Book Mail: New books from Chris Lynch, Hena Khan, Kalynn Bayron, Michael Rex, and so many other great authors!
One last book mail blast before school starts for me. My anxiety over starting a new job (same district, same job, new school) appreciates having so many books to fuss over constantly rearranging in my office. Now to try and read them all!
All descriptions from the publishers.
LGBTQIA+ Books for Children and Teens, Second Edition by Kathleen Breitenbach, Liz Deskins (ISBN-13: 9780838938577 Publisher: ALA Editions Publication date: 07/03/2023 Edition description: Second Edition)
Books for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, asexual, and intersex readers and their allies continue to thrive and evolve in reflection of the variety of families and individual identities today. Deemed “an essential purchase” in a starred review by School Library Journal, this matchless guide returns in an updated edition. The authors highlight the best in LGBTQIA+ lit for young people while also addressing urgent topics such as the rise in book challenges. Offering library workers and teachers the information and tools they need to build a diverse, inclusive collection and confidently share it with the patrons they support, this resource
- provides hundreds of annotated book entries, complete with author and illustrator, publisher, date of publication, descriptions of each book’s LGBTQIA+ representation, and helpful prompts to foster discussion;
- surveys the current censorship push against books with LGBTQIA+ topics, themes, and characters, discussing its effect on young people and how to deal with objections and book challenges head on;
- includes interviews with noted authors that explain not only why they write for children, but what they feel librarians and teachers should understand when working with queer children and their classmates;
- spotlights picture books for young children that depict kids, parents, and families with a variety of gender and sexual dynamics;
- introduces books for middle-grade readers, focusing on titles with young people who are questioning and finding themselves while searching for where they belong;
- shares books for teens that range from stories touching on mental health and other issues that develop as youth start high school to others that explore housing insecurity and other concerns that impact older teens; and
- shares ideas for programming and marketing, advice on outreach to stakeholders, and best practices for supporting LGBTQIA+ students.
Kelcie Murphy and the Hunt for the Heart of Danu by Erika Lewis (ISBN-13: 9781250208309 Publisher: Tor Publishing Group Publication date: 07/25/2023 Series: The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts #2, Ages 8-12)
Kelcie Murphy is back in another action-packed middle grade adventure, Kelcie Murphy and the Hunt for the Heart of Danu!, the second book in Erika Lewis’s magical series infused with Celtic mythology, The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts.
It’s hard having a father who’s an infamous traitor. It’s even harder having a mother who’s an omen of doom.
After a summer away, Kelcie Murphy is excited to be back at the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts. But she and her friends have barely settled in when they receive a visit from her mother—the war goddess, Nemain—with a warning of coming calamity.
The Heart of Danu, the legendary source of all light and warmth in the Lands of Summer, is going to be stolen. And only Kelcie and her mates can stop it. As they travel with the rest of the students to Summer City to take part in the glorious Ascension Ceremony, Kelcie has no time for the military parade, the lavish ball, or even to visit her father: she’s determined to protect the Heart and her new home.
But the Lands of Summer are still not a welcoming place for Kelcie. When disaster strikes, the Queen, the High Guard, and even some of her schoolmates suspect Kelcie is to blame.
As the world is plunged into darkness, Kelcie will have to decide: does she keep fighting for a place that may always see her as a traitor’s daughter, or for a future greater than the war to come.
Damned If You Do by Alex Brown (ISBN-13: 9781645679998 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 08/01/2023, Ages 14+)
Queer Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Filipino folklore in this horror comedy about a high school stage manager who accidentally sells her soul to a demon.
Seven years ago, Cordelia Scott’s abusive father left without a word, and life has been normal ever since. The seventeen-year-old spends her days stage managing the school play (which is going great, if anyone asks), pining over her best friend, Veronica, and failing one too many pop quizzes.
She’s never been sad that her father left, but she knows something is…missing. When her school guidance counselor, Fred, reveals during a session that he’s actually a demon, she learns that something is indeed missing: a piece of her actual soul. Why? She unwittingly made a deal with him to make her father disappear – then bargained to have the memory erased. To make matters worse, Fred is here to make another bargain: Help him with a “little” demonic problem, or she’s doomed to spend eternity in Hell with her father.
The deal? Help Fred neutralize a rival demon, who means to do more harm in her hometown than your average demon deal.
Low Power by Michael Rex (ISBN-13: 9780593206355 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/15/2023 Series: Your Pal Fred #2, Ages 7-10)
In this action-packed sequel by #1 New York Times bestselling creator Michael Rex, Fred shows us how all arguments, big and small, can be solved with kindness—even when it’s not always welcomed!
Fred has made quite a name for himself as a peacemaker since his last adventure! Now everyone who loves to argue is coming to him for help resolving their disagreements, but there’s just one problem . . . Fred is low on power. Thanks to the clouds of pollution in the sky, Fred’s solar battery can’t recharge.
With the help of his best friend, Wormy, he sets off for SunTop—a city with a sky-high place where the sun can be seen. But once there, he’s told that he can’t recharge unless he stops a clan of garbage-like creatures from attacking every night. It’s a race against time for Fred to solve the mystery of the Trash before he runs out of power forever!
Cold Girls by Maxine Rae (ISBN-13: 9781635830897 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 08/22/2023, Ages 14-18)
Eighteen-year-old Rory Quinn-Morelli doesn’t want to die; she wants refuge from reality for even a minute: the reality where she survived the car crash eight months ago, and her best friend, Liv, didn’t. Yet her exasperating mother won’t believe the Xanax incident was an accident, and her therapist is making it increasingly hard to maintain the detached, impenetrable “cold girl” façade she adopted from Liv. After she unintentionally reconnects with Liv’s parents, Rory must decide: will she keep Liv’s and her secrets inside, or will she finally allow herself to break? And if she breaks, what will she unearth amid the pieces?
Just Do This One Thing for Me by Laura Zimmermann (ISBN-13: 9780593530337 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/22/2023, Ages 14+)
Hilarious, heartbreaking, and sneaky suspenseful, Just Do This One Thing for Me is a timely novel about a rule-following daughter trying to hold her family together after her scammer mother disappears.
“Just do this one thing for me.” Drew’s mother says it more often than good morning. Heidi Hill has been juggling shady side hustles for all of Drew’s seventeen years, and Drew knows that “one thing” really means all the necessary things her mother thinks are boring, including taking care of her fifteen-year-old sister and eight-year-old brother. In fact, Drew is the closest thing to a responsible adult they’ve ever known. When their mother disappears on the way to a New Year’s Eve concert in Mexico and her schemes start unraveling, Drew is faced with a choice: Follow the rules, do the responsible thing, and walk away—alone—from her mother’s mess. Or hope the weather stays cold, keep the cons going, and just maybe hold her family together.
Strange Unearthly Things by Kelly Creagh (ISBN-13: 9780593116081 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/22/2023, Ages 12-17)
A hauntingly romantic paranormal Jane Eyre reimagining, by the author of Phantom Heart!
Eighteen-year-old Jane Reye is a psychic artist. She draws what she sees, and what she sees are spirits and the supernatural. Growing up orphaned, she’s now of legal age and can no longer return to the girls’ school she’s called home for most of her life. Lost and alone after the death of her lifelong friend, she receives an invitation to partake in a study at the English manor Fairfax Hall: an investigation of the property that requires her specific area of expertise. Upon arrival, Jane understands this will be no ordinary study when she meets Elias Thornfield, the elusive proprietor of the estate, a boy her age, roguishly handsome, who dons a mysterious eye patch. During the study it becomes clear that something is amiss—something having to do with Elias and the spiritual activity taking place around the manor. Turning to her art to unravel the mystery, Jane is shocked to find that her talents—and her growing affection for Elias—could be the key to saving him from a horrible fate.
All You Have To Do by Autumn Allen (ISBN-13: 9780593619049 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/29/2023, Ages 12+)
Powerful, thought-provoking, and heartfelt, this debut YA novel by author Autumn Allen is a gripping look at what it takes (and takes and takes) for two Black students to succeed in prestigious academic institutions in America.
In ALL YOU HAVE TO DO, two Black young men attend prestigious schools nearly thirty years apart, and yet both navigate similar forms of insidious racism.
In April 1968, in the wake of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, Kevin joins a protest that shuts down his Ivy League campus…
In September 1995, amidst controversy over the Million Man March, Gibran challenges the “See No Color” hypocrisy of his prestigious New England prep school…
As the two students, whose lives overlap in powerful ways, risk losing the opportunities their parents worked hard to provide, they move closer to discovering who they want to be instead of accepting as fact who society and family tell them they are.
The Lightstruck by Sunya Mara (ISBN-13: 9780358561996 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 08/29/2023 Series: Darkening Duology #2, Ages 13-17)
In this epic sequel and conclusion to the Darkening duology, which has been called “enchanting and wildly clever” (Ayana Gray, New York Times bestselling author of Beasts of Prey), Vesper Vale, once savior to a city plagued by cursed storms, finds herself facing an even more sinister threat when an ominous light summoned by the Great King seizes control of the city.
Vesper Vale sacrificed everything to save her city from the cursed storm. After becoming a vessel of The Great Queen, Vesper awakes from a slumber three years after her life altering choice.
What she finds isn’t a home freed from the terror of the storm, but one where its citizens are besieged by the even more sinister force of The Great King and his growing army of the lightstruck—once regular citizens who are now controlled by the ominous light encroaching on the city. And the people are all looking to Vesper, now revered as a goddess after her sacrifice, as their city’s only hope.
To save the rings from the Great King, Vesper must contend with the obligations of being a deity to her people and the growing chasm between her and Dalca, the prince she swore never to love. Haunted by the guilt of their past choices and faced with the pressures of a city near ruin, Vesper and Dalca find themselves torn between the growing factions within the city and the royal court.
But in order to save her city from the light, Vesper must face the power most outside of her control—the goddess within.
Finch House by Ciera Burch (ISBN-13: 9781665930543 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date: 09/05/2023, Ages 8-12)
Encanto meets Coraline in this spooky middle grade story that deals with family ties, fear of change, and generational trauma as it follows a girl who must convince an old, haunted house to release its hold on her and her family.
Eleven-year-old Micah has no interest in moving out of her grandfather’s house. She loves living with Poppop and their shared hobby of driving around rich neighborhoods to find treasures in others’ trash. To avoid packing, Micah goes for a bike ride and ends up at Finch House, the decrepit Victorian that Poppop says is Off Limits. Except when she gets there, it’s all fixed up and there’s a boy named Theo in the front yard. Surely that means Finch House isn’t Off Limits anymore? But when Poppop finds her there, Micah is only met with his disappointment.
By the next day, Poppop is nowhere to be found. After searching everywhere, Micah’s instincts lead her back to Finch House. But once Theo invites her inside, Micah realizes she can’t leave. And that, with its strange whispers and deep-dark shadows, Finch House isn’t just a house…it’s alive.
Can Micah find a way to convince the house to let her go? Or will she be forced to stay in Finch House forever?
The Bravest Warrior in Nefaria by Adi Alsaid (ISBN-13: 9781665927758 Publisher: Aladdin Publication date: 09/05/2023, Ages 8-12)
Phineas and Ferb meets the Despicable Me series in this hilarious and heartwarming middle grade debut from acclaimed author Adi Alsaid about a wannabe hero who lives in a goofily evil kingdom where nefarious schemes abound.
Welcome to Nefaria, where nearly every day the kingdom faces another evil scheme.
Most are harmless, though, so the citizens of Nefaria simply learn to live with the latest hijinks and go on with their lives. This includes Bobert Bougainvillea, who is much more concerned with the fact that he seems to be invisible. From the teachers in his school to his classmates, almost no one notices Bobert, no matter how visible he tries to be. Then everything changes when Bobert follows his classmates to a cursed gumball machine.
Before he knows it, Bobert is sucked into one of Nefaria’s most villainous evil schemes, a plot that has been a long time in the making—too long, in the evil wizard Matt’s opinion. And retreating into invisibility this time won’t do, not when Bobert is the only one with the drive, knowledge, and—if his newfound courage doesn’t fail him—bravery to foil Matt’s plan.
The Spirit Bares Its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White (ISBN-13: 9781682636114 Publisher: PeachTree Teen Publication date: 09/05/2023, Ages 14-17)
New York Times bestselling author Andrew Joseph White returns with the transgressive gothic horror of our time!
Mors vincit omnia. Death conquers all.
London, 1883. The Veil between the living and dead has thinned. Violet-eyed mediums commune with spirits under the watchful eye of the Royal Speaker Society, and sixteen-year-old Silas Bell would rather rip out his violet eyes than become an obedient Speaker wife. According to Mother, he’ll be married by the end of the year. It doesn’t matter that he’s needed a decade of tutors to hide his autism; that he practices surgery on slaughtered pigs; that he is a boy, not the girl the world insists on seeing.
After a failed attempt to escape an arranged marriage, Silas is diagnosed with Veil sickness—a mysterious disease sending violet-eyed women into madness—and shipped away to Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanitorium. The facility is cold, the instructors merciless, and the students either bloom into eligible wives or disappear. When the ghosts of missing students start begging Silas for help, he decides to reach into Braxton’s innards and expose its guts to the world—if the school doesn’t break him first.
Featuring an autistic trans protagonist in a historical setting, Andrew Joseph White’s much-anticipated sophomore novel does not back down from exposing the violence of the patriarchy and the harm inflicted on trans youth who are forced into conformity.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass: The Graphic Novel by Meg Medina, Mel Valentine Vargas (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781536224771 Publisher: Candlewick Press Publication date: 09/05/2023, Ages 14-17)
Newbery Medalist Meg Medina returns to her powerful YA novel about school bullying with a dynamic graphic-novel edition adapted and illustrated by Mel Valentine Vargas.
It’s the beginning of sophomore year, and Piedad “Piddy” Sanchez is having a hard time adjusting to her new high school. Things don’t get any easier when Piddy learns that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Rumor has it that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latina enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first, Piddy is more concerned with learning about the father she’s never met, navigating her rocky relationship with her mom, and staying in touch with her best friend, Mitzi. But when the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang takes over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off from those who care about her—or running away? More relevant than ever a decade after its initial publication, Mel Valentine Vargas’s graphic novel adaptation of Meg Medina’s ultimately empowering story is poised to be discovered by a new generation of readers.
Your Lonely Nights Are Over by Adam Sass (ISBN-13: 9780593526583 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/12/2023, Ages 14-17)
Scream meets Clueless in this YA horror from Adam Sass in which two gay teen BFFs find their friendship tested when a serial killer starts targeting their school’s Queer Club.
Dearie and Cole are inseparable, unlikeable, and (in bad luck for them) totally unbelievable.
From the day they met, Dearie and Cole have been two against the world. But whenever something bad happens at Stone Grove High School, they get blamed. Why? They’re beautiful, flirtatious, dangerously clever queen bees, and they’re always ready to call out their fellow students. But they’ve never faced a bigger threat than surviving senior year, when Mr. Sandman, a famous, never-caught serial killer emerges from a long retirement—and his hunting ground is their school Queer Club.
As evidence and bodies begin piling up and suspicion points at Dearie and Cole, they will need to do whatever it takes to unmask the real killer before they and the rest of Queer Club are taken down. But they’re not getting away from the killer without a fight.
Along the way, they must confront dark truths hidden beneath the surface of their small desert community. When the world is stacked against them and every flop they know is a suspect, can Dearie and Cole stop Mr. Sandman’s rampage? Or will their lonely nights soon be over . . .
Fault Lines by Nora Shalaway Carpenter (ISBN-13: 9780762480999 Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers Publication date: 09/12/2023, Ages 13-18)
Riveting, powerful, and a little bit magical, Fault Lines offers readers a slow-burn romance alongside an unflinching examination of socio-economics, gender expectations, and environmental ethics.
Ever since her aunt died four months ago, seventeen-year-old Vivian (Viv) Spry is aching to figure out where she belongs. Her father has become emotionally distant and even her best friend has found a new sense of identity in her theater group. Unfortunately, nobody in her rural West Virginia town has time for an assertive, angry girl, especially a girl dubbed “Ice Queen” for refusing to sleep with her popular boyfriend. On top of everything, she discovers a strange ability to sense energy that really freaks her out. The only place Viv feels like it’s safe to be her true self is the tree stand where her aunt taught her to hunt. It’s the one place she still feels connected to the person who knew her best. So when fracking destroys the stand and almost kills her, Viv vows to find a way to take the gas company down.
When Dex Mathews comes to town—a new kid whose mom lands a job laying pipeline—his and Viv’s worlds collide and a friendship (and maybe more?) slowly blossoms. But Viv’s plan to sabotage the pipeline company could result in Dex’s mom losing her job, putting them on the streets. Now Viv and Dex have to decide what’s worth fighting for—their families, their principles, or each other.
A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid (ISBN-13: 9780063211506 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/19/2023, Ages 14+)
“Achingly atmospheric and beautifully sharp, A Study in Drowning will draw you in from the first page.” —Rory Power, New York Times bestselling author of Wilder Girls
Bestselling author Ava Reid makes her YA debut in this dark academic fantasy perfect for fans of Melissa Albert and Elana K. Arnold.
Effy Sayre has always believed in fairy tales. Haunted by visions of the Fairy King since childhood, she’s had no choice. Her tattered copy of Angharad—Emrys Myrddin’s epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King, then destroys him—is the only thing keeping her afloat. So when Myrddin’s family announces a contest to redesign the late author’s estate, Effy feels certain it’s her destiny.
But musty, decrepit Hiraeth Manor is an impossible task, and its residents are far from welcoming. Including Preston Héloury, a stodgy young literature scholar determined to expose Myrddin as a fraud. As the two rivals piece together clues about Myrddin’s legacy, dark forces, both mortal and magical, conspire against them—and the truth may bring them both to ruin.
Part historical fantasy, part rivals-to-lovers romance, part Gothic mystery, and all haunting, dreamlike atmosphere, Ava Reid’s powerful YA debut will lure in readers who loved The Atlas Six, House of Salt and Sorrows, or Girl, Serpent, Thorn.
All the Fighting Parts by Hannah V. Sawyerr (ISBN-13: 9781419762611 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 09/19/2023, Ages 14-18)
In the vein of Grown and The Poet X, Hannah V. Sawyerr’s All the Fighting Parts is a searing and defiant young adult novel in verse about reclaiming agency after a sexual assault within the church community.
Sixteen-year-old Amina Conteh has always believed in using her voice as her weapon—even when it gets her into trouble. After cursing at a classmate, her father forces her to volunteer at their church with Pastor Johnson.
But Pastor Johnson isn’t the holy man everyone thinks he is.
The same voice Amina uses to fight falls quiet the night she is sexually assaulted by Pastor Johnson. After that, her life starts to unravel: her father is frustrated that her grades are slipping, and her best friend and boyfriend don’t understand why the once loud and proud girl is now quiet and distant. In a world that claims to support survivors, Amina wonders who will support her when her attacker is everyone’s favorite community leader.
When Pastor Johnson is arrested for a different crime, the community is shaken and divided; some call him a monster and others defend him. But Amina is secretly relieved. She no longer has to speak because Pastor Johnson can’t hurt her anymore—or so she believes.
To regain her voice and sense of self, Amina must find the power to confront her abuser—in the courtroom and her heart—and learn to use all the fighting parts within her.
Cross My Heart and Never Lie by Nora Dåsnes, Matt Bagguley (Translator) (ISBN-13: 9781662640544 Publisher: Astra Publishing House Publication date: 09/19/2023, Ages 10-13)
In this fresh, sensitive, diary-style graphic novel, 12-year-old Tuva’s questions about becoming a teenager are confusing—so when her first crush turns out to be on another girl, it feels absolutely wonderful—so why does it become so complicated?
Perfect for fans of The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag, HeartStopper by Alice Oseman, and Jen Wang’s The Dressmaker and the Prince.
Tuva is starting seventh grade, and her checklist of goals includes: writing out a diary, getting a trendy look, building the best fort in the woods with her BFFs, and much more. But when she starts school, nothing is how she hoped it would be.
Seventh grade has split her friends into rival factions: TEAM LINNEA and the girls who fall in love and TEAM BAO and the girls who NEVER fall in love. Linnea has a BOYFRIEND, Bao hates everything related to love. Worst of all, Linnea and Bao expect Tuva to choose a side!
In this delighfully hand-lettered coming-of-age graphic diary, Tuva gets caught between feeling like a kid and wanting to know HOW to become a teenager. Then Miriam shows up and suddenly Tuva feels as if she’s met her soulmate. Can you fall in love with a girl, keep it from your friends, and survive? For Tuva, it may be possible, but it’s defintely not easy.
A British Girl’s Guide to Hurricanes and Heartbreak by Laura Taylor Namey (ISBN-13: 9781665915335 Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers Publication date: 09/26/2023 Series: Cuban Girl’s Guide, Ages 12-18)
In this highly anticipated companion to the New York Times bestseller and Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club YA Pick A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, Flora Maxwell heads to Miami to find a path for her future…and finds her heart along the way.
Winchester, England, has always been home for Flora, but when her mother dies after a long illness, Flora feels untethered. Her family expects her to apply to university and take a larger role in their tea-shop business, but Flora isn’t so sure. More than ever, she’s the chaotic “hurricane” in her household, and she doesn’t always know how to manage her stormy emotions.
So she decides to escape to Miami without telling anyone—especially her longtime friend Gordon Wallace.
But Flora’s tropical change of scenery doesn’t cast away her self-doubt. When it comes to university, she has no idea which passions she should follow. That’s also true in romance. Flora’s summer abroad lands her in the flashbulb world of teen influencer Baz Marín, a Miami Cuban who shares her love for photography. But Flora’s more conflicted than ever when she begins to see future architect Gordon in a new light.
Laura Taylor Namey’s newest novel navigates heartbreak that feels like a hurricane in a city that is famous for them.
Salsa Magic by Letisha Marrero (ISBN-13: 9781646142606 Publisher: Levine Querido Publication date: 09/26/2023, Ages 8-12)
Thirteen-year-old Maya Beatriz Montenegro Calderon has vivid recurring dreams where she hears the ocean calling her. Mami’s side of the family is known as “Los Locos,” so maybe she actually is going crazy. But no time for that; the family business is where it’s at. Whenever Maya, her sister Salma, and her three cousins, Ini, Mini, and Mo, aren’t at school, you can usually find three generations of Calderones at CaféTaza, serving up sandwiches de pernil, mofongo, and the best cafés con leche in all of Brooklyn.
One day, an unexpected visit from the estranged Titi Yaya from Puerto Rico changes everything. Because Yaya practices santeria, Abuela tells Maya and the other Calderon children are told to stay away from her. But If la viejita is indeed estranged from the family, why does Maya feel so connected to this woman she has never met before? And who is this orisha named Yemaya? On top of figuring all this out, Maya has a budding soccer career to consider, while fending off the local bully, and dealing with nascent feelings toward her teammate. But through it all, there’s that alluring connection to a forbidden ancient practice–filled with a pantheon of Yoruban gods and goddesses–that keeps tugging at her, offering her a new perspective in life, tying her past to her present and future. Which path will Maya choose to fulfill her destiny?
Firsts and Lasts: 16 Stories from Our World…and Beyond! edited by Laura Silverman (ISBN-13: 9780593523087 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/26/2023, Ages 14-17)
An exciting fiction YA anthology that celebrates the new experiences and final moments teenagers face on their journey into adulthood from editor Laura Silverman and a cast of spectacular contributors.
From first breakups and romantic vampire encounters to last band performances and the deadly end of a friendship, Firsts and Lasts is an anthology that is just as unpredictable as being a teenager. While each of these stories span different genres and styles, they all perfectly capture the big emotions—confusion, joy, uneasiness, and anticipation—that many teens experience as they grow up.
Whether you are hopelessly in love and not sure how to tell your crush, going through loss and can’t fully process it, or just trying to figure out where you belong in the world, this collection of sixteen stories has something for every reader.
Stories written by: Adi Alsaid, Keah Brown, Monica Gomez-Hira, Kika Hatzopoulou, Shaun David Hutchinson, Amanda Joy, Loan Le, Joy McCullough, Yamile Saied Méndez, Anna Meriano, Nina Moreno, Tess Sharpe, Laura Silverman, Rachel Lynn Solomon, Diana Urban, and Julian Winters.
Scream for the Camera by Lisi Harrison, Daniel Kraus (ISBN-13: 9781454944560 Publisher: Union Square Kids Publication date: 10/03/2023 Series: Graveyard Girls, Ages 8-12)
New York Times bestselling authors Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus deliver a slightly scary, extremely addictive contemporary middle-grade series—perfect for fans of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and Ann M. Martin’s The Babysitters Club.
It’s been a month since the Graveyard Girls—Gemma, Whisper, Sophie, Frannie, and Zuzu—discovered Silas Hoke’s empty grave. A month, and no answers. That changes when messages from the other side start to creep up on the Graveyard Girls. Gemma’s good-luck charm. The skull in Whisper’s spilled milk. Sophie’s vanishing phone. Frannie’s theater curse. And Zuzu’s possessed Jōurnal. Who is trying to reach them . . . and why?
The good news: There might be one person with some answers. The bad news: She’s a mortician . . . with a deadly secret.
Speaking of bad news, straight-A Sophie is quickly sliding down the scale to becoming a B-flat friend. She is spending way more time hanging out with “Danger Me” and way less time with the Graveyard Girls and her schoolwork. Will her scary story be enough to win back her pals, or will her picture-perfect life become the ultimate photo bomb?
Be That Way by Hope Larson (ISBN-13: 9780823447619 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/03/2023, Ages 14-17)
Seventeen-year-old Christine keeps a journal of an eventful year in her life in mid-90s, while juggling troubled friendships and looking for love.
It’s January 1, 1996, and high school junior Christine wants more than anything to be that cool girl everyone notices, like her gorgeous best friend, Landry. She usually hates New Year’s resolutions, but this year she vows to be that shiny kind of girl—and record it all in her diary through prose, illustration, and comics.
When Landry drops her, Christine is surprised to discover just how much she doesn’t miss her and her drama. But a misguided kiss with film-obsessed Paul, her only other close friend, also causes a rift, and she finds herself facing a long, lonely summer.
With nothing to lose, Christine finds a new sense of courage. She gets a job at her neighborhood video store, experiments with her art, and becomes romantically entangled with her next-door neighbor Whit, who’s either the coolest guy ever or a total jerk. In spite of all this, she doesn’t quite feel shiny—until a shocking betrayal shows her the value of the words and drawings she hides in her diary, and she finally understands that she doesn’t need to be cool to be noticed—she only needs to be herself.
Eisner-award winning author and illustrator, Hope Larson, has created a powerful coming-of-age story set in a time before the Internet that explores themes of betrayal, first love, self-expression, and the power of art.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
The Vanquishers: Secret of the Reaping by Kalynn Bayron (ISBN-13: 9781547611577 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 10/10/2023 Series: The Vanquishers, Ages 8-11)
The Vanquishers are back and ready to defend their town against the undead in this spooky middle grade from New York Times bestselling author Kalynn Bayron.
Boog and her best friends, Cedrick, Jules, and Aaron—aka the Squad—stick together, no matter what. Now that vampires are back, they’ll need to take their Vanquisher lessons more seriously than ever. But who is behind this return of the undead?
When strange disappearances keep happening across their community and the Department of Vampire Affairs not-so-subtly warns Boog’s mom to keep quiet about vampires returning, it looks like uncovering the truth won’t be so easy. The Squad is eager to kick some undead butt, but will they be able to convince their parents they are ready to fight alongside the Vanquishers?
The Fall of Whit Rivera by Crystal Maldonado (ISBN-13: 9780823452361 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/10/2023, Ages 14-17)
Could you plan the Fall Formal with your (hot) nemesis? Whit Rivera is about to find out.
Frenemies Whit and Zay have been at odds for years (ever since he broke up with her in, like, the most embarrassing way imaginable), so when they’re forced to organize the fall formal together, it’s a literal disaster. Sparks fly as Whitney—type-A, passionate, a perfectionist, and a certified sweater-weather fanatic—butts heads with Zay, a dry, relaxed skater boy who takes everything in stride. But not all of those sparks are bad. . . .
Has their feud been a big misunderstanding all along?
Blisteringly funny and profoundly well-observed, The Fall of Whit Rivera is a snug and cozy autumn romcom that also tackles weightier topics like PCOS, chronic illness, sexuality, fatphobia, Latine identity, and class. Funny, honest, insightful, romantic, and poignant, it is classic Crystal Maldonado—and it will have her legion of fans absolutely swooning.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
The Secret of Lillian Velvet by Jaclyn Moriarty (ISBN-13: 9781646142613 Publisher: Levine Querido Publication date: 10/10/2023, Ages 8-12)
Here are only a few of the wonderful, strange, and mysterious elements in this breathtaking visit to the Kingdoms and Empires: A very proper girl named Lillian Velvet, living a very lonely life with a nasty Grandmother. A jar of coins, each with the power to take Lillian on a journey to a different time and place…and also to grant a single wish. A small boy in a barn about to be crushed to death by a load of hay. A family, each member in mortal danger, who are strangers to Lillian (but whom clever readers will recognize). And a web of dangerous magic closing tight around all. Who IS this Lillian Velvet? And what is her secret?
Only Jaclyn Moriarty has the ability to make readers laugh, even while they grip the sides of their chairs in suspense. In THE SECRET OF LILLIAN VELVET she is at the height of her storytelling powers, spinning, spinning, spinning seemingly disparate elements until all is revealed as one delicious, tantalizing whole.
A Bright Heart by Kate Chenli (ISBN-13: 9781454949923 Publisher: Union Square & Co. Publication date: 10/17/2023, Ages 14-17)
“An incredible addition to the classic Chinese court intrigue genre. A Bright Heart is smart, subversive, and certainly swoony.”
—Chloe Gong, #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights
What if you could avenge your own murder? A brilliant young woman gets a second chance at life in this debut YA tale of vengeance, court intrigue, and romance, inspired by classic Chinese tropes.
Mingshin outsmarted three princes to help the man she loved become king. But she doesn’t see Ren’s betrayal coming, not until she’s lying in a pool of her own blood on the palace steps.
As she’s dying, Mingshin makes a desperate plea to the gods to turn back time and give her a chance to make things right.
Mingshin wakes up two years earlier, her prayer granted, and swears two things: Ren will never become king, and she will never fall in love again.
But the timeline in this life has changed: a dignitary gifted with dark magic is threatening her kingdom’s peace, and Ren’s thirst for power runs deeper than Mingshin could have imagined.
She finds herself allying with Jieh, another contender for the throne. Mingshin knows better than anyone not to give her heart to a prince. But in the viper’s nest of the royal court, she and Jieh prove a phenomenal team. Can Mingshin avert the catastrophe of her past by once again learning to trust…and maybe even love?
Master storyteller Kate Chenli introduces a singular YA heroine in this vividly rendered and utterly original new fantasy series.
Hidden Truths by Elly Swartz (ISBN-13: 9780593483664 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 10/31/2023, Ages 10+)
How far would you go to keep a promise? Told from alternating points of view, Hidden Truths is a story of changing friendships, the lies we tell, the secrets we keep, and the healing power of forgiveness.
Dani and Eric have been best friends since Dani moved next door in second grade. They bond over donuts, comic books, and camping on the Cape.
Until one summer when everything changes.
Did Eric cause the accident that leaves Dani unable to do the one thing in the world she most cares about? The question plagues him, and he will do anything to get answers about the explosion that injured her. But Dani is hurting too much to want Eric to pursue the truth—she just wants to shut him out and move on. Besides, Eric has a history of dropping things he starts. Eric knows that and is determined that this will be the one time he follows through.
But what if his pursuit brings him into direct conflict with another friend? Where does Eric’s loyalty really lie?
Wish of the Wicked by Danielle Paige (ISBN-13: 9781681196862 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 11/07/2023 Series: A Fairy Godmother Novel, Ages 13-18)
New York Times bestselling author Danielle Paige puts a dark YA spin on Cinderella’s fairy godmother in this brand new origin story, perfect for fans of These Violent Delights and A Curse So Dark and Deadly.
Everyone knows a fairy godmother helped Cinderella get to the ball. But no one knows why.
For centuries, Farrow’s family-the Entente-have been magical advisors to the Queen. Their wisdom and foresight kept the Thirteen Queendoms in harmony. Until a new queen, Magrit, takes power, outlaws magic, and executes the Entente. Only Farrow survives, with her magic warped beyond repair. She can now use it only to fulfill the feeble wishes of commoners.
Since that day, Farrow has dreamed of revenge. The one way to reach the queen is through her son, Prince Mather, who is nearing the age when he must select a bride. When a special ball in his honor is announced, Farrow sees her opportunity. All it will take is a young woman named Cinderella who dreams of true love. With one night, one chance to reclaim her magic and destroy the queen, Farrow will stop at nothing.
Set in a lush, dangerous world rooted in our beloved fairy tales, New York Times bestselling author Danielle Paige launches a brand-new Fairy Godmother origin story full of intrigue, magic, and romance.
Drawing Deena by Hena Khan (ISBN-13: 9781534459915 Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Publication date: 02/06/2024, Ages 8-12)
From the award-winning author of Amina’s Voice and Amina’s Song comes a tenderhearted middle grade novel about a young Pakistani American artist determined to manage her anxiety and forge her own creative path.
Deena’s never given a name to the familiar knot in her stomach that appears when her parents argue about money, when it’s time to go to school, or when she struggles to find the right words. She manages to make it through each day with the help of her friends and the art she loves to make.
While her parents’ money troubles cause more and more stress, Deena wonders if she can use her artistic talents to ease their burden. She creates a logo and social media account to promote her mom’s home-based business selling clothes from Pakistan to the local community. With her cousin and friends modeling the outfits and lending their social media know-how, business picks up.
But the success and attention make Deena’s cousin and best friend, Parisa, start to act funny. Suddenly Deena’s latest creative outlet becomes another thing that makes her feel nauseated and unsure of herself. After Deena reaches a breaking point, both she and her mother learn the importance of asking for help and that, with the right support, Deena can create something truly beautiful.
Walkin’ the Dog by Chris Lynch (ISBN-13: 9781481459204 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date: 03/12/2024, Ages 8-12)
“Lynch is back and better, smarter, and funnier than ever.” —Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award Winner
A boy learns how to be a friend from man’s best friend in this funny and moving middle grade novel about humans being able to change and dogs changing us from acclaimed author Chris Lynch.
In a family of strong personalities with very strong points of view, Louis is what his mother lovingly calls “the inactivist,” someone who’d rather kick back than stand out. He only hopes he can stay under the radar when he starts high school in the fall, his first experience with public school after years of homeschooling.
But when a favor for a neighbor and his stinky canine companion unexpectedly turns into a bustling dog-walking business, Louis finds himself meeting an unprecedented number of new friends—both human and canine. Agatha, a quippy and cagey girl his age always seems to be telling two truths and a lie. Cyrus, a few years his senior, promises he’s going to show Louis how to be a better person, whether Louis wants him to or not. And then there are the dogs: misbehaving border terriers, the four (possible stolen) sausage dogs, the rest of Louis’s charges, and a mysterious white beast who appears at a certain spot at the edge of the woods.
Dogs and human alike all seem to have something they want to teach Louis, including his menacing older brother who keeps turning up everywhere. But is Louis ready to learn the lesson he needs most: how to stop being a lone wolf and be part of a pack?
Cancelled by Farrah Penn (ISBN-13: 9780593528303 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/19/2024, Ages 14+)
With its clever snark and searing perspective, Cancelled is a funny, fearless novel about the realistic pitfalls and unforgettable moments high school has to offer, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Emma Lord.
Not to brag, but Brynn Whittaker is basically killing her senior year. She’s got the looks, the grades, and a thriving “flirt coach” business that will help pay for her ultimate dream school: Stanford University.
But when a highly incriminating video goes viral after the first rager of the year, Brynn finds herself at the center of a school-wide scandal of catastrophic proportions. She knows she’s not the girl in the video hooking up with her former best friend’s boyfriend (While wearing a banana costume, no less. Hey, points for style), but adding that to her reputation of being a serial dater, she quickly starts losing friends and customers. On top of that, the scorn she receives exposes the culture of misogyny that is rampant at her school . . . and Brynn and her three best friends are determined to take down all the haters.
But as she gets closer to identifying the person in the video that got her cancelled, Brynn must decide—is exposing the girl worth losing everything she’s worked so hard for?
This witty, unapologetic novel by Farrah Penn boldly tackles the problematic double standards that seek to bring girls down, and shines a light on the loving, uplifting friendships that can help them make it through those brutal four years.
Filed under: New Releases
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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