Krok Talk: A Look at Some New YA Lit Books Coming Out, by Teen Librarian Lisa Krok
I always say book mail is the best mail, so here are some of my recent deliveries of upcoming releases to add to your TBR and suggest to your teens! Try a new genre, a book written by a BIPOC author (Black/Indigenous/Person of Color), or an author who is part of another marginalized community, such as Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQIA+, and more. You can also try using different formats – think novels in verse, graphic novels, audiobooks, etc. Reading broadly and inclusively can help build empathy and foster critical thinking.
Descriptions are from publishers.
The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson
March 29, 2022
Ages 12 and up
A fascinating historical novel in verse about Hilde, an orphan who experiences Berlin on the cusp of World War II as she discovers her own voice and sexuality.
On her eighteenth birthday, Hilde leaves her orphanage in 1930s Berlin, and heads out into the world to discover her place in it. But finding a job is hard, at least until she stumbles into Café Lila, a vibrant cabaret full of expressive customers. Rosa, one of the club’s waitresses and performers, immediately takes Hilde under her wing. As the café denizens slowly embrace Hilde, and she embraces them in turn, she discovers her voice and her own blossoming feelings for Rosa.
But Berlin is in turmoil. Between the elections, protests in the streets, worsening antisemitism and anti-homosexual sentiment, and the beginning seeds of unrest in Café Lila itself, Hilde will have to decide what’s best for her future . . . and what it means to love a place on the cusp of war.
Dig Two Graves by Gretchen McNeil
April 26, 2022
One of Us is Lying meets Hitchcock.
Seventeen-year-old film noir fan Neve Lanier is a girl who just wants to be seen, but doesn’t really fit in anywhere. When Neve is betrayed by her best friend, Yasmin, at the end of the school year, she heads off to a girl’s empowerment camp feeling like no one will ever love her again. So when she grabs the attention of the beautiful, charismatic Diane, she falls right under her spell, and may accidentally promise to murder Diane’s predatory step-brother, Javier, in exchange for Diane murdering Yasmin. But that was just a joke…right?
Wrong. When Yasmin turns up dead, Diane comes calling, attempting to blackmail Neve into murdering Javier. Stalling for time, Neve pretends to go along with Diane’s plan until she can find a way out that doesn’t involve homicide. But as she gets to know Javier – and falls for him – she realizes that everything Diane told her is a lie. Even worse, she discovers that Yasmin probably wasn’t Diane’s first victim. And unless Neve can stop her, she won’t be the last.
In this twisted game of cat and mouse, the reader never quite knows who’s telling the truth, who’s playing games, and who is going to end up dead.
Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin
August 2, 2022
Iris Gray accidentally enacts a curse that could have dire consequences, she must team up with a boy who hates witches to make sure her magic isn’t unleashed on the world.
Iris Gray knows witches aren’t welcome in most towns. When she was forced to leave her last home, she left behind a father who was no longer willing to start over. And while the Witches’ Council was lenient in their punishment, Iris knows they’re keeping tabs on her. Now settled in Washington, Iris never lets anyone see who she really is; instead, she vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. Otherwise, she spends her days at the wildlife refuge which would be the perfect job if not for Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.
Iris concocts the perfect curse for Pike: one that will turn him into a witch. But just as she’s about to dispel it, a bird swoops down and steals the curse before flying away. If the bird dies, the curse will be unleashed―and the bird is a powerful amplifier, and unleashing the curse would turn not just Pike, but everyone in the region, into a witch.
New witches have no idea how to control their magic and the consequences would be dire. And the Witches’ Council does not look kindly on multiple offenses; if they found out, Iris could be stripped of her magic for good. Iris begs Pike to help her track the bird, and they set out on a trek through the Pacific Northwest looking for a single bird that could destroy everything.
Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
May 3, 2022
Stranger Things meets Jordan Peele in this utterly original debut from an incredible new voice.
For over a year, the Bronx has been plagued by sudden disappearances that no one can explain. Sixteen-year-old Raquel does her best to ignore it. After all, the police only look for the white kids. But when her crush Charlize’s cousin goes missing, Raquel starts to pay attention―especially when her own mom comes down with a mysterious illness that seems linked to the disappearances.
Raquel and Charlize team up to investigate, but they soon discover that everything is tied to a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game. The game is rumored to trap people in a sinister world underneath the city, and the rules are based on a particularly dark chapter in New York’s past. And if the friends want to save their home and everyone they love, they will have to play the game and destroy the evil at its heart―or die trying.
Jagged Little Pill: The Novel by Eric Smith with Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard
April 26, 2022
A timely and gutsy YA novel based on the Tony and Grammy Award winning musical from Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard!
Jagged Little Pill: The Novel follows the intertwining lives of five teens whose world is changed forever after the events at a party.
Adopted Frankie struggles to see eye-to-eye with her mother—who would rather ignore a problem and preserve their “perfect” life than stand up for what’s right. Jo just wants her mom to accept her queer identity—and is totally crushed when Frankie, the only person who really gets her, finds herself infatuated with someone new. Phoenix tries to find his place at the new school and balance wanting to spend time with Frankie but knowing he also has to help out with his sick sister at home. Bella wants to enjoy the end of high school and just head off to college without a hitch. Everyone expects Frankie’s brother Nick to be the golden boy, but even though he just got into his dream school, he’s not even sure he’s a good person. Each of their stories intersects when Bella is sexually assaulted at a party, and it looks like the perpetrator might get away with it.
Moving, heartfelt, and raw, Jagged Little Pill: The Novel draws on the musical’s story and gives readers deeper glimpses of the characters. It’s a story about the power of voicing your pain, standing up for what’s right, and finding healing and connection.
A Show for Two by Tashie Bhuiyan
May 10, 2022
A sparkling YA romance about an aspiring screenwriter who falls for the indie film star who goes undercover at her school.
All Mina Rahman wants is to finally win the Golden Ivy student film competition, get into her dream school, and leave New York City behind for good. When indie film star Emmitt Ramos enrolls in her high school under a secret identity to research his next role, he agrees to star in her short film for the competition…if she acts as his NYC tour guide.
As Mina ventures across the five boroughs with Emmitt, the city she grew up in starts to look more like home than it ever has before. Suddenly, Mina’s dreams—which once seemed impenetrable—begin to crumble, and she’s forced to ask herself: Is winning worth losing everything?
What’s the T? : The Guide to All Things Trans and/or Nonbinary by Juno Dawson
June 7, 2022
Discover what it means to be a young transgender and/or non-binary person in the twenty-first century in this candid and funny guide for teens.
In What’s the T? Stonewall ambassador and bestselling author Juno Dawson is back again, this time with everything you’ve wanted to know about labels and identities and offering uncensored advice on coming out, sex, and relationships with her trademark humor and lightness of touch. It is informative, helpful, optimistic, and funny but with a good dose of reality and some of the things that can downright suck too.
The companion title to the groundbreaking This Book Is Gay, What’s the T? tackles the complex realities of growing up trans with honesty and humor and is joyfully illustrated by gender non-conforming artist Soofiya.
This book is for:
- Anyone with questions
- Parents of trans and/or non-binary kids
- Educators looking for advice about the transgender community
Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi
Rick Riordan Presents
Pandava Series, Book 5
April 5, 2022
Will the Sleeper gain immortality or be stopped once and for all?
The Pandavas only have until the next full moon to stop the Sleeper from gaining access to the nectar of immortality, which will grant him infinite power. But how can Aru, Mini, and Brynne hope to defeat him without their celestial weapons? The Sleeper and his army are already plundering the labyrinth, and the sisters can’t even enter. Their quest to get in will have them calling on old friends, meeting new allies, and facing fearsome trials, like…performing in a rock concert? When the moment of confrontation finally arrives, it’s up to Aru to decide who deserves immortality, the devas or the asuras. The most unexpected answer will come from a most unexpected place.
More surprises and delights, gods and demons, and laughs and tears await in this immensely satisfying conclusion to the wild ride that began with the lighting of a lamp.
All Signs Point to Yes by G. Haron Davis, Cam Montgomery, and Adrianne White, Eds.
May 31, 2022
A literal star-studded anthology that delivers a love story for every star sign straight from the hearts of thirteen multicultural YA authors.
A haunted Aquarius finds love behind the veil. An ambitious Aries will do anything to stay in the spotlight. A foodie Taurus discovers the best eats in town (with a side of romance). A witchy Cancer stumbles into a curious meet-cute.
Whether it’s romantic, platonic, familial, or something else you can’t quite define, love is the thing that connects us. All Signs Point to Yes will take you on a journey from your own backyard to the world beyond the living as it settles us among the stars for thirteen stories of love and life.
These stories will touch your heart, speak to your soul, and have you reaching for your horoscope forevermore.
- g. haron davis (Aries)
- Adrianne White (Aquarius)
- Cam Montgomery (Ophiuchus)
- Tehlor Kay Mejia (Gemini)
- Mark Oshiro (Libra)
- Eric Smith (Scorpio)
- Emery Lee (Pisces)
- Byron Graves (Virgo)
- Karuna Riazi (Cancer)
- Roselle Lim (Taurus)
- Alexandra Villasante (Capricorn)
- Lily Anderson (Sagittarius)
- Kiana Nguyen (Leo)
Queen’s Hope (Star Wars) by E.K. Johnston
Disney Lucasfilm Press
April 5, 2022
A peace-loving senator faces a time of war in another thrilling Padmé Amidala adventure.
Padmé is adjusting to being a wartime senator during the Clone Wars. Her secret husband, Anakin Skwyalker, is off fighting the war, and excels at being a wartime Jedi. In contrast, when Padmé gets the opportunity to see the casualties on the war-torn front lines, she is horrified. The stakes have never been higher for the galaxy, or for the newly-married couple.
Meanwhile, with Padmé on a secret mission, her handmaiden Sabé steps into the role of Senator Amidala, something no handmaiden has done for an extended period of time. While in the Senate, Sabé is equally horrified by the machinations that happen there. She comes face to face with a gut-wrenching decision as she realizes that she cannot fight a war this way, not even for Padmé.
And Chancellor Palpatine hovers over it all, manipulating the players to his own ends…
What are you waiting for? Go place holds for these books at your local library or preorder from your favorite bookstore now!
Lisa Krok, MLIS, MEd, is the Adult and Teen Services Manager at Morley Library and a former teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the author of Novels in Verse for Teens: A Guidebook with Activities for Teachers and Librarians (ABC-CLIO). She reviews YA for School Library Journal, blogs for Teen Librarian Toolbox, and her passion is reaching marginalized teens and reluctant readers through young adult literature. Lisa has served on both the Best Fiction for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Reader’s teams. She can be found on Twitter @readonthebeach.
Filed under: YA Lit
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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