Book Mail: An analysis of the state of YA, racist dress codes, cynical witches, and more!
My friends, I am TIRED. We’re down to the final few days of school here, and I am dragging. I cannot wait for summer and the chance to get to catch up on the tower of books growing in my office.
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.
Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism by Michael Cart (ISBN-13: 978-0838947470 Publisher: American Library Association Publication date: 05/09/2022)
Editorial Advisory Board: Sarah Park Dahlen, Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Marianne Martens, Associate Professor, School of Information, Kent State University; Amy Pattee, Associate Professor and Co-coordinator of Dual-Degree MS LIS/MA Children’s Literature, School of Library and Information Science, Children’s Literature, Simmons University
“Comprehensive and substantial … a highly recommended resource,” raved VOYA about the third edition. Now, to keep pace with changes in the field of publishing and realign itself to the newest generation of young adults, Cart returns with a sweeping update of his classic text. Relied upon by educators, LIS instructors and students, and practitioners for its insight and thoroughness, his book
- surveys the landscape of YA lit both past and present, sketching out its origins and showing how it has evolved to deal with subjects every bit as complex as its audience;
- closely examines teen demographics, literacy, audiobooks, the future of print, the role of literary criticism, and other key topics;
- provides updated coverage of perennially popular genre fiction, including horror, sci fi, and dystopian fiction;
- delves deeply into multicultural and LGBTQIA+ literature, substantially updated in this edition;
- features expansive interviews with best-selling authors like Eric Shanower, Jackie Woodson, and Bill Konigsberg as well as several publishers and leaders in the field;
- discusses the impact of the Printz Award, ALAN’s Walden Award, the National Book Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Award, and other honors; and
- features abundant bibliographic material to aid in readers’ advisory and collection development.
In its newest edition, this “shrewd and thorough survey” (ARBA) is a must-have for everyone who wants to understand where YA lit has been and where it’s heading.
How To Live Without You by Sarah Everett (ISBN-13: 9780358256229 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/17/2022, Ages 14-18)
In this heart-wrenching coming-of-age story about family, grief, and second chances, seventeen-year-old Emmy returns home for the summer to uncover the truth behind her sister Rose’s disappearance—only to learn that Rose had many secrets, ones that have Emmy questioning herself and the sister Emmy thought she knew.
When her sister Rose disappeared, seventeen-year-old Emmy lost a part of herself. Everyone else seems convinced she ran away and will reappear when she’s ready, but Emmy isn’t so sure. That doesn’t make sense for the Rose she knew: effervescent, caring, and strong-willed. So Emmy returns to their Ohio hometown for a summer, determined to uncover clues that can lead her back to Rose once and for all.
But what Emmy finds is a string of secrets and lies that she never thought possible, casting the person she thought she knew best in a whole new light. Reeling with confusion, Emmy decides to step into Rose’s life. She reconnects with their childhood best friend and follows in Rose’s last known footsteps with heart-wrenching consequences.
An honest and intimate look at sisterhood and the dark side of growing up, Sarah Everett’s latest novel is a stunning portrayal of how you can never truly know the ones you love.
Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa (ISBN-13: 9780062465030 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/31/2022, Ages 13-17)
A witchy, atmospheric lesbian contemporary romance set in Salem—from the acclaimed author of Fans of the Impossible Life. Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Becky Albertalli.
Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is the last person in Salem to believe in witchcraft—or think that her life could be transformed by mysterious forces. After losing her best friend and first love, Chloe, Eleanor has spent the past year in a haze, vowing to stay away from anything resembling romance.
But when a handwritten guide to tarot arrives in the mail at the witchy souvenir store where Eleanor works, it seems to bring with it the message that magic is about to enter her life. Cynical Eleanor is quick to dismiss this promise, until real-life witch Pix shows up with an unusual invitation. Inspired by the magic and mystery of the tarot, Eleanor decides to open herself up to Pix and her coven of witches, and even to the possibility of a new romance.
But Eleanor’s complicated history continues to haunt her. She will have to reckon with the old ghosts that threaten to destroy everything, even her chance at new love.
Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches is a romantic coming-of-age about learning to make peace with the past in order to accept the beauty of the present.
Batter Royale by Leisl Adams (ISBN-13: 9781419750762 Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks Publication date: 06/07/2022, Ages 12-18)
In this fun graphic novel, a talented young chef is selected to participate in a baking reality show and finds herself mixed up in spicy competition, bitter rivalry, and sweet romance
In Leisl Adams’s debut graphic novel, Batter Royale, an aspiring amateur baker enters the toughest, ugliest, most fearsome fight she’ll ever experience: a baking reality show.
When seventeen-year-old small-town waitress Rose impresses a famous food critic, she and her best friend, Fred, find themselves thrust into the tough world of competitive baking. The contest is an intense ten days of bizarre challenges, and the competition is cutthroat. Some competitors are willing to lie, cheat, and sabotage their way to the top. Rose may be in over her head, but she is determined to show that she can become a top chef. Batter Royale is a fish-out-of-water style romantic comedy about climbing out of the circumstances you’re in and making your dreams come true.
Game of Strength and Storm by Rachel Menard (ISBN-13: 9781635830767 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 06/07/2022, Ages 14-18)
Victory is the only option.
Once a year, the Olympian Empresses grant the wishes of ten people selected by a lottery—for a price. Seventeen-year-old Gen, a former circus performer, wants the freedom of her father, who was sentenced to life in prison for murders she knows he didn’t commit. Castor plans to carry the island Arcadia into the future in place of her brother, Pollux, but only after the Empresses force a change in her island’s archaic laws that require a male heir.
To get what they want, Gen and Castor must race to complete the better half of ten nearly impossible labors. They have to catch the fastest ship in the sea, slay the immortal Hydra, defeat a gangster called the Boar, and capture the flesh-eating Mares, among other deadly tasks.
Gen has her magic, her ability to speak to animals, her inhuman strength—and the help of Pollux, who’s been secretly pining for her for years. But Castor has her own gifts: the power of the storms, along with endless coin. Only one can win. The other walks away with nothing—if she walks away at all.
Ultimate Book of the Future: Incredible, Ingenious, and Totally Real Tech that will Change Life as You Know It by National Geographic (ISBN-13: 9781426371622 Publisher: National Geographic Publication date: 06/07/2022 Series: National Geographic Kids, Ages 8-12)
Robot dogs! Jet packs! Cyborgs! Super-sleek space suits! It’s not science fiction, it’s science reality. And soon, it may be part of everyday life. This book is a jam-packed collection of the coolest tech and wildest ideas that are shaping the world of tomorrow.
Blast off for an unbelievably fascinating journey through time, space, and even a holographic pop concert (or two)! With chapters on future cities, space travel, high-tech entertainment, and even saving the world, Future World is a thorough, fun compendium of high-tech gadgets being built today and the coolest stuff tomorrow has to offer, plus the amazing dreamers making it all happen.
Special “Could It Happen?” features tackle kids” burning hypothetical questions, like whether Jurassic Park could really exist, or whether a robot could become president. Each chapter also includes a “Future Fail!” that profiles one thing we thought we’d have by now, but don’t (like everything from The Jetsons.) And kids will see where they might fit into the picture through the “Jobs of Tomorrow” profiled in each chapter. (Job titles include mind reader, space pilot, and robot-human communicator. Seriously!)
This is the perfect book for fans of sci-fi, budding engineers and scientists, lovers of futuristic movies and pop culture, and anyone who has ever dreamed about what tomorrow might look like.
Rosa’s Song by Helena Ku Rhee, Pascal Campion (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780593375495 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 06/14/2022, Ages 4-8)
In this diverse picture book, a young immigrant from South Korea finds community and friendship in an apartment house filled with other newly arrived kids.
When Jae looks out the window of his new home, he wishes he could still see his old village, his old house, and his old friends. But his new apartment feels empty and nothing outside is familiar. Jae just arrived from South Korea and doesn’t even speak the new language.
Yet, making friends is the same wherever you go and he soon meets a girl with a colorful bird perched on her shoulder. Rosa knows just how Jae feels and the two become fast friends. Not only does Rosa show Jae his new neighborhood but she shows him how his imagination can bring back memories of his old home. Then Rosa leaves unexpectedly one night but leaves her parrot for Jae. He thinks about the song that Rosa would sing: “When I fly away, my heart stays here.” And when Jae meets two other newly arrived kids, he teaches them Rosa’s song and becomes their guide to this new world.
From the creators of the highly acclaimed The Paper Kingdom, comes a new book about the importance of community and demonstrates how a simple act of kindness can be passed along to others.
Love & Other Great Expectations by Becky Dean (ISBN-13: 9780593429426 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 06/14/2022, Ages 12-18)
An American girl embarks on a competitive scavenger hunt in England—and along the way, meets up with a bookish British boy who can’t help her with the clues . . . but might make the trip take some unexpected turns.
Britt Hanson has always preferred scoring goals on the soccer field to analyzing dusty old books. But when an injury ends her dream to play in college, she jumps at the chance to compete in a scavenger hunt in England that takes her to the locations of classic novels—the prize money would change her life!
Once in the UK she meets bookish and very British Luke Jackson. He can’t actually help her with any of the clues (against the rules), but something about Luke compels her to invite him to join her. She wouldn’t mind getting to know him—and listening to his accent.
To win, Britt must outsmart three competitors who aren’t afraid to play dirty while solving clues and traveling around the English countryside. Along the way, Britt learns that sometimes you have to follow the map and other times, you need to throw caution to the wind and see where the cobblestoned road leads you.
The Name She Gave Me by Betty Culley (ISBN-13: 9780063157835 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 06/21/2022, Ages 13-17)
A heartbreakingly beautiful novel in verse about adoption, family, friendship, and love in all its many forms, perfect for fans of Robin Benway and Jandy Nelson, from the acclaimed author of Three Things I Know Are True.
Rynn was born with a hole in her heart—literally. Although it was fixed long ago, she still feels an emptiness there when she wonders about her birth family.
As her relationship with her adoptive mother fractures, Rynn finally decides she needs to know more about the rest of her family. Her search starts with a name, the only thing she has from her birth mother, and she quickly learns that she has a younger sister living in foster care in a nearby town. But if Rynn reconnects with her biological sister, it may drive her adoptive family apart for good.
This powerful story uncovers both beautiful and heartbreaking truths and explores how challenging, yet healing, family can be.
Gabe in the After by Shannon Doleski (ISBN-13: 9781419754388 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 06/28/2022, Ages 10-14)
A post-apocalyptic upper middle-grade adventure with a first-crush romance, perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Shannon Hale
It’s fourteen-year-old Gabe Sweeney’s day to check for survivors . . .
Two years after a global pandemic, twenty survivors (most of them children) have relocated from their coastal Maine island full of sad memories to a mansion on a small, neighboring island where they have school and farm chores. When Gabe and his dog, Mud, find Relle Douglas alone in the woods on the mainland, they take the strange new girl across the channel to live with them.
Relle changes the island with her hopeful attitude. She tells big stories and makes plans for activities like talent shows. Despite a growing crush, Gabe doesn’t quite understand the point of it all; why have a talent show at the end of the world? But when tragedy strikes, Gabe sets out on a dangerous journey to try and find other survivors where the world might be normal. Like Before.
Lightly inspired by Anne of Green Gables, Gabe in the After is a moving and heartfelt story about the end of the world—and what perseveres through it.
The Falling: A Brightest Stars Novel by Anna Todd (ISBN-13: 9781990259807 Publisher: Wattpad WEBTOON Book Group Publication date: 07/05/2022, Ages 18+)
A new love story from Anna Todd begins with THE FALLING, the first novel in a new trilogy (Brightest Stars) from the #1 internationally best-selling author of the AFTER series.
Twenty-year old Karina is proud of the independent life she is trying to create for herself in Fort Benning, Georgia. A dutiful officer’s daughter, supportive sister to a troubled twin brother, and caring friend to her roommate, Elodie, she always puts the needs of others ahead of her own, and prides herself on being a fixer of broken things—whether it’s the house she’s just bought or the fragmented family she works hard to keep intact.
Like anyone who has grown up around an army base, Karina also knows the background noise that follows men and women home from war. And when she meets Kael, a handsome soldier on the cusp of discharge, she’s immediately intrigued by his brooding presence and enigmatic silence. As their uncertain and unexpected friendship starts to turn into something more, Karina tries to piece together Kael’s story: he is emotionally closed off, recovering from wounds and other trauma in the aftermath of two deployments in Afghanistan. In her practice as a physical therapist, Karina has a strong desire to help him heal, and though it challenges her many insecurities and anxieties, she has an equally strong desire to trust him. But that trust is fragile, like the preciousness of a soldier’s life. It can be gone in an instant. Ultimately facing a crossroads, Karina and Kael find their relationship will be tested by the one thing that Karina cannot accept, forgive, or understand.
Anna Todd’s Brightest Stars trilogy continues with THE BURNING and THE INFINITE LIGHT OF DUST, coming soon.
The Prince of Steel Pier by Stacy Nockowitz (ISBN-13: 9781728430348 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 09/01/2022, Ages 9-12)
A young teen falls in with the mob, and learns a lesson about what kind of person he wants to be
In The Prince of Steel Pier, Joey Goodman is spending the summer at his grandparents’ struggling hotel in Atlantic City, a tourist destination on the decline. Nobody in Joey’s big Jewish family takes him seriously, so when Joey’s Skee-Ball skills land him an unusual job offer from a local mobster, he’s thrilled to be treated like “one of the guys,” and develops a major crush on an older girl in the process. Eventually disillusioned by the mob’s bravado, and ashamed of his own dishonesty, he recalls words of wisdom from his grandfather that finally resonate. Joey realizes where he really belongs: with his family, who drive him crazy, but where no one fights a battle alone. All it takes to get by is one’s wits…and a little help from one’s brothers.
Shades of Rust and Ruin by A. G. Howard (ISBN-13: 9781547608089 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 09/06/2022, Ages 13-17)
New York Times bestselling author A.G. Howard launches a dark and compelling new YA fantasy series about a girl whose family is cursed by Halloween.
Phoenix “Nix” Loring knows her family is under a Halloween curse. When she was three, her parents tragically died on October 31st. Eleven years later, her twin sister Lark suffered a similar fate.
Ever since, Nix has battled survivor guilt. She can’t even find comfort in Clarey, Lark’s boyfriend and the one person who understands her pain, because Nix’s hidden feelings for him go far beyond friendship. All that remains are her sketches, where she finds solace among the goblins and faeries in her imaginary world of Mystiquel. When her depression starts affecting her ability to see color, Nix all but gives up on her art, until her uncle goes missing on Halloween day. Hot on his trail, Nix and Clarey step through a portal, becoming trapped inside a decaying version of their town filled with Nix’s own sketches come to life.
As Nix and Clarey search for her uncle within the sinister and dangerous world of Mystiquel, Nix discovers there’s more to her family curse and otherworldly artwork than she ever imagined-and unless she can solve the Goblin King’s maze before the clock strikes midnight, her life won’t be the only one the curse claims next.
Set in a gritty, atmospheric world filled with magical creatures, New York Times bestselling author A.G. Howard launches a thrilling new fantasy full of romance, twists, and betrayals.
Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston (ISBN-13: 9781547608461 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 09/06/2022, Ages 9-11)
From the beloved author of President of the Whole Fifth Grade, a story about a young Black girl who summons the courage to fight against a racist dress code-and stand up for herself.
Twelve-year-old Lotus Bloom is a free spirit with a mega-‘fro she’s affectionately named “the wooly mammoth.” A talented violinist, she just switched from her inner-city school to a fancy arts academy. Her best friend Rebel is quick to point out the funding disparities between schools, and urges Lotus to help her protest, but Lotus isn’t sure; if she’s going to be in the spotlight, she’d rather it be for her music.
But then a classroom prank – boys thinking it’s hilarious to throw wads of paper into Lotus’s hair – escalates after she reports it to the administration and shockingly finds herself facing suspension. Lotus must choose whether to stay quiet and risk everything she’s worked so hard for, or fight back. Is this school really where she belongs?
Inspired by stories of real Black girls advocating against unjust, racist school dress codes across the country, beloved middle grade author Sherri Winston introduces another memorable character who decides to speak up for what’s right, no matter what it takes.
It Looks Like Us by Alison Ames (ISBN-13: 9781645676188 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 09/13/2022, Ages 14-17)
Shy high school junior Riley Kowalski is spending her winter break on a research trip to Antarctica, sponsored by one of the world’s biggest tech companies. She joins five student volunteers, a company-approved chaperone, and an impartial scientist to prove that environmental plastic pollution has reached all the way to Antarctica, but what they find is something much worse… something that looks human.
Riley has anxiety—ostracized by the kids at school because of panic attacks—so when she starts to feel like something’s wrong with their expedition leader, Greta, she writes it off. But when Greta snaps and tries to kill Riley, she can’t chalk it up to an overactive imagination anymore. Worse, after watching Greta disintegrate, only to find another student with the same affliction, she realizes they haven’t been infected, they’ve been infiltrated—by something that can change its shape. And if the group isn’t careful, that something could quickly replace any of them.
The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass (ISBN-13: 9780593464786 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/20/2022, Ages 14-17)
A charming YA rom-com perfect for fans of Red, White, and Royal Blue and What If It’s Us.
Micah Summers runs a popular Instagram full of drawings of his numerous imaginary boyfriends (ninety-nine so far)—though he’s never had a real boyfriend before. But when a meet-cute with Boy 100 goes wrong, Micah embarks on a Prince Charming-like quest throughout Chicago to find true love—for real this time.
Will Boy 100 be the One?
Micah is rich, dreamy, and charming. As the “Prince of Chicago,”—the son of local celebrity sports radio host known as the King of Chicago—he has everything going for him. Unfortunately, he’s also the prince of imaginary meet-cutes, since he’s too nervous to actually ask boys out.
Instead, Micah draws each crush to share on Instagram with a post about their imaginary dates. Ninety-nine “boyfriends” later, his account is hugely popular, and everyone is eagerly awaiting Boy 100. So is Micah. He’s determined that Boy 100 will be different. This time, Micah will sweep the boy off his feet, for real!
So when Micah flirts with a hot boy on the L who’s wearing a vegan leather jacket and lugging a ton of library books, he is sure this is Boy 100. But right before he can make his move and ask for the boy’s number, the guy rushes off the train, leaving behind his pumpkin-embroidered jacket. The jacket holds clues to the boy’s identity, so Micah and his friends set off on a quest to return it. Along the way, Micah will discover that the best relationships aren’t fairy tales. In fact, the perfect fit—and true love—might be closer than he thinks.
The Killing Code by Ellie Marney (ISBN-13: 9780316339582 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 09/20/2022, Ages 14-18)
A historical mystery about a girl who risks everything to track down a vicious serial killer, for fans of The Enigma Game and Last Night at the Telegraph Club.
Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signal Intelligence facility. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.
To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.
Until We Break by Matthew Dawkins (ISBN-13: 9781989365878 Publisher: Wattpad WEBTOON Book Group Publication date: 09/20/2022, Ages 14-17)
Dance like everyone’s watching. Because they are.
As the only Black student at her ballet academy, Naomi Morgan knows her feelings of isolation and artistic sacrifice are the price she has to pay in order to win the Youth American Grand Prix, the country’s most prestigious dance competition. Winning means access to a spot in a top ballet school and, ultimately, a place with The New York City Ballet. Nothing else matters.
But when Naomi’s dance instructor assigns her Odette’s variation from Swan Lake, Naomi’s world begins to fall apart. She doesn’t think she can dance the part—and her doubts become the loudest voice in her head. Her best friend, Jessica, used to be her sounding board, her support, her co-star—and even though Jessica died in a freak car accident, Naomi still sees and hears her everywhere.
She’s been burying her grief by focusing on her dancing. But when an injury steals that refuge, Naomi’s mental health deteriorates and she starts to seek answers outside of her carefully constructed reality. Then one night, she meets Saint, a street artist, and he opens up an entirely new world for her. A world that’s not connected to dance.
Saint spends his nights creating brilliant and beautiful messages of social change that the world needs to hear. In their sleepy California town, he wants to mix it up—to force the world to see him as he is—he’s got a voice and isn’t afraid to use it. Even if his family life is tough. Even if the same avenues that are open to Naomi are not open to him.
Together they both learn that there’s no one right way to be in the world. For Naomi, this means that maybe dance isn’t the only choice for her. Maybe her voice can be louder off stage, and she can shine in a different kind of spotlight. Maybe she and Saint will shine together and everything will be different in the best possible way.
The Take-Over Friend by Carol Dines (ISBN-13: 9781646032891 Publisher: Regal House Publishing Publication date: 10/04/2022, Ages 12-15)
On the second day of ninth grade, introverted Frances meets Sonja, a wildly funny newcomer from France, and the girls form a fast friendship. Frances adores Sonja’s worldliness, and Sonja adores Frances’s family, especially her older brother, Will. Frances and Sonja immediately declare themselves “The Poets” and rally their homeroom to enter the homecoming parade with a poetry-mobile built from Frances’s father’s old band bus. But respective family crises begin to escalate, and tensions come to a head when Sonja temporarily moves in with Frances’s family—forcing each friend to decide how close is too close. Alternatingly funny and poignant, The Take-Over Friend is a smart page-turner that focuses on the importance of finding your own voice in relationships.
Filed under: New Releases
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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