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! 

Clearly, we’re not the only ones who flipped for Love and Other Foreign Words: it hasn’t graced our shelves since it first debuted because it’s been out on hold the entire time (we had to call in reinforcement copies!). =) 

And we’re especially excited, because Erin McCahan is going to be here for the PPL YA Author Fest on July 26: talking books, talking her books, and talking with readers about writing! 

Until then, if you’re searching for a book that combines comedy, drama, and romance, starring charismatic heroines with personality to spare, try these three new novels that are absolutely delightful! 

The Art of Lainey

The Break-up Artist 

Breakfast Served Anytime 

And we’ll see you on July 26 for the PPL Author Fest! 

5 Quick Questions for Paula Stokes

We’ve seen Lainey’s story in The Art of Lainey, but now we’ll hear Micah’s tale in this digital novella from Paula Stokes. In honor of the release of INFINITE REPEAT, we asked Paula a few quick questions.

Describe INFINITE REPEAT in 5 words or less:
Micah, music, hope, heart, healing
Give readers three reasons why they should download INFINITE REPEAT:
1. You get to watch Micah bake *swoon*

2. Sibling shippery. If you thought Lainey and Bianca were the #1 relationship in THE ART OF LAINEY, you are going to fall madly in love with Micah and Trinity’s brother-sister bond.

3. It’s like 100 pages of Micah for a low, low price. You can’t get quality book-boyfriend cheaper than that!
Do you consider yourself an impulsive person?
Yes and no, but mostly yes. I hate the stress of having to decide things, so I usually just go with my gut.
What’s your most recent impulse buy?
Probably a giant cupcake. Either that or a 12-foot kayak that folds origami-style into a 26 pound messenger bag. Best. Idea. Ever.
How do you read ebooks?
The same way I read everything else, with giant cupcakes! (Boring answer: my Nook)

Order your copy of INFINITE REPEAT here!

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they’re sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What’s a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you’re meant to be with if you’re still figuring out the person you’re meant to be?

Right off the bat I was mildly irritated with this book because it contained a trope I loath - the cling, desperate girl who spends a book longing for a guy who dumped her ass. It is typically followed by either an insane stunt to try and get him interested or the dismissal of a much better love interest. This book kind of had both! Huzzah. Only this time the ~insane part was the nonsensical link to The Art Of War. Let me make this clear, there couldn’t be a worse book to apply towards your love life and its inclusion felt forced and unnecessary

Also Lainey… Lainey, Lainey, Lainey. How I longed to smack her head into a brick wall repeatedly. Her happiness, self esteem and senior year apparently all hinged on her having a boyfriend. ABSURD. YOU ARE HOT, POPULAR AND FEMALE THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER, DONT BE A LITTLE BITCH. Yeah she didn’t listen to me yelling at her though (crazy right?) and continues to do all kinds of shit. Eventually she did grow up and realize the error of her crazy ass ways so if you want to wait untill the very conclusion of the book to like the heroine- this is the book for you!

Really-Obvious-Spoiler-Alert : Micah, the guy posing as her fake boyfriend is the real love interest of the story and the saving grace of a pretty predictable read. He is a tattooed, mo-hawked, smoker with a tragic past and a heart of gold. I mean, yes he is a cliche “opposite” for the image conscious girl but I think the banter and dynamic between them worked and was certainly fun to read. I like that they started off as sort of enemies so that they had to get to know each other and grow before the relationship took off, there is nothing more annoying then insta-love. 

Over all this book is a cute, unexceptional read. 

Grade: C

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.


Ryoko for Joe, one of my Patreon supporters! I have some slots still open over at and my $120 goal is half met! For $5 you can enter the Button of the Month Club, $15 ships you an art card, and $30 a postcard featuring original art! Any and all help is appreciated. I’m really looking forward to creating your suggestions and basically having more time to just make stuff in general!