October 12


Cover Reveal for Whatshisface by Gordon Korman 

My first “cover reveal” took place in 1977. I was a fourteen-year-old high school freshman. In those days, a cover reveal consisted of seeing your first copy of the printed book. It had come in the mail, and my mom brought it to my high school so she could be the first to show it to me.

I was totally thrilled. My exact words were: “This is enough!”

Okay, it wasn’t enough. But, over the moon with happiness and pride, I could be forgiven for not seeing that at the time. I’d written the novel a year and a half before as a seventh-grade English assignment for a rookie teacher who’d trained to be a track and field coach. I’d sent it to Scholastic because I was the class monitor for Scholastic book orders. I understood exactly how much fluky luck and random chance it had taken to bring me to that moment. It could very easily never have happened.

Back then, I drew upon a lot of personal experience because I was so close in age to my characters and readers. But it usually wasn’t direct experience. My first series was about a boarding school, and I’d never attended one. I cobbled together my school life and my summer camp experiences away from home to create the adventures of Bruno and Boots at Macdonald Hall. (Now, forty-plus years after the fact, they’re probably streamed on Netflix more often than read in book form.)

That turned out to be an excellent exercise for me, since these days, I’m farther removed from the ages of my characters and readers than ever before. It helps that I visit a lot of schools – I’m constantly on the road. And I’ve got my own three children – ages eighteen, fifteen, and twelve – to draw from.

The idea for Whathisface sparked into being when I was pondering my kids’ intimate relationships with their phones. It’s definitely a love/hate thing. The phones are constant companions, personal assistants, sources of instant entertainment, and interfaces with the world. But there are also cracked screens, liquid damage, software glitches, faulty batteries, random chimes and chirps, and all sorts of buggy, unpredictable behavior. As a dinosaur from pre-smartphone times, I’m pleasantly surprised when these devices work at all. Not so my kids. They grew up in a world where technology can – and should – do everything. They expect it. And they lose their minds over each malfunction and/or hiccup. I thought: What if a kid became so aggravated by the erratic behavior of his state-of-the-art phone that he was incapable of seeing that the device had actually become inhabited by a ghost?

So here it is – the official Whatshisface cover reveal. My mom is getting along in years, so she isn’t available to drive to everyone’s home to show you a copy, hot off the press. You’ll have to view the cover on your own (non-haunted) piece of technology.

Whatshisface is my ninety-third book, so there have been more than ninety of these cover reveals since my mother’s drive to school in 1977. Add on the repackages – my first book alone has had seven different covers – plus foreign editions in over thirty languages. The grand total has to be close to three hundred covers.

Have I gotten jaded over the years? Do I look at the freshly minted Whatshisface and think: “Ho hum, so what else is new?”

Are you kidding? I’m stoked! Any writer will tell you that there’s nothing quite like seeing your vision come to life.

But I’m not naïve enough to say: “This is enough” anymore. It’s never enough. I’m already working on book number ninety-four, imagining what those talented designers and illustrators will come up with.

Here is the cover of Whatshisface!

Gordon Korman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of various titles in The 39 Clues series. He has written more than 60 books for kids and young adults, including the bestselling Swindle series, which was released as a television movie by Nickelodeon. His other books include This Can’t Be Happening at Macdonald Hall(published when he was fourteen); The Toilet Paper Tigers; Radio Fifth Grade; Slacker; the trilogies Island, Everest, Dive, Kidnapped, Titanic, and The Hypnotists; and the series On the Run. He lives in New York with his family. Visit Gordon at http://gordonkorman.com/.


Whatshisface by Gordon Korman (May 8, 2018)

Cooper Vega’s family moves so often that he’s practically invisible at any school he attends. Now they’ve relocated to the town of Stratford – where nobody even makes an effort to learn Cooper’s name. To them, he’s just . . . whatshisface.


Cooper’s parents feel bad about moving him around so much, so they get him a fancy new phone. Almost immediately, it starts to malfunction. First there’s a buzzing. Then there’s a weird glare on the screen. Then that glare starts to take on the form of . . . a person? It’s not just any person trapped inside Cooper’s phone. It’s a boy named Roderick, who says he lived in the time of William Shakespeare–and had a very tangled history with the famous playwright. Cooper thinks his phone has gone haywire, but there’s nothing he can do to get rid of Roderick. Then, even stranger, Roderick starts helping him. Even though his seventeenth-century advice isn’t always the best for a twenty-first century middle school.


In the hands of #1 bestselling author Gordon Korman, Whatshisface is the hilarious story of how sometimes things have to go very, very wrong before they start going very, very right.