The Fall 2020 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the titles on the Fall 2020 Kids’ Indie Next List flier, arriving at stores in the upcoming Kids’ Box mailing. The Fall Kids’ title list is also viewable as a collection in Edelweiss.

The four-page, full-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for the fall publishing season and an additional 40 titles organized by age group. All Indie 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 Fall Kids’ Indie Next List flier also features ads encouraging customers to pre-order Lore by Alexandra Bracken (Disney-Hyperion, 9781484778203, Hardcover, $18.95, on sale January 5, 2021); A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer (Bloomsbury YA, 9781547602582, Hardcover, $18.99, on sale January 12, 2021); and The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Young Readers Edition) by Jeanne Theoharis, adapted by Brandy Colbert (Beacon Press, 9780807067574, Paperback, $18.95, on sale February 16, 2021) from their indie bookstore. Learn more about the pre-order flier ads here.

The nomination deadline for the Winter Kids’ Indie Next List is October 12, 2020. The list will focus on titles published in November 2020, December 2020, and January 2021. Nominations may be submitted via email, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss or NetGalley.

The Fall 2020 Kids’ Indie Next Great Reads

The Top Ten

1. Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062840356, $17.99, available September)
“Tiffany Jackson has truly outdone herself with Grown, which is saying a lot as we’ve come to know her as one of the most brilliant storytellers in YA. But without a doubt, Grown hits at a new level. This novel is one of the most important, relevant, and utterly compelling stories of the year. It is a sharp-edged tale that both teens and adults should make space for in their to-be-read piles this year before it makes all of the award lists in the spring! Believe Black girls. Protect Black girls.” —Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

2. Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi, Yusef Salaam
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062996480, $19.99, available September)
“When 16-year-old Amal is wrongfully imprisoned, we not only witness but are swept up in verse as his world darkens with each loss. He loses dreams, friendships, and hope, and makes a final stand for his humanity. The depth of his pain and the betrayal of educators in his life who are supposed to support him is so palpable that, at times, I had to put it down. The beauty comes when his art and self-expression become his salvation. This book is a window that every educator — and, really, every reader — should be made to look through.” —Destinee Hodge, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

3. Lobizona by Romina Garber
(Wednesday Books, 9781250239129, $18.99)
“Move over Twilight, there are new werewolves in town! Romina Garber’s Lobizona is a wonderful blend of Argentinian witch and werewolf lore, a magical school setting, and contemporary commentary on immigrant justice. Its unique magic system acts as the perfect setting to explore themes of belonging, love, family legacy, and what it means when we call a person illegal. This richly told story will entice young readers who’ve enjoyed the Harry Potter or Shadow and Bone series. I can’t wait for readers to connect with this epic story!” —Julia DeVarti, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

4. Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
(Wednesday Books, 9781250204356, $18.99)
Moulin Rouge meets Phantom of the Opera in this stunning debut by Janella Angeles. Filled with wonder, sultry performances, and dark mysteries, this book had me on the edge of my seat. I cannot stress enough how fun and dark this one was! This book, with its show-stopping magic, secrets galore, and an unsolved mystery, is not one to miss!” —Haley Calvin, Neighborhood Reads, Washington, MO

5. Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian by Tim Probert
(HarperAlley, 9780062990471, Hardcover, $22.99; 9780062990464, Paperback, $12.99, available September)
“With flavors of Amulet, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and the world of Shannara, Lightfall delivers a rich and exciting quest that feels epic yet thoroughly cheeky, accessible, and adorable all at once. So many themes are handled with delicate gusto, such as Bea’s anxiety and her grandfather’s failing memory. Above all, there is such a positive mindset it makes me wish I had a friend like Cad who would help me face my fears. I am SO excited to read the next book in the series (hello, cliffhanger!) and push these into our readers’ hands.” —Grace Menary-Winefield, Booked, Evanston, IL

6. Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, Jon Klassen (Illus.)
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781643750057, $18.95, available September)
Skunk and Badger has everything I want in an early reader book: madcap silliness, fun science facts about geology and chickens, and a heartfelt lesson told through the mistakes Badger makes on a bumpy road to friendship with Skunk that lead him to reckoning and atonement. Also, Jon Klassen’s artwork is beautiful and adds so much to the story. Loved it!” —Mimi Hannan, La Playa Books, San Diego, CA

7. Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse (Indies Introduce)
(Random House Graphic, 9780593125281, Hardcover, $20.99; 9780593119273, Paperback, $12.99, available September)
“I’m so excited about Sophie Escabasse’s debut graphic novel! I love graphic novels, and Escabasse’s style is so perfectly suited to the medium. I adored her protagonist and her aunts, and I was completely swept away by this magical story of a girl coping with loss and new beginnings. As an artist admiring another, I love how Escabasse manifested Effie’s magic, and feel certain it’s something that will speak to all young artists out there! Full of thoughtfulness and humor, with a grand dash of magic and witchery, I can’t wait for more from Effie, Selimene, and Carlota!” —Tomoko Bason, BookPeople, Austin, TX

8. A Wolf for a Spell by Karah Sutton (Indies Introduce)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593121658, $17.99, available September)- (On-sale date moved to 12/1/20)
“This is the story of a wolf, a witch, and a girl who love the forest but fear each other. The forest is a wild, dangerous place full of wondrous magic, and it is threatened by the kind of men who must destroy what they cannot control. Told through three perspectives, this delicately woven fairy tale speaks to learning to trust others and being brave in doing what’s right. Spells are cast, but it is the connections formed that are truly magical.” —Sarah Chanis, Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ

9. Short & Sweet by Josh Funk, Brendan Kearney (Illus.)
(Sterling Children’s Books, 9781454934271, $16.95, available September)
“Josh Funk pours on the adorable once again as he sets his lovable breakfast duo off on another tasty adventure. Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast realize they’re going stale and seek the help of Professor Biscotti to rejuvenate them, but something goes awry. Baron von Waffle and tons of enjoyable puns return, as do illustrator Brendan Kearney’s delectably delightful foodscapes. Limes Square made me giggle with glee. This too-short picture book is certainly sweet enough for the little ones, and well worth the carbs for all readers.” —Ernio Hernandez, River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, CT

10. The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781984893369, $17.99)
“What makes a home? In this beautiful picture book, Wahl explores the emotional arc of moving. But her story goes beyond the simple act of packing and leaving: A child and father are pushed out of their home due to gentrification, and their family is just the two of them. Small details, such as the records the child and father rock out to when they need to dance and scream out their emotions, will captivate readers. Though a subject many authors have dealt with, The Blue House offers a creative, alternative way of looking at moving, one with clear Pacific Northwest details and a family we don’t often see on the page. Warm, welcoming, and lovely!” —Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Ages 4 to 8

Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds by Elise Gravel
(HarperAlley, 9780062982216, Hardcover, $12.99; 9780062982223, Paperback, $7.99, available October)
“For fans of Narwhal and Jelly comes a new unlikely pair: Arlo the crow, a king among birds, and Pips, the yellow songbird who’s curious to know what makes Arlo so special. During their adventures, Arlo shows his new friend tricks and habits that prove just how crafty crows can be! I found myself laughing along with Arlo’s antics and learning a thing or two about crows. A perfect graphic novel for early readers.” —Tori-Lynn Bell, House of Books, Kent, CT

Attack of the Underwear Dragon by Scott Rothman, Pete Oswald (Illus.)
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780593119891, $17.99, available October)
“If you think Attack of the Underwear Dragon is a funny title, just wait until you read the book! Pete Oswald’s illustrations perfectly bring Scott Rothman’s hilarious tale to life. Attack of the Underwear Dragon tells the story of valiant Assistant Knight Cole’s adventures and the very real dangers of dragons who wear ginormous underwear. A great story and very amusing illustrations combine with a nice lesson about facing your fears and trying your hardest, making Attack of the Underwear Dragon a delightful read.” —Amanda Kothe, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Buttercup the Bigfoot by Douglas Rees, Isabel Munoz (Illus.)
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250209344, $18.99)
“Willa Cathcart Wilmerding is the bravest girl in the world, but even the bravest girl in the world needs a friend. Told with playful prose and illustrated in charming, bright hues, Buttercup the Bigfoot makes for the perfect story time book! Readers will love Willa’s outrageous antics and Buttercup’s gentle support of her new best friend. And, of course, everyone will want to join them and howl at the moon! Aaa-oo-eee-oo-yaaah!” —Laura Graveline, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song
(Random House Graphic, 9781984895837, $12.99, available September)
“This adorable early reader graphic novel will make your day. When Norma and Belly miss out on breakfast because of burnt pancakes, they come across the wonderful smell of donuts from a nearby food truck. Which they must find a way to have. Their adventures are cute, funny, and unforgettable. I can’t wait to see if there are more adventures from these two.” —Kalli King, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Escape Goat by Ann Patchett, Robin Preiss Glasser (Illus.)
(HarperCollins, 9780062883391, $18.99, available September)
“Have you ever been blamed for someone else’s mistake? That’s just what keeps happening to the curious little goat who lives on the very same farm as the dear little lambs who wanted a ‘lambslide.’ The goat is so curious about the world outside his pen, he constantly escapes to explore, roll down the hill, taste new things, and make new friends. Whenever he escapes, he becomes the scapegoat for a burned pie, a spilled paint bucket, trampled petunias, and even bubble gum left on a chair! The farmer’s daughter comes to the rescue and proves everyone has been blaming the goat instead of admitting their mistakes. What a fun way to explore the valuable lesson of honesty and taking responsibility. This delightful story comes to life with cheerful and detailed illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser, and will undoubtedly spark laughter and learning in young children.” —Patricia Donmoyer, White Rabbit Children’s Books and Gifts, Leonardtown, MD

Every Little Letter by Deborah Underwood, Joy Huang Ruiz (Illus.)
(Dial Books, 9780525554028, $17.99)
“A really lovely book about breaking down walls and working together. With so many books out there about coming together, this one goes beyond to incorporate the alphabet and word-learning, as well as the importance of listening to young people. The illustrations are warm and the cuteness helps deliver the empathetic message for our youngest readers.” —Tildy Banker-Johnson, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

Fern and Otto: A Story About Two Best Friends by Stephanie Graegin
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780593121306, $17.99, available September)
Fern and Otto is a beautiful celebration of discovery, adventure, and friendship. It is a charming reminder that all of life’s experiences are more exciting when shared with friends! A sweet story that will resonate with kids of all ages.” —Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, Gordon C. James (Illus.)
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780525518778, $17.99, available September)
“When we speak of beauty, we think of inside and out. Derrick Barnes has given us a book that directly connects us to the real beauty of the Black boy. An uplifting story, brought to life with vibrant images from Gordon C. James, provides the reader with the opportunity to breathe deeply and reflect. I will be handing this out to children, adults, and educators. It is a book for everyone, and it is more important than ever.” —Kirsten Hess, Let’s Play Books!, Emmaus, PA

I Promise by LeBron James, Nina Mata (Illus.)
(HarperCollins, 9780062971067, $19.99)
“Oh my bookness! This is the picture book we’ve been waiting for. Children need more stories that help them feel confident and that capture the everyday joys of childhood. I Promise is beautifully and thoughtfully illustrated to showcase the joys and simplicity of life — from reading in the library to jumping double-dutch, from swimming to having fun and adventures with friends. Its August release will be right on time as youngsters head back to school from summer break. The message I Promise sends will be a perfect beginning to a brand-new school year!” —Kendra McNeil, We Are LIT, Kentwood, MI

Margaret’s Unicorn by Briony May Smith
(Schwartz & Wade, 9781984896537, $17.99, available September)
“I want to climb inside Margaret’s Unicorn and live in this magical world. Margaret’s family has just moved to a cottage in the hills to stay with her grandmother when she finds a baby unicorn lost from its tribe. Her grandmother teaches her how to take care of the unicorn, who quickly becomes part of their family, until the next spring, when its mother returns. A beautiful, magical tale about saving wildlife, nurturing it, and knowing when it’s time to return it back to nature.” —Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom by Colleen AF Venable, Lian Cho (Illus.)
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062494375, $17.99, available September)
“A fun, goofy read-aloud highlighting the science behind musical instruments and the sounds they make. Going page by page, instrument by instrument, The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom is the perfect way to introduce young children to the instruments in a concert band and to some of the most famous people who played them.” —Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho, Jess X. Snow
(Kokila, 9781984814869, $17.99)
“Tradition stands the test of time in this lovely story about the haenyeo — older Korean women who dive for abalone and other sea treasures, and are known locally as mermaids. Dayeon longs to be brave and strong like her diver Grandma, and through patience and experience learns to love the gifts of the sea. This beautiful tale of bravery and familial bonding rooted in matriarchal love will touch hearts while educating readers about a revered aspect of another culture.” —Melissa Posten, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

Pea, Bee, & Jay: Stuck Together by Brian “Smitty” Smith
(HarperAlley, 9780062981172, Hardcover, $12.95; 9780062981165, Paperback, $7.99, available September)
“A pea, a strawberry, and a cherry roll into the garden... and dare the pea to see what lies beyond the farm’s fence. On his quest, Pea befriends the studious Bee and shy bird Jay. What an unlikely trio! This short graphic novel is the first in a new series, and it’s delightfully punny. I look forward to seeing what other adventures are in store for Pea, Bee, and Jay!” —Andrew King, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Sometimes People March by Tessa Allen
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062991188, $17.99, available September)
“The perfect book for this moment in time! Sometimes People March is a thoughtful overview of the ways and reasons people march. It eloquently examines this important aspect of free speech in an accessible way that speaks to the heart of movements.” —Jill Burket Ragase, Blue Manatee Literacy Project Bookstore, Cincinnati, OH

Thesaurus Has a Secret by Anya Glazer
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062916051, $17.99, available October)
“An adorable, delightful, and magnificent picture book! A great read-aloud about reading combining dinosaurs and books. Love the nods to great literature in the illustrations (Jurassic Mansfield Park?!?!). This is a book for kids and adults alike.” —Lauren Brown, The Story Shop, Monroe, GA

Ages 9 to 12

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780399545436, $17.99, available September)
“Jacqueline Woodson brings us into the life of 12-year-old ZJ, whose father is a beloved football star. But after years of professional head-bashing, something is terribly wrong: he now has headaches, memory loss, and mood swings. With the help of his mother and good friends, ZJ faces his father’s decline. An important and heartfelt prose poem.” —Liza Bernard, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

A Cat Story by Ursula Murray Husted
(Quill Tree Books, 9780062932044, $12.99, available October)
“Teachers and parents of middle grade students will want this book so they can capture the animal lovers and travelers in the room. It reminded me of the weird and whimsical cat tale told by T.S. Eliot, though set in beautiful Malta. My favorite part is the incorporation of famous historical artwork into the world of the two cats, who dart in and out of everything from Botticelli to Munch.” —Kim Ralph, Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown, TX

Cattywampus by Ash Van Otterloo (Indies Introduce)
(Scholastic Press, 9781338561593, $17.99)
Cattywampus is filled with raccoon familiars, magic, and two kids aimed at saving their town from generations of zombie ancestors brought on by a spell gone bad! I loved the sense of place Ash Van Otterloo has brought to this book, plus the wonderful language and some beautiful representation.” —Nathaniel Hattrick, Ballast Book Company, Bremerton, WA

Cinders & Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062289957, $16.99, available October)
“Witches, ghosts, and beastly creatures, oh my! A spine-tingling adventure ensues when a 12-year-old orphan housemaid is found to be the lost heir of a family dynasty of witches. Add in the creepy Blackbird Castle, a pinch of evil villains, and a dash of spells, mix well, and enjoy a suspenseful mystery of good vs. evil.” —Katrina Padilla-Sornoso, San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe, San Marino, CA

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
(Dial Books, 9781984815682, $17.99)
“Wow, wow, WOW. This book handles so many intense, difficult topics — addiction, sexual abuse, foster care, mental health, consent, poverty — in a sensitive, age-appropriate way. I can’t express how perfectly Kimberly Brubaker Bradley walks the line of telling the truth about these situations without ever getting explicit or unnecessarily graphic. I am astounded at how gracefully and carefully this story is laid out. Everyone everywhere should read Fighting Words.” —Tory Hall, Chapters Books & Gifts, Seward, NE

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
(HarperCollins, 9780062940957, $16.99)
“A marvelously unique story that incorporates both an unfamiliar modern-day world and an uncommon mythology. Should be a great fit for fans of Percy Jackson and the books of Erin Entrada Kelly.” —Rosie Lee-Parks, Readers’ Books, Sonoma, CA

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593113523, $16.99)
“This is a story that deals with heavy issues through the lens of a 12-year-old boy who lost his father and now seeks justice, superhero style. Preteens often get stuck between books that are too kiddy or too adult; without making it too ‘old’ for them, this walks the fine line of what someone this age is thinking and prepared to learn about. I love the respect Nnedi Okorafor gives kids by putting deep issues and thoughts into her books.” —Kate Larson, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte, Ann Xu (Illus.)
(HarperAlley, 9780062973870, Hardcover, $22.99; 9780062973863, Paperback $12.99, available October)
“A really cute graphic novel about a girl who moves from Taiwan to Seattle. Cici has a close relationship with her grandmother back home, who taught her how to cook some of her favorite dishes. Cici makes friends but is often subjected to microaggressions from these friends as well as adults. She desperately wants to bring her grandmother for a visit and enters a cooking contest to win the money. What comes out of this contest is both surprising and heartwarming.” —Audrey Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

One Time by Sharon Creech
(HarperCollins, 9780062570741, $16.99, available September)
“This is a truly beautiful story. The writing is like colors painting pictures of Gina’s life in my mind and I love it. One Time is a story about imagination, childhood, friendship, growing up, and still being a child inside. The characters are wonderful, and the story is heartwarming and relatable to anyone who has ever felt like the odd one out. Everyone should read this book.” —Marielle Orff, Towne Book Center and Wine Bar, Collegeville, PA

The Places We Sleep by Caroline DuBois (Indies Introduce)
(Holiday House, 9780823444212, $16.99)
“This middle grade novel-in-verse follows Abbey, the only child in a military family who is adjusting a new school for the 2001–2002 school year. On September 11, Abbey gets her first period. Abbey grapples with love and loss, family and friends, finding her passion, and connecting to her parents. A beautiful book that effectively captures the post-9/11 world from a 12-year-old’s perspective.” —Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616209186, $17.95, available October)
“Myrtle can give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money! This audacious and bright young detective will stop at nothing to discover what happened to her neighbor. She’s wicked sharp, but that will only take her so far. Luckily, she’s assisted by the invincible Miss Judson, governess and mentor. I flew through this exciting mystery.”
—Miriam Meeks, E. Shaver, Bookseller, Savannah, GA

Séance Tea Party by Reimena Yee
(Random House Graphic, 9780593125328, Hardcover, $20.99; 9781984894151, Paperback, $12.99, available September)
“Lora doesn’t want to grow up like the rest of her friends; she wants to keep playing outside, imagining far-away places and crazy adventures. When she meets Alexa, a ghost about her age, Lora thinks she has solved her problem — she doesn’t want to grow up, and Alexa never will. But as their friendship grows and Lora begins to meet more living people who have similar interests, they both begin to realize that maybe growing up isn’t bad, it’s just hard.” —Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316539531, $16.99, available September)
“When Kate and Tom’s rich, eccentric uncle delivers a steam train on Kate’s birthday, the breathtaking adventure they take will sweep readers off of their feet. Meeting many (talking!) endangered animals on the train, taking them to safe places to live after their habitats were destroyed, and hearing their stories fills Kate with a need to help them all. The important message of conservation and awareness is not blatantly lectured on, but brought up in an honest and hopeful way.” —Katrina Bright-Yerges, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

Three Keys: A Front Desk Novel by Kelly Yang
(Scholastic Press, 9781338591385, $17.99, available September)
“A heartfelt and powerful middle grade novel about southern California in 1994 grappling with immigration and Proposition 187. While I haven’t read Front Desk, its sequel stands well on its own. Mia Tang, daughter of Chinese immigrants, helps run their motel with the help of a rainbow cast of locals and friends. When her best friend’s father is arrested and threatened with deportation, they all band together to fight for his release amidst the Prop 187 protests. The novel explores friendship and determination in ways that will bring tears and laughs.” —Robin Stern, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

A Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Parry, Lindsay Moore (Illus.)
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062995926, $17.99, available September)
“What a great follow up to A Wolf Called Wander! This time in the Salish Sea! When an orca brother and sister are separated from their pod, they need to find their way back, and they help others along the way. I learned a lot about the orcas and their ecosystem in this great book, which shows the true meaning of family and what it means to love them eternally, while finding how to be your true self!” —Derrick Brunner, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d’Alene, ID

For Teens

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston
(Quirk Books, 9781683691938, $18.99)
“I devoured this book in one perfect sitting. I relished every bit of Rosie and Vance’s hard-won romance, every cozy moment in the library, and the Howl’s Moving Castle references. There’s just nothing out there quite like the Once Upon a Con series; it’s geeky, witty, and genuinely comforting.” —Anna Bright, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (Indies Introduce)
(Swoon Reads, 9781250250469, $17.99, available September)
“I couldn’t put this book down — I raced through it. Everything about it I loved, from the rich world-building of the brujx community Yadriel is part of, to the diverse cast of characters that included multiple trans and queer Latinx characters. It being written by an Own Voices author only made it that much better!” —Dany Stark, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
(Crown Books for Young Readers, 9781984829665, $18.99, available September)
“Wow! Nic Stone is a powerful writer who has brought us what she calls her most difficult book to write. Quan is in a detention center, writing letters to his friend Justyce about his experience being locked up. His story about how he got there is pieced together through events from his childhood leading into present day. This book, though fictional, examines the experience of being born Black and how the system is designed to the detriment of the Black population. This book should be required reading!” —Carissa Unite, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY             

Fable by Adrienne Young
(Wednesday Books, 9781250254368, $18.99, available September)
“This book was FANTASTIC! I love reading books set at sea, and this is arguably my favorite one yet! I was so captivated by the writing, the characters, the story, and everything the book is. Adrienne Young brought me to the seas with Fable, and I could see what she saw and feel what she felt. This book has heists, secrets, found family, betrayal, adventure, love, loyalty, and so much more. I highly recommend it and cannot wait for the next book. I must know what happens to these characters I care so much about!” —Meghan Vanderlee, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI

Hush by Dylan Farrow
(Wednesday Books, 9781250235909, $18.99, available October)
“Dylan Farrow shows potential to be the next big name in YA fantasy with her stunning debut, Hush, about a world full of secrets and the girl willing to speak them all. With a deeply layered magic system reminiscent of Alison Croggan’s Pellinor series and fierce characters on par with Tamora Pierce’s Tortall, Farrow blends classic high fantasy with a strong feminist message of self-belief and courage. You don’t want to miss this one.” —Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062683250, $19.99, available September)
“This is a fast-paced, rich, and entertaining read. The deep magic consumed my attention; I was in love with Merlin’s overflowing personality and Susan’s unflappable drive, and I had so much fun with the concept of booksellers who double as guardians against Old World magic. This book has a lot of crossover potential for audiences, between the high and urban fantasy and the accessibility for teen and adult readers alike. This is sure to be one of my top recommendations when it comes out. I love a good bookseller with a sword!” —Breanna Spiegel, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Indies Introduce)
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781534441606, $18.99, available September)
“This book showed up at the perfect time. It addresses many things that we as Americans have not discussed. Weaving the Arthurian legend with Black southern folklore make this a magical and unique book on so many levels. All the emotions and experiences that Briana goes through are so relevant and timely. I was totally transported and enthralled with this book, which is going to make waves in the fantasy community. Much needed waves. Kudos to Tracy Deonn for writing such a fantastic piece of fiction.” —Kim Brock, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
(Random House Graphic, 9780593125298, Hardcover, $23.99; 9781984851598, Paperback, $16.99, available October)
“Tien connects with his mother through the fairy tales they read together to improve their English. As he finds escape in the stories, he tries to find the words to tell his parents he’s gay. Meanwhile, his mother’s memories of her family and home in Vietnam are awakened by the stories she reads with her son. Beautifully done and truly magical.” —Myles Mickle, Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, VT

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera
(Bloomsbury YA, 9781547603732, $18.99, available September)
“In this fresh remix, Lilliam Rivera deftly combines original details with contemporary Afro-Latinx life in the Bronx, from the flirty bounce of bachata to the weight of Hurricane Maria and its impact on island communities and diaspora. I love how this character-driven romance humanizes Pheus and Eury — they are accessible, complex teens distinctly of our time who face an ancient and destructive threat with equal parts assuredness and fearful trepidation. A satisfyingly feminist ending rounds out this myth retextured for our modern moment. Immersive and intense, Never Look Back will make you want Rivera to retell all of your favorite classics.” —Niki Marion, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi
(Wednesday Books, 9781250144577, $18.99, available September)
“Roshani Chokshi is back with her amazing characters and gorgeous writing that make it so hard for me to put her books down. The Silvered Serpents is a perfect follow up to The Gilded Wolves. Picking up a few months from where we left off, we join the characters as they’re all grieving the death of a friend. We explore each character more fully while they work together to solve the mystery of The Divine Lyrics. But everyone has secrets, and those secrets are creating cracks and fissures within the group. I loved every aching, heartbreaking moment of this book and can’t wait for the finale. Chokshi is at the top of her game with this sequel!” —Mary Ruthless, Foggy Pine Books, Boone, NC

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
(HarperTeen, 9780062894625, $17.99)
Star Daughter follows Sheetal, a half-star, half-mortal girl. When her star power injures her human father, Sheetal must seek the help of her mother, a star who returned to the heavens long ago. Sheetal soon finds herself representing her family in a magical competition that will decide the next ruling house of heaven. A standalone fantasy, Star Daughter reads like a diverse version of Stardust that is all its own, taking inspiration from Hindu mythology. With prose the likes of Laini Taylor and Margaret Rogerson, Shveta Thakrar has a bright future in YA literature.” —Isabella Ogbolumani, Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY

The Truth Project by Dante Medema (Indies Introduce)
(Quill Tree Books, 9780062954404, $17.99, available October)
The Truth Project is a deep, moving, conversation-starting story written in verse, emails, and texts about a girl who learns hard truths about her birth, her identity, and her parents. Her family lessons read flawlessly side by side with her young adult dramas with boys, girls, friends, school, poetry, plans, and a gamut of emotions. If finding identity and searching for belonging in any setting is what you’re looking for, read The Truth Project!” —Drew Durham, Books Inc., Palo Alto, CA