"To sell a book, you need a
description on the back. So here's mine: My name is
Fiona Loomis. I was born on August 11, 1977. I am
recording this message on the morning of October 13,
1989. Today I am thirteen years old. Not a day older.
Not a day younger."
Fiona Loomis is Alice, back from Wonderland. She is Lucy, returned from Narnia. She is Coraline, home from the Other World. She is the girl we read about in storybooks, but here's the difference: She is real.
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary is her neighbor in a
town where everyone knows each other. One afternoon,
Fiona shows up at Alistair's doorstep with a strange
proposition. She wants him to write her biography. What
begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a
frightening glimpse into a clearly troubled mind. For
Fiona tells Alistair a secret. In her basement there's a
gateway and it leads to the magical world of Aquavania,
the place where stories are born. In Aquavania, there's
a creature called the Riverman and he's stealing the
souls of children. Fiona's soul could be next.
Alistair has a choice. He can believe her, or he can
believe something else...something even more terrifying.
"Every culture has a magical river story. Some
rivers promise the pleasures of eternal youth, while
others promise the paradise of eternal salvation. The
Riverman promises a more exhilarating alternative.
Dive into this book and you may never resurface."
- Jack Gantos, Newbery Award-winning author of Dead End in Norvelt
"Like When You Reach Me and Breadcrumbs,
The Riverman is about real people with real
problems who find a twist in their reality. And like
those books, I would find it deeply engaging even
without the fantastic angle. It is the nuanced,
believable children dealing with mundane crises that
make it a great book." - Kurtis Scaletta,
author of Mudville, Mamba Point and The
of the Robots.
The Riverman is
published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, a division of
Macmillan. It is represented by Michael Bourret at Dystel&
Goderich Literary Management.
March 18, 2014
"Call it coincidence, call it
fate. This is
the place you come. There's nowhere else. There's no one
else. This is
the entire world."
These words welcome Martin Maple to the village of
Xibalba. Like the
other children who've journeyed there, he faces an awful
He was forgotten.
When families and friends all disappeared one
afternoon, these were
the only ones left behind. There's Darla, who
drives a monster
truck, Felix, who uses string and wood to rebuild the
who crafts elaborate contraptions, and nearly forty
equally brilliant and peculiar.
Inspired by the prophesies of a mysterious boy who
talks to animals, Martin believes he can reunite them
with their loved ones. But believing and knowing are two
different things, as he soon discovers with the push of
a button, flip of a switch, turn of a dial...
"One of the most unique, captivating books
I've ever read. I was completely pulled into its pages
and they never let me go." - James Dashner,
bestselling author of The
"Both literary and engaging, this is the kind
of book readers will want to return to for new
discoveries." - Kirkus Reviews
"Starmer’s science-fiction fable ultimately
becomes gripping and haunting as the characters
explore matters of faith, leadership, and
responsibility, culminating in a reflective,
bittersweet conclusion worthy of Neil Gaiman."
- School Library
"Starmer weaves an enchanting tale full of mystery and magic. The novel includes moments of gentle humor that contrast with despair and sadness, creating a perfect balance." - VOYA Magazine
A Junior Library Guild
Fall 2011 selection.
The Only Ones
is published by Delacorte Press, a division of Random
House. It is represented by Elisabeth Weed at Weed
September 13, 2011
Imagine you're 10. If you are
then imagine you're you. What would you like to read
Monkeys? Sure. Wizards? Makes sense. Ponies? I guess
possible, but I wouldn't go telling people that. How
about this? Five
flawed but loveable loners become embroiled in a vast
involving fast food, standarized testing and growling
like a yawn? Okay. What if I said an evil vice principal
those five loners in the basement of their junior high
school and they
have to use all their nerdish skills to break out?
Still not doing it for you? Well it did it for School Library Journal.
proclaimed that "this
fun romp is a
break from the often-heavy realistic fiction that is
today's literature." Got it? It's fun. A romp,
for crying out
loud! An enemy of omnipresence.
Cynics are still shaking their heads. "School
Library Journal?" they're saying. "That old rag." To
them, I wag
a finger, then point it to the unimpeachable The Bulletin of the Center
Children's Books. This is what they said. "The themes will all
the anxiety over high-stakes testing to the unfairness
principals to the hotness of school nurses, this
whacks all of the
nerd-boy moles...Give this to nerds and non-nerds who
beginning to be
a little bit cynical about their schooling experience."
no fools. When they say something is for cynics, it's
not advice. It's
order. Buy it. Give it. Buy it again.
Delacorte Press, a division of Random House. It is
Elisabeth Weed at Weed
October 13, 2009
There are literally hundreds of
to read this book from the incorrigible scamps at
There are two great ones.
Give those McSweeney's folks some credit. They find and
young, idiosyncratic talent, and while you may not
recognize most of
names in this slight and slightly silly book, I
guarantee that more
than a couple will become future literary luminaries.
And, as an added
bonus, I present you
with something not featured in the book, my list about Beetle
Bailey. It's best read with a cup of postum and an
September 12, 2006
If you've always had a roof
above you, if
you've always paid the rent. If you've never even set
foot inside a
If you can't build a fire to save your life. If you've
being the outdoor type. Then you probably shouldn't get
Otherwise, grab yourself a copy, stuff it in your
backpack and head
over to the Empire State. My wife Cate, my brother Tim,
and yours truly
will be your guides to the finest places to pitch a
tent. Because one
thing's for sure. You're not crashing on our couches.
April 1, 2007