There are a lot of things I love about being a bookseller and a lot of things I love about being a reader, and the biggest place these intersect is author signings. I am the events coordinator for my bookstore, which means I pitch for, organize, and am usually staff on hand for visiting authors. I always read the book, because how awful would it be as an author to show up and no one in the store really even knows what you wrote?
Sometimes, this means I’m reading outside my comfort zone. I’ve read a lot of books I wouldn’t ordinarily but ended up loving because the author was coming through. Adequate Yearly Progress is not exactly outside my comfort zone, but because it is so heavily focused on education, I may not have picked it up at random. Roxanna Elden came to the store Friday, which was a really fun event for a myriad of reasons. We had an Educator’s Cocktail Hour before the signing, which is definitely a thing we’ll be doing more of. Teachers loosening up at the end of the week are really entertaining.
This book is contemporary fiction told in six points of view, set in a public high school in Texas. Having met the author, I can tell you that the novel is partly based on her years teaching in Houston. It is funny, but also very eye-opening about what educators are dealing with in public education. As a person who works occasionally at book fairs in schools and therefore knows teachers in a capacity other than a parent, it felt very true to life, and the educators who had already read the book at the signing seemed to agree. As a general reader, I just really enjoyed the story. The six main characters are very different and coming at this story from all angles, and I was invested in every one of them.
As a note on having met the author, she is a fantastic speaker, and if you have the chance to meet her, do it. If not, get the book from your local, independent bookstore.