Rummanah Aasi

Description: Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.
 Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

Review: After loving Wolk's gorgeous debut novel, The Wolf Hollow, I could not wait to read more from her. Beyond the Bright Sea is a solid follow up novel though I didn't love it as much as The Wolf Hollow and that might be due to reading a few books before this one that all had the same plot: a young child discovering and understanding the definition of family and the struggle to find his/her identity. 
  As long as she can remember, Crow has lived her whole life on the sleepy island of Cuttyhunk, part of the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts. When she was only a few days old, a lonely fisherman named Osh found her moored on the rocks after being set adrift in a shabby rowboat. The only possible place Crow could have safely come from is the neighboring island of Penikese, which was a leper colony. Due to this fact, Crow's world has only been limited to Osh and her friendly neighbor Miss Maggie. Many of the townspeople avoid Crow like the plague, assuming that she carries the disease despite exhibiting no physical symptoms.
  Though Osh is her adoptive father and Miss Maggie fills a mother-figure roll, Crow does not feel whole. She is determined to discover where she comes from. The mystery surrounding Crow's parentage, her link to Penikese and her hopeful search for her her birth family drives the story forward. Wolk's writing is simple yet powerful, expertly depicting Crow's, Osh's, and even Miss Maggie's wide range of emotions from the highs of hope and belonging to the lows of anxiety and fear. Beyond the Bright Sea is uplifting tale that reminds us that sometimes your family is the one you make, not the one you are born into.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are some disturbing images in the book. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Pablo and Birdy by Alison McGhee, The Eyes of the Amaryllis by Natalie Babbit
Rummanah Aasi

Description: Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture--for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve her Bengali identity--award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

Review: You Bring the Distant Near is a multi-generational read that centers around the complexities of navigating multiple cultures, the immigrant experience, and understanding the different generations. While it doesn't offer anything new to the common motif in immigrant stories, it does a nice job in highlighting the importance of finding ones home despite where you are in the world.
   The story opens in 1970s New York, where the Das family has immigrated from England in hopes of planting roots and finding acceptance. Sisters Tara and Sonia are two teen girls who crave personal freedom and they often go against their mother Ranee's strict and traditional Indian values. Older sister Tara is known for her looks and her charisma is contagious. She longs to be an actress. Younger sister Sonia is introverted, incredibly intelligent, and a budding feminist Sonia. The tumultuous relationship between Sunny and Ranee is at the heart of the novel, representing the clash and resistance of and ultimate blending of cultures. In the United States, Ranee struggles in vain to hold on to her "Indianness," not only for herself, but also for her children. I really enjoyed this first half of the book as I connected with Sunny and Ranee the most. I could easily understand their conflicts between personal desire and their responsibilities to their culture. I think this is the strongest aspect of the book. I also appreciated the complexities of race and culture when it came to interracial marriage and gender roles.
  The second half of the book jumps through time where both Tara and Sunny have established lives with marriage and children. We now follow the narratives of their daughters, Anna and Chantal respectively. It is only through her connection to her granddaughters, Chantal and Anna that Ranee finds redemption and transformation. For me the second half of the book falters a bit as Perkins tries to touch upon different issues hurriedly such as racial imposter syndrome (where a person from multiple cultures don't see themselves in any culture), Islamophobia, and American patriotism.
  Though I enjoyed the multi-generational aspect to the story, which is not common in YA litertature, I think the book might have been stronger if there were two companion novels. Chantal and Anna are mirror images of their mothers and I would have liked to see them grow as individuals. I would also have loved for the nuisance and complex themes be explored in more details. Overall, You Bring the Distant Near is an enjoyable read that many readers can see themselves and shines a light on an experience that is actually more familiar than we think.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: The Joyluck Club by Amy Tan
Rummanah Aasi

Description: Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone. The Spill claimed Addison's parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn't spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone's twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death--or worse. When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits--and it seems to be calling Addison's name.

Review: Spill Zone is cloaked in mystery surrounding an event that has caused residents of Poughkeepsie to hang suspended in the air like floating zombies where demonic wolves and sentient twisters appear out of nowhere. From what we can gather from the little clues in the book is that it wasn't aliens, it wasn't a nuclear attack, and the military isn't talking. In fact the lack of a backstory is what kept me filling through the pages of this bizarre graphic novel. Ultimately, it's the characters that drive this story. 
  Addison and her mute sister, Lexa, are on their own after their parents were caught in the Spill Zone. Addison photographs this quarantined area-the Spill Zone-and its bizarre happenings. She sells the images to support herself and her sister, Lexa. Her talent of weaving in and out of the Spill Zone undetected leads Addison to a deadly mission inside the Spill Zone with a reward of a million dollars should she succeed. Meanwhile, the North Korean government, which had its own Spill incident, wants to meet with Addison for their own ominous purposes. The story becomes even more twisted when Lexa begins to talk without any explanation and her creepy rag doll, Vespertine, who whispers devious thoughts in Lexa's mind.
  There are lots of different things developing this graphic novel. It starts off slowly but picks up the pace as more mysteries are layered on top of one another. The world that Westerfeld and Puvilland have created is imaginative and nightmarish with drawings composed of hectic lines and loud, vivid colors. Addison is an intriguing character who is forced to act like an adult though she is only in her teens. She is sympathetic but her personality can be abrasive. Her decisions are morally questionable, which makes her complex and appealing.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language and violence throughout the book. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Broken Vow (Spill Zone #2) by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland coming in July 10, 2018, The Silver Six by A.J. Lieberman
Rummanah Aasi

Description: Fifteen-year-old Matt Wainwright is in turmoil. He can’t tell his lifelong best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her; his promising basketball skills are being overshadowed by his attitude on the court, and the only place he feels normal is in English class, where he can express his inner thoughts in quirky poems and essays. Matt is desperately hoping that Tabby will reciprocate his feelings; but then Tabby starts dating Liam Branson, senior basketball star and all-around great guy. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough; but, as Matt soon discovers, he’s close to losing everything that matters most to him.

Review: Awkward high school freshman Matt Wainwright has two goals in life. He wants to elevate his basketball skills from JV to Varsity and get the girl: his longtime next-door neighbor and unattainable best friend Tabby. Unfortunately, life doesn't follow Matt's plans. He systematically chokes and is error prone whenever Tabby is around, which prevents him from disclosing his true feelings for Tabby. After a school tragedy leaves Matt reeling as he risks losing everything important to him.
  I got many flashes to John Green's novels while reading The Short History of a Girl Next Door, but it didn't have the same emotional punch or moments of epiphanies. Where the author does succeed is the authentic voice and the inner monologues. Matt's voice is that of an authentic freshmen teenager filled with insecurity, awkwardness, and self deprecating humor. His infatuation with Tabby feels real and we spend a lot of time with Matt pining Tabby. The second half has a tragic twist that brings out  Matt's grief-induced selfishness, self-pity, and occasional outright cruelty. Matt's warm relationship with his grandfather unveils some surprises and sets Matt on the road to deal with his grief and loss in a positive manner.
  The book's short chapters, brisk pacing, and the in-depth descriptions of basketball will make this book appealing to reluctant readers. I had hoped we would spend more time Matt on his road to recovery, but it ends in an uplifting note.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language throughout the novel and some crude sexual humor. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: The Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner, The History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, Looking for Alaska by John Green
Rummanah Aasi
Description: For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden's life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. It was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But over time, as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the figure skating team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. It all led to one question: What was the point? The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she'd outgrown her passion--and she finally needed to find her own voice.

Review: Spinning is a quiet, contemplative graphic memoir about competitive ice skating, growing up, and coming out. Walden offers a candid examination of her experiences in figure skating from her passion for the sport and the embarrassments to experiences that marked pivotal moments in her adolescence, and how she eventually came out to family and friends as a young teen.
  Like the subtle text of the graphic novel, the art does not have any bells and whistles. It is very simple and mostly chromatic with a small color collection: indigo, white, and occasional splashes of yellow. The cold tone is reflective of the cold ice skating ring that Walden attended each morning before the sunrises as well as the teenage angst of a young woman trying to find her own place. Instead of focusing on the seedier side of figure skating, Walden focuses her own relationship with the sport and how she fell in and out of love with it. Various relationships are discussed though mostly are held at an arm's length particularly that of her strained relationship with her mother and her first romantic relationship which is both sweet and heartbreaking. Written when she is only 21 years old, Walden has lots of talent and I hope to read more from her.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language. There are scenes of bullying and of unwanted sexual advances and attempted assault in the graphic novel. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Blankets by Craig Thompson
Rummanah Aasi

Description: After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her. Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape. Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right.

Review: Ginny Moon is a much darker read than I had first expected. It is a bracing coming of age novel, but also an examination on what makes a family. When Ginny Moon was nine, she was removed from her abusive mother Gloria's custody and placed in foster care or as Ginny calls them "forever homes". Due to her autism, Ginny has never found a perfect forever home until her fourth forever home with a well meaning couple who are having problems having a child on their own. Ginny is approximately satisfied but she needs to rescue Baby Doll who left in a suitcase 8 years ago in at Gloria's apartment to keep her safe. Now Ginny is 14, how can she be comforted when her Baby Doll is not safe? What is Baby Doll and is Ginny's cherished possession still in the suitcase? This is the central mystery of the book.
  Ginny's first-person narration reveals the gulf between her internal life and her ability to communicate with the outside world. I felt a wide range of emotions both for Ginny and her loving foster parents. On the one hand, I couldn't help but feel frustrated for Ginny as she is constantly misunderstood and at odds with those around her. I knew what she was referring to as Baby Doll and it pained me to see her inability to communicate what she really means. On the other hand, it was heartbreaking to see Ginny's tunnel vision on rescuing Baby Doll while seemingly oblivious to the protections in place that prevent her from returning to Gloria, creating turmoil within her new family. Ginny isn't completely ignorant of Gloria's abuse as she mentions it constantly with her urgency to find Baby Doll.
  I wouldn't necessarily call Ginny an unreliable narrator, but the details of the story are spread out evenly in the book and gradually coalesce and make sense while upping the suspense. What I found interesting after I read the book and remarked on how accurate it feels is that the author incorporated his own personal experience as the adoptive father of a teen with autism.
  Ginny Moon is a heartfelt and often heartbreaking debut novel that has adult and YA crossover appeal, especially with readers who enjoy character driven stories.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language in the book. Allusions to child neglect, child abuse, drug abuse and death of an animal are made in the book. For the mature themes I would recommend this book to older teens and adults.

If you like this book try: The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Rummanah Aasi

Description: JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers -- from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.

Review: With immigration being a hot topic and feverishly discussed and debated in the news, Alan Gratz's stirring middle grade novel, Refugee, is timely and important. It is focused on the different reasons why immigrants flee their native homelands. The book is told in three parallel stories of three different tween refugees from different eras, Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo, Syria, that eventually intertwine for maximum impact. 
  Although these countries, time periods, and three brave protagonists are very different, Gratz shows us how they share many things in common. Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud traverse a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, surviving at sea, struggles between visibility and invisibility in fear of safety, experience heart-wrenching loss, and ultimately gaining resilience in the process. In each alternating chapter we get a snapshot of being on their perilous journey with the people involved. What I found interesting is that the behavior of the children remained constant, however, the adults were unpredictable. There were many adults who exploited the vulnerabilities of the refugees, others who were constrained by their obligations not to help either due to their own safety being endangered or those dictated by their law or government, and a few who were driven by kindness and sincerity.
    Though Refugee is written for the middle grade audience, Gratz does not sugar coat the disastrous living conditions of each setting. He manages to be poignant, respectful and historically accurate in the book without resorting to shock value or making one dimensional characters. The chapters are short and fast paced. You can either read one narrative all the way through to the end, but I would suggest to read the book as it is formatted to get the full effect of how these stories are interwoven and effect each other. Though they are plenty of dark moments in the book, the ending does show us signs of hope for the future. The powerful author's note explains why Gratz wrote this book. Refugee is an excellent book for book discussions for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy at time when it is most needed.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is mention of bombings, gunfire, and other war violence in the book. Recommended for Grades 6 and up.

If you like this book try: Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai, Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai
Rummanah Aasi

Description: Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
 Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter. And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Review: Alex, Approximately is the perfect summer romance read and an updated homage to You've Got Mail with some depth. Bailey Rydell, aka "Mink," is a self-described "habitual evader" and an "artful dodger" who lives far away from her online friend "Alex." Bailey and Alex have never met in real life. When Bailey moves across the country to the California town where Alex lives, she is afraid her online chemistry with Alex won't translate into the real world. Nonetheless, she begins to adapt to her new surroundings, lands a job, makes a friend, and faces an adorable nemesis named Porter.
  I am a huge movie fan and I loved how Bennett included classic films into the story whether it is from Bailey's vintage fashion with nods to Lana Turner and Roman Holiday to quotes from iconic movies that frame each chapter. Bailey's reserved, introverted personality is pitted with Porter's easy going surfer attitude quite well and effectively creates tension to the antagonistic romance trope. Both Bailey and Porter have personal issues and complicated tragic backstories that give their characters depth without dragging the book into teen angst and melodrama. I also appreciated the inclusion of diverse characters such as Porter, who is half Polynesian/Chinese and half white, and important secondary characters like Bailey's friend Grace who is half Nigerian and half British. I would have loved to know more about Porter's ethnic background and his family. 
 I also appreciated that the author didn't confine Bailey and Porter's relationship to just the emails, but that their relationship grows organically. The fact that they met and clicked online is just an added bonus for the reader and also opens to the door to misunderstandings and missed opportunities that drive the plot further. Once I started this book I had a very hard time putting it down because I was enjoying Bailey's and Alex's banter. Bailey is resilient, introverted yet vulnerable and it was so fun watching her come out of her shell. Likewise Porter is so utterly charming but also wary of putting himself out there. This is a book that should top every romance reader's reading list.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, mentions of drug abuse and underage drinking, and a fade to black sex scene. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Description: Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends. Life couldn’t be more perfect! At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news. Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Review: I have absolutely adored Jenny Han's To All the Boys I Loved Before series and was so sad to see this series end. Lara Jean Song Covey embarks on her senior year of high school and is faced with lots of unknowns about the future. Lara Jean has never embraced change, but when her dream college plans go awry she needs to be honest with herself about what she truly wants. Throughout this series we have watched Lara Jean slowly evolve from a sheltered girl to that of a confident girl. She is still thoughtful, crafty, and an adorable girl next door. Some readers complain that she still acts like she is a tween, but I disagree and find her wholesomeness refreshing.
  The book's pacing matches quite nicely with what it feels like as a high school senior. The first half moves along with little to no conflict as Lara Jean applies to colleges and waits to hear back. Her widowed father is also moving forward and plans to re-marry which brings a little tension in the Covey household. The second half of the book is where the action kicks off with lots of big life choices to think about such as the discussion of taking her relationship with Peter Kavinsky to the next level and their anxieties of maintaining a relationship as they go to college.
 I will admit that I wasn't crazy about Peter Kavinsky. I was more of a John Ambrose McClaren kind of gal, but I have to say that Peter Kavinsky won me over in this book. He is patient with Lara Jean and respects her decisions. While Peter and Lara Jean's romance is a big part of the book it does not overshadow Lara Jean's growth to a confident young woman who learns to choose for herself, which is refreshing.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, underage drinking, and references to sex. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen, Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Rummanah Aasi
  Every year there are several young adult debut novels that are published. I have picked the top 18 titles that have caught my eye and wanted to share them with you. It was very hard to narrow down my list and I am sure that I will keep adding to this list as the year goes on. Please note that I received the information regarding release dates from the Electric Eighteens website calendar. I am thrilled that there is a wide variety of stories and genres. I am also very happy to see a lot of diverse authors and topics. Fingers crossed that these debuts do not disappoint us! I have organized the list according to list dates and will have a link to each title if you would like to add them to your Goodreads shelves. Enjoy!

 In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

Release Date: Jan 2, 2018 | Add to Goodreads

 American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.
  There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

Release Date: Jan 16, 2018 | Add to Goodreads

Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
Release Date: Jan 30 | Add to Goodreads

Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies. With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.
  But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

Release Date: Feb 6 | Add to Goodreads

Can she write a world gone wrong? A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist. But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

Release Date: Feb 20 | Add to Goodreads

Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

Release Date: Feb 27 | Add to Goodreads

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn't need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper. But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn't the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her. The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

Release Date: Feb 27 | Add to Goodreads

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
  Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Release Date: March 6 | Add to Goodreads

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect. But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Release Date: March 6 | Add to Goodreads

Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has.

Release Date: March 8 | Add to Goodreads

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

Release Date: March 20 | Add to Goodreads

Claire is a fangirl obsessed with the show Demon Heart. Forest is an actor on Demon Heart who dreams of bigger roles. When the two meet at a local Comic-Con panel, it's a dream come true for Claire. Until the Q&A, that is, when Forest laughs off Claire's assertion that his character is gay. Claire is devastated. After all, every last word of her super-popular fanfic revolves around the romance between Forest's character and his male frenemy. She can't believe her hero turned out to be a closed-minded jerk. Forest is mostly confused that anyone would think his character is gay. Because he's not. Definitely not.

Unfortunately for Demon Heart, when the video of the disastrous Q&A goes viral, the producers have a PR nightmare on their hands. In order to help bolster their image within the LGBTQ+ community-as well as with their fans-they hire Claire to join the cast for the rest of their publicity tour. What ensues is a series of colourful Comic-Con clashes between the fans and the show that lead Forest to question his assumptions about sexuality and help Claire come out of her shell. But how far will Claire go to make her ship canon? To what lengths will Forest go to stop her and protect his career? And will Claire ever get the guts to make a move on Tess, the very cute, extremely cool fanartist she keeps running into?

Release Date: May 1 | Add to Goodreads

Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible. 
  But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.
 Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?

Release Date: May 22| Add to Goodreads

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies' father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media's vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

Release Date: May 22 | Add to Goodreads

Lulu Saad doesn't need your advice, thank you very much. She's got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It's all under control. Ish.
 Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can't find her way out of this mess soon, she'll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She'll have to go looking for herself.

Release Date: June 19 | Add to Goodreads


High school senior Cookie Vonn’s post-graduation dreams include getting out of Phoenix, attending Parsons and becoming the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly compared to her supermodel mother—and named after a dessert.
 Thanks to her job at a fashion blog, Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio and appeal for a scholarship, but her plans are put on standby when she’s declared too fat too fly. Forced to turn to her BFF for cash, Cookie buys a second seat on the plane. She arrives in the city to find that she’s been replaced by the boss’s daughter, a girl who’s everything she’s not—ultra-thin and super-rich. Bowing to society’s pressure, she vows to lose weight, get out of the friend zone with her crush, and put her life on track.


Cookie expected sunshine and rainbows, but nothing about her new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day.
Will she realize that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?
Release Date: June 5 | Add to Goodreads

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them. 

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what's right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she's ever loved. 

Release Date: June 5 | Add to Goodreads

Dessa Rhodes is a modern day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs, and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, whom she knows she can never be with. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance. Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.
  Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss—and herself—that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving?

Release Date: June 26 | Add to Goodreads

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