Wednesday Books Showcase: August through December 2023 releases
Buckle up for another round of NEW BOOKS to put on your TBR list (or add to your TBR tower, which is how I think of mine). This list comes to you courtesy of the fabulous Wednesday Books. All descriptions from the publisher.
Guardians of Dawn: Zhara by S. Jae-Jones (ISBN-13: 9781250191427 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 08/29/2023 Series: Guardians of Dawn #1, Ages 12-18)
Sailor Moon meets Cinder in Guardians of Dawn: Zhara, the start of a new, richly imagined fantasy series from S. Jae-Jones, the New York Times bestselling author of Wintersong.
Magic is forbidden throughout the Morning Realms. Magicians are called an abomination, and blamed for the plague of monsters that razed the land twenty years before.
Jin Zhara already had enough to worry about—appeasing her stepmother’s cruel whims, looking after her blind younger sister, and keeping her own magical gifts under control—without having to deal with rumors of monsters re-emerging in the marsh. But when a chance encounter with an easily flustered young man named Han brings her into contact with a secret magical liberation organization called the Guardians of Dawn, Zhara realizes there may be more to these rumors than she thought. A mysterious plague is corrupting the magicians of Zanhei and transforming them into monsters, and the Guardians of Dawn believe a demon is responsible.
In order to restore harmony and bring peace to the world, Zhara must discover the elemental warrior within, lest the balance between order and chaos is lost forever.
Secrets Never Die by Vincent Ralph (ISBN-13: 9781250882158 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 09/26/2023, Ages 13-18)
Secrets Never Die is a creepy thriller from New York Times bestselling author Vincent Ralph about four teens who all have secrets that are coming back to haunt…and terrorize.
We call it the Dark Place. I don’t know who built it or when but, for us, it’s special.
Every year Sam Hall and his friends hold funerals for their secrets in an abandoned hut in the woods that they call the Dark Place. But this year, their secrets are coming back from the dead…to terrorize them.
Sam is a former child star whose career went up in flames – literally. And no one, not even his best friend knows why. His friends each hold a secret pertaining to the night. A secret they would all like buried.
Now someone from the past is blackmailing them with their dangerous secrets. Sam isn’t sure who he can trust, who’s watching him – or how far he’s willing to go to bury the past once and for all.
When you’re alone in the dark, some things won’t stay hidden.
People to Follow by Olivia Worley (ISBN-13: 9781250881380 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 10/31/2023, Ages 13-18)
Ten teen influencers come to a remote island to star in a reality show, but when one of them winds up dead, they realize that this time, the price of being “cancelled” could be their lives.
A reality show on a remote Caribbean island. Ten teen influencers. One dead body.
Welcome to “In Real Life,” the hot new reality show that forces social media’s reigning kings and queens to unplug for three weeks and “go live” without any filters. IRL is supposed to be the opportunity of a lifetime, watched closely by legions of loyal followers. But for these rising stars—including Elody, an Instagram model with an impulsive streak; Kira, a child star turned fitness influencer; Logan, a disgraced TikTok celeb with a secret; and Max, a YouTuber famous for exposés on his fellow creators—it’s about to turn into a nightmare.
When the production crew fails to show up and one of their own meets a violent end, these nine little influencers find themselves stranded with a dead body and no way to reach the outside world. When they start receiving messages from a mysterious Sponsor threatening to expose their darkest secrets, they realize that they’ve been lured into a deadly game…and one of them might be pulling the strings.
With the body count rising and cameras tracking their every move, the creators must figure out who is trying to get them canceled—like, literally—before their #1 follower strikes again.
What the River Knows: A Novel by Isabel Ibañez (ISBN-13: 9781250803375 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 11/14/2023, Ages 13-18)
The Mummy meets Death on the Nile in this lush, immersive historical fantasy set in Egypt filled with adventure, a rivals-to-lovers romance, and a dangerous race.
Bolivian-Argentinian Inez Olivera belongs to the glittering upper society of nineteenth century Buenos Aires, and like the rest of the world, the town is steeped in old world magic that’s been largely left behind or forgotten. Inez has everything a girl might want, except for the one thing she yearns the most: her globetrotting parents—who frequently leave her behind.
When she receives word of their tragic deaths, Inez inherits their massive fortune and a mysterious guardian, an archeologist in partnership with his Egyptian brother-in-law. Yearning for answers, Inez sails to Cairo, bringing her sketch pads and a golden ring her father sent to her for safekeeping before he died. But upon her arrival, the old world magic tethered to the ring pulls her down a path where she soon discovers there’s more to her parent’s disappearance than what her guardian led her to believe.
With her guardian’s infuriatingly handsome assistant thwarting her at every turn, Inez must rely on ancient magic to uncover the truth about her parent’s disappearance—or risk becoming a pawn in a larger game that will kill her.
Gwen & Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher (ISBN-13: 9781250847218 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 11/28/2023, Ages 14-18)
Heartstopper meets A Knight’s Tale in this queer medieval rom com YA debut about love, friendship, and being brave enough to change the course of history.
It’s been hundreds of years since King Arthur’s reign. His descendant, Arthur, a future Lord and general gadabout, has been betrothed to Gwendoline, the quick-witted, short-tempered princess of England, since birth. The only thing they can agree on is that they despise each other.
They’re forced to spend the summer together at Camelot in the run up to their nuptials, and within 24 hours, Gwen has discovered Arthur kissing a boy and Arthur has gone digging for Gwen’s childhood diary and found confessions about her crush on the kingdom’s only lady knight, Bridget Leclair.
Realizing they might make better allies than enemies, they make a reluctant pact to cover for each other, and as things heat up at the annual royal tournament, Gwen is swept off her feet by her knight and Arthur takes an interest in Gwen’s royal brother. Lex Croucher’s Gwen and Art Are Not in Love is chock full of sword-fighting, found family, and romantic shenanigans destined to make readers fall in love.
Godly Heathens by H.E. Edgmon (ISBN-13: 9781250853615 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 11/28/2023 Series: The Ouroboros #1, Ages 14-18)
Maybe I have always just been bad at being human because I’m not one.
Gem Echols is a nonbinary Seminole teen living in the tiny town of Gracie, Georgia. Known for being their peers’ queer awakening, Gem leans hard on charm to disguise the anxious mess they are beneath. The only person privy to their authentic self is another trans kid, Enzo, who’s a thousand long, painful miles away in Brooklyn.
But even Enzo doesn’t know about Gem’s dreams, haunting visions of magic and violence that have always felt too real. So how the hell does Willa Mae Hardy? The strange new girl in town acts like she and Gem are old companions, and seems to know things about them they’ve never told anyone else.
When Gem is attacked by a stranger claiming to be the Goddess of Death, Willa Mae saves their life and finally offers some answers. She and Gem are reincarnated gods who’ve known and loved each other across lifetimes. But Gem – or at least who Gem used to be – hasn’t always been the most benevolent deity. They’ve made a lot of enemies in the pantheon—enemies who, like the Goddess of Death, will keep coming.
It’s a good thing they’ve still got Enzo. But as worlds collide and the past catches up with the present, Gem will discover that everyone has something to hide.
Our Cursed Love by Julie Abe (ISBN-13: 9781250851321 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 12/12/2023, Ages 12-18)
Six days to remember.
Love or lose him forever.
Remy Kobata has always wished she was destined to be with her best friend, Cam Yasuda. All the way from being neighbors from birth to mixing up magical prank potions together to their “just friends” homecoming date during their senior year in high school, nothing’s a secret between Remy and Cam—except for how much she is in love with him.
Remy is trying to work up the courage to confess her feelings during their winter break trip to Japan, when she gets selected for a mystical tea leaves reading and it reveals that they’re not meant to be together. After they stumble upon a secret magical apothecary in the back alleys of Tokyo, Remy and Cam are offered an ancient soulmate elixir, created before all love potions were banned by the magical government. They each have their reasons for wanting to take it, but what could go wrong with finding your soulmate a little earlier?
Except, after they drink up, their senior year trip flips into the worst vacation ever: Cam has forgotten who she is. If Remy can’t help Cam remember her by midnight New Year’s Eve, they’ll both be cursed to forget each other. To unravel their past and rewrite the future, Remy and Cam must travel through Tokyo to rediscover Cam’s memories and make new ones—and maybe even fall in love all over again.
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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