Book Mail: Recent and forthcoming books for all ages
Check out the new and forthcoming books that have shown up at my house to consider for coverage on TLT. Whoever first said, “So many books, so little time” sure nailed it, didn’t they? The other day, I passed along a pile of books to a teacher at my school. “I wish I could read as fast as you do,” she said. I do read fast, for sure. But I also feel like I can never read as fast as I’d like to. I will never get through all the books that show up here. Sigh.
All descriptions of books are from the publishers.
Breakup from Hell by Ann Davila Cardinal (ISBN-13: 9780063045309 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 01/03/2023, Ages 13-17)
Fans of Undead Girl Gang and The Babysitters Coven will love Breakup from Hell, a witty YA rom-com with a supernatural twist, starring horror novel obsessed Mica Angeles, who discovers the guy she fell for comes straight out of one of her beloved books.
Miguela Angeles is tired. Tired of her abuela keeping secrets, especially about her heritage. Tired of her small Vermont town and hanging out at the same places with the same friends she’s known forever. So when another boring Sunday trip to church turns into a run-in with Sam, a mysterious hottie in town on vacation, Mica seizes the opportunity to get closer to him.
It’s not long before she is under Sam’s spell and doing things she’s never done before, like winning all her martial arts sparring matches—and lying to her favorite people. The more time Mica spends with Sam, the more weird things start to happen, too. Like terrifying-visions-of-the-world-ending weird.
Mica’s gut instincts keep telling her something is off, yet Sam is the most exciting guy she’s ever met. But when Mica discovers his family’s roots, she realizes that instead of being in the typical high school relationship, she’s living in a horror novel.
She has to leave Sam, but will ending their relationship also bring an end to everything she knows and everyone she loves?
Clever, hilarious, and steeped in supernatural suspense, Breakup from Hell will keep you hooked until the last page.
Jiu-Jitsu Girl by Jennifer Dutton (ISBN-13: 9781631636929 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 01/24/2023, Ages 8-13)
What’s more terrifying than being forced into a coed combat wrestling martial art by your own mother? Sixth grade.
Angie Larson hates Jiu-Jitsu. Like many twelve-year-old girls, she fails to find the glamour in a martial art that embraces zero personal space and choking as an end goal. Seriously, people choke her, drip sweat on her face, and even wrap their legs around her neck. It’s the worst. Instead, she idolizes the seemingly perfect kids at her school who do “normal” activities like dance or soccer. But just when it seems like Angie is about to be accepted by them, her mom enrolls her in a Jiu-Jitsu tournament and begins a relationship with the sweatiest coach on the planet. And to make things more complicated, Angie develops a close friendship with a boy who is definitely not part of the “cool” crowd.
Angie must decide who she is while making some painful decisions both on and off the mat. Is she a dance girl, a soccer girl, a nothing girl . . . or a Jiu-Jitsu girl?
The Stories Whiteness Tells Itself: Racial Myths and Our American Narratives by David Mura (ISBN-13: 9781517914547 Publisher: University of Minnesota Press Publication date: 01/31/2023)
Uncovering the pernicious narratives white people create to justify white supremacy and sustain racist oppression.
The police murders of two Black men, Philando Castile and George Floyd, frame this searing exploration of the historical and fictional narratives that white America tells itself to justify and maintain white supremacy. From the country’s founding through the summer of Black Lives Matter in 2020, David Mura unmasks how white stories about race attempt to erase the brutality of the past and underpin systemic racism in the present.
Intertwining history, literature, ethics, and the deeply personal, Mura looks back to foundational narratives of white supremacy (Jefferson’s defense of slavery, Lincoln’s frequently minimized racism, and the establishment of Jim Crow) to show how white identity is based on shared belief in the pernicious myths, false histories, and racially segregated fictions that allow whites to deny their culpability in past atrocities and current inequities. White supremacy always insists white knowledge is superior to Black knowledge, Mura argues, and this belief dismisses the truths embodied in Black narratives.
Mura turns to literature, comparing the white savior portrayal of the film Amistad to the novelization of its script by the Black novelist Alexs Pate, which focuses on its African protagonists; depictions of slavery in Faulkner and Morrison; and race’s absence in the fiction of Jonathan Franzen and its inescapable presence in works by ZZ Packer, tracing the construction of Whiteness to willfully distorted portraits of race in America. In James Baldwin’s essays, Mura finds a response to this racial distortion and a way for Blacks and other BIPOC people to heal from the wounds of racism.
Taking readers beyond apology, contrition, or sadness, Mura attends to the persistent trauma racism has exacted and lays bare how deeply we need to change our racial narratives—what white people must do—to dissolve the myth of Whiteness and fully acknowledge the stories and experiences of Black Americans.
Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling by Elise Bryant (ISBN-13: 9780063212992 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 01/31/2023, Ages 13-17)
From the NAACP Image Award–nominated author of Happily Ever Afters comes a dual POV rom-com about Reggie and Delilah, who fall in love through missed connections and chance meetings on holidays over the course of a year. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han, with crossover appeal for readers of Jasmine Guillory and Talia Hibbert romances.
Delilah always keeps her messy, gooey insides hidden behind a wall of shrugs and yeah, whatevers. She goes with the flow—which is how she ends up singing in her friends’ punk band as a favor, even though she’d prefer to hide at the merch table.
Reggie is a D&D Dungeon Master and self-declared Blerd. He spends his free time leading quests and writing essays critiquing the game under a pseudonym, keeping it all under wraps from his disapproving family.
These two, who have practically nothing in common, meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve. And then again on Valentine’s Day. And then again on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s almost like the universe is pushing them together for a reason.
Delilah wishes she were more like Reggie—open about what she likes and who she is, even if it’s not cool. Except . . . it’s all a front. Reggie is just role-playing someone confident. The kind of guy who could be with a girl like Delilah.
As their holiday meetings continue, the two begin to fall for each other. But what happens once they realize they’ve each fallen for a version of the other that doesn’t really exist?
The Cartographers by Amy Zhang (ISBN-13: 9780062383075 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 01/31/2023, Ages 14-17)
Struggling to balance the expectations of her immigrant mother with her own deep ambivalence about her place in the world, seventeen-year-old Ocean Sun takes her savings and goes off the grid. A haunting and romantic novel about family, friendship, philosophy, fitting in, and love from Amy Zhang, the acclaimed author of Falling into Place and This Is Where the World Ends.
Ocean Sun has always felt an enormous pressure to succeed. After struggling with depression during her senior year of high school, Ocean moves to New York City, where she has been accepted at a prestigious university. But Ocean feels so emotionally raw and unmoored (and uncertain about what is real and what is not) that she decides to defer and live off her savings until she can get herself together. She also decides not to tell her mother (whom she loves very much but doesn’t want to disappoint) that she is deferring—at least until she absolutely must.
In New York, Ocean moves into an apartment with Georgie and Tashya, two strangers who soon become friends, and gets a job tutoring. She also meets a boy—Constantine Brave (a name that makes her laugh)—late one night on the subway. Constant is a fellow student and a graffiti artist, and Constant and Ocean soon start corresponding via Google Docs—they discuss physics, philosophy, art, literature, and love. But everything falls apart when Ocean goes home for Thanksgiving, Constant reveals his true character, Georgie and Tashya break up, and the police get involved.
Ocean, Constant, Georgie, and Tashya are all cartographers—mapping out their futures, their dreams, and their paths toward adulthood in this stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding the strength to control your own destiny. For fans of Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay and Daniel Nayeri’s Everything Sad Is Untrue.
Play the Game by Charlene Allen (ISBN-13: 9780063212794 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 01/31/2023, Ages 13-17)
From debut author Charlene Allen comes a captivating YA contemporary mystery and coming-of-age story, celebrating the power of friendship, first love, and exploring the criminal justice system from the lens of restorative justice. Perfect for fans of Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, and Maureen Johnson.
In the game of life, sometimes other people hold all the controls. Or so it seems to VZ. Four months have passed since his best friend Ed was killed by a white man in a Brooklyn parking lot.
When Singer, the man who killed Ed, is found dead in the same spot where Ed was murdered, all signs point to Jack, VZ’s other best friend, as the prime suspect.
VZ’s determined to complete the video game Ed never finished and figure out who actually killed Singer. With help from Diamond, the girl he’s crushing on at work, VZ falls into Ed’s quirky gameiverse. As the police close in on Jack, the game starts to uncover details that could lead to the truth about the murder.
Can VZ honor Ed and help Jack before it’s too late?
City of the Dead by James Ponti (ISBN-13: 9781665911573 Publisher: Aladdin Publication date: 02/07/2023 Series: City Spies Series #4, Ages 8-12)
In this fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling series from Edgar Award winner James Ponti, the young group of spies go codebreaking in Cairo in another international adventure perfect for fans of Spy School and Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls.
Codename Kathmandu, better known as Kat, loves logic and order, has a favorite eight-digit number, and can spot a pattern from a mile away. So when a series of cyberattacks hits key locations in London while the spies are testing security for the British Museum, it’s clear that Kat’s skill for finding reason in what seems like randomness makes her the perfect candidate to lead the job.
And while the team follows the deciphered messages to Egypt and the ancient City of the Dead to discover who is behind the attacks and why, Kat soon realizes that there’s another layer to the mystery.
With more players, more clues, and involving higher levels of British Intelligence than ever before, this mission is one of the most complex that the group has faced to date. And it’s also going to bring about a change to the City Spies…
Planning Perfect by Haley Neil (ISBN-13: 9781547607495 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 02/14/2023, Ages 12-17)
In this charming, heartfelt YA romcom about being on the asexual spectrum, a girl tries to craft the perfect wedding for her mother but discovers that sometimes the best parts of life can’t be planned.
Felicity Becker loves watching an event come together. Whether it’s prom, graduation, or just the annual Arbor Day school dance, there’s something magical about crafting an experience that people will remember. So when her mom gets engaged, Felicity sees the wedding as the perfect opportunity to show off her skills.
After Felicity’s long-distance friend Nancy offers up her family’s apple orchard as a venue, wedding planning gets even better. But the more time Felicity and Nancy spend together dress shopping and hunting for just-right mismatched china, the more it starts to seem like there might be something besides friendship between them. Felicity isn’t sure how she feels. As someone on the asexual spectrum, what would dating even look like for her? And would Nancy be open to dating when Felicity doesn’t even know what she wants from a relationship?
Suddenly the summer is a lot more complicated. Especially when Felicity finds out that one of the wedding guests is an event planner with a prestigious internship available. Can Felicity wrangle her irresponsible mom, juggle her judgmental grandmother, figure out her feelings for Nancy, and plan the perfect wedding? Or will all of her plans come crashing down around her?
Lasagna Means I Love You by Kate O’Shaughnessy (ISBN-13: 9781984893871 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 02/21/2023, Ages 8-12)
What are the essential ingredients that make a family? Eleven-year-old Mo is making up her own recipe in this unforgettable story that’s a little sweet, a little sour, and totally delicious.
Nan was all the family Mo ever needed. But suddenly she’s gone, and Mo finds herself in foster care after her uncle decides she’s not worth sticking around for.
Nan left her a notebook and advised her to get a hobby, like ferret racing or palm reading.
But how could a hobby fix anything in her newly topsy-turvy life?
Then Mo finds a handmade cookbook filled with someone else’s family recipes. Even though Nan never cooked, Mo can’t tear her eyes away. Not so much from the recipes, but the stories attached to them. Though, when she makes herself a pot of soup, it is every bit as comforting as the recipe notes said.
Soon Mo finds herself asking everyone she meets for their family recipes. Teaching herself to make them. Collecting the stories behind them. Building a website to share them. And, okay, secretly hoping that a long-lost relative will find her and give her a family recipe all her own.
But when everything starts to unravel again, Mo realizes that if she wants a family recipe—or a real family—she’s going to have to make it up herself.
She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran (ISBN-13: 9781547610815 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 02/28/2023, Ages 13-17)
This house eats and is eaten . . .
“A riveting debut from a remarkable new voice! Trang Thanh Tran weaves an impressive gothic mystery in which Jade’s father is determined to restore a decrepit home to its former glory and Jade is the only person who feels the soul-crushing devastation of colonialism lingering within its walls.” —Angeline Boulley, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Firekeeper’s Daughter
A House with a terrifying appetite haunts a broken family in this atmospheric horror, perfect for fans of Mexican Gothic.
When Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam for a visit with her estranged father, she has one goal: survive five weeks pretending to be a happy family in the French colonial house Ba is restoring. She’s always lied to fit in, so if she’s straight enough, Vietnamese enough, American enough, she can get out with the college money he promised.
But the house has other plans. Night after night, Jade wakes up paralyzed. The walls exude a thrumming sound while bugs leave their legs and feelers in places they don’t belong. She finds curious traces of her ancestors in the gardens they once tended. And at night Jade can’t ignore the ghost of the beautiful bride who leaves cryptic warnings: Don’t eat.
Neither Ba nor her sweet sister Lily believe that there is anything strange happening. With help from a delinquent girl, Jade will prove this house—the home they have always wanted—will not rest until it destroys them. Maybe, this time, she can keep her family together. As she roots out the house’s rot, she must also face the truth of who she is and who she must become to save them all.
Colin Kaepernick: Change the Game (Graphic Novel Memoir) by Colin Kaepernick, Eve L. Ewing, Orlando Caicedo (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781338789652 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 03/07/2023, Ages 12-18)
Colin Kaepernick: Change the Game is an inspiring high school graphic novel memoir for readers 12 and up from celebrated athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick.
High school star athlete Colin Kaepernick is at a crossroads in life. Heavily scouted by colleges and MLB as a baseball pitcher, he has a bright future ahead of him as a highly touted prospect. Everyone from his parents to his teachers and coaches are in agreement on his future. Colin feels differently.
Colin isn’t excited about baseball. In the words of five-time all-star MLB player Adam Jones, “Baseball is a white man’s game.” Colin looks up to athletes like Allen Iverson: talented, hyper-competitive, unapologetically Black, and dominating their sports while staying true to themselves. College football looks a lot more fun than sleeping on hotel room floors in the minor leagues of baseball. But Colin doesn’t have a single offer to play football. Yet.
This touching graphic novel explores the story of how a young change-maker learned to find himself and never compromise. How the right decision is very rarely the easy one, but taking the road less traveled can make all the difference in the world.
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come by Jen St. Jude (ISBN-13: 9781547611362 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 05/09/2023, Ages 14-17)
We Are Okay meets They Both Die at the End in this YA debut about queer first love and mental health at the end of the world-and the importance of saving yourself, no matter what tomorrow may hold.
Avery Byrne has secrets. She’s queer; she’s in love with her best friend, Cass; and she’s suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to live: an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it.
Trying to spare her family and Cass additional pain, Avery does her best to make it through just nine more days. As time runs out and secrets slowly come to light, Avery would do anything to save the ones she loves. But most importantly, she learns to save herself. Speak her truth. Seek the support she needs. Find hope again in the tomorrows she has left.
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come is a celebration of queer love, a gripping speculative narrative, and an urgent, conversation-starting book about depression, mental health, and shame.
I Have Something to Tell You-For Young Adults: A Memoir by Chasten Buttigieg (ISBN-13: 9781665904377 Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers Publication date: 05/16/2023, Ages 12-18)
The young adult adaptation of the moving, hopeful, and refreshingly candid memoir by the husband of a former Democratic presidential candidate about growing up gay in his small Midwestern town.
Growing up, Chasten Glezman Buttigieg didn’t always fit in. He felt different from his father and brothers, who loved to hunt and go camping, and out of place in the rural, conservative small town where he lived. Back then, blending in was more important than feeling seen.
So, when Chasten realized he was gay, he kept that part of himself hidden away for a long, painful time. With incredible bravery, and the support of his loved ones, Chasten eventually came out—and when he did, he learned that being true to himself was the most rewarding journey of all.
Finding acceptance and self-love can seem like a tremendous challenge, but it’s never impossible. With honesty, courage, and warmth, Chasten relays his experience of growing up in America and embracing his identity, while inspiring young people across the country to do the same.
Filed under: New Releases
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
SLJ Blog Network