I had the absolutely wonderful opportunity to read this book as part of the blog tour run by Turn the Page Tours, do check out the rest of the tour participants and their content for this diverse YA novel about saving an independent bookstore! There is also a giveaway running until October 19th for US-based readers to win a finished copy!
There Is No Sinner Like A Young Saint
Eli had never been certain of much. His most defining belief so far was that he could get through life with a wink on hand, a smile at the ready, and a lighter in his pocket. But here was one thing – a suddenly new thing – he believed without question: Wild Nights Bookstore and Emporium was going under.
Eli had seen the signs. The dwindling customer base. The fewer and fewer repeat booklovers coming to the sell counter. The way their online reviews had stagnated. The fact that the number of authors who came to do signings anymore was next to none.
What Eli didn’t understand was why.
Bookstores were supposed to be making a comeback. Actual paper books were, according to all those experts on the internet, crushing digital sales.
But for some reason none of those trends had touched Wild Nights. It was as though the store had been left behind to rot among the ashes of the book resurgence. It didn’t make sense. The store had the right vibes and the right location and somehow it was still floundering. Still sinking under the weight of its inventory.
There were really only three things left for Eli to do.
- Root through the store’s records to find the proof their imminent demise.
- See if there was a way to save Wild Nights Bookstore and Emporium.
- Kick back and smoke a disposable pen from Jo’s bag of vapes, because there probably wasn’t a way to save the store and doom was almost always inevitable, as far as Eli was concerned.
Eli should have done the first thing first and saved the smoking for last, but Eli had never been much for rules, even if they were of his own invention. He embraced his doom as he sat at the desk in the back office of the bookstore, typing the store’s daily totals with his left hand, because his right was occupied with one of the disposable vapes Jo had stashed away in her bottom desk drawer. Jo was the manager at Wild Nights, and she bought the variety packs of vapes from the local corner store because they were cheaper and she suspected her employees dug into her stash while she wasn’t looking.
She was correct.
Besides, Eli would have to be a saint to keep his hands off them as he closed the store alone and did math.
Eli was not a saint.
He was just a sucker for that heady buzz that came from smoking one of these. It was bad for him. But Eli was, in general, into things that were bad for him. He’d figured this out years ago, and, contrary to what all the adults around him said, he hadn’t grown out of it. Everything Eli touched turned to shit no matter what he did. He might as well go for the king of stuff that would destroy him, rather than the other way around.
Eli took another puff. He didn’t like counting inventory on the old tape calculator. He had tried to do it the way Danny had shown him, but he was no natural at math, the way she was. It was slow going and would have been so much faster if he could have tallied the daily totals on the laptop, with a proper keyboard. And a spreadsheet.
Instead, he was using a calculator the size of a book. Not only was it enormous, the ancient machine actually printed out the numbers onto a roll of paper like the old-school register they kept up front. Every time Eli typed, the calculator made a scratching chut chut against the paper and spat out even more numbers. And then he was supposed to tally these numbers in a black, leather-bound notebook that held all the records of Wild Nights since the beginning of time. Danny usually close and was the one typically entrusted with this job. But she’d been given the night off, and, despite his reputation, Eli didn’t want to mess up this job if he didn’t have to. He was going to tally the day’s totals and then get to the bottom of Wild Nights’ financial records.
But the more Eli totalled numbers, the more he thought about the process – it was super strange that the store’s owner, Archer Hunt Junior, hadn’t switched to any king of digital records. Eli didn’t typically care about answers to impossible questions. But he couldn’t stop asking himself what was going on here. His mind couldn’t stop whirling with possibilities.
Where were the records, anyway? Why hadn’t Hunt Junior invested any energy into brining new customers into the store? Why didn’t Hunt Junior even come down to the store anymore at all?
A pulsing blue glow caught the corner of Eli’s eye.
Jo had left her laptop in the office.
Eli hesitated for a fraction of a second. He really shouldn’t go rooting through other people’s laptops. Especially not people he respected. It was just, laptops could doublecheck Eli’s math. Laptops could be used to make a digital archive of what was currently only ink and paper. Without anyone else onsite, all of Eli’s suspicions were really only guesses. A feeling that had grown unavoidable to Eli. A truth he knew but couldn’t quite prove.
Eli had been blindsided enough in his life to know when it was happening, and he knew it was happening now. He just had to figure out how. And he had to figure out how without getting caught.
Besides, if Jo hadn’t wanted Eli to use the old black brick of a laptop, she ought to have made her password more secure than thebatman in all lowercase. She was always going off that “the Batman: was the least interesting part of any of the comics. It wasn’t hard to guess that she used the phrase as a catchall key to all her digital castles. She used it for the Wi-Fi password, too. And Eli had seen Hackers enough on TV to know that people reused their passwords. It didn’t matter how many times people were warned that they shouldn’t. They just did. Jo hadn’t even bothered to add a number combination at the back end to throw off the average, prank-level hack.
Thought, to be honest, Eli probably could have guessed the number combination at the back end of Jo’s passwords, too. She was predictable, and Eli knew her well enough after working under her at the bookstore for the last couple of years. He knew her birthday and the date that her mom had died. If you paid attention, you could really see people when they weren’t taking notice of themselves.
The login screen accepted Eli’s password and, in an instant, he was in.
Except Jo’s desktop was pristine.
Nothing but her hard drive and a shortcut to her email.
Eli knew that, next to going through someone’s search history or many looking through their messages, clicking on another person’s email was one of the most invasive things that he could do. But Eli wanted answers, and adults, even adults like Jo, were never going to give straight answers. Adults were always saying they were protecting you, but Eli knew that was just a fancy was of saying lying.
So Eli clicked the lone desktop shortcut and into Jo’s email he went.
Wild Nights property sale: PENDING
Title: This Is All Your Fault | Author: Aminah Mae Safi | Publisher: Feiwel and Friends | Release Date: October 13, 2020 | Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Set over the course of one day, Aminah Mae Safi’s This Is All Your Fault is a smart and voice-driven YA novel that follows three young women determined to save their indie bookstore. Rinn Olivera is finally going to tell her longtime crush AJ that she’s in love with him. Daniella Korres writes poetry for her own account, but nobody knows it’s her.Imogen Azar is just trying to make it through the day. When Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen clock into work at Wild Nights Bookstore on the first day of summer, they’re expecting the hours to drift by the way they always do. Instead, they have to deal with the news that the bookstore is closing. Before the day is out, there’ll be shaved heads, a diva author, and a very large shipment of Air Jordans to contend with. And it will take all three of them working together if they have any chance to save Wild Nights Bookstore.
Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer. Safi was the winner of the We NeedDiverse Books short story contest, and that story appeared in the anthology Fresh Ink.She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner and cat.This Is All Your Fault is her third novel, followingNot the Girls You’re Looking For and Tell Me How You Really Feel.
I was provided a copy of this book for review by the publisher.