The Autumn 2015 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the Autumn 2015 Kids’ Indie Next List flier, arriving at stores in the upcoming Children’s White Box.

The four-page, full-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for the fall publishing season and an additional 41 titles organized by age group. All Next List picks are based on recommendations from booksellers at independent bookstores across the country and include a bookseller quote and full bibliographic information.

The top 10 titles are also featured on downloadable shelf-talkers.

The deadline for nominations for the Winter 2015/2016 Kids’ Indie Next List is October 13. The winter list will focus on titles published between November 1, 2015 and January 31, 2016. Nominations may be submitted via e-mail, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss or NetGalley. (On Edelweiss, navigate to the book page of your choice, click “Your Review” and select “Submit to Indie Next.” On NetGalley, click the green “Title Feedback” button for any title in your account.)

The Autumn 2015 Kids’ Indie Next List

The Top 10

1. The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316380867, $17)
“In Benjamin’s debut, 13-year-old Suzy learns that jellyfish are quite like friendships: delicate, and sometimes dangerous for your heart. Suzy and her best friend, Franny, are in the middle of a painful estrangement when she learns of Franny’s death. The shocking news leaves Suzy sad, angry, and, perhaps most of all, disbelieving. Convinced that Franny, a talented swimmer, could never have drowned, Suzy becomes obsessed with proving that a freak jellyfish sting was the true catalyst for her death. Readers will feel deeply for the determined Suzy and her struggle to cope with her grief and guilt. Subtle use of the scientific method and jellyfish research provide a fascinating element to this tender tale.” —Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI

2. Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon
(Delacorte Press, 9780553496642, $18.99)
“Madeline Whittier has not left her house since she was an infant — 17 years! — as her doctor mother diagnosed her with a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or ‘bubble baby disease.’ Everything and everyone Madeline comes in contact with must be decontaminated. The only human contact allowed comes from her mother, her day nurse, and an occasional visit from an online tutor. Madeline has been surprisingly content with her life until the day a new family moves into the house next door. The moment Madeline and Olly lay eyes on each other it is certain that online chatting will never be enough and ‘staying alive’ will never again be the same as really living for Madeline. Diary and health log entries, texts, emails, charts, lists, and illustrations, plus a startling plot twist make this a fresh and riveting read for young adults.” —Jennifer Gwydir, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness
(HarperTeen, 9780062403162, $17.99, available October)
“In The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Ness finally answers the question that readers often have when the main characters are off fighting baddies and blowing up cities: What about everyone else? What happens to the ‘normal’ people on the fringes of those stories, the ones who aren’t ‘chosen?’ This beautifully crafted story focuses on a group of high school students who, unlike the ‘indie kids’ with their mythical monsters, are fighting their own battles against anxiety, changing family dynamics, and a myriad of other teenage concerns — including graduating before the indie kids accidentally blow up the high school. Captivating, whimsical, and wonderful!” —Hannah Hyde, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

4. Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead
(Wendy Lamb Books, 9780385743174, $16.99)
“When Bridge—short for Bridget—was eight years old, she was nearly killed in an accident and a nurse told her she must have survived for a reason. As a seventh grader, Bridge still wonders what that reason is. With the help of her brother, Jamie, her best friends Emily and Tabitha, with whom she’s made a pact not to fight, and a boy named Sherm, Bridge may just find her purpose in life. A mysterious, unnamed character adds to the intrigue. Goodbye Stranger is a story about love in many different forms, and Stead’s characters grapple with relationship issues that real teens face: bullying, peer pressure, first romance, and changing family dynamics. Stead leads them through these issues with graceful prose, beautiful, insightful language, and a clear understanding of, and respect for, the needs and wants of contemporary teens.” —Carla Ketner, Chapters Books & Gifts, Seward, NE

5. The Marvels, by Brian Selznick
(Scholastic Press, 9780545448680, $32.99)
“Selznick’s newest book is a gem! As in his previous books, Selznick blends both wordless pictures and written text to tell a complete story. The first part of the book uses beautiful drawings to convey the story of a theatrical family, the Marvels, from the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The second half — the narrative — starts in 1990 as Joseph has run away from his boarding school to London to find his uncle Albert Nightingale. Joseph not only finds his uncle, but also an enchanting and unique house filled with as many rooms as there are mysteries. These mysteries are what eventually brings the two halves of the tale together, forming a beautiful and moving whole. Selznick has created a stunning and moving testament to the power of family and love.” —Jannis Mindel, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

6. George, by Alex Gino
(Scholastic Press, 9780545812542, $16.99)
“No one says it better than David Levithan, editor of Gino’s beautiful middle grade debut: ‘This is a very special, very important, very wonderful book.’ George tells the story of a young girl trapped in the wrong body — a boy’s body — but at its crux it is also a heartwarming story of acceptance and what it means to be true to yourself. This is not just a story about a transgender child, but also a story for any child, teen, or adult who has ever felt uncomfortable in their own skin or out of place in this world. I’m sure anyone who has read and been moved by George would agree: Reading this breathtaking debut should be a requirement for living.” —Marisa DeNovis, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

7. Beastly Bones: A Jackaby Novel, by William Ritter
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616203542, $17.95)
“First, a cat has suddenly shape-shifted into a fish and then its owner is mysteriously murdered. Next, fossils of a giant unknown creature go missing. The second book in Ritter’s Jackaby series has Jackaby, a fantastical Sherlock Holmes, and Abigail Rook, his intuitive and intelligent Watson, teamed up with a host of characters to solve the case. With the aid of two paleontologists, a werewolf police detective, a big game hunter, and an intrepid reporter, Abigail and Jackaby must solve this mystery of a monster murdering people and mangling livestock. What they find is even more incredible and more dangerous than they could have imagined. Beastly Bones has it all — an intriguing mystery, a strong feminist role model, and just a hint of romance.” —Claire Meints, Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, OR

8. Waiting, by Kevin Henkes
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062368430, $17.99)
“We rush. We hurry. We run frantically from one ‘important’ thing to the next. In our haste, we miss so very much. Henkes’ wise and gentle picture book reminds us that we must make time to notice and appreciate the many gifts that are right before us. Patience, we learn, leads to gratitude. Waiting is a subtle, quiet masterpiece.” —Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

9. Orbiting Jupiter, by Gary D. Schmidt
(Clarion Books, 9780544462229, $17.99, available October)
“Once again Schmidt plumbs the depths of love and the binding forces of the universe as readers witness 14-year-old Joseph Brook’s story unfold within his new foster family and rural Maine community. Joseph’s past keeps him guarded, marked by those who only see his prior transgressions, but it also propels him to find and protect the one closest to his heart. Through the voice of Jack, his compassionate, 12-year-old foster brother, readers glean why Joseph cries out in the night and why he cannot be approached from behind. Schmidt expertly guides readers through an emotional landscape that brings both bitter and joyous tears as he reveals what grace and loyalty really mean.” —Jane Knight, Bear Pond Books of Montpelier, Montpelier, VT

10. Toys Meet Snow: Being the Wintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-Loving Rubber Ball, by Emily Jenkins, Paul O. Zelinsky (Illus.)
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780385373302, $17.99)
“You have not met darling until you have met Buffalo, Stingray, and Plastic. These three best friends venture out to discover snow. Are snowflakes tiny dancers? Is snow a peaceful blanket? Is it all just frozen water? Or could it be that there are many ways to see a snowy landscape? Readers will want to play with these toys over and over again!” —Jessilynn Norcross, Mclean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

For Ages 4 – 8

Beyond the Pond, by Joseph Kuefler
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062364272, $17.99, available October)
“Ernest D. lives in an ordinary house with a pond out back that needs to be explored. After various experiments, Ernest D. declares that his pond has no bottom! After gathering his supplies, Ernest D. and his trusty dog set out to explore the unknown depths. Beyond the Pond is full of wonder and imagination with fantastic illustrations. Read Beyond the Pond and go exploring with Ernest D.!” —Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

A Dog Wearing Shoes, by Sangmi Ko
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780385383967, $16.99)
“This debut picture book is a joy! A Dog Wearing Shoes is the story of a girl who found a dog who was lost and clearly belonged to someone else. Loving the dog and then losing the dog to its rightful owner teaches Mini that there are plenty of dogs out in the world who need loving homes. An afterword directs potential dog owners to the ASPCA and the Humane Society.” —Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Even Monsters Say Good Night, by Doreen Mulryan Marts
(Capstone Young Readers, 9781623702564, $14.99)
“It’s bedtime and Avery is afraid to go to sleep. She knows that there are monsters in her closet, under her bed, and hiding in her room. When she asks her mother about them, the answers surprise her. After all, even monsters need their sleep. With brightly colored pictures and a gentle text, this book will reassure little ones who worry about monsters at night.” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, IN

Everyone Loves Bacon, by Kelly DiPucchio, Eric Wight (Illus.)
(FSG Books for Young Readers, 9780374300524, $17.99)
“All of us have fallen prey to bacon’s charms, and this new picture book is simply delectable. DiPucchio has written a hilarious cautionary tale about arrogance starring everyone’s favorite breakfast meat — bacon. With witty text, bold retro-style illustrations, and a wicked twist, this book will make readers laugh out loud and ask for seconds.” —Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

I Will Chomp You!, by Jory John, Bob Shea (Illus.)
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780385389860, $17.99)
“Watch out! The little monster in this book is going to CHOMP you if you read any further. He may look cute, but he’s very serious. You would be, too, if you were hiding your delicious treasure at the end of this book! Little readers will find this monster, who will do whatever it takes to protect his precious cakes, absolutely hilarious. Expect this one to become a read-aloud favorite!” —Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI

It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385754798, $17.99)
“In this cheerful book, each child-sized calamity is brightened with a silver lining. Kids might wonder if the consolation prize is always worth the original loss, but parents will welcome this opportunity to demonstrate that a positive attitude truly is the key to happiness.” —Jennifer Armstrong, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

Lenny & Lucy, by Philip C. Stead, Erin E. Stead (Illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781596439320, $17.99, available October)
“A dash of Maurice Sendak and a soupçon of Judith Viorst mingle with the heartfelt storytelling we have come to expect from Philip and Erin Stead. This is an earnest, sweet, imaginative tale that follows young Peter as he moves to a new home. Peter’s emotions change from disappointment, fear, and loneliness to hopefulness with the help of a few new friends, who ‘keep the dark woods on the other side where they belong.’” —Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Asheville, NC

Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett, Christian Robinson (Illus.)
(Chronicle Books, 9781452131566, $16.99)
“Master storyteller Barnett hits another home run. Leo wants a friend, but as a ghost, he just scares off everyone until he meets Jane. Jane’s imagination is capable of befriending Leo, and they share wonderful adventures together. Robinson’s charming illustrations perfectly complement a story that is destined to become a modern classic. Bravo!” —Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

Little Elliot, Big Family, by Mike Curato
(Holt Books for Young Readers, 9780805098266, $17.99, available October)
“Little Elliot has won my heart in a big way! Not only is it a super sweet book about friendship and family, but it also shows readers many beautiful and diverse family vignettes that underscore what Elliot longs for. The story, characters, and sentiment combine in a perfect book for both children and adults.” —Valerie Welbourn, The Fountainhead Bookstore, Hendersonville, NC

Little Tree, by Loren Long (Philomel, 9780399163975, $17.99, available October)
Little Tree is the story of a young tree who, when autumn comes around, doesn’t want to lose his leaves. He watches all the other trees grow bigger every year as they lose their old leaves and grow new ones, but Little Tree isn’t swayed. He loves his leaves and refuses to let them go, even as they brown and wither and keep him from growing year after year. What will Little Tree do? Long’s story is profound in its simplicity and will charm children and adults alike as Little Tree learns the importance of letting go.” —Page Seck, Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore, Cincinnati, OH

Lizard From the Park, by Mark Pett
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781442483217, $17.99)
“In the deepest part of Central Park, Leonard finds an egg. The egg doesn’t stay an egg for long, however, and when it hatches, Buster the lizard appears. Leonard and Buster are inseparable friends until Buster starts to get bigger and bigger. Pett delights us with this ode to New York City in a story reminiscent of Steven Kellogg’s The Mysterious Tadpole. Fall in love with New York City all over again as you discover this charming tale of friendship.” —Hannah Moushabeck, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Max the Brave, by Ed Vere
(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 9781492616511, $16.99)
“Simple illustrations and bold colors make this a fun book to look at, and a rhythmic story and the hilarious antics of Max the kitten make it fun to read. Brave Max is eager to catch a mouse. The hitch is that he’s not sure what a mouse looks like. Enter a series of helpful animals, a mouse with a keen sense of self-preservation, and an allergic monster, and antics ensue. I hope there are more books starring Max to come!” —Sarah Rose, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, PA

Nerdy Birdy, by Aaron Reynolds, Matt Davies (Illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626721272, $16.99)
“Nerdy Birdy tries to hang out with the cool birds, but it doesn’t work out so well. He likes reading and video games and reading about video games — things none of the cool birds like. Then he finds some fellow nerdy birdies who like the same things he does and Nerdy Birdy isn’t lonely anymore. When a new bird who is different from his friends shows up, Nerdy Birdy has to decide what is more important: fitting in, or making friends. This book will appeal to kids who are different and will make a great conversation starter for parents to talk to their children about inclusion.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Robo-Sauce, by Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri (Illus.)
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780525428879, $18.99, available October)
“The author and illustrator of Dragons Love Tacos are back with another cautionary tale of culinary craziness. What starts out as a game of pretend turns into a wacky tale of robotic world domination with an out-of-this-world format twist. It’s up to you, the reader, to help make things right!” —Paul Fyke, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Wonderful Things You Will Be: A Growing-Up Poem, by Emily Winfield Martin
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780385376716, $17.99)
“This is a book that will touch the hearts of all parents as they look down upon their newborns and wonder what kind of people they will grow to be. Often the simplest text can evoke the strongest feelings. This is a book not only to give to a new mom or dad, but also to a graduate with an inscription about the person they grew to be.” —Jenny Siegel, Anderson’s Bookshop, Larchmont, NY

For Ages 9 – 12

Appleblossom the Possum, by Holly Sloan, Gary Rosen (Illus.)
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803741331, $16.99)
“Everyone knows that opossums play, well, possum, but Appleblossom’s family has a grander thespian streak. They play Shakespeare! Mama possum has taught her babies independence, foraging skills, and the big evils of the world — especially the barking ‘hairies’ that live with the ‘monsters’ in their houses. But curiosity gets the best of little Appleblossom, and when she tumbles down a chimney the whole possum clan really has to act fast! Grownups and kids alike will chuckle at the antics in this perfect read-aloud.” —Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

Baba Yaga’s Assistant, by Marika McCoola, Emily Carroll (Illus.)
(Candlewick Press, 9780763669614, $16.99)
“McCoola’s debut is simply magical. Steeped in Russian folklore, this graphic novel honors the traditional tale of Baba Yaga, yet it remains thoroughly modern. Virtually alone after her father’s remarriage, Masha Martin ventures bravely into the forest hoping to assist the dreaded witch Baba Yaga. Her mother’s mother had done just that, so long ago. Will the knowledge and love left by her grandmother be enough to help Masha pass Baba Yaga’s enchanted tests? This fantastic adventure, with Carroll’s perfect art, provides the answer.” —Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

The Blackthorn Key, by Kevin Sands
(Aladdin Books, 9781481446518, $17.99)
“Christopher Rowe is an apothecary’s apprentice. Master Apothecary Benedict Blackthorn is kind, caring, and a more generous master than Christopher ever dared dream for. When Benedict becomes another casualty in what appears to be a series of murders of apothecaries, Christopher sets out to unravel the clues his master left behind. Filled with the perfect blend of adventure, humor, puzzles and ciphers, the occasional alchemical explosion, and an enormous amount of heart, The Blackthorn Key is the best kind of middle-grade read and a truly special book.” —Hana Boxberger, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: A Memoir by Jacques Papier, by Michelle Cuevas
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780525427551, $16.99)
“Meet Jacques Papier, friend to Fleur, an identity which he cherishes. Jacques has spent his entire life with Fleur, playing, learning, and enjoying their time together, except for one thing: Jacques is a product of Fleur’s imagination. It’s when he realizes this that things get complicated. Delightful, funny, sweet, and enjoyable, this new middle-reader from Cuevas is sure to delight, even as she touches on one of the hard things about growing up.” —Melissa Fox, Watermark Books and Café, Wichita, KS

A Curious Tale of the In-Between, by Lauren DeStefano
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781619636002, $16.99)
“Pram has never had a friend, unless you count the ghost, Felix, in her backyard. But unlike most of the children Pram meets on her first day of school, Clarence isn’t put off by her peculiarity. On the contrary, he likes that she seeks the same out-of-the-way, shadowy corners that he does. Together the children fall into a world of spirits and spiritualists, seeking the ghost of Clarence’s mother and maybe a hint as to why Pram is the way she is. Reminiscent of the work of Neil Gaiman, delightfully eerie without being frightening, DeStefano’s tale reminds us that being different should be embraced and never suppressed.” —Amelia Stymacks, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

The Doldrums, by Nicholas Gannon
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062320940, $17.99)
“Archer Benjamin Helmsley yearns for adventure. After all, his grandparents are famous for their worldly expeditions and Archer knows that ‘being a Helmsley means something.’ Archer’s mother has different plans for him and keeps him confined to their house, but Archer has his creatures, his books, and his imagination and is very skilled at escaping his mother’s watch. Archer plans his own expedition to find his lost grandparents and convinces his friends, Oliver and Adelaide, to join him in some rollicking adventures of their own. Gannon has readers laughing at Archer’s antics, and his fantastic illustrations throughout enhance the amusement in this amazing debut.” —Arna Lewis, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB, by Adam Shaughnessy
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616204983, $16.95)
“Norse mythology, a winking squirrel, a strange man named Mr. Fox who lives in a cemetery in a house built by a witch, and the belief that magic is real, all combine to give middle-readers an intriguing story. Pru has an empty space inside her left by the death of her dad, a small-town detective.  When she receives a mysterious postcard that asks, ‘What is the unbelievable FIB?’ she can’t resist investigating. Luckily the new boy in school, ABE, is good at puzzles and riddles and joins Pru in solving the clues that lead to a dangerous enemy who may be responsible for a war that could destroy her world. Fans of fantasy, adventure, mystery, and mythology will love this series debut. I can’t wait for a sequel!” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Fuzzy Mud, by Louis Sachar
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9780385743785, $16.99)
“This thought-provoking new book by the popular Sachar is adventurous, bold, fast-paced and fun. Sachar blends issues of virtue, family, growing up, ethics, and relationships with mystery and science fiction into a book that will appeal to many. Fifth-grader Tamaya, whose parents have recently divorced, attends a private school in a mansion bordering some woods. One day, after an encounter with bullies, she and a friend take a shortcut home through the woods and stumble upon a secret lab. Trouble and excitement ensue!” —Coleen Colwell, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, by Judd Winick
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780385386173, $13.99)
“This graphic novel is spot-on for middle-grade readers offering just the right balance of action, emotional investment, and giggle-inducing references to bodily functions. Running gags will make readers laugh out loud, and the proof of the power of friendship will make them a little teary. I can’t wait to read what’s going to happen in the next volume!” —Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco, by Judith Robbins Rose
(Candlewick Press, 9780763672355, $16.95)
“Jacinta is one of my new favorite characters. Her story rings true to the plight of many preteen girls — conflicting emotions about growing up, the desire to be good at something and fit in, the feeling of both loving and hating your parents at the same time, and more. But Jacinta must also deal with the anger, fear, and confusion of being the American-born daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Young readers will love Jacinta’s tenacity and will be able to both identify with and learn from her important story.” —Amy Oelkers, The Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

The Nest, by Kenneth Oppel, Jon Klassen (Illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481432320, $16.99, available October)
“We are living in an exciting time when fans, writers, publishers, booksellers, and librarians are all asking for more diversity in books. The Nest delivers. A brilliant tale in which the parents are not idiots, the kids are thoughtful, and a mysterious wasp queen in a young boy’s dreams could change his family’s circumstances. The question remains whether that change will be for better or for worse. Complemented by haunting illustrations from Caldecott medalist Klassen, The Nest is a must-read.” —Kimberly Jones, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

The Odds of Getting Even, by Sheila Tunage
(Kathy Dawson Books, 9780803739611, $16.99, available October)
“This much-awaited mystery in the series that began with the Newbery Honor-winning Three Times Lucky, followed by The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, opens with sixth-grader Moses LoBeau – Mo — and her partner in the Desperado Detective Agency, Dale Earnhart Johnson III, preparing to testify at the trial of Dale’s father. Stoic and funny, this preteen ‘Steel Magnolia’ reaffirms that good sense, courage, and friendship carry the day. The third time is indeed the charm in this heartwarming series.” —Leita Patton, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Seventh Most Important Thing, by Shelley Pearsall
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780553497281, $16.99)
“Life can’t get much worse for Arthur T. Owens. His dad is dead, and he has been arrested for heaving a brick at a junk collector he sees wearing his dad’s favorite hat. Now the judge sentences him to 120 hours of assisting the junk collector. There are important lessons to be learned and some wonderful surprises in this book. Arthur learns them with grace and good humor under the skilled pen of Pearsall in a story inspired by the life of folk artist James Hampton.” —Julie Wilson, The Bookworm of Omaha, Omaha, NE

Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
(Graphix, 9780545741668, trade paper, $12.99)
Sunny Side Up is a quiet, earnest, heartfelt, and hilarious rendering of young Sunny’s summer spent with her grandfather at a retirement home. For Sunny, a new friendship and a love for comic books emerges, but so too does the strength it takes to face the hardship her family is dealing with back home. An important book, Sunny Side Up deals with an issue many young people face daily as they witness family members or friends struggling with substance abuse problems. Big-hearted, moving, and superb.” —Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

For Teens

A Thousand Nights, by E.K. Johnston
(Disney/Hyperion, 9781484722275, $18.99, available October)
“In this retelling of the Arabian Nights, the unnamed protagonist is taken from her desert village to the palace of Lo-Melkhiin to serve as yet another in a long line of ill-fated wives. But rather than succumb to him, she uses her unique abilities to challenge his rule. This beautifully written story of sisterhood, magic, and female power has a lush, immersive setting, surprising plot turns and wonderful portrayals of the protagonist’s unexpected strength.” —Sarah Prineas, Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, IA

The Accident Season, by Moϊra Fowley-Doyle
(Kathy Dawson Books, 9780525429487, $17.99)
“Every October the accident season strikes Cara and her family. Bones are broken and skin is bruised and cut. Some years, the bad years, one of them dies, and Cara thinks this is going to be a bad year. When the origin of the accident season is revealed, no one is ready for it. Spellbinding and sharply beautiful, The Accident Season is a haunting look at the power of secrets.” —Amy Brabanec, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062327185, $17.99)
Willowdean Davis is fat. And you can either back her up or back off. She is self-confident, fearless, funny, and comfortable in her own skin. Life in Clover City, Texas, has been just fine. She’s got her best friend, Ellen, and she survives the Miss Blue Bonnet Clover City pageant each year. Willowdean’s mother is a former Miss Blue Bonnet and chairs the pageant. It’s only when she meets Bo, a cute co-worker who seems to like her as much as she likes him, that she begins to doubt herself. To find her self-confidence again, Willowdean enters the pageant to prove that she deserves the spotlight as much as anyone else. Murphy tells Willowdean’s story with wit, sass, and kindness.” —Cathy Berner, Bluewillow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Fans of the Impossible Life, by Kate Scelsa
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062331755, $17.99)
“Jeremy, Mira, and Sebby are three of the most interesting and authentic Young Adult voices I have ever read. Life as a teenager is rarely as simple as the world might have us believe, and these three characters and their stories are a wonderful illustration of just how hard it feels some days to simply get out of bed in the morning and march out into your day as if everything is fine. Scelsa reminds readers that it’s OK to feel unsure or afraid, and that true friends will accept you as you are and walk with you while you find your way.” —Laura Donohoe, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between, by Jennifer E. Smith
(Poppy, 9780316334426, $18)
“With her smart and realistic dialogue, Smith paints an emotionally charged and convincing portrait of the last day before departing for college. The joy of anticipation and the heartache of leaving behind friends and memories make for a touching backdrop to the story of Clare and Aidan. They take a roller coaster ride of an evening to figure out once and for all if they should try for a long-distance relationship or break up to fully experience everything college has to offer. Witty, tender, and often hilarious.” —Ashley Despain, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA

The Hired Girl, by Laura Amy Schlitz
(Candlewick Press, 9780763678180, $17.99)
“I’d expect nothing less from Schlitz, but was happy nonetheless to find her latest book a captivating and delightful story. Based on the journal of Joan Skraggs, Schlitz’s grandmother, The Hired Girl is the comical and sweet tale of a 14-year-old girl who leaves her harsh life on the farm to find work in the big city – Baltimore in 1911. Joan confides all in her diary as she grows up, with some bumps along the way. Schlitz captures all of the awkwardness and yearnings of a young girl in this satisfying and enjoyable novel.” —Janis Herbert, Face in a Book, El Dorado Hills, CA

Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780553499117, $18.99, available October)
“The story of the destruction of a mining colony on a distant planet is told through e-mails, journal entries, and the ubiquitous presence of the Illuminae Group and their narrative. At the heart of the story is Kady Grant, a 17-year-old cynical, genius computer hacker, her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Ezra Mason, and with AIDEN, the on-board computer of one of three ships desperately trying to escape their attackers. This visually stunning book is provocative and topical, part prose, part poetry, part graphic novel. Inventive? Electrifying? Eerily prophetic? Absolutely ... times 10!” —Lynn Riggs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

One, by Sarah Crossan
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062118752, $17.99)
“Grace and Tippi are sisters who share everything — their room, their clothes, and their bodies. Meet the 16-year-old conjoined twins who have never wanted to undergo the risky surgery that would separate them until they are forced to do so after a fluke virus. Crossan writes with exquisite grace and makes readers question everything they thought they knew about identity, sisterhood, and true love and understanding. Readers will ache to hug Tippi and Grace as they confront the most important decision of their lives.” —Grace Firari, The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop, Fort Atkinson, WI

Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
(Holt Books for Young Readers, 9781627792127, $18.99, available October)
“A supernatural healer, a gunslinger, a spy, a disgraced soldier, a runaway, and a mysterious leader with unknown motives are the eclectic members of a crew on an impossible mission for the ultimate payout. Six of Crows is an adventure-filled page-turner with six unique protagonists, all set in a vivid fantasy world. Fans of Bardugo’s other books will delight in her newest, and those who are new to the ‘Grishaverse’ will have no problem being pulled into this twisting, scheming, impossible story. Six talented but broken teenagers breaking into the most heavily guarded prison in the world — what could possibly go wrong?” —Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, by M.T. Anderson
(Candlewick Press, 9780763668181, $25.99)
Symphony for the City of the Dead beautifully integrates the life of Dmitri Shostakovich, his music, and the history of early 20th century Russia, especially the Siege of Leningrad. To say that Anderson makes this period come alive is an understatement. The reader is transported, suffering the hunger and cold, while being surprisingly uplifted by the power of music. An exquisite, monumental, glorious book!” —Carol Stoltz, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine, by Stephanie Tromly
(Kathy Dawson Books, 9780525428404, $17.99)
“Zoe’s life has changed because of her parent’s divorce, and when Digby shows up on her front porch, she knows he is trouble. But Zoe cannot seem to say no to him. When she realizes that Digby’s family situation is worse than hers, the story gets personal. Tromley has written a mystery/adventure with quirky characters who do not seem to like each other. This is what a YA book should be — smart, funny, and surprising. A terrific read!” —Margaret Brennan Neville, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

Walk on Earth a Stranger, by Rae Carson
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062242914, $17.99)
“Lee Westfall, a teenage girl in 1840s Georgia, has a valuable power that allows her to sense the presence of gold. She has kept this a secret, but in the wake of her parents’ murder, a cruel uncle threatens everything she has come to know and love. Lee manages to escape her uncle by running away and takes the chance of traveling to California in search of prosperity, acceptance, and love. Excellent characters and fascinating adventures make Carson’s first novel in a new trilogy a great read.” —Cate Goodman, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC