Bookmail – February 1, 2022

Happy bookmail day! Here’s what came in recently. Thanks to the publishers who sent advanced reader copies.

Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate – Disney-Hyperion; April 5, 2022

The year is 2072. Soon a volcanic eruption will trigger catastrophic devastation, and the only way out is up.

While the world’s leaders, scientists, and engineers oversee the frantic production of a space fleet meant to save humankind, their children are brought in for a weekend of touring the Lazarus, a high-tech prototype spaceship. But when the apocalypse arrives months ahead of schedule, First Daughter Leigh Chen and a handful of teens from the tour are the only ones to escape the planet. This is the new world: a starship loaded with a catalog of human artifacts, a frozen menagerie of animal DNA, and fifty-three terrified survivors. From the panic arises a coalition of leaders, spearheaded by the pilot’s enigmatic daughter, Eli, who takes the wheel in their hunt for a habitable planet. But as isolation presses in, their uneasy peace begins to fracture. The struggle for control will mean the difference between survival and oblivion, and Leigh must decide whether to stand on the side of the mission or of her own humanity.

With aching poignancy and tense, heart-in-your-mouth action, this enthralling saga will stay with readers long after the final page.

Coming Back by Jessi Zabarsky – Random House Graphic; January 18, 2022

Preet is magic.

Valissa is not.

Everyone in their village has magic in their bones, and Preet is the strongest of them all. Without any power of her own, how can Valissa ever be worthy of Preet’s love? When their home is attacked, Valissa has a chance to prove herself, but that means leaving Preet behind. On her own for the first time, Preet breaks the village’s most sacred laws and is rejected from the only home she’s ever known and sent into a new world.

Divided by different paths, insecurities, and distance, will Valissa and Preet be able to find their way back to each other?

A beautiful story of two young women who are so focused on proving they’re meant to be together that they end up hurting each other in the process. This gorgeous graphic novel is an LGTBQ+ romance about young love and how it can grow into something strong no matter what obstacles get in the way.

Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor – Scholastic Press; February 1, 2022

With only a drop of flare, one can light the night sky with fireworks . . . or burn a building to the ground — and seventeen-year-old Ingrid Ellis wants her fair share.

Ingrid doesn’t have a family fortune, monetary or magical, but at least she has a plan: Rise to the top on the arm of Linden Holt, heir to a hefty political legacy and the largest fortune of flare in all of Candesce. Her only obstacle is Linden’s father who refuses to acknowledge her.

So when Senator Holt announces his run for president, Ingrid uses the situation to her advantage. She strikes a deal to spy on the senator’s opposition in exchange for his approval and the status she so desperately craves. But the longer Ingrid wears two masks, the more she questions where her true allegiances lie.

Will she stand with the Holts, or will she forge her own path?

The Floating Girls by Lo Patrick – Sourcebooks Landmark; July 12, 2022

The backwaters of Georgia hold many buried secrets. But they won’t stay buried forever.

One hot, sticky summer in Bledsoe, Georgia, twelve-year-old Kay Whitaker stumbles across a stilt house in a neighboring marsh and upon Andy Webber, a boy about her age. He and his father have recently moved back to Georgia from California, and rumors of the suspicious drowning death of Andy’s mother years earlier have chased them there and back.

Kay is fascinated and enamored with Andy, and she doesn’t listen when her father tells her to stay away from the Webbers. But when Kay’s sister goes missing, the mystery of Mrs. Webber’s death—and Kay’s parents’ potential role in it—comes to light. Kay and her brothers must navigate the layers of secrets that emerge in the course of the investigation as their family, and the world as they knew it, unravels around them.

At once wickedly funny and heartbreaking, it is an immersive coming-of-age story narrated by a feisty, smart, yet undeniably vulnerable girl reminiscent of a modern-day Scout Finch—a character who will live in readers’ hearts for a long time to come.

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala – PUSH; August 8, 2022 

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.

How Do I Un-Remember This?: Unfortunately True Stories by Danny Pellegrino – Sourcebooks; March 8, 2022

Think of the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you. Was it the time your high school cheer squad taunted you in front of the entire town? Was it the time your best friend’s mom caught you streaking in all your naked, self-conscious glory? What about the time you accidentally threw a tooth at your dry cleaner or took an urn into Kohl’s for some holiday shopping?

For Danny Pellegrino, the answer is all of the above.

Growing up as a closeted gay kid in small-town Ohio wasn’t easy, and Danny has the stories to prove it. But coming of age in the 90s still meant something magical to Danny. The music, film, and celebrity moments of his youth were truly iconic, and his love for all things pop culture connected him to a world larger than the one he knew in the suburban Midwest. And through all the pains of growing up, Danny could always look to that world for hope—whether that meant bingeing The Nanny until he had the confidence of Fran Fine, belting out Brandy songs until his heartaches were healed, or watching semi-clothed Ryan Phillippe scenes until his cheeks burned from blushing.

With refreshing honesty and jaw-dropping absurdity, Danny invites readers to experience his most formative moments in life—from his hometown in Ohio to his hit podcast and career in entertainment today. How Do I Un-Remember This? is an unfiltered and all-too-relatable glimpse into Danny’s life and the heartfelt and hilarious moments that shaped it. Although he wouldn’t change them for the world, these stories are—unfortunately—true.

Inheritance by Ridley Pearson (Kingdom Keepers #1) – Disney-Hyperion; March 8, 2022

In the near future, in the Epcot of Walt Disney’s imagination, sixty thousand people live in a CommuniTree surrounding the forward-looking Walt Disney World theme park. Five unique families are among the residents–and some of the parents were once known as the Kingdom Keepers. Their identities are carefully guarded in order to raise their children without special treatment, most of the Kingdom Keepers work for the Walt Disney Company, and have settled into “ordinary” and rewarding lives.When a messenger carrying a secret communication from Villains Park in Hong Kong coincides with both a solar eclipse and Eli Whitman’s thirteenth birthday–a few “ordinary” kids are thrust into a battle to save Epcot and find their friend who has mysteriously disappeared.With their friend missing and their parents acting strangely, the Kingdom Kids discover they are in possession of unusual powers as they forge a bond to rescue their friend and uncover the truth about how real magic has entered their lives.

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark – Sourcebooks Landmark; June 21, 2022

Meg Williams. Maggie Littleton. Melody Wilde. Different names for the same person, depending on the town, depending on the job. She’s a con artist who erases herself to become whoever you need her to be–a college student. A life coach. A real estate agent. Nothing about her is real. She slides alongside you and tells you exactly what you need to hear, and by the time she’s done, you’ve likely lost everything.

Kat Roberts has been waiting ten years for the woman who upended her life to return. And now that she has, Kat is determined to be the one to expose her. But as the two women grow closer, Kat’s long-held assumptions begin to crumble, leaving Kat to wonder who Meg’s true target is.

The Lies I Tell is a twisted domestic thriller that dives deep into the psyches and motivations of two women and their unwavering quest to seek justice for the past and rewrite the future.

Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky – Sourcebooks Casablanca; May 3, 2022

Wren Roland has never been kissed, but he wants that movie-perfect ending more than anything. Feeling nostalgic on the eve of his birthday, he sends emails to all the boys he (ahem) loved before he came out. Morning brings the inevitable Oh God What Did I Do?, but he brushes that panic aside. Why stress about it? None of his could-have-beens are actually going to read the emails, much less respond. Right?

Enter Derick Haverford, Wren’s #1 pre-coming-out-crush and his drive-in theater’s new social media intern. Everyone claims he’s coasting on cinematic good looks and his father’s connections, but Wren has always known there’s much more to Derick than meets the eye. Too bad he doesn’t feel the same way about the infamous almost-kiss that once rocked Wren’s world.

Whatever. Wren’s no longer a closeted teenager; he can survive this. But as their hazy summer becomes consumed with a special project that may just save the struggling drive-in for good, Wren and Derick are drawn ever-closer…and maybe, finally, Wren’s dream of a perfect-kiss-before-the-credits is within reach.

Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel by Ibi Zoboi – Marvel Press; March 22, 2022

Before she became a multifaceted warrior and the confident leader of the Dora Milaje, Okoye was adjusting to her new life and attempting to find her place in Wakanda’s royal guard. Initially excited to receive an assignment for her very first mission and trip outside Wakanda, Okoye discovers that her status as a Dora Milaje means nothing to New Yorkers.

When she meets teenagers not much younger than herself struggling with the gentrification of their beloved Brooklyn neighborhood, her expectations for the world outside her own quickly fall apart. As she gets to know the young people of Brownsville, Okoye uncovers the truth about the plans of a manipulative real-estate mogul pulling all the strings―and how far-reaching those secret plans really are.

Caught between fulfilling her duty to her country and listening to her own heart urging her to stand up for Brownsville, Okoye must determine the type of Dora Milaje―and woman―she wants to be.

In this fish-out-of-water story, New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi combines the high-stakes adventure of the world of the Black Panther with the grounded and real-world challenges that bring her work to life.

The Quarter Storm by Veronica G. Henry (Mambo Reina #1) – 47North; March 1, 2022

Haitian-American Vodou priestess Mambo Reina Dumond runs a healing practice from her New Orleans home. Gifted with water magic since she was a child, Reina is devoted to the benevolent traditions of her ancestors.

After a ritual slaying in the French Quarter, police arrest a fellow vodouisant. Detective Roman Frost, Reina’s ex-boyfriend–a fierce nonbeliever–is eager to tie the crime, and half a dozen others, to the Vodou practitioners of New Orleans. Reina resolves to find the real killer and defend the Vodou practice and customs, but the motives behind the murder are deeper and darker than she imagines.

As Reina delves into the city’s shadows, she untangles more than just the truth behind a devious crime. It’s a conspiracy. As a killer wields dangerous magic to thwart Reina’s investigation, she must tap into the strength of her own power and faith to solve a mystery that threatens to destroy her entire way of life.

The Surgeon’s Daughter by Audrey Blake – Sourcebooks Landmark; May 10, 2022

Women’s work is a matter of life and death.

Nora Beady, the only female student at a prestigious medical school in Bologna, is a rarity. In the 19th century women are expected to remain at home and raise children, so her unconventional, indelicate ambitions to become a licensed surgeon offend the men around her.

Everything changes when she allies herself with Magdalena Morenco, the sole female doctor on-staff. Together the two women develop new techniques to improve a groundbreaking surgery: the Cesarean section. It’s a highly dangerous procedure and the research is grueling, but even worse is the vitriolic response from men. Most don’t trust the findings of women, and many can choose to deny their wives medical care.

Already facing resistance on all sides, Nora is shaken when she meets a patient who will die without the surgery. If the procedure is successful, her work could change the world. But a failure could cost everything: precious lives, Nora’s career, and the role women will be allowed to play in medicine.

They Drown Our Daughters by Katrina Monroe – Poisoned Pen Press; July 12, 2022

They say Cape Disappointment is haunted. That’s why tourists used to flock there in droves. They’d visit the rocky shoreline under the old lighthouse’s watchful eye and fish shells from the water as they pretended to spot dark shapes in the surf. Now the tourists are long gone, and when Meredith Strand and her young daughter return to Meredith’s childhood home after an acrimonious split from her wife, the Cape seems more haunted by regret than any malevolent force.

But her mother, suffering from early stages of Alzheimer’s, is convinced the ghost stories are real. Not only is there something in the water, but it’s watching them. Waiting for them. Reaching out to Meredith’s daughter the way it has to every woman in their line for generations―and if Meredith isn’t careful, all three women, bound by blood and heartbreak, will be lost one by one to the ocean’s mournful call.

The Unplanned Life of Josie Hale by Stephanie Eding – Sourcebooks Casablanca; May 3, 2022

When Josie discovers that she’s unexpectedly pregnant with her ex-husband’s baby (darn that last attempt to save their marriage), she seeks comfort in deep-fried food at the county fair. There she runs into her two old friends, Ben and Kevin. While sharing their own disappointments with adult life, they devise a plan to move in together and turn their lives around. Soon Ben and Kevin make it their mission to prepare for Josie’s baby, not least by making sure Josie always has the food she’s craving. Maybe all together they can discover the true meaning of family and second chances in life…

Welcome to the Creature Café by Jennifer Castle (The Aristokittens #1) – Disney Press; April 19, 2022

Meet the Aristokittens, a trio of siblings with big (and delicious) plans! One day, while chasing each other through the streets of Paris, Marie, Berlioz, and Toulouse uncover an abandoned café made just for animals. After hearing stories of the café’s wondrous past, the kittens decide to reopen the place themselves. But the trio can’t agree on the menu, music, and decorations. With opening day creeping closer, can the kittens avoid a total catastrophe and create the purrfect recipe for success?

Filled with mystery, humor, and friendship, each book in the Aristokittens series expands the world of Disney’s The Aristocats through the eyes of its iconic kitten trio . . . and is the perfect recipe for fun!

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