Where You’ve Got to Be by Caroline Gertler

Hello! Happy Tuesday! Caroline Gertler returned to Watch. Connect. Read. to discuss Where You've Got to Be's cover, Nolie Beck, Georgia Rosenbloom, art, Martha Mihalick, and more. I wrote the words in purple, and Caroline wrote the words in black. Thank you, Caroline! 

Mira Miroslavova’s cover illustration and Sylvie Le Floc’h’s cover design for Where You’ve Got to Be is simple and stunning. Mira captures the personality of the main character, Nolie, so well. The closeup puts Nolie center stage (which she usually isn’t). There are also hints about the New York City setting, and a compass peeking out of Nolie’s backpack pocket, which is important to the story. I adore Sylvie’s design, the colors, and the gorgeous lettering of the title, which has a wistful, poetic sensibility.

Where You’ve Got to Be tells the story of eleven-year-old Nolie Beck, who feels overshadowed by her ballet star older sister, Linden. Unlike Linden, Nolie doesn’t have a particular passion that defines her. She likes to help out at her dad’s shoe store, spend time with her friends and her grandma, and try out different things.

But now Nolie’s starting sixth grade, and not only is her older sister pushing her away, but so is her best friend. Feeling lost, Nolie makes some bad choices; she starts taking things that don’t belong to her. Nolie’s story unfolds against the backdrop of the Jewish High Holy days, and Linden’s preparation for The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. It’s a story of sisters, identity, and finding your way back.

Nolie is a reformed Jewish girl, who realizes that her religion is something that makes her different, and embraces its practices in a positive way. Nolie doesn’t yet know what her passion or thing is in life, and she learns to be okay with that.

Many Points of Me is my debut middle grade novel, about Georgia Rosenbloom, whose father was a famous artist who died, leaving behind a mystery for her to uncover about his last series of paintings. It’s a story of grief, art, and friendship, that also takes place in New York City, and features the beloved Metropolitan Museum of Art. There’s an easter egg—a careful reader of both books will notice a particular setting that both Nolie and Georgia visit.

John Schu, you should have asked me why I’m so grateful to have Martha Mihalick at Greenwillow as an editor. I sent Martha a full draft, and then decided to completely rewrite the book from page one, changing almost everything about it. Nolie and Linden are practically the only elements that stayed constant. Martha didn’t bat an eyelash; she supported my process with grace, and helped me to develop the story with her intuition and keen editorial sense. Lastly, she told me when the book was ready, and it was time to stop tweaking!

Caroline Gertler is a former editor at Wendy Lamb Books and the author of Many Points of Me. Caroline Gertler lives with her family in New York City.

Look for Where You've Got to Be on September 13, 2022. 


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