Three great reads by Kentucky authors; All will be in Danville for the Boozy Book Fair

Published 9:49 am Saturday, September 23, 2023

By Kate Snyder

Plaid Elephant Books

People sometimes express surprise when they learn that independent bookstores are still thriving in the age of Amazon, but I’ll let you in on a secret: When it comes to the experience of book-buying, humans beat algorithms every time. I’m not talking just about the transaction itself. The passing of money in exchange for goods can be accomplished easily online. But a bookstore is so much more than a place to buy books. They bring life and vibrancy and fun to a community.

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Case in point: at the upcoming Boozy Book Fair on Sept. 28, co-hosted by Plaid Elephant Books, the Centre College Bookstore and Morley’s Backyard, eventgoers will have the chance to meet some of Kentucky’s brightest stars of young adult literature. I can promise you that at no point has purchasing a book online also involved getting a beer with the person who wrote it. Attendees of the event will be able to meet and chat with Court Stevens, Mariama Lockington and David Arnold – prolific authors, Kentucky champions and all-around cool people.

We have Danville author Heather Henson to thank for this excellent addition to the event. An award-winning children’s author herself, Heather’s connections and friendships within the publishing industry made it possible for Plaid Elephant Books to host these talented writers at the Boozy Book Fair. Heather will be there too, of course, and if you don’t yet have her books in your library, you should remedy that situation immediately.

Here are a few spotlights of some of my favorite titles by our featured guest authors. They’ve written more – but you’ll have to come to the Boozy Book Fair to peruse their full catalog of titles.

• “The June Boys” by Court Stevens. Hailing from Bowling Green, Stevens is a versatile writer who also publishes under the name Courtney Stevens. Her titles under that pen name – including “Dress Codes for Small Towns” – center on the lived experiences of teens in rural America. The books she publishes as Court are thrillers. And they are excellent. “The June Boys” brings the terror of a serial kidnapper into sharp focus, as a town is haunted by the disappearance of young boys from their community. Court has a new book coming out in November – “Last Girl Breathing.” I was able to score an advance reader copy (bookseller perks) and If I look tired when you see me next, it’s because I have been staying up way too late reading.

• “Forever Is Now” by Mariama Lockington. Lexington writer Mariama Lockington writes for both middle grade and young adult audiences. I was immediately drawn to “Forever Is Now” because it is written in verse, a style of fiction I have increasingly come to love. Mariama’s carefully crafted words are precise and powerful, haunting and visceral. “Forever Is Now” tackles the weighty subject of police violence against Black teens, while featuring a protagonist struggling with agoraphobia. Mariama is also a contributor to a forthcoming YA anthology – “When We Become Ours” – written by and for transracial adoptees. (As a side note: the editor of that anthology, Shannon Gibney, will be in Danville in October to give a Humana Lecture at Centre College. Save the date for October 12th.)

• “Mosquitoland” by David Arnold. Lexington author David Arnold does many things very well, but my favorite is his incredible gift for depicting interpersonal relationships. His characters are vibrant and sharp and utterly relatable – even when their lives look nothing like your own. In Mosquitoland, a plucky heroine (who may or may not be a reliable narrator) shares the story of her cross-country road trip from the “wastelands” of Mississippi to her “real home” in northern Ohio via Greyhound bus. She meets a quirky cast of characters during her travels and they are all fabulous in their own ways. David also has a new book coming out just a few weeks after the Boozy Book Fair. “I Loved You in Another Life” is a sweeping YA love story that is guaranteed to make you yearn for a soulmate and hope desperately that love can transcend time.

The Boozy Book Fair will take place on Sept. 28 from 5-8 p.m. at Morley’s Backyard. There is no charge to attend. Drinks are available for purchase from Morley’s, with food by the Farmer’s Kitchen.

Kate Snyder is a Danville resident, a mother of three, and the owner and founder of Plaid Elephant Books –