New books alert: YA, middle grade, memoirs, and more!
Books, books, and more books! All of the books I get end up going back out the door in some fashion—to teen readers I know, to classroom libraries of friends, to my own school, or in giveaways. I can’t read/review every book I get, but it’s fun to be able to sift through boxes and see what grabs my attention, and to see what books will find loving new homes with the right reader. The following are the books that have arrived here in the past few weeks. I will be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months on TLT. See something you’ve already read and need to make sure I don’t skip? Or something you’re super excited to read when it comes out? Let me know with a comment here or on Twitter, where I’m @CiteSomething.
All descriptions from the publishers.
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman (ISBN-13: 9781524738112 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/05/2019)
Four determined homeless children make a life for themselves in Padma Venkatraman’s stirring middle-grade debut.
Life is harsh in Chennai’s teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter–and friendship–on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city’s trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.
Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield (ISBN-13: 9781541526112 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 02/05/2019)
Best friends and sisters Lo and Rita have spent their lives flying through the air on the trapeze under the lights in the big top. The nomadic circus community is a close-knit family, but those bonds are threatened as secrets and lies surface and Lo finds forbidden love with a boy from outside the circus. The two sisters find themselves at odds with each other for the first time as they both search for love and test the limits of family loyalty. Lo must face up to a family member’s deception and navigate her newfound love. Will she manage to land on her feet?
The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston (ISBN-13: 9780451480682 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/12/2019)
The final book in the Valiant series takes Fallon and her warrior sisters on an epic journey from the corrupt Roman Republic to the wonder of the ancient world: Alexandria, Egypt.
In the wake of their victorious fight to win back the Ludus Achillea, Fallon and her gladiatrix sisters have become the toast of the Republic. However, as a consequence of his actions during the Ludus uprising, Fallon’s love Cai has been stripped of his Decurion rank and cast down to serve as one of Caesar’s gladiators.
Amid fighting for Cai’s freedom, Fallon soon learns that Caesar’s enemies are plotting against him and planning to get revenge on his fearsome gladiatrices. When Caesar is murdered by these conspirators, Fallon and the girls lose any sort of protection they once had. Fallon also realizes that the foreign queen Cleopatra is now in grave danger.
Fallon rallies her war band and Cai’s friends to get Cleopatra out of the city, and the group heads to the safety of Cleo’s homeland, Alexandria, Egypt. Once there, the gladiatrices are promised a place of honor in the queen’s elite guard, but is that what any of them really want?
The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project by Lenore Appelhans (ISBN-13: 9781541512597 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 03/05/2019)
Riley lives in TropeTown, where everyone plays stock roles in novels. Riley, a Manic Pixie Dream Boy, is sent to group therapy after going off-script. Riley knows that breaking the rules again could get him terminated, yet he feels there must be more to life than recycling the same clichés for readers’ entertainment. Then he meets Zelda, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (Geek Chic subtype), and falls head over heels in love. Zelda’s in therapy too, along with several other Manic Pixies. But TropeTown has a dark secret, and if Riley and his fellow Manic Pixies don’t get to the bottom of it, they may all be terminated.
Quarantine: A Love Story by Katie Cicatelli-Kuc (ISBN-13: 9781338232912 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 03/26/2019)
Oliver wants a girlfriend, and there’s a girl back home who might be interested in him. The problem is, he has to spend his spring break on a volunteer trip in the Dominican Republic. Flora, on the other hand, isn’t really looking for a boyfriend. She just wants to end a miserable spring break visiting her dad and her new stepmom in the D.R.
The solution to both their problems? Get back home to New York ASAP. Sadly, they won’t be getting there anytime soon.
Their hopes are dashed when Flora’s impulsiveness lands them in quarantine — just the two of them. Now, the two teens must come together in order to survive life in a bubble for 30 days. In that time, love will bloom. But is it the real thing, or just a placebo effect?
In her debut novel, Katie Cicatelli-Kuc delivers an introspective and witty story about finding love in the most unexpected place.
Undaunted by Kat Falls (ISBN-13: 9780545371025 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 03/26/2019)
Wreck: A Novel by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (ISBN-13: 9781510739031 Publisher: Sky Pony Publication date: 04/02/2019)
Sometimes loss has its own timetable.
Set on the shores of Lake Superior, Wreck follows high school junior Tobin Oliver as she navigates her father’s diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
Steve’s life as a paramedic and a runner comes to an abrupt halt just as Tobin is preparing her application for a scholarship to art school. With the help of Steve’s personal care assistant (and family friend) Ike, Tobin attends to both her photography and to Steve as his brain unexpectedly fails right along with his body.
Tobin struggles to find a “normal” life, especially as Steve makes choices about how his own will end, and though she fights hard, Tobin comes to realize that respecting her father’s decision is the ultimate act of love.
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan (ISBN-13: 9780525516255 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/30/2019)
Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:
* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland—ever—unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.
Jennifer Dugan’s sparkling debut coming-of-age queer romance stars a princess, a pirate, a hot dog, and a carousel operator who find love—and themselves—in unexpected people and unforgettable places.
This Is Not a Love Scene by S. C. Megale (ISBN-13: 9781250190499 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 05/07/2019)
Lights, camera—all Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy usually stands in the way of romance. She’s got her friends, her humor, and a passion for filmmaking to keep her focus off consistent rejection…and the hot older guy starring in her senior film project.
Tall, bearded, and always swaying, Cole Stone is everything Maeve can’t be. And she likes it. Between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric.
Suddenly, Maeve gets a taste of typical teenage dating life, but girls in wheelchairs don’t get the hot guy—right? Cole’s attention challenges everything she once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won’t be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants, while Cole has a tendency to avoid decisions altogether. And the future might not wait for either.
Funny, emotional, and refreshingly honest, S.C. Megale’s This is Not a Love Scene is for anyone who can relate to feeling different while navigating the terrifying and thrilling waters of first love.
Again, but Better by Christine Riccio (ISBN-13: 9781250299253 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 05/07/2019)
Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal — but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?
Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change — there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!
Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.
Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic – the possibilities are endless.
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (ISBN-13: 9780062662835 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/07/2019)
From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.
Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (ISBN-13: 9781338268461 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/14/2019)
Don’t just fracture the fairy tale. Shatter it.
Isabelle should be blissfully happy-she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe . . . which is now filling with blood.
Isabelle tried to fit in. She cut away pieces of herself in order to become pretty. Sweet. More like Cinderella. But that only made her mean, jealous, and hollow. Now she has a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.
Evoking the darker, original version of the Cinderella story, Stepsister shows us that ugly is in the eye of the beholder, and uses Jennifer Donnelly’s trademark wit and wisdom to send an overlooked character on a journey toward empowerment, redemption . . . and a new definition of beauty.
Road Tripped by Pete Hautman (ISBN-13: 9781534405905 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date: 05/14/2019)
In this captivating story about loss, love, and changing your ways, National Book Award–winning author Pete Hautman imbues the classic road trip novel with clever wit and heartfelt musings about life and death.
Steven Gerald Gabel—a.k.a. Stiggy—needs to get out of Minnesota. His father recently look his own life, his mother is a shell of the person she used to be, and his sort-of-girlfriend ghosted him and skipped town. What does he have left to stick around for? Armed with his mom’s credit card and a tourist map of Great River Road, Stiggy sets off in his dad’s car.
The only problem is, life on his own isn’t exactly what he expected and, soon enough, he finds himself at a crossroads: keep running from his demons, or let them hitch a ride back home with him.
Brave Face: A Memoir by Shaun David Hutchinson (ISBN-13: 9781534431515 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 05/21/2019)
Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five” (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.
“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”
Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabulary to understand and accept who he was and how he fit into a community in which he couldn’t see himself. The voice of depression told him that he would never be loved or wanted, while powerful and hurtful messages from society told him that being gay meant love and happiness weren’t for him.
A million moments large and small over the years all came together to convince Shaun that he couldn’t keep going, that he had no future. And so he followed through on trying to make that a reality.
Thankfully Shaun survived, and over time, came to embrace how grateful he is and how to find self-acceptance. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better.
Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D Jackson (ISBN-13: 9780062840325 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/21/2019)
In this striking new novel by the critically acclaimed author of Allegedly and Monday’s Not Coming, Tiffany D. Jackson tells the story of three Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he’s still alive.
Brooklyn, 1998. Biggie Smalls was right: Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are cool letting their best friend Steph’s music lie forgotten under his bed after he’s murdered—not when his rhymes could turn any Bed Stuy corner into a party.
With the help of Steph’s younger sister Jasmine, they come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: the Architect. Soon, everyone wants a piece of him. When his demo catches the attention of a hotheaded music label rep, the trio must prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.
As the pressure of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only, each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, they need to decide what they stand for or lose all that they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.
The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos (ISBN-13: 9780062699022 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/28/2019)
Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them. Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women. Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable. Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.
Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible. But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.
Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian (ISBN-13: 9780062839367 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 06/04/2019)
It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.
Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.
Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.
Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.
As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart—and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.
This is a bighearted, sprawling epic about friendship and love and the revolutionary act of living life to the fullest in the face of impossible odds.
Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith (ISBN-13: 9781534437180 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date: 06/18/2019)
For fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor & Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all—from New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith.
Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.
A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.
But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.
The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.
But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?
The Four Guardians by Matt Laney (SBN-13: 9781328707383 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 07/02/2019 Series: Pride Wars Series)
Mystery, magic, and action-packed adventure converge in this high-stakes sequel to the unforgettable middle grade fantasy The Spinner Prince—for Bravelands and Warriors fans.
When Prince Leo’s devious cousin seizes control of Singara, Leo is forced to escape into enemy territory until he can return and claim the throne.Trapped among his enemies, Leo discovers they know a lot more about him than he knows about himself. With some guidance from unlikely allies, Leo is poised to fulfill a destiny greater than he ever imagined.
Can Leo harness his power, stop a war, and prevent a monstrous demon from escaping and destroying the world? In this thrilling second book in the Pride Wars series, Leo’s identity as a Spinner, once thought to be his greatest curse, may just become his greatest weapon.
The Arrival of Someday by Jen Malone (ISBN-13: 9780062795380 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 07/23/2019)
In this heartfelt and emotionally candid contemporary YA, author Jen Malone delves into the life of a teen whose world is brought to an abrupt halt when she learns she’s in dire need of an organ transplant.
Hard-charging and irrepressible eighteen-year-old Amelia Linehan could see a roller derby opponent a mile away—and that’s while crouched down, bent over skates, and zooming around a track at the speed of light. They don’t call her Rolldemort for nothing! What she couldn’t see coming, however, was the unexpected flare-up of a rare liver disorder she was born with. But now it’s the only thing she—and everyone around her—can think about.
With no guarantee of a viable organ transplant, everything Amelia’s been sure of—like her college plans, the mural she’d been commissioned to paint, or the possibility of one day falling in love—has become a huge question mark, threatening to drag her down into a sea of what-ifs she’s desperate to avoid.
Then a friend from the past shows up. With Will, it’s easy to forget about what’s lurking underneath the lightness of their time together. It’s easy to feel alive when all signs point elsewhere. On the other hand, with the odds decidedly not in her favor, Amelia knows this feeling couldn’t last forever. But what can?
Best Babysitters Ever: The Good, the Bad, and the Bossy by Caroline Cala (ISBN-13: 9781328850904 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 08/06/2019)
Being a boss isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in the second book of the Best Babysitters Ever series. Perfect for fans of Rachel Vail and Sarah Mlynowski.
Just when Malia, Dot, and Bree (aka the Best Babysitters Ever) corner the Playa Del Mar babysitting market, their lives get even busier. Malia’s evil older sister ropes her into a thankless internship. Dot must win the science fair. And Bree’s brand new cat turns out to be a holy terror. Meow! Malia is frustrated by the group’s lack of commitment until she has an idea so great it rivals the creation of the club in the first place: they can hire new babysitters and take a cut of their wages! It’s all of the money, and less of the babysitting. This plan is too perfect to fail. Until—spoiler alert—it does, in the most hilarious way possible.
Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry (ISBN-13: 9780062698902 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 08/06/2019)
There are so many ways the world could end. There could be a fire. A catastrophic flood. A super eruption that spews lakes of lava. Ellis Kimball has made note of all possible scenarios, and she is prepared for each one. What she doesn’t expect is meeting Hannah Marks in her therapist’s waiting room. Hannah calls their meeting fate. After all, Ellis is scared about the end of the world; Hannah knows when it’s going to happen.
Despite Ellis’s anxiety — about what others think of her, about what she’s doing wrong, about the safety of her loved ones — the two girls become fast friends. As Ellis tries to help Hannah decipher the details of her doomsday premonition, she learns there are secrets Hannah isn’t telling her. But with time ticking down, the search for answers only raises more questions. When does it happen? Who will believe them? How do you prepare for the end of the world when it feels like your life is just getting started?
Katie Henry, the author of Heretics Anonymous, delivers an engrossing and thoughtful tale about how people survive — with some faith in family, friends, and maybe a few prepper forums.
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (ISBN-13: 9781524740955 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/13/2019)
From the critically-acclaimed author of Under a Painted Sky and Outrun the Moon and founding member of We Need Diverse Books comes a powerful novel about identity, betrayal, and the meaning of family.
By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.
Filed under: new books
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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