Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Post-It Note Reviews: A brave little garlic, graphic novel biographies, opioid addiction, a new slayer, and more!

Post-it Note Reviews are a great way to display books in your library or classroom, a way to let kids recommend their favorite titles without having to get up in front of everyone and do a book talk, and an easy way to offer a more personal recommendation than just the flap copy offers.

Frequent blog readers may have noticed I’m doing a lot more post-it-style reviews and less longer, individual review posts. It’s been so hard for authors to be able to promote their books, through things like release parties or festivals or other events, and I want to share as many books as I can particularly these days to help them get the exposure they deserve. (Also? Existing in reality all the time is exhausting and frustrating, so more than ever with any free second I have, I’m cracking open a book).

All descriptions from the publishers. Transcriptions of the Post-It notes are below each description. Reading those is your best bet—carpal tunnel has made my handwriting mostly a disaster!

Secrets of Camp Whatever Vol. 1 by Chris Grine (ISBN-13: 9781620108628 Publisher: Oni Press Publication date: 03/30/2021, Ages 9-12)

Perfect for fans of Lumberjanes and Brain Camp, there’s more than mosquitos at Camp Whatever and Willow will need to face truths about herself and her family as summer camp dread goes head to head with the supernatural.

Eleven year-old Willow doesn’t want to go to her dad’s weird old summer camp any more than she wants her family to move to the weird old town where that camp is located. But her family—and fate itself—seem to have plans of their own. Soon Willow finds herself neck-deep in a confounding mystery involving stolen snacks, suspected vampires, and missing campers, all shrouded in the sinister fog that hides a generation of secrets at Camp … Whatever it’s called.

(POST-IT SAYS: I don’t know why anyone would send their kids to this camp, but I’m glad they do! Creepy humans and kind creatures give Willow (who is Deaf) and friends a summer they’ll never forget—well, unless they’re hypnotized to do just that! Good fun.)

Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen (ISBN-13: 9780062995094 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/28/2021, Ages 8-12)

An enchanting, farm-fresh debut graphic novel starring an unusual heroine who is braver than she realizes, for middle grade readers looking for a cozy, adventuresome read in the vein of Witch Boy or Be Prepared.

Garlic feels as though she’s always doing something wrong. At least with her friend Carrot by her side and the kindly Witch Agnes encouraging her, Garlic is happy to just tend her garden, where it’s nice and safe.

But when her village of vegetable folk learns that a bloodthirsty vampire has moved into the nearby castle, they all agree that, in spite of her fear and self-doubt, Garlic is the obvious choice to confront him. And with everyone counting on her, Garlic reluctantly agrees to face the mysterious vampire, hoping she has what it takes.

After all, garlic drives away vampires…right?

(POST-IT SAYS: I’m in love with this book. Anxious little Garlic finds bravery and discovers things aren’t always as bad or scary as we build them up to be. I want to climb in this book and explore the cozy homes and beautiful gardens. A perfect book.)

Food-Related Stories by Gaby Melian, Ashley Lukashevsky (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780593223499 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/18/2022 Series: Pocket Change Collective, Ages 12-17)

“Gaby Melian tells so many stories through her relationship with food—about love, about loss, about hard work, and about finding her passion. The pages are dripping with delicious smells and tastes, and will give you a new way to look at both cooking and what it means to have a plan.” —Molly Birnbaum, editor in chief, America’s Test Kitchen Kids

In this moving, personal account, chef and activist Gaby Melian shares her journey with food and how creating a relationship with food — however simple or complicated — is a form of activism in its own right.

Pocket Change Collective was born out of a need for space. Space to think. Space to connect. Space to be yourself. And this is your invitation to join us. This is a series of small books with big ideas from today’s leading activists and artists.

“Food rescued me so many other times — not only because I sold food to survive. I cook to entertain; I cook to be liked; I cook to be loved.” In this installment, chef and activist Gaby Melian shares her personal journey with food — from growing up in Argentina to her time as a Jersey City street vendor and later, as Bon Appetit‘s test kitchen manager. Powerful and full of heart, here, Melian explores how we can develop a relationship with food that’s healthy, sustainable, and thoughtful.

(POST-IT SAYS: I adore this series. I did want to know more about Melian’s many jobs/undertakings, but was moved by her passion for food as adventure, story, family, love, strength, and more.)

Who Sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott?: Rosa Parks: A Who HQ Graphic Novel by Insha Fitzpatrick, Abelle Hayford (Illustrator), Hanna Schroy (Colorist), Who HQ (ISBN-13: 9780593224465 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/11/2022 Series: Who HQ Graphic Novels, Ages 8-12)

Discover the story behind Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in this compelling graphic novel — written by Oh My Gods! author Insha Fitzpatrick and illustrated by #DrawingWhileBlack organizer Abelle Hayford.

Presenting Who HQ Graphic Novels: an exciting new addition to the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Who Was? series!

From refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger to sparking civil rights protests across America, explore how Rosa Parks’s powerful act earned her the title “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” A story of resistance, strength, and unwavering spirit, this graphic novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the life of the American Civil Rights leader — brought to life by gripping narrative and vivid full-color illustrations that jump off the page.

(POST-IT SAYS: Love that they’re now doing graphic novels! Lots of context here on civil rights, major players (including Claudette Colvin), Jim Crow laws, boycotts, the harassment Parks faced, etc. Extremely informational.)

Who Was the Voice of the People?: Cesar Chavez: A Who HQ Graphic Novel by Terry Blas, Mar Julia (Illustrator), Who HQ (ISBN-13: 9780593224496 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/11/2022 Series: Who HQ Graphic Novels, Ages 8-12)

Discover the story behind Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike in this moving graphic novel — written by award-winning author Terry Blas and illustrated by Ignatz-nominated cartoonist Mar Julia.

Presenting Who HQ Graphic Novels: an exciting new addition to the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Who Was? series!

Follow Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association, as they set out on a difficult 300-mile protest march in support of farm workers’ rights. A story of hope, solidarity, and perseverance, this graphic novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the life of the famous Latino American Civil Rights leader — brought to life by gripping narrative and vivid full-color illustrations that jump off the page.

(POST-IT SAYS: A solid introduction to Chavez, the farm laborer movement, the grapes strike, the National Farm Workers Association, and the long march from Delano to Sacramento. A great look at protest and activism.)

You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow (ISBN-13: 9780525708049 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 09/28/2021, Ages 14-17)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces comes a stunning novel that Vanity Fair calls “impossibly moving” and “suffused with light”. In this raw, deeply personal story, a teenaged girl struggles to find herself amidst the fallout of her brother’s addiction in a town ravaged by the opioid crisis.

For all of Emory’s life she’s been told who she is. In town she’s the rich one—the great-great-granddaughter of the mill’s founder. At school she’s hot Maddie Ward’s younger sister. And at home, she’s the good one, her stoner older brother Joey’s babysitter. Everything was turned on its head, though, when she and Joey were in the car accident that killed Candy MontClaire. The car accident that revealed just how bad Joey’s drug habit was.

Four months later, Emmy’s junior year is starting, Joey is home from rehab, and the entire town of Mill Haven is still reeling from the accident. Everyone’s telling Emmy who she is, but so much has changed, how can she be the same person? Or was she ever that person at all?

Mill Haven wants everyone to live one story, but Emmy’s beginning to see that people are more than they appear. Her brother, who might not be “cured,” the popular guy who lives next door, and most of all, many “ghostie” addicts who haunt the edges of the town. People spend so much time telling her who she is—it might be time to decide for herself.

A journey of one sister, one brother, one family, to finally recognize and love each other for who they are, not who they are supposed to be, You’d Be Home Now is Kathleen Glasgow’s glorious and heartbreaking story about the opioid crisis, and how it touches all of us.

(POST-IT SAYS: A powerful, sad, and deeply compassionate look at addiction. Glasgow writes amazing books and this might be her best yet. A nuanced and affecting exploration of how addiction isn’t a person’s whole story. Just gutting.)

In Every Generation by Kendare Blake (ISBN-13: 9781368075022 Publisher: Disney Press Publication date: 01/04/2022, Ages 12-18)

Return to Sunnydale in a brand-new series by New York Times best-selling author Kendare Blake, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Frankie Rosenberg wasn’t yet alive when her mom, Willow, her aunt Buffy, and the original Scooby Gang destroyed the Hellmouth and saved the world from the First Evil. These days, life in New Sunnydale is blissfully quiet. Frankie is just trying to survive her sophomore year at the rebuilt high school and use her budding magical powers to make the world a better place.

But that world is suddenly plunged into danger when the slayer community is the target of a deadly attack, leaving the future of the line uncertain. Then Frankie discovers she’s sort of freakishly strong. Oh, and there’s something Willow never told her about her true identity.

Cue the opening credits.

Quicker than she can carve a stake, Frankie discovers there’s more to saving the world than witty one-liners and stupid hot demons. now everyone looks to her for answers, but speaking up has never been her strong suit. And it’s hard to be taken seriously when your mom is such a powerful witch she almost ended the world once, while your greatest magic trick is recycling.

Despite the many challenges standing in her way, Frankie must assemble her own bumbling Scooby Gang, get dressed up in Buffy’s (vintage ’90s) clothes, and become a new slayer for a new generation—before whatever came for the rest of the slayers comes for her next.

(POST-IT SAYS: At my house, we watch Buffy and Angel on an endless loop, so of course I loved this new addition to the Scoobies canon. Did I read this with a critical eye? No. Did I love being back in Sunnydale and want more? Yes. Good thing two more books are to come.)

Just Roll with It: (A Graphic Novel) by Veronica Agarwal, Lee Durfey-Lavoie (ISBN-13: 9781984896995 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 12/14/2021 Series: Just Roll with It #1, Ages 8-12)

Starting middle school is hard enough when you don’t know anyone; it’s even harder when you’re shy. A contemporary middle-grade graphic novel for fans of Guts and Real Friends about how dealing with anxiety and OCD can affect everyday life.

As long as Maggie rolls the right number, nothing can go wrong…right?

Maggie just wants to get through her first year of middle school. But between finding the best after-school clubs, trying to make friends, and avoiding the rumored monster on school grounds, she’s having a tough time…so she might need a little help from her twenty-sided dice. But what happens if Maggie rolls the wrong number?

A touching middle-grade graphic novel that explores the complexity of anxiety, OCD, and learning to trust yourself and the world around you.

(POST-IT SAYS: I love that this addresses getting help for mental health health issues (OCD and anxiety), that Maggie’s whole family is so great, and that we see her make new friends and join a club. Really great, complex story and fantastic art. Hope to see a lot more from this pair!)

Just Harriet by Elana K. Arnold (ISBN-13: 9780063092044 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 6-10)

From the award-winning author of A Boy Called Bat comes a new young middle grade series in the tradition of Ramona and Clementine, starring an unforgettable girl named Harriet.

There are a few things you should know about Harriet Wermer:

  • She just finished third grade. 
  • She has a perfect cat named Matzo Ball. 
  • She doesn’t always tell the truth. 
  • She is very happy to be spending summer vacation away from home and her mom and dad and all the wonderful things she had been planning all year.

Okay, maybe that last one isn’t entirely the truth.

Of course, there’s nothing Harriet doesn’t like about Marble Island, the small island off the coast of California where her nanu runs a cozy little bed and breakfast. And nobody doesn’t love Moneypenny, Nanu’s old basset hound. But Harriet doesn’t like the fact that Dad made this decision without even asking her.

When Harriet arrives on Marble Island, however, she discovers that it’s full of surprises, and even a mystery. One that seems to involve her Dad, back when he was a young boy living on Marble Island. One that Harriet is absolutely going to solve. And that’s the truth.

(POST-IT SAYS: I can think of so many kids at work who will love this gentle story with a very spirited main character. If your Judy Moody or Clementine read alouds need an update, try Harriet. Good for 2nd and 3rd grades.)

Just Right Jillian by Nicole D. Collier (ISBN-13: 9780358434610 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 8-12)

In this heartfelt middle-grade novel from debut author Nicole D. Collier, fifth-grader Jillian must learn to speak and break free of her shell to enter her school’s academic competition and keep her promise to her grandmother. 

Fifth-grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won’t speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school’s biggest competition. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self. 

A warm and relatable middle-grade debut novel about family, friendship, and finding the confidence to break free from the crowd and be who you truly are. 

(POST-IT SAYS: Oh, sweet Jillian—I see you. Great story about learning to speak up, to believe in yourself, to not allow yourself to be invisible. Shy and with social anxiety, Jillian works through her fears and makes her own path. Authentic and a real delight.)

Book Mail: Time travel, a hockey romance, the power in being difficult, and more!

You know, it was months and months ago, probably even more than a year ago, that I was first like, “Book mail is about the only good thing going these days, because pandemic.” And guess what? Here we are, almost two entire years into this mess, and I still feel the same way. As a person with an anxiety disorder, my anxiety motor has been spinning so fast for so long that I’m not sure I will know what to do if it ever begins to slow down. So I find comfort in small delights and bits of normalcy. Books showing up here provide both. Thank you, publishers!

My cart of books to attempt to read is overflowing and no matter how many books I send out the door (to my kid’s high school, to my elementary school, through giveaways), just as many reappear soon after. Good problems to have, I know.

Here’s a look at what has arrived here lately. Get out your TBR lists, your order lists, your library card, and be ready to dive into lots of new and interesting books!

All descriptions from the publishers.

Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes (ISBN-13: 9781547607105 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/04/2022, Ages 12-17)

From lauded writer David Valdes, a sharp and funny YA novel that’s Back to the Future with a twist, as a gay teen travels back to his parents’ era to save a closeted classmate’s life.

All Luis Gonzalez wants is to go to prom with his boyfriend, something his “progressive” school still doesn’t allow. Not after what happened with Chaz Wilson. But that was ages ago, when Luis’s parents were in high school; it would never happen today, right? He’s determined to find a way to give his LGBTQ friends the respect they deserve (while also not risking his chance to be prom king, just saying…).

When a hit on the head knocks him back in time to 1985 and he meets the doomed young Chaz himself, Luis concocts a new plan-he’s going to give this guy his first real kiss. Though it turns out a conservative school in the ’80s isn’t the safest place to be a gay kid. Especially with homophobes running the campus, including Gordo (aka Luis’s estranged father). Luis is in over his head, trying not to make things worse-and hoping he makes it back to present day at all.

In a story that’s fresh, intersectional, and wickedly funny, David Valdes introduces a big-mouthed, big-hearted queer character that readers won’t soon forget.

Food-Related Stories by Gaby Melian, Ashley Lukashevsky (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780593223499 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/18/2022 Series: Pocket Change Collective, Ages 12-17)

“Gaby Melian tells so many stories through her relationship with food—about love, about loss, about hard work, and about finding her passion. The pages are dripping with delicious smells and tastes, and will give you a new way to look at both cooking and what it means to have a plan.” —Molly Birnbaum, editor in chief, America’s Test Kitchen Kids

In this moving, personal account, chef and activist Gaby Melian shares her journey with food and how creating a relationship with food — however simple or complicated — is a form of activism in its own right.

Pocket Change Collective was born out of a need for space. Space to think. Space to connect. Space to be yourself. And this is your invitation to join us. This is a series of small books with big ideas from today’s leading activists and artists.

“Food rescued me so many other times — not only because I sold food to survive. I cook to entertain; I cook to be liked; I cook to be loved.” In this installment, chef and activist Gaby Melian shares her personal journey with food — from growing up in Argentina to her time as a Jersey City street vendor and later, as Bon Appetit‘s test kitchen manager. Powerful and full of heart, here, Melian explores how we can develop a relationship with food that’s healthy, sustainable, and thoughtful.

Icebreaker by A. L. Graziadei (ISBN-13: 9781250777119 Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) Publication date: 01/18/2022, Ages 14-18)

A. L. Graziadei’s Icebreaker is an irresistible YA debut about two hockey players fighting to be the best—and the romance that catches them by surprise along the way.

Seventeen-year-old Mickey James III is a college freshman, a brother to five sisters, and a hockey legacy. With a father and a grandfather who have gone down in NHL history, Mickey is almost guaranteed the league’s top draft spot.

The only person standing in his way is Jaysen Caulfield, a contender for the #1 spot and Mickey’s infuriating (and infuriatingly attractive) teammate. When rivalry turns to something more, Mickey will have to decide what he really wants, and what he’s willing to risk for it.

This is a story about falling in love, finding your team (on and off the ice), and choosing your own path.

The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah (ISBN-13: 9781728442884 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 03/01/2022, Ages 12+)

Twin sisters Hassana and Husseina have always shared their lives.

But after a raid on their village in 1892, the twins are torn apart. Taken in different directions, far from their home in rural West Africa, each sister finds freedom and a new start. Hassana settles in in the city of Accra, where she throws herself into working for political and social change. Husseina travels to Salvador, Brazil, where she becomes immersed in faith, worshipping spirits that bridge the motherland and the new world. Separated by an ocean, they forge new families, ward off dangers, and begin to truly know themselves.

As the twins pursue their separate paths, they remain connected through their shared dreams. But will they ever manage to find each other again?

The Color of the Sky Is the Shape of the Heart by Chesil, Takami Nieda (Translator) (ISBN-13: 9781641292290 Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated Publication date: 04/05/2022, Ages 13-17)

Now in translation for the first time, the award-winning debut that broke literary ground in Japan explores diaspora, prejudice, and the complexities of a teen girl’s experience growing up as a Zainichi Korean, reminiscent of Min Jin Lee’s classic Pachinko and Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street.

Seventeen-year-old Ginny Park is about to get expelled from high school—again. Stephanie, the picture book author who took Ginny into her Oregon home after she was kicked out of school in Hawaii, isn’t upset; she only wants to know why. But Ginny has always been in-between. She can’t bring herself to open up to anyone about her past, or about what prompted her to flee her native Japan. Then, Ginny finds a mysterious scrawl among Stephanie’s scraps of paper and storybook drawings that changes everything: The sky is about to fall. Where do you go?

Ginny sets off on the road in search of an answer, with only her journal as a confidante. In witty and brutally honest vignettes, and interspersed with old letters from her expatriated family in North Korea, Ginny recounts her adolescence growing up Zainichi, an ethnic Korean born in Japan, and the incident that forced her to leave years prior. Inspired by her own childhood, author Chesil creates a portrait of a girl who has been fighting alone against barriers of prejudice, nationality, and injustice all her life—and one searching for a place to belong.

Gold Mountain by Betty G. Yee (ISBN-13: 9781728415826 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 04/05/2022, Ages 12+)

Working on the Transcontinental Railroad promises a fortune—for those who survive.

Growing up in 1860s China, Tam Ling Fan has lived a life of comfort. Her father is wealthy enough to provide for his family but unconventional enough to spare Ling Fan from the debilitating foot-binding required of most well-off girls. But Ling Fan’s life is upended when her brother dies of influenza and their father is imprisoned under false accusations. Hoping to earn the money that will secure her father’s release, Ling Fan disguises herself as a boy and takes her brother’s contract to work for the Central Pacific Railroad Company in America.

Life on “the Gold Mountain” is grueling and dangerous. To build the railroad that will connect the west coast to the east, Ling Fan and other Chinese laborers lay track and blast tunnels through the treacherous peaks of the Sierra Nevada, facing cave-ins, avalanches, and blizzards—along with hostility from white Americans.

When someone threatens to expose Ling Fan’s secret, she must take an even greater risk to save what’s left of her family . . . and to escape the Gold Mountain alive.

How to Be a Difficult Bitch: Claim Your Power, Ditch the Haters, and Feel Good Doing It by Halley Bondy, Mary C. Fernandez, Sharon Lynn Pruitt-Young, Zara Hanawalt (ISBN-13: 9781541586758 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 04/05/2022, Ages 14+)

In the past, being a “difficult bitch” was bad. Girls weren’t supposed to call people out for their BS, stand up for themselves, or do their own thing. This book embraces the insult with irreverent humor, encouraging readers to be themselves no matter what, including an exploration of the ways this phrase can be interpreted differently among people of different backgrounds.

Being a powerhouse is a choice. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a code of ethics. It takes work, a thick skin, and perseverance. In this book, you’ll learn the ins and outs of being a Difficult Bitch, from school to friends to body to life.

Attention Hijacked: Using Mindfulness to Reclaim Your Brain from Tech by Erica B. Marcus (ISBN-13: 9781728417196 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 05/03/2022, Ages 13+)

Technology surrounds us every day: a phone alarm wakes us up, an electronic calendar tracks assignment deadlines, GPS directs us to the new dentist’s office, social media keeps us connected to friends and family, and streaming platforms make sure we’re never without something new to binge-watch. Our devices and apps can make life much more convenient and entertaining.

But for years, scientists have warned that too much screen time may have negative effects on our health. With portable devices and remote learning, it is even more difficult to put down electronics. Being intentional about how and when to unplug can help teens and young adults to protect their physical and mental wellbeing in a world where screens and technology are increasingly becoming necessities rather than just conveniences.

Attention Hijacked offers a roadmap for those deciding how they want to deal with technology, exploring the ways technology affects the individual, dispelling common misinformation, and using this knowledge to make personalized decisions. Page Plus links in the book lead to mindfulness and meditation audio clips. Using mindfulness techniques, this book gives readers the power to take charge of their technology use.

The Language of Seabirds by Will Taylor (ISBN-13: 9781338753738 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 07/19/2022, Ages 8-12)

A sweet, tender middle-grade story of two boys finding first love with each other over a seaside summer.

Jeremy is not excited about the prospect of spending the summer with his dad and his uncle in a seaside cabin in Oregon. It’s the first summer after his parents’ divorce, and he hasn’t exactly been seeking alone time with his dad. He doesn’t have a choice, though, so he goes… and on his first day takes a walk on the beach and finds himself intrigued by a boy his age running by. Eventually, he and Runner Boy (Evan) meet — and what starts out as friendship blooms into something neither boy is expecting… and also something both boys have been secretly hoping for.

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala (ISBN-13: 9781338745313 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 08/02/2022, Ages 14-18)

From Ryan La Sala, the wildly popular author of Reverie, comes a twisted and tantalizing horror novel set amidst the bucolic splendor of a secluded summer retreat.

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline’s radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who’d grown tragically distant.

Mars’s genderfluidity means he’s often excluded from the traditions — and expectations — of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister’s old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying — and Mars is certain they’re connected to Caroline’s death.

But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can’t find it soon, it will eat him alive.

Book Mail: Maps, dangerous creatures, horror writers, the Green Book, and more!

There was a time during this pandemic when I would go weeks without getting book mail. Not the case any longer! My cart of books to attempt to read is overflowing and no matter how many books I send out the door (to my kid’s high school, to my elementary school, through giveaways), just as many reappear soon after. Good problems to have, I know.

Here’s a look at what has arrived here lately. Get out your TBR lists, your order lists, your library card, and be ready to dive into lots of new and interesting books!

All descriptions from the publishers.

Prisoners of Geography: Our World Explained in 12 Simple Maps (Illustrated Young Readers Edition) by Tim Marshall, Grace Easton (Illustrator), Jessica Smith (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781615198474
Publisher: The Experiment Publication date: 11/30/2021 Edition description: Illustrated Young Readers Edition, Ages 8-18)

The secret world history written in the mountains, rivers, and seas that shape every country’s politics, economy, and international relations—and our own lives—is revealed in this illustrated young readers edition of Prisoners of Geography, the million-copy international bestseller.

History is a story—and it’s impossible to tell the whole tale without understanding the setting. In this eye-opening illustrated edition of the international bestseller Prisoners of Geography, you’ll learn to spot connections between geography and world affairs in ways you never noticed before.

  • How did the US’s rivers help it become a superpower?
  • Why are harsh, cold and swampy Siberia and the Russian Far East two of that country’s most prized regions?
  • How come Japan prefers to trade along the coasts instead of across its land?
  • What do the Himalayas have to do with war?

With colorful maps that capture every continent and region, plus hundreds of illustrations that illuminate how our surroundings shape us, this one-of-a-kind atlas will inspire curious minds of all ages!

Shirley and Jamila’s Big Fall by Gillian Goerz (ISBN-13: 9780525552888 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 12/14/2021, Ages 8-12)

For fans of Raina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson, this middle grade graphic novel series tells the story of Shirley and Jamila, two girl detectives on a mission to stop their school’s biggest bully once and for all

As Jamila settles into the rhythms of classes and after-school basketball practice, Shirley has a new mystery on her mind. Her old enemy Chuck is up to his usual tricks: He’s been blackmailing kids all over school, and Shirley knows that she and Jamila can put a stop to it.

They hatch a plan: They’ll break into his house late one night and recover all the notes Chuck’s been using to blackmail innocent kids.

But while Shirley and Jamila are at the house, another intruder arrives—an intruder who can help them put a stop to Chuck’s crimes once and for all.

A Curious Collection of Dangerous Creatures: An Illustrated Encyclopedia by Sami Bayly (ISBN-13: 9781615198245 Publisher: The Experiment Publication date: 12/14/2021 Series: Curious Collection of Creatures, Ages 8-14)

From the frightening murder hornet to the fierce wolverine—a visual trove of the most dangerous animals on the planet, from the author of the beloved A Curious Collection of Peculiar Creatures

When you think of dangerous animals, what comes to mind—a great white shark, a rattlesnake? What about the hooded pitohui, with its extremely poisonous feathers, or the coffin ray, which electrocutes its prey? Dangerous animals get a bad rap—and they can be pretty scary!—but that’s precisely what makes them remarkable. A Curious Collection of Dangerous Creatures pairs beautifully detailed illustrations with awesome facts about 60 of Earth’s most lethal animals—some that will surprise you, such as the blue-and-yellow macaw and the common otter. With this encyclopedia in hand, you may well steer clear!

What’s more, these fascinating creatures need our help: Many are endangered, and we can’t ignore them any longer. It’s time to find a fearsome creature to love . . . from a safe distance!

Publisher’s note: A Curious Collection of Dangerous Creatures was previously published in Australia under the title The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals.

Dark Hearts: The World’s Most Famous Horror Writers by Jim Gigliotti, Karl James Mountford (Illustrator), Danielle Vega (Foreword by) (ISBN-13: 9780593222782 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 12/28/2021, Ages 10-17)

Sometimes the truth can be much scarier than fiction. And this collection is no exception. Uncover what fascinated and frightened some of our favorite horror writers of all time.

Who are the people who make our hearts race and our minds spin? Why are they so good at making us fear what goes bump in the night? What are the stories behind the writers who give us goosebumps? Dark Hearts is a collection of fourteen short biographies of the world’s best-known horror writers, including Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, R. L. Stine, Stephen King, Bram Stoker, and others. Their stories are gathered in this beautiful, gift-able book that is perfect for any horror fan.

Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera (ISBN-13: 9780063071636 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 12/28/2021, Ages 14-17)

Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera reunite to continue the story of Arthur and Ben, the boys readers first fell for in the New York Times bestselling rom-com What If It’s Us.

Ben survived freshman year of college, but he’s feeling more stuck than ever. His classes are a slog, his part-time job working with his father is even worse, and his best friend Dylan’s been acting weird for weeks. Ben’s only real bright spot is his writing partner Mario, who’s been giving him a lot of Spanish lessons and even more kisses. Mario’s big Hollywood dreams make Ben start to dream bigger—and the choices he makes now could be the key to reshaping his future. So why can’t he stop thinking about a certain boy from his past?

Arthur is back in New York City for the first time in two years, ready to take the theater world by a storm as the world’s best . . . intern to the assistant of an off-off-Broadway director. Of course, it sucks to be spending the summer apart from his sweet, reliable boyfriend, Mikey, but he knows their relationship is strong enough to weather the distance. Which is why it’s no big deal when his ex-boyfriend Ben stumbles back into the picture. And it’s definitely fine that Ben’s blissfully happy with some mystery boy. First loves are special, but it’s way too late for what-ifs. Right?

Even as the boys try to shake off the past, they keep running into each other in the present. Is this the universe trying to tell them there’s a do-over in their future?

Here’s to Us is sure to be welcomed by fans old and new of these authors and their previous collaboration, What If It’s Us. Critically acclaimed and bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera combine their talents in these smart, funny, heartfelt novels about two very different boys who can’t decide if the universe is pushing them together—or pulling them apart.

Courage: My Story of Persecution by Freshta Tori Jan, Zainab Nasrati (Editor), Zoe Ruiz (Editor), Amanda Uhle (Editor), Dave Eggers (Editor) (ISBN-13: 9781324016670 Publisher: Norton Young Readers Publication date: 01/11/2022 Series: I, Witness, Ages 9-12)

Continuing this propulsive middle grade nonfiction series, a young woman once persecuted by the Taliban shares her journey to becoming a community activist.As a girl and as part of an ethnic minority in Afghanistan, Freshta Tori Jan was persecuted relentlessly. Her family faced kidnappings and daily murder attempts on the bus, on the way to school, in the workplace, and beyond. Freshta’s school was shut down by the Taliban, and many of her friends were murdered and shot. Her journey through poverty, terrorism, and other forms of injustice has enabled her to be a voice for those unable to share their stories and those unable to receive the opportunities she has sought. She believes in empowering youth in order to bring about change and be the leaders of today and tomorrow.

With a voice that is both accessible and engaging, Freshta brings forward a captivating first-person account of strength, resilience, and determination, and delivers compelling narrative nonfiction by young people, for young people.

Who Was the Voice of the People?: Cesar Chavez: A Who HQ Graphic Novel by Terry Blas, Mar Julia (Illustrator), Who HQ (ISBN-13: 9780593224496
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/11/2022 Series: Who HQ Graphic Novels, Ages 8-12)

Discover the story behind Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike in this moving graphic novel — written by award-winning author Terry Blas and illustrated by Ignatz-nominated cartoonist Mar Julia.

Presenting Who HQ Graphic Novels: an exciting new addition to the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Who Was? series!

Follow Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association, as they set out on a difficult 300-mile protest march in support of farm workers’ rights. A story of hope, solidarity, and perseverance, this graphic novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the life of the famous Latino American Civil Rights leader — brought to life by gripping narrative and vivid full-color illustrations that jump off the page.

Who Sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott?: Rosa Parks: A Who HQ Graphic Novel by Insha Fitzpatrick, Abelle Hayford (Illustrator), Hanna Schroy (Colorist), Who HQ (ISBN-13: 9780593224465 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 01/11/2022 Series: Who HQ Graphic Novels, Ages 8-12)

Discover the story behind Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in this compelling graphic novel — written by Oh My Gods! author Insha Fitzpatrick and illustrated by #DrawingWhileBlack organizer Abelle Hayford.

Presenting Who HQ Graphic Novels: an exciting new addition to the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Who Was? series!

From refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger to sparking civil rights protests across America, explore how Rosa Parks’s powerful act earned her the title “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” A story of resistance, strength, and unwavering spirit, this graphic novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the life of the American Civil Rights leader — brought to life by gripping narrative and vivid full-color illustrations that jump off the page.

Game On: 15 Stories of Wins, Losses, and Everything in Between edited by Laura Silverman (ISBN-13: 978-0593352786 Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers Publication date: 01/18/2022, Ages 12-17)

A charming and inclusive YA anthology all about games—from athletic sports to board games to virtual reality—from editor Laura Silverman and an all-star cast of contributors.
 


From the slightly fantastical to the utterly real, light and sweet romance to tales tinged with horror and thrills, Game On is an anthology that spans genre and style. But beneath each story is a loving ode to competition and games perfect for anyone who has ever played a sport or a board game, picked up a video game controller, or rolled a twenty-sided die.

A manhunt game is interrupted by a town disappearing beneath the players’ eyes. A puzzle-filled scavenger hunt emboldens one college freshman to be brave with the boy she’s crushing on. A series of summer nights full of card games leads a boy to fall for a boy who he knows is taken. And a spin the bottle game could end a life-long friendship.

Fifteen stories, and fifteen unforgettable experiences that may inspire readers to start up that Settlers of Catan game again.

Overground Railroad (The Young Adult Adaptation): The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor (ISBN-13: 978-1419749490 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 01/25/2022, Ages 12+)

A young reader’s edition of Candacy Taylor’s acclaimed book about the history of the Green Book, the guide for Black travelers
Overground Railroad chronicles the history of the Green Book, which was published from 1936 to 1966 and was the “Black travel guide to America.” For years, it was dangerous for African Americans to travel in the United States. Because of segregation, Black travelers couldn’t eat, sleep, or even get gas at most white-owned businesses.

The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, department stores, gas stations, recreational destinations, and other businesses that were safe for Black travelers. It was a resourceful and innovative solution to a horrific problem. It took courage to be listed in the Green Book, and the stories from those who took a stand against racial segregation are recorded and celebrated.

This young reader’s edition of Candacy Taylor’s critically acclaimed adult book Overground Railroad includes her own photographs of Green Book sites, as well as archival photographs and interviews with people who owned and used these facilities. The book also includes an author’s note, endnotes, bibliography, timeline, and index.

When the World Turned Upside Down by K. Ibura (ISBN-13: 9781338746266 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 8-12)

What do you do when the world shuts down? A heartwarming story of friendship and overcoming adversity in a time of COVID, When the World Turns Upside Down is about community, giving back, and understanding the world around us through the power of generosity from debut middle grade author K. Ibura.

Nobody expected a tiny little virus to change the whole world in such a big way, especially not Shayla, Liam, Ai, and Ben. But when school closes to keep everyone safe, their lives turn upside down. It is one thing to learn that the outside world isn’t safe, but why does it seem that the virus is causing trouble inside their homes too?

As they each struggle to adjust to life in quarantine, they discover they are not alone: their apartment building is full of people who need their help. Working together, they begin to see that there is power in numbers. When they cooperate, they can ease each other’s challenges and help their neighbors through tough times. It’s a lesson they’ll need when protests explode in the streets. Soon, each friend has to decide what it means to be part of a community—and how much they’re willing to do to make this world safer for everyone.

Set against the onset of COVID, When the World Turned Upside Down navigates issues of race and social justice in a heartwarming story of generosity, friendship, and the power of youth.

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir (ISBN-13: 9780593202340 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/01/2022, Ages 14+)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir comes a brilliant, unforgettable, and heart-wrenching contemporary YA novel about family and forgiveness, love and loss, in a sweeping story that crosses generations and continents.

Lahore, Pakistan. Then.
Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.

Juniper, California. Now.
Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding. 

Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.

When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst. 

From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness—one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.

K-Pop Revolution by Stephan Lee (ISBN-13: 9781338751130 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 04/05/2022, Ages 12-18)

She thought that debuting in a K-Pop band was the finish line, but it was only the beginning. Because now it’s not only Candace’s company judging her—it’s the entire world. How will she find the courage to stand by her beliefs, even when powerful forces are trying to shame and silence her…

In the sequel to K-Pop COnfidential, Candace is a Rookie idol. Her life is suddenly filled with the fans, cameras, and glamor of stardom: She and her boyfriend, YoungBae, are a K-Pop power couple; she’s a walking icon at Brandt Foreign School; and her new girl group, known simply as THE GIRLS, is poised to break records across the industry. With her status as the industry’s K-Pop Warrior, she has all the clout at her disposal to make waves. Right?

Her label, S.A.Y., promises to help make the sweeping changes for the industry to become a more humane and compassionate place for artists. But what will happen when the road to a record-breaking debut isn’t as smooth as they’d planned? When a rival girl group emerges to steal the spotlight, carrying the message of change better than Candace ever could, she’ll have to decide what it’ll cost her and her bandmates to stand up for their beliefs. And as the world turns against her, with online bullies scrutinizing her every word, there’s only so much that one person can take.

From the top of the world to the brink of disaster, Candace is going to have to figure out why the world is out to get her. And she’s not going to be able to do it alone.

How far does one girl need to be pushed to start a K-Pop Revolution?

Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin (ISBN-13: 9781250757296 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 05/24/2022, Ages 14-18)

Protect the girls

Arlee Gold is anxious about spending the summer at the college prep Camp Rockaway—the same camp her mother attended years ago, which her mother insists will help give Arlee a “fresh start” and will “change her life.” Little does Arlee know that, once she steps foot on the manicured grounds, this will prove to be true in horrifying ways.

Even though the girls in her cabin are awesome—and she’s developing a major crush on the girl who sleeps in the bunk above her—the other campers seem to be wary of Arlee, unwilling to talk to her or be near her, which only ramps up her paranoia. When she’s tapped to join a strange secret society, Arlee thinks this will be her shot at fitting in…until her new “sisters” ask her to do the unthinkable, putting her life, and the life of her new crush, in perilous danger.

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez (ISBN-13: 9781250803351 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 05/31/2022, Ages 13-18)

An ancient city plagued by dragons

Eighteen-year-old Zarela Zalvidar is a talented flamenco dancer and daughter of the most famous Dragonador in Hispalia. People come for miles to see him fight in their arena, which will one day be hers. But disaster strikes during one celebratory show, and in the carnage, Zarela’s life changes in an instant.

Aflamenco dancer who must become a dragon hunter to save her family legacy

With the Dragon Guild trying to wrest control of her inheritance from her, Zarela has no choice but to train to become a Dragonador. But when the most talented dragon hunter left in the land — the infuriatingly handsome Arturo Díaz de Montserrat — withholds his help, Zarela cannot take no for an answer. Without him, her world will burn.

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler (ISBN-13: 9781250765840 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 06/07/2022, Ages 13-18)

Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.

The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.

Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.

Dahlia Adler’s Home Field Advantage is a sparkling romance about fighting for what – or who – you truly want.

Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor (ISBN-13: 9781250818416 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 07/26/2022, Ages 14-18)

Serena Kaylor’s Long Story Short is a debut YA rom-com about a homeschooled math genius who finds herself out of her element at a theater camp, where she learns about friendship, love, and how to be herself.

Beatrice Quinn has spent sixteen very serious years studying to get into Oxford University. Homeschooled and a whiz at statistics, Beatrice knows that she belongs at Oxford, where she will finally find people who understand her. She thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. They’ve put a halt to her plans until she can prove she’s able to make friends with people her own age and function in social situations. Their solution: Shakespearean theater camp and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. She has six weeks to show her parents she can pull off the role of “normal” teenager and won’t spend the rest of her life hiding in a library.

Unfortunately, hearts and hormones don’t follow any rules, and there is no textbook for teenage interactions. When she’s adopted by a group of eclectic theater kids, and immediately makes an enemy of the gorgeous popular son of the camp founders, she realizes that relationships are trickier than calculus. As the summer draws to an end, and with Oxford on the line, this girl genius stumbles through illicit parties, double dog dares, and more than your fair share of Shakespeare. But before the final curtain falls, will Beatrice still feel like Oxford alone is enough?

Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy Novel by Amanda Quain (ISBN-13: 9781250817815 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 07/26/2022, Ages 13-18)

Georgiana Darcy gets the Pride & Prejudice retelling she deserves in Amanda Quain’s Accomplished, a sparkling contemporary YA featuring a healthy dose of marching band romance, endless banter, and Charles Bingley as a ripped frat boy.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled after The Incident with Wickham Foster last year – at least if you ask any of her Pemberley Academy classmates. She may have escaped expulsion because of her family name, but she didn’t escape the disappointment of her big brother Fitz, the scorn of the entire school, or, it turns out, Wickham’s influence.

But she’s back for her junior year, and she needs to prove to everyone – Fitz, Wickham, her former friends, and maybe even herself – that she’s more than just an embarrassment to the family name. How hard can it be to become the Perfect Darcy? All she has to do is:

– Rebuild her reputation with the marching band (even if it kills her)
– Forget about Wickham and his lies (no matter how tempting they still are), and
– Distract Fitz Darcy — helicopter-sibling extraordinaire — by getting him to fall in love with his classmate, Lizzie Bennet (this one might be difficult…)

Sure, it’s a complicated plan, but so is being a Darcy. With the help of her fellow bandmate, Avery, matchmaking ideas lifted straight from her favorite fanfics, and a whole lot of pancakes, Georgie is going to see every one of her plans through. But when the weight of being the Perfect Darcy comes crashing down, Georgie will have to find her own way before she loses everything permanently—including the one guy who sees her for who she really is.

Clarion Books Spring and Summer 2022 Showcase

If you’ve read my frequent posts detailing new books, you know the deal: I get lots of book mail. LOTS. There are so many books here. I’m not complaining! I WANT to read all the books that show up here. I will TRY to read them all. At the very, very least, I will share them with you here in the hopes that YOU will go read them!

All of the books I get end up going back out the door in some fashion—to young readers I know, to classroom libraries of friends, to my own school, my kid’s high school, or in giveaways. I can’t read/review every book I get (again, see: WANT, TRY), 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.

Pull out your TBR lists or get ready to add to the orders for books that stock your library or classroom shelves. Today I’m sharing with you forthcoming titles from Clarion Books. All annotations are from the publisher. Scroll to the bottom to see what life is like working in my office at home.

Drew Leclair Gets a Clue by Katryn Bury (ISBN-13: 9780358639602 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 03/01/2022, Ages 8-12)

In this modern take on Harriet the Spy, twelve-year-old Drew uses her true crime expertise to catch the cyberbully in her school—only to discover that family, friendship, and identity are the hardest mysteries to solve.

Drew Leclair knows what it takes to be a great detective. She’s pored over the cases solved by her hero, criminal profiler Lita Miyamoto. She tracked down the graffiti artist at school, and even solved the mystery of her neighbor’s missing rabbit. But when her mother runs off to Hawaii with the school guidance counselor, Drew is shocked. How did she miss all of the clues?

Drew is determined to keep her family life a secret, even from her best friend. But when a cyberbully starts posting embarrassing rumors about other students at school, it’s only a matter of time before Drew’s secret is out.

Armed with her notebooks full of observations about her classmates, Drew knows what she has to do: profile all of the bullies in her grade to find the culprit. But being a detective is more complicated when the suspects can be your friends. Will Drew crack the case if it means losing the people she cares about most?

Wow in the World: Wow in the Wild: The Amazing World of Animals by Mindy Thomas, Guy Raz, Jack Teagle (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780358306894 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 03/01/2022 Series: Wow in the World Series, Ages 8-12)

Based on their #1 kids podcast, Wow in the World, hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz take readers on a hilarious, fact-filled, and highly illustrated journey through the animal kingdom!

Feathers, fins, fur, feet—the animal kingdom is made up of nearly 9 million known species! From flying fish to flightless birds, each living creature has a unique role to play in the life of planet Earth. In this book, Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, hosts of the mega-popular kids’ podcast Wow in the World, will take you on a fact-filled adventure to explore the funniest and most fascinating animals known to humankind.

Sections Include:
Build your own insect!
Play hide and seek, chameleon-style!
Look for six signs you might be a fish!
And much, much more!

Featuring hilarious illustrations and filled with facts, jokes, photos, and quizzes, this book is a call to the wild kids of the world. Join us as we venture onto land and into the sky and sea to discover the WOW of Earth’s creatures, both big and small.

Freddie vs. The Family Curse by Tracy Badua (ISBN-13: 9780358612896 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 05/03/2022, Ages 8-12)

In this thrilling and hilarious middle grade adventure, a young Filipino-American boy must team up with his ancestor to break the curse that’s haunted their family for generations. . . or be trapped in an amulet forever.

Freddie Ruiz is cursed.

While other people may have bad days, Freddie and his family have had bad generations: from bird poop splatting on him during picture day to the many tumbles and trips that earned him the nickname Faceplant Freddie. He’s learned to lay low and keep himself out of trouble—which means no fun, no friends, and definitely no risks.

But when he discovers a family heirloom, a century-old amulet from the Philippines that’s supposed to bring good fortune, Freddie thinks his luck is finally about to change.

He couldn’t be more wrong. Because the spirit of Freddie’s cranky great-granduncle Ramon is trapped in the heirloom, and the evil spirits responsible for his death have returned with a vengeance. Now, Freddie and his cousin, Sharkey, have thirteen days to break the curse, or Freddie will join Ramon for an untimely afterlife in the amulet.

Crumbs by Danie Stirling (ISBN-13: 9780358467793 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 06/07/2022, Ages 12+)

Falling in love just got sweeter in this charming, romantic YA graphic novel from WEBTOON, the #1 digital comic platform. Ray, a young seer struggling with her powers, discovers first love and friendship in her town’s magic bakery.

In a very special town, there’s an even more unusual bakery with a selection of baked treats hand-crafted to help your dreams come true. For Ray, a quiet young woman with special powers of her own, the order is always the same: a hot tea with a delicious side of romance.

When Ray meets Laurie, the kind barista who aspires to be a professional musician, she gets a real taste of love for the first time. But even with a spark of magic, romance isn’t so simple. Both Ray and Laurie are chasing their own dreams and even when Ray starts to see the future, she can’t predict her fate with Laurie.

Based on the beloved webcomic from WEBTOON, this sweet coming-of-age story of friendship and first love comes to life in graphic novel format with gorgeous illustrations and exclusive content.

Sloth Sleuth by Cyndi Marko (ISBN-13: 9780358448938 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 06/07/2022 Series: Sloth Sleuth Series, Ages 8-12)

On an island crawling with crime, everyone’s a suspect. Luckily, its resident sloth can solve crimes in her sleep (and often does!). Meet Paz, the world’s first sloth sleuth. She may be slow . . . but she’s always one step ahead of the bad guys.

Pssst . . . hey, you!

Welcome to Winklefuss. Don’t get too comfortable—this tropical paradise is crawling with criminals. Luckily, Paz, the world’s smartest sloth detective, lives here, too! She can solve the toughest crimes in her sleep (and often does).

A mysterious illness is striking the customers of Cookie’s Diner. Could it be something they ate? (Spoiler alert: It is.)

As she investigates, Paz fills her fanny pack with clues. But who’s the culprit? Is it Mayor McSqueak, who was caught breaking into the diner? Is it Lacie Flamingo, fired after messing up orders? Is it Louie the Shark, who works for the toughest crime boss this side of the Bermuda Triangle (a fish in a bag)? Well, kid, you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

This hilarious graphic novel mystery is perfect for fans of The Bad Guys and Investigators.

Epically Earnest by Molly Horan (ISBN-13: 9780358566137 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 06/21/2022, Ages 12+)

In this delightfully romantic LGBTQ+ comedy-of-errors inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a high school senior works up the courage to ask her long-time crush to prom all while deciding if she should look for her bio family.

Jane Grady’s claim to fame is that she was one first viral internet sensations, dubbed #bagbaby—discovered as a one-year-old in an oversized Gucci bag by her adopted father in a Poughkeepsie train station. Now in her senior year of high school, Jane is questioning whether she wants to look for her bio family due to a loving, but deeply misguided push from her best friend Algie, while also navigating an all-consuming crush on his cousin, the beautiful, way-out-of-her-league Gwen Fairfax.

And while Janey’s never thought of herself as the earnest type, she needs to be honest with her parents, Algie, Gwen, but mostly herself if she wants to make her life truly epic. With a wink toward Oscar Wilde’s beloved play, Epically Earnest explores the complexity of identity, the many forms family can take, and the importance of being . . . yourself.

The Darkening by Sunya Mara (ISBN-13: 9780358561989 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 07/05/2022, Ages 12+)

In this thrilling and epic YA fantasy debut the only hope for a city trapped in the eye of a cursed storm lies with the daughter of failed revolutionaries and a prince terrified of his throne.

Vesper Vale is the daughter of revolutionaries. Failed revolutionaries. When her mother was caught by the queen’s soldiers, they gave her a choice: death by the hangman’s axe, or death by the Storm that surrounds the city and curses anyone it touches. She chose the Storm. And when the queen’s soldiers—led by a paranoid prince—catch up to Vesper’s father after twelve years on the run, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing that fate.

Even arm herself with her father’s book of dangerous experimental magic.

Even infiltrate the prince’s elite squad of soldier-sorcerers.

Even cheat her way into his cold heart.

But when Vesper learns that there’s more to the story of her mother’s death, she’ll have to make a choice if she wants to save her city: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the Storm.

I Rise by Marie Arnold (ISBN-13: 9780358449041 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 08/02/2022, Ages 12+)

A heartbreaking and powerful novel about racism and social justice as fourteen-year-old Ayo has to decide whether to take on her mother’s activist role when her mom is shot by police. As she tries to find answers, Ayo looks to the wisdom of her ancestors and her Harlem community for guidance.

Ayo’s mother founded the biggest civil rights movement to hit New York City in decades. It’s called ‘See Us’ and it tackles police brutality and racial profiling in Harlem. Ayo has spent her entire life being an activist and now, she wants out. She wants to get her first real kiss, have a boyfriend, and just be a normal teen.

When her mom is put into a coma after a riot breaks out between protesters and police, protestors want Ayo to become the face of See Us and fight for justice for her mother who can no longer fight for herself. While she deals with her grief and anger, Ayo must also discover if she has the strength to take over where her mother left off.

This impactful and unforgettable novel takes on the important issues of inequality, systemic racism, police violence, and social justice.

The Antiracist Kid: A Book About Identity, Justice, and Activism by Tiffany Jewell, Nicole Miles (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780358629399 Publisher: Clarion Books Publication date: 08/16/2022, Ages 6-9)

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of This Book is Anti-Racist, Tiffany Jewell, with art by Eisner-nominated illustrator Nicole Miles, The Antiracist Kid is the essential illustrated chapter book guide to antiracism for empowering the young readers in your life!

What is racism? What is antiracism? Why are both important to learn about? In this book, systemic racism and the antiracist tools to fight it are easily accessible to the youngest readers.

In three sections, this must-have guide explains:

– Identity: What it is and how it applies to you
– Justice: What it is, what racism has to do with it, and how to address injustice
– Activism: A how-to with resources to be the best antiracist kid you can be

This book teaches younger children the words, language, and methods to recognize racism and injustice—and what to do when they encounter it at home, at school, and in the media they watch, 

Edward and Charlie don’t like that I often come home from work and sit at my desk doing blog stuff. Shouldn’t all my attention be for dogs?!

Book Mail: Graphic novels, YA, Middle Grade, and more!

Zoinks! This was one day’s book mail!

There was a time during this pandemic when I would go weeks without getting book mail. Not the case any longer! My cart of books to attempt to read is overflowing and no matter how many books I send out the door (to my kid’s high school, to my elementary school, through giveaways), just as many reappear soon after. Good problems to have, I know.

Here’s a look at what has arrived here lately. Get out your TBR lists, your order lists, your library card, and be ready to dive into lots of new and interesting books!

All descriptions from the publishers.

Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore, Gareth Hinds (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780358250470 Publisher: HMH Books Publication date: 11/16/2021, Ages 14-18)

The beloved New York Times best-selling YA fantasy by Kristin Cashore is now available as a graphic novel, with stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Gareth Hinds.

Katsa is a Graceling, one of the rare people born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she lived a life of privilege until the day her ability to kill a man with her bare hands revealed itself during a royal banquet. Now she acts as her uncle’s enforcer, traveling the kingdom and threatening those who dare oppose him.

But everything changes when she meets Po, a foreign prince Graced with combat skills who is searching for the truth about his grandfather’s disappearance. When Katsa agrees to help him, she never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that could destroy them all.

With “gorgeous storytelling” (School Library Journal, starred review) and characters “crafted with meticulous devotion” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Graceling is a beloved classic that has continued to resonate with readers for over a decade.

The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass by Anna Priemaza (ISBN-13: 9781419752599 Publisher: ABRAMS Publication date: 11/16/2021, Ages 12-18)

A mind-bending YA novel about a world where everyone has a bit of magic in them—but some magic is being used to change the world in unspeakable ways

Vera has a nagging feeling that she’s forgetting something. Not her keys or her homework—something bigger. Or someone. When she discovers her best friend Riven is experiencing the same strange feeling, they set out on a mission to uncover what’s going on. Everyone in Vera’s world has a special ability—a little bit of magic that helps them through the day. Perhaps someone’s ability is interfering with their memory? Or is something altering their very reality? Vera and Riven intend to fix it and get back whatever or whomever they’ve lost. But how do you find the truth when you can’t even remember what you’re looking for in the first place? The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass is a cleverly constructed, heartbreaking, and compelling contemporary YA novel with a slight fantasy twist about memory, love, grief, and the invisible bonds that tie us to each other.

Huda F Are You? by Huda Fahmy (ISBN-13: 9780593324318 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 11/23/2021, Ages 12-17)

From the creator of Yes, I’m Hot In This, this cheeky, hilarious, and honest graphic novel asks the question everyone has to figure out for themselves: Who are you?

Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl.

Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can’t rely on her hijab to define her anymore. She has to define herself. So she tries on a bunch of cliques, but she isn’t a hijabi fashionista or a hijabi athlete or a hijabi gamer. She’s not the one who knows everything about her religion or the one all the guys like. She’s miscellaneous, which makes her feel like no one at all. Until she realizes that it’ll take finding out who she isn’t to figure out who she is.

The Golden Hour by Niki Smith (ISBN-13: 9780316540339 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 11/23/2021, Ages 8-12)

From the author of The Deep & Dark Blue comes a tender graphic novel, perfect for our time, that gently explores themes of self-discovery, friendship, healing from tragedy, and hope for a better tomorrow.

Struggling with anxiety after witnessing a harrowing instance of gun violence, Manuel Soto copes through photography, using his cell-phone camera to find anchors that keep him grounded. His days are a lonely, latchkey monotony until he’s teamed with his classmates, Sebastian and Caysha, for a group project.

Sebastian lives on a grass-fed cattle farm outside of town, and Manuel finds solace in the open fields and in the antics of the newborn calf Sebastian is hand-raising. As Manuel aides his new friends in their preparations for the local county fair, he learns to open up, confronts his deepest fears, and even finds first love.

This title will be simultaneously available in hardcover.

Stuntboy, in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds, Raúl the Third (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781534418165 Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books Publication date: 11/30/2021, Ages 7-12)

From Newbery Medal honoree and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a hilarious, hopeful, and action-packed middle grade novel about the greatest young superhero you’ve never heard of, filled with illustrations by Raúl the Third!

Portico Reeves’s superpower is making sure all the other superheroes—like his parents and two best friends—stay super. And safe. Super safe. And he does this all in secret. No one in his civilian life knows he’s actually…Stuntboy!

But his regular Portico identity is pretty cool, too. He lives in the biggest house on the block, maybe in the whole city, which basically makes it a castle. His mom calls where they live an apartment building. But a building with fifty doors just in the hallways is definitely a castle. And behind those fifty doors live a bunch of different people who Stuntboy saves all the time. In fact, he’s the only reason the cat, New Name Every Day, has nine lives.

All this is swell except for Portico’s other secret, his not-so-super secret. His parents are fighting allthe time. They’re trying to hide it by repeatedly telling Portico to go check on a neighbor “in the meantime.” But Portico knows “meantime” means his parents are heading into the Mean Time which means they’re about to get into it, and well, Portico’s superhero responsibility is to save them, too—as soon as he figures out how.

Only, all these secrets give Portico the worry wiggles, the frets, which his mom calls anxiety. Plus, like all superheroes, Portico has an arch-nemesis who is determined to prove that there is nothing super about Portico at all.

Living With Viola by Rosena Fung (ISBN-13: 9781773215488 Publisher: Annick Press, Limited Publication date: 11/30/2021, Ages 9-12)

Heartbreakingly honest and quietly funny, this #ownvoices graphic novel from a debut creator is a refreshingly real exploration of mental health, cultural differences, and the trials of middle school.

Livy is already having trouble fitting in as the new girl at school—and then there’s Viola. Viola is Livy’s anxiety brought to life, a shadowy twin that only Livy can see or hear. Livy tries to push back against Viola’s relentless judgment, but nothing seems to work until she strikes up new friendships at school. Livy hopes that Viola’s days are numbered. But when tensions arise both at home and at school, Viola rears her head stronger than ever. Only when Livy learns how to ask for help and face her anxiety does she finally figure out living with Viola.

Rosena Fung draws on her own early experiences with anxiety and the pressures of growing up as the child of Chinese immigrant parents to craft a charming, deeply personal story that combines the poignancy of Raina Telgemeier’s Guts with the wacky humor of Lumberjanes. Exuberant, colorful art brings Livy’s rich imaginative world—filled with everything from sentient dumplings to flying unicorns—to life on the page.

Fools In Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales by Ashley Herring Blake (Editor), Rebecca Podos (Editor) (ISBN-13: 9780762472345 Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers Publication date: 12/07/2021, Ages 13-18)

Join fifteen bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming authors as they reimagine some of the most popular tropes in the romance genre. 

Fake relationships. Enemies to lovers. Love triangles and best friends, mistaken identities and missed connections. This collection of genre-bending and original stories celebrates how love always finds a way, featuring powerful flora, a superhero and his nemesis, a fantastical sled race through snow-capped mountains, a golf tournament, the wrong ride-share, and even the end of the world. With stories written by Rebecca Barrow, Ashley Herring Blake, Gloria Chao, Mason Deaver, Sara Farizan, Claire Kann, Malinda Lo, Hannah Moskowitz, Natasha Ngan, Rebecca Podos, Lilliam Rivera, Laura Silverman, Amy Spalding, Rebecca Kim Wells, and Julian Winters this collection is sure to sweep you off your feet. 

Louie and Bear in the Land of Anything Goes by Brady Smith (ISBN-13: 9780593224151 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 12/07/2021, Ages 8-12)

Get sucked in – literally – to the Land of Anything Goes with Louie and Bear, in this hilarious graphic novel filled with bizarre new worlds, crazy creatures, and a whole lot of adventure! Perfect for fans of Hilo and Cardboard Kingdom!

Welcome to the Land of Anything Goes! It’s a world filled with wild creatures, absurd chicken-boy hybrids, and oh, did we mention the giant, winged, kid-eating monster called a Cacapoop?

When Louie and his pet hamster get sucked through a portal into a bizarre new land where truly anything can happen, they have no idea the adventure that’s waiting for them. Really, they’re less focused on adventure and more concerned about the fact that Louie has turned into a wrestler, Scooty the hamster has become Bear the giant bear, and they’re now being chased across a purple planet by a terrifying monster! When they find other kids stuck on the planet too, they learn that things are even worse than they feared — dozens of kids are trapped by the dastardly Harry Larry, and it’s up to Louie to save them all. And if that wasn’t worrying enough, Bear can’t even find a single burrito to eat! In order to make it home alive, Louie and Bear will have to embrace their destinies and save the day… or be stranded in the Land of Anything Goes forever.

I Know Your Secret by Daphne Benedis-Grab (ISBN-13: 9781338746334 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 12/07/2021, Ages 8-12)

One of Us is Lying meets Pretty Little Liars for middle-grade readers.

The email arrives Sunday night: Do exactly what I say, when I say it, or I will reveal your secret.

On Monday morning, seventh graders Owen, Gemma, Ally, and Todd, who have nothing in common and barely know each other, must work together and follow the instructions of an anonymous blackmailer. None of them want to go along with the blackmailer’s instructions, but each of them have a secret they must protect at all costs.

Set during a single day of school, the students race against the clock to complete a disquieting set of tasks, with fast-paced chapters detailing each moment of the day interspersed with a later interview-style recording made by the quartet.

I Know Your Secret is an exploration of why we conceal the truth, how far we’ll go to keep it hidden, and the power of being honest.

Nightrender by Jodi Meadows (ISBN-13: 9780823448685 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 01/04/2022, Ages 14-17)

Kingdoms will fall, gods will die, and hearts will be broken in this sprawling new fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jodi Meadows.

In the middle of nothingness is the Island of Salvation. 

Reality bends easily here. Villages disappear. Forests burn forever. Pockets of inconsistent time are everywhere, their boundaries strung with yellow ribbon. And the three kingdoms of Salvation have been at war for a thousand years. 

But the greatest threat is the Malice, an incursion from the demon plane slowly tearing its way through the world’s weakest seams. Seams that—once split—will lead to the total unraveling of night and day, light and dark, life and death. 

Not that the human world takes much interest. Of more concern is the upcoming marriage of Rune Hightower, Prince of Caberwill, and Johanne Fortuin, Princess of Embria—the serpent bride, a girl of famous cunning—which offers a possible end to the ancient conflict. But Rune has noticed the growing darkness, and he is determined to summon mankind’s only defense: Nightrender, the hammer of the gods, an immortal warrior more weapon than girl.

There is only one problem. The last time she was summoned, she slaughtered every royal in Salvation, and no one knows why. Will she save humanity from the Malice… or plunge it deeper into the fires of eternal war?

The Daily Bark: The Puppy Problem by Laura James (ISBN-13: 9781547608805 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 01/11/2022, Ages 7-10)

The first book in a charming new chapter book series about enterprising young pups who start a neighborhood newspaper, for fans of The Secret Life of Pets.

Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human, he doesn’t know WHAT to expect. Certainly not FLOWERS. Or BEES. And he couldn’t have even imagined MUD. Luckily he’s got Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. 

But Jilly has a problem. Her puppies are going to be adopted by new owners who live far away — she’ll never see them again! Gizmo has got a nose for a story, and a great idea to help Jilly. What if the dogs of Puddle started a newspaper to get the word out and keep these pups closer to home? Stop the presses!

Perfect for fans of The Secret Life of Pets, this is the first book in a charming and humorous new chapter book series — featuring full-color illustrations — about the things dogs get up to when their humans aren’t looking.

Ashes of Gold by J. Elle ( ISBN-13: 9781534470705
Publisher: Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Publication date: 01/11/2022 Series: Wings of Ebony, Ages 14-18)

In the heart-pounding conclusion to the Wings of Ebony duology, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicole Yoon calls “bold, inventive, big-hearted and deeply perceptive,” Rue makes her final stand to reclaim her people’s stolen magic.

Rue has no memory of how she ended up locked in a basement prison without her magic or her allies. But she’s a girl from the East Row. And girls from the East Row don’t give up. Girls from the East Row pick themselves back up when they fall. Girls from the East Row break themselves out.

But reuniting with her friends is only half the battle. When she finds them again, Rue makes a vow: she will find a way to return the magic that the Chancellor has stolen from her father’s people. Yet even on Yiyo Peak, Rue is a misfit—with half a foot back in Houston and half a heart that is human as well as god, she’s not sure she’s the right person to lead the fight to reclaim a glorious past. 

When a betrayal sends her into a tailspin, Rue must decide who to trust and how to be the leader that her people deserve…because if she doesn’t, it isn’t just Yiyo that will be destroyed—it will be Rue herself.

Dolphin Girl 2: Eye of the Baloney Storm by Zach Smith (ISBN-13: 9781645950202 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 01/18/2022 Series: Dolphin Girl #2, Ages 8-12)

Attention fans of Lunch Lady and Steven Universe! Middle grade graphic novel superhero-in-training Dolphin Girl is back fending off cold cut storms and learning to deal with a new (super-annoying) rival in the second book in this side-splitting series.

Ever since the evil Sea Cow tried to steal Dolphin Girl and Captain Dugong’s restaurant/hideout in Trouble in Pizza Paradise!, business has been bad. Dolphin Girl attempts to rebrand the restaurant, but everyone who works there hates the new outfits and the new music. Even worse, there’s a new superhero in town—everyone loves, Wonder Friend and they seemingly can do no wrong. On the other hand, Dolphin Girl is getting everything wrong. 

But when Sea Cow returns to cover Midwestern Deerburbia in a blizzard of baloney, Dolphin Girl and Otter Boy have no choice but to team up with the all-too-wonderful Wonder Friend to prevent their town from becoming a big Jimmy John’s sandwich!

With bold, bright, energetic illustration Into the Baloney Storm serves up a graphic novel that fans of Steven Universe will be eager to sink their teeth into.

The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid by Matt Wallace (ISBN-13: 9780063008038 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 01/25/2022, Ages 8-12)

Matt Wallace, author of Bump, presents a personal, humorous, and body-positive middle grade standalone about a fat kid who wants to stop his bullies . . . and enlists the help of the world’s most infamous supervillain. Perfect for fans of Holly Goldberg Sloan, Julie Murphy, and John David Anderson!

Max’s first year of middle school hasn’t been easy. Eighth-grade hotshot Johnny Pro torments Max constantly, for no other reason than Max is fat and an easy target. Max wishes he could fight back, but he doesn’t want to hurt Johnny . . . just make him feel the way Max feels.

In desperation, Max writes to the only person he thinks will understand: imprisoned supervillain Master Plan, a “gentleman of size.” To his surprise, Master Plan wants to help! He suggests a way for Max to get even with Johnny Pro, and change how the other kids at school see them both.

And it works! When Master Plan’s help pays off for Max in ways he couldn’t have imagined, he starts gaining confidence—enough to finally talk to Marina, the girl he likes in class who shares his passion for baking. With Master Plan in his corner, anything seems possible . . . but is there a price to pay for the supervillain’s help?

Just Harriet by Elana K. Arnold (ISBN-13: 9780063092044 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 6-10)

From the award-winning author of A Boy Called Bat comes a new young middle grade series in the tradition of Ramona and Clementine, starring an unforgettable girl named Harriet.

There are a few things you should know about Harriet Wermer:

  • She just finished third grade. 
  • She has a perfect cat named Matzo Ball. 
  • She doesn’t always tell the truth. 
  • She is very happy to be spending summer vacation away from home and her mom and dad and all the wonderful things she had been planning all year.

Okay, maybe that last one isn’t entirely the truth.

Of course, there’s nothing Harriet doesn’t like about Marble Island, the small island off the coast of California where her nanu runs a cozy little bed and breakfast. And nobody doesn’t love Moneypenny, Nanu’s old basset hound. But Harriet doesn’t like the fact that Dad made this decision without even asking her.

When Harriet arrives on Marble Island, however, she discovers that it’s full of surprises, and even a mystery. One that seems to involve her Dad, back when he was a young boy living on Marble Island. One that Harriet is absolutely going to solve. And that’s the truth.

The River Between Hearts by Heather Mateus Sappenfield (ISBN-13: 9781646032068 Publisher: Regal House Publishing Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 9-12)

On an ordinary Monday, Rill Kruse left for third grade with a dad, but when she came home, he’d been stolen. By a river. One year and thirteen days later—on the first morning of summer vacation—Rill still insists he’s trudging home. Her mom has become a practical woman. Her older brother, Eddy, now calls her baby and dork. Gus, second-in-command at Kruse Whitewater Adventures, Rill’s family’s rafting company, has gone from being her dad’s “risk bro” to her mom’s guardian angel. Joyce, company secretary, arm-wrestler, and mechanic, still calls Rill a fingerling, but, after learning what a cheater water is, Rill wishes she’d stop. When Rill’s cat, Clifford, leads her to the family tree fort on the mountainside behind home, she discovers a stowaway, Perla. To help Perla, Rill embarks on an adventure that tests her understanding of the world, of loss, and of what it means to be a friend. In the end, what Rill discovers will nudge her—and all those she loves—toward healing.

Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry (ISBN-13: 9781547606948 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 8-11)

As the true Descendant, I command to open
The door to Chidani; it shall be broken

Magic awaits those who seek the queen’s peace
And all the suffering you feel will cease

Those who open the histories will hear a sound
What was lost has finally been found.

Cameron Battle grew up reading The Book of Chidani, cherishing stories about the fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger. Passed down over generations, the Book is Cameron’s only connection to his parents who disappeared one fateful night, two years ago. 
Ever since, his grandmother has kept the Book locked away, but it calls to Cameron. When he and his best friends Zion and Aliyah decide to open it again, they are magically transported to Chidani. Instead of a land of beauty and wonder, they find a kingdom in extreme danger, as the Queen’s sister seeks to destroy the barrier between worlds. The people of Chidani have been waiting for the last Descendant to return and save them . . . is Cameron ready to be the hero they need? 

Inspired by West African and Igbo history and mythology, this adventurous middle-grade fantasy debut perfect for fans of Aru Shah and Tristan Strong celebrates the triumphs and challenges of a boy finding his truth path to greatness.

No Filter and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado (ISBN-13: 9780823447183 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 14-17)

You should know, right now, that I’m a liar. 

They’re usually little lies. Tiny lies. Baby lies. Not so much lies as lie adjacent

But they’re still lies. 

Twenty one-year-old Max Monroe has it all: beauty, friends, and a glittering life filled with adventure. With tons of followers on Instagram, her picture-perfect existence seems eminently enviable. 

Except it’s all fake. 

Max is actually 16-year-old Kat Sanchez, a quiet and sarcastic teenager living in drab Bakersfield, California. Nothing glamorous in her existence—just sprawl, bad house parties, a crap school year, and the awkwardness of dealing with her best friend Hari’s unrequited love.

But while Kat’s life is far from perfect, she thrives as Max: doling out advice, sharing beautiful photos, networking with famous influencers, even making a real friend in a follower named Elena. The closer Elena and “Max” get—texting, Snapping, and even calling—the more Kat feels she has to keep up the façade. 

But when one of Max’s posts goes ultra-viral and gets back to the very person she’s been stealing photos from, her entire world – real and fake — comes crashing down around her. She has to figure out a way to get herself out of the huge web of lies she’s created without hurting the people she loves. 

But it might already be too late.

Pixels of You by Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota, J.R. Doyle (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781419749575 Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks Publication date: 02/08/2022, Ages 14-18)

A human and human-presenting AI slowly become friends—and maybe more—in this moving YA graphic novel

In a near future, augmentation and AI changed everything and nothing. Indira is a human girl who has been cybernetically augmented after a tragic accident, and Fawn is one of the first human-presenting AI. They have the same internship at a gallery, but neither thinks much of the other’s photography. But after a huge public blowout, their mentor gives them an ultimatum: work together on a project or leave her gallery forever. Grudgingly, the two begin to collaborate, and what comes out of it is astounding and revealing for both of them. Pixels of You is about the slow transformation of a rivalry to a friendship to something more as Indira and Fawn navigate each other, the world around them—and what it means to be an artist and a person.

Wingbearer by Marjorie Liu, Teny Issakhanian (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780062741158 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 03/01/2022, Ages 8-12)

A young girl must stop a threat to her magical world in this epic graphic novel from New York Timesbestselling author Marjorie Liu and remarkable debut illustrator Teny Issakhanian.

Zuli is extraordinary—she just doesn’t realize it yet. Raised by mystical bird spirits in the branches of the Great Tree, she’s never ventured beyond this safe haven. She’s never had to. Until now.

When a sinister force threatens the life-giving magic of the tree, Zuli, along with her guardian owl, Frowly, must get to the root of it. So begins an adventure bigger than anything Zuli could’ve ever imagined—one that will bring her, along with some newfound friends, face-to-face with an ancient dragon, the so-called Witch-Queen, and most surprisingly of all: her true identity.

This captivating middle grade graphic novel, the first of a series, is perfect for fans of the Amulet books and the Wings of Fire series.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee (ISBN-13: 9780358469988 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 03/01/2022, Ages 12-18)

From New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist, Traci Chee, comes a Japanese-influenced fantasy brimming with demons, adventure, and plans gone awry.
 
In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter. But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again. But with her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did.

And They Lived . . . by Steven Salvatore (ISBN-13: 9781547608195 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 03/08/2022, Ages 14-17)

From the author of Can’t Take That Away comes a sex-positive, fairytale-inspired YA novel that celebrates first love and self-acceptance, perfect for fans of What If It’s Us

“My heart didn’t stand a chance. I loved it from once upon a time all the way to its joyfully complexever after.” – New York Times bestselling author Becky Albertalli

Chase Arthur is a budding animator and hopeless romantic obsessed with Disney films and finding his true love, but he’s plagued with the belief that he’s not enough for anyone: he’s recovering from an eating disorder and suffers from body dysmorphia fueled by his father, and can’t quite figure out his gender identity. When Chase starts his freshman year of college, he has to navigate being away from home and missing his sister, finding his squad, and contending with his ex-best friend Leila who is gunning for the same exclusive mentorship. If only he can pull together a short for the freshman animation showcase at the end of the semester.

Then Chase meets Jack Reid, a pragmatic poet who worships words and longs to experience life outside of his sheltered world. But Chase throws everything into question for Jack, who is still discovering his sexual identity, having grown up in close-knit conservative family. Jack internalized a lot of homophobia from his parents and childhood best friend, who unexpectedly visit campus, which threatens to destroy their relationship. Chase will have to learn to love—and be enough for—himself, while discovering what it means to truly live.

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters (ISBN-13: 9780593206478 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 03/15/2022, Ages 12+)

Kacen Callender meets Becky Albertalli in a deliciously geeky best friends-to lovers romance from award-winning author Julian Winters!

School’s out, senior year is over, and Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where—despite his social anxiety—he’ll be left to make friends on his own. Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. The way it should be. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi—Isaac’s old crush—distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan. It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

Worser by Jennifer Ziegler (ISBN-13: 9780823449569 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 03/15/2022, Ages 9-12)

A bullied 12-year-old boy must find a new normal after his mother has a stroke and his life is turned upside down.

William Wyatt Orser, a socially awkward middle schooler, is a wordsmith who, much to his annoyance, acquired the ironically ungrammatical nickname of “Worser” so long ago that few people at school know to call him anything else.

Worser grew up with his mom, a professor of rhetoric and an introvert just like him, in a comfortable routine that involved reading aloud in the evenings, criticizing the grammar of others, ignoring the shabby mess of their house, and suffering the bare minimum of social interactions with others. But recently all that has changed. His mom had a stroke that left her nonverbal, and his Aunt Iris has moved in with her cats, art projects, loud music, and even louder clothes. Home for Worser is no longer a refuge from the unsympathetic world at school that it has been all his life.

Feeling lost, lonely, and overwhelmed, Worser searches for a new sanctuary and ends up finding the Literary Club—a group of kids from school who share his love of words and meet in a used bookstore– something he never dreamed existed outside of his home. Even more surprising to Worser is that the key to making friends is sharing the thing he holds dearest: his Masterwork, the epic word notebook that he has been adding entries to for years. 

But relationships can be precarious, and it is up to Worser to turn the page in his own story to make something that endures so that he is no longer seen as Worser and earns a new nickname, Worder.

The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson ( ISBN-13: 9780358448907 Publisher: HMH Books Publication date: 03/29/2022, Ages 12-18)

A fascinating historical novel about Hilde, a former orphan, who experiences Berlin on the cusp of World War II and discovers her own voice and sexuality and finds a family when she gets a job at a cabaret, by award-winning author Kip Wilson

After her eighteenth birthday, Hilde, a former orphan in 1930s Berlin, goes out into the world to discover her place in it. But finding a job is hard, at least until she stumbles into Café Lila, a vibrant cabaret full of expressive customers—and Rosa, the club’s waitress and performer. As the café and all who work there embrace Hilde, and she embraces them in turn, she discovers her voice and her own blossoming feelings for Rosa. 

But Berlin is in turmoil. Between the elections, protests in the streets, and the beginning seeds of unrest in Café Lila itself, Hilde will have to decide what’s best for her future . . . and what it means to love a place on the cusp of war.

It’s the End of the World and I’m in My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds (ISBN-13: 9781338740226 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 04/05/2022, Ages 8-12)

A hilarious new middle-grade from Justin A. Reynolds that asks: What happens when five unsupervised kids face the apocalypse under outrageously silly circumstances?

Twelve-year-old Eddie Gordon Holloway has concocted his most genius plan ever to avoid chores… especially the dreaded L-A-U-N-D-R-Y. If he can wear all the clothes he owns, he’ll only have to do the laundry once during his school break.

On the day of the highly anticipated Beach Bash, Eddie’s monstrous pile of dirty laundry is found by his mom. And Eddie’s day has just taken a turn for the worst. Now he’s stuck at home by himself, missing the bash, and doing his whole pile of laundry. But mid-cycle, the power goes out!

With his first load of laundry wet and the rest of his stuff still filthy, he sets out to explore the seemingly empty neighborhood in his glow-in-the-dark swim trunks, flip-flops, and a beach towel. He soon meets up with other neighborhood kids: newcomer Xavier (who was mid-haircut and has half his head shaved), Eddie’s former friend Sonia (who has spent her entire break trying to beat a video game and was mid-battle with the final boss), and siblings Trey and Sage (who are dealing with major sibling drama).

As they group up to cover more ground and find out what happened, they realize that their families aren’t coming back anytime soon. And as night falls, the crew realizes that they aren’t just the only people left in the neighborhood, they might be the only people left… anywhere.

A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser (ISBN-13: 9780544876408 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/05/2022, Ages 8-12)

From the New York Times best-selling creator of the Vanderbeekers series comes a triumphant tale of friendship, healing, and the power of believing in ourselves told from the perspective of biracial sixth-graders June and Tyrell, two children living in a homeless shelter. As their friendship grows over a shared love of classical music, June and Tyrell confront a new housing policy that puts homeless families in danger.

It’s June’s first day at Huey House, and as if losing her home weren’t enough, she also can’t bring her cherished viola inside. Before the accident last year, her dad saved tip money for a year to buy her viola, and she’s not about to give it up now. Tyrell has been at Huey House for three years and gives June a glimpse of the good things about living there: friendship, hot meals, and a classical musician next door. Can he and June work together to oppose the government, or will families be forced out of Huey House before they are ready?

Days of Infamy: How a Century of Bigotry Led to Japanese American Internment by Lawrence Goldstone (ISBN-13: 9781338722468 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 06/07/2022, Ages 12-18)

In another unrelenting look at the iniquities of the American justice system, Lawrence Goldstone, acclaimed author of Unpunished MurderStolen Justice, and Separate No More, examines the history of racism against Japanese Americans, exploring the territory of citizenship and touching on fears of non-white immigration to the US — with hauntingly contemporary echoes.

On December 7, 1941 — “a date which will live in infamy” — the Japanese navy launched an attack on the American military bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan, and the US Army officially entered the Second World War.

Three years later, on December 18, 1944, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which enabled the Secretary of War to enforce a mass deportation of more than 100,000 Americans to what government officials themselves called “concentration camps.” None of these citizens had been accused of a real crime. All of them were torn from their homes, jobs, schools, and communities, and deposited in tawdry, makeshift housing behind barbed wire, solely for the crime of being of Japanese descent. President Roosevelt declared this community “alien,” — whether they were citizens or not, native-born or not — accusing them of being potential spies and saboteurs for Japan who deserved to have their Constitutional rights stripped away. In doing so, the president set in motion another date which would live in infamy, the day when the US joined the ranks of those Fascist nations that had forcibly deported innocents solely on the basis of the circumstance of their birth.

In 1944 the US Supreme Court ruled, in Korematsu v. United States, that the forcible deportation and detention of Japanese Americans on the basis of race was a “military necessity.” Today it is widely considered one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of all time. But Korematsu was not an isolated event. In fact, the Court’s racist ruling was the result of a deep-seated anti-Japanese, anti-Asian sentiment running all the way back to the California Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. Starting from this pivotal moment, Constitutional law scholar Lawrence Goldstone will take young readers through the key events of the 19th and 20th centuries leading up to the fundamental injustice of Japanese American internment. Tracing the history of Japanese immigration to America and the growing fear whites had of losing power, Goldstone will raise deeply resonant questions of what makes an American an American, and what it means for the Supreme Court to stand as the “people’s” branch of government.

Post-It Note Reviews: Flying pigs, witches, chronic illness, money management, and more!

Post-it Note Reviews are a great way to display books in your library or classroom, a way to let kids recommend their favorite titles without having to get up in front of everyone and do a book talk, and an easy way to offer a more personal recommendation than just the flap copy offers.

Frequent blog readers may have noticed I’m doing a lot more post-it-style reviews and less longer, individual review posts. Partially this is because my way of coping with the many upsetting pieces of the past year has been to drown myself in reading, so I’m burning through so many more books and want to share them, in some form, here. It’s been so hard for authors to be able to promote their books, through things like release parties or festivals or other events, and I want to share as many books as I can particularly these days to help them get the exposure they deserve.

All descriptions from the publishers. Transcriptions of the Post-It notes are below each description.

Batpig: When Pigs Fly by Rob Harrell (ISBN-13: 9780593354155 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 11/09/2021, Ages 7-10)

Introducing a supremely hilarious graphic novel featuring an unstoppable, super-swine hero who boldly fights for justice . . . in between taking mud baths and eating tasty sandwiches.

Gary Yorkshire was your perfectly average, fuzzy pink pig who loved tasty sandwiches, video games, mud baths, and hanging out with his friends Carl the fish and Brooklyn the bat. Until one day . . . a radioactive bat bite gives him powers he never would have dreamed of! Inspired by his old Crimson Swine comics, Gary decides that he’ll use his powers for good and becomes (drumroll) Batpig! Now he just needs a good zinger of a Batpig slogan, a spandex costume that flatters his rear end . . . and maybe a little advice about how in the world to defeat supervillains?

(POST-IT SAYS: Hand this to kids endlessly rereading the Dog Man series. Lots of wacky hijinks, silly characters, and humor. The big, bright panels of art add a lot of detail and action to an already fast-paced series.)

The Sleepover by Michael Regina (ISBN-13: 9780593117361 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 11/09/2021, Ages 8-12)

Perfect for fans of Stranger Things, this middle grade graphic novel follows a group of kids trying to cheer up their friend after a recent loss with a fun-filled sleepover, but their plans soon take a dark turn when they discover his new nanny may literally be a monster.

When the Russo family returns home from vacation to discover their nanny, Ruby, has unexpectedly passed away, Matthew takes the news the hardest. After weeks of reeling, his three best friends decide to cheer him up with a night of junk food, prank calls, and scary movies. But their plans for a sleepover are jeopardized when Matt’s single mother—unable to take any more time off of work—is forced to hire a new nanny on the fly to watch over Matt and his younger sister, Judy.

Miss Swan, however, is all too happy to have the boys over. And although she seems like the perfect babysitter, letting the kids eat whatever they want and mostly leaving them alone, there’s something about her that Matt doesn’t trust. He thinks she may actually be the witch from local legend—the one who torments children into the night and then eats them. Is he just having a hard time dealing with Ruby’s replacement, as his friends suspect? Has he watched one too many scary movies, as his mom fears? Or are he and his horror-buff friends in for the fright of their lives as they come face-to-face with a real monster?

(POST-IT SAYS: Set in 1993, this is a creepy, horror-inspired graphic novel that actually is all about grief and loss. A satisfyingly lengthy read full of atmospheric art and plenty of action.)

Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear by Trang Nguyen, Jeet Zdung (ISBN-13: 9780593353622 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 8-12)

* “Nguyen’s heartfelt tale is perfect for animal-loving fans of Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan and Rosanne Parry’s A Wolf Called Wander.”—School Library Journal, starred review

A middle grade graphic novel adventure based on a true story, in which a young conservationist overcomes the odds to save and return a sun bear to its natural habitat. 

When endlessly curious and tenacious Chang discovers a bear bile farm near her home in Vietnam, she decides to do everything she can to save wild animals—by becoming a conservationist! After teaching herself survival skills, documenting each rainforest plant and animal she sees in her field notebook, and disproving the critics who think she isn’t old enough or strong enough, Chang is finally accepted as a rescue center volunteer. But her toughest challenge yet comes when she’s tasked with returning Soryathe sun bear she raised from infancyback into the wild. Because despite being a different species, Sorya is Chang’s bestfriend. And letting a friend go is neve reasy . . . even when it’s the right thing to do.

With breathtaking art and STEM facts galore, Chang’s daring story is for any young reader, animal lover, and intrepid explorer!

(POST-IT SAYS: A fascinating and heart-warming story that’s visually unlike most recent graphic novels. Animal fans will love Chang and Sorya’s unique relationship. Beautiful illustrations with so much detail to enjoy, too!)

With Great Power: The Marvelous Stan Lee by Annie Hunter Eriksen, Lee Gatlin (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781645672852 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 10/19/2021, Ages 4-8)

Every superhero has their origin story: a radioactive spider bite turns ordinary teen Peter Parker into Spider-Man, wealthy Tony Stark escapes captivity by building his Iron Man suit, scientist Bruce Banner survives gamma rays only to transform into the Hulk. 

For Stan Lee, it was books of adventure, monsters, and magic that helped him transform from an ordinary boy to a superstar superhero creator. At first, reading these stories was a pathway to a world bigger than his family’s tiny apartment in New York City, but it wasn’t long until Stan was crafting his own stories, creating comics professionally when he was still just a teenager! Still, writing wasn’t exciting when the heroes were always the same: strong, perfect, and boring. Stan had a revolutionary idea. What if anyone—even an ordinary kid—could be a superhero?

Discover more about the life of the Cameo King, known to many for his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how he revolutionized comics with this vibrant introduction bustling with action, humor, and references for fans new and old. ‘Nuff said!

(POST-IT SAYS: I absolutely love the art in this book that’s perfect for young Marvel fans and aspiring comic book creators. A cute, lively love letter to a comics icon and to creativity itself.)

Some Days: A Tale of Love, Ice Cream, and My Mom’s Chronic Illness by Julie A. Stamm, Chamisa Kellogg (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781615198108 Publisher: The Experiment Publication date: 10/26/2021, Ages 2-5)

Wyatt’s mom Rosie has MS, but nothing can stop their adventures, big and small!

Even when Wyatt’s mom isn’t feeling her best, he still thinks she’s a superhero! Rosie and Wyatt go on adventures every day: On sleepy days, they build a cozy pillow fort just for two. On wobbly days, Wyatt gets out Rosie’s magical walking stick and they cast spells on his toys. And on one super-special day, the whole family heads to town for the big “funraiser”!

Warm and uplifting, Some Days is the perfect story to share with your child about life with multiple sclerosis—or any chronic illness. Although some days are fast and some are slow, Rosie and Wyatt fill each one with love, excitement, and fun . . . not to mention ice cream!

(POST-IT SAYS: A valuable look at what it’s like to live with a chronic illness—specifically MS. A loving, factual look at how it affects day-to-day life.)

Make Your Own Money: How Kids Can Earn It, Save It, Spend It, and Dream Big, with Danny Dollar, the King of Cha-Ching by Ty Allan Jackson, Nicole Miles (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781635863710 Publisher: Storey Books Publication date: 10/26/2021, Ages 8-12)

Saving money for something? Then this is the book for you! Danny Dollar, the “King of Cha-Ching,” will teach you to make money, save money, and spend money wisely—and to dream big! Maybe you get an allowance (clean the bathroom anyone?) or have been gifted money (birthday present?) but did you know that you can actually start a business and make your own money? Even as a kid! It’s called being an entrepreneur.

Danny shares tips for starting your own business, like how to write a business plan and raise start-up money (the money you need to get your business going).


Plus, you’ll learn how to open a bank account, create a budget, invest, and donate money. Danny will even introduce you to real life kids who are making their own money—and lots of it. Free yourself from having to ask your parents for money, and start making your own today!

(POST-IT SAYS: With abundant full-color illustrations and a conversational tone, a semi-boring subject jumps to life. A great resource! Filled with facts, tips, and ways to brainstorm. Worksheets encourage business planning and budgeting.)

Lifetime Passes by Terry Blas, Claudia Aguirre (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781419746673 Publisher: Abrams ComicArts – Surely Publication date: 11/23/2021, Ages 12-18)

In this darkly comedic YA graphic novel, a group of teens starts a program to bring senior citizens to a local theme park to take advantage of the unofficial park policy: If someone dies on the property, the rest of their party is given lifetime passes!

Sixteen-year-old Jackie Chavez loves her local amusement park, Kingdom Adventure, maybe more than anything else in the world. The park is all she and her friends Nikki, Daniel, and Berke—although they aren’t always the greatest friends—talk about. Kingdom Adventure is where all Jackie’s best memories are, and it’s where she feels safe and happy. This carries even more weight now that Jackie’s parents have been deported and forced to go back to Mexico, leaving Jackie in the United States with her Tía Gina, who she works with at the Valley Care Living seniors’ home. When Gina tells Jackie that they can’t afford a season pass for next summer, Jackie is crushed. But on her next trip to Kingdom Adventure, she discovers a strictly protectedsecret: If a member of their party dies at the park, the rest of their group gets free lifetime passes.

Jackie and her friends hatch a plot to bring seniors from Valley Care Living to the park using a fake volunteer program, with the hopes that one of the residents will croak during their visit. The ruse quickly gets its first volunteer—a feisty resident named Phyllis.

What starts off as a macabre plan turns into a revelation for Jackie as Phyllis and the other seniors reveal their own complex histories and connections to Kingdom Adventure, as well as some tough-to-swallow truths about Jackie, her friends, and their future.

With artist Claudia Aguirre, Terry Blas has crafted a graphic novel that is dark and deeply moving. This book is Cocoon meets Heathers—a twisted satire about a magical land and the people who love it, even to the point of obsession. Jackie’s summer is about to turn into a wild ride filled with gallows humor, friendship, and fun—or is it?

(POST-IT SAYS: “Darkly comedic” is right! Love the depth and connection that comes from the eventual intergenerational friendships. Also love that Jackie and Danny realize how awful their other friends are! Dynamic artwork conveys lots of emotions and enhances the story.)

The Art of Running Away by Sabrina Kleckner (ISBN-13: 9781631635779 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 11/16/2021, Ages 8-14)

Twelve-year-old Maisie is an artist. When she’s in front of her sketchbook or apprenticing at Glenna’s Portraits, the family-run art shop her grandmother started, the world makes sense. She doesn’t think about Calum, her brother who mysteriously left home and cut ties with her family six years ago, or her parents’ insistence that she “broaden her horizons” and try something new—something that isn’t art.

But when Glenna’s Portraits falls on hard times, Maisie’s plan to take over the shop when she’s older and become a lifelong artist starts to crumble. In desperation to make things right, Maisie runs away to London to reconnect with her adult brother, hoping he might be the key to saving the shop. But as Maisie learns about her family’s past from Calum, she starts to rethink everything she’s ever known. Maisie must decide not only if saving her family’s art shop is worth it, but if she can forgive her parents for the mistakes they’ve made.

(POST-IT SAYS: A great read. Deep family issues are explored in a way that feels realistic, complicated, and ultimately loving. Lots of LGBTQIA+ rep. Maisie really wrestles with her feelings toward her parents as she grows closer to her estranged brother.)

Book Mail: 39 new and forthcoming books for all ages!

While I am mostly happy that I’m back to work in a school library, one bummer is when I get an email alert that some book mail was delivered and I’m not home to instantly open it. Some days I don’t even get time to open it for a day or two. It’s really been piling up here lately, as this massive post will show!

I share all of the book mail that comes in on my Twitter when it arrives, so if you’re not already doing so, hop on over there and follow me. I also give away 100% of the books I get, with giveaways every few weeks on Twitter, often only for teachers and librarians. Everything that comes into my house goes back out in some fashion to find a new reader. Many of the books I get are reviewed here at TLT as either longer, in-depth reviews or quick Post-It Note reviews. Try as I may, I cannot read everything! But I really do try!

All descriptions from the publishers.

Monarch Butterflies: Explore the Life Journey of One of the Winged Wonders of the World by Ann Hobbie, Olga Baumert (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781635862898 Publisher: Storey Books Publication date: 04/27/2021, Ages 7-10)

Monarchs are a favorite and familiar North American butterfly, and their incredible annual migration has captured the popular imagination for generations. As populations of monarchs decline dramatically due to habitat loss and climate change, interest in and enthusiasm for protecting these beloved pollinators has skyrocketed. With easy-to-read text and colorful, engaging illustrations, Monarch Butterflies presents young readers with rich, detailed information about the monarchs’ life cycle, anatomy, and the wonders of their signature migration, as well as how to raise monarchs at home and the cultural significance of monarchs in Day of the Dead celebrations. As the book considers how human behavior has harmed monarchs, it offers substantive ways kids can help make a positive difference. Children will learn how to turn lawns into native plant gardens, become involved in citizen science efforts such as tagging migrating monarchs and participating in population counts, and support organizations that work to conserve butterflies.

All Pets Allowed: Blackberry Farm 2 by Adele Griffin, LeUyen Pham (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781643750736 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 08/31/2021, Ages 7-11)

New dog, no tricks!

Becket Branch has one birthday wish—a dog! Dogs are outgoing and friendly, and they live life loud, just like Becket. Becket’s twin, Nicholas, wants a pet more like him—a peaceful, quiet indoor cat. When their parents take them to the shelter to choose a dog and a cat, it should be Becket’s biggest BEAUTIFUL ALERT ever. But Becket’s dream dog, Dibs, turns out to be a super-shy scaredy-pooch. Meanwhile, Nicholas’s kitty, Given, loves being the center of attention and greeting visitors to Blackberry Farm.

Can Becket and Nicholas learn how to love Dibs and Given as they are—even if they aren’t exactly the pets the twins dreamed of?

With black-and-white drawings throughout by award-winning illustrator LeUyen Pham (Real Friends), this second volume of the Blackberry Farm series offers a gentle message about embracing new friends who may not match preconceived expectations.

I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 (I Survived Graphic Novel #4) by Lauren Tarshis, Corey Egbert (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781338680485 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 08/03/2021, Ages 8-12)

A gripping graphic novel adaptation of Lauren Tarshis’s bestselling I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001, in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The only thing Lucas loves more than football is his Uncle Benny, his dad’s best friend at the firehouse where they both work. Benny taught Lucas everything about football. So when Lucas’s parents decide the sport is too dangerous and he needs to quit, Lucas has to talk to his biggest fan.

The next morning, Lucas takes the train to the city instead of the bus to school. It’s a bright, beautiful day in New York as he heads to the firehouse. But just as he arrives, everything changes — and nothing will ever be the same again.

Lauren Tarshis’s New York Times bestselling I Survived series comes to vivid life in bold graphic novels. Perfect for readers who prefer the graphic novel format, or for existing fans of the I Survived chapter book series, these graphic novels combine historical facts with high-action storytelling that’s sure to keep any reader turning the pages. Includes a nonfiction section at the back with facts and photos about the real-life event.

Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero by Saadia Faruqi (ISBN-13: 9780062943255 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/07/2021, Ages 8-12)

At a time when we are all asking questions about identity, grief, and how to stand up for what is right, this book by the author of A Thousand Questions will hit home with young readers who love Hena Khan and Varian Johnson—or anyone struggling to understand recent U.S. history and how it still affects us today.  

Yusuf Azeem has spent all his life in the small town of Frey, Texas—and nearly that long waiting for the chance to participate in the regional robotics competition, which he just knows he can win.

Only, this year is going to be more difficult than he thought. Because this year is the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an anniversary that has everyone in his Muslim community on edge.

With “Never Forget” banners everywhere and a hostile group of townspeople protesting the new mosque, Yusuf realizes that the country’s anger from two decades ago hasn’t gone away. Can he hold onto his joy—and his friendships—in the face of heartache and prejudice?

Danny Chung Sums It Up by Maisie Chan, Natelle Quek (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781419748219 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 09/07/2021, Ages 8-12)

A touching and funny middle-grade story about a boy whose life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother moves in.

Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English—and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.

The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron (ISBN-13: 9781338355949 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 09/07/2021, Ages 12-17)

The extraordinary story of Stefania Podgórska, a Polish teenager who chose bravery and humanity by hiding thirteen Jews in her attic during WWII, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sharon Cameron — now a Reese’s Book Club YA Pick!

One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make…

It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their grocery store in Przemysl, Poland, singing her way into their lives and hearts. She has even made a promise to one of their sons, Izio — a betrothal they must keep secret since she is Catholic and the Diamants are Jewish.

But everything changes when the German army invades Przemysl. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto, and Stefania is alone in an occupied city, the only one left to care for Helena, her six-year-old sister. And then comes the knock at the door. Izio’s brother Max has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max, and eventually twelve more Jews. Then they must wait, every day, for the next knock at the door, the one that will mean death. When the knock finally comes, it is two Nazi officers, requisitioning Stefania’s house for the German army.

With two Nazis below, thirteen hidden Jews above, and a little sister by her side, Stefania has one more excruciating choice to make.

This remarkable tale of courage and humanity, based on a true story, is now a Reese’s Book Club YA Pick!

Game On! by Mary Amato (ISBN-13: 9780823449118 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 09/07/2021 Series: Star Striker, Ages 8-12)

Join Albert and a group of ragtag aliens as they dribble, cross, and score across the galaxy in this soccer-themed story of unlikely friendships.

The day that aliens abducted 13-year-old Albert Kinney was the day he was hoping to make the school soccer team. But that’s the way life works sometimes, especially for Albert.

Astonishingly the Zeenods, don’t want to harm Albert, they want him to play soccer. And so, Albert jumps at the chance to join the Zeenods. Yet just as he is introduced to the specifics of their game and all their high-tech gear, he faces a series of direct threats to his life. Does someone have a mysterious vendetta against Albert? Or does their first opponent, the ruthless team from Planet Tev, want to guarantee that they win?

Action-packed, yet filled with humor and heart, Game On! is the first book in a series that features thrilling play-by-play soccer scenes and an intergalactic plot with far-reaching consequences for the Zeenods—and Earth.

Cardboardia 1: The Other Side of the Box by Lucy Campagnolo, Richard Fairgray (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781645950998 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 09/07/2021, Ages 8-10)

A group of friends must use their ingenuity to save a parallel world that can only be accessed through cardboard boxes in this series starter from Black Sand Beach author Richard Fairgray and Lucy Campagnolo. Perfect for readers ready to step up from Jelly.

When Mac, Masie, and Bird find mysterious tokens in their cereal boxes, they’re transported to Cardboardia, a magical landmade of paper and cardboard. In this parallel universe to ours, creativity thrives: Every time a box of anything is created in our world, a replica appears there, bringing residents art supplies, food, books, and more. 

But an evil presence is slowly moving in, threatening to wipe all art and beauty from this paper paradise. It’s no mistake that the three friends have been transported through their cardboard portals. Each has a special talent they never knew existed. And only when they figure out to harness them together will they be able to stop the destruction.

Before We Were Blue by E.J. Schwartz (ISBN-13: 9781635830699 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 14-18)

Get healthy on their own—or stay sick together?

At Recovery and Relief, a treatment center for girls with eating disorders, the first thing Shoshana Winnick does is attach herself to vibrant but troubled Rowan Parish. Shoshana—a cheerleader on a hit reality TV show—was admitted for starving herself to ensure her growth spurt didn’t ruin her infamous tumbling skills. Rowan, on the other hand, has known anorexia her entire life, thanks to her mother’s “chew and spit” guidance. Through the drudgery and drama of treatment life, Shoshana and Rowan develop a fierce intimacy—and for Rowan, a budding infatuation, that neither girl expects.

As “Gray Girls,” patients in the center’s Gray plan, Shoshana and Rowan are constantly under the nurses’ watchful eyes. They dream of being Blue, when they will enjoy more freedom and the knowledge that their days at the center are numbered. But going home means separating and returning to all the challenges they left behind. The closer Shoshana and Rowan become, the more they cling to each other—and their destructive patterns. Ultimately, the girls will have to choose: their recovery or their relationship.

Egg Marks the Spot (Skunk and Badger 2) by Amy Timberlake, Jon Klassen (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781643750064 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 7-10)

“X Marks the Spot!”

Buried in the heart of every animal is a secret treasure. For rock scientist Badger, it’s the Spider Eye Agate he found as a cub, stolen years ago by his crafty cousin, Fisher. For Badger’s roommate, Skunk, the treasure is Sundays with the New Yak Times Book Review. When an old acquaintance, Mr. G. Hedgehog, announces his plan to come for the Book Review as soon as it thumps on the doorstep, Skunk decides an adventure will solve Badger’s problems as well as his own. Surprisingly, Badger agrees. Together
they set off on an agate-finding expedition at Badger’s favorite spot on Endless Lake.

But all is not as it seems at Campsite #5. Fisher appears unexpectedly. Then a chicken arrives who seems intent on staying. Something is up!

Indeed!

Secrets, betrayals, lies

. . . and a luminous, late-Jurassic prize.

In a volume that includes full-color plates and additional black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott medalist Jon Klassen, Newbery Honor author Amy Timberlake takes readers on a second adventure in the new series reviewers have called an instant classic, with comparisons to Frog and ToadWinnie-the-Pooh, and The Wind in the Willows.

Be the Dragon: 9 Keys to Unlocking Your Inner Magic by Catherine J. Manning, Melanie Demmer (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781523511419 Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc. Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 8-12)

There is magic inside you if you only dare to look.

Dragons are the heroes we need.


They have fires in their bellies, wisdom in their eyes, and hearts big enough to welcome one and all. And now you can be one, too!


In this ingenious book filled with hands-on activities, quests and quizzes, exciting stories, and charming illustrations every young reader will discover firsthand how to slay their fears and find their inner power.


How, in other words, to Be the Dragon, filled with courage, kindness, insight, compassion, positivity, and so much more.
And that is something to roar about!

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani, Julia Iredale (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780062652638 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/21/2021, Ages 10-12)

You think you know these stories, don’t you?

You are wrong.

You don’t know them at all.

Twelve tales, twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts. Each twists like a spindle to reveal truths full of warning and triumph, truths that free hearts long kept tame, truths that explore life . . . and death.

A prince has a surprising awakening . . .                           

A beauty fights like a beast . . .

A boy refuses to become prey . . .

A path to happiness is lost. . . . then found again.

New York Times bestselling author Soman Chainani respins old stories into fresh fairy tales for a new era and creates a world like no other. These stories know you. They understand you. They reflect you. They are tales for our times. So read on, if you dare. 

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake (ISBN-13: 9780062977168 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/21/2021, Ages 14-17)

Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation. In this edge-of-your-seat mystery from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake, the truth is as hard to believe as it is to find.

Summer 1958. A gruesome killer plagues the Midwest, leaving behind a trail of bodies completely drained of blood. 

Michael Jensen, an aspiring journalist whose father happens to be the town sheriff, never imagined that the Bloodless Murders would come to his backyard. Not until the night the Carlson family was found murdered in their home. Marie Catherine Hale, a diminutive fifteen-year-old, was discovered at the scene—covered in blood. She is the sole suspect in custody.

Michael didn’t think that he would be part of the investigation, but he is pulled in when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to. As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies?

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles (ISBN-13: 9781338734188 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 09/21/2021, Ages 12-18)

From one of the brightest and most acclaimed new lights in YA fiction, a fantastic new novel about a bi Black boy finding first love . . . and facing the return of the mother who abandoned his preacher family when he was nine.

There’s always been a hole in Gio’s life. Not because he’s into both guys and girls. Not because his father has some drinking issues. Not because his friends are always bringing him their drama. No, the hole in Gio’s life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother, and his father when Gio was nine years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her . . . and now, just as he’s started to get his life together, she’s back.

It’s hard for Gio to know what to do. Can he forgive her like she wants to be forgiven? Or should he tell her she lost her chance to be in his life? Complicating things further, Gio’s started to hang out with David, a new guy on the basketball team. Are they friends? More than friends? At first, Gio’s not sure . . . especially because he’s not sure what he wants from anyone right now.

There are no easy answers to love — whether it’s family love or friend love or romantic love. In Things We Couldn’t Say, Jay Coles, acclaimed author of Tyler Johnson Was Here, shows us a guy trying to navigate love in all its ambiguity — hoping at the other end he’ll be able to figure out who is and who he should be.

House of Glass Hearts by Leila Siddiqui (ISBN-13: 9781949528770 Publisher: Yali Publishing LLC Publication date: 09/30/2021, Ages 14-18)

Maera and her ammi never talk about the Past, a place where they’ve banished their family’s heartache and grief forever. They especially never mention the night Maera’s older brother Asad disappeared from her naana’s house in Karachi ten years ago. But when her grandfather dies and his derelict greenhouse appears in her backyard from thousands of miles away, Maera is forced to confront the horrors of her grandfather’s past. To find out what happened to her brother, she must face the keepers of her family’s secrets-the monsters that live inside her grandfather’s mysterious house of glass.

Seamlessly blending history with myth, HOUSE OF GLASS HEARTS follows a Pakistani-American teen’s ruthless quest to find her missing sibling, even if the truth would reveal her grandfather’s devastating secret and tear her family apart. In a narrative that switches between colonial India and present-day America, this ambitious debut explores how the horrors of the past continue to shape the lives of South Asians around the world.

The Violent Season by Sara Walters (ISBN-13: 9781728234106 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 14-18)

The unputdownable debut thriller you will never forget.

There is something terribly wrong in Wolf Ridge. Every November, every teen is overwhelmed with a hunger for violence…at least, that’s the urban legend.

After Wyatt Green’s mother was brutally murdered last Fall, she’s convinced that the November sickness plaguing Wolf Ridge isn’t just a town rumor that everyone ignores…it’s a palpable force infecting her neighbors. Wyatt is going to prove it, and find her mother’s murderer in the process. She digs up every past brutal act she can find from Wolf Ridge’s past—from car wrecks, suicides, and unnamed victims turning up in rivers—and even reaches out to an out-of-state journalist that seems to believe her. But all of her digging leads to nowhere. Everyone in Wolf Ridge accepts that the November sickness is real, and absolutely no one will talk about it.

As Wyatt’s best friend Cash turns on her, and her friend is almost killed in a tragic accident, Wyatt panics—how can she keep her friends safe, and find her mother’s murderer, when no one believes her?

As the evidence stars to disappear, Wyatt wonders: is she just imagining everything? Is the sickness real, or are the people of Wolf Ridge just naturally prone to doing bad things?

Can Wyatt and her friends come out of the Violent Season unscathed, or is one of them going to be the next victim?

Briarheart by Mercedes Lackey (ISBN-13: 9780759557451 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 12-18)

From a beloved fantasy author comes this fresh feminist retelling of Sleeping Beauty about one girl destined for greatness—and the powerful sister ready to protect her by any means necessary.Miriam may be the daughter of Queen Alethia of Tirendell, but she’s not a princess. She’s the child of Alethia and her previous husband, the King’s Champion, who died fighting for the king, and she has no ambitions to rule. When her new baby sister Aurora, heir to the throne, is born, she’s ecstatic. She adores the baby, who seems perfect in every way. But on the day of Aurora’s christening, an uninvited Dark Fae arrives, prepared to curse her, and Miriam discovers she possesses impossible power.

Soon, Miriam is charged with being trained in both magic and combat to act as chief protector to her sister. But shadowy threats are moving closer and closer to their kingdom, and Miriam’s dark power may not be enough to save everyone she loves, let alone herself.

Jadie in Five Dimensions by Dianne K. Salerni (ISBN-13: 9780823449095 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 9-12)

A thirteen-year-old girl seeks answers about her past in the fourth dimension—and beyond—in this think-outside-the-box adventure.

What do you do when it turns out your whole life has been a lie? 

Jadie Martin was always told she was abandoned by her parents. Creatures from the 4th dimension rescued her and placed her with a loving adoptive family. Now, Jadie acts as an agent for the beings, also known as Seers. She uses the 4th dimension as a short-cut to travel anywhere on Earth, performing missions calculated to guide the world toward a brighter future.

But then Jadie discovers that her origin story is fake. In reality, her birth family has suffered multiple tragedies and disasters engineered from 4-space, including the devastating loss of their baby girl. Her! 

Doubting the Seers, Jadie starts anonymously observing her long-lost family. Why are they so important? What are the true intentions of the Seers? And what will all-powerful four-dimensional beings do to a rebellious human girl when they realize she’s interfering with their plans? 

A Wrinkle in Time meets Flatland in this thrilling journey that challenges the meaning of family, loyalty, and our universe at large.

The Bear House (#1) by Meaghan McIsaac (ISBN-13: 9780823446605 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 10-14)

In a gritty medieval world where the ruling houses are based on the constellations, betrayal, intrigue, and a king’s murder force the royal sisters of the Bear House on the run!

Moody Aster and her spoiled sister Ursula are the daughters of Jasper Lourdes, Major of Bears and lord of all the realm. Rivals, both girls dream of becoming the Bear queen someday, although neither really deserve to, having no particular talent in… well, anything.

But when their Uncle Bram murders their father in a bid for the crown, the girls are forced onto the run, along with lowly Dev the Bearkeeper and the Lourdes’s half-grown grizzly Alcor, symbol of their house. As a bitter struggle for the throne consumes the kingdom in civil war, the sisters must rely on Dev, the bear cub, and each other to survive—and find wells of courage, cunning, and skill they never knew they had.

Vial of Tears by Cristin Bishara (ISBN-13: 9780823446414 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 14-17)

Two sisters become trapped in the underworld—and in the machinations of deities, shapeshifters, and ghouls—in this lush and dangerous Phoenician mythology-inspired fantasy.

Teenage sisters Samira and Rima aren’t exactly living the dream. Instead, they live with their maddeningly unreliable mother in a rundown trailer in Michigan. Dad’s dead, money’s tight, and Mom disappears for days at a time. So when Sam’s grandfather wills her the family valuables—a cache of Lebanese antiquities—she’s desperate enough to try pawning them before Mom can. 

But she shouldn’t. Because one is cursed, forbidden, the burial coin of a forgotten god. Disturbing it condemns her and Rima to the Phoenician underworld, a place of wicked cities, burning cedar forests, poisoned feasts of milk and lemons, and an endless, windless ocean. 

Nothing is what it seems. No one is who they say. And down here, the night never ends. 

To get home—and keep her sister safe—Sam will have to outwit beautiful shapeshifters, pose as a royal bride, sail the darkest sea… and maybe kill the god of death himself.

Bluebird by Sharon Cameron (ISBN-13: 9781338355963 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 12-18)

Author of Reese’s Book Club YA Pick The Light in Hidden Places, Sharon Cameron, delivers an emotionally gripping and utterly immersive thriller, perfect for fans of Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea.

In 1946, Eva leaves behind the rubble of Berlin for the streets of New York City, stepping from the fiery aftermath of one war into another, far colder one, where power is more important than principles, and lies are more plentiful than the truth. Eva holds the key to a deadly secret: Project Bluebird — a horrific experiment of the concentration camps, capable of tipping the balance of world power. Both the Americans and the Soviets want Bluebird, and it is something that neither should ever be allowed to possess.

But Eva hasn’t come to America for secrets or power. She hasn’t even come for a new life. She has come to America for one thing: justice. And the Nazi that has escaped its net.

Critically acclaimed author of The Light in Hidden Places Sharon Cameron weaves a taut and affecting thriller ripe with intrigue and romance in this alternately chilling and poignant portrait of the personal betrayals, terrifying injustices, and deadly secrets that seethe beneath the surface in the aftermath of World War II.

Carlton Crumple Creature Catcher 3: Reptoids from Space by David Fremont (ISBN-13: 9781645950080 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 8-12)

An out-of-this-world new adventure in a very funny graphic novel series that combines fast food, monsters, and battle! Fans of Lunch Lady and Dog Man will gobble this down.

When Carlton catches a UFO on camera, he kicks into full-on Creature Catcher mode. Sick of hearing about Carlton’s heroics, his brother Milt stages an alien invasion using a remote-controlled drone disguised as a spaceship. And Carlton falls for it. 

Iggy and Poof Poof think the ship’s cool, so they borrow it to stage a fake alien battle. But a real UFO full of Reptoids spots the showdown and, seeing it as a threat, swoops in and abducts Iggy and Poof Poof!

Panicked, Lulu calls the Creature Catcher emergency line. Her creatures have been captured! Now it’s up to Carlton to stage a rescue, and save the day!

Bold artwork and otherworldly antics combine in the third installment in the Carlton Crumple Creatuture Catcher series. Middle grade graphic novel readers, including fans of series like Lunch Lady and Dog Man, will eat this up.

The Falling Girls by Hayley Krischer (ISBN-13: 9780593114148 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 14-17)

Perfect for fans of Kathleen Glasgow and Nina LaCour comes another searing, affecting novel that follows one girl caught between two toxic worlds from the author of Something Happened to Ali Greenleaf.

A compelling, crushing, and spot-on story about toxicity, feminism and friendship” Kathleen Glasgow

Shade and Jadis are everything to each other. They share clothes, toothbrushes, and even matching stick-and-poke tattoos. So when Shade unexpectedly joins the cheerleading team, Jadis can hardly recognize who her best friend is becoming. 

Shade loves the idea of falling into a group of girls; she loves the discipline it takes to push her body to the limits alongside these athletes . Most of all, Shade finds herself drawn to The Three Chloes—the insufferable trio that rules the squad—including the enigmatic cheer captain whose dark side is as compelling as it is alarming. 

Jadis won’t give Shade up so easily, though, and the pull between her old best friend and her new teammates takes a toll on Shade as she tries to forge her own path. So when one of the cheerleaders dies under mysterious circumstances, Shade is determined to get to the bottom of her death. Because she knows Jadis—and if her friend is responsible, doesn’t that mean she is, too? 

In this compelling, nuanced exploration of the layered, intoxicating relationships between teen girls, and all the darkness and light that exists between them, novelist Hayley Krischer weaves a story of loss and betrayal, and the deep reverberations felt at a friendship’s breaking point. 

Violets Are Blue by Barbara Dee (ISBN-13: 9781534469181 Publisher: Aladdin Publication date: 10/12/2021, Ages 9-13)

From the author of the acclaimed My Life in the Fish Tank and Maybe He Just Likes You comes a moving and relatable middle grade novel about secrets, family, and the power of forgiveness.

Twelve-year-old Wren loves makeup—special effect makeup, to be exact. When she is experimenting with new looks, Wren can create a different version of herself. A girl who isn’t in a sort-of-best friendship with someone who seems like she hates her. A girl whose parents aren’t divorced and doesn’t have to learn to like her new stepmom.

So, when Wren and her mom move to a new town for a fresh start, she is cautiously optimistic. And things seem to fall into place when Wren meets potential friends and gets selected as the makeup artist for her school’s upcoming production of Wicked.

Only, Wren’s mom isn’t doing so well. She’s taking a lot of naps, starts snapping at Wren for no reason, and always seems to be sick. And what’s worse, Wren keeps getting hints that things aren’t going well at her new job at the hospital, where her mom is a nurse. And after an opening night disaster leads to a heartbreaking discovery, Wren realizes that her mother has a serious problem—a problem that can’t be wiped away or covered up. 

After all the progress she’s made, can Wren start over again with her devastating new normal? And will she ever be able to heal the broken trust with her mom?

Salt Magic by Hope Larson, Rebecca Mock (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780823450503 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/12/2021, Ages 10-14)

When a jealous witch curses her family’s well, it’s up to Vonceil to set things right in an epic journey that will leave her changed forever.

When Vonceil’s older brother, Elber, comes home to their family’s Oklahoma farm after serving on the front lines of World War I, things aren’t what she expects. His experiences have changed him into a serious and responsible man who doesn’t have time for Vonceil anymore. He even marries the girl he had left behind.

Then a mysterious and captivating woman shows up at the farm and confronts Elber for leaving her in France. When he refuses to leave his wife, she puts a curse on the family well, turning the entire town’s water supply into saltwater. Who is this lady dressed all in white, what has she done to the farm, and what does Vonceil’s old uncle Dell know about her? 

To find out, Vonceil will have to strike out on her own and delve deep into the world of witchcraft, confronting dangerous relatives, shapeshifting animals, a capricious Sugar Witch, and the Lady in White herself—the foreboding Salt Witch. The journey will change Vonceil, but along the way she’ll learn a lot about love and what it means to grow up.

Hope Larson is the author and illustrator of the Eisner Award nominated All Summer Long and the illustrator of the Eisner Award winning A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic NovelSalt Magic is an utterly unique graphic fairy tale complete with striking illustrations by Rebecca Mock.

African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History by Tracey Baptiste (ISBN-13: 9781616209001 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 10/19/2021, Ages 8-12)

Meet the ten remarkable kings, queens, inventors, scholars, and visionaries who changed the world. 

Black history begins thousands of years ago with the many cultures and people of the African continent.

Through portraits of ten heroic figures, author Tracey Baptiste takes readers on a journey across Africa to meet some of the great leaders and thinkers whose vision built a continent and shaped the world.

Illustrator Hillary D. Wilson’s brilliant portraits accompany each profile, along with vivid, information-filled landscapes, maps, and graphics for readers to pore over and return to again and again.

Hunting by Stars (A Marrow Thieves Novel) by Cherie Dimaline (ISBN-13: 9781419753473 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 10/19/2021, Ages 12-18)

From the acclaimed author of The Marrow Thieves comes a thrilling new story about hope and survival that New York Times bestselling author Angeline Boulley called “a revelatory must-read”

Years ago, when plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up—or are re-opened—across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams.

Seventeen-year-old French lost his family to these schools and has spent the years since heading north with his new found family: a group of other dreamers, who, like him, are trying to build and thrive as a community. But then French wakes up in a pitch-black room, locked in and alone for the first time in years, and he knows immediately where he is—and what it will take to escape. 

Meanwhile, out in the world, his found family searches for him and dodges new dangers—school Recruiters, a blood cult, even the land itself. When their paths finally collide, French must decide how far he is willing to go—and how many loved ones is he willing to betray—in order to survive. This engrossing, action-packed, deftly-drawn novel expands on the world of Cherie Dimaline’s award-winning The Marrow Thieves, and it will haunt readers long after they’ve turned the final page.

How to Save a Superhero by Ruth Freeman (ISBN-13: 9780823447626 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/19/2021, Ages 8-12)

Ten-year-old Addie knows that Superheroes aren’t real, and that they certainly don’t hide out in retirement communities, but she may just have to change her mind.

Addie and her mom never stay in one place too long. They’ve been up and down and all around the country. When her mom, Tish, gets a new job at Happy Valley Village Retirement Community in Pennsylvania, Addie believes they’ll be on the road again in a month. But this time, something is different—make that, someone. Mr. Norris, a grumpy resident of Happy Valley and. . .a former superhero? 

Well, that’s what Marwa, whose mom also works at Happy Valley, would try and have Addie believe. Addie and her friend Dickson know better even if there are things they can’t explain. Like the time Mr. Norris was about to get hit by a car and was suddenly on the other side of the road or the way his stare seems to take root in Addie’s stomach. 

When a man starts prowling the Happy Valley grounds, claiming to be the great-nephew of a resident, Addie, Marwa, and Dickson soon stumble into a grand conspiracy involving the Manhattan Project, a shady weapons company, and the fate of the human race, in this smart, funny middle grade novel.

The Lost Language by Claudia Mills (ISBN-13: 9780823450381 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 10/19/2021, Ages 9-12)

The quest to save the words of a dying language – and to find the words to save what may be a dying friendship – lies at the heart of this exquisite verse novel.

Sixth grader Betsy is the one who informs her best friend, Lizard, that thousands of the world’s languages are currently threatened by extinction; Betsy’s mother is a linguistics professor working frantically to study dying languages before they are lost forever. But it is Lizard who, gripped by the magnitude of this loss, challenges Betsy, “What if, instead of WRITING about dying languages, like your mom, you and I SAVED one instead?”

As the girls embark on their quest to learn as much as possible of the near-extinct language of Guernésiais (spoken on the Isle of Guernsey, off the coast of France), their friendship faces unexpected strains. With Lizard increasingly obsessed with the language project, Betsy begins to seek greater independence from her controlling and charismatic friend, as well as from her controlling and charismatic mother. Then tragedy threatens Betsy’s life beyond what any words can express, and Lizard does something unthinkable. 

Maybe lost friendships, like lost languages, can never be completely saved.

Ski Weekend: A Novel by Rektok Ross (ISBN-13: 9781684631094 Publisher: SparkPress Publication date: 10/24/2021, Ages 14-17)

The Breakfast Club meets Alive in this gripping tale of survival, impossible choices, and the harrowing balance between life and death.

Six teens, one dog, a ski trip gone wrong . . .

Sam is dreading senior ski weekend and having to watch after her brother and his best friend, Gavin, to make sure they don’t do anything stupid. Again. Gavin may be gorgeous, but he and Sam have never gotten along. Now they’re crammed into an SUV with three other classmates and Gavin’s dog, heading on a road trip that can’t go by fast enough.

Then their SUV crashes into a snowbank, and Sam and her friends find themselves stranded in the mountains with cell phone coverage long gone and temperatures dropping. When the group gets sick of waiting for rescue, they venture outside to find help—only to have a wilderness accident leave Sam’s brother with a smashed leg and, soon, a raging fever. While the hours turn to days, Sam’s brother gets sicker and sicker, and their food and supplies dwindle until there isn’t enough for everyone. As the winter elements begin to claim members of the group one by one, Sam vows to keep her brother alive.

No matter what.

Filled with twists, secrets, and life-changing moments, Ski Weekend is a snow-packed survival thriller featuring a diverse cast of teens that will appeal to fans of One of Us is Lying and I Am Still Alive.

Revver the Speedway Squirrel: The Big Race Home by Sherri Duskey Rinker, Alex Willan (ISBN-13: 9781547603671 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 11/09/2021, Ages 8-11)

The author of the bestselling Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site picture books continues her fun, illustrated middle grade series that’s perfect for fans of Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

Revver is a little squirrel with big plans . . . to drive a race car! Now that he has secured his place on the race squad, there are so many new things to see and explore—and so many lessons to learn. 

Tire-changer Bill and his team have grown very fond of Revver, despite his accidental troublemaking. But when the team travels to the airport for a faraway race, Revver’s intense curiosity gets himself lost in the terminal, and the plane takes off without him! Will Revver find his way back to the team in time? And if he does, will they still accept him, or has he worn out his welcome as the very first speedway squirrel?

Sherri Duskey Rinker offers another hilarious and heartwarming story about this memorable character, perfect for fans of Ralph S. Mouse.

Birdie’s Billions by Edith Cohn (ISBN-13: 9781547607112 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 11/09/2021, Ages 10-12)

A savvy young girl finds half a million dollars and wonders if she can keep it in this charming middle grade mystery that asks big questions about right, wrong, and what you’d do for family.

For as long as eleven-year-old Birdie can remember, it’s always been just her and her mom, which means there’s not a lot of extra money to spend on things like new clothes and batons from the fancy gymnastics store. Still, they always find a way to make ends meet. Then Birdie makes one silly mistake that has a big consequence: Mom loses her job. Now things are more dire than ever, and Birdie knows it’s up to her to fix it. 

When Birdie discovers a huge stash of cash in an abandoned house, she just knows it must be the answer to their problems. But the people who left that money behind aren’t willing to give it up so easily. Does “finders, keepers” count when it’s half a million dollars?

In this heartfelt small-town story from beloved author Edith Cohn, Birdie learns how to balance what’s right for her family-and herself-with what’s the right thing to do.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Tiffany Brooks (ISBN-13: 9781728222325 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 01/01/2022, Ages 14-18)

Survivor meets Lord of the Flies in this fast-paced adventure with fascinating characters and pulse-pounding tension. You think it’s a game? Think again.

High school senior Riley Ozment is desperate to change her reality after making a fool of herself on social media. She needs to do something drastic to repair her social standing—like trying out for a Survivor-style reality TV show. Suddenly, Riley’s dropped onto a deserted tropical island with nineteen other teens competing for a million dollars and a rumored treasure lost on the island.

But that treasure has a history: a local curse says that seven people need to die before the treasure can be found. And six hunters have already lost their lives in the search. Now the question is: who will be the seventh?

With a cast of vivid characters who will stop at nothing to win the show, a cursed island setting, and a priceless treasure waiting to be discovered, The Girl Who Knew Too Much pitches readers right into a scheming web of lies, love, and betrayal.

A fast-paced new thriller where allies may not be who they say they are and legends abound, perfect for fans of young adult mystery and suspense!

Absurd Words: A kids’ fun and hilarious vocabulary builder for future word nerds by Tara Lazar (ISBN-13: 9781492697428 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 01/02/2022, Ages 8-12)

This revolutionary dictionary-thesaurus hybrid puts more than 750 high-level, wondrous, and wacky words in fun, engaging, and hilarious context

When the World Runs Dry: Earth’s Water in Crisis by Nancy F. Castaldo (ISBN-13: 9781616209711 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 01/18/2022, Ages 8-12)

What would you do if you turned on the faucet one day and nothing happened? What if you learned the water in your home was harmful to drink? Water is essential for life on this planet, but not every community has the safe, clean water it needs. In When the World Runs Dry, award-winning science writer Nancy Castaldo takes readers from Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, to Iran and Cape Town, South Africa, to explore the various ways in which water around the world is in danger, why we must act now, and why you’re never too young to make a difference.

Topics include: Lead and water infrastructure problems, pollution, fracking contamination, harmful algal blooms, water supply issues, rising sea levels, and potential solutions. 

At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp (ISBN-13: 9781492673156 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 01/25/2022, Ages 14-18)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends comes another heartbreaking, emotional and timely page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.

Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day…they don’t show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There’s a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they’re stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.

As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place.

The Counterclockwise Heart by Brian Farrey (ISBN-13: 9781616205065 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 8-12)

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
 
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

Once More with Chutzpah by Haley Neil (ISBN-13: 9781547607099 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 13+)

A moving YA debut about a girl who grapples with questions of her Jewish identity, mental health struggles, and sexuality while on a temple exchange trip through Israel.

When high school senior Tally and her twin brother Max head off on an exchange trip to Israel over their winter break, Tally thinks it will be a good distraction for Max; he might be trying to hide it, but she knows he’s still struggling in the wake of a car crash that injured him and killed the driver. Maybe this will help him get back on track and apply to college the way he and Tally always planned.

But as the group travels across the country, Tally realizes her plan might not be working, and that her brother might not be the only one with a lot on his mind. When a new relationship gets complicated in the face of her own anxiety-about her future, her sexual and romantic identity, and her place within the Jewish diaspora-Tally must grapple not only with the past, but also with what life will be like when they get back home.

Debut author Haley Neil offers a relatable and deeply felt story about identity on the cusp of adulthood.

The Chandler Legacies by Abdi Nazemian (ISBN-13: 9780063039322 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 02/15/2022, Ages 13+)

From the Stonewall Honor–winning author of Like a Love Story comes a revelatory novel about the enclosed world of privilege and silence at an elite boarding school and the unlikely group of friends who dare to challenge the status quo through their writing. Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, Kathleen Glasgow, and Jandy Nelson, with crossover appeal for readers of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep.

Beth Kramer is a “townie” who returns to her sophomore year after having endured a year of tension with her roommate, Sarah.

But Sarah Brunson knows there’s more to that story.

Amanda Priya “Spence” Spencer is the privileged daughter of NYC elites, who is reeling from the realization that her family name shielded her from the same fate as Sarah.

Ramin Golafshar arrives at Chandler as a transfer student to escape the dangers of being gay in Iran, only to suffer brutal hazing under the guise of tradition in the boys’ dorms.

And Freddy Bello is the senior who’s no longer sure of his future but knows he has to stand up to his friends after what happened to Ramin.

At Chandler, the elite boarding school, these five teens are brought together in the Circle, a coveted writing group where life-changing friendships are born—and secrets are revealed. Their professor tells them to write their truths. But is the truth enough to change the long-standing culture of abuse at Chandler? And can their friendship survive the fallout?

Book Mail: Immigration stories, a board book about gender, an alien invasion, and more!

The books have been arriving fast and furious here in Minnesota! I return to the elementary library after a year leave soon, and I suspect I will use the week’s accumulated book mail as a treat and incentive to me as I adjust to being back at work—just get through this week and then you can open your treat mail!

I share all of the book mail that comes in on my Twitter when it arrives, so if you’re not already doing so, hop on over there and follow me. I also give away 100% of the books I get, with giveaways every few weeks on Twitter, often only for teachers and librarians. Everything that comes into my house goes back out in some fashion to find a new reader. Many of the books I get are reviewed here at TLT as either longer, in-depth reviews or quick Post-It Note reviews. Try as I may, I cannot read everything! But I really do try!

All descriptions from the publishers.

Tia Lugo Speaks No Evil by Danette Vigilante (ISBN-13: 9781631635755 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 08/17/2021, Ages 10-14)

Tia Lugo has a deadly secret.

Tia Lugo considers herself an ordinary thirteen-year-old girl. She just wants to enjoy the end of summer, which means hanging out with her best friend and neighbor, Julius, and ignoring her Puerto Rican grandmother’s embarrassing reliance on creepy candles, weird-smelling herb bundles, and eerie statues—all available for sale at the nearby botanica. But when Tia witnesses a murder late one night from her bedroom window, everything changes in an instant.

Now, Tia is terrified to tell anyone what she’s seen. What if the killer comes after her too? He knows where she lives. Even worse, Tia believes he’s sending her secret messages, reminding her to stay quiet. Desperate to keep herself and her family safe, Tia turns to the last place she ever thought she’d go: her grandmother’s favorite shopping spot, the botanica.

The Many Meanings of Meilan by Andrea Wang (ISBN-13: 9780593111284 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/17/2021, Ages 9-12)

A family feud before the start of seventh grade propels Meilan from Boston’s Chinatown to rural Ohio, where she must tap into her inner strength and sense of justice to make a new place for herself in this resonant debut.

Meilan Hua’s world is made up of a few key ingredients: her family’s beloved matriarch, Nai Nai; the bakery her parents, aunts, and uncles own and run in Boston’s Chinatown; and her favorite Chinese fairy tales. 

After Nai Nai passes, the family has a falling-out that sends Meilan, her parents, and her grieving grandfather on the road in search of a new home. They take a winding path across the country before landing in Redbud, Ohio. Everything in Redbud is the opposite of Chinatown, and Meilan’s not quite sure who she is–being renamed at school only makes it worse. She decides she is many Meilans, each inspired by a different Chinese character with the same pronunciation as her name. Sometimes she is Mist, cooling and invisible; other times, she’s Basket, carrying her parents’ hopes and dreams and her guilt of not living up to them; and occasionally she is bright Blue, the way she feels around her new friend Logan. Meilan keeps her facets separate until an injustice at school shows her the power of bringing her many selves together. 

The Many Meanings of Meilan, written in stunning prose by Andrea Wang, is an exploration of all the things it’s possible to grieve, the injustices large and small that make us rage, and the peace that’s unlocked when we learn to find home within ourselves.

Being You: A First Conversation About Gender by Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli, Anne/Andy Passchier (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780593382646 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/17/2021 Series: First Conversations, Ages 2-5)

Based on the research that race, gender, consent, and body positivity should be discussed with toddlers on up, this read-aloud board book series offers adults the opportunity to begin important conversations with young children in an informed, safe, and supported way.

Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood and activism against injustice, this topic-driven board book offers clear, concrete language and beautiful imagery that young children can grasp and adults can leverage for further discussion. 

While young children are avid observers and questioners of their world, adults often shut down or postpone conversations on complicated topics because it’s hard to know where to begin. Research shows that talking about issues like race and gender from the age of two not only helps children understand what they see, but also increases self-awareness, self-esteem, and allows them to recognize and confront things that are unfair, like discrimination and prejudice. 

This second book in the series begins the conversation on gender, with a supportive approach that considers both the child and the adult. Stunning art accompanies the simple and interactive text, and the backmatter offers additional resources and ideas for extending this discussion.

Beyond the Mapped Stars by Rosalyn Eves (ISBN-13: 9781984849557 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 08/24/2021, Ages 12-17)

A sweeping adventure, set in the late 19th century, about science, love, and finding your place in the world, perfect for fans of Ruta Sepetys and Julie Berry.

Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bertelsen dreams of becoming an astronomer, but she knows such dreams are as unreachable as the stars she so deeply adores. As a Mormon girl, her duty is to her family and, in a not too far away future, to the man who’ll choose to marry her.

When she unexpectedly finds herself in Colorado, she’s tempted by the total eclipse of the sun that’s about to happen–and maybe even meeting up with the female scientists she’s long admired. Elizabeth must learn to navigate this new world of possibility: with her familial duties and faith tugging at her heartstrings, a new romance on the horizon, and the study of the night sky calling to her, she can’t possibly have it all…can she?

Witch for Hire by Ted Naifeh (ISBN-13: 9781419748110 Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks Publication date: 08/24/2021, Ages 14-18)

When a series of high school pranks get out of hand, teen witch Faye Faulkner is the only one who can solve the case in this spooky YA graphic novel

Faye Faulker isn’t popular, and that’s just fine by her. She spends her lunches at the Loser Table with the other social rejects, aka her best friends, and brushes off the uninspired taunts from the cool kids. But when lonely freshman Cody finds her way to Faye’s corner of the cafeteria, it sets off a peculiar chain of events . . . To Cody’s surprise, these kids aren’t so bad; an overdramatic theater nerd, a handicapable girl in a wheelchair, an overweight boy, and Faye, who comes to school every day dressed like a witch. But it’s no costume, Fay really is a witch!

While high school can be hell for many reasons, this year the ante has been raised when a series of pranks swiftly go from mischievous to downright dangerous. From the lowliest debate team nerds to the prom queen, no one is safe, not even the teachers! When things start to really get out of hand, Cody owns up to Faye: in a moment of desperation, she signed up for an online challenge that promises to grant popularity to those who follow the website’s twisted demands.

Now Faye is faced with a choice: Reveal her witchy nature to Cody and help her or stand aside and keep her secret identity safe. Despite her misgivings, Faye takes on the case, but will her powers be strong enough to solve this mystery? And will people ever stop asking her if she puts newts’ eyes in her homemade baked goods? Witch for Hire is a gothic whodunnit about resilience, magic, and the power of friendship.

Where I Belong by Marcia Argueta Mickelson (ISBN-13: 9781541597976 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 09/07/2021, Ages 12+)

An immigrant teen fights for her family, her future, and the place she calls home.

In the spring of 2018, Guatemalan American high school senior Milagros “Millie” Vargas knows her life is about to change. She’s lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, ever since her parents sought asylum there when she was a baby. Now a citizen, Millie devotes herself to school and caring for her younger siblings while her mom works as a housekeeper for the wealthy Wheeler family. With college on the horizon, Millie is torn between attending her dream school and staying close to home, where she knows she’s needed. She’s disturbed by what’s happening to asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, but she doesn’t see herself as an activist or a change-maker. She’s just trying to take care of her own family.

Then Mr. Wheeler, a U.S. Senate candidate, mentions Millie’s achievements in a campaign speech about “deserving” immigrants. It doesn’t take long for people to identify Millie’s family and place them at the center of a statewide immigration debate. Faced with journalists, trolls, anonymous threats, and the Wheelers’ good intentions—especially those of Mr. Wheeler’s son, Charlie—Millie must confront the complexity of her past, the uncertainty of her future, and her place in the country that she believed was home.

Finding Refuge: Real-Life Immigration Stories from Young People by Victorya Rouse (ISBN-13: 9781541581609 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 09/07/2021, Ages 12+)

When you read about war in your history book or hear about it in the news, do you ever wonder what happens to the families and children in the places experiencing war? Many families in these situations decide that they must leave their homes to stay alive. What happens to them?

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 70.8 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes because of war or persecution as of 2019. Over fifty percent of these people are under the age of eighteen. 

English teacher Victorya Rouse has assembled a collection of real-world experiences of teen refugees from around the world. Learn where these young people came from, why they left, and how they arrived in the United States. Read about their struggles to adapt to a new language, culture, and high school experiences, along with updates about how they are doing now and what they hope their futures will look like. 

As immigration has catapulted into the current discourse, this poignant collection emphasizes the United States’ rich tradition of welcoming people from all over the world.

The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland (ISBN-13: 9781534477025 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date: 09/07/2021, Ages 12-18)

Jenny Han meets The Bachelorette in this effervescent romantic comedy about a teen Korean American adoptee who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a competition for her heart, as orchestrated by her overbearing, loving family.

Jasmine Yap’s life is great. Well, it’s okay. She’s about to move in with her long-time boyfriend, Paul, before starting a nursing program at community college—all of which she mostly wants. But her stable world is turned upside down when she catches Paul cheating. To her giant, overprotective family, Paul’s loss is their golden ticket to showing Jasmine that she deserves much more. The only problem is, Jasmine refuses to meet anyone new.

But…what if the family set up a situation where she wouldn’t have to know? A secret Jasmine Project.

The plan is simple: use Jasmine’s graduation party as an opportunity for her to meet the most eligible teen bachelors in Orlando. There’s no pressure for Jasmine to choose anyone, of course, but the family hopes their meticulously curated choices will show Jasmine how she should be treated. And maybe one will win her heart.

But with the family fighting for their favorites, bachelors going rogue, and Paul wanting her back, the Jasmine Project may not end in love but total, heartbreaking disaster.

Partly Cloudy by Tanita S. Davis (ISBN-13: 9780062937001 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/07/2021, Ages 8-12)

From award-winning author Tanita S. Davis comes a nuanced exploration of the microaggressions of middle school and a young Black girl named Madalyn who learns that being a good friend means dealing with the blue skies and the rain—and having the tough conversations on days that are partly cloudy. Perfect for fans of A Good Kind of Trouble and From the Desk of Zoe Washington.

Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it? After a terrible year, Madalyn needs clear skies desperately. Moving in with her great-uncle, Papa Lobo, and switching to a new school is just the first step.

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, though. Madalyn discovers she’s the only Black girl in her class, and while most of her classmates are friendly, assumptions lead to some serious storms.

Papa Lobo’s long-running feud with neighbor Mrs. Baylor brings wild weather of its own, and Madalyn wonders just how far things will go. But when fire threatens the community, Madalyn discovers that truly being neighborly means more than just staying on your side of the street— it means weathering tough conversations—and finding that together a family can pull through anything.

Award-winning author Tanita S. Davis shows us that life isn’t always clear, and that partly cloudy days still contain a bit of blue worth celebrating.

I Survived the Galveston Hurricane, 1900 (I Survived #21) by Lauren Tarshis (ISBN-13: 9781338752533 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 09/07/2021 Series: I Survived Series, Ages 7-10)

More than a century later, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is still America’s deadliest disaster. Lauren Tarshis’s story of one child surviving the horrible event churns with page-turning action and bold hope.

The city of Galveston, Texas, was booming. Perched on an island off the southern coast of Texas, Galveston had been founded in the 1830s. By 1900, it was Texas’s richest and most important city. Boats loaded up with American cotton and wheat steamed from Galveston to countries around the world. Arriving ships were crowded with immigrants. The streets, paved with crushed oyster shells, sparkled like they’d been sprinkled with diamonds.

True, this glittering city was prone to flooding. But just a few years before, a weather forecaster had said the idea of a hurricane striking Galveston was absurd.

So when a storm started brewing on September 8, 1900, no one believed it would be any worse than previous storms. They gathered on the beach to cheer on the wild waves. But what started as entertainment soon turned into a nightmare as those wild waves crashed into the city. By morning, hundreds of homes were destroyed. Eight thousand people were dead. The city had all but disappeared,

In this thrilling installment of Lauren Tarshis’s New York Times bestselling I Survived series, one child finds safety only to head back into the treacherous waters to make sure his neighbors are safe.

It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi (ISBN-13: 9780062741486 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 13-17)

Two exes must revisit their past after their siblings start dating in this rom-com perfect for fans of Sandhya Menon and Morgan Matson.

After Kiran Noorani’s mom died, Kiran vowed to keep her dad and sister, Amira, close—to keep her family together. But when Amira announces that she’s dating someone, Kiran’s world is turned upside down.

Deen Malik is thrilled that his brother, Faisal, has found a great girlfriend. Maybe a new love will give Faisal a new lease on life, and Deen can stop feeling guilty for the reason that Faisal needs a do-over in the first place.

When the families meet, Deen and Kiran find themselves face to face. Again. Three years ago—before Amira and Faisal met—Kiran and Deen dated in secret. Until Deen ghosted Kiran.

And now, after discovering hints of Faisal’s shady past, Kiran will stop at nothing to find answers. Deen just wants his brother to be happy—and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Kiran from reaching the truth. Though the chemistry between Kiran and Deen is undeniable, can either of them take down their walls?

Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin (ISBN-13: 9781419752650 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 12-18)

A gothic YA fantasy debut about a young woman striving to break her sister’s curse and stop the killing in her small French town

Seventeen-year-old Marie mixes perfumes to sell on market day in her small eighteenth-century French town. She wants to make enough to save a dowry for her sister, Ama, in hopes of Ama marrying well and Marie living in the level of freedom afforded only to spinster aunts. But her perfumes are more than sweet scents in cheap, cut-glass bottles: A certain few are laced with death. Marie laces the perfume delicately–not with poison but with a hint of honeysuckle she’s trained her sister to respond to. Marie marks her victim, and Ama attacks. But she doesn’t attack as a girl. She kills as a beast.

Marking Ama’s victims controls the damage to keep suspicion at bay. But when a young boy turns up dead one morning, Marie is forced to acknowledge she might be losing control of Ama. And if she can’t control her, she’ll have to cure her. Marie knows the only place she’ll find the cure is in the mansion where Ama was cursed in the first place, home of Lord Sebastien LaClaire. But once she gets into the mansion, she discovers dark secrets hidden away–secrets of the curse, of Lord Sebastien . . . and of herself.

Final Season by Tim Green (ISBN-13: 9780062485953 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 8-12)

From New York Times bestselling author and former NFL player Tim Green comes a gripping, deeply personal standalone football novel about a star middle school quarterback faced with a life-changing decision after his dad is diagnosed with ALS. Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica!

With two all-star college football players for brothers and a former Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman for a father, it is only natural for sixth-grade quarterback Benjamin Redd to follow in their footsteps.

However, after his dad receives a heartbreaking ALS diagnosis—connected to all those hard hits and tackles he took on the field—Ben’s mom becomes more determined than ever to get Ben to quit football.

Ben isn’t playing just for himself though. This might be his dad’s last chance to coach. And his teammates need a quarterback that can lead them to the championships. But as Ben watches the heavy toll ALS takes on his dad’s body, he begins to question if this should be his final season after all. 

Bend in the Road by Sara Biren (ISBN-13: 9781419748738 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 09/28/2021, Ages 14-18)

A teen rock star returns home to Minnesota and finds himself falling for a local farm girl in this steamy YA romance

Seventeen-year-old Gabe’s life is a mess. His debut album—produced by his rock star dad—made him an overnight sensation, but his second album tanked, he just got dumped by his on-again, off-again girlfriend, and he’s desperate to come up with the money he needs to fix a major screwup. The only place he can be free from the paparazzi and rumors is the family farm—the farm that seventeen-year-old Juniper’s family has managed since before she was born. When Juniper learns that Gabe’s about to inherit the farm, she worries that he’ll sell it. She comes up with a plan to get close to him and stop that from happening. At first, Juniper and Gabe couldn’t be more at odds, but the more time they spend with each other, the more they grow to like each other. Can they set aside their differences to do what’s best for the farm—and each other? Or will all the drama and secrets tear them apart?

We Light Up the Sky by Lilliam Rivera (ISBN-13: 9781547603763 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 13-17)

Should you save a world that doesn’t want to save you?
Award-winning author Lilliam Rivera explores the haunting story of an alien invasion from the perspective of three Latinx teens.

Pedro, Luna, and Rafa may attend Fairfax High School together in Los Angeles, but they run in separate spheres. Pedro is often told that he’s “too much” and seeks refuge from his home life in a local drag bar. Luna is pretending to go along with the popular crowd but is still grieving the unexpected passing of her beloved cousin Tasha. Then there’s Rafa, the quiet new kid who is hiding the fact that his family is homeless.

But Pedro, Luna, and Rafa find themselves thrown together when an extraterrestrial visitor lands in their city and takes the form of Luna’s cousin Tasha. As the Visitor causes destruction wherever it goes, the three teens struggle to survive and warn others of what’s coming—because this Visitor is only the first of many. But who is their true enemy—this alien, or their fellow humans?

Pura Belpré Honor-winning author Lilliam Rivera examines the days before a War of the Worlds-inspired alien invasion in this captivating and chilling new novel.

Know Your Rights and Claim Them: A Guide for Youth by Amnesty International, Angelina Jolie, Geraldine Van Bueren (ISBN-13: 9781728449654 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 13+)

“This book is a guide for every young person who believes in a better world for all”—Malala Yousafzai

Adults are aware of their universal human rights of freedom and equality, but children often are ignorant of the rights they possess before reaching the age of majority. Enter Know Your Rights, written in partnership with Amnesty International, Angelina Jolie, and Geraldine Van Bueren.

Know Your Rights details the rights promised in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, starting with the history of child rights, and providing a clear description of the types of child rights, the young activists from around the world who fought to defend them, and how readers can stand up for their own rights.

“This is the perfect book for young people who care about the world and want to make a difference”—Greta Thunberg

Just Ash by Sol Santana (ISBN-13: 9781541599246 Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 13+)

Ashley “Ash” Bishop has always known who he is: a guy who loves soccer, has a crush on his friend Michelle, and is fascinated by the gruesome history of his hometown—Salem, Massachusetts. He’s also always known that he’s intersex, born with both male and female genitalia. But it’s never felt like a big deal until his junior year of high school, when Ash gets his first period in front of the entire boys’ soccer team. Now his friends and teachers see him differently, and his own mother thinks he should “try being a girl.” 

As tensions mount with his parents and Ash feels more and more like an outcast, he can’t help feeling a deeper kinship with his ancestor Bridget Bishop, who was executed for witchcraft. She didn’t conform to her community’s expectations either; she was different, and her neighbors felt threatened by her. And she paid the ultimate price. Ash is haunted by her last recorded words: You will keep silent.

Ash realizes that he needs to find a way to stand up for who he really is, or the cost of his silence might destroy his life, too.

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu (ISBN-13: 9780062275127 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 10/12/2021, Ages 8-12)

From the acclaimed author of The Real Boy and The Lost Girl comes a wondrous and provocative fantasy about a kingdom beset by monsters, a mysterious school, and a girl caught in between them.

If no one notices Marya Lupu, is likely because of her brother, Luka. And that’s because of what everyone knows: that Luka is destined to become a sorcerer.

The Lupus might be from a small village far from the capital city of Illyria, but that doesn’t matter. Every young boy born in in the kingdom holds the potential for the rare ability to wield magic, to protect the country from the terrifying force known only as the Dread. 

For all the hopes the family has for Luka, no one has any for Marya, who can never seem to do anything right. But even so, no one is prepared for the day that the sorcerers finally arrive to test Luka for magical ability, and Marya makes a terrible mistake. Nor the day after, when the Lupus receive a letter from a place called Dragomir Academy—a mysterious school for wayward young girls. Girls like Marya.

Soon she is a hundred miles from home, in a strange and unfamiliar place, surrounded by girls she’s never met. Dragomir Academy promises Marya and her classmates a chance to make something of themselves in service to one of the country’s powerful sorcerers. But as they learn how to fit into a world with no place for them, they begin to discover things about the magic the men of their country wield, as well as the Dread itself—things that threaten the precarious balance upon which Illyria is built.

Keeping It Real by Paula Chase (ISBN-13: 9780062965691 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 10/19/2021, Ages 8-12)

Marigold Johnson is looking forward to a future full of family, friends, and fashion—but what will she do when it all explodes in her face? When she discovers that her entire life is a lie?

Paula Chase, the author of So Done, Dough Boys, and Turning Point, explores betrayal, conformity, and forgiveness—and what it means to be family—in this stand-alone novel perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds, Rebecca Stead, and Renée Watson.

Marigold Johnson can’t wait to attend a special program at her family’s business, Flexx Unlimited, for teens who love fashion. But Mari quickly realizes that she’s out of place compared to the three other trainees—and one girl, Kara, seems to hate her on sight.

As tension builds and the stakes at the program get higher, Mari uncovers exactly why Kara’s been so spiteful. She also discovers some hard truths about herself and her family.

Paula Chase explores complex themes centering on friendships, family, and what it means to conform to fit in. Keeping It Real is also a powerful exploration of what happens when parents pick and choose what they shield their children from. Timely and memorable, Paula Chase’s character-driven story touches on creativity, art, fashion, and music. A great choice for the upper middle grade audience.

The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl (ISBN-13: 9781728228877 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 10/26/2021 Series: The Grimrose Girls #1, Ages 14-18)

Four troubled friends,
One murdered girl…
and a dark fate that may leave them all doomed.

The Descendants meets Pretty Little Liars in this story of four reimagined fairytale heroines who must uncover connections to their ancient curses and forge their own paths… before it’s too late.

After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled Ariane’s death as a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.

When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events that no one could have predicted. As the girls retrace their friend’s final days, they discover a dark secret about Grimrose—Ariane wasn’t the first dead girl.

They soon learn that all the past murders are connected to ancient fairytale curses…and that their own fates are tied to the stories, dooming the girls to brutal and gruesome endings unless they can break the cycle for good.

The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath (ISBN-13: 9781641292818 Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated Publication date: 11/02/2021, Ages 14-17)

A genre-defying debut, this queer historical YA centers a wild and reckless trio who fly in the face of small-town tradition—full of compassion, love, and determination to live the lives of their choosing.

It’s 1904 on an island just west of Norway, and Asta Hedstrom doesn’t want to marry her odious betrothed, Nils. But her mother believes she should be grateful for the possibility of any domestic future, given her single-sided deafness, unconventional appearance, and even stranger notions. Asta would rather spend her life performing in the village theater with her fellow outcasts: her best friend Gunnar Fuglestad and his secret boyfriend, wealthy Erlend Fournier. 

But the situation takes a dire turn when Nils lashes out in jealousy—gravely injuring Gunnar. Shunning marriage for good, Asta moves with Gunnar and Erlend to their secluded cabin above town. With few ties left to their families, they have one shot at gaining enough kroner to secure their way of life: win the village’s annual horse race. 

Despite Gunnar’s increasing misgivings, Asta and Erlend intend to prove this unheard-of arrangement will succeed. Asta trains as a blacksmith; Erlend cares for recovering Gunnar. But as race day approaches, the villagers’ hateful ignorance only grows stronger. With this year’s competition proving dangerous for the trio, Asta and Erlend soon find they face another equally deadly peril: the possibility of losing Gunnar, and their found family, forever.

Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes (ISBN-13: 9781547607105 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 11/02/2021 Ages 12-17)

From lauded writer David Valdes, a sharp and funny YA novel that’s Back to the Future with a twist, as a gay teen travels back to his parents’ era to save a closeted classmate’s life.

All Luis Gonzalez wants is to go to prom with his boyfriend, something his “progressive” school still doesn’t allow. Not after what happened with Chaz Wilson. But that was ages ago, when Luis’s parents were in high school; it would never happen today, right? He’s determined to find a way to give his LGBTQ friends the respect they deserve (while also not risking his chance to be prom king, just saying…).

When a hit on the head knocks him back in time to 1985 and he meets the doomed young Chaz himself, Luis concocts a new plan-he’s going to give this guy his first real kiss. Though it turns out a conservative school in the ’80s isn’t the safest place to be a gay kid. Especially with homophobes running the campus, including Gordo (aka Luis’s estranged father). Luis is in over his head, trying not to make things worse-and hoping he makes it back to present day at all.

In a story that’s fresh, intersectional, and wickedly funny, David Valdes introduces a big-mouthed, big-hearted queer character that readers won’t soon forget.

The Ballad of Dinah Caldwell by Kate Brauning (ISBN-13: 9781645673125 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 11/02/2021, Ages 14+)

Nothing is more dangerous than a girl with nothing left to lose.

Dinah Caldwell has been filling her father’s role since he abandoned their family four years ago. She and her grief-stricken mom run their subsistence farm deep in the Ozarks, making sure her younger brother never has to worry. Until the day Gabriel Gates, who owns everyone in Charlotte County, kills her mother to steal her family’s well.

Homeless, heartbroken, and alone, Dinah only has a single razor-sharp goal: revenge. And now that Gates has put a ten-thousand-dollar bounty on her head, she can’t trust anyone, but she also can’t take down the most powerful man in the mountains by herself.

Her only allies are Kara, Dinah’s best friend and secret crush, and Johnny, a young bootlegger who has as much reason to hate Gates as Dinah does. With their help and resources, and maybe even love, she can spark a revolution and set the whole county free—if their combined secrets don’t get them all killed first.

A-Okay by Jarad Greene (ISBN-13: 9780063032842 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 11/02/2021, Ages 8-12)

A-Okay by Jarad Greene is a vulnerable and heartfelt semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel about acne, identity, and finding your place.  

When Jay starts eighth grade with a few pimples he doesn’t think much of it at first…except to wonder if the embarrassing acne will disappear as quickly as it arrived. But when his acne goes from bad to worse, Jay’s prescribed a powerful medication that comes with some serious side effects. Regardless, he’s convinced it’ll all be worth it if clear skin is on the horizon!

Meanwhile, school isn’t going exactly as planned. All of Jay’s friends are in different classes; he has no one to sit with at lunch; his best friend, Brace, is avoiding him; and—to top it off—Jay doesn’t understand why he doesn’t share the same feelings two of his fellow classmates, a boy named Mark and a girl named Amy, have for him. 

Eighth grade can be tough, but Jay has to believe everything’s going to be a-okay…right?

Blame It on the Mistletoe by Beth Garrod (ISBN-13: 9781728248974 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 11/02/2021, Ages 13-18)

Tweet Cute meets the movie The Holiday in this funny holiday rom-com where two very different girls swap lives for a Christmas adventure.

Elle is a social medial star with the #DreamLife…or so it seems. Determined to shake up her content and gain new followers, she’s on a mission: can she find a British fan to swap with for Christmas?

Holly loves everything about Christmas. But after a mortifying mistletoe disaster with her ex, her perfect plans unravel like a bad Christmas sweater. Can Holly save the holidays when she switches places with favorite social media influencer?

Elle gets more than she bargained for when she meets the cute boy from across the street. And Holly wasn’t expecting Elle to have a handsome twin brother. This holiday is full of surprises.

Loveless by Alice Oseman (ISBN-13: 9781338751932 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 11/02/2021, Ages 14+)

For fans of Love, Simon and I Wish You All the Best, a funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of a girl who realizes that love can be found in many ways that don’t involve sex or romance.

From the marvelous author of Heartstopper comes an exceptional YA novel about discovering that it’s okay if you don’t have sexual or romantic feelings for anyone . . . since there are plenty of other ways to find love and connection.

This is the funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of Georgia, who doesn’t understand why she can’t crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. She’s surrounded by the narrative that dating + sex = love. It’s not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — coming to understand herself as asexual/aromantic. Disrupting the narrative that she’s been told since birth isn’t easy — there are many mistakes along the way to inviting people into a newly found articulation of an always-known part of your identity. But Georgia’s determined to get her life right, with the help of (and despite the major drama of) her friends.

The Last She by H. J. Nelson (ISBN-13: 9781989365717 Publisher: Wattpad Books Publication date: 12/07/2021, Ages 14-17)

Ara . . . I made a mistake, we all did . . . go back to the beginning . . . it’s not too late.

As the only female to survive the devastating virus, Ara hasn’t seen another human in months—not since her father disappeared. The plague has swept away humanity, and Ara’s world is desolate, haunted by the ghosts of her former life. Her mother. Her sister. 

Kaden and his crew live by a code: stay alert, stay alive. When they catch Ara stealing from them, they are furious—and confused. She is the first girl they have seen in three years. And while Kaden knows taking her captive is wrong, he tells himself he’s doing it to protect her.

But with Ara determined to follow through on her father’s mission—Go back to the beginning. End the plague—Kaden becomes mesmerized by Ara’s will and beauty. He knows he will do anything to help her, even if it tears their worlds apart.

Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray (ISBN-13: 9780063043114 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 12/14/2021 Series: Orphans of the Tide #1, Ages 8-12)

An ancient myth looms over a powerful new friendship in this debut middle grade fantasy packed with Hugo Cabret charm.

The City is the only home that Ellie has ever known. She’s always been told that there is nothing to see beyond the shores of her small, salty island.

That is, until a mysterious boy washes in with the tide, trapped inside the belly of a whale.

The citizens of the City believe he’s ruled by the Enemy—the legendary god who drowned the whole world—come again to cause untold chaos. Only Ellie believes that the boy is innocent.

To save him, Ellie must prove that he’s not who they think he is—even if that means revealing her own dangerous secret.

Fans of Wildwood and The Mysterious Benedict Society will be enthralled by this inventive and adventurous take on a modern classic.

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord (ISBN-13: 9781250783349 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 01/04/2022, Ages 12-18)

A bighearted novel about falling in love, making a mess, and learning to let go, When You Get the Chance is the next effervescent novel from Emma Lord, New York Times bestselling author of the Reese Witherspoon YA Book Club pick You Have a Match.

Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream of becoming a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super introverted dad, who raised Millie alone since she was a baby. Not her drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not her “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm. Millie needs an ally. And when an accidentally left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do—find her mom.

But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?

Edgewood: A Novel by Kristen Ciccarelli (ISBN-13: 9781250821522 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 01/18/2022, Ages 13-18)

Can love survive the dark?

No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions.

When she learns her grandfather disappeared from his nursing home, leaving only a milky orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. After searching for him almost everywhere, Emeline finally succumbs to the call of Edgewood, entering the forest she has spent years trying to escape.

Emeline finds herself in the court of the fabled Wood King himself. She makes a deal—her voice for her grandfather’s freedom. Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of a life she has worked so hard to forget.

With the help of a handsome and brooding tithe collector, a surly blacksmith, and a lost childhood friend, Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice.

Haunting and romantic, Kristen Ciccarelli’s Edgewood is an exciting novel from a bold, unforgettable voice in fantasy.

These Deadly Games by Diana Urban (ISBN-13: 9781250797193 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 02/01/2022, Ages 14-18)

Let’s play a game.

You have 24 hours to win. If you break my rules, she dies. If you call the police, she dies. If you tell your parents or anyone else, she dies.


Are you ready?

When Crystal Donavan gets a message on a mysterious app with a picture of her little sister gagged and bound, she agrees to play the kidnapper’s game. At first, they make her complete bizarre tasks: steal a test and stuff it in a locker, bake brownies, make a prank call.

But then Crystal realizes that each task is meant to hurt—and kill—her friends, one by one. But if she refuses to play, the kidnapper will kill her sister. Is someone trying to take her team out of the running for a gaming tournament? Or have they uncovered a secret from their past, and wants them to pay for what they did…

Author of All Your Twisted Secrets, Diana Urban’s explosive sophomore novel, These Deadly Games, is a must-read, propulsive YA thriller with deadly stakes, stunning twists, and a shocking ending you’ll never forget—perfect for fans of I Know What You Did Last Summer and One of Us Is Lying.

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz (ISBN-13: 9781250774156 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 02/22/2022, Ages 13-18)

Dana Schwartz’s Anatomy: A Love Story is a gothic tale full of mystery and romance.

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, Beecham will allow her to continue her medical career. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books—she’ll need corpses to study.

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets, and the dreaded Roman Fever, which wiped out thousands a few years ago, is back with a vengeance. Nobody important cares—until Hazel.

Now, Hazel and Jack must work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

Book Mail: Anthologies, graphic novels, nonfiction, and more!

It’s only in the past few weeks that all three people in my household have been vaccinated. I took a year leave from school, my son did distance learning from March of 2020 thorough this entire past school year, and my husband has been working from home this whole time too. If there is an illness to get, my body will get it. So we really have been hunkered down at home forever, with little other human interaction. I’ve always been a huge fan of mail, but in the past year-plus, it’s pretty much been the highlight of my day. If I’m lucky, the neighbor’s dog will be out and will run over to nuzzle me while I get the mail. So to say that I am thrilled to be getting so much book mail again is an understatement. I’m glad for it for the sake of books going out again, ARCs arriving again, AND for delivering something fun to me most days.

I share all of the book mail that comes in on my Twitter when it arrives, so if you’re not already doing so, hop on over there and follow me. I also give away 100% of the books I get, with giveaways every few weeks on Twitter, often only for teachers and librarians. Everything that comes into my house goes back out in some fashion to find a new reader. Many of the books I get are reviewed here at TLT as either longer, in-depth reviews or quick Post-It Note reviews. Try as I may, I cannot read everything! But I really do try!

All descriptions from the publishers.

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass (ISBN-13: 9781984812537 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 07/13/2021, Ages 12-17)

Get Out meets Holly Jackson in this YA social thriller where survival is not a guarantee.

Sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston sees dead people everywhere. But he can’t decide what’s worse: being a medium forced to watch the dead play out their last moments on a loop or being at the mercy of racist teachers as one of the few Black students at St. Clair Prep. Both are a living nightmare he wishes he could wake up from. But things at St. Clair start looking up with the arrival of another Black student—the handsome Allister—and for the first time, romance is on the horizon for Jake.

Unfortunately, life as a medium is getting worse. Though most ghosts are harmless and Jake is always happy to help them move on to the next place, Sawyer Doon wants much more from Jake. In life, Sawyer was a troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school before taking his own life. Now he’s a powerful, vengeful ghost and he has plans for Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about dead world goes out the window as Sawyer begins to haunt him. High school soon becomes a different kind of survival game—one Jake is not sure he can win.

Now You Say Yes by Bill Harley (ISBN-13: 9781682632475 Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company Publication date: 08/01/2021, Ages 10-14)

When her mother dies, fifteen-year-old Mari and is desperate to avoid being caught up in the foster system. Again. And to complicate matters, she is now the only one who can take care of her super-smart and on-the-spectrum nine-year-old stepbrother, Conor.

Is there anyone Mari can trust to help them? Certainly not her mother’s current boyfriend, Dennis. Not the doctors or her teachers, who would be obliged to call in social services. So in a desperate move, Mari takes Conor and sets out to find their estranged grandmother, hoping to throw themselves at the mercy of the only person who might take them in.

On their way to New England, the duo experiences the snarls of LA traffic, the backroads of the Midwest, and a monumental stop in Missouri where they witness the solar eclipse, an event with which Conor is obsessed. Mari also learns about the inner workings of her stepbrother’s mind and about her connections to him and to the world…and maybe even a little about her own place in it.

A beautiful exploration of identity and family, this heartwarming and engaging middle grade novel comes from renowned storyteller and two-time Grammy Award winner Bill Harley.

Accused: My Story of Injustice by Adama Bah, Dave Eggers (Editor), Zainab Nasrati (Editor), Zoe Ruiz (Editor), Amanda Uhle (Editor) (ISBN-13: 9781324016632 Publisher: Norton Young Readers Publication date: 08/03/2021 Series: I, Witness Series #1, Ages 9-12)

Launching a propulsive middle grade nonfiction series, a young woman shares her harrowing experience of being wrongly accused of terrorism.

Adama Bah grew up in East Harlem after immigrating from Conakry, Guinea, and was deeply connected to her community and the people who lived there. But as a thirteen-year-old after the events of September 11, 2001, she began experiencing discrimination and dehumanization as prejudice toward Muslim people grew. Then, on March 24, 2005, FBI agents arrested Adama and her father. Falsely accused of being a potential suicide bomber, Adama spent weeks in a detention center being questioned under suspicion of terrorism.

With sharp and engaging writing, Adama recounts the events surrounding her arrest and its impact on her life—the harassment, humiliation, and persecution she faced for crimes she didn’t commit. Accused brings forward a crucial and unparalleled first-person perspective of American culture post-9/11 and the country’s discrimination against Muslim Americans, and heralds the start of a new series of compelling narrative nonfiction by young people, for young people.

Hurricane: My Story of Resilience by Salvador Gomez-Colon, Dave Eggers (Editor), Zainab Nasrati (Editor), Zoe Ruiz (Editor), Amanda Uhle (Editor) (ISBN-13: 9781324016656 Publisher: Norton Young Readers Publication date: 08/03/2021 Series: I, Witness Series #2, Ages 9-12)

Launching a propulsive middle grade nonfiction series, a young man shares how he combated Puerto Rico’s public health emergency after Hurricane Maria.

Suffering heavy damage in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Puerto Rican communities lacked access to clean water and electricity. Salvador Gómez-Colón couldn’t ignore the basic needs of his homeland, and knew that nongovernmental organizations and larger foreign philanthropies could only do so much. With unstoppable energy and a deep knowledge of local culture, Salvador founded Light and Hope for Puerto Rico and raised more than $100,000 to purchase and distribute solar-powered lamps and hand-powered washing machines to households in need.

With a voice that is both accessible and engaging, Salvador recalls living through the catastrophic storm and grappling with the destruction it left behind. Hurricane brings forward a captivating first-person account of strength, resilience, and determination, and heralds the start of a new series of compelling narrative nonfiction by young people, for young people.

Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn (ISBN-13: 9780525515609 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 08/03/2021, Ages 12-17)

From Los Angeles Times Book Prize Award winner and Edgar Award nominee Malla Nunn comes a stunning portrait of a family divided and a powerful story of how friendship saves and heals.

When Amandla wakes up on her fifteenth birthday, she knows it’s going to be one of her mother’s difficult days. Her mother has had another vision. This one involves Amandla wearing a bedsheet loosely stitched as a dress. An outfit, her mother says, is certain to bring Amandla’s father back home, as if he were the prince and this was the fairytale ending their family was destined for. But in truth, Amandla’s father has long been gone—since before Amandla was born—and even her mother’s memory of him is hazy. In fact, many of her mother’s memories from before Amandla was born are hazy. It’s just one of the many reasons people in Sugar Town give them strange looks—that and the fact her mother is white and Amandla is Black.

When Amandla finds a mysterious address in the bottom of her mother’s handbag along with a large amount of cash, she decides it’s finally time to get answers about her mother’s life. What she discovers will change the shape and size of her family forever. But with her best friends at her side, Amandla is ready to take on family secrets and the devil himself. These Sugar Town queens are ready to take over the world to expose the hard truths of their lives.

Run: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury (Illustrator), Nate Powell (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781419730696 Publisher: ABRAMS Publication date: 08/03/2021, Ages 13-18)

First you march, then you run. From the #1 bestselling, award–winning team behind March comes the first book in their new, groundbreaking graphic novel series, Run: Book One

To John Lewis, the civil rights movement came to an end with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But that was after more than five years as one of the preeminent figures of the movement, leading sit–in protests and fighting segregation on interstate busways as an original Freedom Rider. It was after becoming chairman of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and being the youngest speaker at the March on Washington. It was after helping organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the ensuing delegate challenge at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. And after coleading the march from Selma to Montgomery on what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” All too often, the depiction of history ends with a great victory. But John Lewis knew that victories are just the beginning. In Run: Book One, John Lewis and longtime collaborator Andrew Aydin reteam with Nate Powell—the award–winning illustrator of the March trilogy—and are joined by L. Fury—making an astonishing graphic novel debut—to tell this often overlooked chapter of civil rights history.

A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert (ISBN-13: 9781635830651 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 08/03/2021, Ages 14-18)

When an assassin kills Princess Jiara’s older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla’s betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister’s place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries.

Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She’s terrified of life in a foreign land where she’ll be unable to communicate.

Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister’s assassin comes from the king’s own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla’s ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister’s killer . . . before he murders her too.

Redemptor (Raybearer Book 2) by Jordan Ifueko (ISBN-13: 9781419739842 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 08/17/2021 Series: Raybearer Series, Ages 12-18)

The hotly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestselling YA fantasy about Tarisai’s quest to change her fate

For the first time, an Empress Redemptor sits on Aritsar’s throne. To appease the sinister spirits of the dead, Tarisai must now anoint a council of her own, coming into her full power as a Raybearer. She must then descend into the Underworld, a sacrifice to end all future atrocities.

Tarisai is determined to survive. Or at least, that’s what she tells her increasingly distant circle of friends. Months into her shaky reign as empress, child spirits haunt her, demanding that she pay for past sins of the empire.

With the lives of her loved ones on the line, assassination attempts from unknown quarters, and a handsome new stranger she can’t quite trust . . . Tarisai fears the pressure may consume her. But in this finale to the Raybearer duology, Tarisai must learn whether to die for justice . . . or to live for it.

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer (ISBN-13: 9781250822956 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 08/31/2021, Ages 13-18)

Enola Holmes is back! Nancy Springer’s nationally bestselling series and breakout Netflix sensation returns to beguile readers young and old in Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche.

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman—after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’—and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know—she’d feel—if her twin had died.

The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover—or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely—and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help—from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

Enola Holmes returns in her first adventure since the hit Netflix movie brought her back on the national bestseller lists, introducing a new generation to this beloved character and series.

The Last Legacy by Adrienne Young (ISBN-13: 9781250823724 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 09/07/2021, Ages 12-18)

New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with The Last Legacy, a captivating standalone about family and blood ties, reinventing yourself, and controlling your own destiny.

When a letter from her uncle Henrik arrives on Bryn Roth’s eighteenth birthday, summoning her back to Bastian, Bryn is eager to prove herself and finally take her place in her long-lost family.

Henrik has plans for Bryn, but she must win everyone’s trust if she wants to hold any power in the delicate architecture of the family. It doesn’t take long for her to see that the Roths are entangled in shadows. Despite their growing influence in upscale Bastian, their hands are still in the kind of dirty business that got Bryn’s parents killed years ago. With a forbidden romance to contend with and dangerous work ahead, the cost of being accepted into the Roths may be more than Bryn can pay.

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora by Saraciea J. Fennell (Editor) (ISBN-13: 9781250763426 Publisher: Flatiron Books Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 12-18)

Edited by The Bronx Is Reading founder Saraciea J. Fennell and featuring an all-star cast of Latinx contributors, Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed is a ground-breaking anthology that will spark dialogue and inspire hope.

In Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, bestselling and award-winning authors as well as up-and-coming voices interrogate the different myths and stereotypes about the Latinx diaspora. These fifteen original pieces delve into everything from ghost stories and superheroes, to memories in the kitchen and travels around the world, to addiction and grief, to identity and anti-Blackness, to finding love and speaking your truth. Full of both sorrow and joy, Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed is an essential celebration of this rich and diverse community. 

The bestselling and award-winning contributors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Cristina Arreola, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Naima Coster, Natasha Diaz, Saraciea J. Fennell, Kahlil Haywood, Zakiya Jamal, Janel Martinez, Jasminne Mendez, Meg Medina, Mark Oshiro, Julian Randall, Lilliam Rivera, and Ibi Zoboi.

Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin’s Hijab by Priya Huq (ISBN-13: 9781419740190 Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 10-18)

In this middle-grade graphic novel, Nisrin will have to rely on faith, friends, and family to help her recover after she is the target of a hate crime

Nisrin is a 13-year-old Bangladeshi-American girl living in Milwaukie, Oregon, in 2002. As she nears the end of eighth grade, she gives a presentation for World Culture Day about Bangladesh while wearing a traditional cultural dress. On her way home, she is the victim of a hate crime when a man violently attacks her for wearing a headscarf.

Deeply traumatized by the experience, Nisrin spends the summer depressed and isolated. Other than weekly therapy, Nisrin doesn’t leave the house until fall arrives and it’s time for her to start freshman year at a new school. The night before class starts, Nisrin makes a decision. She tells her family she’s going to start wearing hijab, much to their dismay. Her mother and grandparent’s shocked and angry reactions confuse her—but they only strengthen her resolve.

This choice puts Nisrin on a path to not only discover more about Islam, but also her family’s complicated relationship with the religion, and the reasons they left Bangladesh in the first place. On top of everything else, she’s struggling to fit in at school—her hijab makes her a target for students and faculty alike. But with the help from old friends and new, Nisrin is starting to figure out what really makes her happy. Piece by Piece is an original graphic novel about growing up and choosing your own path, even if it leads you to a different place than you expected.

The Lost Girls: A Vampire Revenge Story by Sonia Hartl (ISBN-13: 9781645673149 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 14-17)

Getting over Your Vampire Ex is as Easy as Killing Him and Stealing His Girlfriend

Holly Liddell has been stuck with crimped hair since 1987 when she agreed to let her boyfriend, Elton, turn her into a vampire. But when he ditches her at a gas station a few decades into their eternity together, she realizes that being young forever actually means working graveyard shifts at Taco Bell, sleeping in seedy motels, and being supernaturally compelled to follow your ex from town to town—at least until Holly meets Elton’s other exes.

It seems that Holly isn’t the only girl Elton seduced into this wretched existence. He turned Ida in 1921, then Rose in 1954, and he abandoned them both before Holly was even born. Now Rose and Ida want to kill him before he can trick another girl into eternal adolescence, and they’ll need Holly’s help to do it. And once Holly starts falling for Elton’s vulnerable new conquest, Parker, she’ll do anything to save her.

To kill Elton for good, Holly and her friends will have to dig up their pasts, rob a bank, and reconcile with the people they’ve hurt in their search for eternal love. And to win the girl, Holly will have to convince Parker that she’s more than just Elton’s crazy ex—even though she is trying to kill him.

The Corpse Queen by Heather M. Herrman (ISBN-13: 9781984816702 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 12-17)

In this dark and twisty feminist historical mystery, a teenage girl starts a new life as a grave robber but quickly becomes entangled in a murderer’s plans.

Soon after her best friend Kitty mysteriously dies, orphaned seventeen-year-old Molly Green is sent away to live with her “aunt.” With no relations that she knows of, Molly assumes she has been sold as a maid for the price of an extra donation in the church orphanage’s coffers. Such a thing is not unheard of. There are only so many options for an unmarried girl in 1850s Philadelphia. Only, when Molly arrives, she discovers her aunt is very much real, exceedingly wealthy, and with secrets of her own. Secrets and wealth she intends to share—for a price.

Molly’s estranged aunt Ava, has built her empire by robbing graves and selling the corpses to medical students who need bodies to practice surgical procedures. And she wants Molly to help her procure the corpses. As Molly learns her aunt’s trade in the dead of night and explores the mansion by day, she is both horrified and deeply intrigued by the anatomy lessons held at the old church on her aunt’s property. Enigmatic Doctor LaValle’s lessons are a heady mixture of knowledge and power and Molly has never wanted anything more than to join his male-only group of students. But the cost of inclusion is steep and with a murderer loose in the city, the pursuit of power and opportunity becomes a deadly dance.

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer (ISBN-13: 9781547604661 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 13-17)

From New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer comes a blockbuster fantasy series about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down. 

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand. 

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion—it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited. 

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most—but it’s still not enough. 

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first. 

Set in a richly imaginative world with striking similarities to our own, Brigid Kemmerer’s captivating new series is about those with power and those without . . . and what happens when someone is brave enough to imagine a new future.

The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis (ISBN-13: 9781547606375 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 8-11)

Perfect for fans of Robert Beatty and Shannon Hale comes a magical new middle grade fantasy series about a young shapeshifter trying to save her family.

Deep within an enchanted forest lies a castle where a set of triplets and their sorceress mother have lived for years—safe from the decades-long war for the Raven Throne that rages in the kingdom. Cordelia, one of the triplets, has the power to become any animal with just a thought, and she yearns to discover more about the world outside her castle.

But one day, the world comes to her, when the eldest of the triplets becomes the newest heir to the throne. Knowing that being named heir means certain death, Cordelia’s mother hid the truth about which child is the eldest when she hid them in the forest. When her family is captured, it’s up to Cordelia to use her powers to keep her siblings hidden and discover the truth about the Raven Heir—before it’s too late.

From the author of The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart comes a thrilling new fantasy full of magic, adventure, and the power of family.

To Break a Covenant by Alison Ames (ISBN-13: 9781645672067 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 09/21/2021, Ages 14-17)

Debut voice Alison Ames delivers with a chilling, feminist thriller, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls and Sawkill Girls.

Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. But life in New Basin is just as fraught. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there.

Clem and Nina form a perfect loop—best friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomena—sleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.

The Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider (ISBN-13: 9780593351024 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/21/2021 Series: Emry Merlin #1, Ages 14-17)

Channeling the modern humor of A Knight’s Tale, bestselling author Robyn Schneider creates a Camelot that becomes the ultimate teen rom-com hotspot in this ultra-fresh take on the Arthurian legend. 

Welcome to the great kingdom of Camelot! Prince Arthur’s a depressed botanist who would rather marry a library than a princess, Lancelot’s been demoted to castle guard after a terrible lie, and Emry Merlin has arrived at the castle disguised as her twin brother since girls can’t practice magic.

Life at court is full of scandals, lies, and backstabbing courtiers, so what’s a casually bisexual teen wizard masquerading as a boy to do? Other than fall for the handsome prince, stir up trouble with the foppish Lord Gawain, and offend the prissy Princess Guinevere.

When the truth comes out with disastrous consequences, Emry has to decide whether she’ll risk everything for the boy she loves, or give up her potential to become the greatest wizard Camelot has ever known.

The Insiders by Mark Oshiro (ISBN-13: 9780063008106 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/21/2021, Ages 8-12)

Three kids who don’t belong. A room that shouldn’t exist. A year that will change everything.

Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Meg Medina, this debut middle grade novel from award-winning author Mark Oshiro is a hopeful and heartfelt coming-of-age story for anyone who’s ever felt like they didn’t fit in.

San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home, being gay didn’t mean feeling different. At Héctor’s new school, he couldn’t feel more alone.

Most days, Héctor just wishes he could disappear. And he does. Right into the janitor’s closet. (Yes, he sees the irony.) But one day, when the door closes behind him, Héctor discovers he’s stumbled into a room that shouldn’t be possible. A room that connects him with two new friends from different corners of the country—and opens the door to a life-changing year full of magic, friendship, and adventure.

As If on Cue by Marisa Kanter (ISBN-13: 9781534445802 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date: 09/21/2021, Ages 12-18)

A pair of fierce foes are forced to work together to save the arts at their school in this swoony YA enemies-to-lovers romance that fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson are sure to adore.

Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s fighting to direct the school’s first ever student-written play, but for her small production to get funding, the school’s award-winning band will have to lose it. Reid’s band. And he’s got no intention of letting the show go on.

But when their rivalry turns into an all-out prank war that goes too far, Natalie and Reid have to face the music, resulting in the worst compromise: writing and directing a musical. Together. At least if they deliver a sold-out show, the school board will reconsider next year’s band and theater budget. Everyone could win.

Except Natalie and Reid.

Because after spending their entire lives in competition, they have absolutely no idea how to be co-anything. And they certainly don’t know how to deal with the feelings that are inexplicably, weirdly, definitely developing between them…

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber (ISBN-13: 9781250268396 Publisher: Flatiron Books Publication date: 09/28/2021 Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #1, Ages 13-18)

Once Upon a Broken Heart marks the launch of a new series about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after from Stephanie Garber, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another. 

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game — and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

Drawn That Way by Elissa Sussman, Arielle Jovellanos (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781534492974 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date: 09/28/2021, Ages 12-18)

Moxie meets the world of animation in this fresh, unputdownable novel about a teen girl determined to prove herself in the boys’ club of her dream industry no matter what it takes.

Hayley Saffitz is confident, ambitious, and intent on following in the footsteps of her hero, renowned animation director, Bryan Beckett. When she’s given a spot in his once-in-a-lifetime summer program, Hayley devises a plan: snag one of the internship’s coveted directing opportunities. Dazzle Bryan with her talent. Secure a job post-graduation. Live her dream.

Except she doesn’t land one of the director positions. All of those go to boys. And one of them is Bryan’s son, Bear.

Despite Bear’s obvious apathy for the internship, Hayley soon realizes that there’s more to him than she expected. As they work together, the animosity between them thaws into undeniable chemistry and maybe something… more.

But Hayley can’t stop thinking about the chance she was refused.

Determined to make a name for herself, Hayley recruits the five other young women in the program to develop their own short to sneak into the film festival at the end of the summer. As the internship winds down, however, one question remains: Will Hayley conform to the expectations of her idol, or will she risk her blossoming relationship with Bear—and her future—to prove that she’s exactly as talented as she thinks she is?

Tonight We Rule the World by Zack Smedley (ISBN-13: 9781645673323 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 10/05/2021, Ages 14-17)

From the critically acclaimed author of Deposing Nathan comes an explosive examination of identity, voice, and the indelible ways our stories are rewritten by others.

In the beginning, Owen’s story was blank . . . then he was befriended by Lily, the aspiring author who helped him find his voice. Together, the two have spent years navigating first love and amassing an inseparable friend group. But all of it is upended one day when his school’s administration learns Owen’s secret: that he was sexually assaulted by a classmate.

In the ensuing investigation, everyone scrambles to hold their worlds together. 

Owen, still wrestling with his self-destructive thoughts and choices. 

His father, a mission-driven military vet ready to start a war to find his son’s attacker. 

The school bureaucrats, who seem most concerned with kowtowing to the local media attention. 

And Lily, who can’t learn that Owen is the mystery victim everyone is talking about . . . because once she does, it will set off a chain of events that will change their lives forever.

Heartbreaking and hopeful, this is a coming-of-age story that explores how we rebuild after the world comes crumbling down.

Frankie & Bug by Gayle Forman (ISBN-13: 9781534482531 Publisher: Aladdin Publication date: 10/12/2021, Ages 8-12)

In the debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Gayle Forman comes a poignant and powerful coming-of-age story that follows a young girl and her new friend as they learn about family, friendship, allyship, and finding your way in a complicated world.

It’s the summer of 1987, and all ten-year-old Bug wants to do is go to the beach with her older brother and hang out with the locals on the boardwalk. But Danny wants to be with his own friends, and Bug’s mom is too busy, so Bug is stuck with their neighbor Philip’s nephew, Frankie.

Bug’s not too excited about hanging out with a kid she’s never met, but they soon find some common ground. And as the summer unfolds, they find themselves learning some important lessons about each other, and the world.

Like what it means to be your true self and how to be a good ally for others. That family can be the people you’re related to, but also the people you choose to have around you. And that even though life isn’t always fair, we can all do our part to make it more just.

Hunting by Stars: (A Marrow Thieves Novel) by Cherie Dimaline (ISBN-13: 978-1-64700-247-3 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 10/19/2021, Ages 12-17)

From the acclaimed author of The Marrow Thieves comes a thrilling new story about hope and survival that New York Times bestselling author Angeline Boulley called “a revelatory must-read”

Years ago, when plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up—or are re-opened—across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams.

Seventeen-year-old French lost his family to these schools and has spent the years since heading north with his new found family: a group of other dreamers, who, like him, are trying to build and thrive as a community. But then French wakes up in a pitch-black room, locked in and alone for the first time in years, and he knows immediately where he is—and what it will take to escape.

Meanwhile, out in the world, his found family searches for him and dodges new dangers—school Recruiters, a blood cult, even the land itself. When their paths finally collide, French must decide how far he is willing to go—and how many loved ones is he willing to betray—in order to survive. This engrossing, action-packed, deftly-drawn novel expands on the world of Cherie Dimaline’s award-winning The Marrow Thieves, and it will haunt readers long after they’ve turned the final page.

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales, Cale Dietrich (ISBN-13: 9781250805805 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 12/07/2021, Ages 13-18)

Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich’s “If This Gets Out is an absolute showstopper! Equal parts edgy and adorable, this bright, joyful book has everything I look for in a queer YA romance.” —Phil Stamper, bestselling author of The Gravity of Us

Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressures of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet.

On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to truly realize that they will never have the support of their management. How can they hold tight to each other when the whole world seems to want to come between them?

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long (ISBN-13: 9781250785060 Publisher: St. Martin’s Publishing Group Publication date: 01/11/2022, Ages 12-18)

Meg Long’s Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves is a captivating debut about survival, found family, and the bond between a girl and a wolf that delivers a fresh twist on classic survival stories and frontier myths. 

On a frozen wasteland of a planet, a girl is on the run with a wolf who is born to be a killer but bound to be her guide. As they fight to escape ice goblins, giant bears, and a ruthless leader intent on trapping them both, one question drives them relentlessly forward: where do you turn when there is nowhere to hide?

Post-It Note Reviews: Friendship, ghosts, true stories, late-night adventures, and more!

Post-it Note Reviews are a great way to display books in your library or classroom, a way to let kids recommend their favorite titles without having to get up in front of everyone and do a book talk, and an easy way to offer a more personal recommendation than just the flap copy offers.

Frequent blog readers may have noticed I’m doing a lot more post-it-style reviews and less longer, individual review posts. Partially this is because my way of coping with the many upsetting pieces of the past year has been to drown myself in reading, so I’m burning through so many more books and want to share them, in some form, here. It’s been so hard for authors to be able to promote their books, through things like release parties or festivals or other events, and I want to share as many books as I can particularly these days to help them get the exposure they deserve.

All descriptions from the publishers. Transcriptions of the Post-It notes are below each description.

Pawcasso by Remy Lai (ISBN-13: 9781250774491 Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) Publication date: 05/25/2021, Ages 8-12)

Remy Lai, the award-winning creator of Pie in the Sky makes her middle-grade graphic novel debut, Pawcasso, about the unexpected friendship between the loneliest girl in class and the coolest canine in town.

Every Saturday, Pawcasso trots into town with a basket, a shopping list, and cash in paw to buy groceries for his family. One day, he passes eleven-year-old Jo, peering out the window of her house, bored and lonely. Astonished by the sight of an adorable basket-toting dog on his own, Jo follows Pawcasso, and when she’s seen alongside him by a group of kids from her school, they mistake her for Pawcasso’s owner. 

Excited to make new friends, Jo reluctantly hides the truth and agrees to let “her” dog model for an art class the kids attend. What could go wrong? But what starts as a Chihuahua-sized lie quickly grows Great Dane-sized when animal control receives complaints about a dog roaming the streets off-leash. With Pawcasso’s freedom at stake, is Jo willing to spill the truth and risk her new friendships?

(POST-IT SAYS: A great dog book AND a great friendship book. Jo, who is also angry and sad about how often her dad is gone for work, learns so much about friendship and community with the help of good dog Pawcasso.)

Metropolis Grove by Drew Brockington (ISBN-13: 9781779500533 Publisher: DC Comics Publication date: 05/04/2021, Ages 8-12)

Look, up in the sky!

The big city is full of Superman sightings, but here in Metropolis Grove? Every kid in this suburb knows that he’s not real…except newcomer Sonia Patel. She’d hoped that having a full summer in her new house would let her make some friends before school started, and it’s working! 

But if new pals Duncan and Alex don’t believe in a superhero she’s seen with her very own two eyes, will the school year be everything Sonia’s hoping for? Or will all her lonely fears be realized instead? Maybe she just needs to introduce her new friends to the super-strong, super-powered man who lives in the cave with all the super-memorabilia. 

Drew Brockington sends this trio into a school year full of drama and adventure…and more than a few opportunities for a newfound friendship to test its limits.

(POST-IT SAYS: Really fun fast-paced story with bright, appealing art. The 3 friends have lots of fun working on their fort and exploring the woods. Sonia’s efforts to “train” Bizarro are hilarious.)

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff (ISBN-13: 9780593111154 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/20/2021, Ages 10-12)

A haunting ghost story about navigating grief, growing up, and growing into a new gender identity

It’s the summer before middle school and eleven-year-old Bug’s best friend Moira has decided the two of them need to use the next few months to prepare. For Moira, this means figuring out the right clothes to wear, learning how to put on makeup, and deciding which boys are cuter in their yearbook photos than in real life. But none of this is all that appealing to Bug, who doesn’t particularly want to spend more time trying to understand how to be a girl. Besides, there’s something more important to worry about: A ghost is haunting Bug’s eerie old house in rural Vermont…and maybe haunting Bug in particular. As Bug begins to untangle the mystery of who this ghost is and what they’re trying to say, an altogether different truth comes to light—Bug is transgender.

(POST-IT SAYS: What a lovely, heartfelt, affirming story. As much about grief and friendship as it is about coming out as trans. An essential read—the acceptance, hope, and love highlight the joy in being your true self.)

Trillium Sisters 1: The Triplets Get Charmed by Laura Brown, Elly Kramer, Sarah Mensinga (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781645950158 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 06/01/2021 Series: Trillium Sisters, Ages 7-9)

Three sisters discover that they and their pets have superpowers they can use to protect the world around them in the first book in a fantastical new chapter book series about family, friendship, and environmental responsibility perfect for fans of Mia Mayhem and The Wish Fairy.

Nothing can stop this triple team!

Eight-year-old triplets Emmy, Clare, and Giselle are excited to celebrate Founding Day, the day their dad found them and they became a family. The girls want this year’s celebration to be extra special. And Dad has a big sur¬prise—trillium petal charms that he found with the girls. 

But when the girls’ little brother, Zee, slips into the river while helping them plan a special surprise, something magical happens: The charms are drawn together, forming a glowing flower, and the girls suddenly have super¬powers! Channeling their new abilities, they work together to try to save Zee, but will they be able to figure out how to help in time?

(POST-IT SAYS: Young readers who like the outdoors, cute animals, and magic will enjoy this cheerful, undemanding series. Large print and lots of art make for a fast read.)

Accused: My Story of Injustice by Adama Bah, Dave Eggers (Editor), Zainab Nasrati (Editor), Zoe Ruiz (Editor), Amanda Uhle (Editor) (ISBN-13: 9781324016632 Publisher: Norton Young Readers Publication date: 08/03/2021 Series: I, Witness Series #1, Ages 9-12)

Launching a propulsive middle grade nonfiction series, a young woman shares her harrowing experience of being wrongly accused of terrorism.

Adama Bah grew up in East Harlem after immigrating from Conakry, Guinea, and was deeply connected to her community and the people who lived there. But as a thirteen-year-old after the events of September 11, 2001, she began experiencing discrimination and dehumanization as prejudice toward Muslim people grew. Then, on March 24, 2005, FBI agents arrested Adama and her father. Falsely accused of being a potential suicide bomber, Adama spent weeks in a detention center being questioned under suspicion of terrorism.

With sharp and engaging writing, Adama recounts the events surrounding her arrest and its impact on her life—the harassment, humiliation, and persecution she faced for crimes she didn’t commit. Accusedbrings forward a crucial and unparalleled first-person perspective of American culture post-9/11 and the country’s discrimination against Muslim Americans, and heralds the start of a new series of compelling narrative nonfiction by young people, for young people.

(POST-IT SAYS: Unsurprisingly, a very upsetting look at Islamophobia, detainment, bravery, and perseverance. Told in a simple, straight-forward, effective way. Publisher suggests 9-12 for audience, but I’d say 11-14.)

Hurricane: My Story of Resilience by Salvador Gomez-Colon, Dave Eggers (Editor), Zainab Nasrati (Editor), Zoe Ruiz (Editor), Amanda Uhle (Editor) (ISBN-13: 9781324016656 Publisher: Norton Young Readers Publication date: 08/03/2021 Series: I, Witness Series #2, Ages 9-12)

Launching a propulsive middle grade nonfiction series, a young man shares how he combated Puerto Rico’s public health emergency after Hurricane Maria.

Suffering heavy damage in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Puerto Rican communities lacked access to clean water and electricity. Salvador Gómez-Colón couldn’t ignore the basic needs of his homeland, and knew that nongovernmental organizations and larger foreign philanthropies could only do so much. With unstoppable energy and a deep knowledge of local culture, Salvador founded Light and Hope for Puerto Rico and raised more than $100,000 to purchase and distribute solar-powered lamps and hand-powered washing machines to households in need.

With a voice that is both accessible and engaging, Salvador recalls living through the catastrophic storm and grappling with the destruction it left behind. Hurricane brings forward a captivating first-person account of strength, resilience, and determination, and heralds the start of a new series of compelling narrative nonfiction by young people, for young people.

(POST-IT SAYS: A harrowing look at living through a hurricane and the aftermath. The author’s activism to raise money to help people around him is inspirational. This compelling read would be made even more so if photos had been included.)

Up All Night: 13 Stories between Sunset and Sunrise by Laura Silverman (Editor) (ISBN-13: 9781643750415 Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill Publication date: 07/13/2021, Ages 12-18)

When everyone else goes to bed, the ones who stay up feel like they’re the only people in the world. As the hours tick by deeper into the night, the familiar drops away and the unfamiliar beckons. Adults are asleep, and a hush falls over the hum of daily life. Anything is possible.

It’s a time for romance and adventure. For prom night and ghost hunts. It’s a time for breaking up, for falling in love—for finding yourself.

Stay up all night with these thirteen short stories from bestselling and award-winning YA authors like Karen McManus, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nina LaCour, and Brandy Colbert, as they take readers deep into these rarely seen, magical hours.

Full contributor list: Brandy Colbert, Kathleen Glasgow, Maurene Goo, Tiffany D. Jackson, Amanda Joy, Nina LaCour, Karen M. McManus, Anna Meriano, Marieke Nijkamp, Laura Silverman, Kayla Whaley, Julian Winters, Francesca Zappia.

(POST-IT SAYS: Fun anthology! Mix of genres, identities, and late night hijinks. Games, storms, bonfires, homes, dance, rooftops, and more are settings for these stories of what teens get up to at night.)

The History of Western Art in Comics Part One: From Prehistory to the Renaissance by Marion Augustin, Bruno Heitz (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9780823446469 Publisher: Holiday House Publication date: 07/20/2021, Ages 10+)

Learning about art through the ages has never been as interesting or fun as in this humorous and very informative graphic novel.

As two kids give their grandpa a tour of Paris, he starts an interesting conversation with them—about where all the art they see in their lives—from the movie house to the stadiums to museums and even the subway— started. Dad’s impromptu history lesson goes back to the first Cavemen drawings to the pyramids of Giza, and by the end of the book includes Greco-Roman feats of ingenuity and the frescoes of the Renaissance. Recounted as a narrative about why different civilizations created different kinds of art, centuries of art history are explored entertainingly for young readers. Iconic works, such as Donatello’s David and The Book of Kells, are included as well as architectural feats like the Colosseum. 

Written by a tour guide for museums and historic landmarks, the text is designed to entertain (with many funny asides and jokes) as it informs. The illustrations accurately portray the art and the artists described, with flavor and humor added to keep readers turning the page. Reproductions of the featured artworks and information about each piece are included in the back, along with a glossary of terms.

(POST-IT SAYS: Absolutely crammed with art and information. A deep exploration of history, technique, meaning, significance, style, and influences. Educational and entertaining. A great, if slightly overwhelming, look at art in context.)