The Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Spring Kids' Indie Next List logoHere is a preview of the titles on the Spring 2018 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 winter publishing season and an additional 42 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 top 10 Kids’ Indie Next List titles are also available on downloadable shelf-talkers.

The nomination deadline for the Summer Kids’ Indie Next List is April 16, 2018. The list will focus on titles published between May 1 and July 31, 2018. Nominations may be submitted via e-mail, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss or NetGalley.

The Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next Great Reads

The Top Ten

1. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316262286, $16.99, available April)
Ghost Boys is a devastating novel. But it is also hopeful, full of compassion, and a compelling case for the fact that ‘we can all do better, be better, live better.’ Jerome’s story is heartbreaking, and the telling of it is necessary, just as the telling of Emmett Till’s story is necessary, though it so often goes untold. Rhodes has crafted a beautiful novel that will facilitate many conversations with young people; Ghost Boys is essential for the middle school classroom as well as for family discussion. This is a novel to be shared with children; read it with them, discuss it with them, and together we can gain the tools we need in order to live better.” —Michelle Cavalier, Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, LA

2. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062570604, $17.99, available April)
Dread Nation is not just a zombie story; you could have weeks of book group meetings and still be talking about it. Ireland is an author to keep your eyes on. She writes with meaning, intention, and spark. Her characters leap off the page and demand attention. In Ireland’s tale, the world is crumbling, racism is making a fierce comeback (if it ever really left), and you won’t be able to help drawing connections to recent current events.” —Clarissa Murphy, Papercuts J.P., Boston, MA

3. Children of Blood and Bone: The Orïsha Legacy by Tomi Adeyemi
(Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers, 9781250170972, $18.99, available March)
“When Zélie was a child, she saw her mother and all magic wiped from existence with a tyrant’s single, sweeping order. Now she finds herself tasked with restoring that magic to the land of Orïsha, with the aid of her brother and that same tyrant’s daughter. As Zélie races against time, she reckons with her newfound abilities and the moral complexities they awaken her to. Adeyemi’s debut features truly epic world-building without sacrificing the intimate character development that propels the narrative. Every action combines taut pacing with lucid internal monologue, lending each work of magic or physical blow a palpable emotional weight. Stunning, cinematic, and resonant.” —Bill Grace, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

4. The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
(Dial Books, 9780735228511, $16.99, available March)
The Night Diary is a beautifully written and intimate story about the Partition of India. Nisha’s letters carefully explore the changes in herself and her family through one of history’s biggest forced displacements. Veera Hiranandani’s writing and characterization make this intense (and often overlooked) historical atrocity accessible to young readers. Nisha’s longing for her mother and search for personal identity in the midst of political struggle are also universal and timely subjects for our contemporary world. A gorgeous book that readers will fall into from the first page.” —Johanna Albrecht, McIntyre’s Books, Pittsboro, NC

5. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (Indies Introduce)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316463997, $18.99, available March)
“From the first pages of The Astonishing Color of After, you know that you’re reading something special. It’s a strange and beautiful story of a Chinese-American girl whose mother’s ghost appears to her in the form of a fantastical red bird. Chasing family secrets, she travels to Taipei to meet the grandparents she’s never seen, while trying to forget about the boy she left at home. It’s lovely, real, and unforgettable.” —Christie Olson Day, Gallery Bookshop and Bookwinkle’s Children’s Books, Mendocino, CA

6. Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (Indies Introduce)
(Scholastic Press, 9781338129304, $17.99, available March)
“Being a hurricane child myself, I instantly connected with Caroline and her bad luck. Caroline is used to being the outsider who can see ghosts, but she can’t accept that her mom left her one day and never came back. When a new, charismatic girl who may see ghosts, too, starts at her school, Caroline desperately wants to befriend her. Soon the two are inseparable, and together they search for Caroline’s mother. This wonderful, mystical tale takes the reader on a journey filled with grief and loss but also love, friendship, and hope.” —Holly Alexander, Magic Tree Bookstore, Oak Park, IL

7. Like Vanessa by Tami Charles (Indies Introduce)
(Charlesbridge, 9781580897778, $16.99, available March)
“All I can say is thank goodness the ’80s are back in fashion, because this gem of a book is best read sitting in front of a TV tray in a recliner. Inspired by Vanessa Williams’ 1983 Miss America win, a headstrong and pushy teacher, and a supportive and scheming grandfather, Vanessa Martin braves the small-town pageant circuit, the potential disappointment of her father, and the challenge of being dark skinned. Vanessa touches the dreamer spirit in all of us, and I cheered her on right through to the end.” —Kim Bissell, Broadway Books, Portland, OR
Check out the “Special Offers" section in Charlesbridge’s listing in the ABA Book Buyer’s Handbook for a special offer on Like Vanessa.

8. Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel
(Chronicle Books, 9781452150147, $17.99, available March)
Hello Hello is filled with colors, patterns, shapes, and comparisons so beautiful and original you get that elusive feeling of surprise and delight on each page. Brendan Wenzel has created another gorgeous book perfect for anyone who has the innate longing to find a connection in the natural world. Best of all, his illustrations are mostly of endangered or threatened animals, and the book includes a lovely note on how readers can help!” —Caitlin Jordan, Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA

9. Islandborn by Junot Díaz, Leo Espinosa (Illus.)
(Dial Books, 9780735229860, $17.99, available March)
Islandborn is a delightful picture book about celebrating your heritage. Lola’s teacher has asked the class to draw a picture of their first home. While the whole room grows loud with excitement over what they will draw, Lola sits quietly at her desk. Lola doesn’t remember her first home, the Island. How will she draw a picture if she can’t remember anything about the Island? With help from her family and neighbors, Lola learns that the Island will always be with her. A great picture book for the whole family, with vibrant illustrations that jump off the page.” —Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

10. Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
(Candlewick Press, 9780763693558, $15.99, available April)
“Names can be a powerful reminder of our family history, as debut author/illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal shows in this beautiful story about a little girl with a very long name. Alma complains about her name (didn’t we all as kids?) but slowly changes her mind as her father explains which relative each of her names honors. Dreamy illustrations with a limited color palette show Alma and her ancestors with quirky, engaging details. Whether you have a long, short, common, or unique name, this book will make you think a little bit about your name and smile. A treasure.” —Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

Ages 4 to 8

All the Animals Where I Live by Philip C. Stead
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626726567, $18.99, available March)
All the Animals Where I Live is a meditative, meandering picture book journey that exalts in the smallest details. Stead’s welcoming voice and innovative illustrations are as delightful and gentle as ever.” —Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick, David Serlin
(Scholastic Press, 9781338180619, $16.99)
Baby Monkey, Private Eye is the cutest beginning reader I have ever seen! Baby Monkey looks for clues, writes some notes, eats a snack, and then puts on his pants (which isn’t easy!) before solving each case. Simple words paired with Selznick’s detailed art make this adorable book delightful for everyone to read.” —Melissa Fox, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller, Jen Hill (Illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626723214, $17.99)
“An excellent picture book about empathy and kindness, both how to show it and how it can be challenging. Simple text and engaging illustrations make this perfect for kids in pre-K to third grade. I think some adults could use it, too. Timely, necessary, yet also heartwarming.” —Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli by Kyo Maclear, Julie Morstad (Illus.)
(HarperCollins, 9780062447616, $17.99)
Bloom explores Elsa Schiaparelli’s lifelong interest in fashion design, an art that is often dismissed as frivolous. However, Maclear takes her protagonist’s artistic journey seriously, even when that art is playful and spontaneous. Watch her create dresses with lobster prints and hats that look like shoes! Through bright, vigorous color and beautifully stylized illustrations, the book readily draws us into young Elsa’s perspective. Maclear and Morstad have the rare gift of presenting a biography that truly feels alive.” —Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780399554520, $16.99, available March)
“This is just the sweetest dog story — without making your teeth hurt. It has a wonderful dog, funny people, and a great ending. I couldn’t ask for more.” —Anne Whalen, Barrington Books, Barrington, RI

Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481469111, $17.99, available March)
“This book, about an adorable little girl who gets too carried away planning a birthday party with her dads, is just what we need right now. Her mission is to find the perfect party hats, but she ends up getting caught up with penguins and must find her way home in time for the party! I highly recommend this author.” —Kate Larson, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316362382, $18.99, available April)
“Sophie Blackall is one of my favorite illustrators — her style is so charming, it makes my heart full every time I see her delicately rendered characters and the love they have for each other. The story of the lighthouse caretaker is so sweet and soulful, with a rhythmic recounting that plays up the wonder and magic of the ordinary. Her patterns and textures are incredible, her color palettes are always perfect, and her waves remind me of why I love the water!” —Tomoko Bason, BookPeople, Austin, TX

A Hippy-Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer, Anne Wilsdorf (Illus.)
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780399556760, $16.99, available March)
“Clever rhyming text bounces on the page with glorious illustrations. A perfect book for story times and lap times!” —Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët
(Schwartz & Wade, 9781524769550, $17.99)
“This is a great anti-bullying book precisely because it has no text and so never gets preachy. It leaves it up to young readers to figure out cause and effect for themselves, and the book is all the better for it.” —Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books, McMinnville, OR

If You Had a Jetpack by Lisl Detlefsen, Linzie Hunter (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780399553295, $17.99, available April)
“Blast off with a bunny and his brother as they explore all the things you could do if you only had a jetpack. Each page is loaded with adorable, vibrant illustrations that will keep you giggling from one to the next. Two bunnies, one jetpack, and endless possibilities.” —Kidron Mariotti, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez, Felicita Sala (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780399557255, $17.99, available March)
“I’m not sure if I love the illustrations or the text more, but together they’re utterly engrossing. I love this book! Such a wonderful story and so well done. Inspiring!” —Justus Joseph, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

Moon by Alison Oliver
(Clarion Books, 9781328781604, $17.99, available April)
“Max (of Where the Wild Things Are fame) would be BFFs with Moon from Oliver’s new picture book, which is charming and imaginative, with glimpses of sly humor in the illustrations. Like Moon, we should all learn to take more time to be still, be wild, and be free.” —BrocheAroe Fabian, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

Natsumi! by Susan Lendroth, Priscilla Burris (Illus.)
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780399170904, $16.99, available March)
“Natsumi’s effervescent personality means she is a bit too energetic for her family’s quiet tasks of flower picking, tea pouring, and traditional Japanese dancing. With her grandfather’s help, she may just find the perfect activity to match her big personality so she can participate in her village’s upcoming festival. Natsumi! is a sensational celebration of culture, identity, and family.” —Emma McAndrew, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
(Dial Books, 9780735229358, $17.99)
The Rabbit Listened is the story of a toddler who is stumped by the collapse of their play block tower. A number of animals offer Taylor solace and support, but when the child relates the whole incident and ideas for revenge or rebuilding, the fact that somebody simply listens and hears is most inspiring.” —Jilleen Moore, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer, Dave Mottram (Illus.)
(Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9781524719296, $16.99)
“I love this book! It has great pictures, a funny story, woodland animals, and a lesson! It’s colorful and exciting, and no one’s friends abandon them to be eaten by bears even if they talk too much — like really, really too much — and never listen. You should probably read it and then read it again and then read it out loud to someone and then read it out loud to someone else. It’s great!” —Angela Whited, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

Ages 9 to 12

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626728141, $16.99)
Lumberjanes meets Stranger Things in the contemporary Colorado mountains. Arlo and his family have lived a transient life since his hacker father fled for China. As a last resort, they move in with weird Uncle Wade in Mom’s hometown where the supernatural is very much a part of everyday life. Invited to join the Rangers, Arlo soon discovers his own surprising connection to Pine Mountain and its mysterious, magical woods. Page-turning, funny, fantastical, and engaging, this one is sure to fly off the shelves.” —Summer Laurie, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
(Rick Riordan/Hachette, 9781368012355, $16.99, available March)
“Roshani Chokshi’s foray into middle grade books is a fast-paced, thrilling quest bringing together Hindu gods with a character I loved deeply. Aru Shah is the perfectly imperfect heroine every middle grader needs. She’s not rich, she’s messy, she makes up stories to make her life seem better. But not even she can imagine that lighting the lamp her mother forbade her to touch would send her on the adventure of a lifetime. This is the perfect companion for lovers of Rick Riordan. In the first 100 pages alone, I laughed out loud multiple times. This book is a winner for all ages.”—Shauna Sinyard, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062686206, $16.99)
“Boy (not ‘boy’) is a youngster living in an isolated community following the Crusades. Boy, who has a hump on his back and can speak to animals, grows under the care of Father Petrus, who has taught him to read and care for himself and has protected him from the community. Secundus, a wandering pilgrim, hires Boy to carry his bag on a trek to recover the relics of St. Peter. The tale of Boy begins and ends with wonder and encourages readers to think about who Boy is and how his relationship with Secundus evolves during their quest. An exceptional novel, The Book of Boy is a winner sure to satisfy the curiosity of middle readers of all ages.”  —Jack Blanchard, Fairy Godmother Books & Toys, Washington, D.C.

Elementals: Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman
(HarperCollins, 9780062457981, $16.99, available March)
“Amie Kaufman has created a magical new world full of distant lands and creatures waiting to be discovered. Ice Wolves pulled me in from the first page and left me wanting more at the last. Great news for wolf-lovers everywhere: this book is about actual wolves!” —Renee Becher, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

Granted by John David Anderson
(Walden Pond Press, 9780062643865, $16.99)
“Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is no ordinary fairy — she is a Granter, one of the select few whose job it is to venture beyond the boundaries of the Haven and grant the wishes of unsuspecting humans every day. No matter how prepared she believes she is, Ophelia doesn’t expect the major adventures she encounters with humans. Readers learn about the importance of our wishes, as well as the difficulties fairies face in getting our wishes granted. Hopefully my wish for a second volume of adventures with Ophelia will come to pass. Highly recommended for all ‘wishers’ ages seven and up.” —Candace Moreno, San Marino Toy & Book Shop, San Marino, CA

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316515467, $16.99, available March)
“Ivy Aberdeen has just suffered two huge losses: Her family’s home has been destroyed by a tornado, and her secret notebook where she draws pictures of girls holding hands has vanished — only to reappear as pages left in her locker by a mysterious reader. It’s not the best moment to get a crush on her new friend June, but Ivy perseveres through changing emotions and fears to figure out where she belongs in her world. Beautiful prose, characterization, and themes. Highly recommended!”  —Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras
(Kathy Dawson Books, 9780735229266, $16.99, available March)
“This swashbuckling tale of rescue, irregular chivalry, and self-discovery is set in an authentic medieval Scotland. Drest, the Mad Wolf’s daughter and the youngest member of her father’s war band, sets out to save her captured family from the dungeons of Faintree Castle. With tension that accompanies both the narrative and character development, this is a tale that rewards the reader’s journey many times over. Mad Wolf’s Daughter is a middle grade adventure that we will be recommending both as a read-aloud and as a great gift for readers of many ages and dispositions.” —Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak and Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME

Marabel and the Book of Fate by Tracy Barrett
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316433990, $16.99)
“Marabel’s twin brother, Marco, is the Chosen One, prophesied by the Book of Fate to save the kingdom of Magikos. For Marabel, that means always being in Marco’s shadow. But when an evil queen kidnaps Marco on their very important 13th birthday, Marabel knows that she has to rescue her brother. With help from her best friend and a talking unicorn, Marabel treks across kingdoms to find her brother, a journey that teaches her about friendship and fate, good and evil, and that sometimes a different perspective can help you save the day. For fans of humorous fairy tale classics like Ella Enchanted, and for anyone who is tired of waiting around for their day in the sun.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 9780545946179, $16.99, available March)
“Absolutely brilliant. A great balance between the satisfaction of solving a mystery along with the stark reality of life in the Jim Crow South, with a side helping of showing how people are able to change — for better or worse — at all stages of life.” —Sarah Rettger, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns, Barbara Fisinger (Illus.)
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9781524720001, $16.99)
“Samantha Spinner feels somewhat slighted when from her (now missing) uncle her sister receives $2,400,000,000, her brother is given the New York Yankees, and all Samantha gets is a ratty, rusty, red umbrella. But when the umbrella is revealed to contain a map with secret passageways throughout the entire world, Samantha feels very, very lucky, indeed. Clever, smart, and sometimes a bit silly, this fun mystery from game designer Russell Ginns also includes a few extra secrets for the especially inquisitive mind.” —Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1) by Sayantani DasGupta
(Scholastic Press, 9781338185706, $17.99)
“Kiran’s 12th birthday is not going well. Her parents have disappeared, there’s a rakkhosh demon in the house, and two handsome princes seem to think she’s a princess. What follows is a daring adventure through Bengali myths and legends, with a little bit of string theory thrown in for good measure. Action, adventure, comedy demons, embarrassing parents, and a talking winged horse are just some of the highlights of The Serpent’s Secret. This book is a lot of fun and a real page-turner.” —Clare Doornbos, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko
(Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, 9781681192451, $16.99)
“I loved this book. It’s so much fun, as well as beautifully and vividly written. I felt like I could really see the story playing out in my mind like a movie. It’s perfect for the age range, as well as for adults who enjoy reading these kinds of books. It has pretty much everything that you can ask for out of a book: magic and unicorns. I really loved the bond between the sisters, Sophie and Claire, and am excited to see where the series goes next!” —Kristen Beverly, Half Price Books, Dallas, TX

The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines by Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (Illus.)
(Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780735231702, $14.99, available April)
“On his first day at a new school, Elliot Eisner makes a new friend. He also joins his classmates on a field trip led by the eccentric Professor Fauna. These two events combine to send Elliot on an incredible adventure during which he learns that creatures he didn’t believe in (dragons, for instance) just might be real — and they need help! Newbery Honor winner Adam Gidwitz has launched a wonderfully magical series filled with surprises and humor.” —Christopher Rose, The Spirit of ’76 Bookstore, Marblehead, MA

Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth by Sheila O’Connor
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780399161933, $16.99, available April)
“Set during the summer of 1968, a profound relationship develops between Mr. Marsworth, an elderly recluse (and draft dodger), and Reenie Kelly, the young girl who delivers his newspaper. Reenie is trying to save her older brother from being drafted, and through written correspondence seeks Mr. Marsworth’s help. There are numerous threads to this story, stunning secrets revealed, and various perspectives on the Vietnam War represented. All of the characters are well-drawn, distinct, and memorable, plus there are very provocative, discussion-worthy themes.” —Mark Adam, Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company, Pomona, CA

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062414182, $16.99, available April)
“Told in alternate chapters, You Go First is the story of Charlotte Lock and Ben Boxer, who are united by their love of online Scrabble. Lottie’s dad is sick and her friend group is undergoing some painful changes. Ben’s parents are divorcing, and he decides to run for student government to make new friends and implement changes to his school’s recycling program. Their friendship is a point of stability during a period of upheaval for both kids. Kelly nails the heartbreaking isolation of growing up, the pain of bullying, and the complicated nature of familial and platonic relationships. You Go First gives voice to the vulnerability of growing up and offers a hopeful ending for middle grade readers of all ages.” —Sarah Sawyers-Lovett, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, PA

For Teens

American Panda by Gloria Chao
(Simon Pulse, 9781481499101, $17.99)
American Panda is the cutest book I have read in a long time. Mei’s parents want her to become a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer. When Mei goes off to college, she doesn’t want her family to find out that she sleeps through biology and hates germs, or that she’s met Darren, who is not Taiwanese. Readers follow Mei as she struggles between keeping secrets from her parents and going after what she loves. When she reconnects with her brother Xing, who was estranged for dating the wrong girl, Mei realizes that it might not be worth it to keep her secrets. American Panda is packed with culture, romance, and family.” —Emily Matz, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
(Freeform, 9781484728499, $17.99)
“In a world where people are born gray and sallow, only a Belle and her powers can bring forth beauty. But being a Belle may prove dangerous for Camellia Beauregard, as she discovers in the royal court of Orleans, where secrets and danger lurk behind every sparkling facade. The Belles is a rich, opulent, intoxicating book — reading it feels like eating the most decadent cupcake you’ve ever tasted in your life. The atmosphere Clayton creates is sumptuous, and her characters are compelling, ambitious, and beautiful, though some only on the outside. I was blown away by this novel and can’t wait for the author’s next gorgeous book.” —Emily Hall, Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
(Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780735232112, $17.99, available March)
“Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the greatest painters of her generation, but she also lived in 17th-century Italy, where women had no power and little recourse when wronged. When one of her father’s friends assaults her, Artemisia must decide whether to keep the secret or force him to face justice, no matter the cost she’ll have to pay. Written in gorgeous verse, this book is heartbreaking, brilliant, and tragically relevant today. Read this book even if you don’t care about art history. Read this book even if you don’t usually like verse novels or historical fiction. Just read this book. It will haunt you.” —Lillian Tschudi-Campbell, The Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

For Every One by Jason Reynolds
(Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781481486248, $14.99, available April)
“This poem, dedicated to dreamers, jumpers, and the courageous, is the perfect blend of wisdom and uncertainty. Reynolds’ powerful prose is in excellent form here, and his upfront and casual style is appealing to all ages.” —Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062652850, $17.99)
“The perfect way to sum up this action-packed, heart-wrenching, and humorous book that came out of Ashely Poston’s dark and dastardly brain is Anastasia meets Firefly. From the first page, there is action and adventure, with plenty of laughs, gasps, and sighs mixed in. By the end of the book, you will want — and need — more. Seriously.” —Renee Becher, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780451478733, $18.99, available March)
“I opened this book at 9:00 a.m. and closed it at 4:15 p.m. after turning the last page. At times, I felt like my eyeballs just couldn’t move as fast as I wanted to be reading. As much of a page-turner as this is, it also delivers a real sense of history and an empowered and empowering 15-year-old heroine who has suffered yet never gives in to fear or hopelessness. It’s like Harry Potter meets James Bond in Nazi Germany, starring a Jewish orphan who just keeps kicking butt.” —Nina Barrett, Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, IL

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
(Scholastic Press, 9781338134148, $18.99, available March)
“Ally Carter has done it again! I don’t know how she manages to so perfectly balance a kick-ass teenage girl with just a pinch of over-the-top girliness, but she nails it every time. Basically, this can be considered a contemporary retelling of The Paper Bag Princess, where the prince is the U.S. president’s son, the princess is the son’s former best friend and daughter of the president’s former body guard, and the dragon is a Russian operative. Oh, and the setting is winter in Alaska. And because it’s Ally Carter, while the girl clearly saves the day and rescues the boy, she also ends up with the boy because teenage love conquers all. I read this in one sitting and recommend you do, too.” —BrocheAroe Fabian, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
(HarperTeen, 9780062662804, $17.99, available March)
“A book written beautifully in free verse by slam-poet Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X follows Xiomara, a Dominican-American teen questioning her relationship to God and the church rules that her controlling, deeply religious mother demands she follow. Defying her mother and emotionally absent father, Xiomara continues to seek her true self through a slam poetry group and her writing, with the help of her twin brother, her best friend, and a boy she has to hide from her family. With the lies piling up and the stakes getting higher, you’ll root for this smart, strong girl who refuses to remain silent and let others define her.” —Kelley Drahushuk, The Spotty Dog, Hudson, NY

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton
(Candlewick Press, 9780763691103, $18.99, available March)
“Nor’s family tree is thorny and full of secrets. Descended from a witch, cursed by her use of black magic, and doomed to enchanted, obsessed love, the Blackburn women have paid for an ancient crime for eight generations. But Nor is different, the ninth generation — her magic is stronger. And she knows she will need all of that power when her estranged mother begins making headlines with public displays of magic. Because magic comes with a price, and it’s not counted in dollars. Gripping and dark, this bewitching family drama will have you reading to midnight!” —Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
(First Second, 9781250159854, $24.99)
“A sweet, big-hearted graphic novel with adorable characters, fabulous gowns, and a charming story about two teenagers discovering who they are and what they want from life. I’ve been looking forward to this story ever since Jen Wang announced it a few years ago, and I am so happy to have finally read a graphic novel so full of acceptance, love, and fantastic fashion.” —Rebecca Speas, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles, Book One) by Tamora Pierce
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780375847110, $18.99)
“This is the first book I’ve read by Tamora Pierce, and I now understand why she is referred to as a master of fantasy writing! Tempests and Slaughter tells the story of Arram Draper, a young boy with the potential to become one of the world’s most powerful mages. With the support of his three friends — a ‘leftover’ prince, a clever girl, and an extremely sassy bird — Arram faces the challenges and adventures of student life at one of the most well-renowned universities for young mages. This fun and magical world Pierce has created was such a pleasure to experience!” —Colleen Regan, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
(Simon Pulse, 9781481497343, $17.99, available March)
“Centuries ago, the Swan sisters were drowned for witchcraft. Now, for a few weeks each year, they claim the bodies of three girls and use them to draw men into the harbor to drown. For those weeks, tourists flood the town and the locals dare each other to go near the water. They call it The Swan Season. The Wicked Deep is haunting, sad, and satisfying. The sisters’ anger is so thoroughly understandable, it is easy to see how they would want to lure men into the harbor. This is the perfect book for Practical Magic fans or anyone looking for a crisp, immersive read.” —Amy Brabenec, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA