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18 2018 YA Books To Have On Your Radar

Like many of you (I’m guessing), I keep multiple reading-related lists. I keep track of what I read each year. I keep track of what ARCs I’ve gotten and hope to read. I keep track of what books I either want to get when they come out or hope to track down as ARCs but haven’t yet. There’s the list of 2018 LGBTQIA+ books. Look, I like lists. Even just listing my lists was fun for me. So anyway, I scanned through all my various relevant lists and pulled together this new list (yay!) of 18 YA books I can’t wait to read. In some cases, it’s because I liked the author’s previous work. In some cases, it’s a debut that’s caught my attention. In some cases, it’s just that I like reading my friends’ work. My list could have easily been “88 2018 YA Books To Have On Your Radar.” Hop in the comments or catch me on Twitter @CiteSomething and tell me what you are anxious to read in 2018!

All descriptions from the publishers.

 

 

you'll miss meYou’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon (ISBN-13: 9781481497732 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 01/02/2018)

A moving, lyrical debut novel about twins who navigate first love, their Jewish identity, and opposite results from a genetic test that determines their fate—whether they inherited their mother’s Huntington’s disease.

Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s, and the other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters.

 

 

meet cuteMeet Cute: Some people are destined to meet by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Dhonielle Clayton, Katie Cotugno, Jocelyn Davies, Huntley Fitzpatrick (ISBN-13: 9781328759870 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 01/02/2018)

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

 

love hateLove, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (ISBN-13: 9781616958473 Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated Publication date: 01/16/2018)

In this unforgettable debut, a Muslim teen copes with Islamophobia, cultural divides among peers and parents, and a reality she can neither explain nor escape. 

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy who’s “suitable” to her mother. And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe, just maybe, pursuing a boy she’s known from afar her entire life who’s suddenly falling into her orbit at school.

But unbeknownst to Maya, there is a danger looming beyond her control. When a terrorist attack occurs in another Midwestern city, the prime suspect happens to share her last name. In an instant, Maya’s community, consumed by fear and hatred, becomes unrecognizable, and her life changes forever.

 

 

lets talk about loveLet’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (ISBN-13: 9781250136121 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication date: 01/23/2018)

Striking a perfect balance between heartfelt emotions and spot-on humor, this debut features a pop-culture enthusiast protagonist with an unforgettable voice sure to resonate with readers.

Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting—working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating—no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

Claire Kann’s debut novel Let’s Talk About Love, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, gracefully explores the struggle with emerging adulthood and the complicated line between friendship and what it might mean to be something more.

 

 

elenaThe Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson (ISBN-13: 9781481498548 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 02/06/2018)

From the critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants and At the Edge of the Universe comes a mind-bending, riveting novel about a teen who was born to a virgin mother and realizes she has the power to heal—but that power comes at a huge cost.

Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza is the product of a virgin birth.

This can be scientifically explained (it’s called parthenogenesis), but what can’t be explained is how Elena is able to heal Freddie, the girl she’s had a crush on for years, from a gunshot wound in a Starbucks parking lot. Or why the boy who shot Freddie, David Combs, disappeared from the same parking lot minutes later after getting sucked up into the clouds. What also can’t be explained are the talking girl on the front of a tampon box, or the reasons that David Combs shot Freddie in the first place.

As more unbelievable things occur, and Elena continues to perform miracles, the only remaining explanation is the least logical of all—that the world is actually coming to an end, and Elena is possibly the only one who can do something about it.

 

 

american pandaAmerican Panda by Gloria Chao (ISBN-13: 9781481499101 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 02/06/2018)

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her germophobia and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.

 

i stopI Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter (ISBN-13: 9781250124647 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication date: 02/27/2018)

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

 

 

girl like thatA Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena (ISBN-13: 9780374305444 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publication date: 02/27/2018)

A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that. This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers; tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion; and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.

 

 

place betweenThe Place Between Breaths by An Na (ISBN-13: 9781481422253 Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books Publication date: 03/06/2018)

From master storyteller and Printz Award–winning author An Na comes a dark, intensely moving story of a girl desperately determined to find a cure for the illness that swept her mother away, and could possibly destroy her own life as well.

Sixteen-year-old Grace is in a race against time—and in a race for her life—even if she doesn’t realize it yet…

She is smart, responsible, and contending with more than what most teens ever should. Her mother struggled with schizophrenia for years until, one day, she simply disappeared—fleeing in fear that she was going to hurt those she cared about most. Ever since, Grace’s father has worked as a recruiter at one of the leading labs dedicated to studying the disease, trying to lure the world’s top scientists to the faculty to find a cure, hoping against hope it can happen in time to help his wife if she is ever found. But this makes him distant. Consumed.

Grace, in turn, does her part, interning at the lab in the gene sequencing department daring to believe that one day they might make a breakthrough…and one day they do. Grace stumbles upon a string of code that could be the key. But something inside of Grace has started to unravel. Could her discovery just be a cruel side effect of the disease that might be taking hold of her? And can she even tell the difference?

Unflinchingly brave, An Na has created a mesmerizing story with twists and turns that reveal jaw-dropping insights into the mind of someone struggling with schizophrenia.

 

 

chaoticChaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (ISBN-13: 9781524720803 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 03/13/2018)

Cosplay, comic shops, and college applications collide in this illustrated novel, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Noelle Steveson!

Cameron’s cosplay creations are finally starting to earn her attention–attention she hopes to use to get into the CalArts costume design department for college. But after she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans online.

When Cameron’s family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse.

Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town–her main destination for character reference–is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother’s suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she’s shocked at how easily she’s accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her brother Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her “secret identity” gets more and more entrenched, Cameron’s portfolio falls by the wayside–and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious in this geek girl anthem from You’re Welcome, Universe author Whitney Gardner, complete with fully illustrated comic pages inked by Gardner herself.

 

 

tyler johnsonTyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles (ISBN-13: 9780316440776 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 03/20/2018)

The Hate U Give meets All American Boys in this striking and heartbreaking debut novel, commenting on current race relations in America.


When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

Tyler Johnson Was Here is a stunning account of police brutality in modern America.

 

 

astonishingThe Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (ISBN-13: 9780316463997 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 03/20/2018)

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

 

summer of jordiThe Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding (ISBN-13: 9781510727663 Publisher: Sky Pony Press Publication date: 04/03/2018)

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she’s thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship.

But really, nothing this summer is going as planned. She’s also unwittingly become friends with Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro-type who wants her help finding the best burger in LA; she’s struggling to prove to her mother―the city’s celebrity health nut―that she’s perfectly content with who she is; and she’s desperately trying to remain behind the scenes and off-camera where she feels she belongs, when she hangs out with Jordi, who documents her entire life in photographs.

Though crazy, summer’s been fun, and just as Abby starts to feel like she?s no longer the sidekick in her own life anymore, Jordi’s photography surprisingly puts her in the spotlight for the first time, and it feels more like a betrayal rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?

 

fly awayWe’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss (ISBN-13: 9780062494276 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 05/08/2018)

Alternating between his third-person account of senior year and letters from death row, a young man untangles the chain of devastating circumstances that led to his conviction. Powerful, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking, this novel about friendship, regret, and redemption is for fans of NPR’s Serial podcast and Marieke Nijkamp’s This Is Where It Ends.

Best friends since childhood, Luke and Toby have always had each other’s backs. And soon they will leave their small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never return. If they don’t drift apart first. Luke is dealing with an unwelcome change in his home situation, one that could take his younger brothers away. Meanwhile Toby’s father—an abusive alcoholic—has started taking more of an interest in Toby, and Luke is worried that when that interest becomes too intense, Toby won’t be able to defend himself.

Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel is told in alternating points of view between Luke’s letters to Toby from death row, and Luke and Toby’s third-person account of their senior year, expertly unfolding the circumstances that led to Luke’s incarceration. Tense and emotional, this searing novel explores family abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths people will go to, to protect the ones they love. For fans of Jason Reynolds, Matt de la Peña, and Andrew Smith.

 

 

girl madeGirl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (ISBN-13: 9781328476692 Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers Publication date: 05/15/2018)

“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.

 

image notDriving by Starlight by Anat Deracine (ISBN-13: 9781250133427 Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) Publication date: 05/22/2018)

In this debut YA friendship story set in Saudi Arabia, two girls navigate typical teen issues—crushes, college, family expectations, future hopes, and dreams.

Sixteen-year-olds Leena and Mishie are best friends. They delight in small rebellions against the Saudi cultural police—secret Western clothing, forbidden music, flirtations. But Leena wants college, independence—she wants a different life. Though her story is specific to her world (a world where it’s illegal for women to drive, where a ten-year-old boy is the natural choice as guardian of a fatherless woman), ultimately it’s a story about friendship, family, and freedom that transcends cultural differences.

 

 

truthGive Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth (ISBN-13: 9781338143546 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/29/2018)

Carson Mastick is entering his senior year of high school and desperate to make his mark, on the reservation and off. A rock band — and winning the local Battle of the Bands, with its first prize of a trip to New York City — is his best shot. But things keep getting in the way. Small matters like the lack of an actual band, or the fact that his brother just got shot confronting the racist owner of a local restaurant.

Maggi Bokoni has just moved back to the reservation from the city with her family. She’s dying to stop making the same traditional artwork her family sells to tourists (conceptual stuff is cooler), stop feeling out of place in her new (old) home, and stop being treated like a child. She might like to fall in love for the first time too.

Carson and Maggi — along with their friend Lewis — will navigate loud protests, even louder music, and first love in this stirring novel about coming together in a world defined by difference.

 

 

not the girlsNot the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi (ISBN-13: 9781250151810 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication date: 06/19/2018)

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

Debut author Aminah Mae Safi’s honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if —especially if—you love them.

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: HOW YOU RUINED MY LIFE by Jeff Strand

Have you read any Jeff Strand? That’s one of my go to questions for anyone – teen or YA reader – who lament that there are not enough funny books in YA. And I get it, the funny is definitely outnumbered in YA, it truly is. But Jeff Strand is a pretty dependable author when it comes to the funny. He writes with wit, sarcasm and snark, all qualities that I can appreciate. And horror. That’s right, Jeff Strand often combines horror and humor for a winning combination. A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO by Jeff Strand is one of the funniest books I have ever read.

This is one of the funniest, LOL books I have ever read

So I was honored when Sourcebooks Fire reached out to me and asked if I wanted to host a cover reveal for his most recent book, HOW YOU RUINED MY LIFE. Yes! Yes, I do. But first, what is this book about?

Rod’s life doesn’t suck.

If you ask him, it’s pretty awesome. He may not be popular, but he and his best friends play in a band that has a standing gig. Yeah, it’s Monday night and they don’t get paid, but they can crank the volume as loud as they want. And Rod’s girlfriend is hot, smart, and believes in their band—believes in Rod. Aside from a winning lottery ticket, what more could he ask for?

Answer: a different cousin.

When Rod’s scheming, two-faced cousin Blake moves in for the semester, Rod tries to keep calm. Blake seems to have everyone else fooled with his good manners and suave smile, except Rod knows better. Blake is taking over his room, taking over his band, taking over his life! But Rod’s not about to give up without a fight. Game on. May the best prankster win…

And now . . . The Great Cover Reveal (insert drum roll here please)

howyouruinedmylife2

Preorder How You Ruined My Life: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indiebound

HOW YOU RUINED MY LIFE — EXCERPT

“Thanks for coming out tonight! Are you ready to rock?”

A couple of people in the audience indicate that yes, they are indeed ready to begin the process of rocking. A few others don’t look up from their cell phones, but I’m confident that they’ll discover their readiness to rock as soon as we start playing. The rest of the eleven or so people in the club haven’t bothered to walk over to the dance floor. Presumably, they’re waiting for the headline act before committing to whether or not they’re mentally and physically prepared to rock.

“We’re Fanged Grapefruit,” I say into the microphone. “This first song is an original called, ‘You Can’t Train a Goldfish to Catch Popcorn in Its Mouth, So Don’t Even Try.’ One, two, three, go!”

I can’t remember which of us came up with the name Fanged Grapefruit. I think it was Clarissa, our drummer. I consider myself the creative driving force of the band, but if you see Clarissa, you’ll understand why she doesn’t lose many arguments. She’s at least six foot three (though I’ve never measured her), and you wouldn’t want to arm wrestle her unless you were willing to lose an arm. When she really gets going, her drumsticks become a blur. And when she’s done with a set, the sticks look like they’ve been gnawed on by beavers.

Mel, short for Melvin, is lead guitar and background vocals. I’m lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Ironically, Mel is a worse guitar player and a better singer than me. Not everything we do in Fanged Grapefruit makes sense.

Mel doesn’t look like he should be in a punk rock band. He looks like he should be president of the Chess Club. Which he is, but I assure you, the guy plays chess with attitude. He also gets straight A’s and is likely to be our class valedictorian, and if so, I hope he’ll pause his inspiring commencement speech for a wicked guitar solo.

I’m Rod, short for Rodney. Nice to meet you. I’m pretty much average, I guess.

Other band names we’d brainstormed included Untidy Reptiles, Autocorrected Text Fail, Rod & the Whacknuts, Carnivorous Vegans, Impolite Music for Unruly People, The RMC Experiment, Say Goodbye to Your Ears, Pawn Takes Rook, Crunchy Noise, Crispy Noise, Chicken Fried Noise, (The Parentheticals), Fake News Echo Chamber, Hairnets Gloriously Aflame, Dog Eat Dog Eat Munchkin, The Self- Diagnosing Hypochondriacs, Sequel II, and Sushi Gun.

We play at this club, the Lane, every Monday, which is the only day you can get in if you’re under eighteen. We go onstage around eight, and we’re home by nine fifteen, so all our parents are cool with us being out on a school night. It also helps that they’ve never actually been inside the Lane, which is a bubbling pit of health code violations. If you have to go to the bathroom, hold it. Trust me.

I’m sure we’d have a much bigger audience if we could play on a Friday or Saturday night, but Clarissa, Mel, and I are only sixteen, so we’ve got a couple of years to go. (Sorry if it was insulting that I did the math for you.) We hope that by the time we’re old enough to play there on a weekend, we’ll have upgraded to venues where your feet don’t stick to the floor as often.

Anyway, we begin to rock out on our guitars and drums, and select members of the audience begin to move to the music. Well, okay, only two of them. And one is my girlfriend, Audrey. You might say that she doesn’t count, but we got together because I was in a band, so I think she does count, thank you very much.

Audrey runs our merch table. We never sell anything, though she gives away free stickers to people who look like they might be band managers. She’s as tiny as Clarissa is non- tiny. You won’t believe me if I say she’s the most gorgeous girl at our school, so all I’ll say is that if you look at her and look at me, you’d say, “Wow, how did that happen? He must be in a band.”

By the end of our set, three people in the audience are bopping their heads to the music. That’s a fifty percent increase from when we started. Fanged Grapefruit rules!

***

After dropping off Clarissa, Mel, and then Audrey (because I always pick her up first and drop her off last, even though she lives the furthest away), I go home, take a shower, and start packing my lunch for the next day.

“How was your gig?” Mom asks, walking into the kitchen.

“Great! Every show gets a little better.”

“I was going to do that for you,” she says, pointing to the sandwich I’m making.

“I know.” Mom works two jobs, both of which suck, so I’m always happy to make my own lunch. Plus I’m very specific about the spread of my peanut butter. It should be as close to the edge of the bread as possible without spilling over, and the thickness should be consistent. Generally, I’m a pretty casual guy, but not when it comes to peanut butter application. We all have our quirks.

“I’ve got news,” she says.

“Dad got out of prison?” Dad isn’t really in prison. He left us two years ago. We joke about him being in prison as a coping mechanism.

“No.”

“I’m finally going to get a baby sister?”

“Ha. You wish.”

“You got a raise?”

Mom shakes her head. “I did get a five- dollar tip on an eighteen- dollar meal though. That was nice.”

“Wild panthers have run amok in our neighborhood, gobbling up people left and right?”

“Maybe you should stop guessing.”

“Maybe I should. So is this good news or bad news?” I ask.

“Well…”

I set down the butter knife. “That doesn’t sound like a good ‘well…’”

“I wouldn’t necessarily call it bad news,” Mom says. “It’s definitely not the worst news ever. Nobody died or anything.”

“Tell me.”

“You know your aunt Mary and uncle Clark?”

“Of course.” I don’t think I’ve seen Uncle Clark since I was six. We live in Florida, and they live in California. He and Dad never got along, so every couple of years, Aunt Mary would visit us by herself. With Dad out of the picture, I assumed we’d see more of our extended family, but it never really happened.

“Aunt Mary and Uncle Clark are going on a cruise.”

“That’s cool.” I consider that for a moment and then get very excited. “Are they taking us with them?”

“No.”

“Oh.”

“It’s one of those around- the- world cruises. Three whole months. Doesn’t that sound fun?”

Did I mention that Aunt Mary and Uncle Clark are rich? You probably picked up on that when Mom said they were going on a three- month- long world cruise.

“Is Blake going with them?” I ask.

“No. He’s not.”

Suddenly, I have an idea where this conversation is headed. It doesn’t make me happy. “Maybe you should spell this out for me,” I say.

“Your cousin Blake is going to live with us for three months. Isn’t that exciting?”

I stare at her for a few hours.

(Possibly, I’m exaggerating.)

“Starting when?” I ask.

“Next week.”

“You mean before the school year ends?”

“Yes. He’s going to transfer to your school.”

“That’s messed up!”

Mom shrugs. “They got a good deal on the cruise.”

“Where’s he going to stay? We don’t have a guest bedroom.”

“Well, I thought…you know…”

“He can’t share my room!” If I wasn’t almost an adult, I would have stomped my foot.

“Honey, it’s only for three months.”

“That’s a quarter of a year! I thought we were broke,” I say. “How are we going to pay for all that extra food?”

“We’re not that broke, and obviously, your aunt and uncle will help pay for groceries.”

“Isn’t he a spoiled brat?”

“You haven’t seen him in ten years,” Mom says.

“Well, ten years ago he was a spoiled brat.” “I’m sure he’s fine now.”

“Doesn’t he have any friends he can stay with in California?”

My mom sighs. “Rodney, he’s family. Family is always welcome in our home.”

I hope I’m not coming off as whiny and selfish. If a hurricane tore the roof off their house and they lost all of their worldly possessions, sure, I’d happily donate half of my room to Cousin Blake while they rebuilt their lives. But asking me to give up my privacy so Aunt Mary and Uncle Clark can go on a luxury cruise seems kind of unreasonable.

However, I’m pretty sure this is a done deal, and my mom has enough stress in her life without me continuing to protest.

“All right,” I say.

“Thank you.” Mom gives me a hug. “I think you’ll enjoy having him here.”

Who knows? Maybe I will. Maybe my cousin is a really cool guy. Maybe he has good taste in music. And maybe he’s witty and entertaining. And maybe he’ll be willing to help with emergency cleanup if we’re having a wild party and Mom calls suddenly to say she’s on her way home early.

We might end up being the best friends that any two cousins could ever be. We’ll giggle and frolic and be inseparable.

But probably not.

I can’t believe I have to share my room.

I return to making my lunch. I’ll try to be optimistic and pretend that these will be the best three months of my life. How bad could it be?

ABOUT Jeff Strand

Jeff Strand has written more than twenty books and is a four-time nominee of the Bram Stoker Award. Three of his young adult novels were Junior Library Guild picks. Publishers Weekly called his work “wickedly funny.” He lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more at JeffStrand.com.

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Workman and Algonquin Showcase and Giveaway

tltbutton7Beyond the people I work with and the people this blog has led me to get to know, by far the best aspect of blogging for TLT is the constant influx of books. 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, 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 titles from Workman Publishing and Algonquin Young Readers. All annotations are from the publisher. I’m also doing a giveaway for ALL of these ARCs. Enter via the Rafflecopter or by retweeting this post on Twitter (I’m @CiteSomething) between now and October 3rd. I’ll pick two winners (1 through Rafflecopter and 1 from Twitter), which each winner getting three books. U.S. only!

 

 

massively epicThe Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters: 33 Thrilling Experiments Based on History’s Greatest Blunders by Sean Connolly (ISBN-13: 9780761183945 Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc. Publication date: 09/05/2017)

It’s hands-on science with a capital “E”—for engineering.

Beginning with the toppling of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, to the destructive, laserlike sunbeams bouncing off London’s infamous “Fryscraper” in 2013, here is an illustrated tour of the greatest engineering disasters in history, from the bestselling author of The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science.

Each engineering disaster includes a simple, exciting experiment or two using everyday household items to explain the underlying science and put learning into action. Understand the Titanic’s demise by sinking an ice-cube-tray ocean liner in the bathtub. Stomp on a tube of toothpaste to demonstrate what happens to non-Newtonian fluids under pressure—and how a ruptured tank sent a tsunami of molasses through the streets of Boston in 1919.

From why the Leaning Tower of Pisa leans to the fatal design flaw in the Sherman tank, here’s a book of science at its most riveting.

 

 

fearsomeFearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: 20 Chilling Tales from the Wilderness by Hal Johnson, Tom Mead (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780761184614 Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc. Publication date: 09/08/2015)

Meet the snoligoster, who feeds on the shadows of its victims. The whirling whimpus, who once laid low an entire Boy Scout troop. And the hoop snake, who can chase prey at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and then, with one sting of its venomous tail, cause it to turn purple, swell up, and—alas—die.

These and 17 other fearsome creatures are among the most fantastical beasts in American folklore. Their stories, as narrated by one of the last surviving cryptozoologists, are best enjoyed while sitting around a campfire. If you dare.

 

 

 

rise ofRise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (ISBN-13: 9781616206659 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Publication date: 09/19/2017)

Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.

To rescue the missing children and clear her own name, Corinne goes deep into the ocean to find Mama D’Leau, the dangerous jumbie who rules the sea. But Mama D’Leau’s help comes with a price. Corinne and her friends Dru, Bouki, and Malik must travel with mermaids across the ocean to the shores of Ghana to fetch a powerful object for Mama D’Leau. The only thing more perilous than Corinne’s adventures across the sea is the foe that waits for her back home.

With its action-packed storytelling, diverse characters, and inventive twists on Caribbean and West African mythology and fairy tales, Rise of the Jumbies will appeal to readers of A Snicker of Magic, A Tale Dark and Grimm, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

 

 

all the windAll the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry (ISBN-13: 9781616206666 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Publication date: 10/10/2017)

Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt work in the vast maguey fields that span the bone-dry Southwest, a thirsty, infinite land that is both seductive and fearsome. In this rough, transient landscape, Sarah Jac and James have fallen in love. They’re tough and brave, and they have big dreams. Soon they will save up enough money to go east. But until then, they keep their heads down, their muscles tensed, and above all, their love secret.

When a horrible accident forces Sarah Jac and James to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch called the Real Marvelous, the delicate balance they’ve found begins to give way. And James and Sarah Jac will have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love.

Perfect for fans of the Raven Cycle, Wink Poppy Midnight, and Bone Gap, Samantha Mabry’s luscious prose weaves a breathtaking tale of dread and danger, romance, and redemption.

 

 

guide toBunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up: Secrets, Tips, and Expert Advice on the Good, the Bad, and the Awkward by Adah Nuchi, Meg Hunt (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780761193593 Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc. Publication date: 12/19/2017)

Welcome to Bunk 9—and a new girl-powered puberty book girls will want to read.

Based on the lively conceit that it’s written by nine older girls at a fictional summer camp who share their collective been-there, done-that experiences, Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up is a puberty book with a twist, an entertaining, up-to-date, supportive guide that covers the head-to-toe changes that young girls go through as they grow up. Since it is written in the voices of different girls, reading it is like listening to your best friend or older sister giving no-nonsense information, advice, and tips on menstruation, breasts, hygiene, health and nutrition, boys, and all the complicated feelings that go along with these changes. Filled with callouts, doodles, and margin notes, it’s a book that’s gentle enough for a third grader and thorough enough for a middle schooler, and it’s vetted by a pediatrician.

 

 

votesVotes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling (ISBN-13: 9781616207342 Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers Publication date: 02/13/2018)

On August 18, 1920, American women finally won the right to vote. Ratification of the 19th Amendment was the culmination of an almost eighty-year fight in which some of the fiercest, most passionate women in history marched, protested, and sometimes broke the law in to achieve this huge leap toward equal rights.

In this expansive yet personal volume, author Winifred Conkling covers not only the suffragists’ achievements and politics but also the private journeys that fueled their passion and led them to become women’s champions. From Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who founded the suffrage movement at the 1848 Seneca Falls convention; to Victoria Woodhull, the first female candidate for president; to Sojourner Truth and her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?”; to Alice Paul, who was arrested and force-fed in prison, Conkling combines thorough research with page-turning storytelling to bring the battle for the right to vote to vivid life. Votes for Women! also explores the movement’s often powerful, sometimes difficult relationship with the temperance and abolition movements, and takes unflinching look at some of the uglier moments in the fight for the women’s vote.

Votes for Women! is a mesmerizing read perfect for fans of propulsive narrative nonfiction stories like Most Dangerous and The Family Romanov.

New and forthcoming YA and MG to have on your radar

tltbutton7Books, books, and more books! My neighbors probably wonder what exactly goes on over here at the house where UPS of FedEx stops nearly every day. The following are the books that have arrived here in the past few weeks. I will be reviewing many of them in the upcoming months on TLT. See something you’ve already read and need to make sure I don’t skip? Or something you’re super excited to read when it comes out? Let me know with a comment here or on Twitter, where I’m @CiteSomething.

All descriptions from the publishers.

 

 

we nowWe Now Return to Regular Life by Martin Wilson (ISBN-13: 9780735227828 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/01/2017)

The Face on the Milk Carton meets The Impossible Knife of Memory in this ripped-from-the-headlines novel that explores the power of being an ally—and a friend—when a kidnapped boy returns to his hometown.

Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive.

Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s coming home. Beth desperately wants to understand what happened to her brother, but her family refuses to talk about it—even though Sam is clearly still affected by the abuse he faced at the hands of his captor.

And as Sam starts to confide in Josh about his past, Josh can’t admit the truths he’s hidden deep within himself: that he’s gay, and developing feelings for Sam. And, even bigger: that he never told the police everything he saw the day Sam disappeared.

As Beth and Josh struggle with their own issues, their friends and neighbors slowly turn on Sam, until one night when everything explodes. Beth can’t live in silence. Josh can’t live with his secrets. And Sam can’t continue on until the whole truth of what happened to him is out in the open.

For fans of thought-provoking stories like The Face on the Milk Carton, this is a book about learning to be an ally—even when the community around you doesn’t want you to be.

 

 

spellbookSpellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle (ISBN-13: 9780525429494 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/08/2017)

The highly anticipated new book from the acclaimed author of The Accident Season is a gorgeous, twisty story about things gone missing, things returned from the past, and a group of teenagers, connected in ways they could never have imagined.

One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won’t talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away.

Then seductive diary pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tight to painful secrets.

When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it’s full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights.

Unless it’s leading them toward things that were never meant to be found…

 

 

map for wreckedA Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor (ISBN-13: 9780735228115 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/15/2017)

In this twisting tale of loyalty, betrayal, and love, two sisters must survive the wilds, if they can first survive each other—for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Gone Girl.

Emma has always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two have always been best friends. Until something happens that wrecks them.

I’d trusted Henri more than I’d trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I’d follow.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in a gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart. To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

For the first time, I was afraid we’d die on this shore.

 

 

the first ruleThe First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez (ISBN-13: 9780425290408 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/22/2017)

From debut author and longtime zine-maker Celia C. Pérez, The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one’s watching.

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She’ll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

Black and white illustrations and collage art throughout make The First Rule of Punk a perfect pick for fans of books like Roller Girl and online magazines like Rookie.

 

 

arsonistThe Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes (ISBN-13: 9780803740716 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/22/2017)

Code Name Verity meets I Am the Messenger in this riveting YA novel from Morris Award finalist Stephanie Oakes, in which three points of view are woven together in a story that’s part Cold War mystery, part contemporary coming-of-age, and completely unputdownable.

Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, her father is a convicted murderer, and his execution date is fast approaching. For another, Molly refuses to believe that her mother is dead, and she waits for the day when they’ll be reunited . . . despite all evidence that this will never happen.

Pepper Al-Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy, serious girl problems, and the most useless seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer . . . or fail out of school.

And Ava Dreyman—the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall—is unlike anyone you’ve met before.

When Molly gets a package leading her to Pepper, they’re tasked with solving a decades-old mystery: find out who killed Ava, back in 1989. Using Ava’s diary for clues, Molly and Pepper realize there’s more to her life—and death—than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.

At turns heart-racing, hilarious, and heartbreaking, The Arsonist is an intricate tapestry—of love, loss, and the mysterious connections between us all.

 

 

bold womenBold Women of Medicine: 21 Stories of Astounding Discoveries, Daring Surgeries, and Healing Breakthroughs by Susan M. Latta (ISBN-13: 9781613734377 Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated Publication date: 09/01/2017)

Meet 21 determined women who have dedicated their lives to healing others. In the 19th century, Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton—the “Lady with the Lamp” and the “Angel of the Battlefield”—earned their nicknames by daring to enter battlefields to aid wounded soldiers, forever changing the standards of medicine. Modern-day medical heroines such as Bonnie Simpson Mason, who harnessed the challenges of her chronic illness and founded an organization to introduce women and minorities to orthopedic surgery, and Kathy Magliato, who jumped the hurdles to become a talented surgeon in the male-dominated arena of heart transplants, will inspire any young reader interested in the art, science, and lifechanging applications of medicine. Lovers of adventure will follow Mary Carson Breckinridge, the “nurse on horseback” who delivered babies in the Appalachian Mountains and believed that everyone, including our poorest and most vulnerable citizens, deserve good health care, and Jerri Nielsen, the doctor stationed in Antarctica who, cut off from help, had to bravely treat her own breast cancer. These and 15 other daring women inspire with their courage, persistence, and belief in the power of both science and compassion.

Packed with photos and informative sidebars and including source notes and a bibliography, Bold Women of Medicine is an invaluable addition to any student’s or aspiring doctor or nurse’s bookshelf.

 

 

spinningSpinning by Tillie Walden (ISBN-13: 9781626729407 Publisher: First Second Publication date: 09/12/2017)

Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden’s powerful graphic memoir captures what it’s like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.

It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.

Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.

She was good. She won. And she hated it.

For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden’s life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she’d outgrown her passion—and she finally needed to find her own voice.

 

 

kung fuKung Fu High School: A Novel by Ryan Gattis (ISBN-13: 9780374182267 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publication date: 09/19/2017)

High school is brutal, but Jen B. has learned to pick her battles. Except the first one—that one is mandatory. At the Good Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King High School, aka “Kung Fu,” everyone gets beaten to a pulp in their first week. Getting “kicked in” helps Ridley, the drug kingpin who runs the school and everyone in it, maintain order. He’s the reason that 99.5 percent of the students know some form of martial art, and why they suit up in body armor and blades before class.

Jen’s life is savage but simple until the day her cousin Jimmy, a world-famous kung fu champion, shows up. Everyone at Kung Fu wants a piece of him, especially Ridley, but Jimmy’s made a promise never to fight again—a promise that sends the whole school hurtling toward a colossal clash, ending in an epic bloody showdown.

Ryan Gattis’s dystopian satire, Kung Fu High School, is a cult classic in the making—a darkly comic, gleefully graphic, barbaric opera about loyalty, survival, and the horrors of high school, which earned comparison with the works of such icons as Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Price, and Anthony Burgess.

 

 

robotsSecret Coders: Robots & Repeats by Gene Luen Yang, Mike Holmes (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781626726062 Publisher: First Second Publication date: 10/03/2017 Series: Secret Coders Series #4)

Dr. One-Zero has added a new class to Stately Academy’s curriculum. But in “Advanced Chemistry,” they only teach one lesson: how to make Green Pop! While their classmates are manufacturing this dangerous soda, the Coders uncover a clue that may lead them to Hopper’s missing dad. Is it time to use Professor Bee’s most powerful weapon: the Turtle of Light?

From graphic novel superstar (and former computer-programming teacher) Gene Luen Yang, comes Robots & Repeats, the fourth volume of Secret Coders. This wildly entertaining series combines logic puzzles and basic coding instruction with a page-turning mystery plot!

 

 

cast noCast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky, Anissa Espinosa (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781596438774 Publisher: First Second Publication date: 10/10/2017)

Greg has lived in Lancaster his whole life. The town’s always had its quirks, and being born without a shadow means he’s counted among them. When Greg discovers an old mansion in the woods just outside of town, he didn’t expect to meet a smart, beautiful, funny, and…very dead teenaged girl named Eleanor.

Yeah. He’s in love with a ghost.

And before he knows what’s happening, Greg finds himself at the wrong end of a history lesson when the town’s past, and his own, threaten to pull the two of them apart permanently!

From acclaimed comics writer Nick Tapalansky and phenomenal newcomer artist Anissa Espinosa, Cast No Shadow is a teen romance with humor and heart.

 

 

vanillaVanilla by Billy Merrell (ISBN-13: 9781338100921 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 10/10/2017)

Vanilla and Hunter have been dating since seventh grade.
They came out together,
navigated middle school together,
and became that couple in high school that everyone always sees as a couple.

There are complications and confusions, for sure.
But most of all,
they love each other.

As high school goes, though,
and as their relationship deepens,
some cracks begin to show.

Hunter thinks they should be having sex.
Vanilla isn’t so sure.

Hunter doesn’t mind hanging out with loud, obnoxious friends.
Vanilla would rather avoid them.

If they’re becoming different people,
can they be the same couple?

Falling in love is hard.
Staying in love is harder.

 

 

a very veryA Very, Very Bad Thing by Jeffery Self (ISBN-13: 9781338118407 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 10/31/2017)

Marley doesn’t just want to be labeled The Gay Kid, but he doesn’t have much else going on. He doesn’t have any hobbies. Or interests. He’s the only kid he knows without a passion . . . until Christopher comes to town. He’s smart, cute, gay, and . . . the son of the country’s most famous, most bigoted television evangelist.

Marley and Christopher immediately spark — and become inseparable. For a month, it’s heaven. Then Christopher’s parents send him to a Pray Away the Gay program, which leads to even worse things. Hurt and outraged, Marley tells a very big lie — and then has to navigate its repercussions.

 

 

adamThe Temptation of Adam: A Novel by Dave Connis (ISBN-13: 9781510707306 Publisher: Sky Pony Press Publication date: 11/07/2017)

Adam Hawthorne is fine.

Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.

But Adam is fine.

When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.

Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.

 

 

the oceanThe Ocean in My Ears by Meagan Macvie (ISBN-13: 9781932010947 Publisher: Ooligan Press Publication date: 11/07/2017)

Meri Miller lives in Soldotna, Alaska. Never heard of it? That’s because in Slow dotna the most riveting activities for a teenager are salmon fishing and grabbing a Big Gulp at the local 7-Eleven. More than anything, Meri wants to hop in her VW Bug and head somewhere exciting, like New York or L.A. or any city where going to the theater doesn’t only mean the movies. Everything is so scripted here—don’t have too much fun, date this guy because he’s older and popular, stay put because that’s what everyone else does.

But when her senior year should be all boys, SAT prep, and prom drama, Meri feels more and more distance between herself and the people she loves. Her grandma dies, her brother gets hurt, and even her best friend checks out to spend more time with some guy. As she struggles with family, grief, friends, and hormones, Meri must decide if she really is ready for the world beyond her backyard.

Meagan Macvie’s debut novel, The Ocean in My Ears , raises questions of love, purpose, and the power to choose your own future even when your future’s the thing that scares you the most.

 

 

rules rainRules of Rain by Leah Scheier (ISBN-13: 9781492654261 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 12/01/2017)

After a reckless night, the one person Rain has spent her life protecting may be the only one who can save her

Rain has taken care of Ethan all their lives. Before she even knew what autism meant, she was her twin brother’s connection to the world around him. Each day with Ethan is unvarying and predictable, until one night when her world is turned upside down by a mistake she can’t take back. As her new romance with her longtime crush and her carefully constructed life begin to unravel, Rain discovers that the fragile brother she’s always protected has grown into a young man who no longer needs her. And, for the first time, she discovers just how much she needs him…

 

 

fenwayFenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks by Victoria J. Coe (ISBN-13: 9781524737832 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/02/2018 Series: Fenway and Hattie Series #3)

Fenway’s dog’s-eye-view of the world is as enthusiastic as ever, but his favorite short human is not acting the way he expects—and he doesn’t like it one bit!

Fenway’s life is pretty great, except for the strange stripey chipmunks that have suddenly appeared in the Dog Park behind his house. He’s determined to catch them, but one of their hiding places contains some stinging insects. Ouch! Fenway thinks he can take care of this injury himself, but his humans don’t let him. They take him to the Place of Fear and then Hattie doesn’t even help him take off the Cone of Doom!

Fenway never would have expected Hattie to do these things to him. Doesn’t she love him anymore? But even though his family is acting weird, Fenway is determined do whatever it takes to make them all happy again.

 

 

hamster princessWhiskerella (Hamster Princess Series #5) by Ursula Vernon (ISBN-13: 9780399186554 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/23/2018 Series: Hamster Princess Series #5)

A funny, feminist twist on the Cinderella fairy tale for fans of fractured fairy tales

Princess Harriet Hamsterbone is not the kind of princess who enjoys fancy dresses or extravagant parties. Cliff-diving, fractions, and whacking people with swords are more her thing. So when she’s forced to attend a boring ball in honor of a visiting ambassador, Harriet is less than thrilled—until a bewitchingly beautiful stranger arrives. Who is she? And where did she come from? The mystery leads to a not-so-wicked stepsister, an incontinent lizard, and a fairy’s spell that’s really more of a curse. Luckily, Harriet knows a thing or two about curses…

Smart, funny, and filled with swashbuckling adventure, book five in the critically acclaimed Hamster Princess series is a hilariously re-told fairy tale for the modern age.

 

 

the hazel woodThe Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (ISBN-13: 9781250147905 Publisher: Flatiron Books Publication date: 01/30/2018)

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away—by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began—and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

 

 

reignReign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen (ISBN-13: 9781681191119 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/30/2018)

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for an end to the violence that has claimed so many of their loved ones. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bone Lands, a country where magic is outlawed and the Elementae–those that can control earth, air, fire and water–are traitors, subject to torture . . . or worse.

Before she is even crowned, Shalia discovers that she can bend the earth to her will. Trapped between her husband’s irrational hatred of the Elementae and a dangerous rebellion led by her own brother, Shalia must harness her power and make an impossible choice: save her family, save the Elementae, or save herself.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Fall 2017 Showcase and Giveaway

tltbutton7Beyond the people I work with and the people this blog has led me to get to know, by far the best aspect of blogging for TLT is the constant influx of books. 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, 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.

 

 

HMH fall 17Today I’m sharing with you titles from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Fall 2017 list. All annotations are from the publisher. I’m also doing a giveaway for a few of these books. Enter via the Rafflecopter or by retweeting this post on Twitter (I’m @CiteSomething) between now and June 4th. I’ll give away 8 books, one book to each of 8 winners (4 through Rafflecopter and 4 from Twitter). Titles will be randomly selected. U.S. only!

 

 

 

lights cameraLights, Camera, Cook! by Charise Mericle Harper, Aurelie Blard-Quintard (Illustrator) (07/18/2017)

A zesty series for fans of MasterChef Jr. and Kids Cook-off! It’s “lights, camera, cook!” for four tween contestants—energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver—who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition.
What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on- and off-camera? Which junior chef will have the grit—and maybe the grits—to make it through each challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?
Bonus: Includes real cooking techniques for the aspiring young chef!

 

 

 

gameGame Change by Joseph Monninger (09/12/2017)

Seventeen-year-old Zeb Holloway is happy to work in his uncle’s auto repair shop and cruise through school without much effort. He’s a quarterback on his high school’s undefeated football team, but he never plays. Why would he when T.T. Munroe—a walking, talking highlight real— is around? That is, until T.T’s injured a week before the state championships.

Now Zeb is starting. As he assumes the role of QB and team leader, the entire town is watching him. And when a college recruiter says Zeb could have a future beyond his small New Hampshire town, he realizes there’s a bigger life out there for him . . . if he can play his heart out.

 

 

hangingThe Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook (10/03/2017)

Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late.

 

 

 

 

ghosts ofGhosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford (10/03/2017)

Welcome back to the irresistible world of Greenglass House where thirteen-year-old Milo is, once again, spending the winter holidays stuck in a house full of strange guests who are not what they seem. There are fresh clues to uncover as friends old and new join in his search for a mysterious map and a famous smuggler’s lost haul.

This exciting sequel to a beloved book that was praised in a starred review as “an enchanting, empowering read” is sure to thrill both fans and newcomers. Like its predecessor, it’s a smart, suspenseful tale that offers ghosts, friendships, and a cast of unforgettable characters, all wrapped up in a cozy mystery.

 

 

 

sledSled Dog School by Terry Lynn Johnson (10/03/2017)

Eleven-year-old Matt is struggling in school and he has to set up his own business to save his failing math grade. But what is he even good at? The only thing he truly loves is his team of dogs, and so Matt’s Sled Dog School is born. Teaching dogsledding should be easy, right?

But people, just like dogs, can be unpredictable. And sometimes the bravest thing a person can do is admit they need help. Like Terry Lynn Johnson’s popular Ice Dogs, Sled Dog School is about overcoming adversity, finding your strengths, and your friends, and following your passions.

 

 

 

book of liesThe Book of Lies by Teri Terry (10/10/2017)

In this suspenseful, gripping novel, teen twin girls raised separately meet for the first time at their mother’s funeral. Quinn has been trained to never tell a lie. Piper is a practiced liar. Narrated in both voices, the story of their quest to learn truths that have been concealed from them is shadowed by a dark spell that beckons them to run at night with a pack of murdering ghost hounds. Suspense, menace, mystery, witchcraft, family secrets, mistaken identity, and romance are interwoven in a brilliantly written page-turner that will grab and thrill teen readers.

 

 

 

 

tentacleTentacle and Wing by Sarah Porter (10/10/2017)

Twelve-year-old Ada is a Chimera, born with human and animal DNA thanks to a genetic experiment gone wrong. Because being a “kime” is believed to be contagious, she has kept her condition—complete with infrared vision—hidden. But a surprise test outs her, and Ada is shipped off to a quarantined school for kimes.

There Ada meets kids of many different shapes, stripes, and appendages, such as a girl with dragonfly wings and a seal-boy. As she adjusts to her new life, Ada senses that the facility is keeping a secret that could upend everything the world knows about Chimeras. But will someone put a stop to her efforts to uncover the truth?

 

 

 

i neverI Never by Laura Hopper (11/07/2017)

Janey King’s priorities used to be clear: track, school, friends, and family. But when seventeen-year-old Janey learns that her seemingly happy parents are getting divorced, her world starts to shift. Back at school, Luke Hallstrom, an adorable senior, pursues Janey, and she realizes that she has two new priorities to consider: love and sex.

Inspired by Judy Blume’s classic Forever, I Never features a perfect, delicious, almost-to-good-to-be-true high school relationship . . . and it doesn’t shy away from the details. Destined to be passed from teen to teen, this is a young adult debut that will get readers talking.

 

 

 

retributionRetribution Rails by Erin Bowman (11/07/2017)

REDEMPTION IS NEVER FREE
When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang  because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.

 

 

truTru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale by G. Neri (11/07/2017)

Young Truman Capote thought life in New York City was going to be perfect, but things didn’t work out as planned. In fact, Tru is downright miserable. So he decides to run away to Monroeville, Alabama, and the only friend he’s ever had, Nelle Harper Lee. But things don’t go well there, either. Bad things seem to happen wherever he goes. The only explanation: he must be cursed.

Christmas is coming, and Tru’s only wish is to be happy. But it’ll take a miracle for that to come true. Luckily, a special feast brings the miracle he’s hoping for. Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale is based on the real life friendship of Truman Capote and Harper Lee.

 

 

victoriaVictoria: Portrait of a Queen by Catherine Reef (11/07/2017)

Catherine Reef brings history vividly to life in this sumptuously illustrated account of a confident, strong-minded, and influential woman.

Victoria woke one morning at the age of eighteen to discover that her uncle had died and she was now queen. She went on to rule for sixty-three years, with an influence so far-reaching that the decades of her reign now bear her name—the Victorian period. Victoria is filled with the exciting comings and goings of royal life: intrigue and innuendo, scheming advisors, and assassination attempts, not to mention plenty of passion and discord. Includes bibliography, notes, British royal family tree, index.

 

 

lilyLily’s Mountain by Hannah Moderow (11/14/2017)

Lily refuses to believe what everyone else accepts to be true: that her father has died while climbing Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Lily has grown up hiking in the Alaskan wilderness with her dad. He’s an expert climber. There’s no way he would let something like this happen. So instead of grieving, Lily decides to rescue him. Her plan takes her to Denali and on a journey that tests her physically and emotionally.

In this powerful debut, Hannah Moderow has written an authentic Alaskan adventure that crosses terrain both beautiful and haunting—and ultimately shows the bond of family and the wonder of wild places.

 

 

 

monsterMonster Nanny by Tuutikki Tolonen, Pasi Pitkanen (Illustrator), Annira Silver (Translator) (11/14/2017)

The Hellman children must make do with a nanny while their mother is away at a spa. The only problem? Their nanny is a monster.

Grah is hairy, dusty, and doesn’t talk. When the siblings discover that other neighborhood kids have been left with similar creatures, they start to wonder where the monsters came from. With the parents away, the kids work together (between bickering) to figure out the mystery of the monsters.
Tolonen seamlessly intertwines contemporary life with a world full of strange creatures. Monster Nanny is at once a refreshing change of pace and a return to timeless adventure.

 

 

ever theEver the Brave (Clash of Kingdoms #2) by Erin Summerill (12/05/2017)

Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she’d like to, and now he’s insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.

The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart.

 

 

 

love lettersThe Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle (12/26/2017)

When Lily Michaels-Ryan ditches her ADHD meds and lands in detention with Abelard, who has Asperger’s, she’s intrigued—Abelard seems thirty seconds behind, while she feels thirty seconds ahead. It doesn’t hurt that he’s brilliant and beautiful.

When Abelard posts a quote from The Letters of Abelard and Heloise online, their mutual affinity for ancient love letters connects them. The two fall for each other. Hard. But is it enough to bridge their differences in person?

This hilarious, heartbreaking story of human connection between two neurodivergent teens creates characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading.

 

 

 

avalancheAvalanche! (Survivor Diaries) by Terry Lynn Johnson (Author), Jani Orban (Illustrator) (01/02/2018)

A high-stakes adventure series perfect for fans of the I Survived series and Hatchet. Twelve-year-old twins Ashley and Ryan are skiing with their parents in Wyoming’s Grand Teton Mountains where there is a ground-shaking rumble. Unstable snow rushes downhill and buries them in icy white. It will take all of their knowledge and grit to survive.

With seventeen years of hands-on experience and training in remote areas,  survival expert Terry Lynn Johnson (Ice Dogs; Sled Dog School) creates on-the-edge-of-your-seat storytelling featuring the real skills that kids need to survive a disaster. This page-turner with illustrations includes survival tips from the National Avalanche Center and U.S. Forest Service. You could have a better chance of surviving a real-life avalanche after reading this book!
Stay calm. Stay smart. Survive. 

 

 

few redA Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield (01/02/2018)

On a hot day in July 1919, three black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the “white” beach. An angry white man began throwing stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook the city of Chicago to its foundations. This mesmerizing narrative draws on contemporary accounts as it traces the roots of the explosion that had been building for decades in race relations, politics, business, and clashes of culture. Archival photos and prints, source notes, bibliography, index.

 

 

 

sky fullA Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson (01/02/2018)

After the murder of Emmett Till, thirteen-year-old Rose is struggling with her decision to stay in Mississippi. Torn between the opinions of Shorty, a boy who wants to meet violence with violence, and Hallelujah, her best friend who believes in the power of peaceful protests, Rose is scared of the mounting racial tension and is starting to lose hope. But when Rose helps Aunt Ruthie start her own business, she begins to see how she can make a difference in her community. Life might be easier in the North, but Mississippi is home and that’s worth fighting for. Mid-Century Mississippi comes alive in this sequel to Midnight Without a Moon.

 

 

 

 

atariPlaying Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy (02/06/2018)

At the start of 1991, eleven-year-old Ali Fadhil was consumed by his love for soccer, video games, and American television shows. Then, on January 17, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein went to war with thirty-four nations lead by the United States.

Over the next forty-three days, Ali and his family survived bombings, food shortages, and constant fear. Ali and his brothers played soccer on the abandoned streets of their Basra neighborhood, wondering when or if their medic father would return from the war front. Cinematic, accessible, and timely, this is the story of one ordinary kid’s view of life during war.

 

 

 

your oneYour One & Only by Adrianne Finlay (02/06/2018)

Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?

While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

 

 

 

calculusThe Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb (02/27/2018)

A poignant and empowering teen novel of grief, unrequited love, and finding comfort in one’s own skin.

Aden isn’t looking for love in her senior year. She’s much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike’s and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden’s heart is gone in an instant.

The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom—and her mom’s faith—than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else—even Aden’s brother and her best friend—can see their connection, but does Tate?

Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom’s memory.

 

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA January 2017 and February 2017

It’s time for another roundup for new and forthcoming YA (and sometimes not YA) books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.  The titles I’m including here have LGBTQIA+ main characters as well as secondary characters (in some cases parents), as well as anthologies that include LGBTQIA+ stories. Know of a title I missed in this list? Or know of a forthcoming title that should be on my radar for an upcoming list? Leave a comment or tweet me @CiteSomething. This list covers January 2017 and February 2017 titles. Head over to this link for the previous post (November and December 2016 titles) in this series. All annotations here are via the publishers/Goodreads. I also have a 2017 master list that I’m always working on. I’m happy to send you the list if you’re interested. Tweet at me or email me to request the list. I’m amanda DOT macgregor AT gmail DOT com.

 

January 2017

idaIda by Alison Evans (EBOOK, Publisher: The Five Mile Press Publication date: 01/01/2017)

How do people decide on a path, and find the drive to pursue what they want?

Ida struggles more than other young people to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths.

How can she know, anyway, whether one universe is ultimately better than another? And what if the continual shifting causes her to lose what is most important to her, just as she’s discovering what that is, and she can never find her way back?

Ida is an intelligent, diverse and entertaining novel that explores love, loss and longing, and speaks to the condition of an array of overwhelming, and often illusory, choices.

 

 

flying-lessonsFlying Lessons and Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh (ISBN-13: 9781101934593 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 01/03/2017)

Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.

In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers.

From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.

 

 

cursed-queenThe Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine (ISBN-13: 9781481441933 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date: 01/03/2017 Series: The Imposter Queen #2)

Blood and victory. There is no other way.

The “fresh and fascinating magical world” (School Library Journal) of The Imposter Queen expands in this companion novel that answers the question: who is the real queen of the Kupari?

Ansa has always been a fighter.

As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day the Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she tries to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.

With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

 

 

history-twoHistory is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (ISBN-13: 9781616956929 Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated Publication date: 01/17/2017)

From the New York Times bestselling author of More Happy Than Not comes an explosive examination of grief, mental illness, and the devastating consequences of refusing to let go of the past.

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

SEE MY REVIEW HERE.

 

dreadnoughtDreadnought by April Daniels (ISBN-13: 9781682300688 Publisher: Diversion Publishing Publication date: 01/24/2017 Series: Nemesis Series #1)

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.

She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

 

 

chasingChanging Jamie by Dakota Chase (EBOOK, Publisher: Harmony Ink Press Publication date: 01/24/2017  Originally published 2008)

Jamie doesn’t know how he’d face life without his best friend, Billy, even though they don’t seem to have much in common. Billy is out and proud while Jamie is still in the closet. Billy’s family has plenty of money to keep him outfitted in the latest styles, while Jamie has a jerk of a stepfather and a miserable home life. Billy goes on glamorous dates with sexy older guys, while Jamie is lonely and secretly pining for one of his high school’s star athletes.

Just as he expected, Jamie is lost when Billy starts keeping secrets from him. Jamie’s reached his limit at home, where his stepfather’s abuse is getting worse. At school he’s roped into tutoring his crush, Dylan, in English, but Jamie has no idea how to talk to the hot track runner. Just when he most needs Billy to lean on, Jamie discovers Billy is bug chasing—trying to catch HIV. The knowledge not only destroys their friendship, but forces Jamie to reassess his entire life. It’s up to him to protect Billy, stay on top of things at school, deal with his first relationship with another boy, and put a stop to his stepdad’s mistreatment for good.

 

 

the-youThe You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins (ISBN-13: 9781481442909 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date: 01/24/2017)

How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

SEE MY REVIEW HERE.

 

here-we-areHere We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen (ISBN-13: 9781616205867 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 01/24/2017)

Let’s get the feminist party started!

Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it means to be a twenty-first-century feminist. It’s packed with contributions from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia and politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. All together, the book features more than forty-four pieces and illustrations.

Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.

SEE MY REVIEW HERE.

 

margot-and-meMargot & Me by Juno Dawson (EBOOK, Publisher: Bonnier Publishing Fiction Publication date: 01/26/2017)

Sometimes love has to cross all kinds of barriers . . .

Fliss is on the way to visit her grandmother in Wales – the grandmother who she doesn’t get on with – with her mother who is recuperating from chemotherapy. But her mum is getting better, that’s the main thing, so Fliss can concentrate on being grouchy and not looking forward to meeting her grandmother Margot, who is so cold and always so unforgiving of Fliss’s every mistake . . . But when the six months is up, Fliss consoles herself, she and her mum will go back to London and back to Real Life!

In the meantime Fliss needs to get used to her new school, not upset the scary girls, and just keep her head down (whilst still making sure that everybody knows she is from London, of course). Then Fliss discovers a diary at the back of her bookcase. It is from the 1940s and is set in World War II, and, Fliss realises, is actually Margot’s diary from when she was a young woman during the Blitz. Intrigued, Fliss begins to read. There she discovers a whole new side to Margot, a wartime romance and also Margot’s deepest, most buried secret. And it is then that Fliss discovers something terrible in her own life that she is going to have to come to terms with…

A brilliantly written love story from acclaimed teen writer Juno Dawson

 

 

 

battle-ofThe Battle of Iron Gulch by R. G. Thomas (ISBN-13: 9781635332445 Publisher: Harmony Ink Press Publication date: 01/28/2017 Series: Town of Superstition #3)

Thaddeus Cane has finally reached the foot of Wraith Mountain. He hopes to find his mother—changed into a dragon by the witch Isadora many years ago—and bring her back to Superstition to live with him and his father. With Teofil, his garden gnome boyfriend, and Teofil’s mother, sister, and their new elf friend, Thaddeus discovers that getting to his mother will not be as easy as they’d hoped. They are forced to shelter in the small town of Iron Gulch where Thaddeus’s father takes a job to secure the equipment they need to climb the mountain.

 

 

 

 

starsongStarsong by Annabelle Jay (ISBN-13: 9781635332469 Publisher: Harmony Ink Press Publication date: 01/28/2017 Series: Sun Dragon #3)

The people of Earth thought they’d found refuge from their robot adversaries on the planet Draman, but they’re about to learn they were mistaken.

On the day of the Dramanian Naming Ceremony, the half-human, half-dragon children choose between colored robes representing the two genders recognized by their society. But for some children, the choice isn’t so simple.

Sara Lee, a Dramanian girl, faces a decision: remain as best friend and maid to Princess Nimue, or aid a child who refuses to select a robe. Battling the oppressive gender roles of her world means sacrificing her friendship with Nimue, but Sara Lee takes up the cause. When they’re assaulted by a robot spaceship, Nimue and Sara Lee join forces to seek the aid of the legendary wizard, Merlin. But even Merlin cannot keep them safe, so he sends both women back in time, where they must find Allanah, defeat the creator of the robot army, and find a way to defy the societal expectations determined to keep them from being together in the way they both desire.

 

 

our-ownOur Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (ISBN-13: 9780373211982 Publisher: Harlequin Publication date: 01/31/2017)

Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it’s mostly about sex.

No, it isn’t that kind of theory. Aki already knows she’s bisexual—even if, until now, it’s mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.

Actually, Aki’s theory is that she’s got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she’s got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It’s time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.

So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.

But it’s not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you’re in love? It’s going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.

 

February 2017

 

flag-on-the-playFlag on the Play by Sherrie Henry (EBOOK, Publisher: Harmony Ink Press, Publication date: 02/07/17)

Sixteen-year-old football punter Liam Hartley has come to terms with being gay, but it isn’t something his religious and conservative community will ever accept. He’s isolated in his Midwest town until Cody Williams transfers to his school from Chicago. A proud bisexual young man, Cody shows Liam he isn’t alone—or abnormal—and they soon become more than friends.

Despite the intimate, secret world he shares with Cody, Liam is in pain. The hatred spewed by bigots has an effect on Liam, even if Cody carefully hides their relationship with a pretend girlfriend. Liam is jealous—he doesn’t want to have to share Cody, and he doesn’t want to have to live in shame. Cutting himself seems to be the only way to deal with everything he’s suffering, and things only get worse when Liam and Cody are outed in front of the school. And even if they can make it through the hardship, they know their relationship is destined to end when Cody’s family returns to the city.

Liam can’t go back to facing the hatred and religious judgment by himself. He won’t survive it. Somehow, Liam and Cody must secure a future for both of them, and that means finding a way to stay together.

 

 

at-the-edgeAt the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson (ISBN-13: 9781481449663 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 02/07/2017)

From the author of We Are the Ants and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes the heartbreaking story of a boy who believes the universe is slowly shrinking as things he remembers are being erased from others’ memories.

Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since the second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—and then Tommy vanished.

More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie.

Ozzie doesn’t know how to navigate life without Tommy, and soon he suspects that something else is going on: that the universe is shrinking.

When Ozzie is paired up with new student Calvin on a physics project, he begins to wonder if Calvin could somehow be involved. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to deny the feelings developing between them, even if he still loves Tommy.

But Ozzie knows there isn’t much time left to find Tommy—that once the door closes, it can’t be opened again. And he’s determined to keep it open as long as it takes to get his boyfriend back.

 

 

midnight-chatMidnight Chat by Jo Ramsey (EBOOK, Publisher: Harmony Ink Press, Publication date: 02/07/17)

For the past two years, since meeting in ninth grade, Mira MacDonald and Rob Stevens have been inseparable best friends. Rob’s struggles with depression, and his reliance on Mira, sometimes make the friendship difficult for Mira, but she wants to support Rob. Especially since he’s the victim of severe bullying at school due to his sexuality. Even though Rob isn’t out, he is gay, and the suspicion is enough for some people to torment him.

Now Mira has her first girlfriend, Talia Acevedo, and Rob’s jealousy is becoming even more of a problem. Rob insists that Talia doesn’t like him and is trying to break up their friendship. Mira tries to stay neutral, but it isn’t easy when Rob’s obsession with her escalates—along with his anger as the harassment gets worse.

One night, during one of their typical midnight text sessions, Rob tells Mira he’s decided to take drastic action at school to stop the bullying once and for all. And if she tries to stop him or tells anyone else, she’ll be first on his target list.

 

 

island-of-theIsland of Exiles (The Ryogan Chronicles #1) by Erica Cameron (ISBN-13: 9781633755925 Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC Publication date: 02/14/2017)

In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.

On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.
But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.

To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.

 

 

love-is-loveLove Is Love by Mette Bach (EBOOK, Publisher: Lorimer Publication date: 02/14/2017)

Overweight and unhappy at home, Emmy gets sexually involved with a popular classmate so that people will think that she is worth liking. When she realizes that he is just using her, she decides to leave her home in Winnipeg to stay with her uncle’s family in Vancouver. Emmy has always been intimidated by her perfect cousin Paige and Paige’s cool friends, so she is surprised to find that the coolest of them is transgender. Emmy is instantly attracted to Jude (who used to be Judy), and starts hanging out at the coffee shop where he works. She even performs at the poetry slam Jude hosts there.

Emmy is never sure where she stands with Jude, and can’t believe that such a confident, charismatic guy might actually be interested in her. Both her mother back in Winnipeg and Paige warn her away from Jude, saying that he will just use her and she will get hurt. But it’s not until she almost falls again into the trap of casual sex to boost her self-esteem that Emmy realizes it’s worth it to put your true self out there for real love.

 

 

 

we-are-okayWe Are Okay by Nina LaCour (ISBN-13: 9780525425892 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/14/2017)

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.

 

 

same-loveSame Love by Tony Correia (EBOOK, Publisher: Lorimer Publication date: 02/14/2017)

At seventeen, Adam has suspected for a while that he might be gay. His sketchbook has become full of images of good-looking men, and he isn’t attracted to any of the girls he knows. When he reveals his feelings to his devout parents, they send him to a Christian camp, warning him that there will be no room in their lives for a gay son. The last thing Adam expects is to meet someone he is deeply attracted to; unfortunately, Paul is more committed to his Christian faith than Adam is.

Adam tries to bury his attraction to Paul by concentrating on his art and his new friends Rhonda and Martin. When it becomes clear how unhappy Rhonda and Martin are at Camp Revelation, Adam and Paul are both forced to question what the church tells them about love. But with a whole camp full of people trying to get Adam to change who he is, what kind of chance do Adam and Paul have to find love and a life with each other?

 

 

how-not-toHow Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss (ISBN-13: 9781481421027 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date:02/21/2017)

A pregnant teen and her gin sling loving great-aunt go on the journey of a lifetime in this “absolutely gorgeous, heartfelt, and incredibly enjoyable” (Robin Stevens, author of Murder Most Unladylike) novel that shows what happens when you’re on the brink of losing everything.

Our memories are what make us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them we are nobody.

Hattie’s summer is not going according to plan. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to “find himself” and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with the endless drama surrounding her mother’s wedding.

And she’s also just discovered that she’s pregnant with Reuben’s baby.

Then Gloria—Hattie’s great-aunt who no one even knew existed—comes crashing into her life. Gloria’s fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling, and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery—Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future.

 

 

stormfrontStormfront by John Goode & J.G. Morgan (EBOOK, Publisher: Harmony Ink Press, Publication date: 02/21/17)

Kane was a normal boy with a normal life until he fell into a world of fantasy and magic and discovered normal is not what it used to be. Now with his soul mate Hawk, he must fight to free Hawk’s mother, stop Hawk’s father from destroying Kane’s home, and prevent the Nine Realms from collapsing on each other.

It has all been leading to this. With no time left, Kane and Hawk must race through different worlds to free Titania from the Big Bad Wolf and stop Oberon from destroying Athens and everything Kane holds dear. But all of this is only a prelude to facing the true mastermind behind these plans and the fate she has in store for the Nine Realms. After this, nothing will be the same again.

 

 

10-things10 Things I Can See from Here by Carrie Mac (ISBN-13: 9780399556258 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 02/28/2017)

Perfect for fans of Finding Audrey and Everything, Everything, this is the poignant and uplifting story of Maeve, who is dealing with anxiety while falling in love with a girl who is not afraid of anything.

Think positive.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?

 

 

a-good-ideaA Good Idea by Cristina Moracho (ISBN-13: 9780451476241 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 02/28/2017)

Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl?

Finley and Betty’s close friendship survived Fin’s ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates.

Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones—and herself—at risk.

But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty’s disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined—and infinitely more devastating?

 

 

subject-toSubject to Change by Karen Nesbitt (ISBN-13: 9781459811461 Publisher: Orca Book Publishers Publication date: 02/28/2017)

Declan’s life in small-town Quebec is defined by his parents’ divorce, his older brother’s delinquency and his own lackluster performance at school, which lands him with a tutor he calls Little Miss Perfect. He likes his job at the local ice rink, and he has a couple of good buddies, but his father’s five-year absence is a constant source of pain and anger. When he finds out the truth about his parents’ divorce, he is forced to reconsider everything he has believed about his family and himself.

Take 5: Book Links of Interest for January 2017 (Collection Development Tools)

newyalitIt’s 2017! Which means it’s time for new books. Here is a list of some links to new YA coming out this year, and a couple that focus on this month.

15 of the Best YA Books for January 2017 : Bustle

60 Diverse Books To Look Forward To In 2017 – Bookishness and Tea

22 of Our Most Anticipated Contemporary YAs of 2017 : The B&N Teen Blog

26 of Our Most Anticipated YA Fantasy Novels of 2017 : The B&N Teen Blog

17 2017 YA Books To Have On Your Radar : Amanda MacGregor (Teen Librarian Toolbox)

What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA November and December 2016

It’s time for another roundup for new and forthcoming YA (and sometimes not YA) books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.  The titles I’m including here have LGBTQIA+ main characters as well as secondary characters (in some cases parents). Know of a title I missed in this list? Or know of a forthcoming title that should be on my radar for an upcoming list? Leave a comment or tweet me @CiteSomething. This list covers November 2016 and December 2016 titles. Head over to this link for the previous post (September and October 2016 titles) in this series. All annotations here are via the publishers. I also have a 2017 master list that I’m working on. I tweeted screenshots of each month yesterday and am happy to send you the list if you’re interested. Tweet at me or email me to request the list. I’m amanda DOT macgregor AT gmail DOT com.

 

November 2016

marianMarian by Ella Lyons (ISBN-13: 9781634774215 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Publication date: 11/03/2016)

Life changes for Marian Banner when she leaves the countryside for the big city of Nottingham with her father, Sir Erik the Fortunate, and Marian doesn’t think it’s an improvement. She must trade braids and leggings for jewelry and dresses, and hunting and wandering the woods for dancing and a life at court. But into Marian’s dull new world comes someone exciting—a girl named Robin Hood who is as courageous and dedicated as she is small. Robin is determined to become a knight, and she won’t let her gender stand in her way. The two girls quickly become inseparable.

Their friendship changes as time passes and becomes something much more serious—and more magical. When Marian’s father is killed and the king takes an interest in her, she’ll need Robin to prove she’s the hero she always wanted to be.

 

jess-chunkJess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (ISBN-13: 9780374380069 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publication date: 11/08/2016)

The last time Jess saw her father, she was a boy. Now she’s a high school graduate, soon to be on her way to art school. But first she has some unfinished business with her dad. So she’s driving halfway across the country to his wedding. He happens to be marrying her mom’s ex-best friend. It’s not like Jess wasn’t invited; she was. She just never told anyone she was coming. Surprise!

Luckily, Jess isn’t making this trip alone. Her best friend, Christophe—nicknamed Chunk—is joining her.

Along the way, Jess and Chunk learn a few things about themselves—and each other—which call their feelings about their relationship into question.

(For my review in SLJ of this title, head here.)

 

timekeeperTimekeeper by Tara Sim (ISBN-13: 9781510706187 Publisher: Sky Pony Press Publication date: 11/08/2016)
Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.

 

avengedAvenged by E.E. Cooper (ISBN-13: 9780062293923 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 11/08/2016 Series: Vanished Series , #2)

Avenged is the conclusion to the Vanished duology, an absorbing, psychological suspense story about friendship, deception, jealousy, and love, perfect for fans of the Pretty Little Liars series and We Were Liars.

Everyone believes Beth’s death was an accident, except for Kalah. The girl she loved was stolen from her, and now Kalah’s broken heart wants revenge. In order to crack Brit’s perfect alibi, Kalah pretends to be Brit’s best friend—with the sole mission to destroy her.

Kalah knows that playing Brit’s game is deadly. One wrong move could cost someone her life, including her own…but the more lies Kalah tells, the closer she is to the twisted truth.

 

 

gravityGravity by Juliann Rich (ISBN-13: 9781626394834 Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Publication date: 11/15/2016)

A shot at Olympic gold in ski jumping. It’s a dream that has been the exclusive property of male athletes. Until now.

For seventeen-year-old Ellie Engebretsen, the 2011 decision to include women’s ski jumping in the Olympics is a game changer. She’d love to bring home the gold for her father, a former Olympic competitor whose dreams were blown along with his knees on an ill-timed landing. But can she defy the pull of gravity that draws her to Kate Moreau, her biggest competition and the girl of her dreams?

How can Ellie soar through the air when all she feels like doing is falling hard?

 

 

of-fireOf Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (ISBN-13: 9780062433251 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 11/22/2016)

An atmospheric and romantic debut fantasy perfect for fans of Ash and The Winner’s Curse.

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile kingdoms. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a land where magic is forbidden.

Now Denna has to learn the ways of her new kingdom while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine, sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, they discover there is more to one another than they thought—and soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

 

December 2016

18-months18 Months by Samantha Boyette (ISBN-13: 9781626398047 Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Publication date: 12/13/2016)

Alissa Reeves came out for Hannah Desarno. Hannah is smart, beautiful, and has just gone missing. Worse, she isn’t Alissa’s first girlfriend to disappear. Eighteen months ago, Alissa was caught kissing bad girl Lana Meyers. Too scared to admit her feelings for Lana, Alissa let her friends blame Lana. Weeks later when Lana disappeared, no one in their small town thought much of it until months later when her body was found.

With Hannah gone, Alissa finds herself following clues that will help her discover what happened to both girls, and the truth will change everything.

Immigration in the News and in YA Lit

You can’t escape it if you watch or read the news – everyone is talking about immigration. I grew up in Southern California and now live in Texas, so I have always heard people talking about it. Always. But it’s not something that I have read a lot about in YA literature. It comes up occasionally, but not to the degree that people seem to be talking about it at the present time, and often with very heated and harmful rhetoric. But when we talk about immigration, I can’t help but think – these are MY teens you are talking about.

In June of this year, two Texas valedictorians revealed that they were undocumented, and the reaction to that news quickly became very heated. Undocumented teens are often referred to as “Dreamers”, and we as a country are wrestling with how to approach the issue of dreamers. Dreamers may be granted citizenship through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Over 750, 000 have received DACA since 2012. You can find more information about this here. This is just one of the many controversial discussions that our nation is having regarding the topic of immigration in the media. You can also read about the inspiration for the DREAMERS movement in the book Spare Parts.

Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis

sparepartsPublisher’s Book Description

In 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where they attended an underfunded public high school. No one had ever suggested to Oscar, Cristian, Luis, or Lorenzo that they might amount to much—but two inspiring science teachers had convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot.


And build a robot they did. Their robot wasn’t pretty, especially compared to those of the competition. They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT backed by a $10,000 grant from ExxonMobil. The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts. This was never a level competition—and yet, against all odds . . . they won!


But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story—which became a key inspiration to the DREAMers movement—will go on to include first-generation college graduations, deportation, bean-picking in Mexico, and service in Afghanistan.


Joshua Davis’s Spare Parts is a story about overcoming insurmountable odds and four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country—even as the country tried to kick them out. (FSG 2014)

 

You can find some previous book lists about immigration here:

Ten Young Adult Books that Reflect the US Immigration Experience

YA Novels About Immigration – Latina

But I want to make sure two upcoming titles are on your radar, one of which is one of my favorite books of 2016 (the other I haven’t read yet).

Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

somethinginbetweenPublisher’s Book Description

Who am I? Where do I belong? 

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own. 

This is the one that I haven’t read yet. It comes out in October from Harlequin Teen.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

the sun is also a starPublisher’s Book Description

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Karen’s Thoughts

I love this book so much. The love story is beautiful, though I’m not typically a fan of the falling in love in 24 hours type of story. Yoon’s writing is just engaging and compelling. And if ever there was a book written for our current zeitgeist, this is it. Here are two teens searching for a sense of self and security in a world plagued by various forms of racism and, in the case of Natasha, the uncertainty that comes with being a child of a family on the brink of being deported. The Teen also read this book and it is also one of her favorites of 2016. It’s a thoughtful, moving story.

If books help readers to develop empathy, and I believe that they do, then it is important for those of us who have no idea what it is like to be an undocumented teen or a teen who is worried about losing the only home they have ever known to read books so we can get an idea of what that may be like. It’s easy to look at a number and make broadly sweeping generalizations, but it’s important to remember that behind those numbers are real people. Books help us zoom in, to move past a number and to see the people behind the numbers with focus and clarity. And for those teens who identify as dreamers, they can validate their fears and struggles and give them a voice.

Why I Write What I Write, a guest post by THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU LAUGH author Peter Hoffmeister

laugh1For a brief period of time when I was in middle school, we lived in a trailer park. Technically, my dad’s girlfriend lived in a trailer park and we just spent a lot of time there. If you know anything about trailer parks, you know that there is a lot of stigma attached to living in one. There are not, in fact, a lot of YA books that feature teens that live in trailer parks. For example, both Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols and Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige feature a MC who lives in a trailer park. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline also features a group of people who live in a trailer in a trailer park. THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU LAUGH by Peter Hoffmeister also features a main character that lives in a trailer park.

It’s interesting to me lately how I will read about something and think, you know – there’s not a lot of that in YA. It happened when I read the description of This is the Part Where You Laugh, where it mentions that the main character lives in a trailer park. It happened when I read an article talking about Simone Biles and her family adoption, something that I also have seen a lot of with my teens and yet find is under-represented in YA literature.

The fact that the main character lives in a trailer park isn’t really a significant part of the story, it’s just a fact of Travis’ life: he is economically disadvantaged. Many teens are. In fact I recently read that 1 in 3 workers qualify as the working poor. Slowly, we are beginning to see more of this truth represented in YA literature. I know far fewer teens who have been sent to a private boarding school – which we read about a lot in YA – and far more teens who live in trailer parks. So I’m thankful every time I see a book like this one come across my desk.

But this post is not about trailer parks or being economically disadvantaged in YA literature. This is about author Peter Hoffmeister and why he writes the types of books that he writes. He doesn’t use the words, but he writes for what we sometimes refer to as “reluctant readers“. He writes for readers who want short, quick chapters where a lot of things happen. He writes for readers who are just like him . . .

“First off, I want to write entertaining books. I don’t want to write something long and slow and dull because I don’t enjoy reading long, slow, dull books in which nothing happens. So I enjoy writing the romance scenes (the scenes with Natalie and Travis, for example), the action scenes and the struggles. And as strange as it sounds, I love it when things go wrong, when a book is like real life sometimes and many things go wrong all at once.

That’s not to say that I don’t want to slow down sometimes and allow the characters to have conversations or to be in peaceful environments – sometimes people need a break – but then I want something to happen again. I want my books to be readable, and readable usually means that the reader is sucked in and doesn’t want to put the book down.

People ask about my short chapters, and I guess that’s part of it too. I like reading short chapters and I like writing short chapters. I remember the first time I read Cormac McCarthy’s Child Of God, how every chapter was a page or two and it felt SO good to read. I thought, I want to write like that.

But then there has to be a second level to a book. Or there have to be many levels. The extended metaphors that make books stick with you. There’s a surface level to Creature’s “Pervert’s Guide To Russian Princesses,” those chapter-break scenes in my book that are over-the-top, funny and erotic and ridiculous. But then there are the metaphors behind those scenes. What are each of those scenes really saying?

In that same way, when I’m talking about hands or water, books, cell phones, pets or pills, I’m really saying something else at the same time. There’s more than the literal going on. Maybe my metaphors work and maybe they don’t. But I’m definitely trying to give the reader something to think about. I’m not saying there’s only one way to look at this world. I’m saying open your eyes and ask a lot of questions.” – Peter Hoffmeister

Publisher’s Book Description

Rising sophomore Travis and his best friend, Creature, spend a summer in a Eugene, Oregon, trailer park dealing with cancer, basketball, first love, addiction, gang violence, and a reptilian infestation. – Knopf Books for Young Readers, May 2016

Reviews for THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU LAUGH

“Profane and profound… A raw offbeat novel with an abundance of honesty and heart.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review”In my mind the best storytellers walk that high tight wire between tragedy and comedy with a magician’s grace. The further they take you down the road of comedy, the further you’re willing to follow them down the road of tragedy. Enter Peter Hoffmeister. This Is the Part Where You Laugh is exactly the part where you laugh. And ache. This is a really good book!”—Chris Crutcher”A memorable story of good kids’ transcending rough lives…. What might seem didactic in lesser hands feels realistic and right here. Messages are delivered in natural dialogue, the well-drawn characters speaking from the heart with wisdom derived from firsthand experience.” —Kirkus, starred review”A unique, unforgettable tale that is a must-have for all YA collections.” —School Library Journal, SLJ Popular Pick

So real it hurts. Hoffmeister explores the depths of family and addiction, friendship and first love with the skill of a writer who knows his way around—and I was happy to follow. This story will stick with you.” —David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland

“A courageous novel. Incandescent and unflinching.” —Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King

“Hoffmeister crushes it, weaving seamlessly between aching humor, brilliant dissonance, gritty romance, and chaotic hope. He glosses over nothing. He doesn’t give a single word for free. There is blood and truth on every page.” —Estelle Laure, author of This Raging Light

Meet Our Guest Blogger

Peter Brown Hoffmeister is the author of the critically acclaimed novels This Is The Part Where You Laugh & Graphic The Valley, the memoir The End of Boys, and the forthcoming novel Too Shattered For Mending (Random House, Knopf).

His books have earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, School Library Journal, and The Bulletin.

A former troubled teen, Hoffmeister was expelled from three high schools, lived for a short while in a Greyhound bus station, was remanded to a recovery and parole program, and completed a wilderness experience for troubled teens.

He now runs the Integrated Outdoor Program, serving teens of all backgrounds, taking them into wilderness areas to backpack, climb, spelunk, orienteer, and whitewater raft.