Book Mail: Orisha gods, ghosts, a road trip, furries, Armageddon, and more!
Guess what? It’s March! There’s more sun, it’s now lighter longer into the evening, and even we Minnesotans have to admit that it may be starting to look like Spring (I mean, it’s currently minus 11 while I’m typing this, but the IDEA of Spring is out there!). All of this means, for me, I start to feel more like a functioning human and less like a sad meat-sack who just wants to read comics and sleep. Hooray!
Book mail remains one of the highlights of my days. My cart of books to attempt to read is overflowing and no matter how many books I send out the door (to my kid’s high school, to my elementary school, through giveaways), just as many reappear soon after. Good problems to have, I know.
Here’s a look at what has arrived here lately. Get out your TBR lists, your order lists, your library card, and be ready to dive into lots of new and interesting books!
All descriptions from the publishers.
Dragon Mountain by Katie Tsang, Kevin Tsang (ISBN-13: 9781454943945 Publisher: Union Square Kids Publication date: 07/27/2021 Series: Dragon Realm (Billy Chan) Series #1, Ages 8-12)
Beast Quest meets Percy Jackson in this epic new middle-grade fantasy series!
Deep within the mountain, a great creature stirred in its sleep. Its eyes rolled back in its head, and its wings jerked wide open…
When 12-year-old Billy Chan finds out his parents are sending him to a summer camp in middle-of-nowhere China, he doesn’t know what to expect. There he meets fellow campers Dylan, Charlotte, and Ling-Fei, and together they stumble upon an age-old secret: there are four powerful warrior dragons hidden deep within the mountain behind the camp! They need the children’s help to set them free before terrible evil in the guise of the Dragon of Death is unleashed upon the earth. Billy and his friends must set off on a dangerous adventure that will take them to the heart of the Dragon Realm. But can they save the dragon and human worlds from destruction?
Dragon Legend by Katie Tsang, Kevin Tsang (ISBN-13: 9781454935988
Publisher: Union Square Kids Publication date: 09/21/2021 Series: Dragon Realm (Billy Chan) Series #2, Ages 8-12)
When destiny calls, heroes take flight!
Billy Chan was having the summer most 12-year-olds dream about—bonding with his very own dragon. But Billy’s friend Dylan has been kidnapped by the Dragon of Death, and the only way to save him is to travel through time with his friends and their dragons. Will Billy, Charlotte, Ling-Fei, and the dragons get to Dylan in time? And can they work together to stop the Dragon of Death from destroying the past?
Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye (ISBN-13: 9780062954046 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 03/08/2022, Ages 13-17)
“Equal parts soaring fantasy, heart-pounding action, and bloody social commentary, Blood Scion is a triumph of a book.” —Roseanne A. Brown, New York Times bestselling author of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
This is what they deserve.
They wanted me to be a monster.
I will be the worst monster they ever created.
Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will—she is a Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods.
Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training, and destroy them from within.
Following one girl’s journey of magic, injustice, power, and revenge, Deborah Falaye’s debut novel, inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology, is a magnetic combination of Children of Blood and Bone and An Ember in the Ashes.
Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys by Charlotte Markey, Daniel Hart, Douglas Zacher (ISBN-13: 9781108949378 Publisher: Cambridge University Press Publication date: 04/07/2022, Ages 12+)
From early childhood boys often feel pressured to be athletic and muscular. But what impact does this have on physical and mental well-being through their teens and beyond? Worryingly, a third of teen boys are trying to ‘bulk up’ due to body dissatisfaction, and boys and men account for 25% of eating disorder cases. What can we tell our boys to help them feel happy and confident simply being themselves? Being You has the answers! It’s an easy-to-read, evidence-based guide to developing a positive body image for boys aged 12+. It covers all the facts on puberty, diet, exercise, self-care, mental health, social media, and everything in-between. Boys will find answers to the questions most on their mind, the truth behind many diet and exercise myths, and real-life stories from other boys. Armed with this book, they will understand that muscles don’t make a man – it’s enough simply being you!
Forging Silver into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer (ISBN-13: 9781547609123 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 05/03/2022, Ages 13-17)
New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer expands the Cursebreaker world in an electrifying new series.
When ancient magic tests a newfound love, a dark fate beckons . . .
Magic has been banished in the land of Syhl Shallow for as long as best friends Jax and Callyn can remember. They once loved the stories of the powerful magesmiths and mythical scravers who could conjure fire or control ice, but now they’ve learned that magic only leads to danger: magic is what killed Callyn’s parents, leaving her alone to raise her younger sister. Magic never helped Jax, whose leg was crushed in an accident that his father has been punishing him for ever since. Magic won’t save either of them when the tax collector comes calling, threatening to take their homes if they can’t pay what they owe.
Meanwhile, Jax and Callyn are astonished to learn magic has already returned to Syhl Shallow—in the form of a magesmith who’s now married to their queen. Now, the people of Syhl Shallow are expected to allow dangerous magic in their midst, and no one is happy about it.
When a stranger rides into town offering Jax and Callyn silver in exchange for holding secret messages for an anti-magic faction, the choice is obvious—even if it means they may be aiding in a plot to destroy their new king. It’s a risk they’re both willing to take. That is, until another visitor arrives: handsome Lord Tycho, the King’s Courier, the man who’s been tasked with discovering who’s conspiring against the throne.
Suddenly, Jax and Callyn find themselves embroiled in a world of shifting alliances, dangerous flirtations, and ancient magic . . . where even the deepest loyalties will be tested.
The Hair Book by LaTonya Yvette, Amanda Jane Jones (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781454944324 Publisher: Union Square Kids Publication date: 05/03/2022, Picture book and board book)
A bold, graphic picture book celebrating all types of hair.
With striking, colorful graphics and simple alliterative text, this paper-over-board book with thick interior stock features poufy hair, wavy hair, Afro hair, hair covered in a hijab, and more. The message is clear: no matter what you look like, you are beautiful, valued, and welcome everywhere.
The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero (ISBN-13: 9781682633380 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 05/03/2022, Ages 14-17)
Magic will burn you up.
Sent to stay with her aunt in Prague and witness the humble life of an artist, Ilana Lopez—a biracial Jewish girl—finds herself torn between her dream of becoming a violinist and her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue a more stable career.
When she discovers a forgotten Jewish cemetery behind her aunt’s cottage, she meets the ghost of a kindhearted boy named Benjamin, who died over a century ago. As Ilana restores Benjamin’s grave, he introduces her to the enchanted side of Prague, where ghosts walk the streets and their kisses have warmth.
But Benjamin isn’t the only one interested in Ilana. Rudolph Wassermann, a man with no shadow, has become fascinated with her and the music she plays. He offers to share his magic, so Ilana can be with Benjamin and pursue her passion for violin. But after Ilana discovers the truth about Wassermann and how Benjamin became bound to the city, she resolves to save the boy she loves, even if it means losing him—forever.
With spellbinding verse prose, R.M. Romero channels the spirit of myth into a brilliantly original tale, inspired by her experiences restoring Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe.
Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale (ISBN-13: 9780593350874 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/10/2022, Ages 12-17)
Heated competition leads to even hotter romance in this YA summer rom-com for fans of Sandhya Menon, Emma Lord, and Wibbroka.
Seventeen-year-old, high-achieving Kavya Joshi has always been told she’s a little too ambitious, a little too mouthy, and overall just a little too much. In one word: besharam.
So, when her nemesis, Ian Jun, witnesses Kavya’s very public breakup with her loser boyfriend on the last day of junior year, she decides to lay low and spend the summer doing what she loves best–working part time playing princess roles for childrens’ birthday parties. But her plan is shot when she’s cast as Ariel instead of her beloved Belle, and learns that Ian will be her Prince Eric for the summer. [Cue the combative banter.]
Exhausted by Kavya and Ian’s years-long feud, their friends hatch a plan to end their rivalry by convincing them to participate in a series of challenges throughout the summer. Kavya is only too eager to finally be declared the winner. But as the competition heats up, so too does the romantic tension, until it escalates from a simmer to a full-on burn.
Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan (ISBN-13: 9780593112564 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/17/2022, Ages 12-17)
From the author of Hot Dog Girl comes a sweet and salty queer YA rom-com about two girls on a summer road trip in an ice cream truck.
Fallon and Chloe used to be best friends. But last summer, the girls hooked up right before Chloe left for college, and after a series of misunderstandings, they aren’t even speaking to one another. Now, a year later, Chloe’s back home from school, and Fallon is doing everything in her power to avoid her. Which is especially difficult because their moms own a business together—a gourmet ice cream truck where both girls work.
But when their moms have the opportunity to make a presentation to some venture capitalists in Texas—something that could seriously expand their business and solve all their money problems to boot—it’s up to Fallon to work a series of food truck festivals across the country. But she can’t do it alone, and Chloe is the only one available to help. As tensions heat up again between the two girls, will Fallon be able to keep her cool?
A Furry Faux Paw by Jessica Kara (ISBN-13: 9781645675266 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 05/24/2022, Ages 14-17)
Sometimes Your Best Self Is Your Fursona
Online, MauveCat (a cool, confident, glittering pixie cat) has friends and a whole supportive furry community that appreciates her art. At home, Maeve Stephens has to tiptoe around her hoarder mother’s mood and mess. When her life is at its hardest, Maeve can always slip into Mauve, her fursona, and be “the happy one,” the bubbliest, friendliest artist in her community—it’s even how she made her best friend, Jade.
With graduation around the corner, Maeve is ready to put her lonely school days behind her and move on with her life. And while her father hasn’t been home since the divorce, he does offer her a dream come true: an all-expenses paid trip to the regional furry convention.
Furlympia will have everything Maeve’s been missing—friends, art mentors, and other furries! So when her mother forbids her from going, Maeve decides to sneak out on her own.
Between hitching a ride with Jade, getting a makeover from a young furry she inspired, and connecting with an art idol who could help Her get into her dream school—the furcon is everything Maeve hoped for and more. A single weekend away shows Maeve how wonderful her life could be, but breaking free of the hoard means abandoning her mother, just like everyone else in their life. And Maeve isn’t sure if she can—even if it destroys her, too.
I Guess I Live Here Now by Claire Ahn (ISBN-13: 9780593403198 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/24/2022, Ages 12-17)
For fans of Never Have I Ever and Crazy Rich Asians, this effervescent debut takes readers on a journey to the place where trends are born—Seoul, Korea—where Melody Lee unwillingly moves with her family and must start a new life, a new school…and maybe a new romance.
Melody always wanted to get to know the Korean side of her Korean American heritage better, but not quite like this. Thanks to a tiny transgression after school one day, she’s shocked to discover that her parents have decided to move her and her mom out of New York City to join her father in Seoul—immediately! Barely having the chance to say goodbye to her best friend before she’s on a plane, Melody is resentful, angry, and homesick.
But she soon finds herself settling into their super luxe home, meeting cool friends at school, and discovering the alluring aspects of living in Korea—trendsetting fashion, delectable food, her dad’s black card, and a cute boy to hang out with. Life in Seoul is amazing…until cracks begin to form on its shiny surface. Troubling family secrets, broken friendships, and a lost passion are the prices Melody has to pay for her new life, but is it worth it?
Claire Ahn’s charming debut lets you taste every bite of kalbi, bathe in the glow of Seoul’s neon lights, and feel every high and low of Melody’s journey across the world and within her heart.
Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle (ISBN-13: 9781665908153 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date: 05/31/2022, Ages 12-18)
Hitch meets The Sun Is Also a Star in this witty and romantic teen novel about a self-professed teen love doctor with a popular radio segment who believes he can get a girl who hates all things romance to fall in love with him in only three dates.
Prince Jones is the guy with all the answers—or so it seems. After all, at seventeen, he has his own segment on Detroit’s popular hip-hop show, Love Radio, where he dishes out advice to the brokenhearted.
Prince has always dreamed of becoming a DJ and falling in love. But being the main caretaker for his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and his little brother means his dreams will stay just that and the only romances in his life are the ones he hears about from his listeners.
Until he meets Dani Ford.
Dani isn’t checking for anybody. She’s focused on her plan: ace senior year, score a scholarship, and move to New York City to become a famous author. But her college essay keeps tripping her up and acknowledging what’s blocking her means dealing with what happened at that party a few months ago.
And that’s one thing Dani can’t do.
When the romantic DJ meets the ambitious writer, sparks fly. Prince is smitten, but Dani’s not looking to get derailed. She gives Prince just three dates to convince her that he’s worth falling for.
Three dates for the love expert to take his own advice, and just maybe change two lives forever.
Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White (ISBN-13: 9781682633243 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 06/07/2022, Ages 14+)
A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.
“A defining voice of our generation.” –H.E. Edgmon, author of The Witch King“Hands down the best YA horror book I’ve read.” –Aden Polydoros, author of The City Beautiful
“A chimera of horror, romance, and something stranger.” –Rose Szabo, author of What Big Teeth
“A timely and riveting tale.” –Ray Stoeve, author of Between Perfect and Real
Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.
But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.
Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.
The Comedienne’s Guide to Pride by Hayli Thomson (ISBN-13: 9781645675365 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 06/14/2022, Age 14+)
Wicked funny and hella gay, it’s time for Taylor Parker to come out about a lot of things.
Taylor Parker has always been a funny girl—but when she is accepted as a finalist for a diverse writers’ internship at Saturday Night Live, it turns her life upside down. If she wants a shot at winning in a little more than a month, Taylor will have to come out about both of her secrets: She wants to be a comedian . . . and she’s a lesbian.
With a mom who gave up a career in comedy to raise her, and a comedian dad who left for a younger woman, working in comedy is a sore subject in Taylor’s house. To keep her secret under wraps, she sneaks out to do improv and hides her sketches under the bed, and to distract from her anxiety about the competition, Taylor frequents Salem’s Museum of Witchcraft to pine for Abigail Williams from the back row.
It’s at the Museum of Witchcraft where Taylor falls deeper in love with the girl who plays Abigail Williams—Charlotte Grey, an out and proud lesbian at Nathaniel Hawthorne High. Charlotte radiates so much confidence in her acting and queerness that Taylor can’t resist her. So when Charlotte reaches out for help on a school project, Taylor readily agrees. As they spend more time together, Taylor sees what living her truth and pursuing her dreams could bring her, but Charlotte can’t understand why someone as funny as Taylor wouldn’t go all out to make the most of her opportunities. To live up to her own comedy dreams and become the person she wants to be, Taylor will have to find the confidence to tell everyone exactly who she is and what she wants.
Boys I Know by Anna Gracia (ISBN-13: 9781682633717 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 07/05/2022, Ages 14-17)
A high school senior navigates messy boys and messier relationships in this bitingly funny and much-needed look into the overlap of Asian American identity and teen sexuality.
June Chu is the “just good enough” girl. Good enough to line the shelves with a slew of third-place trophies and steal secret kisses from her AP Bio partner, Rhys. But not good enough to meet literally any of her Taiwanese mother’s unrelenting expectations or to get Rhys to commit to anything beyond a well-timed joke.
While June’s mother insists she follow in her (perfect) sister’s footsteps and get a (full-ride) violin scholarship to Northwestern (to study pre-med), June doesn’t see the point in trying too hard if she’s destined to fall short anyway. Instead, she focuses her efforts on making her relationship with Rhys “official.” But after her methodically-planned, tipsily-executed scheme explodes on the level of a nuclear disaster, she flings herself into a new relationship with a guy who’s not allergic to the word “girlfriend.”
But as the line between sex and love blurs, and pressure to map out her entire future threatens to burst, June will have to decide on whose terms she’s going to live her life—even if it means fraying her relationship with her mother beyond repair.
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About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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