Book Mail: A mountain retreat, a retelling of Swan Lake, a queer love documentary, and so much more!
The pace of book mail arriving at the Minnesota branch of TLT is slowing down a bit, which is good because I spent much of October knocked out by a sinus infection + bronchitis + walking pneumonia and did not get much reading done (a sign of how sick I really felt). Usually I am desperate for ALL the book mail, but right now, a quiet few months could really help the TBR Mountain Range. That said, here are 18 new and forthcoming books that I’m going to try to make time for.
All descriptions from the publishers.
The Night Fox by Ashley Wilda (ISBN-13: 9780593618929 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 10/10/2023, Ages 12+)
This luminous, haunting debut, alternating between now and then, reality and magic, tells the story of a girl confronting heartbreak while at a mysterious recovery program in the wilderness.
When seventeen-year-old Eli arrives at Raeth, a remote mountain retreat for teens with mental health issues, her mind is made up—she is not interested in participating, and she doesn’t need to “heal.” Still reeling from a breakup that left both her heart and faith shattered, she is determined to fake being “fine” so that the program’s warden will clear her to return home.
But the retreat itself has other ideas. The valley’s magical surroundings transform each time she ventures out, playing with her mind and dredging up her grief-laden memories. Despite the warning signs, Eli explores more of the area than she had ever planned, even venturing into the dangerous night realm.
This spellbinding novel mixes prose and poetry into an exquisite and evocative portrait of love, grief, depression, and the slow path toward healing.
The Song of the Swan by Karah Sutton, Pauliina Hannuniemi (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780593121696 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 10/24/2023, Ages 8-12)
A magical retelling of Swan Lake, featuring a clever orphan, a castle filled with enchanted swans, and a quest to unearth the secrets of the past.
Olga is an orphan and a thief, relying on trickery and sleight of hand to make her way in the world. But it’s magic, not thievery, that could get her into trouble.
When Olga and her partner-in-crime Pavel learn of a valuable jewel kept in a secluded castle, Olga sees an opportunity to change their lives: a prize so big, they’d never have to steal again. But the castle is not as it seems, ruled by an enchanter who hosts grand balls every night, only for the guests to disappear each morning, replaced by swans. Guided by cryptic clues from the palace spiders, Olga soon realizes she’s in over her head—torn between a bargain with the enchanter, loyalty to Pavel, and determination to understand how the enchanted swans are linked to her own fate.
One thing is certain: there is dark magic behind the castle’s mysteries, and Olga will stop at nothing to unmask it.
Fire From the Sky by Moa Backe Astot, Eva Apelqvist (Translator) (ISBN-13: 9781646142484 Publisher: Levine Querido Publication date: 10/24/2023, Ages 12-18)
Ánte’s life has been steeped in Sami tradition. It is indisputable to him that he, an only child, will keep working with the reindeer. But there is something else too, something tugging at him. His feelings for his best friend Erik have changed, grown into something bigger. What would people say if they knew? And how does Erik feel? And Erik’s voice just the push of a button away. Ánte couldn’t answer, could he? But how could he ignore it? Fire From the Sky is a sharp and intelligent story about heritage, family ties and age-old commitments to the past. But also about expectations, compassion, feelings that course through your body like electricity.
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.
The Way I Am Now by Amber Smith (ISBN-13: 9781665947107 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date: 11/07/2023 Series: The Way I Used to Be, Ages 14-18)
Eden and Josh decide to give their relationship another chance in this much anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Way I Used to Be that explores how to move forward after trauma—in life and in love.
Eden and Josh never had a fair shot at a healthy relationship. When they dated in high school, they each had their own problems getting in the way of the deep connection they felt toward one another. Unbeknownst to Josh, Eden was carrying the burden of a devastating sexual assault, while Josh was dealing with his own private struggle of having an alcoholic father.
Months after Eden and two other girls publicly accuse their rapist, Eden is starting college while her case goes to trial. Now when she and Josh reconnect, it seems like it might finally be in the right place at the right time for them to make it work. But is their love strong enough to withstand the challenges and chaos of college and the crushing realities of a trial that will determine whether Eden gets the justice she deserves?
Loveboat Forever by Abigail Hing Wen (ISBN-13: 9780063297999 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 11/07/2023 Series: Loveboat, Ages 13+)
Return to the sparkling world of Loveboat, this time with Pearl Wong, on an entirely new, romantic, whirlwind adventure from Abigail Hing Wen, New York Times bestselling author of Loveboat, Taipei, streaming now on Paramount+ (adaptation titled Love in Taipei).
Pearl was ready for a worldwide stage. Instead, she needs to stage a comeback.
Seventeen-year-old music prodigy Pearl Wong had the summer of her dreams planned—until a fall from grace leaves her in need of new plans…and a new image.
Where better to revamp her “brand” than at Chien Tan, the Taipei summer program for elite students that rocketed her older sister, Ever, on a path to romance and self-fulfillment years ago.
But as the alumni know, Chien Tan is actually Loveboat—the extravagant world where prodigies party till dawn—and there’s more awaiting Pearl there than she could have ever imagined, like a scandalous party in the dark, a romantic entanglement with a mysterious suitor…and a summer that will change her forever.
Sweeping, glamorous, and deeply soulful, this companion to the New York Times bestselling novel Loveboat, Taipei and Loveboat Reunion will reunite readers with their favorite characters, in a thrilling new journey of romance, self-discovery, and empowerment. Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.
15 Secrets to Survival by Natalie D. Richards (ISBN-13: 9780593644126 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 11/07/2023, Ages 8-12)
New York Times bestselling author Natalie D. Richards’s middle grade debut about a group of four classmates forced to navigate the wilderness for an extra credit project with nothing but the pages of a survival handbook—and each other—to save them.
When classmates Baxter, Abigail, Turner and Emerson break a school rule, they’re forced to travel to the middle of nowhere for an extra credit project. They think things can’t get much worse. After all, how will learning to survive in the wilderness help them stay out of trouble in school?
What starts off as a weekend of team building takes a scary turn when their instructor goes missing and they are given nothing but pages of a survival guide to complete a series of challenges.
They soon learn the woods around them have unexpected surprises. Will they discover a way to work together to find their teacher and overcome the dangers of winter in the mountains?
The Queer Girl is Going to Be Okay by Dale Walls (ISBN-13: 9781646142705 Publisher: Levine Querido Publication date: 11/21/2023, Ages 12-18)
Queer Love. Something Dawn wants, desperately, but does not have. But maybe, if she can capture it, film it, interview the people who have it, queer love will be hers someday. Or, at least, she’ll have made a documentary about it. A documentary that, hopefully, will win Dawn a scholarship to film school. Many obstacles stand in the way of completing her film, but her best friends Edie and Georgia are there to help her reach her goal, no matter what it takes.
A touching and joyous story of queer friendship and girlhood set in the vibrant city of Houston, THE QUEER GIRL IS GOING TO BE OKAY will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you believe that eventually, everything will be okay.
Betting on You by Lynn Painter (ISBN-13: 9781665921237 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date: 11/28/2023, Ages 14-18)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Better Than the Movies, this swoon-worthy rom-com in the vein of She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You follows a teen girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a bet while working at a waterpark.
When seventeen-year-old Bailey starts a new job at a hotel waterpark, she is less than thrilled to see an old acquaintance is one of her coworkers. Bailey met Charlie a year ago on the long flight to Omaha, where she moved after her parents’ divorce. Charlie’s cynicism didn’t mix well with Bailey’s carefully well-behaved temperament, and his endless commentary was the irritating cherry on top of an already emotionally fraught trip.
Now, Bailey and Charlie are still polar opposites, but instead of everything about him rubbing Bailey the wrong way, she starts to look forward to hanging out and gossiping about the waterpark guests and their coworkers—particularly two who keep flirting with each other. Bailey and Charlie make a bet on whether or not the cozy pair will actually get together. Charlie insists that members of the opposite sex can’t just be friends, and Bailey is determined to prove him wrong.
Bailey and Charlie keep close track of the romantic progress of others while Charlie works to deflect the growing feelings he’s developed for Bailey. Terrified to lose her if his crush becomes known, what doesn’t help his agenda is Bailey and Charlie “fake dating” in order to disrupt the annoying pleasantries between Bailey’s mom and her mom’s new boyfriend. Soon, what Charlie was hoping to avoid becomes a reality as Bailey starts to see him as not only a friend she can rely on in the midst of family drama—but someone who makes her hands shake and heart race. But Charlie has a secret—a secret that involves Bailey and another bet Charlie may have made. Can the two make a real go of things…or has Charlie’s secret doomed them before they could start?
No One Left But You by Tash McAdam (ISBN-13: 9781641294898 Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated Publication date: 11/28/2023, Ages 14-17)
A trans teen is swept up in a whirlwind friendship with lethal consequences in this taut YA thriller, for fans of Sadie, Andrew Joseph White, and HBO’s Euphoria.
BEFORE. Newly out trans guy Max is having a hard time in school. Things have been tough since his summer romance, Danny, turned into his bully. This year, his plan is to keep his head down and graduate. All that changes when new It Girl, Gloss, moves to town. No one understands why perfect, polished Gloss is so interested in an introverted skater kid, but Max blooms in the hothouse of her attention. Caught between romance and obsession, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her on his side.
AFTER. Haircuts, makeovers, drugs, parties. It’s all fun and games until someone gets killed at a rager gone terribly wrong. Max refuses to believe that Gloss did it. But if not Gloss, who? Desperate to figure out truth in the wake of tragedy, Max veers dangerously close to being implicated—and his own memories of that awful night are fuzzy. Both sharp-edged thriller and moving coming of age, this gorgeously wrought novel is perfect for readers who want stories with trans characters front and center.
Shark Teeth by Sherri Winston (ISBN-13: 9781547608508 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/16/2024, Ages 9-11)
From National Book Award longlisted author Sherri Winston comes an important middle grade novel about a girl’s tumultuous journey to keep her family together, even when she’s falling apart.
Sharkita “Kita” Hayes is always waiting.
Waiting for her mama to mess up.
Waiting for social services to be called again.
Waiting for her and her siblings to be separated.
Waiting for her worst fear to come true.
But Mama promises things are different now. She’s got a good job, she’s stopped drinking, stopped going out every night-it’s almost enough to make Kita believe her this time. But even as Kita’s life is going good, she can’t shake the feeling that everything could go up in flames at any moment. When her assistant principal and trusted dance coach starts asking questions about her home life, Kita is more determined than ever to keep up appearances and make sure her family stays together-even if it means falling apart herself.
As the threat of her family being separated again circles like a shark in the water, the pressure starts to get to Kita. But could it be that Kita’s worst fear is actually the best thing that could happen to her family . . . and to her?
My Big, Fat Desi Wedding edited by Prerna Pickett (ISBN-13: 9781645679950 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 01/16/2024, Ages 14+)
Drama. Food. Fashion. More drama. More food. Nosey aunties and uncles—and, of course, the universal language of love. These elements are a must-have for any Desi wedding, inclusive of people indigenous to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. In this anthology, authors from various parts of the Desi community will share genre-bending stories that explore the lush traditions of their region, translating that universal language through the familiar lens of the Ultimate Family Gathering.
In this collection that centers hope, love, and family, readers will enjoy eight stories from both award-winning and debut authors.
Amil and the After by Veera Hiranandani (ISBN-13: 9780525555063 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/23/2024, Ages 8-12)
A hopeful and heartwarming story about finding joy after tragedy, Amil and the After is a companion to the beloved and award-winning Newbery Honor novel The Night Diary, by acclaimed author Veera Hiranandani
At the turn of the new year in 1948, Amil and his family are trying to make a home in India, now independent of British rule.
Both Muslim and Hindu, twelve-year-old Amil is not sure what home means anymore. The memory of the long and difficult journey from their hometown in what is now Pakistan lives with him. And despite having an apartment in Bombay to live in and a school to attend, life in India feels uncertain.
Nisha, his twin sister, suggests that Amil begin to tell his story through drawings meant for their mother, who died when they were just babies. Through Amil, readers witness the unwavering spirit of a young boy trying to make sense of a chaotic world, and find hope for himself and a newly reborn nation.
The Invocations by Krystal Sutherland (ISBN-13: 9780593532263 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/30/2024, Ages 12+)
From the author of New York Times bestseller House of Hollow comes a darkly seductive witchy thriller where, though both men and demons lurk in shadows, girls refuse to go quietly into the night.
Three girls, one supernatural killer on the loose . . .
Zara Jones believes in magic because the alternative is too painful to consider—that her murdered sister is gone forever and there is nothing she can do about it. Rather than grieving and moving on, Zara decides she will do whatever it takes to claw her sister back from the grave—even trading in the occult.
Jude Wolf may be the daughter of a billionaire, but she is also undeniably cursed. After a deal with a demon went horribly wrong, her soul has been slowly turning necrotic. It’s a miserable existence marred by pain, sickness, and monstrous things that taunt her in the night. Now that she’s glimpsed what’s beyond the veil, Jude’s desperate to ﬁnd someone to undo the damage she’s done to herself.
Enter Emer Byrne, an orphaned witch with a dark past and a deadly power, a.k.a. the solution to both Zara’s and Jude’s problems. Though Emer lives a hardscrabble life, she gives away her most valuable asset—her invocations—to women in desperate situations who are willing to sacriﬁce a piece of their soul in exchange for a scrap of power. Zara and Jude are willing, but they ﬁrst have to ﬁnd Emer.
When Emer’s clients start turning up dead all over London, a vital clue leads Zara and Jude right to her. If a serial killer is targeting her clients, Emer wants to know why—and to stop them. She strikes a tenuous alliance with Zara and Jude to hunt a killer before they are next on his list, even if she can’t give them in return what Zara and Jude want most: a sister and a soul.
Are You Big? by Mo Willems (ISBN-13: 9781454948186 Publisher: Union Square Kids Publication date: 02/06/2024, Ages 3-5)
Mo Willems, #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning author-illustrator, tackles a BIG concept in this hilarious nonfiction picture book about the relationship between size and scale.
Are YOU big?
A simple question sends readers to the far reaches of the universe. From an average-size kid . . . to a hot air balloon . . . to a storm cloud . . . to the M100 Galaxy, size is a matter of perspective.
Bold text, expressive art, and real-world science come together in this original Mo Willems STEAM-based, early-learning concept book.
My Throat an Open Grave by Tori Bovalino (ISBN-13: 9781645679301 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 02/20/2024, Ages 14-17)
Labyrinth meets folk horror in this darkly romantic tale of a girl who wishes her baby brother away to the Lord of the Wood
Growing up in the small town of Winston, Pennsylvania feels like drowning. Leah goes to church every Sunday, works when she isn’t at school, and takes care of her baby brother, Owen. Like every girl in Winston, she tries to be right and good and holy. If she isn’t the Lord of the Wood will take her, and she’ll disappear like so many other girls before her.
But living up to the rigorous standards of the town takes its toll. One night, when Owen won’t stop screaming, Leah wishes him away, and the Lord listens. The screaming stops, and all that’s left in the crib is a small bundle of sticks tied with a ribbon.
Filled with shame and the weight of the town’s judgment, Leah is forced to cross the river into the Lord of the Wood’s domain to bring Owen back. But the devilish figure who has haunted Winston for generations isn’t what she expects. He tells her she can have her brother back—for the price of a song. A song that Leah will have one month to write.
It’s a bargain that will uncover secrets her hometown has tried to keep buried for decades. And what she unearths will have her questioning everything she’s been taught to fear.
Otherworldly by F.T. Lukens (ISBN-13: 9781665916257 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date: 04/02/2024, Ages 14-18)
A skeptic and a supernatural being make a crossroads deal to achieve their own ends only to get more than they bargained for in this lively young adult romantic adventure from the New York Times bestselling author of Spell Bound and So This Is Ever After.
Seventeen-year-old Ellery is a non-believer in a region where people swear the supernatural is real. Sure, they’ve been stuck in a five-year winter, but there’s got to be a scientific explanation. If goddesses were real, they wouldn’t abandon their charges like this, leaving farmers like Ellery’s family to scrape by.
Knox is a familiar from the Other World, a magical assistant sent to help humans who have made crossroads bargains. But it’s been years since he heard from his queen, and Knox is getting nervous about what he might find once he returns home. When the crossroads demons come to collect Knox, he panics and runs. A chance encounter down an alley finds Ellery coming to Knox’s rescue, successfully fending off his would-be abductors.
Ellery can’t quite believe what they’ve seen. And they definitely don’t believe the nonsense this unnervingly attractive guy spews about his paranormal origins. But Knox needs to make a deal with a human who can tether him to this realm, and Ellery needs to figure out how to stop this winter to help their family. Once their bargain is struck, there’s no backing out, and the growing connection between the two might just change everything.
Rules for Camouflage by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (ISBN-13: 9780316567954 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 06/18/2024, Ages 14-18)
Atypical meets Eleanor and Park in this relatable and heartfelt coming of age story about a neurodivergent teen navigating school, friendships and first love.
Evvie Chambers is doing her best to skate through the last month of high school to graduation. The only thing standing in her way is a biology report on foxes—and her teacher, Mrs. Audrey Dearborn. The same Mrs. Dearborn who’s been a thorn in Evvie’s side for years, refusing to acknowledge or accommodate her neurodiversity. Evvie would much rather be doing her report on Aretha, the octopus she cares for when she volunteers at the Minnesota Zoo but deviating from the exact assignment isn’t allowed—and Mrs. Dearborn isn’t going to make following the rules easy.
Evvie’s only escape from high school hell is the Lair: a safe haven for kids whose brains need some time away. But when Mrs. Dearborn refuses Evvie’s pleas to finesse the final report assignment to her strengths, and persistent bully Vandal McDaniel directs his harassment toward Lair members, Evvie finds herself more desperate than ever for stability and support.
When a shocking act of violence pushes the whole mess over the edge, Evvie, with the help of her friends and the others who love her, will have to figure out how to find her place in the wide world, while remaining true to herself.
Filed under: new books
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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