The Altered History of Willow Sparks
by Tara O'Connor
Pub Date 06 Mar 2018
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Willow Sparks and her best friend Georgia Pratt are at the bottom of the social ladder at Twin Pines High School, just trying to get through each day relatively unscathed. But when Willow finds a mysterious book that allows her to literally change her life, it feels like her luck is finally turning. As she becomes more and more popular with each entry into the book, her old life, including her friendship with Georgia, seems miles away. Yet as Willow will discover, every action has a reaction, and the future has unusual—even dangerous—ways of protecting itself.
A Note From the Publisher
RELATABLE REALITY: Willow feels like an outsider at school—a big reason why she wants to rewrite her own life. Who wouldn’t want to change something about themselves?
AWARD POTENTIAL: This graphic novel is a Spring 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection, and garnered extreme interest from booksellers and librarians at BookExpo and the ALA Annual Conference.
GREAT FOR BOOK CLUBS: This title is literary and thought-provoking, offering many opportunities for discussion.
PROMISING NEW TALENT: Author Tara O’Connor’s debut graphic novel, Roots, an autobiography, released in November 2017 from IDW Publishing’s Top Shelf Productions imprint.
LEXILE SCORE: GN 300L
“While the idea of being careful what you wish for is well worn, O'Connor's take on the topic is original and engaging. She uses lush, fluid linework and angular character designs reminiscent of Faith Erin Hicks's art. Even seemingly tangential characters have defined roles and personalities, allowing readers to see how Willy's actions affect others. The tale is violent at times; the handful of scenes in which Willy is physically attacked by her bullies make this title more appropriate for older teens. VERDICT A wonderful addition to burgeoning graphic novel collections, and a recommended purchase for libraries with seasoned YA comics fans.” - School Library Journal
*RECOMMENDED* “There’s a lot going on during the formative high school years and sometimes you just wish you could flip the script and write your own story. This is exactly what socially challenged Willow (Willy) Sparks does when she happens upon a very unique book with her name on it. She finds her book, along with books for everyone else in town, when she stumbles upon a secret part of the public library. Suddenly things at Twin Pines High School are starting to look up for Willy as she begins to write her own life story. However, she soon discovers that this magical gift also has some disturbing side effects. Her life-long friendship with Georgia Pratt is rapidly deteriorating and now she is experiencing unwanted ink marks on her body. Willy soon realizes that she may be in over her head and must choose what is most important in her life. This fantasy graphic novel takes the reader into the sometimes harrowing world of a teenager dealing with friendship, bullying, and the prospect of first love. The story line stirs the imagination and the accompanying images help paint the picture. The illustrations are done in black and white inking with blue and gray shading and the text is easily read within the multiple panels.” - School Library Connection
“O’Connor’s offering is an enjoyable and quick dip into the dark side of wish fulfillment.” - Kirkus
“The Altered History of Willow Sparks confirms every young reader’s suspicion that their local library contains wonderful secrets just waiting to be discovered. Between the intrigue of the plot and the dreamy artwork, you’ll find yourself savoring the last page before you know it. Tara O’Connor is a talent to watch!” - Natalie Nourigat (Bee and PuppyCat, Between Gears)
“The Altered History of Willow Sparks is a fantastic spooky tale of fate and friendship, and the changes that happen to ourselves and our relationships as young people. O'Connor's linework is fluid and dancing, inky and captivating, and lends itself well to a story that hums with the eerie possibilities of a library after dark.” - Lucy Knisley (Relish, Something New)
“O'Connor's graphic novel is a lovingly and beautifully rendered cautionary tale that will resonate with anyone who's lived through the horrors of high school. It's easy to urge Willow to stop rewriting her life from the comfort of our reading chairs, but who of us would actually resist the temptation, given half the chance?” - Caitlin Rose Boyle (Jonesy)
“Tara O’Connor’s lush, expressive drawings will pull you right into this magical story about friendship, empathy, and the perils of getting what you wish for.” - Carey Pietsch (Lumberjanes, The Adventure Zone)
- Rights acquisition announcement through Publishers Weekly children's rights report.
- Announcement at The Hollywood Reporter, re-circulated through The Hollywood Reporter's industry newsletter.
- Announcement press release sent to the publisher's press, retailer, and librarian lists.
- Social media coverage of the announcement.
- Bound ARC distribution at BookExpo 2017 and the ALA Annual Conference 2017.
- ARC distribution to trade review journals, and select press, book buyers, and librarians.
- Print adverts to run in Oni Press periodicals, PREVIEWS, Diamond BookShelf, and Library Journal.
- Included in the Oni Press Spring 2018 catalog for buyers.
- Targeted awards outreach.
- Creator signings at Emerald City Comiccon 2018 in Seattle, WA.
- Local author appearances and signings in New York, NY, Philadelphia, PN, and Dublin, Ireland.