Book Mail: A return to the Graceling Realm, rescue animals, Wuhan in the first days of the pandemic, and more!
This is probably the last book mail roundup for a while where every book delivered doesn’t also come with the threat of our UPS guy slipping and sliding down our perilous driveway. The misery of winter is in full effect here in Minnesota–it’s 1 entire degree outside as I type this–but at least I have book mail to look forward to. It usually slows down around the holiday season, so not as many titles here as usual, but hey, maybe that means I might end up making a real dent in my TBR pile!
All descriptions from the publishers.
Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: The Law of Cavities (Book 3) by Valerie Tripp, Millie Liu (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781426373022 Publisher: National Geographic Publication date: 10/11/2022 Series: S.M.A.R.T. Squad Series, Ages 8-12)
The S.M.A.R.T. Squad is back to tackle more middle school mayhem with science, technology, engineering, math, and friendship!
In this third book in the S.M.A.R.T. Squad series, best friends Izzy Newton, Allie Einstein, Marie Curie, Charlie Darwin, and Gina Carver set out on a mystery-filled outdoor adventure.
Now that Izzy’s finally found her voice in public speaking class and become an ice hockey star, she’s determined to conquer her “dizzy-Izzy-ness” in new situations—including caring for her brand-new braces on an outdoor education overnight and her friends’ good-natured teasing about her friend Trevor. But the forecast for fun turns cloudy when the girls discover their cabin chaperone is none other than Izzy’s tough public-speaking teacher, Ms. Martinez, and their junior counselor is eighth grade mean girl, Maddie Sharpe.
When an innocent exchange of harmless pranks with Maddie takes a turn for the worse, the Squad turns to science to prove their innocence. That’s nothing, though, compared with the terrifying swamp monster haunting their campsite, a catastrophe befalling Ms. Martinez, and a mysterious disaster threatening the future of camp itself.
With their very survival on the line, will science be enough to save the day?
Complete your S.M.A.R.T. Squad collection with Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: Absolute Zero and Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: Newton’s Flaw.
Check out smartsquadbooks.com for more.
Seasparrow (Graceling Realm Series #5) by Kristin Cashore (ISBN-13: 9781984816672 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 11/01/2022 Series: Graceling Realm Series, Ages 14-17)
Make the harrowing journey home with Queen Bitterblue’s sister and spy, in the fifth novel in the bestselling Graceling Realm series.
Hava sails across the sea toward Monsea with her sister, the royal entourage, and the world’s only copies of the formulas for the zilfium weapon she saved at the end of Winterkeep. During the crossing, Hava makes an unexpected discovery about one of the ship’s crew, but before she can unravel the mystery, storms drive their ship off course, wrecking them in the ice far north of the Royal Continent. The survivors must endure a harrowing trek across the ice to make it back to Monsea. And while Queen Bitterblue grapples with how to carry the responsibility of a weapon that will change the world, Hava has a few more mysteries to solve—and a decision to make about who she wants to be in the new world Bitterblue will build.
Midnight at the Shelter by Nanci Turner Steveson (ISBN-13: 9780062673213 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 11/01/2022, Ages 8-12)
Written with a distinctively doggy voice, great humor, and plenty of heart, this novel from acclaimed author Nanci Turner Steveson is a perfect pick for readers looking for a touching animal story in the vein of Because of Winn-Dixie or Marley & Me.
Rescue dog MahDi is happy helping his human partner, “MomDoc,” with the important work at her vet clinic and the local animal shelter. The two of them make a good team, caring for the town’s pets and matchmaking rescue animals with the families who need them.
When the shelter is suddenly down a staff member, the animals have to deal with a new caretaker: Huck, an unpleasant man who seems to have no problem threatening the animals he’s supposed to care for. As more dogs crowd into the shelter than are going to new homes, MahDi begins to worry that if MomDoc isn’t around, there is no telling what Huck might do.
With three perfectly good legs, the heart of a true leader, and his pack mates by his side, MahDi is willing to risk everything to save his shelter-friends from an uncertain future.
Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Chang Compestine (ISBN-13: 9780358572053 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 11/08/2022, Ages 8-12)
What was the pandemic of the century like at the start? This swift, gripping novel captures not only the uncertainty and panic when COVID first emerged in Wuhan, but also how a community banded together.
Weaving in the tastes and sounds of the historic city, Wuhan’s comforting and distinctive cuisine comes to life as the reader follows 13-year-old Mei who, through her love for cooking, makes a difference in her community. Written by an award-winning author originally from Wuhan.
Grieving the death of her mother and an outcast at school, thirteen-year-old Mei finds solace in cooking and computer games. When her friend’s grandmother falls ill, Mei seeks out her father, a doctor, for help, and discovers the hospital is overcrowded. As the virus spreads, Mei finds herself alone in a locked-down city trying to find a way to help.
Author Ying Chang Compestine draws on her own experiences growing up in Wuhan to illustrate that the darkest times can bring out the best in people, friendship can give one courage in frightening times, and most importantly, young people can make an impact on the world. Readers can follow Mei’s tantalizing recipes and cook them at home.
Belittled Women by Amanda Sellet (ISBN-13: 9780358567356 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 11/29/2022, Ages 14-17)
Sharp and subversive, this delightfully messy YA rom-com offers a sly wink to the classic Little Women, as teenage Jo Porter rebels against living in the shadow of her literary namesake.
Lit’s about to hit the fan. Jo Porter has had enough Little Women to last a lifetime. As if being named after the sappiest family in literature wasn’t sufficiently humiliating, Jo’s mom, ahem Marmee, leveled up her Alcott obsession by turning their rambling old house into a sad-sack tourist attraction.
Now Jo, along with her siblings, Meg and Bethamy (yes, that’s two March sisters in one), spends all summer acting out sentimental moments at Little Women Live!, where she can feel her soul slowly dying.
So when a famed photojournalist arrives to document the show, Jo seizes on the glimpse of another life: artsy, worldly, and fast-paced. It doesn’t hurt that the reporter’s teenage son is also eager to get up close and personal with Jo—to the annoyance of her best friend, aka the boy next door (who is definitely not called Laurie). All Jo wants is for someone to see the person behind the prickliness and pinafores.
But when she gets a little too real about her frustration with the family biz, Jo will have to make peace with kitsch and kin before their livelihood suffers a fate worse than Beth.
A Thousand Heartbeats by Kiera Cass (ISBN-13: 9780062665782 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 11/29/2022, Ages 13-17)
#1 New York Times bestselling author of The Selection series Kiera Cass is back with her most epic novel yet—a sweeping enemies-to-lovers standalone romance.
“Love has a sound. It sounds like a thousand heartbeats happening at the same time.”
Princess Annika has lived a life of comfort—but no amount of luxuries can change the fact that her life isn’t her own to control. The king, once her loving father, has gone cold, and Annika will soon be forced into a loveless marriage for political gain.
Miles away, small comforts are few and far between for Lennox. He has devoted his life to the Dahrainian army, hoping to one day help them reclaim the throne that was stolen from them. For Lennox, the idea of love is merely a distraction—nothing will stand in the way of fighting for his people.
But when love, against all odds, finds them both, they are bound by its call. They can’t possibly be together—but the irresistible thrum of a thousand heartbeats won’t let them stay apart.
Kiera Cass brings her signature sparkling romance to this beautiful story of star-crossed lovers and long-held secrets.
Brighter Than the Moon by David Valdes (ISBN-13: 9781547607167 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/10/2023, Ages 12-17)
From the author of Spin Me Right Round, a fresh, modern story about learning how to love—starting with yourself—as three teens who know each other online meet up and find themselves questioning everything.
Shy foster kid Jonas and self-assured vlogger Shani met online, and so far, that’s where their relationship has stayed, sharing memes and baring their souls from behind their screens. Shani is eager to finally meet up, but Jonas isn’t so sure—he’s not confident Shani will like the real him . . . if he’s even sure who that is.
Jonas knows he’s trapped himself in a lie with Shani—and wants to dig himself out. But Shani, who’s been burned before, may not give him a chance: she talks her best friend Ash into playing spy and finding out the truth. When Ash falls for Jonas, too, he keeps that news from Shani, and soon they’re all keeping secrets. Will it matter that their hearts are in the right place? Coming clean will require them to figure out who they really are, which is no easy task when all the pieces of your identity go beyond easy boxes and labels.
Lauded writer David Valdes offers a heartfelt, clever, and thought-provoking story about how we figure out who we want to be—online and IRL—for fans of David Levithan and Adam Silvera.
Rebel, Brave and Brutal (Winter, White and Wicked #2) by Shannon Dittemore (ISBN-13: 9781419757709 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 01/10/2023 Series: Winter, White and Wicked, Ages 12-18)
The gripping sequel to Winter, White and Wicked that boasts the thrills of Mad Max: Fury Road and the icy magic of Frozen
Sylvi Quine, the best rig driver on Layce, has braved the dangers of the Shiv Road to save her friend and learned the truth of her power over Winter. Now, she’s joined the rebels working to take down the Majority. Her magic could change the course of their fight, and she agrees to meet the king of Paradyia to offer an exchange: the healing powers of the Pool of Begynd for his army.
The journey won’t be easy. To get there, Sylvi will have to navigate the Kol Sea, crossing through Winter’s storms and swarms of her Abaki––all while outrunning the Majority, who have sent their best Kol Master to track her down and bring her in, dead or alive.
But she isn’t traveling alone. Mars Dresden knows Sylvi is the key to freeing Layce, and demands she train like it. Kyn, the boy with stone flesh and a soft heart, is bound to Sylvi in more ways than one, a connection that both hurts and heals. And Lenore, Sylvi’s best friend, insists the Majority pay for what they’ve done to her parents. Even though her crew believes in her, Sylvi’s still learning to use her power, and Winter’s whispers are constant . . .
Will she be able to control Winter when it matters most? Or will this be the end of the rebellion?
Queenie: Godmother of Harlem by Elizabeth Colomba and Aurelie Levy (ISBN-13: 9781419757747 Publisher: Abrams ComicArts – Megascope Publication date: 01/17/2023)
A historical graphic novel inspired by the life of Harlem’s legendary mobster, Stephanie Saint-Clair
Queenie follows the life of Stephanie Saint-Clair—the infamous criminal who made herself a legend in Harlem in the 1930s. Born on a plantation in the French colony of Martinique, Saint-Clair left the island in 1912 and headed for the United States, eager to make a new life for herself. In New York she found success, rising up through poverty and battling extreme racism to become the ruthless queen of Harlem’s mafia and a fierce defender of the Black community.
A racketeer and a bootlegger, Saint-Clair dedicated her wealth and compassion to the struggling masses of Harlem, giving loans and paying debts to those around her. But with Prohibition ending, and under threat by Italian mobsters seeking to take control of her operation, she launched a merciless war to save her territory and her skin. In an America still swollen by depression and segregation, Saint-Clair understood that her image was a tool she could use to establish her power and wield as a weapon against her opponents.
Authors Elizabeth Colomba and Aurelie Levy’s meticulous details—in both story and art—bring Saint-Clair’s story to life in a tense narrative, against a sometimes bloody backdrop of jazz and voodoo. The story tackles the themes of colonization, corruption, police violence, and racial identity, but above all, Queenie celebrates the genius of a woman forgotten by history.
Another Dimension of Us by Mike Albo (ISBN-13: 9780593223765 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/17/2023, Ages 12-17)
The Breakfast Club meets Brit Marling’s The OA in this thrilling science fiction story about teens from the past and the future who travel across the astral plane save the ones they love.
In 1986, Tommy Gaye is in love with his best friend, budding teen poet Renaldo Calabasas. But at the height of the AIDS crisis and amidst the homophobia running rampant across America, Tommy can never share his feelings. Then, one terrible night, Renaldo is struck by lightning. And he emerges from the storm a very different boy.
In 2044, Herron High student Pris Devrees jolts awake after having a strange nightmare about a boy named Tommy and a house in the neighborhood the locals affectionally call “The Murder House.” When she ventures to the house to better understand her vivid dreams, she happens upon an old self-help book that she soon realizes is a guide to trans-dimensional travel.
As bodies and minds merge across the astral plane, Pris, Tommy, and their friends race to save Renaldo from a dangerous demon, while uncovering potent realities about love, sexuality, and friendship.
Afterglow by Phil Stamper (ISBN-13: 9781547607389 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 02/07/2023 Series: Golden Boys, Ages 13-17)
After a life-changing summer, these four friends are finally ready for senior year.
Gabriel is thrilled to create his school’s first LGBTQ+ advocacy group, but his long-distance relationship is fading from summer love to something else. . .
Heath feels secure for the first time in years, but with his future riding on a baseball scholarship each pitch triggers his anxiety. . .
Reese is set on pursuing a career in fashion design, but his creativity takes him in an unexpected direction, he isn’t yet ready to share. . .
Sal wants to be in politics, specifically local politics. After a chat with his aunt, he is ready for an unlikely path. . .
As graduation nears and the boys prepare to enter the real world, it’s clear their friendship will never be the same. Can they find a way to stay connected and pursue their dreams?
When Sea Becomes Sky by Gillian McDunn (ISBN-13: 9781547610853 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 02/28/2023, Ages 8-11)
In this heartfelt summer story, acclaimed author Gillian McDunn paints a stunning portrait of the bond of siblings and the love we’ll always carry with us.
Bex and Davey’s summer in the saltmarsh is different this year, thanks to the record-breaking drought. Even the fish seem listless—and each day the water level lowers farther. When they discover a mysterious underwater statue, they’re thrilled at the chance to solve the puzzle of its origin. This is the summer adventure they’ve been waiting for.
When they learn of a development plan that will destroy their special spot, they’ll need to act quickly. Unfortunately, sometimes progress happens whether you’re ready or not. What will it mean if Bex and Davey lose their corner of the marsh where otters frolic and dragonflies buzz—their favorite place to be siblings together?
As Bex and Davey attempt to save the statue and their beloved marsh, they come to see that the truth is not as simple as it seems . . . ultimately discovering so much more about life, permanence, love, and loss than they ever expected.
Award-winning author Gillian McDunn crafts a gorgeous story of love and siblinghood, of secret statues and island life, of holding on and letting go.
Remind Me to Hate You Later by Lizzy Mason (ISBN-13: 9781547609185 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 02/28/2023, Ages 14-17)
A story about the pressures of social media, the lengths influencers will go to for fame, and the grief of losing a loved one to suicide, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Gayle Forman.
Seventeen-year-old Jules grew up in her mother’s spotlight. A “parenting influencer,” Britt shares details of her daughter’s life-pictures, intimate stories, insecurities, all-to a point that becomes unbearable to Jules.
And suddenly she’s gone.
Natalie has only barely begun to grieve her best friend Jules’s death when Britt announces her plans to publish a memoir that will dissect Jules’s life and death. But Nat knows the truth behind Britt’s “perfect” Instagram feed-Jules hated the pressure, the inauthenticity, the persona. There’s so much more to Jules than Britt and her followers could ever know. As Nat connects with Jules’s boyfriend, Carter, and their shared grief and guilt bonds them, she becomes determined to expose Britt, to understand what really happened, and who is to blame.
In a world that feels distorted by celebrity and the manipulations of social media and public opinion, Natalie and Carter need something real to hold onto. Remind Me to Hate You Later is a moving account of grief, depression, complex relationships, love, and the search for truth.
Nightbirds by Kate J. Armstrong (ISBN-13: 9780593463277 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/28/2023, Ages 12-17)
In a dazzling new fantasy world full of whispered secrets and political intrigue, the magic of women is outlawed but four girls with unusual powers have the chance to change it all.
The Nightbirds are Simta’s best-kept secret: Girls with a unique and powerful magic they can gift with just a kiss. Some would kill to possess them; the church would kill them outright. But protected by the Great Houses, the Nightbirds are well-guarded treasures.
As this Season’s Nightbirds, Matilde, Æsa, and Sayer will spend their nights bestowing their gifts to well-paying clients. Once their season is through, they’re each expected to marry a Great House lord and become mothers to the next generation of Nightbirds before their powers fade away. But as they find themselves at the heart of a political scheme that threatens not only their secrets, but their very lives, their future suddenly becomes uncertain.
When they discover that there are other girls like them and that their magic is far more than they were told, they see the Nightbird system for what it is: a gilded cage. Now they must make a choice—to remain kept birds or take control, remaking the city that dared to clip their wings.
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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