Penguin Random House Showcase 2023
Friends. The book mail situation here is out of control. So many books! Check out this amazing stack! This is just PART of one week’s worth of book mail. Drowning in books is a good, cool problem to have. But also… please, PLEASE can someone find some secret hidden hours in a day and unlock them for me? I need them for reading.
Pull out your TBR lists or get ready to add to the orders for books that stock your library or classroom shelves. Today I’m sharing with you new and forthcoming titles from Penguin Random House. All annotations are from the publisher.
The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be: A Speculative Memoir of Transracial Adoption by Shannon Gibney (ISBN-13: 9780593111994 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/10/2023, Ages 14-17)
Part memoir, part speculative fiction, this novel explores the often surreal experience of growing up as a mixed-Black transracial adoptee.
Dream Country author Shannon Gibney returns with a new book woven from her true story of growing up as the adopted Black daughter of white parents and the fictional story of Erin Powers, the name Shannon was given at birth by the white woman who gave her up for adoption.
At its core, the novel is a tale of two girls on two different timelines occasionally bridged by a mysterious portal and their shared search for a complete picture of their origins. Gibney surrounds that story with reproductions of her own adoption documents, letters, family photographs, interviews, medical records, and brief essays on the surreal absurdities of the adoptee experience.
The end result is a remarkable portrait of an American experience rarely depicted in any form.
Cool. Awkward. Black. by Karen Strong (Editor) (ISBN 13: 9780593525098 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/10/2023, Ages 12-17)
Real or imaginary, geekdom is where it’s at in this multi-genre YA anthology that celebrates “the geek,” with stories by some of today’s top bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors.
Contributors include Amerie, Kalynn Bayron, Terry J. Benton-Walker, Roseanne A. Brown, Elise Bryant, Tracy Deonn, Desiree S. Evans, Isaac Fitzsimons, Lamar Giles, Jordan Ifueko, Leah Johnson, Amanda Joy, Kwame Mbalia, Tochi Onyebuchi, Shari B. Pennant, K. Arsenault Rivera, Julian Winters, and Ibi Zoboi.
A girl who believes in UFOs; a boy who might have finally found his Prince Charming; a hopeful performer who dreams of being cast in her school’s production of The Sound of Music; a misunderstood magician of sorts with a power she doesn’t quite understand.
These plotlines and many more compose the eclectic stories found within the pages of this dynamic, exciting, and expansive collection featuring exclusively Black characters. From contemporary to historical, fantasy to sci-fi, magical to realistic, and with contributions from a powerhouse list of self-proclaimed geeks and bestselling, award-winning authors, this life-affirming anthology celebrates and redefines the many facets of Blackness and geekiness—both in the real world and those imagined.
As You Walk On By by Julian Winters (ISBN-13: 9780593206508 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/17/2023, Ages 12+)
The Breakfast Club meets Can’t Hardly Wait with an unforgettable ensemble cast in another swoony YA contemporary from award-winning author Julian Winters!
Seventeen-year-old Theo Wright has it all figured out. His plan (well, more like his dad’s plan) is a foolproof strategy that involves exceling at his magnet school, getting scouted by college recruiters, and going to Duke on athletic scholarship. But for now, all Theo wants is a perfect prom night. After his best friend Jay dares Theo to prompose to his crush at Chloe Campbell’s party, Theo’s ready to throw caution to the wind and take his chances.
But when the promposal goes epically wrong, Theo seeks refuge in an empty bedroom while the party rages on downstairs. Having an existential crisis about who he really is with and without his so-called best friend wasn’t on tonight’s agenda. Though, as the night goes on, Theo finds he’s not as alone as he thinks when, one by one, new classmates join him to avoid who they’re supposed be outside the bedroom door. Among them, a familiar acquaintance, a quiet outsider, an old friend, and a new flame . . .
Hands by Torrey Maldonado (ISBN-13: 9780593323793 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/24/2023, Ages 10-13)
“Gorgeous and gripping, Hands is a poetic page-turner. You might just finish it in one sitting. Torrey Maldonado understands the kids he writes for at the deepest level.” —Adam Gidwitz, Newbery Honor–winning author of The Inquisitor’s Tale
The author of What Lane? and Tight delivers a fast-paced read that packs a punch about a boy figuring out how to best use his hands—to build or to knock down.
Trev would do anything to’protect’his mom and sisters, especially from his stepdad. But his stepdad’s return stresses Trev—because when he left, he threatened Trev’s mom. Rather than live scared, Trev takes matters into his own hands, literally. He starts learning to box to handle his stepdad. But everyone isn’t a fan of his plan, because Trev’s a talented artist, and his hands could actually help him build a better future. And they’re letting him know. But their advice for some distant future feels useless in his reality right now. Ultimately, Trev knows his future is in his hands, and his hands are his own, and he has to choose how to use them.
The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels by Beth Lincoln, Claire Powell (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780593533239 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/07/2023, Ages 8-12)
Instant New York Times Bestseller!
“Knives Out feel by way of Lemony Snicket…This archly told, never muddled debut whodunit reveals a roster of distinct characters, a labyrinthine setting and plot, and a mystery that is as clever as its heroine.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The suspenseful denouement is positively writhing with twists.” —Booklist, starred review
On the day they are born, every Swift child is brought before the sacred Family Dictionary. They are given a name, and a definition. A definition it is assumed they will grow up to match.
Meet Shenanigan Swift: Little sister. Risk-taker. Mischief-maker.
Shenanigan is getting ready for the big Swift Family Reunion and plotting her next great scheme: hunting for Grand-Uncle Vile’s long-lost treasure. She’s excited to finally meet her arriving relatives—until one of them gives Arch-Aunt Schadenfreude a deadly shove down the stairs.
So what if everyone thinks she’ll never be more than a troublemaker, just because of her name? Shenanigan knows she can become whatever she wants, even a detective. And she’s determined to follow the twisty clues and catch the killer.
Deliciously suspenseful and delightfully clever, The Swifts is a remarkable debut that is both brilliantly contemporary and instantly classic. A celebration of words and individuality, it’s packed with games, wordplay, and lots and lots of mischief as Shenanigan sets out to save her family and define herself in a world where definitions are so important.
Last Chance Dance by Lakita Wilson (ISBN-13: 9780593525616 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/21/2023, Ages 12-17)
An utterly charming YA romance perfect for fans of Elise Bryant and Leah Johnson.
“An ode to love in all its beautiful chaos. Leila is funny, irreverent, and next-level charming, and her story is an actual joyride. Sheer delight through and through.”—Becky Albertalli, New York Times bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Leila is crushed when Dev, her boyfriend of four years, breaks up with her right before graduation. Just when she’s thinking she wasted her entire high school experience on a dead-end relationship, her best friend Bree reminds her that Last Chance Dance is just around the corner.
A high school tradition, the Last Chance Dance gives all the students one last opportunity to find love before they graduate. All Leila has to do is submit three unrequited crushes to the dance committee and if any of her crushes list her too, they’ll get matched. Presto: new relationship, just like that. To her utter amazement, Leila is matched with all three of her choices—and with someone she never expected, Tre Hillman, her chemistry partner and low-key nemesis.
Though at times skeptical, Leila embarks on her Last Chance Dance mission—trying out her matches and going on dates. If Dev wasn’t her true love—then maybe someone else is. She knows it’s definitely not Tre, even though he seems more and more determined to convince her he’s right for her.
But as graduation and the dance approaches, and each date seems to change her mind (and her heart)—Leila must figure out what—and who—she really wants. It’s her last chance, right?
Chloe and the Kaishao Boys by Mae Coyiuto (ISBN-13: 9780593461631 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/07/2023, Ages 12-17)
When Dimple Met Rishi meets Loveboat, Taipei in this hilarious YA rom-com about a Chinese-Filipina girl in Manila whose father sets her up on a marathon of arranged dates in hopes of convincing her to stay close to home for college.
“A sweet and refreshing story about family, first love, and chasing your dreams. The way Coyiuto writes romance will completely sweep you away.” —Dustin Thao, New York Times bestselling author of You’ve Reached Sam.
Chloe knows what it takes to be the perfect Liang daughter—stay in Manila, study business management, and join the family company. But when she unexpectedly gets off the wait list for USC, her dream of becoming an animator in the United States is suddenly within reach.
Before she goes, her auntie insists on planning a traditional debut for Chloe’s eighteenth birthday. And while a party with all her friends and family sounds like the perfect send-off, the huge production her auntie wants—complete with ball gowns and a choreographed dance number—makes Chloe want to pass out from stage fright.
To make matters worse, her father, intent on finding Chloe the perfect escort for the party, keeps setting her up on one awkward kaishao—or arranged date—after another. Why does her dad suddenly care so much about her love life? And what happens when she actually starts to fall for one of the guys, only to have to leave at the end of the summer?
At home in the Philippines, Chloe has her future all planned out for her. In America, nothing is certain. With a career in animation far from guaranteed, Chloe must decide if following her dreams is worth everything—and everyone—she’ll be leaving behind.
Enter the Body by Joy McCullough (ISBN-13: 9780593406755 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/14/2023, Ages 14-17)
“At once tender, poetic and ferocious, Enter The Body breathes new life into the Bard’s most tragic heroines. More than a tribute to Shakespeare, this kaleidoscopic, ambitious novel-in-verse gives Juliet, Ophelia, Cordelia, and Lavinia the chance to tell their own stories full of passion, justice, sisterhood, and love. Simply spectacular.”—Michael L. Printz Award winner Laura Ruby, author of Bone Gap
In the room beneath a stage’s trapdoor, Shakespeare’s dead teenage girls compare their experiences and retell the stories of their lives, their loves, and their fates in their own words. Bestselling author Joy McCullough offers a brilliant testament to how young women can support each other and reclaim their stories in the aftermath of trauma.
Viva Lola Espinoza by Ella Cerón (ISBN-13: 9780593405628 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/11/2023, Ages 12-17)
A debut young adult novel that’s Pride & Prejudice with a dash of magic, about a booksmart teen who spends the summer in Mexico City, meets two very cute boys, attempts to learn Spanish, and uncovers a family secret that changes her life forever.
Lola Espinoza is cursed in love. Well, maybe not actually cursed — magic isn’t real, is it? When Lola goes to spend the summer with her grandmother in Mexico City and meets handsome, flirtatious Rio, she discovers the unbelievable truth: Magic is very real, and what she’d always written off as bad luck is actually, truly . . . a curse. If Lola ever wants to fall in love without suffering the consequences, she’ll have to break the curse. She finds an unlikely curse-breaking companion in Javi, a seemingly stoic boy she meets while working in her cousin’s restaurant. Javi is willing to help Lola look into this family curse of hers, and Lola needs all the help she can get. Over the course of one summer — filled with food, family, and two very different boys — Lola explores Mexico City while learning about herself, her heritage, and the magic around us all.
Fox Point’s Own Gemma Hopper by Brie Spangler (ISBN-13: 9780593428498 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 04/11/2023, Ages 8-12)
A heartwarming graphic novel about a baseball-obsessed 7th grader, trying to find her place in the sports world and her family.
In their tiny corner of Fox Point, Rhode Island, Gemma Hopper’s older brother, Teddy, is a baseball god, destined to become a Major League star. Gemma loves playing baseball, but with her mom gone and her dad working endless overtime, it’s up to her to keep the house running. She’s too busy folding laundry, making lunches, getting her younger twin brothers to do their homework, and navigating the perils of middle-school friendships to take baseball seriously.
But every afternoon, Gemma picks up her baseball glove to pitch to Teddy during his batting practice—throwing sliders down and away, fastballs right over the middle (not too fast or he’ll get mad), and hanging curveballs high and tight.
Could baseball be Gemma’s ticket to the big leagues or will it mean the end of her family as she knows it?
When Impossible Happens by Jane De Suza (ISBN-13: 9780593530122 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/11/2023, Ages 8-12)
A poignant story of life in India during the pandemic that mixes loss, hope, and even a mystery solved by imaginative, lively, almost-nine-year-old Swara.
When the pandemic hits and India goes into lockdown, high-spirited Swara keeps up her daily chats with her just-as-imaginative grandmother, Pitter Paati, through video calls. But soon Pitter Paati becomes too ill to even call, and then Swara’s parents say she has died of the virus.
Swara can’t believe it. Pitter Paati would not just leave! It’s impossible!
As Swara investigates the mystery of her grandmother’s disappearance, she stumbles upon a neighborhood mystery as well. With help from her friends, usually-annoying brother, and clues she’s certain came from Pitter Paati, Swara solves that very real mystery and, slowly, comes to terms with the truth about her grandmother.
She also realizes Pitter Paati will be with her, in many important ways, forever.
Threads That Bind by Kika Hatzopoulou (ISBN-13: 9780593528716 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 05/30/2023, Ages 14-17)
In a world where the children of the gods inherit their powers, a descendant of the Greek Fates must solve a series of impossible murders to save her sisters, her soulmate, and her city.
Descendants of the Fates are always born in threes: one to weave, one to draw, and one to cut the threads that connect people to the things they love and to life itself. The Ora sisters are no exception. Io, the youngest, uses her Fate-born abilities as a private investigator in the half-sunken city of Alante.
But her latest job leads her to a horrific discovery: somebody is abducting women, maiming their life-threads, and setting the resulting wraiths loose in the city to kill. To find the culprit, she must work alongside Edei Rhuna, the right hand of the infamous Mob Queen—and the boy with whom she shares a rare fate-thread linking them as soul mates before they’ve even met.
The investigation turns personal when Io’s estranged oldest sister shows up on the arm of her best suspect. Amid unveiled secrets from her past and her growing feelings for Edei, Io must follow clues through the city’s darkest corners and unearth a conspiracy that involves some of the city’s most powerful players before destruction comes to her own doorstep.
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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