I’m so excited to announce that BATTLE OF THE BANDS is being published by Candlewick!! Co-edited by amazing author/agent Eric Smith and I, the anthology will feature 16 stories written by 16 different authors (including us), telling the story of a one-night battle of the bands. Each chapter will be its own story about a support person, audience member, or band itself. Then, all stories will interconnect so the book will feel like one full night from all points of view.

And let’s discuss these authors: Jenny Torres-Sanchez, Sarvenaz Tash, Jenn Marie-Thorne, Ashley Woodfolk, Katie Cotugno, Jeff Zentner, Brittany Cavallaro, Shaun David Hutchinson, Ashley Poston, Preeti Chhibber, Sarah Smetana, Jay Coles, Jasmine Warga, and singer/songwriter Justin Courtney Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack. I’m in awe of the talent here.


image1A little backstory: I was in a band that competed in my high school’s Battle of the Bands. We were…not great, but we were the first all-girl band, so that was a thing. We decided to do it literally on a whim, each picking an instrument with the confidence only drama club teens could have. We got help from friends (who were also in bands, and were actually, you know, good –shout out to Joy & Dan from the original Pepperpots!) and managed to be okay enough to make it into the competition. We played. We survived. We were proud of ourselves. We never played again. But we did it, and it was a blast. Long live Candid Apple, circa 2001.

Fast forward to last year when a bleary eyed Eric & I were at an airport at 5 a.m., waiting to get back to our families after an author event in Mississippi. I told him this anthology idea I had, but was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pull off. He encouraged me to do it and, a few days later, offered to co-edit in support. I cheered in the aisles at work in the library (shhhh). (A million trillion thank yous to Eric for believing in me, and Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary for believing in us and selling the book.)

Fast forward to a few days later when we started asking authors to jump in and…they did! Excitedly! It was then that I thought what we were doing might be…something.

So here it is, our Battle of the Bands, coming out in 2021. We’re so excited to share this story with you, and to give it to all the kids who were in bands, who weren’t in bands, who wanted to be in bands, and who just loved the feeling of anything happening in one night.


Gig poster by Eric. Expect more of these because how can we resist?

2016 Books

My goal is typically to read 50 books in a year. I did not accomplish that. But, thanks to finally jumping on the audio book bandwagon, I read more than I actually thought. So here’s my list. And here’s to more great books in 2017!

Adult Fiction:
Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple
The Book of Speculation – Erika Swyler
Modern Lovers – Emma Straub
Before We Were Strangers – Renee Carlino
Eight Hundred Grapes – Laura Dave
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

Harry Potter and the Curse Child – Parts One and Two

Graphic Novels:
Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Vol. 1
Haunted Mansion
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous
Roller Girl – Victoria Jamieson
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1: Squirrel Power

Young Adult:
What Light – Jay Asher
P.S. I like You – Kasie West
How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
How to Disappear – Sharon Huss Roat
Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories – Ed: Stephanie Perkins
When the Moon was Ours – Anna-Marie McLemore
All About the Hype – Paige Toon
Because of the Sun – Jenny Torres Sanchez
It Started with Goodbye – Christina June
The Inside of Out – Jenn Marie Thorne
How it Feels to Fly – Kathryn Holmes
Outrun the Moon – Stacey Lee
The Trouble with Destiny – Lauren Morrill


Middle Grade:
Zoe the Skating Fairy
Brittany the Basketball Fairy
Stacey the Soccer Fairy
Helena the Horse-Riding Fairy
(Above all by Daisy Meadows, and all read for work. Ha!)
Goodbye Stranger – Rebecca Stead

A Month of Autofocus

November is my birth month, which makes it pretty awesome. To celebrate, I’m having a month of AUTOFOCUS! Each day throughout the month I’ll post on Twitter info on a chapter. (So, the 1st will be chapter 1, the 2nd will be chapter 2 and so on.) Either a deleted scene, a fun fact, or just a thought I had while typing. And at the end of the month, there will be prizes. Yes, prizes.


Want to play? Awesome, it’s easy:

  • Get the book (buy it, borrow it from a friend, get it from the library, check out an ebook, etc…) (Please do not illegally download it. Please.)
  • Follow me on Twitter (@laurengibaldi)
  • Check out #autofocusreadalong
  • Comment on my Tweets, or Tweet your own thoughts. Use #autofocusreadalong. Every Tweet with that hashtag will go into a drawing for PRIZES. (1 point for each Tweet. 5 points for a photo with the book!)

That’s it! If you can’t keep up with 1 chapter a day, that’s totally cool. There’s school and work and, you know, life. You can still participate. Send me comic recommendations for Bennett–he’ll love them.

Excited? I know I am.

As always, THANK YOU for reading. I appreciate you all. A whole bunch.