Happy bookmail day! Here’s what came in recently.
Daughters of Oduma by Moses Ose Utomi — Atheneum Books for Young Readers; February 7, 2023
An elite female fighter must reenter the competition to protect her found family of younger sisters in this scintillating young adult fantasy inspired by West African culture, perfect for fans of The Gilded Ones and Creed.
Eat. Dance. Fight.
This is the life of the girls who compete in the Isle’s elite, all-female fighting sport of Bowing. But it isn’t really Dirt’s life anymore. At sixteen, she is old and has retired from competition. Instead, she spends her days coaching the younger sisters of the Mud Fam and dreading her fast-approaching birthday, when she’ll have to leave her sisters to fulfill whatever destiny the Gods choose for her.
Dirt’s young sisters are coming along nicely, and the Mud Fam is sure to win the upcoming South God Bow tournament, which is crucial: the tiny Fam needs the new recruits that come with victory. Then an attack from a powerful rival leaves the Mud without their top Bower, and Dirt is the only one who can compete in the tournament. But Dirt is old, out of shape, and afraid. She has never wanted to be a leader. Victory seems impossible–yet defeat would mean the end of her beloved Fam. And no way is Dirt going to let that happen.
I Will Find You Again by Sarah Lyu — Simon & Schuster BYR; March 14, 2023
All the Bright Places meets Ace of Spades in this smart, twisty teen thriller about a girl who can’t stop pushing herself to be the best–even after losing her best friend and the love of her life.
Welcome to Meadowlark, Long Island–expensive homes and good schools, ambition and loneliness. Meet Chase Ohara and Lia Vestiano: the driven overachiever and the impulsive wanderer, the future CEO and the free spirit. Best friends for years–weekend trips to Montauk, sleepovers on a yacht–and then, first love. True love.
But when Lia disappears, Chase’s life turns into a series of grim snapshots. Anger. Grief. Running. Pink pills in an Altoids tin. A cheating ring at school. Heartbreak and lies. A catastrophic secret.
And the shocking truth that will change everything about the way Chase sees Lia–and herself.
I’ll Stop the World by Lauren Thoman — Mindy’s Book Studio; April 1, 2023
The end and the beginning become one in a heart-pounding coming-of-age mystery about the power of friendship, fate, and inexplicable second chances.
Is it the right place at the wrong time? Or the wrong place at the right time?
Trapped in a dead-end town, Justin Warren has had his life defined by the suspicious deaths of his grandparents. The unsolved crime happened long before Justin was born, but the ripple effects are still felt after thirty-eight years. Justin always knew he wouldn’t have much of a future. He just never imagined that his life might take him backward.
In a cosmic twist of fate, Justin’s choices send him crashing into the path of determined optimist Rose Yin. Justin and Rose live in the same town and attend the same school, but have never met–because Rose lives in 1985. Justin won’t be born for another twenty years. And his grandparents are still alive–for now.
In a series of events that reverberate through multiple lifetimes, Justin and Rose have a week to get Justin unstuck in time and put each of them in control of their futures–by solving a murder that hasn’t even happened yet.
The Little Mermaid: Against the Tide by J. Elle — Disney Press; April 11, 2023
After the death of Ariel’s mother, the queen of the sea, the seven daughters of King Triton have grown estranged at best. It’s been years since Ariel’s older sisters have visited home. But this year’s Coral Moon is fast approaching, and it’s a special one for Ariel. Finally fifteen, she will be dubbed the Protector of her very own ocean territory as is tradition, and her sisters have agreed to visit for the celebration.
But the ceremony is halted when Mala, one of the most renowned daughters of Triton, is abducted. The only clue to where she might have been taken is a hastily scribbled seaweed note, which says, “What could have saved Mother could save me, too.” To rescue Mala, Ariel must work together with her siblings, traveling to various seas, outsmarting dangerous ocean creatures, and delving into forbidden waters to find the truth of what happened to their mother. But as Ariel and her sisters begin uncovering new secrets about their family and their kingdom, Ariel will have to face the loss of a mother she never had a chance to know and discover what it means to be both a good sister and a strong leader.
And the clock is ticking, because on the day of the festival, when the moon turns a true shade of coral, her sister will be lost, like her mother, forever.
Lone Women by Victor LaValle — One World; March 28, 2023
Adelaide Henry carries an enormous steamer trunk with her wherever she goes. It’s locked at all times. Because when the trunk opens, people around Adelaide start to disappear.
The year is 1915, and Adelaide is in trouble. Her secret sin killed her parents, forcing her to flee California in a hellfire rush and make her way to Montana as a homesteader. Dragging the trunk with her at every stop, she will become one of the “lone women” taking advantage of the government’s offer of free land for those who can tame it–except that Adelaide isn’t alone. And the secret she’s tried so desperately to lock away might be the only thing that will help her survive the harsh territory.
Crafted by a modern master of magical suspense, Lone Women blends shimmering prose, an unforgettable cast of adventurers who find horror and sisterhood in a brutal landscape, and a portrait of early-twentieth-century America like you’ve never seen. And at its heart is the gripping story of a woman desperate to bury her past–or redeem it.
My Bunkmate Hates Puppies by Sam Hay & Ria Maria Lee (Camp Lil’ Vills #1) — Disney Hyperion; April 25, 2023
Disney Villains are known for causing trouble. But what about before they were all grown up? When young Cruella gets to this most magical summer camp, things get hairy!
Bloom loves welcoming new campers to the enchanting Camp Lil’ Vills. But there’s something off about her fancy new bunkmate, Cruella, who seems to hate nature but is very interested in the rare fuzzy nerbit in their creature-care class. Almost too interested. Could this leopard (or Dalmatian) have changed its spots? Or does Cruella have something sinister up her perfect sleeve?
Once There Was by Kiyash Monsef — Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; April 4, 2023
Once was, once wasn’t.
So began the stories Marjan’s father told her as a little girl–fables like the story of the girl who sprung a unicorn from a hunter’s snare, or the nomad boy who rescued a baby shirdal. Tales of mythical beasts that filled her with curiosity and wonder.
But Marjan’s not a little girl anymore. In the wake of her father’s sudden death, she is trying to hold it all together: her schoolwork, friendships, and keeping her dad’s shoestring veterinary practice from going under. Then, one day, she receives a visitor who reveals something stunning: Marjan’s father was no ordinary veterinarian. The creatures out of the stories he told her were real–and he traveled the world to care for them. And now that he’s gone, she must take his place.
Marjan steps into a secret world hidden in plain sight, where magical creatures are bought and sold, treasured and trapped. She finds friends she never knew she needed–a charming British boy who grew up with a griffon, a runaway witch seeking magic and home–while trying to hide her double life from her old friends and classmates.
The deeper Marjan gets into treating these animals, the closer she comes to finding who killed her father–and to a shocking truth that will reawaken her sense of wonder and put humans and beasts in the gravest of danger.
One Girl in All the World by Kendare Blake (In Every Generation #2) — Disney-Hyperion; January 31, 2023
Into every generation, a slayer is born. One girl in all the world . . . sort of.
Frankie Rosenberg is the world’s first slayer-witch, but she doesn’t have that slay-life balance figured out just yet. She’s still reeling from the deadly explosion at the anual slayer retreat–and new evidence that some slayers may have survived. And while she’s defeated her first Big Bad, Frankie soon realizes it was just a warm-up act. Bigger, badder forces of evil are just getting started.
The Hellmouth has been reawakened and its calling old friends home. Portals are opening between Sunnydale and other dimensions. And the Scooby Gang has too many demons to contend with–real, metaphorical, and sometimes absurdly hot.
Then an oracle warns of a new foe on its way: the Darkness. Could this be what attacked the slayers? And is it coming for Frankie?
Saints of the Household by Ari Tison — Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR; March 28, 2023
Saints of the Household is a haunting contemporary YA about an act of violence in a small-town–beautifully told by a debut Indigenous Costa Rican-American writer–that will take your breath away.
Max and Jay have always depended on one another for their survival. Growing up with a physically abusive father, the two Bribri American brothers have learned that the only way to protect themselves and their mother is to stick to a schedule and keep their heads down.
But when they hear a classmate in trouble in the woods, instinct takes over and they intervene, breaking up a fight and beating their high school’s star soccer player to a pulp. This act of violence threatens the brothers’ dreams for the future and their beliefs about who they are. As the true details of that fateful afternoon unfold over the course of the novel, Max and Jay grapple with the weight of their actions, their shifting relationship as brothers, and the realization that they may be more like their father than they thought. They’ll have to reach back to their Bribri roots to find their way forward.
Told in alternating points of view using vignettes and poems, debut author Ari Tison crafts an emotional, slow-burning drama about brotherhood, abuse, recovery, and doing the right thing.
Shinji Takahashi: Into the Heart of the Storm by Julie Kagawa (Society of Explorers and Adventurers #2) — Disney Hyperion; April 18, 2023
High-tech wizardry, old world legends and a little bit of Disney magic all shine through in Shinji Takahashi: Into the Heart of the Storm, the second book in the Society of Explorers and Adventurers series from renowned best-selling author, Julie Kagawa.
As Shinji struggles to understand and control his new guardian magic, the members of S.E.A. learn that a sunken ship belonging to the long extinct Natia people has been found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Shinji, Lucy and Tinker, along with Oliver Ocean and Phoebe Mystic, a quirky, enthusiastic magic expert who has been called in to help Shinji, head off to check out the wreckage, hoping to get there before the Hightower Corporation can plunder the site, and picking up a young stowaway by the name of Roux along the way.
But nothing goes as planned, and when Shinji accidentally awakens a guardian who’s been hidden on a mysterious island and trapped inside a volcano for a century, he causes a volcanic eruption and releases a massive hurricane that threatens the entire coast of California. Now Shinji must learn to control his powers and best his fears so that he can stop the destruction and regain the trust of S.E.A before it’s too late.
There Goes the Neighborhood by Jade Adia — Disney-Hyperion; March 7, 2023
The gang is fake, but the fear is real.
Rhea’s neighborhood is fading away–the mom-and-pop shops of her childhood forced out to make space for an artisanal kombucha brewery here, a hot yoga studio there. And everywhere, the feeling that this place is no longer meant for her. Because while their little corner of South L.A. isn’t perfect, to Rhea and her two best friends, it’s something even more important–it’s home. And it’s worth protecting.
But as more white people flock to their latest edgy, urban paradise for its cheap rent and sparkling new Whole Foods, more of Rhea’s friends and family are pushed out. Until Rhea decides it’s time to push back. Armed with their cellphones and a bag of firecrackers, the friends manipulate social media to create the illusion of gang violence in their neighborhood. All Rhea wanted to do was protect her community. Her friends. Herself. No one was supposed to get hurt. No one was supposed to die.
But is anyone ever really safe when you’re fighting power with fear?
Three Drops of Blood by Gretchen McNeil — Disney-Hyperion; March 21, 2023
A Good Girls Guide to Murder meets Hitchcock in this novelfrom celebrated author Gretchen McNeil. A mundane office job takes a dark turn when a girl witnesses a double murder through the window.
Being an actress, Kate is no stranger to drama. And when her chance at a leading role gets cancelled, she is willing to do whatever it takes to get her acting career back on track even if that means getting a boring office job at her best friend’s father’s law firm so she can prove to her parents she can to support herself rather than go back to high school. Now, rather than living life on the big screen, she is stuck filing mundane contracts and watching the people in the office across from hers live their equally boring lives.
But when Kate sees things heat up between a woman and her assistant, her new source of entertainment take a turn for the worse when she witnesses a double murder. Now, she must get anyone to believe her and find out who this mystery woman is to get answers. But as she learns more and more about the circumstances leading to the gruesome act, she begins to realize there is a bigger mystery under the surface…
In this voyeuristic thriller filled with twists and turns, can Kate get anyone to believe her before she becomes the next victim?
Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues by HS Valley — Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing; February 14, 2023
What happens when your enemy becomes your friend … with benefits?
Red, White and Royal Blue meets The Magicians in this surprising, wildly original and joyously funny LGBTQ YA novel set in a magical boarding school.
Tim Te Maro and Elliott Parker – classmates at Fox Glacier High School for the Magically Adept – have never gotten along. But when they both get dumped the day before the big egg-baby assignment, they reluctantly decide to ditch their exes and work together. When the two boys start to bond over their magically enchanted egg-baby, they realize that beneath their animosity is something like friendship … or physical attraction.
Soon, a no-strings-attached hook-up seems like a good idea. Just for the duration of the assignment. After all, they don’t have feelings for each other … so what could possibly go wrong?
From debut Kiwi author H.S. Valley, the latest winner of the Ampersand Prize, comes this gleefully addictive romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan. In a word – it’s magic.
A Whole Song and Dance by Sarvenaz Tash — Disney Hyperion; April 4, 2023
Sarah Dessen meets Abigail Hing Wen in this heartwarming romantic comedy starring Nasrin Mahdavi, an Iranian-American college freshman who’s a triple threat on Broadway–but who’s living a double life.
It’s her first semester majoring in musical theater at NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, and Nasrin spends her days prepping for auditions, sweating through dance classes, and belting her heart out for the viral streaming show she’s been cast in. But on calls with her maman and baba, she’s the golden child who put her theater dreams aside to follow in their entrepreneurial footsteps as a business major.
At least her whole life isn’t a lie–she is taking a single business course. Except she’s kind of failing it. Nasrin needs to bring her grade up fast if she’s going to keep her parents in the dark, so she grudgingly signs up for tutoring with the infuriatingly smug and annoyingly attractive Max. And yet . . . as the semester rushes by, the sparks of anger that first flew between them start to turn into a very different kind of spark. The kind she definitely does not have time for.
Except when Nasrin’s charmingly devious cousin takes an interest in Max too, Nasrin has to figure out exactly what has been an act, and what’s for real. Can Nasrin decide what–and who–is truly worth fighting for, and find a way to step into the spotlight as her full self?
The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa — Random House BYR; February 28, 2023
El Diablo is in the details in this Latinx pirate fantasy starring a transmasculine nonbinary teen with a mission of revenge, redemption, and revolution.
On Mar León de la Rosa’s sixteenth birthday, el Diablo comes calling. Mar is a transmasculine nonbinary teen pirate hiding a magical ability to manipulate fire and ice. But their magic isn’t enough to reverse a wicked bargain made by their father, and now el Diablo has come to collect his payment: the soul of Mar’s father and the entire crew of their ship.
When Mar is miraculously rescued by the sole remaining pirate crew in the Caribbean, el Diablo returns to give them a choice: give up their soul to save their father by the harvest moon, or never see him again. The task is impossible–Mar refuses to make a bargain, and there’s no way their magic is a match for el Diablo. Then Mar finds the most unlikely allies: Bas, an infuriatingly arrogant and handsome pirate–and the captain’s son; and Dami, a gender-fluid demonio whose motives are never quite clear. For the first time in their life, Mar may have the courage to use their magic. It could be their only redemption–or it could mean certain death.
Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies by Stacey Lee — Rick Riordan Presents; February 7, 2023
Twelve-year-old Winston Chu is supposed to learn impulse control at the cooking academy his mom enrolled him in. But learning to think before he acts won’t happen overnight.
While skateboarding home with a pie in hand, Winston inadvertently stops a robbery at Mr. Pang’s Whimsies, an oddities shop in Chinatown. As a reward, Mr. Pang invites Winston to choose any item in the store. But the strange old man warns Winston to browse carefully, for the first thing Winston touches will be the thing he gets. Before Winston can decide, a magpie flies under a shelf, and he impulsively grabs an old broom to sweep it out.
Mr. Pang hands him the broom, along with a dustpan. “Two for one. Congratulations.”
Deflated, Winston returns home, determined to put the broom incident behind him. Or at least in the closet. But when some of his most beloved possessions go missing, all Winston can think about are the broom and dustpan. Did they somehow take his stuff? And what–or who–will they dispose of next?
It’s time to break into Mr. Pang’s Whimsies, where clearly there’s more going on than meets the far-seeing eyeball. It’s time to fight magic with magic. And this time, Winston better have a plan.