Debuts are highlighted in pink.
Annotations are sourced from GoodReads, Amazon and Publisher’s Weekly.
1 Jan Farah Rocks Fifth Grade by Susan Muaddi Darraj (Author), Ruaida Mannaa (Illustrator). Stone Arch Books
Farah and her best friend, Allie Liu, are getting excited to turn in their applications to the Magnet Academy, where they both hope to attend sixth grade. But when new girl Dana Denver shows up, Farah’s world is turned upside down. As Dana starts bullying Farah’s little brother, Samir, Farah begins to second-guess her choice to leave him behind at Harbortown Elementary/Middle School. Determined to handle it on her own, Farah comes up with a plan–a plan that involves lying to those closest to her. Will her lies catch up with her, or can Farah find a way to defeat the bully and rock fifth grade?
7 Jan Scavenge the Stars #1 by Tara Sim. Disney Hyperion.
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
7 Jan All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred D. Taylor. Viking.
In her tenth book, Mildred Taylor completes her sweeping saga about the Logan family of Mississippi, which is also the story of the civil rights movement in America of the 20th century. Cassie Logan, first met in Song of the Trees and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, is a young woman now, searching for her place in the world, a journey that takes her from Toledo to California, to law school in Boston, and, ultimately, in the 60s, home to Mississippi to participate in voter registration. She is witness to the now-historic events of the century: the Great Migration north, the rise of the civil rights movement, preceded and precipitated by the racist society of America, and the often violent confrontations that brought about change. Rich, compelling storytelling is Ms. Taylor’s hallmark, and she fulfills expectations as she brings to a close the stirring family story that has absorbed her for over forty years. It is a story she was born to tell.
7 Jan Brave. Black. First. : 50 African American Women Who Led the Way by Cheryl Hudson and Erin K. Robinson. Crown.
Published in partnership with curators from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, this illustrated biography compilation captures the iconic moments of fifty African American women whose heroism and bravery rewrote the American story for the better.
They were fearless. They were bold. They were game changers.
7 Jan Clean Getaway by Nic Stone. Crown.
Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, take a trip with New York Times bestselling Nic Stone and an eleven-year-old boy who is about to discover that the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren’t always what they seem–his G’ma included.
7 Jan Leaving Lymon (companion to Finding Langston) by Lesa Cline-Ransom. Holiday House.
Lymon’s father is, for the time being, at Parchman Farm–the Mississippi State Penitentiary–and his mother, whom he doesn’t remember all that much, has moved North. Fortunately, Lymon is being raised by his loving grandparents. Together, Lymon and his grandpops share a love of music, spending late summer nights playing the guitar.
But Lymon’s world as he knows it is about to dissolve. He will be sent on a journey to two Northern cities far from the country life he loves–and the version of himself he knows. In this companion novel to the Coretta Scott King Honor wining Finding Langston, readers will see a new side of the bully Lymon in this story of an angry boy whose raw talent, resilience, and devotion to music help point him in a new direction.
7 Jan The Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda. Tor Teen.
In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki from Bainbridge Island, Washington is disgusted when he’s forced to become pen pals with Charlie Lévy of Paris, France―a girl. He thought she was a boy. In spite of Alex’s reluctance, their letters continue to fly across the Atlantic―and along with them, the shared hopes and dreams of friendship. Until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the growing Nazi persecution of Jews force them to confront the darkest aspects of human nature. From the desolation of an internment camp on the plains of Manzanar to the horrors of Auschwitz and the devastation of European battlefields, the only thing they can hold onto are the memories of their letters. But nothing can dispel the light between them.
7 Jan Love Boat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen. HarperCollins. Cis/Het Romance.
“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.”
And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop. But not every student is quite what they seem.
7 Jan A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison. Inkyard. HeterRomance
When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the wealthy coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares and the feeling of not belonging. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the rough streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything, much less how the rest of his life will play out.
Golden girl Nandy Smith has spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in when it comes to her hometown Pacific Hills where image is everything. After learning that her parents are taking in a troubled teen boy, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames.
Now with Trice living under the same roof, the wall between their bedrooms feels as thin as the line between love and hate. Beneath the angst, their growing attraction won’t be denied. Through time, Trice brings Nandy out of her shell, and Nandy attempts to melt the ice that’s taken Trice’s heart and being. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.
7 Jan Shadowshaper Legacy (the Shadowshaper series) by Daniel José Older. Arthur A. Levine Books.
Sierra is determined to protect her own in the coming conflict, even if that means keeping secrets from them. But a deal with Death by one of Sierra’s ancestors has far-reaching consequences in the battles of the present, and as old fates tangle with new powers, Sierra will have to harness the Deck of Worlds and confront her family’s past if she has any hope of saving the future and everyone she loves. Only doing so will mean following the magic to places the shadowshapers have never gone before . . . and may never return from.
7 Jan This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 lessons on how to wake up, take action, and do the work by Tiffany Jewell and Aurélia Durand. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. Woke Work Book
After examining the concepts of social identity, race, ethnicity, and racism, learn about some of the ways people of different races have been oppressed, from indigenous Americans and Australians being sent to boarding school to be “civilized” to a generation of Caribbean immigrants once welcomed to the UK being threatened with deportation by strict immigration laws.
This book is written for EVERYONE who lives in this racialized society—including the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themself at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves, and also for their families, teachers, and administrators.
7 Jan Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez. Page Street Kids. Bolivian speculative historical fiction.
Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight. When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princesa, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge―and her Condesa.
14 Jan Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown. Henry Holt. Fantastical Autobiography
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor.
Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.
14 Jan Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore. Feiwel and Friends.
Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.
Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.
14 Jan From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks. Katherine Tegen Books (releases as The Faraway Truth/ UK edition. 5 Mar) MG Crime Mystery
Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?A crime he says he never committed.
Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.
But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.
14 Jan Infinity Son (Specters) by Adam Silvera. HarperTeen
Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures. Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be. Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.
14 Jan Saving Savannah by Tonya Bolden. Bloomsbury.
Set against the backdrop of the press for women’s rights, the Red Summer, and anarchist bombings, Saving Savannah is the story of a girl and the risks she must take to be the change in a world on the brink of dramatic transformation.
14 Jan Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott. Disney/Jump At The Sun.
Inspired by the #SayHerName campaign launched by the African American Policy Forum, these poems pay tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists insisting that Black Lives Matter. Elliott engages poets from the past two centuries to create a chorus of voices celebrating the creativity, resilience, and courage of Black women and girls.
17 Jan Maximillian and the Curse of the Fallen Angel by Xavier Garza. Cinco Puntos.
Maximilian’s been nuts about lucha libre his whole life. But he’s not just a nerdy middle schooler―three years ago, he discovered that he’s part of lucha libre royalty! His uncle is the most famous luchador, the Guardian Angel. But now, the masked hero is facing a wild new wrestler who might just topple him from his lucha libre throne. The Fallen Angel may be the most reckless and arrogant wrestler the Guardian Angel has ever had to face, and he’s no longer in his prime. Age affects everyone, even the man behind the celebrated mask. Max, being next in the royal line of luchadores, thinks he might have to take over as the Guardian Angel sooner than he’d ever dreamed!
21 Jan Given by Nandi Taylor. Wattpad Books. SFF @nandi_taylor
Yenni has never been this far from home. With only her wits, her strength, and her sacred runelore, the fierce Yirba warrior princess is alone in the Empire of Cresh. It’s a land filled with strange magics and even stranger people―all of whom mistrust anyone who’s different. But Yenni will prove herself, and find the cure for her father’s wasting illness. She will not fail. No one warned her about the dragons. Especially not about him.
Yet there is something powerful and compelling about the violet-black dragon known as Weysh. In human form he’s muscular, beautiful―and completely infuriating. What kind of arrogant creature claims a stranger as his Given; as his destined mate? Yenni is no man’s―or dragon’s―plaything. But other magics must be at work here, because Weysh might just be her best hope at finding the answers she seeks. Only now Yenni can’t tell if she’s fighting an attraction to a dragon . . . or fighting fate itself.
21 Jan The Iron Will of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee. Amulet
Genie Lo thought she was busy last year, juggling her academic career with protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as the Heaven-appointed Guardian of California, she’s responsible for the well-being of all yaoguai and spirits on Earth. Even the ones who interrupt her long-weekend visit to a prestigious college, bearing terrible news about a cosmos-threatening force of destruction in a nearby alternate dimension.
The goddess Guanyin and Genie’s boyfriend, Quentin Sun Wukong, do their best to help, but it’s really the Jade Emperor who’s supposed to handle crises of this magnitude. Unfortunately for Genie and the rest of existence, he’s gone AWOL. Fed up with the Jade Emperor’s negligence, Genie spots an opportunity to change the system for the better by undertaking a quest that spans multiple planes of reality along with an adventuring party of quarrelsome Chinese gods. But when faced with true danger, Genie and her friends realize that what will save the universe this time isn’t strength, but sacrifice.
21 Jan Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles. Harper Teen.
Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.
His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.
With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?
21 Jan Strong Voices: FIfteen American Speeches Worth Knowing by Tonya Bolden, Cokie Roberts and Eric Velasquez. HarperCollins.
Strong Voices includes a foreword by #1 New York Times bestselling author and celebrated journalist Cokie Roberts, as well as a timeline in the back of the book, along with letters to the reader from Tonya Bolden and Eric Velasquez.
28 Jan Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir by Robin Ha. Balzer+Bray.
For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn’t always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation—following her mother’s announcement that she’s getting married—Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn’t understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends in Seoul and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn’t fit in with her new stepfamily, and worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to—her mother.
Then one day Robin’s mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined.
28 Jan Diamond City by Francesca Flores. Wednesday Books. YA SFF @FFloresAuthor
DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies. To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to w in a game of murder and conspiracy―and risk losing everything.
1 Feb Mary and the Trail of Tears: A Cherokee Removal Survival Story (Girls Survive) by Andrea L Rogers. (Author) and Matt Forsyth (Illustrator). Stone Arch Books. MG Cherokee Historical Fiction @AndreaLRogers
Twelve-year-old Mary and her Cherokee family are forced out of their home in Georgia by U.S. soldiers in May 1838. From the beginning of the forced move, Mary and her family are separated from her father. Facing horrors such as internment, violence, disease, and harsh weather, Mary perseveres and helps keep her family and friends together until they can reach the new Cherokee nation in Indian Territory. Featuring nonfiction support material, a glossary, and reader response questions, this Girls Survive story explores the tragedy of forced removals following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
4 Feb King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender. Scholastic.
Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family. It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. “You don’t want anyone to think you’re gay too, do you?”
But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King’s friendship with Sandy is reignited, he’s forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother’s death.
4 Feb Powwow Summer by Nahanni Shingoose. Lorimer
Part Ojibwe and part white, River lives with her white mother and stepfather on a farm in Ontario. Teased about her Indigenous heritage as a young girl, she feels like she doesn’t belong and struggles with her identity. Now eighteen and just finished high school, River travels to Winnipeg to spend the summer with her Indigenous father and grandmother, where she sees firsthand what it means to be an “urban Indian.”
On her family’s nearby reserve, she learns more than she expects about the lives of Indigenous people, including the presence of Indigenous gangs and the multi-generational effects of the residential school system. But River also discovers a deep respect for and connection with the land and her cultural traditions. The highlight of her summer is attending the annual powwow with her new friends. At the powwow after party, however, River drinks too much and posts photos online that anger people and she has her right to identify as an Indigenous person called into question. Can River ever begin to resolve the complexities of her identity — Indigenous and not?
4 Feb Deathless Divide (Dread Nation #2) by Justina Ireland. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray.
Nothing is easy when you’re a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodermus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880’s America.
What’s more, this safe haven is not what it appears – as Jane discovers when she sees familiar faces from Summerland amid this new society. Caught between mysteries and lies, the undead, and her own inner demons, Jane soon finds herself on a dark path of blood and violence that threatens to consume her. But she won’t be in it alone.
4 Feb Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed. Balzer+Bray.
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.
4 Feb LOVE, SUGAR, MAGIC: A Mixture of Mischief by Anna Meriano, illustrated by Mirelle Ortega. Walden Pond Press.
It’s spring break in Rose Hill, Texas, but Leo Logroño has a lot of work to do if she’s going to become a full-fledged bruja like the rest of her family. She still hasn’t discovered the true nature of her magical abilities, and that isn’t the only bit of trouble in her life: Her family’s baking heirlooms have begun to go missing, and a new bakery called Honeybees has opened across town, threatening to run Amor y Azúcar right out of business. What’s more, everyone around her seems to have secrets, and none of them want to tell Leo what’s going on.
But the biggest secret of all comes when Leo is paid a very surprising visit—by her long-lost Abuelo Logroño. Abuelo promises answers to her most pressing questions and tells Leo he can teach her about her power, about what it takes to survive in a world where threats lurk in the shadows. But can she trust him?
4 Feb Scammed (Vale Hall #2) by Kristen Simmons. Tor Teen.
Brynn Hilder is living a life she never dreamed possible: She lives in a mansion, getting a top-rate education at Vale Hall. She has friends and an almost-boyfriend. Anything she wants, she can have.
The only catch? To stay in this life, she has to help the director of Vale Hall take down the bad guys of Sikawa City by collecting secrets and running cons. Getting everything she wants and fighting evil doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. The thing is, she’s not so convinced anymore that Dr. Odin is really going after bad people after all. And the friends and almost-boyfriend that have made her life so different are all liars and con artists—so can she trust that any of it is real?
4 Feb Snapdragon by Kat Leyh. FirstSecond.
When a girl befriends the town witch, she discovers the strange magic within herself.
4 Feb Planet Omar by Zanib Mian, illus. by Nasaya Mafaridik. Hodder.
Starring Omar, an imaginative Muslim boy, in this second book in the series.
4 Feb Leader of the Pack (Stig and Tilde #2) by Max de Radiguès. Nobrow.
In the second volume of this hit YA graphic novel series, adventurous twin siblings Stig and Tilde uncover shocking secrets while fighting to survive on a mysterious island.
5 Feb Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal for Writing Your Truth by Angie Thomas. Balzer and Bray. Aspiring writers are taken from idea to draft, featuring writing prompts, tips, and more.
5 Feb The Dragon Egg Princess by Ellen Oh. HarperCollins.
In a tale inspired by Korean lore, a young ranger must save an ancient magical forest where his father and a princess disappeared.
11 Feb Arcade and the Fiery Metal Tester (Coin Slot series) by Rashad Jennings. Zondervan.
In no time flat, Arcade is tested lik.e never before to use the Triple T token’s powerful ways to outsmart a bully, find a place for his best friend to live, and spy on some pesky villains from the 1900s. Meanwhile, sister Zoe thinks controlling the token is nothing but a path to disaster. One thing’s for sure, the token continues its flashing and pulsing. And elevator doors continue to transport Arcade, Zoe, and their friends to meet different people in strange locations—people who will challenge them, teach them, and inspire them to grow in patience and compassion.
And just as a trip through a fiery furnace is necessary to purify gold, the token leads Arcade through superheated situations to test the purity of his heart.
11 Feb Cloak of Night (Circle of Shadows #2) by Evelyn Skye. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray.
The stakes are higher and even more personal for Sora—not only must she stop a seemingly indestructible Prince Gin, but she must also unravel the secrets of ryuu magic before it is too late for nearly everyone she loves. And as Sora, Daemon, Fairy, and Broomstick face dangerous obstacles at every turn, the greatest challenge may be discovering who they truly are, and what, if anything, they are capable of.
11 Feb No True Believersby Rabiah York Lumbard. Crown.
Salma Bakkioui has always loved living in her suburban cul-de-sac, with her best friend Mariam next door, and her boyfriend Amir nearby. Then things start to change. Friends start to distance themselves. Mariam’s family moves when her father’s patients no longer want a Muslim chiropractor. Even trusted teachers look the other way when hostile students threaten Salma at school.
After a terrorist bombing nearby, Islamaphobia tightens its grip around Salma and her family. Shockingly, she and Amir find themselves with few allies as they come under suspicion for the bombing. As Salma starts to investigate who is framing them, she uncovers a deadly secret conspiracy with suspicious ties to her new neighbors–but no one believes her. Salma must use her coding talent, wits, and faith to expose the truth and protect the only home she’s ever known–before it’s too late.
11 Feb. If Only YouKnew by Prerna Pickett. Swoon Reads. @prernapickett
Corey has just been released from jail, and all he wants is a new beginning. But when his former gang comes knocking, Corey agrees to vandalize the home of Kent Hopper, the prosecutor who put him away.
To erase the guilt she carries from getting away with a crime, Tessa spends most of her nights riding her motorcycle. When she catches Corey destroying her father’s car, she doesn’t see a criminal: She sees a way to finally right her own wrongs. So instead of turning Corey over to the police, she convinces her father to give Corey a second chance.
11 Feb Who Did It First? 50 Politicians, Activists, and Entrepreneurs Who Revolutionized the World by Jay Leslie (Author), Alex Hart (Editor), Nneka Myers (Illustrator) Henry Holt & Co.
With both well-known figures and lesser-known heroes, this book is a celebration of the inspiring innovators who braved uncharted waters to pave the path for future generations.
11 Feb Turtle Under Ice by Juleah del Rosario. Simon Pulse.
Rowena feels like her family is a frayed string of lights that someone needs to fix with electrical tape. After her mother died a few years ago, she and her sister, Ariana, drifted into their own corners of the world, each figuring out in their own separate ways how to exist in a world in which their mother is no longer alive.
But then Ariana disappears under the cover of night in the middle of a snowstorm, leaving no trace or tracks. When Row wakes up to a world of snow and her sister’s empty bedroom, she is left to piece together the mystery behind where Ariana went and why, realizing along the way that she might be part of the reason Ariana is gone.
11 Feb Arcade and the Fiery Metal Tester by Rashad Jennings. Zonderkidz.
In no time flat, Arcade is tested like never before to use the Triple T token’s powerful ways to outsmart a bully, find a place for his best friend to live, and spy on some pesky villains from the 1900s. Meanwhile, sister Zoe thinks controlling the token is nothing but a path to disaster.
One thing’s for sure, the token continues its flashing and pulsing. And elevator doors continue to transport Arcade, Zoe, and their friends to meet different people in strange locations—people who will challenge them, teach them, and inspire them to grow in patience and compassion.
11 Feb The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves. HarperTeen.
David Espinoza is tired of being messed with. When a video of him getting knocked down by a bully’s slap goes viral at the end of junior year, David vows to use the summer to bulk up— do what it takes to become a man—and wow everyone when school starts again the fall. Soon David is spending all his time and money at Iron Life, a nearby gym that’s full of bodybuilders. Frustrated with his slow progress, his life eventually becomes all about his muscle gains. As it says on the Iron Life wall, What does not kill me makes me stronger.
As David falls into the dark side of the bodybuilding world, pursuing his ideal body at all costs, he’ll have to grapple with the fact that it could actually cost him everything
11 Feb This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Williams. Amulet Books.
When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and his gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her untroubled happiness, something he feels all rich kids must possess. That, and her long dancer legs. Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most.
11 Feb Mulan: Before the Sword by Grace Lin. Disney Press. A young Mulan sets out on a magical quest.
18 Feb I’m Gonna Push Through by Jasmyn Wright, illus. by Shannon Wright. Atheneum.
Inspired by a mantra written for her third-grade students, Jasmyn Wright’s uplifting call to “push through” is an invitation to young readers to announce their own power and to recognize and reaffirm that of others, regardless of setbacks. Her empowering words not only lift children up, but show them how to lift themselves up and seize their potential.
18 Feb Birdie and Me by J.M.M. Nuanez. After the mother of two siblings dies and their uncles try to provide a home for them, the family members come to understand one another.
18 Feb With A Star In My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero by Margarita Engle. Atheneum Books.
As a little boy, Rubén Darío loved to listen to his great uncle, a man who told tall tales in a booming, larger-than-life voice. Rubén quickly learned the magic of storytelling, and discovered the rapture and beauty of verse.
18 Feb Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s #1) by Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse.
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
18 Feb The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith. Penguin Teen.
Japan 1945. Taro is a talented violinist and a kamikaze pilot in the days before his first and only mission. He believes he is ready to die for his country . . . until he meets Hana. Hana hasn’t been the same since the day she was buried alive in a collapsed trench during a bomb raid. She wonders if it would have been better to have died that day . . . until she meets Taro. A song will bring them together. The war will tear them apart. Is it possible to live an entire lifetime in eight short days?
25 Feb We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia. HarperCollins/Tegen.
In this nail-biting sequel to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically acclaimed fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, La Voz operative Carmen is forced to choose between the girl she loves and the success of the rebellion she’s devoted her life to.
25 Feb Rebelwing by Andrea Tang. Razorbill. SSF @atangwrites
Set in a wonderfully inventive near-future Washington, D.C., this hilarious, defiant debut sparkles with wit and wisdom, deftly exploring media consumption, personal freedoms, and the weight of one life as Pru, rather reluctantly, takes to the skies.
25 Feb The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow. Inkyard. Fantasy Alien Roadtrip Adventure
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. With humans deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, emotional expression can be grounds for execution. Music, art and books are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for the love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
25 Feb Northwest Resistance (Girl Called Echo #3) by Katherena Vermette. High-Water Press.
Northwest Resistance follows Echo Desjardins and her travels through time. Going back to 1884, Echo finds herself in the thick of a new Métis resistance led by leader Louis Riel, who has returned from exile to resist encroaching forces from the East and to ensure his people’s rights are honoured. For Echo, the experience is empowering, focusing her own identity and giving her the strength to confront the challenges in her life.
25 Feb The Everything I Have Lost by Sylvia Zéleny. Cinco Puntos Press.
12-year-old Julia keeps a diary about her life growing up in Juarez, Mexico. Life in Juarez is strange. People say its the murder capital of the world. Dad’s gone a lot. They can’t play outside because it isn’t safe. Drug cartels rule the streets. Cars and people disappear, leaving behind pet cats. Then Dad disappears and Julia and her brother go live with her aunt in El Paso. What’s happened to her Dad? Julia wonders. Is he going to disappear forever? A coming-of-age story set in today’s Juarez.
3 Mar Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee. Flatiron. A love story!
Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina—but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.
3 Mar Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Little, Brown.
Two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, train for a fencing competition at their school.
3 Mar Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM by Tonya Bolden. Abrams.
Tonya Bolden explores the black women who have changed the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in America. Including groundbreaking computer scientists, doctors, inventors, physicists, pharmacists, mathematicians, aviators, and many more, this book celebrates more than 50 women who have shattered the glass ceiling, defied racial discrimination, and pioneered in their fields. In these profiles, young readers will find role models, inspirations, and maybe even reasons to be the STEM leaders of tomorrow.
3 Mar Chaos Curse (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #3) by Sayantani DasGupta and Vivienne To. Scholastic. Prince Lal has been spirited away to, of all places, Parsippany, so Kiranmala must leave the the Kingdom Beyond and return home to rescue him; but reality seems to be wavering around her because something is causing a dangerous disruption in the multiverse, and she must face the disturbing prophecy about her own role in the approaching conflict between good and evil–not to mention her own growing feelings for Prince Neel.
3 Mar Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura. Tor Teen. After Olivia’s Olympic figure-skating dreams end, she falls for a speed skater training at her family’s ice rink.
3 Mar How To Make Friends With the Sea by Tanya Guerrero. FSG. MG Fiction; disabilities
Pablo is homesick.
He’s only twelve years old, but he’s lived in more countries than he can count. After his parents divorced, he and his mother have moved from place to place for years, never settling anywhere long enough to call it home. And along the way, Pablo has collected more and more fears: of dirt, of germs, and most of all, of the ocean.
Now they’re living in the Philippines, and his mother, a zoologist who works at a local wildlife refuge, is too busy saving animals to notice that Pablo might need saving, too. Then his mother takes in Chiqui, an orphaned girl with a cleft lip―and Pablo finds that through being strong for Chiqui, his own fears don’t seem so scary.
He might even find the courage to face his biggest fear of all…and learn how to make friends with the sea.
3 Mar The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu. G.P.Putnam’s Sons. Tells of musical prodigy Nanneri Mozart, older sister of Wolfgang, and the dangerous lengths she’ll go to make history remember her.
3 Mar Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Scholastic. Will Max’s discovery of a family secret involving a network of people who guide refugees to safety lead him to his absent mother?
3 Mar Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park. Clarion Books. Hanna, who is half-Asian and half-white, dreams of becoming a dressmaker while navigating prejudice in her town in 1880.
3 Mar Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas. Blink.
Isabella tries to piece her life back together following the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents.
3 Mar Wicked as You WIsh (A Hundred Names for Magic#1) by Rin Chupeco. Sourcebook Fire. Years after the evil Snow Queen desolated the magical kingdom of Avalon, Prince Alexei, his friend Tala, and a ragtag band, inspired by the appearance of the Firebird, try to reclaim their land.
4 Mar Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros. After American-born Efrén’s undocumented mother is deported across the border to Mexico, he tries to reunite his family.
4 Mar Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi. HarperCollins. This concludes the Shatter Me series, as Juliette—who now goes by Ella—and Warner do whatever it takes to bring down the Reestablishment.
4 Mar We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia. Harper Teen. Nandan’s perfect plan for junior year goes awry after he hooks up with a guy for the first time.
10 Mar Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman. Ink Road. A multiracial teen risks everything to follow her dreams of becoming a trapeze artist by joining the circus.
10 Mar A Phoenix First Must Burn by Patrice Caldwell. Viking Books
Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected.
10 Mar Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Little Brown Books. Reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future.
10 Mar Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo & Olivia Gatwood, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III. Roaring Brook Press.
Historically poets have been on the forefront of social movements. Woke is a collection of poems by women that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out.
15 Mar Pop Flies, Robo-Pets, and Other Disasters by Suzanne Kamata, illus. by Tracy Nishimura Bishop. Red Chair Press. After living in Atlanta for three years, a Japanese boy returns to his homeland to discover that his old friends are suspicious of his new foreign ways.
17 Mar Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang. First Second. The author turns the spotlight on his life, his family, and the men’s varsity basketball team at the high school where he teaches.
17 Mar Silverworld by Diana Abu-Jaber. Crown Books for Young Readers.
Sitti, Sami’s Lebanese grandmother, has been ill for a while, slipping from reality and speaking in a language only Sami can understand. Her family thinks Sitti belongs in a nursing home, but Sami doesn’t believe she’s sick at all. Desperate to help, Sami casts a spell from her grandmother’s mysertious charm book and falls through an ancient mirror into a world unlike any other.
Welcome to Silverworld, an enchanted city where light and dark creatures called Flickers and Shadows strive to live in harmony. But lately Flickers have started going missing, and powerful Shadow soldiers are taking over the land. Everyone in Silverworld suspects that Shadow Queen Nixie is responsible for the chaos, which is bad enough. But could Nixie be holding Sami’s grandmother in her grasp too? To save Sitti and Silverworld, Sami must brave adventure, danger, and the toughest challenge of all: change.
17 Mar Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim. Kokila. MG Comic Fiction
On the outside, Yumi Chung suffers from #shygirlproblems, a perm-gone-wrong, and kids calling her “Yu-MEAT” because she smells like her family’s Korean barbecue restaurant. On the inside, Yumi is ready for her Netflix stand-up special. Her notebook is filled with mortifying memories that she’s reworked into comedy gold. All she needs is a stage and courage.
Instead of spending the summer studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to qualify for a private school scholarship, which will help in a time of hardship at the restaurant. One day after class, Yumi stumbles on an opportunity that will change her life: a comedy camp for kids taught by one of her favorite YouTube stars. The only problem is that the instructor and all the students think she’s a girl named Kay Nakamura–and Yumi doesn’t correct them.
17 Mar Who Got Game?: Baseball: Amazing but True Stories! by Derrick Barnes and John John Bajet. Workman Publishing.
Who Got Game?! Baseball celebrates the unheralded, unrecognized, and forgotten — but no less remarkable — people and stories that are integral to the history of the game.
Barnes’ first nonfiction book (and the first in a sports series) celebrates the unheralded, unrecognized, and forgotten — but no less remarkable — people and stories that are integral to the history of the game. He shines a spotlight on 45 fascinating baseball records, personalities, and anecdotes rarely mentioned in popular baseball lore.
24 March Brown Girl Ghosted by Mintie Das. Versify
Violet Choudhury may be part of the popular clique at school, but as one of a handful of brown girls in a small Illinois town, all she really wants to do is blend in and disappear. Unfortunately for her, she’s got a knack for seeing spirits, including the dead—something she’s tried to ignore all her life. But when the queen bee of Violet’s cheerleading squad ends up dead following a sex tape that’s not as consensual as everyone wants to believe, Violet’s friends from the spirit world decide it’s the perfect time for Violet to test her skills and finally accept the legacy of spiritual fighters from whom she’s descended. Her mission? Find the killer.
24 Mar The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert. Little, Brown
Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only black girl in town for years. Alberta’s best friend, Laramie, is the closest thing she has to a sister, but there are some things even Laramie can’t understand. When the bed and breakfast across the street finds new owners, Alberta is ecstatic to learn the family is black-and they have a 12-year-old daughter just like her. Alberta is positive she and the new girl, Edie, will be fast friends. But while Alberta loves being a California girl, Edie misses her native Brooklyn and finds it hard to adapt to small-town living. When the girls discover a box of old journals in Edie’s attic, they team up to figure out exactly who’s behind them and why they got left behind. Soon they discover shocking and painful secrets of the past and learn that nothing is quite what it seems.
24 Mar Thorn by Intisar Khanani. HarperTeen
Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life, but when her mother betroths her to a powerful prince in a distant kingdom, she has little hope for a better future. Until Alyrra arrives at her new kingdom, where a mysterious sorceress robs her of both her identity and her role as princess—and Alyrra seizes on the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.
But as Alyrra uncovers dangerous secrets about her new world, including a threat to the prince himself, she knows she can’t remain silent forever. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds, and ultimately must decide who she is and what she stands for.
24 Mar A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat. Candlewick. This fantasy inspired by Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables explores issues of privilege, protest, and justice.
7 Apr Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. Rick Riordan Presents. War between the devas and the demons is imminent, and the Otherworld is on high alert. When intelligence from the human world reveals that the Sleeper is holding a powerful clairvoyant and her sister captive, 14-year-old Aru and her friends launch a search-and-rescue mission. The captives, a pair of twins, turn out to be the newest Pandava sisters, though, according to a prophecy, one sister is not true.
During the celebration of Holi, the heavenly attendants stage a massage PR rebranding campaign to convince everyone that the Pandavas are to be trusted. As much as Aru relishes the attention, she fears that she is destined to bring destruction to her sisters, as the Sleeper has predicted. Aru believes that the only way to prove her reputation is to find the Kalpavriksha, the wish-granting tree that came out of the Ocean of Milk when it was churned. If she can reach it before the Sleeper, perhaps she can turn everything around with one wish.
Careful what you wish for, Aru.
7 Apr Crossing the Farak River by Michelle Aung Thin. Annick Press. After the Myanmar army destroys her village, Hasina wonders who she can trust in this novel about the persecution of the Rohingya people.
7 Apr Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega. Scholastic. MG fantasy/action
Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.
7 Apr Into the Tall Grass by Loriel Ryan. McElderry. SFF
Yolanda Rodríguez-O’Connell has a secret. All the members of her family have a magical gift—all, that is, except for Yolanda. Still, it’s something she can never talk about, or the townsfolk will call her family brujas—witches. When her grandmother, Wela, falls into an unexplained sleep, Yolanda is scared. Her father is off fighting in a faraway war, her mother died long ago, and Yolanda has isolated herself from her best friend and twin sister. If she loses her grandmother, who will she have left?
When a strange grass emerges in the desert behind their house, Wela miraculously wakes, begging Yolanda to take her to the lone pecan tree left on their land. Determined not to lose her, Yolanda sets out on this journey with her sister, her ex-best friend, and a boy who has a crush on her. But what is the mysterious box that her grandmother needs to find? And how will going to the pecan tree make everything all right? Along the way, Yolanda discovers long-buried secrets that have made their family gift a family curse. But she also finds the healing power of the magic all around her, which just might promise a new beginning.
7 Apr Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed. Soho Teen. On holiday in Paris, a teen learns the story of a 19th century Muslim woman who crossed paths with famous artists.
14 Apr When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson (Author, Illustrator), Omar Mohamed (Author), Iman Geddy (Illustrator). Dial Books.
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.
Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.
21 Apr Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne. Viking.
An eye-opening book that tells the important, overlooked story of black women as a force in the suffrage movement–when fellow suffragists did not accept them as equal partners in the struggle.
21 April Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada and Hyun-Ju Ko. Iron Circus Press.
When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas of Western Literature far from the drudgery she was promised at her family’s restaurant. But literature class would prove to be just the start of a massive turning point, still focused on reading but with life-or-death stakes she never could have imagined.
This was during South Korea’s Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protestors. In this charged political climate, with Molotov cocktails flying and fellow students disappearing for hours and returning with bruises, Hyun Sook sought refuge in the comfort of books. When the handsome young editor of the school newspaper invited her to his reading group, she expected to pop into the cafeteria to talk about Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Scarlet Letter. Instead she found herself hiding in a basement as the youngest member of an underground banned book club. And as Hyun Sook soon discovered, in a totalitarian regime, the delights of discovering great works of illicit literature are quickly overshadowed by fear and violence as the walls close in.
21 Apr The Silence of Bones by June Hur. Feiwel and Friends. Bloody YA Historical Mystery
1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.
As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder. But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.
28 Apr All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. Memoir manifesto
Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.
28 Apr A Breath Too Late by Rocky Callen. Henry Holt. After death fictional epistolary
Seventeen-year-old Ellie had no hope left. Yet the day after she dies by suicide, she finds herself in the midst of an out-of-body experience. She is a spectator, swaying between past and present, retracing the events that unfolded prior to her death. But there are gaps in her memory, fractured pieces Ellie is desperate to re-assemble. There’s her mother, a songbird who wanted to break free from her oppressive cage. The boy made of brushstrokes and goofy smiles who brought color into a gray world. Her brooding father, with his sad puppy eyes and clenched fists.
28 Apr The Compton Cowboys (young readers’ ed.) by Walter Thompson- Hernandez. HarperCollins. Adaptation of the account of nine young black men and one woman from California who found purpose through raising and riding horses.
1 May Noor Inayat Khan (Choose Your Own Adventure Spies) by Rana Tahir. Chooseco.
YOU are the world’s first Princess Spy and Britain’s first Muslim war heroine, Noor Inayat Khan. You grew up in a life of luxury, but when World War II begins, your dreams of traveling the world and helping people are quickly changed, and you leave your easy life of royalty behind to spy for the Resistance as a British secret agent. Did the lessons of your royal life prepare you for the realities of war?
5 May Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. HarperTeen
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people… In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
5 May Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed.
Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.
5 May The Mermaid the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Candlewick Press. A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.
9 May Running by Natalie Sylvester. Clarion Books. Fiction
Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was. But how do you find your voice when everyone’s watching? When it means disagreeing with your father—publicly? What do you do when your dad stops being your hero? Will Mari get a chance to confront her father? If she does, will she have the courage to seize it?
12 May American as Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar, Akaddin
When a racist incident rocks Lekha’s community, Lekha realizes she must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late.
12 May The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas. FSG. MG Animal Whisperer Fantasy.
All Nestor Lopez wants is to live in one place for more than a few months and have dinner with his dad. When he and his mother move to a new town to live with his grandmother after his dad’s latest deployment, Nestor plans to lay low. He definitely doesn’t want to anyone find out his deepest secret: that he can talk to animals. But when the animals in his new town start disappearing, Nestor’s grandmother becomes the prime suspect after she is spotted in the woods where they were last seen. As Nestor investigates the source of the disappearances, he learns that they are being seized by a tule vieja―a witch who can absorb an animal’s powers by biting it during a solar eclipse. And the next eclipse is just around the corner… Now it’s up to Nestor’s extraordinary ability and his new friends to catch the tule vieja―and save a place he might just call home.
12 May The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar. Page Street Kids. MG Lesbian Competitive Romance
Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists. In a fight to prove who is the best, their lives become more tangled―but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush, especially since Flávia seems to like her back.
As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.
12 May A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan. Clarion Books.
Sixth graders Sara and Elizabeth could not be more different. Sara is at a new school that is completely unlike the small Islamic school she used to attend. Elizabeth has her own problems: her British mum has been struggling with depression. The girls meet in an after-school South Asian cooking class, which Elizabeth takes because her mom has stopped cooking, and which Sara, who hates to cook, is forced to attend because her mother is the teacher. The girls form a shaky alliance that gradually deepens, and they make plans to create the most amazing, mouth-watering cross-cultural dish together and win a spot on a local food show. They make good cooking partners . . . but can they learn to trust each other enough to become true friends?
21 May Private Lessons by Cynthia Salaysay. Candlewick
After seventeen-year-old Claire Alalay’s father’s death, only music has helped her channel her grief. Claire likes herself best when she plays his old piano, a welcome escape from the sadness — and her traditional Filipino mother’s prayer groups. In the hopes of earning a college scholarship, Claire auditions for Paul Avon, a prominent piano teacher, who agrees to take Claire as a pupil. Soon Claire loses herself in Paul’s world and his way of digging into a composition’s emotional core. She practices constantly, foregoing a social life, but no matter how hard she works or how well she plays, it seems impossible to gain Paul’s approval, let alone his affection. Author Cynthia Salaysay composes a moving, beautifully written portrait of rigorous perfectionism, sexual awakening, and the challenges of self-acceptance. Timely and vital, Private Lessons delves into a complicated student/teacher relationship, as well as class and cultural differences, with honesty and grace.
12 May Felix Ever Afterby Kacen Kallender. Balzer+Bray
Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….
But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
26 May Parachutes by Kelly Yang. Katherine Tegen Books
They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the United States while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California.
Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out. Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. But Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course when her debate coach starts working with her privately.
As they steer their own distinct paths, Dani and Claire keep crashing into one another, setting a course that will change their lives forever.
26 May The Gilded Ones (Deathless) by Namina Forna. Delacorte. West African inspired fantasy.
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
26 May The Dream Weaver by Reina Latkes Alegre. Simon & Schuster. MG fiction
Zoey comes from a family of dreamers. From start-up companies to selling motorcycles, her dad is constantly chasing jobs that never seem to work out. As for Zoey, she’s willing to go along with whatever grand plans her dad dreams up—even if it means never staying in one place long enough to make real friends. Her family being together is all that matters to her. So Zoey’s world is turned upside down when Dad announces that he’s heading to a new job in New York City without her. Instead, Zoey and her older brother, José, will stay with their Poppy at the Jersey Shore. At first, Zoey feels as lost and alone as she did after her mami died. But soon she’s distracted by an even bigger problem: the bowling alley that Poppy has owned for decades is in danger of closing!
After befriending a group of kids practicing for a summer bowling tournament, Zoey hatches a grand plan of her own to save the bowling alley. It seems like she’s found the perfect way to weave everyone’s dreams together…until unexpected events turn Zoey’s plan into one giant nightmare. Now, with her new friends counting on her and her family’s happiness hanging in the balance, Zoey will have to decide what her dream is—and how hard she’s willing to fight for it.
2 Jun Imaginary Borders (Pocket Change Collective) by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (Author), Ashley Lukashevsky (Illustrator). Penguin Workshop.
In this personal, moving essay, environmental activist and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez uses his art and his activism to show that climate change is a human issue that can’t be ignored.
2 June You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson. Scholastic. Lesbian RomCom
Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?
2 June Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards) by Janella Angeles. Wednesday Book. Fantasy duology
In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes. As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next. The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost. The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told. The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide. Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.
2 June A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown. Balzer + Bray. West African inspired fantasy duology.
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts his younger sister, Nadia, as payment to enter the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom. But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a heart-pounding course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
9 June Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. Macmillan. YA paranormal Latinx trans fiction
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
9 June This is All Your Faultby Animah Mae Safi. Feiwel and Freinds. When Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen clock into work at Wild Nights Bookstore on the first day of summer, they’re expecting the hours to drift by the way they always do. Instead, they have to deal with the news that the bookstore is closing. Before the day is out, there’ll be shaved heads, a diva author, and a very large shipment of Air Jordans to contend with.
And it will take all three of them working together if they have any chance to save Wild Nights Bookstore.
16 Jun I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee. Katherine Tegen Books. YA K-Pop RomCom
Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.
She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else. When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho. But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.
20 June A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow. Tor Teen
Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Nevermind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore―soon Portland won’t be either.
23 June Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee. Page Street Kids.
Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo. And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.
Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood―an ancient forest possessed by souls―to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.
7 July We Free the Stars (Sands of Arawiya) by Hafsah Faizal. FS
After the battle on Sharr that closed We Hunt the Flame, Zafira and Nasir return to a ghostly Sultan’s Keep, low on resources and allies alike. The dark forest has fallen, but the kingdom teems with fear of the Lion of the Night’s return. As Nasir fights to command the dark power in his blood, Zafira fights against a very different darkness festering through her bond with the Jawarat.
7 July Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron. Bloomsbury. Lesbian post-Cinderella SFF
It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . .
28 July This Is My America by Kim Johnson. Random House. Antiracist fiction
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time–her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?
4 Aug Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch by Julie Abe. Little, Brown Books. MG Fantasy
When she lands in the tranquil coastal town of Auteri, the residents expect a powerful witch, not a semi-magical girl. So Eva comes up with a plan: set up a magical repair shop to aid Auteri and prove she’s worthy. She may have more blood than magic, but her “semi-magical fixes” repair the lives of the townspeople in ways they never could have imagined. Only, Eva’s bit of magic may not be enough when the biggest magical storm in history threatens the town she’s grown to love. Eva must conjure up all of the magic, bravery, and cleverness she can muster or Auteri and her dreams of becoming a witch will wash away with the storm.
4 Aug The Girl and the Ghostby Hanna Alkaf. HarperCollins.
Retells a Malaysian folk tale in which a lonely girl, Suraya, inherits from her grandmother a pelesit, a ghostly demon, who proves to be a good companion, bringing both danger and hope.
4 Aug More than Just A Pretty Face by Syed Masood. Little, Brown. HeteRomCom
Danyal Jilani doesn’t lack confidence. He may not be the smartest guy in the room, but he’s funny, gorgeous, and going to make a great chef one day. His father doesn’t approve of his career choice, but that hardly matters. What does matter is the opinion of Danyal’s longtime crush, the perfect-in-all-ways Kaval, and her family, who consider him a less than ideal arranged marriage prospect.
When Danyal gets selected for Renaissance Man, a school-wide academic championship, it’s the perfect opportunity to show everyone he’s smarter than they think. He recruits the brilliant, totally-uninterested-in-him Bisma to help with the competition, but the more time Danyal spends with her…the more he learns from her…the more he cooks for her…the more he realizes that happiness may be staring him right in his pretty face.
4 Aug Sia Martinez & the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland. Simon Pulse. MG intergalactic border crossing
It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”
Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home. Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive. As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.
11 Aug Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar. HarperTeen. Hindu inspired YA Fantasy
25 Aug Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram. Dial Books.
Darius Kellner is having a bit of a year. Since his trip to Iran this past spring, a lot has changed. He’s getting along with his dad, and his best friend Sohrab is only a Skype call away. Between his first boyfriend, Landon, his varsity soccer practices, and his internship at his favorite tea shop, Darius is feeling pretty okay. Like he finally knows what it means to be Darius Kellner.
Then, of course, everything changes. Darius’s grandmothers are in town for a long visit while his dad is gone on business, and Darius isn’t sure whether they even like him. The internship isn’t what Darius thought it would be, and now he doesn’t know about turning tea into his career. He was sure he liked Landon, but when he starts hanging out with Chip–soccer teammate and best friend of Trent Bolger, epic bully–well, he’s just not so sure about Landon anymore, either.
15 Sept ELATSOE by Darcie Little Badger. Levine Querido. YA Haunted LGBTQIA murder mystery
22 Sept A Crown So Cursed (THe Nightmare Verse) by L. L. McKinney.
29 Sept Planet Omar: Unexpected Super Spy by Zanib Mian and Nasaya Mafaridik. GP Putnam and Sons.
Omar’s amazing imagination brings the second story in his adventures to life as he navigates more of life’s ups and downs. From sibling brawls to speaking to the scary principal and becoming a community activist, bold illustrations and cheeky dialogue show how Omar perseveres through serious and silly adversity.
20 Oct Flying Over Water by
10 Nov Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan. Scholastic.
Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.
But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.
Fall 2020 Jade Fire Gold by June Tan. Blink/HarperCollins. Chinese inspired YA fantasy.
Fall 2020 These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. SimonPulse. YA Chinese historical fantasy.
Fall 2020 Jake in the Box by Ryan Douglass. Putnam. YA AfrAm Horror