Amy Zhang with Jake Maia Arlow—'The Cartographers'

“This arresting, heartbreaking, and meditative novel examines the desperation of anxiety and shows how, though difficult, gaining control of one’s life can lead both to living one’s best life and living life the best one can.” —Booklist 


Third Place Books welcomes local young adult author Amy Zhang to our Ravenna store! Zhang will be discussing her new novel for young adults, The Cartographers. Struggling to balance the expectations of her immigrant mother with her deep ambivalence about her own place in the world, seventeen-year-old Ocean Sun takes her savings and goes off the grid. A haunting and romantic novel about family, friendship, philosophy, and love from the acclaimed author of Falling into Place and This Is Where the World Ends. Zhang will be in conversation with fellow local author Jake Maia Arlow. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.

This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About The Cartographers. . .

Ocean Sun has always felt enormous pressure to succeed. After struggling with depression during her senior year in high school, Ocean moves to New York City, where she has been accepted at a prestigious university. But Ocean feels so emotionally raw and unmoored (and uncertain about what is real and what is not), that she decides to defer and live off her savings until she can get herself together. She also decides not to tell her mother (whom she loves very much but doesn’t want to disappoint) that she is deferring—at least until she absolutely must.

In New York, Ocean moves into an apartment with Georgie and Tashya, two strangers who soon become friends, and gets a job tutoring. She also meets a boy—Constantine Brave (a name that makes her laugh)—late one night on the subway. Constant is a fellow student and a graffiti artist, and Constant and Ocean soon start corresponding via Google Docs—they discuss physics, philosophy, art, literature, and love. But everything falls apart when Ocean goes home for Thanksgiving, Constant reveals his true character, Georgie and Tashya break up, and the police get involved.

Ocean, Constant, Georgie, and Tashya are all cartographers—mapping out their futures, their dreams, and their paths toward adulthood in this literary, stunning, and heartbreaking novel about finding the strength to control your own destiny. For fans of Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay and Daniel Nayeri’s Everything Sad Is Untrue.


Praise for The Cartographers. . .

“This arresting, heartbreaking, and meditative novel examines the desperation of anxiety and shows how, though difficult, gaining control of one’s life can lead both to living one’s best life and living life the best one can.”
Booklist (starred review)

“At seventeen, Ocean is severely depressed, and she’s taking a gap year in New York City while her mom believes she’s attending university. . . . With gutting clarity, the prose depicts the surrealness and pain of living with derealization and suicidal ideation. . . . Zhang’s realistic portrayal of mental illness does not include external support such as seeking therapy, but it could be a great part of a display with additional resources on mental health and abusive relationships. Hand this to anyone trying their best wobbling through the precarious and precious parts of life.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

“A 17-year-old girl struggles through emotional and philosophical quandaries in New York City. . . . As Ocean is drawn closer to Constant, her own thoughts on life, reality, dying, the self, and language clash with his, creating an intriguing dynamic and a twist on the typical romance arc. Ocean’s original narration and worldview are immersive and sympathetic . . . A satisfying story arc exploring relationships with the self and others.”
Kirkus Reviews

Amy Zhang was born in China and moved to the United States when she was a young girl. She grew up in Wisconsin and recently graduated from college. She is the author of Falling into Place and This Is Where the World Ends, and she currently lives in Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Steven Baltay)

Jake Maia Arlow is a podcast producer, writer, and bagel connoisseur. She studied evolutionary biology and creative writing (not as different as you might think) at Barnard College. She has lived in various places but can always be found with an iced coffee. Her debut middle grade, Almost Flying, came out in June 2021. (Photo credit: Torrin Nelson) 

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

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