moment? Want to read more awesome quotes from The Art of War? Lainey and Bee found Sun Tzu’s military manual so helpful they chose a different quote to kick off every chapter of The Art of Lainey, available now, wherever awesome books are sold.


I’ve decided to release the first look for my characters! These are the very first fleshed out designs of their uniforms so there will be a lot of refining based on their theme and utility.
The past week I’ve been grinding it with painting practice for my concept art and character design so here they are! First look on their uniform designs and newcharacters; Lainey, Darius and Jassie! Tell me what you think and I hope you guys like it!