Book Mail: A memory-devouring monster, a teen dating show, a Snow White retelling, and so much more!
Things are kind of out of control here, book mail-wise. If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen the giant stacks of books I post weekly. With the calendar about to flip to April, it’s letting me start to think about summer (I have to think HARD to even imagine it, though, as I look out at my Minnesota yard still completely piled with snow), where I hope to catch up on a LOT of the reading I want to do.
It’s been a good month for book mail. So many new things! Get out your own TBR lists.
All descriptions from the publishers.
Rare Birds by Jeff Miller (ISBN-13: 9781454945048 Publisher: Union Square Kids Publication date: 01/31/2023, Ages 8-12)
Jeff Miller’s heartbreaking, coming-of-age middle-grade novel—inspired by his personal experience living through his own parent’s heart transplant—invites readers into the world of a twelve-year-old birdwatcher looking for a place to call home and a way to save his mother, even if it means venturing deep into Florida swampland.
Twelve-year-old Graham Dodds is no stranger to hospital waiting rooms. Sometimes, he feels like his entire life is one big waiting room. Waiting for the next doctor to tell them what’s wrong with his mom. Waiting to find out what city they’re moving to next. Waiting to see if they will finally get their miracle—a heart transplant to save his mom’s life.
When Graham gets stuck in Florida for the summer, he meets a girl named Lou at the hospital, and he finds a friend who needs a distraction as much as he does. She tells him about a contest to find the endangered Snail Kite, which resides in the local gator-filled swamps. Together they embark on an adventure, searching for the rare bird . . . and along the way, Graham might just find something else—himself.
Jeff Miller crafts a heartfelt story about what it means to live in this unforgettable middle-grade novel. Rare Birds is a rare find that will resonate with fans of the Carl Hiassen’s Hoot and Melissa Savage’s Lemon. For readers looking for novels with literary appeal and classic themes of family, friendship, and the meaning of life, Rare Birds is a perfect pick.
Ring of Solomon by Aden Polydoros (ISBN-13: 9781335428639 Publisher: Inkyard Press Publication date: 02/21/2023, Ages 8-12)
“Will keep you on the edge of your seat and grinning until the last page!” —Greg Howard, author of The Whispers and The Visitors
This exciting and adventurous start to a middle-grade trilogy follows a queer boy and his family as they try to halt the chaotic effects of a mysterious ring, drawing upon Jewish mythology to navigate magic, mayhem and the search for pride in one’s identity.
The little beachside town of San Pancras is not known for anything exciting, but when Zach Darlington buys a mysterious ring at the local flea market, his quiet little hometown is turned topsy-turvy by monsters straight from Jewish folklore and a nefarious secret society focused on upholding an apocalyptic prophecy.
Zach discovers that the ring grants him strange powers, and he’s intrigued; maybe he can use the ring’s strengths to halt the slew of anti-Semitic and homophobic bullying he’s experiencing at school. But soon the ring brings unexpected visitors—Ashmedai, King of Demons, in the guise of a preteen boy named Ash, and the local chapter of the Knights of the Apocalypse, a secret society intent on completing a creepy prophecy that will bring three monsters to Earth to start the events of the end of times.
Now responsible for the ring and its consequences, will Zach and his friends, with the help of Ash, be able to stop the Apocalypse and save the world?
The Knowing by Ani DiFranco, Julia Mathew (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780593383759 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/07/2023, Ages 3-5)
From the Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, political activist, and feminist icon comes a picture book with purpose, with heart, and with words that sing.
Singer-songwriter, activist, feminist, and best-selling author Ani Di Franco has written something for her youngest audience: a picture book that invites young readers to ponder the distinction between outer forms of identity and the inner light of consciousness that is even more central to our being. In her signature folk style, Di Franco weaves a story that incorporates themes of individual power and collective responsibility. First-time illustrator Julia Mathew paints universal scenes of childhood in her family’s native India, glowing with honesty and love. Designed to be read aloud or sung, and pored over, this picture book is rich with meaningful text, poignant illustrations, and a unique message that will resonate with all.
The Memory Eater by Rebecca Mahoney (ISBN-13: 9780593524602 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/14/2023, Ages 12-17)
“An eerie tale offering equal measures of fright, angst, and emotional catharsis.” —Kirkus, starred review
A teenage girl must save her town from a memory-devouring monster in this piercing exploration of grief, trauma, and memory, from the author of The Valley and the Flood.
For generations, a monster called the Memory Eater has lived in the caves of Whistler Beach, Maine, surviving off the unhappy memories of those who want to forget. And for generations, the Harlows have been in charge of keeping her locked up—and keeping her fed.
After her grandmother dies, seventeen-year-old Alana Harlow inherits the family business. But there’s something Alana doesn’t know: the strange gaps in her memory aren’t from an accident. Her memories have been taken—eaten. And with them, she’s lost the knowledge of how to keep the monster contained.
Now the Memory Eater is loose. Alana’s mistake could cost Whistler Beach everything—unless she can figure out how to retrieve her memories and recapture the monster. But as Alana delves deeper into her family’s magic and the history of her town, she discovers a shocking secret at the center of the Harlow family business and learns that tampering with memories always comes at a price.
Stifled Laughter: One Woman’s Story About Fighting Censorship by Claudia Johnson (ISBN-13: 9781682753491 Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing Publication date: 03/14/2023 Edition description: Revised Edition)
Pulitzer Prize Nominated Winner of the 1993 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award for Claudia Johnson’s extraordinary efforts to restore banned literary classics from Florida classrooms. Part memoir, part courtroom drama, and part primer for advocates fighting assaults on free speech, Stifled Laughter is the story of one woman’s efforts to restore literary classics to the classrooms of rural north Florida. Updated with a new introduction, Johnson’s honest, often hilarious, first-person account of censorship in its modern form provides valuable insight into why the books children read at school remains a controversial issue, and why free speech in America remains a precarious right. Johnson fights tirelessly to keep texts like Lysistrata and “The Millers Tale” in Florida school textbooks regardless of a preacher’s efforts to take them out. Readers are given a glimpse into the courtroom and all the drama, passion, and hard work that follows. Johnson’s writing is witty, emotional, and humorous, and it makes you want to jump in and fight censorship and book banning right alongside her. For anyone who has ever wondered just how far those who seek to ban books will go in limiting free expression, this book proves once again that the personal is political. At a time when book banning has reached new heights, parents and teachers, writers, and readers will all benefit from Johnson’s experience and be touched by her spirit and courage.
Free Radicals by Lila Riesen (ISBN-13: 9780593407714 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/21/2023, Ages 12-17)
Afghan-American Mafi’s sophomore year gets a whole lot more complicated when she accidentally exposes family secrets, putting her family back in Afghanistan in danger in this smartly written YA debut.
Sixteen-year-old Mafi Shahin is well-aware that life is not always fair. If it was fair, her parents might allow her to hang out with a member of the male species, other than her cat Mr. Meowgi. If it was fair, her crush and basketball hottie Jalen Thomas might see her as more than just her brother’s kid sister. And if it was fair, her baba’s brother and wife would be able to leave Afghanistan and come to America.
Life might not be fair—but she can make it a bit more even. Working as the Ghost of Santa Margarita High, Mafi serves dollops of justice on her classmates’ behalf as the school’s secret avenger. They leave a note declaring the crime and Mafi ensures the offender receives an anonymous karmic-sized dose of payback. Keeping her identity as the Ghost a secret sometimes means Mafi has to lie. But as those lies begin to snowball both at school and at home, even compromising their family’s secret past and putting their relatives back in Afghanistan at risk, Mafi is forced to decide how she wants to live her life—trying to make the world more fair from the shadows or loudly and publicly standing up for what’s right.
While You Were Dreaming by Alisha Rai (ISBN-13: 9780063083967 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 03/21/2023, Ages 13-17)
In this debut contemporary YA romance by bestselling author Alisha Rai, a girl with undocumented family members goes viral after saving her crush’s life in disguise. A must read for fans of Sandhya Menon and Nicola Yoon.
A Phenomenal Book Club Pick!
It’s a classic story: girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, boy finally notices girl when he sees her in a homemade costume. At least, that’s what Sonia Patil is hoping for when she plans to meet her crush at the local comic-con in cosplay.
But instead of winning her crush over, Sonia rescues him after he faints into a canal and, suddenly, everything changes. Since she was in disguise, no one knows who the masked do-gooder was . . .but everyone is trying to find out. Sonia can’t let that happen—her sister is undocumented, and the girls have been flying under the radar since their mother was deported back to Mumbai.
Sonia finds herself hiding from social media detectives and trying to connect with her crush and his family. But juggling crushes and a secret identity might just take superpowers. Can Sonia hide in plain sight forever?
Brighter Than the Sun by Daniel Aleman (ISBN-13: 9780316704472 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 03/21/2023, Ages 14-18)
This timely and thought-provoking story about a teen girl shouldering impossibly large responsibilities and ultimately learning that she doesn’t have to do it alone is the perfect follow-up to Daniel Aleman’s award-winning debut novel, Indivisible.
Every morning, sixteen-year-old Sol wakes up at the break of dawn in her hometown of Tijuana, Mexico and makes the trip across the border to go to school in the United States. Though the commute is exhausting, this is the best way to achieve her dream: becoming the first person in her family to go to college.
When her family’s restaurant starts struggling, Sol must find a part-time job in San Diego to help her dad put food on the table and pay the bills. But her complicated school and work schedules on the US side of the border mean moving in with her best friend and leaving her family behind.
With her life divided by an international border, Sol must come to terms with the loneliness she hides, the pressure she feels to succeed for her family, and the fact that the future she once dreamt of is starting to seem unattainable. Mostly, she’ll have to grapple with a secret she’s kept even from herself: that maybe she’s relieved to have escaped her difficult home life, and a part of her may never want to return.
Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy by Angie Thomas (ISBN-13: 9780063225138 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/04/2023, Ages 8-12)
Internationally bestselling superstar author Angie Thomas makes her middle grade debut with the launch of an inventive, hilarious, and suspenseful new contemporary fantasy trilogy inspired by African American history and folklore.
It’s not easy being a Remarkable in the Unremarkable world. Some things are cool—like getting a pet hellhound for your twelfth birthday. Others, not so much—like not being trusted to learn magic because you might use it to take revenge on an annoying neighbor.
All Nic Blake wants is to be a powerful Manifestor like her dad. But before she has a chance to convince him to teach her the gift, a series of shocking revelations and terrifying events launch Nic and two friends on a hunt for a powerful magic tool she’s never heard of…to save her father from imprisonment for a crime she refuses to believe he committed.
Not Here to Stay Friends by Kaitlyn Hill (ISBN-13: 9780593483701 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 04/04/2023, Ages 12-17)
Two childhood best friends reunite in L.A. the summer before senior year—but when one of them ends up starring on a teen reality dating show, their feelings for each other get complicated. Perfect for fans of friends-to-lovers rom-coms and The Bachelor!
Sloane McKinney feels like a background character in her own life. But this summer will be different, because she’s spending it with her childhood best friend, Liam Daniels, in her dream city, Los Angeles. Sure, she’s surprised to find that Liam just happens to have had a Hot Guy glow-up since she last saw him, but so what? A little attraction won’t ruin her plans for their fun—and completely platonic—reunion.
What might, however, is that Liam has been roped into working for his producer dad’s new teen reality dating show, Aspen Woods’s Future Leading Lady. It turns out the show is one contestant short . . . and Sloane is the perfect last-minute addition.
But it’s behind the scenes where the drama really picks up. Because wanting to kiss your best friend? That’s a plot twist neither Sloane nor Liam ever saw coming.
Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers? by Junauda Petrus, Kristen Uroda (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780593462331 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/04/2023, Ages 4-8)
Based on the viral poem by Coretta Scott King honoree Junauda Petrus, this picture book debut imagines a radically positive future where police aren’t in charge of public safety and community well-being.
Petrus first published and performed this poem after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. With every subsequent police shooting, it has taken on new urgency, culminating in the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, blocks from Junauda’s home.
In its picture book incarnation, Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers? is a joyously radical vision of community-based safety and mutual aid. It is optimistic, provocative, and ultimately centered in fierce love. Debut picture book artist Kristen Uroda has turned Junauda’s vision for a city without precincts into a vibrant and flourishing urban landscape filled with wise and loving grandmothers of all sorts.
Where to Start: A Survival Guide to Anxiety, Depression, and Other Mental Health Challenges by Mental Health America, Gemma Correll (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780593531402 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/11/2023, Ages 12-17)
A comforting and useful resource for anyone who’s struggling emotionally and looking for help―from the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit that addresses the needs of those living with mental illness
It can be extremely hard to figure out what’s going on in our own heads when we are suffering—when we feel alone and unworthy and can’t stop our self-critical inner voice. And it’s even more difficult to know where to go for answers.
This book is a perfect first step. Here you’ll find clear, honest, reassuring information about all the most’common’mental illnesses and what you can do to find help and to practice self-care.
Where to Start features:
- jargon-free information about all the most’common’mental illnesses, including a first self-assessment test;
- tips on how to get professional help and how to talk about your mental health with friends and family;
- essential tools, including handy worksheets and DIY mental health content; and
- insightful, funny drawings by acclaimed cartoonist Gemma Correll.
Someone Is Always Watching by Kelley Armstrong (ISBN-13: 9780735270923 Publisher: Tundra Book Group Publication date: 04/11/2023, Ages 12-17)
Their lives are a lie. Their memories may not be real. A new young adult psychological thriller by #1 NYT bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong.
Blythe and her friends — Gabrielle, and brother and sister Tucker and Tanya — have always been a tight friend group, attending a local high school and falling in and out of love with each other. But an act of violence has caused a rift between Blythe and Tucker . . . and unexpected bursts of aggression and disturbing nightmares have started to become more frequent in their lives.
The strange happenings culminate in a shocking event at school: Gabrielle is found covered in blood in front of their deceased principal, with no memory of what happened.
Cracks in their friendship, as well as in their own memories, start appearing, threatening to expose long-forgotten secrets which could change the group’s lives forever. How can Blythe and her friends trust each other when they can’t even trust their own memories?
Global: One fragile world. An epic fight for survival. by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin, Giovanni Rigano (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781728257235 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 04/11/2023, Ages 10-14)
From New York Times bestselling author Eoin Colfer and the team behind the Artemis Fowl graphic novels and bestselling, acclaimed graphic novel Illegal comes a compelling and timely story that follows two courageous children as they face the effects of climate change.
Time is running out for Sami and Yuki.
Sami and his grandfather live in a village along the Indian Ocean. They earn their living by fishing. But the ocean is rising and each day they bring back fewer and fewer fish.
Yuki lives in the far north of Canada where warming temperature are melting the ice. Polar bears have less food to hunt and are wandering into town looking for something to eat. Yuki is determined to do something to help the bears.
Throwback by Maurene Goo (ISBN-13: 9781638930204 Publisher: Zando Publication date: 04/11/2023, Ages 14-17)
Back to the Future meets Joy Luck Club in this fresh, funny novel about a Gen Z Korean American girl who gets stuck in the 90s with her teenaged mother, perfect for fans of Mary H.K. Choi, Morgan Matson, and Nicola Yoon.
“No one can blend family, humor, satire, and love into a single perfect story like Maurene Goo can.” —Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Skyhunter
“Funny and big-hearted, romantic, and delightfully unexpected in the best way.”—Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Instructions for Dancing
Being a first-generation Asian American immigrant is hard. You know what’s harder? Being the daughter of one.
Priscilla is first-generation Korean American, a former high school cheerleader who expects Sam to want the same all- American nightmare. Meanwhile, Sam is a girl of the times who has no energy for clichéd high school aspirations. After a huge blowup, Sam is desperate to get away from Priscilla, but instead, finds herself thrown back. Way back.
To her shock, Sam lands in the ’90s . . . alongside a 17-year-old Priscilla.
Now, Sam has to deal with outdated tech, regressive ’90s attitudes, and her growing feelings for sweet, mysterious football player Jamie, who just might be the right guy in the wrong era.
With the clock ticking, Sam must figure out how to fix things with Priscilla or risk being trapped in an analog world forever. Sam’s blast to the past has her questioning everything she thought she knew about her mom . . . and herself. One thing’s for sure: Time is a mother.
Brimming with heart and humor, Maurene Goo’s Throwback asks big questions about what exactly one inherits and loses in the immigrant experience.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Snow & Poison by Melissa de la Cruz (ISBN-13: 9780593326688 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/18/2023, Ages 12-17)
Love is stronger than poison in this lush retelling of “Snow White” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz.
“[A] beguiling historical fantasy.” —Publishers Weekly
Known as Snow White, Lady Sophie has led a sheltered life in the mountains of Bavaria. Until now. Her father, the widowed Duke Maximilian, is at last remarrying, and on the day of his historic wedding, Sophie is making her high-society debut.
At the ball, Sophie charms the dashing Prince Philip, heir to the Spanish throne. But as Philip and Sophie start falling deeply in love, the king of Spain loses his temper. His wish is that Philip would marry a princess. And now, his command is Sophie’s death.
In a quest for survival, Sophie seeks refuge in the home of seven orphans, the counsel of a witch, and the safety of her blade. With the looming threat of war upon her duchy, Sophie must ponder: Can she do right by her home and honor her heart’s desire?
We the Future by Cliff Lewis (ISBN-13: 9781631636967 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 04/18/2023, Ages 8-13)
I’m from the future. We need you.
Ever since he learned about climate change, twelve-year-old Jonah has dreaded a weather-beaten future where not even his asthma medication can save him. Luckily, a girl from that future arrives just in time to throw Jonah a lifeline.
Sunny traveled back to the 2020s with a mission: help Jonah launch a climate strike big enough to rewrite history. To do it, he’ll have to recruit his entire school before Halloween. Why so soon? Sunny won’t say. But how can Jonah win over 600 classmates when the only thing he dreads more than the end of the world is talking to other kids?
The Cherished by Patricia Ward (ISBN-13: 9780063235113 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/18/2023, Ages 13-17)
For fans of White Smoke, The Hazel Wood, and Wilder Girls comes an original, hypnotizing horror thriller in the vein of Midsommar, as one girl inherits a mysterious house from her estranged grandmother—and a letter with sinister instructions.
Jo never expected to be placed in her absent grandmother’s will—let alone be left her house, her land, and a letter with mysterious demands.
Upon arriving at the inherited property, things are even more strange.
The tenants mentioned in the letter are odd, just slightly…off. Jo feels something dark and decrepit in the old shack behind the house. And the things that her father used to talk about, his delusions… Why is Jo starting to believe they might be real?
But what Jo fears most is the letter from her grandmother. Because if it’s true, then Jo belongs here, in this strange place. And she has no choice but to stay.
That Self-Same Metal (The Forge & Fracture Saga, Book 1) by Brittany N. Williams (ISBN-13: 9781419758645 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 04/25/2023, Ages 13-17)
A stunning YA fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Holly Black and Justina Ireland, about a Black girl (and sword expert) fighting a Fae uprising in Shakespearean London
Sixteen-year-old Joan Sands is a gifted craftswoman who creates and upkeeps the stage blades for William Shakespeare’s acting company, The King’s Men. Joan’s skill with her blades comes from a magical ability to control metal—an ability gifted by her Head Orisha, Ogun. Because her whole family is Orisha-blessed, the Sands family have always kept tabs on the Fae presence in London. Usually that doesn’t involve much except noting the faint glow around a Fae’s body as they try to blend in with London society, but lately, there has been an uptick in brutal Fae attacks. After Joan wounds a powerful Fae and saves the son of a cruel Lord, she is drawn into political intrigue in the human and Fae worlds.
Swashbuckling, romantic, and full of the sights and sounds of Shakespeare’s London, this series starter delivers an unforgettable story—and a heroine unlike any other.
A Work in Progress by Jarrett Lerner (ISBN-13: 9781665905152 Publisher: Aladdin Publication date: 05/02/2023, Ages 8-12)
A young boy struggles with body image in this poignant middle grade journey to self-acceptance told through prose, verse, and illustration.
Will is the only round kid in a school full of string beans. So he hides…in baggy jeans and oversized hoodies, in the back row during class, and anywhere but the cafeteria during lunch. But shame isn’t the only feeling that dominates Will’s life. He’s also got a crush on a girl named Jules who knows he doesn’t have a chance with—string beans only date string beans—but he can’t help wondering what if?
Will’s best shot at attracting Jules’s attention is by slaying the Will Monster inside him by changing his eating habits and getting more exercise. But the results are either frustratingly slow or infuriatingly unsuccessful, and Will’s shame begins to morph into self-loathing.
As he resorts to increasingly drastic measures to transform his appearance, Will meets skateboarder Markus, who helps him see his body and all it contains as an ever-evolving work in progress.
Your Plantation Prom Is Not Okay by Kelly McWilliams (ISBN-13: 9780316449939 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 05/02/2023, Ages 12-18)
This sharp-witted, timely novel explores cancel culture, anger, and grief, and challenges the romanticization of America’s racist past with humor and heart—for readers of Dear Martin by Nic Stone and Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson.
Harriet Douglass lives with her historian father on an old plantation in Louisiana, which they’ve transformed into one of the South’s few enslaved people’s museums. Together, while grieving the recent loss of Harriet’s mother, they run tours that help keep the memory of the past alive.
Harriet’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of mother and daughter Claudia and Layla Hartwell—who plan to turn the property next door into a wedding venue, and host the offensively antebellum-themed wedding of two Hollywood stars.
Harriet’s fully prepared to hate Layla Hartwell, but it seems that Layla might not be so bad after all—unlike many people, this California influencer is actually interested in Harriet’s point of view. Harriet’s sure she can change the hearts of Layla and her mother, but she underestimates the scale of the challenge…and when her school announces that prom will be held on the plantation, Harriet’s just about had it with this whole racist timeline! Overwhelmed by grief and anger, it’s fair to say she snaps.
Can Harriet use the power of social media to cancel the celebrity wedding and the plantation prom? Will she accept that she’s falling in love with her childhood best friend, who’s unexpectedly returned after years away? Can she deal with the frustrating reality that Americans seem to live in two completely different countries? And through it all, can she and Layla build a bridge between them?
Lost in Taiwan (A Graphic Novel) by Mark Crilley (ISBN-13: 9781368040884 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 05/23/2023, Ages 12-18)
In this exciting graphic novel about stepping out of your comfort zone, a traveler finds himself lost in Taiwan with no way of finding his brother—but he soon learns that this forced disconnect is helping him explore and experience the big wide world around him.
THIS WASN’T PAUL’S IDEA.
The last thing he’s interested in is exploring new countries or experiencing anything that might be described as “cultural enrichment.” But like it or not, he’s stuck with his brother, Theo, for two weeks in Taiwan, a place that—while fascinating to Theo—holds no interest to Paul at all.
While on a short trip to a local electronics store, Paul becomes hopelessly lost in Taiwan’s twisting, narrow streets, and he has no choice but to explore this new environment in his quest to find his way back to Theo’s apartment.
In an unfamiliar place with no friends—and no GPS!—there’s no telling what adventures he could happen upon. And who knows? Maybe it turns out he has friends in Taiwan, after all.
Pedro & Daniel by Federico Erebia, Julie Kwon (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781646143047 Publisher: Levine Querido Publication date: 06/06/2023, Ages 12-18)
Pedro and Daniel are two Mexican American brothers growing up in 1970s Ohio. Their mom doesn’t like the fact that Pedro is the spitting image of their dark-skinned Pop, that Daniel loves to play with dolls, that neither of the boys love sports like the other kids in their neighborhood. Life at home can be rough – but the boys have an unshakable bond that will last their entire lives.
Pedro & Daniel is a sweeping and deeply personal novel – illustrated with beautiful linework throughout by Julie Kwon – that spans from childhood through teenage years and into adulthood, all the while tracing the lives of two brothers who are there for each other when no one else is. Together the brothers manage an abusive home life, school, coming out, first loves, first jobs, and the AIDS epidemic, in a coming-of-age story unlike any other.
You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron (ISBN-13: 9781547611546 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 06/20/2023, Ages 14-17)
At Camp Mirror Lake, terror is the name of the game . . . but can you survive the night?
This heart-pounding slasher by New York Times bestselling author Kalynn Bayron is perfect for fans of Fear Street.
Charity Curtis has the summer job of her dreams, playing the “final girl” at Camp Mirror Lake. Guests pay to be scared in this full-contact terror game, as Charity and her summer crew recreate scenes from a classic slasher film, Curse of Camp Mirror Lake. The more realistic the fear, the better for business.
But the last weekend of the season, Charity’s co-workers begin disappearing. And when one ends up dead, Charity’s role as the final girl suddenly becomes all too real. If Charity and her girlfriend Bezi hope to survive the night, they’ll need figure out what this killer is after. Is there is more to the story of Mirror Lake and its dangerous past than Charity ever suspected?
Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi Burton (ISBN-13: 9781547610372 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 06/27/2023, Ages 13-17)
In this dark and seductive YA fantasy debut, a siren must choose between protecting her family and following her heart in a prejudiced kingdom where her existence is illegal.
Saoirse Sorkova survives on lies. As a soldier-in-training at the most prestigious barracks in the kingdom, she lies about being a siren to avoid execution. At night, working as an assassin for a dangerous group of mercenaries, Saoirse lies about her true identity. And to her family, Saoirse tells the biggest lie of all: that she can control her siren powers and doesn’t struggle constantly against an impulse to kill.
As the top trainee in her class, Saoirse would be headed for a bright future if it weren’t for the need to keep her secrets out of the spotlight. But when a mysterious blackmailer threatens her sister, Saoirse takes a dangerous job that will help her investigate: she becomes personal bodyguard to the crown prince.
Saoirse should hate Prince Hayes. After all, his father is the one who enforces the kingdom’s brutal creature segregation laws. But when Hayes turns out to be kind, thoughtful, and charming, Saoirse finds herself increasingly drawn to him-especially when they’re forced to work together to stop a deadly killer who’s plaguing the city. There’s only one problem: Saoirse is that deadly killer.
Featuring an all Black and Brown cast, a forbidden romance, and a compulsively dark plot full of twists, this thrilling YA fantasy is perfect for fans of A Song Below Water and To Kill a Kingdom.
House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig (ISBN-13: 9780593482544 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 07/25/2023 Series: Sisters of the Salt Series, Ages 12-17)
A modern masterpiece, this is a classic Gothic thriller-fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Erin A. Craig, about doomed love, menacing ambition, and the ghosts that haunt us forever.
In a manor by the sea, one sister is still cursed.
Despite dreams of adventures far beyond the Salann shores, seventeen-year-old Verity Thaumas has remained at her family’s estate, Highmoor, with her older sister Camille, while their sisters have scattered across Arcannia.
When their sister Mercy sends word that the Duchess of Bloem—wife of a celebrated botanist—is interested in having Verity paint a portrait of her son, Alexander, Verity jumps at the chance, but Camille won’t allow it. Forced to reveal the secret she’s kept for years, Camille tells Verity the truth one day: Verity is still seeing ghosts, she just doesn’t know it.
Stunned, Verity flees Highmoor that night and—with nowhere else to turn—makes her way to Bloem. At first, she is captivated by the lush, luxurious landscape and is quickly drawn to charming, witty, and impossibly handsome Alexander Laurent. And soon, to her surprise, a romance . . . blossoms.
But it’s not long before Verity is plagued with nightmares, and the darker side of Bloem begins to show through its sickly-sweet façade. . . .
Holly Horror by Michelle Jabes Corpora (ISBN-13: 9780593386217 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/15/2023 Series: Holly Horror, Ages 12+)
“Playmate, come and play with me…”
A beloved classic reimagined with a dark twist.
After her parents’ painful divorce, Evie Archer hopes that moving to Ravenglass, Massachusetts, is the fresh start that her family needs. But Evie quickly realizes that her new home—known by locals as the Horror House—carries its own dark past after learning about Holly Hobbie, who mysteriously vanished in her bedroom one night.
But traces of Holly linger in the Horror House and slowly begin to take over Evie’s life. A strange shadow follows her everywhere she goes, and Evie starts to lose sight of what’s real and what isn’t the more she learns about The Lost Girl.
Can Evie find out what happened the night of Holly’s disappearance? Or is history doomed to repeat itself in the Horror House?
Looking Up by Stephan Pastis (ISBN-13: 9781665929622 Publisher: Aladdin Publication date: 10/10/2023, Ages 8-12)
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Timmy Failure series comes a quirky and heartwarming middle grade novel about a girl struggling with loneliness and the curveballs of life—featuring black and white illustrations throughout!
Living alone with her mother in a poorer part of town, Saint—a girl drawn to medieval knights, lost causes, and the protection of birthday piñatas—sees the neighborhood she has always known and loved disappearing around her: old homes being torn down and replaced by fancy condos and coffee shops. But when her favorite creaky old toy store is demolished, she knows she must act.
Enlisting the help of Daniel “Chance” McGibbons, a quiet, round-faced boy who lives across the street (and whose house also faces the wrecking ball), Saint hatches a plan to save what is left of her beloved hometown.
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About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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