Elana K. Arnold

Elana K. Arnold (Fiction) | Huntington Beach, CA

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Elana K. Arnold writes literary fiction for and about children and teens, with titles published and forthcoming in the picture book, chapter book, middle grade, and YA brackets. Her books have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, Shelf Awareness, and Publishers Weekly. She hold a Master’s degree in Creative Writing/Fiction from UC Davis, where she has returned to teach Adolescent Literature and Creative Writing. She is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences, schools, and libraries.


Far From Fair (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016)
Far From Fair (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016).  Fiction. Middle Grade Lit.
The Question of Miracles (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015)
The Question of Miracles (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015). Fiction. Middle Grade Lit.
Infandous (Carolrhoda Books, 2015)
Infandous (Carolrhoda Books, 2015). Fiction. YA/Teen.

Splendor (Delacorte Press, 2013). Fiction. YA/Teen.
Splendor (Delacorte Press, 2013). Fiction. YA/Teen.
Sacred (Delacorte Press, 2012). Fiction. YA/Teen.
Sacred (Delacorte Press, 2012). Fiction. YA/Teen.
Burning (Delacorte Press, 2013). Fiction. YA/Teen.
Burning (Delacorte Press, 2013). Fiction. YA/Teen.

Press & Reviews


“It is her realistic relationship with the matter-of-fact Boris, a most unlikely miracle, that will catch readers, and help pull them toward seeking answers of their own for the story’s very large questions.”
Booklist, starred review

“Just as Iris finally embraces the rain, spinning round and round, readers, too, will recognize the circular patterns of love and loss, joy and grief, life and death. A quiet, affecting journey rendered with keen insight.”

“This is a realistic view of grief, with particular emphasis on the agonizing longing to know if a lost loved one is truly out there somewhere. Iris’s stay-at-home dad fills the story with great flavors and textures–from the baby chicks he hatches to his homemade bread, giving the story a cozy touch despite Iris’s impossible quest for answers.”
School Library Journal

“Arnold’s heroine confronts her emotions honestly (even when she’s putting on a brave face to mask what she really thinks or feels), and her slow, difficult journey to understand the absence left in Sarah’s wake unfolds with heartbreaking believability.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Iris’ grief for Sarah is unusually well captured, touching on the huge importance of the best friend relationship and the amputation felt after such a loss. This is therefore a tender yet smart story that will resonate with readers who work through their emotions by brain as well as heart.”

“In a third-person narrative that remains fully in Iris’s range of understanding, Arnold explores the range of sorrow, anger and grief Iris undergoes…Her gentle explorations of faith, doubt and making a friend while still keeping Sarah close leave a powerful impression.”
Shelf Awareness, starred review


“Sephora Golding is the daughter of a beauty, and this mother-daughter relationship has informed most of her life. Throughout Sephora’s childhood in Venice Beach, it’s been just the two of them, and as she struggles now with the growing pains of new adulthood, a steadily shrinking future, and with a strange dark sexual secret, it is to that relationship that she continues to turn. It’s the secret, though, that influences her artwork, an ongoing project she calls Infandous: something so horrible it cannot be expressed aloud. Inspired by various fairy tales, Sephora crafts circles around what is hidden, always shying away from acknowledging the thing itself. Clocking in at just 200 pages, this is a story that packs no less of a punch for its brevity. Sephora’s grim reimaginings of fairy tales are the anti-Disney in the extreme (making this best suited for more mature readers). The strands are worked so surely into the narrative that they feel powerful instead of tired. Sephora herself is a narrator who defies convention, and her story, harsh and spare, is unforgettable.”
Booklist, starred review

“The summer before senior year gives Sephora Golding time to surf, work on her found-object works of art and reflect on the turn her life has taken. Seph shares a low-rent apartment in Venice Beach, California, with her stunningly gorgeous mother, Rebecca, who Seph used to imagine was a mermaid. Left by Seph’s father and shunned by Rebecca’s family, the two have always been unusually close. Last year, Seph had a brief fling with an older man; now Rebecca’s having a summertime romance with a younger one. Seph relates her summer tale of self-discovery in a matter-of-fact, occasionally foulmouthed teen voice. She intersperses her account with hard-hitting yet sumptuous versions of fairy tales and myths, from ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘The Rape of Lucretia’ to ‘Demeter and Persephone.’ From her vantage as narrator and storyteller, she points out that ‘[t]hings don’t really turn out the way they do in fairy tales. I’m telling you that right up front, so you’re not disappointed later.’ She calls one of her sculptures Infandous, meaning ‘something that’s too terrible to be spoken aloud.” Hers is a world of raw physicality, underscoring the contrasts between beauty and ugliness, wealth and poverty, light and shadows that play out as secrets unfold. A coming-of-age story consciously reminiscent of Lolita, this multifaceted portrayal of family bonds surprises with its nuanced and sometimes-searing emotional gravity.”
Kirkus, starred review

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