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Jul 30 / Michael

On Thin Ice is here: 6 years in the making and yours for the taking!

My new middle-grade novel is finally here! On Thin Ice is my 12th book with Scholastic and maybe my best. There’s a lot going on inside that beautiful blue cover. It’s a modern response to Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, a small-town underdog story about daring to build something new out of broken pieces, and a 6-year labor of love.

It’s already been named a Junior Library Guild “Gold Standard” Selection, and here are some of the other nice things people are saying about it: 

“A brilliant, powerful story of one boy who courageously faces life’s obstacles and is determined to overcome them, On Thin Ice is a must-read.”—the nationally syndicated column Books to Borrow, Books to Buy

“A sharp, sympathetic insight into poverty, family, friendship, and forgiveness.”—Kirkus Reviews

“An engaging coming-of-age story.”—School Library Journal

I spent years building and rebuilding this story. There were countless drafts, a half dozen titles, two editors, lots of phone calls and brainstorming and thinking and rethinking, and, well, it’s finally here. I love this book so much, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it. On Thin Ice is available online, on audio, and in bookstores nationwide. I hope you will consider giving this determined little book a chance!

Jul 12 / Michael

It’s a Star for Dear Justice League!

I have some stellar news to share: Dear Justice League got a starred review (the blue ribbon of publishing!) in the July issue of School Library Journal. Woohoo! I am over the moon! Just a few more weeks until my first graphic novel is out in the world, and I cannot wait!

May 23 / Michael

On Thin Ice gets its first (glowing!) reviews

The first review of On Thin Ice is in, and (drumroll, please) . . . it’s fantastic! Kirkus Reviews has a reputation as the toughest of the major trade reviewers, but those ol’ grumpy gusses just couldn’t help themselves: They loved this big-hearted underdog tale! You can read the full review here, but in the meantime, here’s the wonderful final line:

“A sharp, sympathetic insight into poverty, family, friendship, and forgiveness.”—Kirkus Reviews

And there’s another nice review on the way! In their June/July issue, School Library Journal calls On Thin Ice “an engaging coming-of-age story.” I’ll share the full review as soon as it’s published, and hopefully there will be more good news soon. It’s beginning to look like On Thin Ice is all it’s cracked up to be! 🙂

May 1 / Michael

Dear Justice League book trailer + a blast of a podcast!

Here it is, the official book trailer for Dear Justice League! I love this quick, colorful intro to the book so much. It conveys the theme right away (heroes answer funny/direct questions from kids!) and gives readers a fun preview of Gustavo’s gorgeous artwork. Check it out. So cool, right?

I also had a blast last night talking comic books, Free Comic Book Day, and just about everything else (Endgame! Shazam!) with the great guys from Comic Book Club. Here’s a link to the podcast. I’m the one with a voice like Mickey Mouse had too much coffee!

Apr 26 / Michael

On Thin Ice is a Junior Library Guild selection!

Woohoo! My upcoming middle grade novel On Thin Ice is officially a Junior Library Guild selection! The JLG has been around since 1929 and has a reputation for picking good books—award winners, enduring favorites, that sort of thing. Even better, it has a reputation for picking them early. I’m still eagerly (OK, anxiously) awaiting the first reviews of my book, so this early boost means a ton to me.

On Thin Ice was not an easy book to write. It’s a modern response to Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and a contemporary middle grade about daring to create something new from broken pieces. In other words: It’s complicated. It took me six years and umpteen (technical term) drafts to finish. That’s not the kind of process you go through and think: Now it’s perfect! It’s more like building a plane out of spare parts and thinking, Man, I hope this thing flies, as you rumble down the runway. What this selection means to me is: It flies. It comes out July 30 and is available now for preorder. Let’s see where it lands!

Apr 18 / Michael

Polaris in paperback! Summer books on Goodreads!

My spooky middle-grade thriller Polaris sailed into bookstores recently in a beautiful new paperback edition. Behold the splendour! (That’s right: I spelled that the English way. This thing is fancy!)

There’s something sinister lurking belowdeck on the proud sailing ship Polaris, and a young and untested crew must get to shore before it gets to them! You can sail away with a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local independent bookstore, or wherever books are sold!

And you can now add both of my summer middle-grades on Goodreads!

Click here to add On Thin Ice, a small-town contemporary tale and a modern response to Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, on shelves everywhere July 30.

And click here to add my first graphic novel, Dear Justice League, arriving August 6 and featuring Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the occasional Bat! 🦇

Mar 13 / Michael

Where It’s At: a quick update on All The Things!

There are so few constants in life. Seasons change, the news swirls… But one thing you can count on: It has, once again, been way too long since my last blog post! With that in mind, here’s a quick update on where things stand.

Some people call them galleys. Some people call them Advance Review Copies (ARCs). I call them exciting! They come out before the actual official books to give reviewers, booksellers, librarians, and other wonderfully bookish an early look. Here’s a look at the ARCs for my upcoming middle grade novel ON THIN ICE.

As you can see, they are a veritable rhapsody in blue! I love this book so much. It will published by Scholastic on July 30, 2019. Until then, you can learn more or even preorder it (pretty please!) so that you’ll have it as soon as it comes out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or from your favorite local bookstore!

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice… The galleys of my first graphic novel, DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE, just flew in from Metropolis! It is a fun, funny blast of a book that shows a whole different side of your favorite heroes, and Gustavo Duarte’s artwork is amazing!

And OK, fine, here is one quick peek inside: Batman’s first encounter with his arch-enemy, The Joker!

This one comes out from DC Zoom on August 6, exactly ONE WEEK after On Thin Ice—it’s gonna be a heck of a summer! You can preorder it at Amazon, B&N, and your favorite local indie. That would be Super, man!

You can also get a free sneak peek at your favorite local comic shop on May 4. DC has printed up these amazing mini books, featuring two chapters (Superman and Hawkgirl!), and is giving them away on Free Comic Book Day! Holy Loot Grab, Batman! Get thee to a comic shop!

That’s the news (for now!) about my upcoming releases. I am so excited for readers to finally get their hands on both books. Until then, I am keeping myself busy finishing up a BIG CHONKER of a YA fantasy novel, filled with fighting dragons and dueling princes and inspired by my trip to misty, mountainous Transylvania. More updates soon (and hopefully not so late this time)! Rock on, young readers! \m/

Sep 17 / Michael

Cover Reveal: ON THIN ICE. After a long journey, my next middle grade novel rolls into view!

You know how, when you get a big idea, you can be cautious and excited about it all at once? Well, I began whispering (cautiously! excitedly!) about this book idea to friends all the way back in 2012. I knew there was something there, but finding it… Hoo, boy! That took umpteen drafts, four major rewrites/overhauls, two editors, and three titles. I wrote eleven books and went through all of the ups and downs as eight of them (so far!) were published. You get the idea: It was a journey!

And now, suddenly, here it is. Well, here’s the cover anyway. 🙂 I love it. This beautiful design captures the feel of the story perfectly and wraps it up in a few key plot elements and lots and lots of blue!

So good, right?! That bike plays a big role in the book. (That ice too!)

On Thin Ice comes out August 2019 from Scholastic. Here’s the official description! (There may still be some tweaks coming, so I’ll make those updates as they come in.)

Life for 12-year-old Ked Eakins isn’t easy. A rare spinal condition makes him a social outcast, the school bully is after him, and then his dad gambles away their rent money.

Though it seems like everything’s against him and he should just give up, Ked decides it’s time to take his life back. He hatches a scheme to make enough money to save their home: He’s going to rebuild a vintage minibike and sell it at a profit. But the plan is a gamble of his own, and what seemed like a good idea quickly lands him in deeper trouble. Now Ked’s really on thin ice.

Ked has his determination and creativity, and the school’s maker space provides him with a place to build. But can Ked and the other Makers save his family from going under before it’s too late?

This contemporary response to Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is a classic underdog tale and Michael Northrop at his gritty, gripping, unflinching best.

It is a powerful portrait of a failing factory town and the families who are being dragged down with it. Ultimately, On Thin Ice is about daring to create when your whole world is crumbling.

Exciting, right? It’s too early for bookstore or Amazon links or anything like that—but you can add it on Goodreads! Anyway, I am very excited about this one. (What has happened to all that caution?!) I can’t wait for the world to meet Ked and the gritty little town of Norton, Maine!

Apr 11 / Michael

Milestone Alert: a million books sold!

I remember sitting at a desk at Salisbury Central School as a kid and listening as our math teacher explained how much a million was—things like counting from 1 to a million would take 23 days. And I remember being completely overwhelmed, my face probably just one big NO WAY! Well, *several* years (OK, decades) later, I am overwhelmed again. I just received my latest royalty statement, and I did the math (I did occasionally pay attention in that class). It’s official, my books have now sold more than one million copies! Hooray!

I understand the concept and the number a lot better these days, but this time I am overwhelmed by gratitude (and maybe a little disbelief). So many people helped me reach this milestone, from my indomitable agent, to my editors and all the other hardworking, book-loving people working at my publisher. And outside of industry circles, I really want to thank all of the booksellers and teachers and librarians and parents, and of course the good folks at Scholastic Book Fairs and Clubs, where many of these books were sold. Most of all, though, I am grateful to all the young readers who have read and reread my books and even recommended them to their friends. You are all, well, one in a million!

Feb 5 / Michael

Super news: I’m writing a graphic novel for DC Comics!

HUGE news! My first graphic novel, DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE, will be published by DC Comics’ shiny new imprint for young readers, DC ZOOM! In the book, young fans write in to their favorite heroes, who respond with their own humorous and relatable stories of growing up, messing up, and stepping up. Holy guacamole: I get to write Superman! Wonder Woman! Green Lantern! The whole iconic crew!

Promo art for DC Zoom!

Here’s a link to the official announcement of the new imprints in The New York Times! (I’ve been in the paper of record five times now, I believe, and not once for anything criminal! Score!) My favorite part of the article is below—I’ve always wanted to be part of a Who’s Who!

I’ve been working on this project for months already and it hasn’t been easy to maintain this secret identity. I am so glad that I can finally share the news with you!

I grew up as a proud comic book nerd (making regular pilgrimages to a great comics store called My Mother Threw Mine Away in Torrington, CT), and I am still a proud comic book nerd. And now—somehow, unbelievably—I am a professional comic book nerd! The opportunity to write about these legendary characters is an honor and a thrill. And making them fun and accessible for a whole new generation of young readers is a challenge that I happily accept!