wandering wordsmith

Young Adult

Young Adult Books


The Great Unknowable End (Simon & Schuster)

Stella dreams of being a space engineer, but after her mom dies by suicide and her brother runs off to Red Sun, the local hippie commune, Stella is forced to bring her dreams down to Earth to care for her sister Jill.

Galliard has only ever known life inside Red Sun. There, people accept his tics, his Tourette's. But when he’s denied Red Sun's resident artist role he believed he was destined for, he starts to imagine a life beyond the gates of the compound...

The day Stella and Galliard meet, there is something in the air in their small town. Literally. So begins weeks of pink lightning, blood red rain, unexplained storms... And a countdown clock appears mysteriously above the town hall. With time ticking down to some great, unknowable end they’ll each have to make a choice:

If this is really the end of the world, who do they want to be when they face it?

Coming February 19, 2019

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“Ormsbee skillfully parallels nature’s disturbances with her characters’ internal turmoil to create a suspenseful story about self-discovery and following one’s dreams amid a life’s complications.” - Publishers Weekly

“Realism with a hint of science fiction will inspire readers to question their own trajectories.” - Kirkus

“The Great Unknowable End is unlike any book I’ve read. Take a small-town paranormal mystery, drop in a 70s commune, add a dash of haunting familial histories, and a hefty scoop of Science vs. Art, and voila: a book to delight the likes of Carl Sagan himself. Ormsbee’s latest is a big-minded, full-hearted treat of a novel.” - David Arnold, NYT bestselling author of The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik

“It’s a rare author who can imagine a story like this. It’s a rarer author with the ambition to try it. And it’s the rarest of all who can execute it in such lyrical, haunting beauty. Kathryn Ormsbee is that author. Breathtakingly imaginative and ambitious; dazzlingly beautiful and profound. This story of love and fervor will grip you and won’t let go. Not even after you’ve finished. A hauntingly beautiful and wildly imaginative story of faith, fervor, coming of age, and connection. Masterfully rendered and spellbinding.” - Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King

“Fantastic premise meets perfect execution in this heartfelt and wholly original novel.” - Kerry Kletter, critically acclaimed author of The First Time She Drowned

“A mesmerizing, trippy, and fantastic story about finding yourself in the most extraordinary circumstances in the most ordinary of places. Ormsbee has written a coming-of-age novel like no other.” - Kathleen Glasgow, NYT bestselling author of Girl in Pieces


Tash Hearts Tolstoy (Simon & Schuster)

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar bloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

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Out now! Available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. Also sold in Brazil and Poland.

A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of 2017

A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017

A 2018 ALA Rainbow Book List Book

★ "Whip-smart, funny, flawed, and compassionate, these are characters readers will want to know and cheer for." - Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

★ "It’s beyond refreshing to see an asexual character, and the complexities of Tash’s relationships . . . make this a home run. The flip, irreverent tone, literary references, and peek into the creation of a web series are just icing on the cake." - Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Funny, well written, and compulsively readable." - School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Lucky Few (Simon & Schuster)

Stevie Hart is homeschooled, but don’t hold that against her. Sure, she and her best (okay, only) friend, Sanger, will never be prom queens, but that’s just because the Central Austin Homeschool Cooperative doesn’t believe in proms. Or dancing. Still, Stevie and Sanger know how to create their own brand of fun.

Enter Max Garza, the new boy next door. After a near-fatal accident, Max is determined to defy mortality with a checklist: 23 Ways to Fake My Death Without Dying. Dead set on carrying out fabricated demises ranging from impalement to spontaneous combustion, Max charms Stevie and Sanger into helping him with this two-month macabre mission. But as Stevie finds herself falling for Max, it becomes increasingly difficult to draw a line between his make-believe deaths and her real life. In this offbeat, hilarious, and charming novel, Kathryn Ormsbee introduces three unforgettable teens learning to live each day like it’s their fake-last.

Add on Goodreads. Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound.

Out now! Available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook.

Selected as a 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program Book

★ "The smart, efficient language features dialogue that pops. A sweet story told with intelligence, humor, and just the right amount of kissing." - Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

★ "Winsome characters, crackling dialogue, and an effortlessly enjoyable writing style." - Booklist, STARRED REVIEW