Jimmy Cajoleas

Middle Grade Novelist
Southern Book Prize Finalist
Travels from: New York, NY

“Cajoleas gracefully builds to a rousing climax, portrayed alongside a refreshingly positive message of grit, gumption, and community.” — Publishers Weekly

Jimmy Cajoleas grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. He spent years traveling the country and playing music before earning his MFA from the university of Mississippi. His debut YA novel, The Good Demon, received three starred reviews, from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus, who called it “eerie and compelling.” He now lives in New York.

Jimmy’s most resent book, Gussy, is a magical, lyrical middle grade novel that will enchant fans of Kelly Barnhill and Anne Ursu, about a girl who must take on the ultimate responsibility in her village—and the dangers of secrets kept locked away in the dark.

“Gussy’s colloquial narrative voice is compelling, highlighting her deep sense of justice and responsibility for her community. Younger fantasy fans will appreciate the world building that slowly reveals details suggesting a foreboding Wild West setting.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Prepare an Invitation for:

Gussy

Quill Tree Books |
Middle Grade Novel

A magical, lyrical middle grade novel that will enchant fans of Kelly Barnhill and Anne Ursu, about a girl who must take on the ultimate responsibility in her village—and the dangers of secrets kept locked away in the dark.

Gussy knows that being a village Protector is a big job, even if Grandpa Widow makes the role look easy. So when Grandpa Widow is suddenly called to travel across the desert surrounding the village, and Gussy has to step into the role of Protector herself, she barely feels ready to perform the magical Rites that keep her village safe from the Great Doom, the mysterious power that threatens the residents in the lands outside.

On her very first night in charge, a mysterious young girl arrives in search of shelter, forcing Gussy to break the number one rule of being a Protector: When the sun goes down, keep the gates shut.

Soon it becomes clear that the Great Doom has managed to get inside the village walls. And as the villagers all look to Gussy for help, Gussy will have to turn to some surprising allies to save the only home she’s ever known.

Minor Prophets

Amulet Books |
Young Adult Fiction

After their mother’s death, two siblings must navigate the strange world of the occult in this thrilling YA mystery

Lee has always seen visions: cats that his mother promises aren’t really there, a homeless man who he’s convinced is out to get him, and three men who give him ominous warnings in the woods. His mother and his sister Murphy try to keep him grounded in the real world. But when his mother dies in a car accident and her horrible husband tries to adopt them, Lee and Murphy flee to their grandmother’s ranch, which they’ve only heard about in stories. But is there a reason why their mother never brought them there? And what horrid truths lurk behind Lee’s haunting visions? Thrilling, twisty, and poignant, Minor Prophets will keep readers guessing until the final page.

The Rambling

Harper Collins |
Middle Grade Novel

From the author of Goldeline, a Booklist Top 10 First Novels for Youth pick, comes a mesmerizing middle grade fantasy about family and the power of storytelling. Perfect for fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon and The Thickety.

Buddy Pennington is headed to river country, hoping his luck might change. He’ll be better off with his daddy, a wandering soul and a local legend for his skills at Parsnit, a mysterious card game of magic, chance, and storytelling. But no sooner are Buddy and his pop reunited than some of Pop’s old enemies arrive to take him away. Boss Authority, the magical crime lord who has held the rivers in his grasp for years, is ready to collect on an old debt Buddy’s father owes.

Now Buddy must set out on a dangerous rescue mission, learning to play Parsnit with the best of them as he goes. Because the stars are aligning for one last epic duel—one that will require a sticky-fingered ally, a lucky twist of fate, and the hand of a lifetime. And in this game, you’re only as strong as the story you tell.

The Good Demon

Amulet Books |
Young Adult Fiction

It wasn’t technically an exorcism, what they did to Clare. When the reverend and his son ripped her demon from her, they called it a “deliverance.” But they didn’t understand that Clare and her demon—known simply as Her—were like sisters. She comforted Clare, made her feel brave, helped to ease her loneliness. They were each other’s Only.

Now, Clare’s only comforts are the three clues that She left behind:
Be nice to him
June 20
Remember the stories

Clare will do anything to get Her back, even if it means teaming up with the reverend’s son and scouring every inch of her small, Southern town for answers. But if she sacrifices everything to bring back her demon, what will be left of Clare?

Goldeline

Harper Collins |
Young Adult Fiction

Perfect for fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon and The Thickety, this spellbinding story follows a young girl named Goldeline on an adventure through a fairy tale forest filled with dark and wondrous magic.

A Booklist Top 10 First Novel for Youth Pick of 2017 * A 2018 Southern Book Prize Finalist

In the wild, free woods of the Hinterlands, where magic is as real as stories are, Goldeline travels from camp to camp with Gruff and his bandits, getting by on the things they steal from carriages that pass through the woods.

But someone is after Goldeline. The same man who wants to cleanse the Hinterlands of anyone who’s different—and who convinced the overzealous Townies that her mother was a witch—suspects that Goldeline might be a witch, too.

Now Goldeline must summon all the courage and magic she got from her momma to escape her pursuers, save her friends, and maybe even find a place to call home.

“Gussy” (middle, high school)

Duration: 40 minutes | Preparation: Read Gussy
Curricular Connections: History, Social Studies, Language Arts

Being a village Protector is a big job, but Grandpa Widow makes it look easy. As he performs the daily magical Rites that keep the village safe from the Great Dread, Gussy and her dog, Cricket, follow along, learning the ropes so that Gussy can become Protector herself one day.

“Minor Prophets” (middle, high school)

Duration: 40 minutes | Preparation: Read Minor Prophets
Curricular Connections: History, Social Studies, Language Arts

Lee has always seen visions: cats that his mother promises aren’t really there, a homeless man who he’s convinced is out to get him, and three men who give him ominous warnings in the woods. His mother and his sister Murphy try to keep him grounded in the real world.

“The Rambling” (middle, high school)

Duration: 40 minutes | Preparation: Read The Rambling
Curricular Connections: History, Social Studies, Language Arts

Buddy must set out on a dangerous rescue mission, learning to play Parsnit with the best of them as he goes. Because the stars are aligning for one last epic duel—one that will require a sticky-fingered ally, a lucky twist of fate, and the hand of a lifetime. And in this game, you’re only as strong as the story you tell.

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Spring 2019 Kids Indie Next List
Booklist Top 10 First Novel for Youth Pick of 2017
2018 Southern Book Prize Finalist

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