We are so excited to reveal the amazing cover for Stephanie Oakes’ The Arsonist. Stephanie is the author of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, a Morris Award finalist. In this gripping novel, three storylines are woven together in a story that’s part Cold War mystery, part contemporary coming-of-age, and completely unputdownable.
About the book:
Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, her father is a convicted murderer, and his execution date is fast approaching. For another, Molly refuses to believe that her mother is dead, and she waits for the day when they’ll be reunited . . . despite all evidence that this will never happen.
Pepper Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy, serious girl problems, and the most useless seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer . . . or fail out of school.
And Ava Dreyman—the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall—is unlike anyone you’ve met before.
When Molly gets a package leading her to Pepper, they’re tasked with solving a decades-old mystery: find out who killed Ava, back in 1989. Using Ava’s diary for clues, Molly and Pepper realize there’s more to her life—and death—than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.
At turns heart-racing and heartbreaking, The Arsonist is an intricate tapestry—of love, loss, and the mysterious connections between us all.
Feast your eyes on the beautiful cover of The Arsonist below, and read our Q&A with Stephanie!
Q: What inspired you to write The Arsonist?
A: This book was a thrill to write because it allowed me to cross a few things off of my writing bucket list. In my last book, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, the world is very contained (the settings are a cult in the Montana wilderness and a juvenile detention facility). After writing in such enclosed spaces, I loved the idea of stretching my writing muscles a bit. I decided I had to write this one in multiple perspectives, something I’ve always wanted to try. I decided I’d also let myself travel around the world with this book. I set the modern sections in the gorgeous town of Monterey, California, and the historical setting was 1980s East Berlin.
Q: Of the three different points of view, whose perspective came the easiest to you? Whose was the hardest? Do you have a favorite?
A: They were each challenging at different moments, but with time, I’ve grown to understand each of them really closely. Ava’s sections required a lot of research to get the details of 1980s East Berlin just right, but after that, her voice just flowed. I have such a soft spot for Molly, even though her sections gave me the most trouble in the beginning (I think it’s because we’re so much alike). And Pepper might be my favorite character because he’s such a comedian and he was always a blast to write.
Q: How does the cover of The Arsonist represent the story inside?
A: I’m so happy and impressed with what the design team was able to accomplish with this cover. The artist was Antonio Mora, who specializes in double exposure photography, and he did a phenomenal job. I’m still in awe of it! The most incredible thing about this cover is how well it represents the three main characters. Molly is on the front cover. Everyone in the book is very associated with fire, but Molly probably more than anyone since her father is a serial arsonist on death row. Symbolically, the front cover also tells people a lot about Molly as a person. On the back is Pepper, who is tied in a lot of ways to the ocean. And the spine represents Ava’s diary. My favorite element might be the matchbooks on the spine!
Q: This book is a blend of a few different genres—emotional coming-of-age, mystery, historical thriller, and comedy. Do you have a favorite genre that you like to read? What are some of your recent favorite books?
A: I constantly switch up the genres that I read, so it makes sense that this book is a little bit of everything! I have a soft spot for fantasy and realistic fiction, but I’ll read anything. My favorite book of the year is probably Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke. That book is so beautifully written and atmospheric, and I kind of want to live inside it. Right now I’m reading The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry, which is so ambitious and like nothing I’ve read in a long time.
Q: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
A: I love, love, love comic books and graphic novels and secretly want to write my own one day.
The Arsonist hits stores in August 2017!