Schumacher centers storytelling as a means of expression, connection, and keeping the dead alive in this emotionally immersive debut. Shortly after the death of her best friend, Jenna, 18-year-old Amelia receives a mysterious package containing a signed copy of her favorite book—the first of the Orman Chronicles fantasy series, written by 19-year-old N.E. Endsley. Sure that the book was sent by Jenna, Amelia heads to the lakeside Michigan town where it was posted to find answers about its provenance and Jenna’s death. Her search for meaning takes Amelia to a rambling, colorful bookstore, somehow both delightfully cozy and endlessly rambling, run by a wise bookseller named Val, her son Alex, and the reclusive N.E. Endsley himself, who Amelia soon discovers is harboring a painful loss and secrets of his own. Employ- ing expressive prose that communicates the emotion and tumult that can accompany the death of a loved one at any age, Schumacher leaves characters—and readers—with a sense of hope. Ages 12–up. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Feb.)
* An OKLAHOMAN Bestseller *
* A Spring 2021 Indie Next Pick *
BOOK RIOT, “Winter 2021 YA Books for Your TBR”
GOODREADS, “Most Anticipated YA Titles of 2021”
CULTURESS, “21 YA Book Releases We Can’t Wait to Read in 2021”
"Ashley Schumacher’s debut novel Amelia Unabridged gently, yet fearlessly, explores the debilitating nature of grief and trying to find one’s place in the universe....Perhaps you just lost a loved one or experienced some kind of tragedy that has left you spinning. Maybe you’re at a crossroads in college or in your career, and you don’t know if you should turn left or right or just turn back around. Amelia Unabridged is just the medicine for your soul." - THE YOUNG FOLKS
"Raw, heartfelt, and beautiful, Amelia Unabridged is a powerful read about grief, love, and finding your truths. Highly recommend for fans of If I Stay, Looking for Alaska, and Bridge to Terabithia." - YA BOOKS CENTRAL
"Do you enjoy a good cry immediately followed by hugging a book close to your chest and taking a deep breath? Then this book is for you!" - BUZZFEED
"Already one of my favorite books of the year, this is one you'll toss at your book loving friends and quickly form your own lil book groups around." - BUZZFEED, "40 Contemporary Books We're Looking Forward To Reading In 2021"
“Ultimately a story of self-discovery offered up with the sweetness of wish-fulfillment romance, it’s a novel sure to please anyone who wants a story of love and reading.” - BULLETIN FOR THE CENTER OF CHILDREN'S BOOKS
"Schumacher centers storytelling as a means of expression, connection, and keeping the dead alive in this emotionally immersive debut....Employing expressive prose that communicates the emotion and tumult that can accompany the death of a loved one at any age, Schumacher leaves charactersand readerswith a sense of hope." - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Schumacher’s lovely debut will have romantics swooning over blonde-haired, blue-eyed Amelia and black-haired Nolan’s love story. These two teens have endured loss and family trauma, but both have found acceptance and family elsewhere, and bring out the best in each other. The novel is also an ode to the love of reading and how books can provide the magic and comfort needed during difficult times. Recommended for all YA collections." - SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A beautiful, quirky, and magical story about broody authors, best friendships, and the imaginary worlds we call home. With lyrical prose and a romance that'll sweep you off your feet, Ashley Schumacher makes you believe in the impossibility of happily ever afters." - ASHLEY POSTON, author of Geekerella
“Schumacher wrote a glittering love letter of a debut, aimed at the hearts and souls of book worms everywhere. The layered and complex stories shared by sweet Amelia and revised by the enigmatic Nolan, broke my heart and bound it back together once more, sealed with a perfect kiss.” - ERIN HAHN, author of You’d Be Mine
Gr 8 Up—Amelia and Jenna, best friends since middle school, attend a literary festival after graduation, since they share a passion for "The Orman Chronicles," a series written by the young and enigmatic N.E. Endsley. While there, curly-haired Jenna meets the author—but Amelia doesn't, driving a wedge between the two friends just as Jenna leaves for a trip to Ireland before they start college together in the fall. While overseas, Jenna dies in a car accident, leaving her parents and Amelia grief-stricken. Soon afterward, Amelia receives a rare copy of "The Orman Chronicles" in the mail, and she is sure Jenna is behind it. She tracks the book down to an eclectic bookstore in Michigan, where she meets the elusive author, who goes by Nolan. Schumacher's lovely debut will have romantics swooning over blonde-haired, blue-eyed Amelia and black-haired Nolan's love story. These two teens have endured loss and family trauma, but both have found acceptance and family elsewhere, and bring out the best in each other. The novel is also an ode to the love of reading and how books can provide the magic and comfort needed during difficult times. VERDICT Recommended for all YA collections. Readers will root for these resilient protagonists who face heartbreak and must make tough choices.—Nancy McKay, Byron P.L., IL
A grieving young woman sets out on a quest to meet her favorite reclusive fantasy writer.
As a joint high school graduation gift from Jenna’s parents, narrator Amelia and her best friend, Jenna, fly from their home in Texas to a California book festival so they can meet the reclusive author of the Orman Chronicles books. They leave disappointed, however, when young author N.E. Endsley—only 19—fails to appear. Less than a week later, Jenna dies while studying abroad in Ireland, a last fight between the girls left unresolved. Shortly thereafter, Amelia receives a mysterious limited edition of one of the Orman books, sent from a bookstore in Michigan. Jenna’s parents, who have the financial means and have been treating Amelia for years, pay for her to go investigate; in a somewhat fairy-tale setting on Lake Michigan she meets and befriends Nolan Endsley, who’s grieving losses of his own. Schumacher’s debut meanders through vague fantasylike settings—a fort on the sand dunes, a mysterious room inside the bookstore—and a sort of half-felt emotional landscape of its characters. Nothing’s really at risk for Amelia—at every turn, obstacles are smoothed from her path. Some of her relationships, especially with her parents, who mostly stay off-camera, are shown instead of felt. The timeline of Nolan’s own tragedies and wild successes seems oddly compressed. Main characters are White.
Like a meringue—sweet and decorative but doesn’t really satisfy. (Fiction. 12-18)