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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2019 Showcase: Books featuring beasties, a killer flu, a changeling, and pirates

Two days after I mailed out 33 books to donate to teachers/schools, this giant box showed up. My family gets a kick out of the fact that no matter how many books I sort through and ship out, just as many appear within days, filling my office back up. The UPS driver deserves a medal for having to walk up our steep driveway almost every day.

All of the books I get end up going back out the door in some fashion—to teen readers I know, to classroom libraries of friends, to my own school, my kid’s school, or in giveaways. I can’t read/review every book I get, but it’s fun to be able to sift through boxes and see what grabs my attention, and to see what books will find loving new homes with the right reader.

Today I’m sharing with you forthcoming titles from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All annotations are from the publisher. Watch my Twitter (@CiteSomething) for giveaways, where some of these titles will be included! 

Midnight Beauties by Megan Shepherd (ISBN-13: 9781328811905 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 08/13/2019 Series: Grim Lovelies Series)

The witches, beasties, goblins, and Royals return in this spellbinding conclusion to New York Times best-selling author Megan Shepherd’s Grim Lovelies duology.

Ever since she discovered her affinity for magic, seventeen-year-old Anouk has been desperate to become a witch. It’s the only way to save her friends who, like Anouk, are beasties: animals enchanted into humans. But unlike Anouk, the other beasties didn’t make it out of the battle at Montélimar in one piece.

With her friends now trapped in their animal forms, Anouk is forced into a sinister deal involving a political marriage with her sworn enemy, a wicked plot to overthrow London’s fiercest coven of witches, and a deadly trial of fire to become a witch. The price for power has always been steep in the world of the Haute. Now, it will cost Anouk everything.

Wicked and delightful, this spellbinding sequel and conclusion to Grim Lovelies is perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and The Hazel Wood.

Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918 by Don Brown (ISBN-13: 9780544837409 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 09/03/2019)

From the Sibert honor-winning creator behind The Unwanted and Drowned City comes a graphic novel of one of the darkest episodes in American history: the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918.

New Year’s Day, 1918. America has declared war on Germany and is gathering troops to fight. But there’s something coming that is deadlier than any war.

When people begin to fall ill, most Americans don’t suspect influenza. The flu is known to be dangerous to the very old, young, or frail. But the Spanish flu is exceptionally violent. Soon, thousands of people succumb. Then tens of thousands . . . hundreds of thousands and more. Graves can’t be dug quickly enough.

What made the influenza of 1918 so exceptionally deadly—and what can modern science help us understand about this tragic episode in history? With a journalist’s discerning eye for facts and an artist’s instinct for true emotion, Sibert Honor recipient Don Brown sets out to answer these questions and more in Fever Year.

Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer (ISBN-13: 9781328863553 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 09/03/2019 Series: Market of Monsters Series #2)

Dexter meets Victoria Schwab in this dark and compelling fantasy about a girl who seeks revenge on the boy who betrayed her, a sequel to the critically-acclaimed Not Even Bones.

After escaping her kidnappers and destroying the black market where she was held captive, all Nita wants is to find a way to live her life without looking over her shoulder. But with a video of her ability to self-heal all over the dark web, Nita knows she’s still a prime target on the black market. There’s only one way to keep herself safe. Nita must make herself so feared that no one would ever dare come after her again. And the best way to start building her reputation? Take her revenge on Fabricio, the boy who sold Nita to her kidnappers. But killing Fabricio is harder than Nita thought it would be, even with Kovit by her side. Now caught in a game of kill or be killed, Nita will do whatever it takes to win.

Guest: A Changeling Tale by Mary Downing Hahn (ISBN-13: 9780358067313 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 09/03/2019)

From the master of spookiness, Mary Downing Hahn. When malicious sprites called the Kinde Folke snatch Mollie’s baby brother and replace him with a hideous changeling, Mollie travels through eerie, perilous lands to save him.

When her adorable baby brother is replaced by an ugly, ill-tempered changeling, Mollie is determined to find the so-called Kinde Folke who took baby Thomas, return the changeling she calls Guest, and make them give Thomas back. Natural and magical obstacles and her own reckless temperament make her journey arduous and full of dangers, and a plot rich in surprises and twists makes this book a must-read for Mary Downing Hahn’s fans.

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser (ISBN-13: 9781328577573 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 09/17/2019)

NYT Bestselling series! Harlem’s favorite family returns in the third installment in the Vanderbeerkers series, wherein the Vanderbeeker kids find themselves racing to save their mother’s baking business from city closure. Illustrated with delightful black and white illustrations.

For the Vanderbeeker kids of Harlem’s 141st Street, spring break couldn’t be off to a better start. Isa’s back from band camp, Oliver’s building his first-ever treehouse in the backyard of the brownstone, and Laney, Jess, and Hyacinth are excited to help their mother when she gets the once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in a cooking magazine.

But the Vanderbeekers’ plans go off the rails when an unexpected visit from city officials puts their mother’s bakery in jeopardy. Now they’ll have to band together to save the day before they’re out of business. Perfect for fans of The Penderwicks and Front Desk.

Endangered Operation by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (ISBN-13: 9781328629074 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 10/01/2019 Series: Carmen Sandiego Choose-Your-Own Capers Series)

Join Carmen Sandiego and decide where in the world to go next in this globe-trotting, daring caper! Help Carmen save wild animals of all kinds, especially the rare Amur tiger cub kidnapped from you by VILE. With 20 possible endings, your adventures can take you all over the world—or out of the game. Which will you choose?

In this choose-your-own-caper story set in the world of Carmen Sandiego, you are a junior zookeeper caring for a rare newborn Amur tiger cub. VILE, in its latest plot, is stealing exotic animals to sell to a billionaire collector, and your charge is cub-napped! Carmen arrives and you decide the best way to get your cub back is to help her defeat VILE and rescue all the animals they’ve captured. Or do you? Twenty different endings to this story keep readers coming back for more adventures with Carmen Sandiego!

Emmy in the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido (ISBN-13: 9780358040828 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 09/24/2019)

In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of GIRLS WHO CODE series and THE CROSSOVER.

In a new city, at a new school, twelve-year-old Emmy has never felt more out of tune. Things start to look up when she takes her first coding class, unexpectedly connecting with the material—and Abigail, a new friend—through a shared language: music. But when Emmy gets bad news about their computer teacher, and finds out Abigail isn’t being entirely honest about their friendship, she feels like her new life is screeching to a halt. Despite these obstacles, Emmy is determined to prove one thing: that, for the first time ever, she isn’t a wrong note, but a musician in the world’s most beautiful symphony.

Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack (ISBN-13: 9780358006077 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 09/24/2019)

This lush tale of magic and dragons is a gem for any adventure-seeking middle grader and perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time.

Anya and the Dragon is the story of fantasy and mayhem in tenth century Eastern Europe, where headstrong eleven-year-old Anya is a daughter of the only Jewish family in her village. When her family’s livelihood is threatened by a bigoted magistrate, Anya is lured in by a friendly family of fools, who promise her money in exchange for helping them capture the last dragon in Kievan Rus. This seems easy enough, until she finds out that the scary old dragon isn’t as old—or as scary—as everyone thought. Now Anya is faced with a choice: save the dragon, or save her family.


Lintang and the Pirate Queen by Tamara Moss (ISBN-13: 9781328460301 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 10/15/2019)

Gutsy girls and strong women make up the diverse and appealing crew of a pirate ship that battles intrigue and deadly monsters in an action-filled fantasy adventure.

“Combine a pirate adventure of mythic proportions, a uniquely charming cast of characters, and a vivid new fantasy world and you get Lintang and the Pirate Queen. Magical, inventive, and positively unforgettable.”—Marissa Meyer, bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles

Lintang is an island girl who longs for daring and danger. When she meets the feared pirate, Captain Shira, and her all-female crew, Lintang is determined to join them. Secrets within secrets, life-or-death battles with spectacular monsters, and hair’s breadth escapes keep readers turning the pages of a story populated by women of color who are fighters, adventurers, and leaders.

Santa’s Puppy by Catherine Hapka (ISBN-13: 9780358051848 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 10/15/2019)

Homeward Bound meets Elf in this heartwarming tale for the whole family. Can Chris, Holly, and Ivy help Santa’s dog Peppermint Bark jingle all the way home to the North Pole before Christmas Day ends?

For 364 days of the year, Santa and his best friend, Peppermint Bark, are inseparable. Santa’s fluffy white dog helps herd the reindeer, keep tabs on the elves, and check the list—twice. But though Peppermint Bark asks every Christmas, he never gets to join Santa on his sleigh ride around the world. Until the dog decides to stow away . . .

When eight- and eleven-year-old Chris and Holly Kerstman discover a small white dog wedged in their chimney on Christmas morning, they can’t imagine where he came from, until he tells them. Peppermint Bark is unlike any dog they and Holly’s best friend, Ivy, have ever met: His breath smells of mint, faint jingle bells can be heard when he wags his tail, and he can talk! He tells the kids all about his secret sleigh ride and how he got accidentally left behind on their rooftop, but when it comes to answering the question of how he’ll get home to the North Pole, Peppermint Bark is stumped. It’s up to the kids to work together to get Peppermint Bark home before the last magical portal to the North Pole closes at midnight on Christmas Day. A Christmas tale with enough heartwarming moments and heart-pounding action to entertain the entire family this holiday!

A Talent for Trouble by Natasha Farrant (ISBN-13: 9781328580788 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 11/19/2019)

A girl determined to follow her dream persuades two friends to join her for an off-the-grid adventure that becomes a survival story as they confront storms, illness, injury, and a gang of international jewel thieves.

Desperate to meet up with her unpredictable father, quiet Alice persuades two friends to abandon their boarding school’s orienteering exercise and head for a remote, inaccessible island. As they confront storms, illness, injury, and a gang of international jewel thieves, the quest tests their courage and loyalty and strengthens the bonds of friendship. Readers will cheer the runaways on, laugh with them at their foibles, and share Alice’s pleasure in overcoming the obstacles that stand in her way. This combination adventure, school story, and family story will delight fans of all three genres.

Dog Driven by Terry Lynn Johnson (ISBN-13: 9781328551597 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 12/03/2019)

From the author of Ice Dogs, comes a riveting adventure about a musher who sets out to prove her impaired vision won’t hold her back from competing in a rigorous sled race through the Canadian wilderness. Perfect for fans of Gary Paulsen.

McKenna Barney is trying to hide her worsening eyesight and has been isolating herself for the last year. But at the request of her little sister, she signs up for a commemorative mail run race in the Canadian wilderness—a race she doesn’t know if she can even see to run. 

Winning would mean getting her disease—and her sister’s—national media coverage, but it would also pit McKenna and her team of eight sled dogs against racers from across the globe for three days of shifting lake ice, sudden owl attacks, snow squalls, and bitterly cold nights.

 A page-turning adventure about living with disability and surviving the wilderness, Dog Driven is the story of one girl’s self-determination and the courage it takes to trust in others.

Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins (ISBN-13: 9781328635198nPublisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 12/17/2019

In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Mansfield, Massachusetts, is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college.  It’s the home of wealthy suburban mothers and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. She’s got her own plans, and they don’t include any prince charming.

But as she dives into schoolwork and getting a scholarship for college, Edie finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys strumming for her attention: First, there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend and first love, who’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy and all-around player who’s totally off limits—even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help herself from being caught between them. Now, she just has to make sure it isn’t her heart that breaks in the process.

The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury (ISBN-13: 9781328625632 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 01/21/2020)

Humor and heart shine in this middle-grade fantasy about a girl who attends a boarding school to learn how to use music to create magic, perfect for fans of Nevermoor and The School for Good and Evil series.

Amelia Jones always dreamed of attending the Mystwick School of Musicraft, where the world’s most promising musicians learn to create magic. So when Amelia botches her audition, she thinks her dream has met an abrupt and humiliating end—until the school agrees to give her a trial period. Amelia is determined to prove herself, vowing to do whatever it takes to become the perfect musician. Even if it means pretending to be someone she isn’t. Meanwhile, a mysterious storm is brewing that no one, not even the maestros at Mystwick, is prepared to contain. Can Amelia find the courage to be true to herself in time to save her beloved school from certain destruction?

The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne ( ISBN-13: 9781328948946 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 02/04/2020)

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin? 

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself failing for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.


Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal (ISBN-13: 9781328557056 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 02/11/2020)

A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.

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