Book Mail: 39 books out between now and November!
As usual, it’s raining books here in Minnesota! They’re coming in faster than I can ever open and catalog them, but hey, there are worse problems in life! I’m down to a handful of days of school left and cannot wait to start digging into the TBR Mountain Range currently in my office.
All descriptions courtesy of the publisher.
Speculation by Nisi Shawl (ISBN-13: 9781620149591 Publisher: Lee & Low Books Publication date: 02/14/2023, Ages 8-12)
A wonderful middle-grade fantasy debut about Black families, family history, family curses … and a really marvelous pair of spectacles.
After Winna’s little sister breaks her glasses, her grandfather gives her an old-timey pair of spectacles that belonged to her great-aunt Estelle. The specs are silver and perfectly circular, with tiny stars on the bridge and earpieces that curl all the way around her ears.
Best of all, they’re magic.
Because when Winna makes a wish beginning with the words “What if”—that is, when she speculates—the spectacles grant it. Winna wishes she could see ghosts … and soon she meets not only the real Estelle, but Estelle’s mother, Winona. Nearly a century before, Winona escaped from slavery and ran north with her baby, Key. But Key was stolen from her under mysterious circumstances, and now Estelle and Winona have a mission for Winna: Find Key.
He’s still alive. He doesn’t know the whole truth. And unless Winna can solve the mystery and bring him home, a powerful curse called the Burden will smother out their family’s lives—and Winna’s mom could be its next victim.
This beautifully written historical fantasy by an award-winning science fiction author offers new twists and turns in every chapter and will leave you looking at your own family’s roots with new eyes.
Nervosa by Hayley Gold (ISBN-13: 9781951491246 Publisher: Street Noise Books Publication date: 04/04/2023)
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder. It is not a phase, a fad, or a choice. It is a debilitating illness, manifested in a distorted relationship with food, but which actually has more to do with issues of control. It is often a puzzle for doctors, therapists, parents, and friends. And so those who suffer from it are belittled, or tragically misunderstood, not only by society but by the healthcare system meant to treat it.Nervosa is a no-holds-barred, richly textured portrait of one young woman’s experience. In her vividly imagined retelling, Hayley Gold lays bare a callous medical system seemingly disinterested in the very patients it is supposed to treat. And traces how her own life was irrevocably damaged by both the system and her own disorder. With brutal honesty and witty sarcastic humor, Gold offers a remarkably candid exploration of the search for hope in the darkness.
Pardalita by Joana Estrela, Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Translator) (ISBN-13: 9781646142552 Publisher: Levine Querido Publication date: 04/18/2023, Ages 12-18)
A beautiful slice-of-life story that is This One Summer meets Ursula K. Le Guin’s Very Far Away from Anywhere Else, told in flashbacks
16-year-old Raquel lives in a small town in Portugal, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Her parents are divorced and
she’s just been suspended for cursing out a school aide asking about her father’s new marriage. She has two best friends, Luísa and Fred, but wants
something more. Then, from afar, she sees Pardalita, a senior and a gifted artist who’s moving to Lisbon to study in the fall. The two girls get to know
each other while working on a play. And Raquel falls in love.
Using a gorgeous blend of prose poems, illustrations, and graphic novel format, author and artist Joana Estrela captures the feeling of being a teenager in a way that feels gentle, joyful, and real.
The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. Smith (ISBN-13: 9781250843388 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication date: 04/25/2023, Ages 14-18)
They Both Die at the End meets The Butterfly Effect in this YA novel by Joan F. Smith, where a teen uses her gift of foreknowledge to help a lifeguard save a drowning man—only to discover that her actions have suddenly put his life at risk.
It was supposed to be an ordinary day at the pool, but when lifeguard Nick hesitates during a save,
seventeen-year-old December uses her gift of foreknowledge to rescue the drowning man instead. The action comes at a cost. Not only will Nick and December fall in love, but also, she envisions that his own life is now at risk. The other problem? They’re basically strangers.
December embarks on a mission to save Nick’s life, and to experience what it feels like to fall in love—something she’d formerly known she’d never do. Nick, battling the shame of screwing up the rescue when he’s heralded as a community hero, resolves to make up for his inaction by doing December a major solid and searching for her mother, who went missing nine years ago.
As they grow closer, December’s gift starts playing tricks, and Nick’s family gets closer to an ugly truth about him. They both must learn what it really means to be a hero before time runs out.
The One and Only Ruby by Katherine Applegate (ISBN-13: 9780063080089 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/02/2023 Series: Ivan and Friends Series #3, Ages 8-12)
From beloved powerhouse author Katherine Applegate comes The One and Only Ruby, starring the adorable baby elephant from the Newbery Medal-winning modern classic The One and Only Ivan and its bestselling sequel, The One and Only Bob.
Ruby’s story picks up a few months after the events of The One and Only Bob. Now living in a wildlife sanctuary, Ruby’s caretaker from the elephant orphanage in Africa where she grew up is visiting. Seeing him again brings back a flood of memories both happy and sad of her life before the circus, and she recounts the time she spent in the African savannah to Ivan and Bob.
In the timeless way that only Katherine Applegate could craft, this highly anticipated novel in verse is the perfect mix of heartfelt and humorous, poignant and sweet. Artist Patricia Castelao returns to the world of Ivan and his friends with gorgeous black-and-white interior illustrations to complete the story.
The One and Only Ruby features first-person narrative; author’s use of literary devices (personification, imagery); and story elements (plot, character development, perspective).
This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 8, for independent reading, homeschooling, and sharing in the classroom.
Don’t miss the film adaptation of The One and Only Ivan, now streaming on Disney+!
Lion’s Legacy by L. C. Rosen (ISBN-13: 9781454948056 Publisher: Union Square & Co. Publication date: 05/02/2023 Series: Tennessee Russo, Ages 12-17)
Seventeen-year-old Tennessee Russo’s life is imploding. His boyfriend has been cheating on him, and all his friends know about it. Worse, they expect him to just accept his ex’s new relationship and make nice. So when his father, a famous archaeologist and reality show celebrity whom he hasn’t seen in two years, shows up unexpectedly and offers to take him on an adventure, Tennessee only has a few choices:
1. Stay, mope, regret it forever.
2. Go, try to reconcile with Dad, become his sidekick again.
3. Go, but make it his adventure, and Dad will be the sidekick.
The object of his father’s latest quest, the Rings of the Sacred Band of Thebes, is too enticing to say no to. Finding artifacts related to the troop of ancient Greek soldiers, composed of one-hundred-and-fifty gay couples, means navigating ruins, deciphering ancient mysteries, and maybe meeting a cute boy.
But will his dad let Tennessee do the right thing with the rings if they find them? And what is the right thing? Who does queer history belong to?
Against the backdrop of a sunlit Greek landscape, author L. C. Rosen masterfully weaves together adventure, romance, and magic in a celebration of the power of claiming your queer legacy.
Select by Christie Matheson (ISBN-13: 9780593567234 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 05/09/2023, Ages 8-12)
One girl and her soccer team take a stand against the bullies who push them too far in this brave, inspiring novel that celebrates girl power and the true spirit of sports. Perfect for readers who love The Crossover and Fighting Words.
“A tale of terrific girl power and athleticism.” —Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Alex loves playing soccer, and she’s good at it, too. Very good. When her skills land her a free ride to play for Select, an elite soccer club, it feels like a huge opportunity. Joining Select could be the key to a college scholarship and a bright future—one that Alex’s family can’t promise her.
But as the team gets better and better, her new coach pushes the players harder and harder, until soccer starts to feel more like punishment than fun. And then there comes a point where enough is enough, and Alex and her teammates must take a stand to find a better way to make their soccer dreams come true.
Powerful and inspiring, Select explores the important difference between positive and negative coaching and celebrates the true spirit of sports.
Nigeria Jones by Ibi Zoboi (ISBN-13: 9780062888846 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/09/2023, Ages 13-17)
“An unwavering proclamation of Black girlhood.” —Candice Iloh, author of National Book Award finalist Every Body Looking
From Ibi Zoboi, bestselling, award-winning author of American Street and co-author of Punching the Air, comes a bold new YA coming-of-age story, which explores race, feminism, and complicated family dynamics. The ideal next read for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Jacqueline Woodson, and Roxane Gay.
Warrior Princess. That’s what Nigeria Jones’s father calls her. He has raised her as part of the Movement, a Black separatist group based in Philadelphia. Nigeria is homeschooled and vegan and participates in traditional rituals to connect her and other kids from the group to their ancestors. But when her mother—the perfect matriarch of their Movement—disappears, Nigeria’s world is upended. She finds herself taking care of her baby brother and stepping into a role she doesn’t want.
Nigeria’s mother had secrets. She wished for a different life for her children, which includes sending her daughter to a private Quaker school outside of their strict group. Despite her father’s disapproval, Nigeria attends the school with her cousin, Kamau, and Sage, who used to be a friend. There, she begins to flourish and expand her universe.
As Nigeria searches for her mother, she starts to uncover a shocking truth. One that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about her life and her family.
From award-winning author Ibi Zoboi comes a powerful story about discovering who you are in the world—and fighting for that person—by having the courage to be your own revolution.
Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian (ISBN-13: 9780063039377 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/09/2023, Ages 13-17)
From the Stonewall Honor–winning author of Like a Love Story comes a sweeping story of three generations of boys in the same Iranian family. Perfect for fans of Last Night at the Telegraph Club and Darius the Great Is Not Okay.
2019. Moud is an out gay teen living in Los Angeles with his distant father, Saeed. When Moud gets the news that his grandfather in Iran is dying, he accompanies his dad to Tehran, where the revelation of family secrets will force Moud into a new understanding of his history, his culture, and himself.
1978. Saeed is an engineering student with a promising future ahead of him in Tehran. But when his parents discover his involvement in the country’s burgeoning revolution, they send him to safety in America, a country Saeed despises. And even worse—he’s forced to live with the American grandmother he never knew existed.
1939. Bobby, the son of a calculating Hollywood stage mother, lands a coveted MGM studio contract. But the fairy-tale world of glamour he’s thrust into has a dark side.
Set against the backdrop of Tehran and Los Angeles, this tale of intergenerational trauma and love is an ode to the fragile bonds of family, the hidden secrets of history, and all the beautiful moments that make us who we are today.
Lose You to Find Me by Erik J. Brown (ISBN-13: 9780063055025 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/16/2023, Ages 13-17)
A romantic, heartfelt, and hilarious queer coming-of-age story from All That’s Left in the World author Erik J. Brown, perfect for fans of What If It’s Us and If This Gets Out.
Tommy Dees is in the weeds—restaurant speak for beyond overwhelmed. He’s been working as a server at Sunset Estates retirement community to get the experience he needs to attend one of the best culinary schools in the world. And to make his application shine, he also needs a letter of recommendation from his sadistic manager. But in exchange for the letter, Tommy has to meet three conditions—including training the new hire.
What he doesn’t expect is for the newbie to be an old crush: Gabe, with the dimples and kind heart, who Tommy fell for during summer camp at age ten and then never saw again. Unfortunately, Gabe doesn’t remember Tommy at all. The training proves distracting as old feelings resurface, and the universe seems to be conspiring against them.
With the application deadline looming and Gabe on his mind, Tommy is determined to keep it all together—but what if life isn’t meant to follow a recipe?
Julieta and the Romeos by Maria E. Andreu (ISBN-13: 9780062996541 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/16/2023, Ages 14-17)
You’ve Got Mail meets a YA Beach Read with a bookish mystery at its heart in the newest rom-com from Maria E. Andreu. The ideal next read for fans of Emily Henry, Kasie West, and Jennifer E. Smith.
Julieta isn’t looking for her Romeo—but she is writing about love. When her summer writing teacher encourages the class to publish their work online, the last thing she’s expecting is to get a notification that her rom-com has a mysterious new contributor, Happily Ever Drafter. Julieta knows that happily ever afters aren’t real. (Case in point: her parents’ imploding marriage.) But then again, could this be her very own meet-cute?
As things start to heat up in her fiction, Julieta can’t help but notice three boys in her real life: her best friend’s brother (aka her nemesis), the boy next door (well, to her abuela), and her oldest friend (who is suddenly looking . . . hot?). Could one of them be her mysterious collaborator? But even if Julieta finds her Romeo, she’ll have to remember that life is full of plot twists. . . .
From the author of Love in English comes a fresh take on love and romance, and a reminder to always be the author of your own life story.
All the Dead Lie Down by Kyrie McCauley (ISBN-13: 9780063242982 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/16/2023, Ages 14-17)
The Haunting of Bly Manor meets House of Salt and Sorrows in award-winning author Kyrie McCauley’s contemporary YA gothic romance about a dark family lineage, the ghosts of grief, and the lines we’ll cross for love.
The Sleeping House was very much awake . . .
Days after a tragedy leaves Marin Blythe alone in the world, she receives a surprising invitation from Alice Lovelace—an acclaimed horror writer and childhood friend of Marin’s mother. Alice offers her a nanny position at Lovelace House, the family’s coastal Maine estate.
Marin accepts and soon finds herself minding Alice’s peculiar girls. Thea buries her dolls one by one, hosting a series of funerals, while Wren does everything in her power to drive Marin away. Then Alice’s eldest daughter returns home unexpectedly. Evie Hallowell is every bit as strange as her younger sisters, and yet Marin is quickly drawn in by Evie’s compelling behavior and ethereal grace.
But as Marin settles in, she can’t escape the anxiety that follows her like a shadow. Dead birds appear in Marin’s room. The children’s pranks escalate. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, leaving mutilated animals in its wake. All is not well at Lovelace House, and Marin must unravel its secrets before they consume her.
Mèo and Bé by Doan Phuong Nguyen, Jesse White (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781643796253 Publisher: Lee & Low Books Publication date: 05/23/2023, Ages 10-12)
Just before the United States enters the Vietnam War, eleven-year-old Bé and her three-footed kitten Mèo must rise above the injustices of war to find the comfort, safety, and love of a found family.
Eleven-year-old Bé hasn’t spoken a word since her mother left. She hangs on to the hope that one day they will be reunited, but after two years of waiting, it’s becoming more difficult. Her father—who is now frail and helpless after a stroke—can do little to protect her from her stepmother, Big Mother, who treats Bé like an animal and a servant. Thankfully, Bè has a secret friend, her little kitten Mèo, to comfort her in the worst of times. Maybe if she just steers clear of Big Mother and is obedient, everything will be okay.
Unfortunately, Big Mother has other plans. She accuses her of stealing, and Bé is drugged and sold. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a locked underground bunker being held captive with a group of young women. Bé is too young to understand why they’re prisoners, but at least she still has Mèo! He was hiding in her shirt when she was taken. As weeks pass, Bé makes a friend her own age, Ngân, even without speaking, and Mèo becomes a solace for the women—being available for cuddles and catching the mice that annoy them.
Suddenly, a violent uprising enables the imprisoned women and girls to escape, only to realize the wider world of war is just as dangerous. Can Bé and Mèo, and their newfound friend, Ngân, find their way to a safe place they can call home—even though the world is literally exploding all around them?
A beautiful literary work, full of kindness and compassion amidst the devastation of war.
Friends Like These by Meg Rosoff (ISBN-13: 9781774881101 Publisher: Tundra Book Group Publication date: 05/30/2023, Ages 14-17)
From bestselling, award-winning author Meg Rosoff comes a gritty, intoxicating novel about a summer of unforgettable firsts: of independence, lies, love and the inevitable loss of innocence. Sharp and irresistible, it’s perfect for fans of Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters and Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend.
New York City. Summer 1983. A summer internship in New York was meant to be everything Beth wanted. But from the moment she arrives in the city she feels wrong: wrong hair, terrible clothes, defective smile, too obviously a virgin. Sharing a hot, cockroach-filled apartment with a couple falling out of love completes the dream picture. Then she meets her fellow interns: ambitious out-of-towner Dan, preppy rich boy Oliver, and Edie — a beautiful, brittle, magnetic, instant best friend. Irresistible people are like gravity. You can’t help being pulled towards them — can you?
The Moonlit Vine by Elizabeth Santiago, McKenzie Mayle (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781643795805 Publisher: Lee & Low Books Publication date: 05/30/2023, Ages 13-18)
Fourteen-year-old Taína just learned that she is a descendant of a long line of strong Taíno women, but will knowing this help her bring peace and justice to her family and community?
Despite her name, Taína Perez doesn’t know anything about her Taíno heritage, nor has she ever tried to learn. After all, how would ancient Puerto Rican history help with everything going on? There’s constant trouble at school and in her neighborhood, her older brother was kicked out of the house, and with her mom at work, she’s left alone to care for her little brother and aging grandmother. It’s a lot for a 14-year-old to manage.
But life takes a wild turn when her abuela tells her she is a direct descendant of Anacaona, the beloved Taíno leader, warrior, and poet, who was murdered by the Spanish in 1503. Abuela also gives her an amulet and a zemi and says that it’s time for her to step into her power like the women who came before her. But is that even possible? People like her hardly make it out of their circumstances, and the problems in her home and community are way bigger than Taína can manage. Or are they?
A modern tale with interstitial historical chapters, The Moonlit Vine brings readers a powerful story of the collective struggle, hope, and liberation of Puerto Rican and Taíno peoples.
Also available in Spanish!
Rhythm & Muse by India Hill Brown (ISBN-13: 9780063217553 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/30/2023, Ages 13-17)
Cinderella meets Cyrano in this pitch-perfect YA rom-com that is a celebration of Black joy, first crushes, and putting your heart on the line for love.
Darren Johnson lives in his head. There, he can pine for his crush—total dream girl, Delia Dawson—in peace, away from the unsolicited opinions of his talkative family and showboat friends. When Delia announces a theme song contest for her popular podcast, Dillie D in the Place to Be, Darren’s friends—convinced he’ll never make a move—submit one of his secret side projects for consideration.
After the anonymous romantic verse catches Dillie’s ear, she sets out to uncover the mystery singer behind the track. Now Darren must decide: Is he ready to step out of the shadows and take the lead in his own life?
No Perfect Places by Steven Salvatore (ISBN-13: 9781547611072 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 05/30/2023, Ages 12-17)
From lauded author Steven Salvatore comes a moving YA novel about twins whose incarcerated father dies and leaves behind a life-changing secret, perfect for fans of I’ll Give You the Sun and Euphoria.
When their father went to prison last year for embezzlement, twins Alex and Olly Brucke lost everything: their house, their college funds, most of their friends, and even their mother, who’s so focused on making ends meet that she’s never around anymore. The only thing they can count on lately is each other.
But after their father dies unexpectedly in prison, the twins start to fracture. Alex is spiraling, skipping classes to spend all of her time drunk or high. And Olly is struggling with a secret his dad ordered him to keep: they have a secret half-brother named Tyler.
When Tyler shows up in their lakeside town for the summer, hoping to get to know his siblings, Olly hides the truth from Alex. But as Alex and Tyler start to form a friendship, the lies become harder to juggle. If they can’t confront their father’s past and fix their relationship, Olly and Alex each risk losing two siblings forever.
No Perfect Places is a thought-provoking novel about grief, family secrets, and figuring out how to belong against the odds.
The Queens of New York: A Novel by E. L. Shen (ISBN-13: 9780063237957 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 06/06/2023, Ages 13-17)
From acclaimed author E. L. Shen comes a sun-drenched, cinematic YA novel about three Asian American girls, their unbreakable bond, and one life-changing summer, perfect for fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Best friends Jia Lee, Ariel Kim, and Everett Hoang are inseparable. But this summer, they won’t be together.
Everett, aspiring Broadway star, hopes to nab the lead role in an Ohio theater production, but soon realizes that talent and drive can only get her so far. Brainy Ariel is flying to San Francisco for a prestigious STEM scholarship, even though her heart is in South Korea, where her sister died last year. And stable, solid Jia will be home in Flushing, juggling her parents’ Chinatown restaurant, a cute new neighbor, and dreams for an uncertain future.
As the girls navigate heartbreaking surprises and shocking self-discoveries, they find that even though they’re physically apart, they are still mighty together.
Northranger by Rey Terciero, Bre Indigo (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780063007390 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 06/06/2023, Ages 13-17)
In this swoony and spooky teen summer romance graphic novel set on a Texas ranch, sixteen-year-old Cade Muñoz finds himself falling for the ranch owner’s mysterious and handsome son, only to discover that he may be harboring a dangerous secret.
Cade has always loved to escape into the world of a good horror movie. After all, horror movies are scary—but to Cade, a closeted queer Latino teen growing up in rural Texas—real life can be way scarier.
When Cade is sent to spend the summer working as a ranch hand to help earn extra money for his family, he is horrified. Cade hates everything about the ranch, from the early mornings to the mountains of horse poop he has to clean up. The only silver lining is the company of the two teens who live there—in particular, the ruggedly handsome and enigmatic Henry.
But as unexpected sparks begin to fly between Cade and Henry, things get…complicated. Henry is reluctant to share the details of his mother’s death, and Cade begins to wonder what else he might be hiding. Inspired by the gothic romance of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and perfect for fans of Heartstopper and Bloom comes a modern love story so romantic it’s scary.
The Grimoire of Grave Fates by Hanna Alkaf (Created by), Margaret Owen (Created by) (ISBN-13: 9780593427453 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 06/06/2023, Ages 12-17)
Crack open your spell book and enter the world of the illustrious Galileo Academy for the Extraordinary. There’s been a murder on campus, and it’s up to the students of Galileo to solve it. Follow 18 authors and 18 students as they puzzle out the clues and find the guilty party.
Professor of Magical History Septimius Dropwort has just been murdered, and now everyone at the Galileo Academy for the Extraordinary is a suspect.
A prestigious school for young magicians, the Galileo Academy has recently undergone a comprehensive overhaul, reinventing itself as a roaming academy in which students of all cultures and identities are celebrated. In this new Galileo, every pupil is welcome—but there are some who aren’t so happy with the recent changes. That includes everyone’s least favorite professor, Septimius Dropwort, a stodgy old man known for his harsh rules and harsher punishments. But when the professor’s body is discovered on school grounds with a mysterious note clenched in his lifeless hand, the Academy’s students must solve the murder themselves, because everyone’s a suspect.
Told from more than a dozen alternating and diverse perspectives, The Grimoire of Grave Fates follows Galileo’s best and brightest young magicians as they race to discover the truth behind Dropwort’s mysterious death. Each one of them is confident that only they have the skills needed to unravel the web of secrets hidden within Galileo’s halls. But they’re about to discover that even for straight-A students, magic doesn’t always play by the rules. . . .
Contributors include: Cam Montgomery, Darcie Little Badger, Hafsah Faizal, Jessica Lewis, Julian Winters, Karuna Riazi, Kat Cho, Kayla Whaley, Kwame Mbalia, L. L. McKinney, Marieke Nijkamp, Mason Deaver, Natasha Díaz, Preeti Chhibber, Randy Ribay, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Victoria Lee, and Yamile Saied Méndez
An Echo in the City by K. X. Song (ISBN-13: 9780316396820 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 06/20/2023, Ages 14-18)
Two star-crossed teenagers fall in love during the Hong Kong protests in this searing contemporary novel about coming-of-age in a time of change.
Sixteen-year-old Phoenix knows her parents have invested thousands of dollars to help her leave Hong Kong and get an elite Ivy League education. They think America means big status, big dreams, and big bank accounts. But Phoenix doesn’t want big; she just wants home. The trouble is, she doesn’t know where that is…until the Hong Kong protest movement unfolds, and she learns the city she’s come to love is in danger of disappearing.
Seventeen-year-old Kai sees himself as an artist, not a filial son, and certainly not a cop. But when his mother dies, he’s forced to leave Shanghai to reunite with his estranged father, a respected police officer, who’s already enrolled him in the Hong Kong police academy. Kai wants to hate his job, but instead, he finds himself craving his father’s approval. And when he accidentally swaps phones with Phoenix and discovers she’s part of a protest network, he finds a way to earn it: by infiltrating the group and reporting their plans back to the police.
As Kai and Phoenix join the struggle for the future of Hong Kong, a spark forms between them, pulling them together even as their two worlds try to force them apart. But when their relationship is built on secrets and deception, will they still love the person left behind when the lies fall away?
Food Fight by Linda B. Davis (ISBN-13: 9781646033430 Publisher: Regal House Publishing Publication date: 06/27/2023, Ages 9-12)
“A must-read for anyone who has ever fought their own battles with both fitting in and being themselves.” —Shannon Schuren, author of Where Echoes Lie
Ben Snyder is ready for middle school. But his super picky eating, which has never been a big deal before, is about to take him down. Suddenly everybody’s on his case about what he’s eating and what he’s not—his old friends, his new friends, his weird lab partner, the girl he’s crushing on, and a bully—and Ben finds himself in social free fall, sliding toward the bottom of the middle school food chain. Even worse, there’s an upcoming three-day class trip to a colonial campsite. Knowing he can’t handle the gag-worthy menu, Ben prepares for the outing like it’s a survival mission. Armed with new and unexpected information about his eating habits that could change everything, he sets out with three tactical goals: impress the girl, outsmart the bully, and avoid every single meal. But when epic hunger threatens to push him over the edge, Ben must decide how far he will go to fit in and if he has the courage to stand out.
The Fight for Midnight by Dan Solomon (ISBN-13: 9781635830866 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 06/20/2023, Ages 14-18)
It’s been a rough year for Alex Collins. In the past twelve months, he’s lost his best friend, become the target of the two biggest bullies at school, and been sentenced to community service. But on June 25, 2013, he gets a call for help from Cassie Ramirez, the prettiest girl in school. At last, he feels like his luck might be changing.
Cassie is at the Texas State Capitol to protest Wendy Davis’s historic filibuster of the abortion bill HB2, and she’s rallying everyone she knows to join her. Until today, Alex didn’t know what a filibuster was, and he’d never given a moment’s thought to how he felt about abortion. But at the Capitol, he finds himself in the middle of a tense scene full of pro-life “blueshirts,” pro-choice “orangeshirts,” and blustering politicians playing political games as Wendy Davis tries to run out the clock at midnight.
Alex may have entered the Capitol looking to spend time with Cassie, but the political gets personal when he runs into his ex-friend Shireen in an orange T-shirt and quickly realizes that when it comes to an issue like abortion, neutral isn’t an option. Over the next nineteen hours—as things get increasingly heated both on the Senate floor and between the two sets of protesters—Alex will struggle to figure out what side he’s on, knowing that whatever choice he makes will bring him face-to-face with his past mistakes.
A Crooked Mark by Linda Kao (ISBN-13: 9780593527573 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 06/20/2023, Ages 14-17)
A dark and sinister debut YA novel about a teen boy who must hunt down those marked by the devil – including the girl he has fallen for.
Perfect for fans of Neal Shusterman and Kendare Blake.
Rae Winter should be dead.
Some say that walking away from the car crash that killed her dad is a miracle, but seventeen-year-old Matthew Watts knows that the forces of Good aren’t the only ones at work. The devil, Lucifer himself, can mark a soul about to pass on, sending it back to the land of the living to carry out his evil will.
Matt has grown up skipping from town to town alongside his father hunting anyone who has this mark. They have one purpose: Find these people, and exterminate them.
After helping his father for years, Matt takes on his own mission: Rae Winter, miracle survivor. But when Matt starts to fall for Rae, to make friends for the first time in his life, he’s not sure who or what to believe anymore. How can someone like Rae, someone who is thoughtful and smart and kind, be an agent of the devil? With the lines of reality and fantasy, myth and paranoia blurred, Matt confronts an awful truth….
What if the devil’s mark doesn’t exist?
Clara Poole and the Long Way Round by Taylor Tyng (ISBN-13: 9781645951599 Publisher: Pixel+Ink Publication date: 07/04/2023, Ages 8-12)
Mr. Lemoncello meets the Amazing Race in this quirky high-octane balloon-racing middle grade around-the-world adventure.
When an unintended flight over Michigan in her class science project—a lawn chair held aloft by balloons—brings her instant celebrity, Clara Poole is invited to be the spokesperson for a round-the-world adventure race. But when her overprotective father refuses, Clara forges his signature in a moment of defiance and runs away to Paris to take her place in the skies. If only she’d read the fine print first.
Partnered with a veteran aeronaut who wants nothing to do with her, Clara faces down ten treacherous stages in a race around the world—capturing flags in the perilous mountains of Nepal; being a guest of honor at a maybe-wedding in the Saharan desert; flying through rings of fire in Hong Kong—all while learning the ropes alongside a colorful cast of international competitors.
But there are more dangers ahead. Someone is trying to sabotage the competition. And surviving this race means Clara must come to terms with the tragedy that set her fleeing to the skies in the first place, and accepting that forgiving herself isn’t a process she has to undertake alone.
Gorgeous prose and winning characters combine in this quirky, often-hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking, and thoroughly captivating middle grade adventure series starter from an incredible new talent.
Love & Resistance by Kara H.L. Chen (ISBN-13: 9780063237834 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 07/04/2023, Ages 13-17)
Moxie meets Mary H.K. Choi in this funny, whip-smart YA debut about love, resistance, and the enduring friendships that make it all worthwhile.
Seventeen-year-old Olivia Chang is at her fourth school in seven years. Her self-imposed solitude is lonely but safe. At Plainstown High, however, Olivia’s usual plan of anonymity fails when infamous it-girl Mitzi Clarke makes a pointed racist comment in class. Tired of ignoring things just to survive, Olivia defends herself.
And that is the end of her invisible life.
Soon, Olivia joins forces with the Nerd Net: a secret society that’s been thwarting Mitzi’s reign of terror for months. Together, they plan to unite the masses and create true change at school.
But in order to succeed, Olivia must do something even more terrifying than lead a movement: trust other people. She might even make true friends along the way . . . if Mitzi doesn’t destroy her first.
A cheeky, thought-provoking force of a book, perfect for fans of E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.
All That’s Left to Say by Emery Lord (ISBN-13: 9781681199412 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 07/18/2023, Ages 13+)
A poignant and powerful story of a grieving girl willing to risk everything, perfect for fans of Robin Benway and Jandy Nelson.
On prom night, Hannah MacLaren sits in the headmaster’s office in her fanciest dress, soaked to the bone. She is in huge trouble after pulling the fire alarm right as the prom was about to be crowned. But Hannah had her reasons . . .
One year ago, her cousin Sophie, who was also her best friend and the person she loved most in the world, died of an overdose. Drowning in grief, Hannah became obsessed with one question: Who gave Sophie those pills? Who is refusing to give her family the closure they deserve?
Then she concocted a plan: enroll at her cousin’s fancy private school with a new look and a mouthful of lies, and finally uncover the truth.
But Hannah didn’t expect all the lines to blur. She didn’t expect Sophie’s friends to be so complicated. She didn’t expect to fall for her longtime enemy. Now, she must choose to either let herself really mourn Sophie and move on, or see her search through to its explosive end—even if it means destroying herself.
The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet by Jake Maia Arlow (ISBN-13: 9780593112960 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/01/2023, Ages 10-14)
A hilariously honest book about surviving middle school while navigating a chronic illness from the Stonewall Honor-winning author of Almost Flying.
Twelve-year-old Al Schneider is too scared to talk about the two biggest things in her life:
1. Her stomach hurts all the time and she has no idea why.
2. She’s almost definitely 100% sure she likes girls.
So she holds it in…until she can’t. After nearly having an accident of the lavatorial variety in gym class, Al finds herself getting a colonoscopy and an answer—she has Crohn’s disease.
But rather than solving all her problems, Al’s diagnosis just makes everything worse. It’s scary and embarrassing. And worst of all, everyone wants her to talk about it—her ove’protect’ve mom, her best friend, and most annoyingly her gastroenterologist, who keeps trying to get her to go to a support group for kids with similar chronic illnesses. But, who wants to talk about what you do in the bathroom?
The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet is a wildly funny and honest story about finding community, telling the truth even when it’s hard, and the many indignities of middle school life.
The Truth About Horses by Christy Cashman (ISBN-13: 9781684632121 Publisher: SparkPress Publication date: 08/15/2023, Ages 13-18)
Fourteen-year-old Reese’s dream of winning the Black Elk race is shattered when her beloved horse, Trusted Treasure, falls at the last jump. While still reeling from that loss, her family suffers a second tragedy—one that results in the end of their family business, the sale of Trusted Treasure, and irreparable damage to Reese’s relationship with her father.
Heartbroken and still longing to find Trusted Treasure, Reese meets Wes, a Lakota Indian, whose way of training horses is unlike anything she’s ever seen. If anyone can win the Black Elk, it’s Wes—but he’s struggling with his troubled past, and having a teenage girl hanging around his barn isn’t exactly what he’d planned. Through heartaches and triumphs, Reese must prove her worth if she wants to heal her family, help Wes, and show them all that some dreams are worth fighting for.
A spellbinding tale in which every teenager has magical powers within them just waiting to be discovered, this book will have you laughing and crying—sometimes on the same page—all the while rooting for Reese, the most unlikely of heroes.
Night of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror & Delight by Shelly Page (Editor) and Alex Brown (Editor) (ISBN-13: 9781250892980 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 08/29/2023, Ages 13-18)
Night of the Living Queers is a YA horror anthology that explores a night when anything is possible, exclusively featuring queer authors of color putting fresh spins on classic horror tropes and tales.
No matter its name or occasion, Halloween is more than a Hallmark holiday, it’s a symbol of transformation. NIGHT OF THE LIVING QUEERS is a YA horror anthology that explores how Halloween can be more than just candies and frights, but a night where anything is possible. Each short story is told through the lens of a different BIPOC teen and the Halloween night that changes their lives forever. Creative, creepy, and queer, this collection brings fresh terror, heart, and humor to young adult literature.
Contributors include editors Alex Brown and Shelly Page, Kalynn Bayron, Ryan Douglass, Sara Farizan, Maya Gittelman, Kosoko Jackson, Em Liu, Vanessa Montalban, Ayida Shonibar, Tara Sim, Trang Thanh Tran, and Rebecca Kim Wells.
Nothing Else But Miracles by Kate Albus (ISBN-13: 9780823451630 Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House Publication date: 09/05/2023, Ages 9-12)
From the author of A Place to Hang the Moon comes another World War II story about three siblings on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
12-year-old Dory Byrne lives with her brothers on New York City’s Lower East Side, waiting impatiently through the darkest hours of World War II for her pop to come home from fighting Hitler. Legally speaking, Dory’s brother, Fish, isn’t old enough to be in charge of Dory and her younger brother, Pike, but the neighborhood knows the score and, like Pop always says, “the neighborhood will give you what you need.”
There’s the lady from the bakery, who saves them leftover crullers. The kind landlord who checks in on them. And every Thursday night, the Byrnes enjoy a free bowl of seafood stew at Mr. Caputo’s restaurant. Which is where Dory learns about the hand-pulled elevator that is the only way to get to Caputo’s upper floors. The elevator that’s so creaky and ancient, nobody’s been in it for decades.
The Byrnes’ landlord dies unexpectedly and the new one is anything but kind. When he catches on about Pop being gone, he turns the Byrnes in, hoping they’ll be shipped off to an orphanage. Dory and her brothers need a hideout, and suddenly the elevator and the abandoned hotel it leads to provide just the solution they need.
Based on a very real place in old New York and steeped in the history of the last year of World War II, Nothing Else but Miracles shows how, when things get tough, the neighborhood really will give you what you need… and may even offer up a miracle or two in the process.
Kate Albus is the award-winning author of A Place to Hang the Moon, a JLG Gold Standard Selection, An Indie Pick, An ALSC Notable Children’s Book, A CCBC Choice book, and an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Winner.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
The Curious Vanishing of Beatrice Willoughby by G. Z. Schmidt (ISBN-13: 9780823450732 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 09/05/2023, Ages 8-12)
The Amadeuses were always considered somewhat strange. Even before the incident.
When six-year-old Beatrice Willoughby vanished at the Amadeuses’ annual All Hallows Eve party, people in the tiny mountain town of Nevermore were quick to whisper: They were always odd. Their house is full of dark magic. And when Mort Amadeus was pegged for the crime, the Amadeuses, once the center of society, retreated. They closed their doors, disappeared from life. People almost forgot. Until thirteen years later, when six envelopes land at the doorstep of six households in town: We cordially invite you to a celebration on the 31st of October this Saturday evening at the Amadeus household.
So begins the mystery of who was really responsible for the missing girl thirteen years ago. Was it Duchess von Pelt, whose face no one has ever seen? Mrs. Raven, the keeper of the local inn? Wormwood, the Amadeuses’ mysterious caretaker? Dr. Foozle, the town pharmacist? Count Baines, who seems to know when unlucky things are about to happen? Judge Ophelius, who presided over Beatrice’s case originally? Mr. and Mrs. H, a couple who no one can ever quite remember? Or somehow, might precocious, thirteen-year-old Dewey and his storytelling dad, Chaucer, be somehow mixed up in all this?
The guests must work together to identify the guilty party among them over the course of the evening—but beware the ticking clock, because at midnight, everything is going to change! Told from different perspectives, this is a sly, darkly funny mystery. Filled with strange characters and set in a mansion deep, deep in the woods. G. Z. Schmidt has crafted an unforgettable puzzle, perfect for reading on a dark autumn night.
The Forest Grimm by Kathryn Purdie (ISBN-13: 9781250873002 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 09/19/2023, Ages 13-18)
A spellbinding YA fantasy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Purdie, where fairy tales come to life with dark, deadly twists.
“Tell me again, Grandmère, the story of how I die.“
The Midnight Forest. The Fanged Creature. Two fortune-telling cards that spell an untimely death for 17-year-old Clara. Despite the ever-present warning from her fortune-teller grandmother, Clara embarks on a dangerous journey into the deadly Forest Grimm to procure a magical book—Sortes Fortunae, the Book of Fortunes—with the power to reverse the curse on her village and save her mother.
Years ago, when the villagers whispered their deepest desires to the book, its pages revealed how to obtain them. All was well until someone used the book for an evil purpose—to kill another person. Afterward, the branches of the Forest Grimm snatched the book away, the well water in Grimm’s Hollow turned rancid, and the crops died from disease. The villagers tried to make amends with the forest, but every time someone crossed its border, they never returned.
Now, left with no alternative, Clara and her close friend, Axel—who is fated never to be with her—have set their minds to defying fate and daring to accomplish what no one else has been able to before. But the forest—alive with dark, deadly twists on some of our most well-known fairy tales—has a mind of its own.
Find Him Where You Left Him Dead by Kristen Simmons (ISBN-13: 9781250851123 Publisher: Tor Publishing Group Publication date: 09/26/2023, Ages 13-18)
AT DAWN HE’LL BE GONE AND YOU’LL BE HERE FOREVER.
Kristen Simmons’s masterful breakout horror novel that’s “Jumanji but Japanese-inspired” (Kendare Blake) about estranged friends playing a deadly game in a nightmarish folkloric underworld.
Four years ago, five kids started a game. Not all of them survived.
Now, at the end of their senior year of high school, the survivors—Owen, Madeline, Emerson, and Dax—have reunited for one strange and terrible reason: they’ve been summoned by the ghost of Ian, the friend they left for dead.
Together they return to the place where their friendship ended with one goal: find Ian and bring him home. So they restart the deadly game they never finished—an innocent card-matching challenge called Meido. A game without instructions.
As soon as they begin, they’re dragged out of their reality and into an eerie hellscape of Japanese underworlds, more horrifying than even the darkest folktales that Owen’s grandmother told him. There, they meet Shinigami, an old wise woman who explains the rules:
They have one night to complete seven challenges or they’ll all be stuck in this world forever.
Once inseparable, the survivors now can’t stand each other, but the challenges demand they work together, think quickly, and make sacrifices—blood, clothes, secrets, memories, and worse.
And once again, not everyone will make it out alive.
Love in Winter Wonderland by Abiola Bello (ISBN-13: 9781641295079 Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated Publication date: 10/03/2023, Ages 14-17)
The Sun Is Also a Star meets You’ve Got Mail in this YA Christmas love story set in a London Black-owned bookshop.
Charming, handsome Trey Anderson balances the pressures of school popularity with a job at his family’s beloved local bookshop, Wonderland.
Quirky, creative Ariel Spencer needs tuition for the prestigious art program of her dreams, and an opening at Wonderland is the answer. When Trey and Ariel learn that Wonderland is on the brink of being shut down by a neighborhood gentrifier, they team up to stop the doors from closing before the Christmas Eve deadline—and embark on a hate-to-love journey that will change them forever.
Heartwarming and romantic, this read is the gift that keeps on giving, no matter the season.
The Search for Us by Susan Azim Boyer (ISBN-13: 9781250833709 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 10/24/2023, Ages 12-18)
“A sharp-witted and illuminating, impressive sophomore novel.” – Isaac Blum, author of the award-nominated The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
Two half-siblings who have never met embark on a search together for the Iranian immigrant and U.S. Army veteran father they never knew.
Samira Murphy will do anything to keep her fractured family from falling apart, including caring for her widowed grandmother and getting her older brother into recovery for alcohol addiction. With attendance at her dream college on the line, she takes a long shot DNA test to find the support she so desperately needs from a father she hasn’t seen since she was a baby.
Henry Owen is torn between his well-meaning but unreliable bio-mom and his overly strict aunt and uncle, who stepped in to raise him but don’t seem to see him for who he is. Looking to forge a stronger connection to his own identity, he takes a DNA test to find the one person who might love him for exactly who he is—the biological father he never knew.
Instead of a DNA match with their father, Samira and Henry are matched with each other. They begin to search for their father together and slowly unravel the difficult truth of their shared past, forming a connection that only siblings can have and recovering precious parts of their past that have been lost. Brimming with emotional resonance, Susan Azim Boyer’s The Search for Us beautifully renders what it means to find your place in the world through the deep and abiding power of family.
Stories of the Islands by Clar Angkasa (ISBN-13: 9780823449781 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/31/2023, Ages 8-12)
Journey into a land of magic and powerful girls in this feminist retelling of Indonesian folktales, lushly reimagined by a debut graphic novelist.
Once upon a time. . .
A princess was cursed to live as a snail,
Two sisters were trapped by their father’s wrath,
And a mother and daughter faced a hungry giant.
No one is coming to save them.
Will they get their happily ever after?
In Stories of the Islands, debut graphic novelist Clar Angkasa takes three folk tales from her childhood in Indonesia and gives them back to the girl characters, following their hopes, dreams, and journeys for independence from malevolent forces—both natural and unnatural. Why should women in folk tales be sidelined or reduced to tropes? What if we tell their stories, instead?
Gorgeously illustrated with a dedicated color palette for each tale, this collected retelling of “Keong Mas,” “Bawang Merah Bawang Putih,” and “Timun Mas” combines fresh fantasy with a meditation on the power of love and solidarity. Filled with deep emotion, spectacular settings, and a mix of panel art and full dramatic spreads, Stories of the Islands is bright reimagining of familiar stories for a new generation.
Ruptured by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz (ISBN-13: 9780823452330 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 11/14/2023, Ages 8-12)
The sensitive, suspenseful story of a family coping with a life-changing tragedy, told in stunning verse.
Is it wrong to grieve for someone who is still alive?
Claire’s mom and dad don’t talk to each other much anymore. And they definitely don’t laugh or dance the way they used to. Their tense, stilted stand offs leave thirteen-year-old Claire, an only child, caught in the middle. So when the family takes their annual summer vacation, Claire sticks her nose in a book and hopes for the best. Maybe the sunshine and ocean breeze will fix what’s gone wrong.
But while the family is away, Claire’s mother has a ruptured brain aneurysm—right after she reveals a huge secret to Claire. Though she survives the rupture, it seems like she is an entirely different person. Claire has no idea if her mom meant what she said, or if she even remembers saying it. With the weight of her mom’s confession on her shoulders, Claire must navigate fear, grief, and prospects for recovery.
Will her mom ever be the same? Will her parents stay together? And if the answer to either question is yes, how will Claire learn to live with what she knows? This beautifully written novel speaks to kids’ fears and credits their strength, and stems from the author’s incredible experience surviving two ruptured aneurysms.
Artifacts of An Ex by Jennifer Chen (ISBN-13: 9781250865663 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 11/14/2023, Ages 13-18)
In the tradition of Jenny Han and Emma Lord, Jennifer Chen’s Artifacts of an Ex is a story of love, art, and finding your way when everything you know has changed completely.
When Chloe Chang gets dumped via USPS after moving across the county from NYC to LA, her first instinct is to throw her box of memories in the garbage. Instead, she starts buying other teenagers’ break-up boxes to create an art exhibit, Heartifacts. Opening night is going great, until she spots Daniel Kwak illicitly filming his best friend’s reaction to his ex’s box. When she tries to stop him, an intense discussion ends up launching a creative partnership and friendship… and a major crush for Chloe.
There’s just one problem: Daniel is dead set on not being another rebound.
Five times he’s been the guy who makes the girls he’s dating realize they want to get back with their ex. And he refuses for there to be a sixth. She insists she’s over her ex, but when he shows up unexpectedly with his new girlfriend, it turns out Daniel was right. She isn’t ready for a new relationship.
She throws herself into making Heartifacts successful, but flashy influencers threaten her original vision of the exhibit. To create the exhibit she’s always wanted, Chloe needs to go back to basics, learn to work with artists in a more collaborative way, and discover what love can be. Only then will she convince Daniel she’s truly ready for everything they could be to one another.
Filed under: Books
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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