Rummanah Aasi

    I started my blog in late March 2010 as a personal and creative project to share my love of reading and recommending books to people. At the time I worked as a library assistant and was about to begin my journey into library school. Due to my library assistant description, I didn’t have the ability to fully use my reading advisory skills so I pivoted to building and maintaining a blog. At first it was a hobby that helped me as a fledgling librarian in keeping track of books that I read and enjoyed. When I became and worked as a school librarian, the blog morphed into a resource for fellow educators and readers too with a heavy emphasis on YA titles. 

Now as a reader advisory librarian at a public library, it is my job to interact with library patrons and offer reading suggestions. I work on curating personalized reading recommendation lists for patrons, I make reading lists on a certain theme,  I also run a monthly book discussion and an Instagram program for the library. I have used what I learned from blogging and use those skills in a different way. Now my personal blog has once again gone through a different metamorphosis, but this time it is an extension of work and my energy tank is depleting. I always approach any project with the intention of doing it right and wholeheartedly, but when I find myself wavering it is a sign that I must re-evaluate. 

Blogging is very hard. It takes time to create a schedule and consistently provide content. With the rise of BookTok, Bookstagram, ang Booktube, blogging is even harder in generating and maintaining a following. Blogging can also be rewarding and that’s where you all come in. I want to thank you for staying by my side for 10+ years. Thank you for reading, commenting, or even lurking on my blog. Thank you for pushing me to read outside of my comfort zone or even asking, “can you start posting about x books?” Thank you to my fellow bloggers and friends who kept tabs on me when I went radio silent and asked if I was okay. I am okay. I just feel overwhelmed and burnt out at times.

While I will no longer be posting on this blog, you can find me on Goodreads where you can find my thoughts on books or see what I am currently reading.I plan on making sure that I transfer my blog reviews to my goodreads page since a lot of them were written before I made the switch from using Shelfari to Goodreads. I wish you all well and thank you again for making 10+ years a joy. 


Rummanah Aasi

  Ramadan Mubarak! Ramadan officially begins for me on March 23, 2023. I am very excited to participate in the #RamadanReadathon hosted by the Muslim Readathon blog. The purpose of this readathon is to celebrate and support Muslim authors during the holy month of Ramadan. The readathon this year will be taking place between March 23 to April 21!

While there is a bingo card for the challenge, I wanted to broaden them up a bit. Like the previous years I've done this readathon, I divide my tbr pile in three big groups: Childrens/Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult. Once again my reading pile is quite ambitious, but hopefully I can fit these all in during Ramadan.

Childrens/Middle Grade

Mama Shami at the Bazaar by Mojdeh Hassani: It's market day for Samira and her grandma! The bazaar is crowded, but this sweet pair knows how to stick together in this silly picture book set in Iran.

Moon's Ramadan by Natasha Khan Kazi:  With radiant and welcoming art, this debut picture book and modern holiday classic captures the magic and meaning of one of the world's most joyful and important celebrations.

Journey of the Midnight Sun by Shazia Afzal: In 2010 a Winnipeg-based charity raised funds to build and ship a mosque to Inuvik, one of the most northern towns in Canada’s Arctic.

Nayra and the Djinn by Iasmin Omar Ata: In this coming-of-age graphic novel with a fantastical twist, Nayra Mansour, a Muslim American girl is helped on her journey to selfhood by a djinn.

Ahmed Aziz's Epic Year by Nina Hamza: An Indian Muslim #ownvoices debut about an underachiever who must start over in a new state with the help of three classic books.

Muhammad Najeb War Reporter by Muhammad Najem: A teenage boy risks his life to tell the truth in this gripping graphic memoir by youth activist Muhammad Najem and CNN producer Nora Neus.


The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Pride and Prejudice in this delightful and heartfelt rom-com about a Bangladeshi American teen whose meddling mother arranges a match to secure their family’s financial security—just as she’s falling in love with someone else.

Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim: The first book in an epic fantasy series for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal and Elizabeth Lim, set in an Arabian-inspired land. Raised to protect her nation from the monsters lurking in the sands, seventeen-year-old Imani must fight to find her brother whose betrayal is now their greatest threat.

The Next New Syrian Girl by Ream Shukairy: Furia meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter about the unlikely friendship between two very different Syrian girls, the pressures and expectations of the perfect Syrian daughter, and the repercussions of the Syrian Revolution both at home and abroad.

The Loophole by Naz Kutub: Your wish is granted! This YA debut is equal parts broken-hearted love story, epic myth retelling, and a world-journey romp to find home.

A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar: Adiba Jaigirdar gives Titanic an Ocean’s 8 makeover in a heist for a treasure aboard the infamous ship that sank in the Atlantic many years ago.


Hijab Butch Blues by Lamya H: A queer hijabi Muslim immigrant survives her coming-of-age by drawing strength and hope from stories in the Quran in this daring, provocative, and radically hopeful memoir.

The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by S.K. Chakraborty: The bestselling author of The City of Brass, spins a new trilogy of magic and mayhem on the high seas in this tale of pirates and sorcerers, forbidden artifacts and ancient mysteries, in one woman’s determined quest to seize a final chance at glory—and write her own legend.

I Escaped a Chinese Internment Camp by Zumrat Duwat: This graphic novella recounts the true story of Zumrat Dawut, as originally published in the independent online news organization, Insider, through interviews conducted by Anthony Del Col and testimony given to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Shubeik Lubeik by Dena Muhammad: A brilliant and imaginative debut graphic novel that brings to life a fantastical Cairo where wishes are real. Author, illustrator, and translator Deena Mohamed presents a literary, feminist, Arab-centric graphic novel that marries magic and the socio-political realities of contemporary Egypt.

Roses, in the Mouth of  Lion by Bushra Rehman: An unforgettable story about female friendship and queer love in a Muslim-American community.

American Fever by Dur E Aziz Amina: A compelling and laugh-out-loud funny novel about adolescence, family, otherness, religion, the push-and-pull of home.

Best Friends by Kamila Shamsie: The moving and surprising story of a lifelong friendship and the forces that bring it to the breaking point.

Blackwater Falls by Ausma Zehanat Khan: Delving deep into racial tensions, and police corruption and violence, Blackwater Falls examines a series of crimes within the context of contemporary American politics with compassion and searing insight.
Rummanah Aasi
Description: Everyone in my family has killed someone. Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once. I'm not trying to be dramatic, but it is the truth. Some of us are good, others are bad, and some just unfortunate. I'm Ernest Cunningham. Call me Ern or Ernie. I wish I'd killed whoever decided our family reunion should be at a ski resort, but it's a little more complicated than that. Have I killed someone? Yes. I have. Who was it? Let's get started.

Review: Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone is probably one of the most hyped and talked about mystery debuts. It has a very catchy premise and is taking advantage of the popularity of Knives Out. I think your mileage for this book will be if you can tolerate the narrator Ern.
  Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone is a meta-mystery. Our narrator, Ern, is a self published author who earns his money swindling novice writers who want to be successful mystery writers. There are lots of discussion on the framework of a mystery, which cut in and out of the main story as Ern breaks down the fourth wall and talks directly to the reader. At first I found Ern's comments about mystery plot devices to be amusing and clever, but then it became tedious and actually quite condescending. I find myself able to digest a 'clever', fourth wall breaking mystery more tolerable as a TV show like PBS's Annika or as a voice-over narrator in a movie where a viewer might not get to see everything on screen. In other words there is a reason why that fourth wall is broken, but in this book it's just a gimmick and a way for the character/auhor? to remind you how clever he is. There is even a chapter and a half (I think it's like 14.5) in which the entire plot is summarized for you.
   When it comes to the actual mystery of the book, it was simply okay. It's a spin on the locked room or in this case ski resort with multiple characters who have multiple motives. Despite the adult language, it leans towards the cozy mystery side as the violence isn't graphic and it takes mostly off page. It's been a few weeks since I finished it and I can't recall any of the characters except for Ern. I don't think this is a series that I'll continue reading. I like a chewy mystery, but not one in which I'm meant to feel stupid and be beholden to the author's brilliance. 

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language. Most of the violence takes place off the page. Recommended for teens and adults. 

If you like this book try: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, Peter Diamond series by Peter Lovesey
Rummanah Aasi
 Maya J. Jenkins is bursting with questions: Will she get the MVP award at this year's soccer banquet?Who will win the big grill off between Daddy and Uncle J?When will she pass the swim test and get a green bracelet?For answers and a dose of good luck, 12-year-old Maya turns to her Wheel of Fortunes, a cardboard circle covered with the small slips of wisdom she's collected from fortune cookies.
      But can the fortunes answer her deep-down questions? The ones she's too scared to ask out loud? Like, where did Mama's smile go, the real one that lit up everything around her? When will Daddy move back home? And most of all, does she have enough courage to truly listen to the voice in her heart?

Review: Maya "MJ" Jenkins is a flautist, a soccer player, and a collector of fortune-cookie fortunes. Lately, she feels like she has to play her flute in secret while pursuing to be a Charger soccer player, a team which her father played as a young boy. Her dad loves soccer and instead of disappointing him, she decides to go into her "quiet mode" so that she can recenter herself and engage with the music. She also seeks advice from a wheel that she has created out of fortune cookie strips that she saves from her family's "Fried Rice Fridays."
  Unexpectedly, MJ's world is turned upside down when her parents announce that they will be doing a trial separation. While MJ knew her parents had "whisper-fighting" for months, she didn't anticipate this. Naturally, MJ feels betrayed and isolated. Her mood worsens when her best friend is chosen as the soccer team's MVP instead of Maya. 
   The Many Fortunes of Maya gives a realistic slice of life of a tween who is trying to navigate her parents tension, learn how to choose what's best for her without feeling like she is letting her parents down, and deal with changing friendship dynamics. Each of these themes are handled carefully, delicately, and realistically. I found each chapter opening to a fortune cookie saying to be fun and I thought they complemented the story and MJ's emotional compass quite well, but not necessarily in the ways she had anticipated. While I really enjoyed the sections where MJ was emotionally vulnerable and open with her parents, I would have liked more of those scenes. I would also have liked for the book to be a bit longer so we can further develop MJ's relationship with her parents on a one on one basis. Overall MJ's story ends on a hopeful note and I'm sure many young readers will enjoy it.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: The Three Rules of Everyday Magic by Amanda Rawson Hill, See You on a Starry Night by Lisa Schroeder
Rummanah Aasi
 College freshman Andie is used to fixing other people's problems, but when her seemingly perfect plan for her future starts to crumble, Andie struggles to fix them and learns that the best-laid plans are not necessarily the right one.

Review: There are not many young adult books that talk about the freshmen experience of college. While categorized as a romance, I think readers of that genre will be disappointed as the book really is a coming of age story with a romantic subplot. 
   Andie has always aspired to study psychology and attend Blue Ridge State. Since the death of her mother who had an illustrious college experience at Blue Ridge State and pioneered the college radio's program, Andie's goal had been set, but was unfortunately it was derailed when she put her boyfriends needs ahead of her own. After she’s rejected, though, she attends Little Fells Community College while her boyfriend, Connor, heads off to Blue Ridge. When she’s given the opportunity to transfer, she keeps the good news secret from Connor, hoping to surprise him; however, upon arriving at Blue Ridge, she learns that Connor has transferred to Little Fells to be near her. 
   Alone in an unfamiliar place, Andie’s has a lot on her plate: figure out how to maintain a long distance relationship with Connor, create a social circle of her own, pass a difficult statistics class, and of course meet her parents' expectations of success. In a slice of life format, we begin to learn more about Andie as she reveals her gift/flaw in wanting to make people happy. A natural people pleaser, Andie put other people's needs ahead of her own. It is her way to keep people near her. When her relationship with Connor comes to a crossroad, Andie has to decide what does she want out of her college experience?
    Begin Again reminded a lot of the television show Felicity, starring Kerri Russell in which Felicity makes the impulsive decision to follow her crush Ben and attend a fictional NYU instead of continuing her journey to medical school at a university in California. What starts as a stereotypical romance leads to a story of self discovery. Andie follows a similar path. Through ups and downs, Andie does make a circle of friends who she cares about and who equally care about her. She comes into contact with her perpetually sleep-deprived RA named Milo, whom she shares similarities with and slowly starts a slow burn romance. Despite all of these subplots, the focus on Andie never wavers and I found her first year college experience to be relatable and realistic. I also really liked the subplot featuring Andie's queer friends who also have a sweet romance. While this is a worthwhile read, fans looking exclusively for romance will be disappointed and/or bored. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, the main characters have lost a parent (one due to cancer and another a car accident), and mentions of underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Study Break edited by Aashna Avachat, This is Not a Personal Statement by Tracy Badua 
Rummanah Aasi
A memoir about food, body image, and growing up in a loving but sometimes oppressively concerned Pakistani immigrant family.

Review: Rabia Chaudry may be a familiar name to you if you follow the Undisclosed podcast or followed the Adnan Syed trial that was highlighted in the Serial podcast. In her candid and engaging memoir, she recounts how her life has been shaped and complicated by her relationship with food and culture.
   Born in Lahore, Pakistan, and raised in the U.S. by Muslim immigrant parents, Chaudry was subject to myths of American greatness and capitalism when it came to nutritional supremacy that favored processed foods (i.e. junk food, fast food restaurants, etc) as well as baby formula over breast milk. The foods that Rabia consumed reflected simultaneously high class from the lens of her Pakistani relatives, but also a low class from the lens of a U.S. viewer.  
    As Rabia grew up from a healthy chubby baby to the heaviest student in her grade, body image has always haunted her. After years of internalizing fatphobia and being told repeatedly by her family comments that her weight made her undesirable, Rabia married the first man who approached her. Unfortunately, this was not a healthy relationship as she endured an abusive husband and suffered years of disordered eating. 
   Rabia does go on a journey of self healing seeking therapy and constructs a healthy relationship with food, and spends time with relatives who support rather than shame her, becomes a turning point. The goal turns from being thin to one of being healthy. She wonders where she walks on the side of body positivity, fat acceptance, and weight loss. Overall, I really enjoyed her candidness and critique of Pakistani culture when it comes to body image which not only entails weight but also colorism and beauty standards. I applaud this realistic story of self acceptance. I also enjoyed looking at the various recipes that are found at the back of the book. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are scenes of fatphobia, disordered eating, colorism, and domestic abuse. 

If you like this book try: Shrill by Lindsey West, Hunger by Roxane Gay, Heavy by Kiese Laymon
Rummanah Aasi
 Starting a new school in the fall with her friend Shirley, everything is going well for Jamila until Shirley pulls her into a new assignment: stop Chuck Milton, a school bully who is using blackmail and intimidation to become school president--an assignment that will involve a bit of breaking and entering.

Review: The Shirley and Jamila graphic mystery series is utterly delightful. This is the second book in the series and I think you would have no problem if you started with this book. The author does a great job in summing up the first book so you can dive right into this new adventure. 
  The fall brings the start of a new school year. Jamila Waheed is attending a new school, but luckily her best friend, Shirley Bones, is right by her side. After solving their first case together over the summer, the school year has brought a new shift in their routine such as doing homework, attending lessons, sport practices, and possibly even new friends. While Jamila befriends, Seena who shares similar cultural and family dynanics and also loves playing basketball, Shirley is still working as detective. 
   The latest case has the Shirley and Jamila pitted against a formidable opponent: the notorious school bully Chuck Milton. Chuck trades in secrets and wields them against fellow students he extorts, including their recent client. 
  This Sherlock Holmes-inspired mystery series not only has a strong cast of characters and an intricately detailed plot, but it also addresses important questions. Can you justify breaking and entering to help solve a case? How about faking a friendship? I really appreciate how there is no clear cut answer and seeing the characters come to their own conclusions. The series continues to have a focus on friendship and  not the usual drama that surrounds middle grade reads. Jamila's struggle about building her friendship circle and finally finding someone who she can be her authentic self will resonate with a lot of readers. Overall this is a really fun series that I hope continues because I adore these characters. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are scenes of bullying and also breaking and entering a house. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Enola Holmes Graphic Novels by Serena Blasco, Inkberg Enigma by Jonathan King, Goldie Vance by Hope Larson (for Grade 5 and up readers)
Rummanah Aasi
 Eight years have passed since the Battle of the Serpent. In the icy north, Lady Nore of the Court of Teeth has reclaimed the Ice Needle Cathedral. She has produced a monster of stick and snow who will do her bidding--and exact her revenge. Suren, child queen of the Court of Teeth, fled to the human world and lives in the woods. When she is chased through the streets by the hag Bogdana, Suren is saved by Prince Oak, the heir to Elfhame--and the boy she was once promised to in marriage. He wants Suren's help on a mission--but can she trust him?

Review: The Stolen Heir is a spin-off series to Holly Black's extremely popular fey centered series Folk of Air. While you can jump into reading this spin-off series, be aware that it does spoil the events of the Folk of Air series. There are returning and important characters from the first series.
  The Stolen Heir has a very different tone when it is compared to the first series. Our narrator, Wren (named in the human realm) or Suren (in the fey realm) is a changeling born to the Court of Teeth as a device for political machinations. She is taken from her human family when she is of age and dragged, abused by her fey parents. Enduring lots of trauma and betrayed several times over, Wren is an internal, highly suspicious character. When is she sought and saved by former friend Prince Oak, they begin a mysterious quest. Wren and Oak dance around one another as their loyalties and alliances shift throughout the story.  
  The plot of The Stolen Heir is much more slow burned and has a fairy tale quality. The ambiance of the book is much grimmer and grittier. Black takes her time in expanding her fey world. I really liked the character of Wren and watching her character grow from a skittish young woman to something much more sinister as the book progresses and her backstory is revealed. While I liked Wren's character arc, I did find myself a little lost about the purpose of the quest and I found the pacing to be slow at times, but things finally clicked in the second half of the story. The last few chapters unveiled some plot twists including one that shocked me. I'm definitely intrigued enough to pick up the second book in this duology. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence and disturbing images. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Road of the Lost by Nafisa Azad, Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Barshardoust
Rummanah Aasi
Hailey Sharp has a one-track mind. Get By the Cup salad shop off the ground. Do literally everything possible to make it a success. Repeat. With a head full of entrepreneurial ideas and a bad ex in her rearview, her one and only focus is living life the way she wants to. No distractions.
    Wes Jansen never did understand the fuss about relationships. With a string of lackluster first dates and the pain from his parents' angry divorce following him around, he'd much rather find someone who he likes, but won't love. Companionship, not passion, is the name of the game. 
   When Hailey and Wes find each other in a disastrous meet cute that wasn't even intended for them, they embarrassingly go their separate ways. But when Wes finds Hailey to apologize for his behavior, they strike a friendship. Because that's all this can be. Hailey doesn't want any distractions. Wes doesn't want to fall in love. What could possibly go wrong?

Review: A Guide to Being Just Friends is the third book in the Jansen Brothers series, but it can be read as a standalone. As you probably guessed from the title of the book, this romance plays on the friends to lovers trope and for the most part succeeds. 
   Hailey Sharp left Hollywood and a bad, unhealthy relationship to settle in the Southern California town of San Verde, where she opens a salad shop. She is determined to succeed and wants to it all on her own. I really liked Hailey as a character. She is completely down to earth and is a character that I found myself easily to root for.
    Wesley Jansen is a wealthy businessman and New York City transplant who heads the intriguingly named Squishy Cat Industries with his two brothers. Being the eldest, Wesley has always sheltered his younger brothers from his parents ugly divorce. His parents rocky relationship has left him weary about making commitments in the romance realm. 
  After getting off on the wrong foot, Hailey and Wesley strike up a fast friendship since both are not ready for a full blown relationship. I loved watching them together and help support one another, though I often felt that Wesley tended to go overboard several times. They of course struggle unsuccessfully to fight their growing attraction, which leads to the rocky road of relationship. While I enjoyed the first part of the story which took its time in establishing a friendship, the actual relationship part of the story went too fast for me. I also wished there was more showing than telling about Hailey's terrible relationship before she met Wesley and Wesley's background. There were moments that felt a bit too repetitive and the pacing kind of dragged for me.  There are, however, definitely some great moments that made smile and laugh out loud. I also liked some of the secondary characters too. This is a low steam romance where the physical moments were just limited to kissing. Overall this is a breezy, easy to read romance.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and sexual innuendo. The sexual situations take place behind closed doors so this would be an appropriate pick for teen romance readers. 

If you like this book try: Luck and Last Resorts by Sarah Ruiz Grunder, for a steamier read try Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren or Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
Rummanah Aasi
 Living in the penthouse suite of San Francisco's Hotel Coeur, matchmakers-in-training Rose and Cora learn how to use magic to bring about love connections and must perfect their charms and enchantments to pass a test that will determine their future.

Review: Harmony and Heartbreak is the first book in the charming, magical series called Suite Hearts. The story centers on two cousins, Rose and Cora, who come from a long line of matchmakers. The girls are also Matchmakers who have magical powers that allow them to forge love connections between people. As Fledglings or young Matchmakers in training, Rose and Cora practice their skills under the supervision of their guardians, but the time has come to take an exam to see if they can graduate to a higher Matchmaker level without the help of their guardians. 
  Rose, who is always confident and has an intuitive sense to her magic, is excited about this opportunity. Cora has the opposite reaction. Cora is much quieter and is used to being in her cousin’s shadow and has more challenges with her magic, is filled with doubt. They have two chances to pass the exam. If they fail, they could have their magic taken away. What makes the challenge even harder is that it will focus on their individual weaknesses. 
   Kann has created a delightful world filled with magic, but it is also rooted in reality as the girls navigate real life issues such as friendship troubles, crushes, and self confidence. This would be a great gateway book for younger readers who are hesitant to pick up a full-on fantasy story. The world building is easy to follow and there is a glossary provided for words that are specific to the world.The story is told in alternating perspectives by Ros and Cora, but I found myself more interested in the introverted Cora. While the story wraps up nicely in the first book, there are lingering questions left to be explored in the further books. I plan on continuing the series. Harmony and Heartbreak is a fun, Black Girl magic read.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.

If you like this book try: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano, Best Wishes by Sarah Mlynowski
Rummanah Aasi
Description: High-achieving Kavya Joshi has always been told she's a little too ambitious, a little too mouthy, and overall just a little too much. In one word: besharam. So, when her nemesis, Ian Jun, witnesses Kavya's very public breakup with her loser boyfriend on the last day of junior year, she decides to lay low. 
  Exhausted by Kavya and Ian's years-long feud, their friends hatch a plan to end their rivalry by convincing them to participate in a series of challenges. But as the competition heats up, so too does the romantic tension.

Review: Beauty and the Besharam is a delightful enemies to friends to lovers rom-com between two high achieving high school students. There is also a light fairy tale touch to the story in a gender swapped Beauty and the Beast.
  Indian American Kavya Joshi is aware that people in her orbit think that she's besharam. Besharam literally translates to shameless but it's also the umbrella term for being bossy, bold, rude, mouthy, and assertive among other things. Despite people's opinions, Kavya is proud of her devil may care attitude and refuses to change herself in order to fit into people's neat boxes, including the people she dates. And no one brings out her competitive spirit more than Ian Jun, her Korean American former friend–turned-rival, who not only excels with ease at everything, but infuriatingly looks great doing it. 
   The rivalry between Kavya and Ian is legendary, ranging from grades to club activities, and even the summer reading challenge at their public library. As junior year wraps up, their friends decide to settle the long-standing rivalry over the summer with three mystery challenges. Kavya is eager to win and be declared the undisputed victor, especially after Ian joins her in working as off-brand Disney character children’s entertainers. But as she spends more time with Ian, Kavya starts to wonder if she’s misjudged him all along. 
  Kavya is a fresh breath of air of a heroine and I really admire her for being assertive and not wanting to compromise who she is in order to be liked at such a young age. I would actually place her as the "Beast" in the fairy tale of the story. She can't actually see the beauty within herself and often times gets in her own way. I enjoyed watching her character grow throughout the book. 
  Ian is the definitely the "Beauty" in the story who sees the best in Kayva and admires her for being so confident in herself. Kayva actually pushes him to do better. I found Ian to be incredibly charming, considerate, sweet, and he genuinely likes Kayva for who she is. The chemistry between Ian and Kayva definitely sparkles and their witty banter made me smile and giggle out loud. 
  This is a smart rom-com in which there is an equal balance between discussing friendship, family relationships, and romance. There is some discussion of mental health and grief, as Ian deals with anxiety and the loss of his sister. There is great diversity in the ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation among the secondary characters who also get lots of page time.
 Beauty and the Besharam is an adorable rom-com perfect for fans of Netflix's Never Have I Ever and a joyful reminder to be true to yourself. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, scene of underage drinking, and an allusion to behind doors hookup. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Today, Tonight,Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon, If I'm Being Honest by Emily and Austen Wibberley, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Rummanah Aasi
 Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.
   But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

Review: All of my Goodreads friends have given Lessons in Chemistry 4 or 5 stars and it has also landed on fellow blogger's favorite lists for 2022, so I am definitely an outlier when it comes to this popular book. If you are curious about this book even after reading my review, I would encourage you to take my review with a grain a salt and look up what other people thought.
  Lessons in Chemistry is set in the early 1960s in which our protagonist chemist Elizabeth Zott repeatedly reminds her colleagues and the reader that she is not the 'common woman' who is content on being a housewife and a mother, but a scientist who needs to be taken seriously. We follow her as she falls in love with a fellow scientist, has his child, is side-lined by double standards, sexually harassed, and finally ousted from her job. She then becomes an overnight sensation as a host of a 'radical' cooking show in which she can be candid to housewives and other female viewers of the show. 
  Lessons in Chemistry is the epitome of the first wave of feminism. I found Elizabeth to be less of a character and more of a talking piece for the author. She is cold and abrasive. Considering how much trauma Elizabeth has experienced in her life, which is alarmingly untouched or explored but rather used as 'part of her character', she has turned off all of her emotions. It is as if showing vulnerability displays weakness. 
  I also did not find this book to be funny at all. There is a quip in which Elizabeth is called into her daughter's school because her child was requesting the school library to have Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead so she could read it. While I understand how the author wants to display how smart the young child is, but why Norman Mailer, an author who is a well known reputation of being a domestic abuser? Why encourage her to ask for Nabakov, another writer who created a problematic female character Lolita, who by the way is also sexually objectified? Why not, I don't know, pick a female author?
  Elizabeth is constantly undermined because she is a woman, but in the end this so called 'feminist fairy tale' has a happy for now ending not because the patriarchy has been dismantled or someone's light bulb goes off and finally sees Elizabeth as a human being, but thanks to the favors of a rich, white, female benefactor who is equipped to strike back at everyone who has humiliated Elizabeth in the book. However, dear reader, let's not forget that there is this thing called racism that also exists and it's bad even though I can't recall a single character of color in this entire book. Considering how much this book rankled and infuriated me, I'd like to think that my 2 stars is actually very generous. 

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, including the use of the 'c' word, scene of sexual assault, homophobia, mention of suicide of a family member, death of a loved one, and sexual harassment. Recommended for adults only.

If you like this book try: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Rummanah Aasi
 Tired of going to the salon to have her curls straightened every weekend, Marlene slowly learns to embrace her natural curly hair with the help of her best friend and favorite aunt.

Review: Claribel Ortega's graphic novel Frizzy was recently awarded the Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award. The graphic novel follows Marlene who is constantly dragged to the salon by her mother in order to tame her curls and look presentable. She is repeatedly told that straight hair is "beautiful", but this beauty standard is taking a toll on Marlene. If straight hair is so great, then why does she have curly hair? Why can't she rock her curls like her favorite character or her favorite aunt? 

  With the help of her aunt Ruby, who has curly hair like Marlene, she learns that her hair can be beautiful, too. She learns to embrace her beauty and participate in self-care and self-love. Frizzy touches upon the impact that hurtful beauty standards can have on us, but in this case the profound impact on children and how they can be perpetuated across generations. I loved the candid and important conversation that Marlene and her aunt have on the connection between white beauty standards and anti-Blackness is neatly woven into the story. This is a lovely story about being confident in your individuality, culture, and self-love. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Inheritance by Elizabeth Acevedo
Rummanah Aasi

 During her freshman year at college, Anna Xu investigates the unsolved on-campus murder of her former babysitter, as she and an old rival have to team up to look into the hate crimes happening around campus.

Review: Katie Zhao's thriller The Lies We Tell tackles important and timely topics. I can definitely see what the vision of what this book was suppose to be, but the execution of the story fell flat for me. 
   Anna Xu is a sheltered Chinese American freshmen college student who has recently returned from a summer visit in Beijing and will be starting school at Brookings University, a liberal college known for its elite, affluent, white alma mater. It is also known in the Asian community as the place for a cold case in which Asian-cued Melissa Hong, Anna's babysitter, was murdered seven years ago.  Anna, hoping for answers and closure, resolves to covertly investigate. 
  I had difficulty in believing Anna was a college freshmen. Her voice and actions were too young. I can understand having difficulty in making friends in a new environment and adjusting to a new environment, but Anna does not to have any common sense or street smarts. I didn't think she was capable of taking on an investigation. When she finds a suspicious app in which she can meet and make friends, she trusts it right away and discloses way too much information about herself.
 I also had issues with an unnecessary romance that didn't do anything for the story. In the book we learn about the rivalry between Anna's and Chris's family restaurants. We spend more time on their relationship than we do learning about Melissa's case. The thriller aspect of the story doesn't really start happening until about 60 percent of the book and once it started it was too rushed. I'm not sure how many readers would stick with this book. Some reviewers mentioned that the book is fast paced, but it wasn't for me. I found the mystery underwhelming because I figured it out early in the book. I did, however, like the themes the book touched on such as Anti-Asian discrimination and sexual fetishization of Asian women, but they didn't land powerfully as they should. The Lies We Tell wanted to be like a hybrid between Ace of Spades and a thriller by Tiffany D. Jackson, but ultimately it fell flat.  

Rating: 2 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, a racial slur is used, bullying, and racial stereotypes. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson, Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide
Rummanah Aasi
 Graduating into the long maw of an American recession, Sneha is one of the fortunate ones. She's moved to Milwaukee for an entry-level corporate job that, grueling as it may be, is the key that unlocks every door: she can pick up the tab at dinner with her new friend Tig, get her college buddy Thom hired alongside her, and send money to her parents back in India. She begins dating women--soon developing a burning crush on Marina, a beguiling and beautiful dancer who always seems just out of reach.
   But before long, trouble arrives. Painful secrets rear their heads; jobs go off the rails; evictions loom. Sneha struggles to be truly close and open with anybody, even as her friendships deepen, even as she throws herself headlong into a dizzying romance with Marina. It's then that Tig begins to draw up a radical solution to their problems, hoping to save them all.

Review: All This Could Be Different is a slice of life debut novel that fits into the category of "messy people, messy lives" or coming into adulthood. Sneha is a very internal character, some would say aloof, who takes stock in observations around her. She has created a defense mechanism in building walls around her and not disclosing personal information to anyone including her closest friends. She is in her twenties and is one of the very lucky few who has a decent job in Milwaukee working at an entry-level corporate job. We watch and follow her daily life as Sneha struggles to live her authentic life. 
  Alone in America, she is able to pursue her queer identity though she is still closeted to her conservative Indian parents. She is able to keep up the facade of being a dutiful daughter by sending money back home, but not disclosing to anyone that she has been sexually abused by her uncle or that her landlord is racist, refusing to turn on the heat and making appearances to her apartment without her consent. We watch as Sneha create and break fragile relationships. As her friend Tig advises, relationships of any kind are transactional, you give and take not just take, but how do you do that when you can't trust anyone?
  Matthews has beautifully captured the aimlessness and confusing years of being in your twenties when you know what the finish line looks like but you have no idea where you can find the starting line. There are many issues talked and discussed about the book such as the vulnerabilities of being an immigrant and a person of color- being afraid to speak up when injustice occurs in fears of being deported and/or losing your job- and how unresolved trauma seeps into your life and makes a lasting impact. This is a character driven novel that is more concerned with the big picture rather than the tiny details, which felt very realistic. I can't say that I liked Sneha per se, but I was drawn to her story and the community that she created. I did have a few questions that I wished were explored further, but overall I really enjoyed the writing of this book.  

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, sexual situations, mentions of drug addiction and alcohol abuse, a police traffic stop that doesn't end well, and allusions to sexual abuse by a family member. Recommended for adults only. 

If you like this book try: Luster by Raven Leilani, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Rummanah Aasi
 While preparing for the last major dance competition before they graduate from eighth grade and go to separate high schools in NYC, Cory must balance the expectations of his parents, school, crew and his new friend as pressure mounts from all sides.

Review: Freestyle is an energetic and cheerful story about breaking dancing, meeting expectations, and yo-yo masters. The story is focused on our main protagonist Cory who is skilled at b-boying with his dance crew and less talented at school. While his crew, but more specifically his crew leader, aspires to win a dance competition, Cory has to work with his tutor to improve his grades if he wants to attend a good high school in Brooklyn. With his time commitments going in different directions, Cory has to figure out how to meet everyone's expectations. 
 I really like this graphic novel from its vibrant colors, the action filled panels, and its refreshingly big group of friends who share a similar interest in dancing but not drama. The story moves quickly as the characters begin to wrestle with what other people want for them versus what they actually want. Sometimes these notions collide and other times it dovetails quite beautifully. Unlike other graphic novels that take place in middle school, there is a romantic or a budding romantic story line, but I appreciated that the author focused on friendships instead, both new ones and existing ones. Cory and Sunna's rocky friendship made sense to me and I enjoyed watching them working out their issues as well as learn yo-yo tricks. The cast of characters are diverse without being a big deal, which is also nice to see. Overall a fun story about friendship, growth, and having the space to express big feelings without being heavy handed.  

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Eagle Rock series by Hope Larson
Rummanah Aasi
 When Harper Proulx and her newfound sibling travel to Hawaii to track down their sperm donor father, the man she discovers--a deep-sea diver obsessed with solving the mystery of a shipwreck--forces Harper to face some even bigger questions.

Review: I'm usually up for a solid realistic story about self growth and self discovery. The Epic Story of Every Living Thing had an enticing plot and was well reviewed, but unfortunately for me it fell very flat. I was ultimately so bored and frustrated with this novel that I stopped caring around the halfway mark. 
Harper Proulx's life revolves around her boyfriend Ezra, what ifs, Instagram, and comments from her driven single mother who likes to show her off as a 'well done' project. Like many teens obsessed with social media, Harper gets tiny boosts of confidence when she receives likes and comments on her Instagram posts. When she comes across a photo of Dario who shares similar physical features with her, she beings to wonder about MF--her Maybe Father. She reaches out to Dario, the two meet up, and she realizes that her mother has withheld information from her. Soon she is swept off to Hawaii with her other half siblings to find their sperm donor father.
  I had a lot of issues with this book, but the main one that stood out to me was Harper. I found Harper to be an exasperating and needy teen. For half of the book, Harper is fused to her phone. She treats her boyfriend Ezra like her Instagram lackey, transporting her equipment and chauffeuring her to locations that would guarantee her more likes and comments on her posts. She does not open up to her boyfriend nor tells him anything about her finding her half siblings even though she is very involved in his family. So when Ezra broke up with her, I actually cheered for him. I couldn't believe how Harper thought this breakup came out of nowhere.
  My other issue with this book is that the pacing is quite slow. The first half of the book is all about finding Harper's MF. The second half is supposedly Harper's epiphany, but it didn't feel earned. One minute her face is glued to her phone near the ocean, then her phone slips into the water, and then boom! her eyes open in wonder about the world around her. 
  I did, however, like her half siblings who all had different personalities. I didn't find her father nor her mother actually developed but they appeared more as caricatures. Her dad being a surfer boy who smokes pot and her neurotic mother who wants perfection because that's how she was raised.
  I did not care for the details of the shipwreck as it took way too long to make a connection to the story. I also wondered why Covid-19 wasn't stated in the book even though there are plenty of discussions about masks, quarantining, and vaccines. As far as I know the pandemic isn't trademarked? Also why was the book written in the weird third person narrative?
  I love stories about families, but this was an absolute swing and a miss for me. Looking back on it, I wondered why I even finished it. This should have been my first dnf (did not finish) book of the year. Your mileage with Harper may vary.
Rating: 2 stars

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

If you like this book try: Normal Family by Chrysta Bilton, The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend, Donorboy by Brendan Halpin, Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Rummanah Aasi
 Traces the intense bond of three orphaned siblings who, after their parents die, are left to raise one another. The youngest, Kausar, grapples with the incomprehensible loss of their parents as she also charts out her own understanding of gender; Aisha, the middle sister, spars with her "crybaby" younger sibling as she desperately tries to hold on to her sense of family in an impossible situation; and Noreen, the eldest, does her best in the role of sister-mother while also trying to create a life for herself, on her own terms.
    As Kausar grows up, she must contend with the collision of her private and public worlds, and choose whether to remain in the life of love, sorrow, and codependency that she's known or carve out a new path for herself. When We Were Sisters tenderly examines the bonds and fractures of sisterhood, names the perils of being three Muslim American girls alone against the world, and ultimately illustrates how those who've lost everything might still make homes in one another.

Review: I am a fan of Fatimah Asghar's poetry and I was super excited to hear that they would be releasing a debut novel at the end of 2022. When We Were Sister is a deeply personal, lyrical, and heartbreaking read. Using vignettes and poetry, Asghar has created a story that follows three young orphaned Pakistani sisters who have to fend for themselves and group. 
    After their father is murdered, Noreen, Aisha, and Kausar are taken in by their Uncle, their mother's brother, who keeps them completely separate from his own family, an ex-wife and their two sons who live in a rather well off home. The girls are enticed by the promise of a "zoo", but it's really a run down one bedroom apartment that has a hallway of neglected animals and is infested by roaches and mice. Uncle forgets to supply their refrigerator with food and takes the girls' government checks and deposits them into his own account for stock and gambling investments. Since Uncle leaves for long periods of time, Noreen is defaulted as "sister-mother" and to the best of her ability takes care of her sisters. Aisha is the typical rebellious middle child and Kausar, our narrator, is the sensitive wide eyed sister who tries to appease everyone. Each sister does her best in navigating their own grief, either channeling it through their studies in hopes of leaving their grungy apartment in hopes of a new future, into their art, or into simmering anger that it threatening to spill out. 
   The fragmentary nature of the book may not appeal to some readers, but it worked for me. When I picked up the book, I found myself reading quickly and rereading lines that were full of haunting images and pulsing with heartache. Since Asghar's background is poetry, it's clearly evident that they were very conscious and precise with their wording. The spaces between the sentences and the silence between the sisters speak volumes. I actually would have liked the book to be a bit longer. It's conclusion has a time jump that seems added on. I would liked to have witnessed each sister's journey during their time apart and brought back together again, but still I did enjoy this very intimate story about grief, family, sisterhood, and coming of age.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, a scene of sexual assault, and guardian negligence and abuse. 

If you like this book try: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
Rummanah Aasi
 Trapped in a rigid hierarchy where girls learn magic and boys train as knights, twelve-year-old nonbinary Callie, who dreams of becoming a knight, and their new friends find themselves embedded in an ancient war, but in order to defeat the threats outside the kingdom they must first defeat the bigotry within.

Review: Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston is a character driven fantasy that has lots to unpack. I have been familiar with stories in which female characters want to become a knight, but I have yet encountered a knight who is nonbinary until now and it is wonderful to see. 
 Callie dreams of becoming a knight for the court of Helston. Their father is a renowned retired knight and former champion to the Hestion king, who has mysteriously vanished, and is called upon to train the crown prince for an upcoming tournament and take his place as future ruler of Helston. After spending years at home and not seen for who they are, Callie joins their father in pursuit of adventure and achieving their dream.
  Helston is your typical fantasy kingdom where not falling within its strict gender norms and being different ostracizes members of its realm. In Helston magic-less knights are trained to fight and ladies are expected to be submissive, quiet, and use their magic for pretty, useless things. Callie quickly realizes that she is bound to make enemies and chaff against the rigid rules. Despite constantly misgendered, and confined to their chamber by the odious Lord Chancellor Peran, Callie secretly continues to train as a squire. She also makes friendls with the nervous Prince Willow and Peran's firey and defiant daughter Elowen.
  This debut novel succeeds in its exploration of identity in all aspects of the main cast of characters. I really loved how Callie continues to ask questions about why things are the way they are and how can people be so compliant and not do anything when there is clearly a problem. The plot, however, is slow paced and not much happens in the book. Younger readers who want action and adventure over character development may be disappointed. I was also a bit surprised on how dark the book gets with its discussion of abuse, which mainly takes place off the page, but is still very present. Nonetheless I really liked the characters and  the discussion of found family. I am looking forward to see what adventures Callie and their crew find in later books. I truly feel like the author is just getting started. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is misusing of the main character's pronouns and mentions of emotional and physical abuse. Recommended for Grades 5 and up. 

If you like this book try: Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag, Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce
Rummanah Aasi
 When their now famous ex-boyfriend asks them to participate in a teen reality show, two eighteen year old girls—one bent on revenge, the other open to rekindling romance—get tangled up in an unexpected twist.

Review: I am not a fan of reality tv dating shows. I have never seen nor do I have the desire to see a single episode of the Bachelor franchise, but I was drawn to the premise of this book because of the twist it promises. I am happy to say that this book is absolutely delightful and enjoyable.
  It has been two years since Maya was dumped by her posh, European royal boyfriend Jordy and she can't seem to get over that bump in her life. After Jordy's sister is married, Jordy is in the spotlight and declared Europe's most eligible bachelor.  He is in fact starring in a reality dating show called Second Chance Romance, which pits celebrity bachelors' ex-girlfriends against each other for a chance to win their ex's heart, and invites Maya to be on the show. After some moments of deliberation, Maya sees it as the perfect opportunity for revenge. She plans to publicly humiliate Jordy by dumping him on international TV--but she has to win first. When Maya gets to the fictional European country called Chalonne, Maya's plan goes awry when she alienates herself from the other Jordy exes, especially Skye, the girl whom Jordy cheated on Maya. 
    Gonzales's deconstruction of the reality tv show works beautifully. From the description of how each episode is created and edited for the audience to the large cast of strong female heroines who quickly understand the actual TV villains and refuse to give into the common tropes of backstabbing and sabotage usually associated with these shows. They actually form a tight knit support group. Jordy is insufferable with his antics, recycled dialogue that is meant to make contestant "special", his weird British accent, and his eye rolling body flexing for the camera. 
   Maya's reluctant friendship with Skye, which develops into something more has all the right beats to a romantic comedy. They are complete opposites, but they balance each other out. Maya is struggling with an inferiority complex, but at the same time she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. Skye is a free spirit who loves to travel around the world, but has trust and abandonment issues. I liked that the author made both characters not only older (about eighteen and nineteen years old) but also bisexual who didn't have to worry about biphobia, though there is some discussion about biphobia in Maya's past before they get together. I couldn't help but root for them. I finished the book with a huge grin on my face. If you enjoy Casey McQuinston's books, then definitely check this one out. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language and a fade to black sex scene. Recommended for Grades 
9 and up.

If you like this book try: Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston (for similar romance vibes), All the Right Reasons by Bethany Mangle
Rummanah Aasi

 Every year there are several great books published. I have picked the top 23 titles that have caught my eye and wanted to share them with you. I am sure that I will keep adding to this list as the year goes on. I am thrilled to see a lot of diverse authors and topics. Fingers crossed that these reads do not disappoint us! I have organized the list according to the intended audience, release dates and will have a link to each title if you would like to add them to your Goodreads shelves. I already have a hold on a few of them from the library. Enjoy!


Geeta's no-good husband disappeared five years ago. She didn't kill him, but everyone thinks she did--no matter how much she protests.
But she soon discovers that being known as a "self-made" widow has some surprising perks. Now that Geeta's fearsome reputation has become a double-edged sword, she must decide how far to go to protect it, along with the life she's built. Because even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry.

Release Date: January 3 / Add to Goodreads

Everyone in my family has killed someone. Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once. I'm not trying to be dramatic, but it is the truth. Some of us are good, others are bad, and some just unfortunate.

Release Date: January 17 / Add to Goodreads

They were eleven when they sent a killer to prison . . . They were heroes . . . but they were liars.

Release Date: January 17 / Add to Goodreads 

The acclaimed author of Love Lettering weaves a wise and witty new novel that echoes with timely questions about love, career, reconciling with the past, and finding your path while knowing your true worth.

Release Date: January 24 / Add to Goodreads

Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures―and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.

Release Date: January 31 / Add to Goodreads

A wildly imaginative and compulsively readable fantasia of adventure, history, Americana, feminism, and magic, VenCo is a novel only the supremely gifted Cherie Dimaline could write.

Release Date: February 7 / Add to Goodreads

A sumptuous, gothic-infused story about a marriage that is unraveled by dark secrets, a friendship cursed to end in tragedy, and the danger of believing in fairy tales.

Release Date: February 14 / Add to Goodreads

A new trilogy of magic and mayhem on the high seas in this tale of pirates and sorcerers, forbidden artifacts and ancient mysteries, in one woman’s determined quest to seize a final chance at glory—and write her own legend.

Release Date: March 2 / Add to Goodreads

A sparkling grumpy-meets-sunshine romance featuring two men's sweeping journey across the Western wilderness.

Release Date: March 7 /Add to Goodreads

A deeply powerful, raw debut novel that's "equal measures hilarious and haunting" (Crystal Hana Kim), of a Puerto Rican family in Staten Island who discovers their long‑missing sister is potentially alive and cast on a reality TV show, and they set out to bring her home.

Release Date: March 7 / Add to Goodreads

By turns suspenseful and enchanting, this breathtaking first novel weaves a story of love, family, history, and myth as seen through the eyes of one immortal woman.

Release Date: March 7 / Add to Goodreads

Sharp as a belted knife, this sly social commentary cuts straight to the bone, revealing the aftermath of the American plantation and what it means to be poor, Black, and a woman in the God fearing south.

Release Date: April 2 / Add to Goodreads

A thrillingly told queer space opera about the wreckage of war, the family you find, and who you must become when every choice is stripped from you, Some Desperate Glory is award-winning author Emily Tesh’s highly anticipated debut novel.

Release Date: April 11 / Add to Goodreads

New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune invites you deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on the extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts.

Release Date: April 25 / Add to Goodreads

A History of Burning is an unforgettable tour de force, an intimate family saga of complicity and resistance, about the stories we share, the ones that remain unspoken, and the eternal search for home.

Release Date: May 2 / Add to Goodreads

From bestselling, National Book Award-winning author Elizabeth Acevedo comes her first novel for adults, the story of one Dominican-American family told through the voices of its women as they await a gathering that will forever change their lives.

Release Date: August 1 / Add to Goodreads


From the New York Times bestselling author of the Brown Sisters trilogy, comes a laugh-out-loud story about a quirky content creator and a clean-cut athlete testing their abilities to survive the great outdoors--and each other.

Release Date: January 3  / Add to Goodreads

The first book in an epic fantasy series for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal and Elizabeth Lim, set in an Arabian-inspired land. Raised to protect her nation from the monsters lurking in the sands, seventeen-year-old Imani must fight to find her brother whose betrayal is now their greatest threat.

Release Date: January 24 / Add to Goodreads

Nova Albright was going to be the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High--but now she's dead. Murdered on coronation night. Fans of One of Us Is Lying and The Other Black Girl will love this unputdownable thriller.

Release Date: January 31 / Add to Goodreads

A trans pianist makes a New Year's resolution on a frozen Wisconsin night to win regionals and win back his ex, but a new boy complicates things in Edward Underhill's heartfelt debut YA rom-dram, Always the Almost.

Release Date: February 14 / Add to Goodreads

A house with a terrifying appetite haunts a broken family in this atmospheric horror, perfect for fans of Mexican Gothic.

Release Date: February 28 / Add to Goodreads

For fans of Courtney Summers and Tiffany D. Jackson, Into the Light is a ripped-from-the-headlines story with Oshiro's signature mix of raw emotions and visceral prose—but with a startling twist you’ll have to read to believe.

Release Date: March 28 / Add to Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Firekeeper’s Daughter comes a thrilling YA mystery about a Native teen who must find a way to bring an ancestor home to her tribe.

Release Date: May 2 / Add to Goodreads
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