The Summer 2015 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Here is a look at the titles on the Summer 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 summer publishing season and an additional 37 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 nomination deadline for the Autumn Kids’ Indie Next List is July 14, 2015. The autumn list will focus on titles published between August 1 and October 31. 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 Summer 2015 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

The Top Ten

1. Circus Mirandus, by Cassie Beasley
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780525428435, $17.99)
“Who doesn’t love the circus? Thrilling performances, exotic animals, and the constant promise of surprise make circuses seem magical. In Circus Mirandus the magic isn’t an illusion, but rather very real — and astounding! Raised by his beloved Grandpa Ephraim, Micah has grown up hearing tales of his grandpa’s visit to an incredible circus as a boy. It was during that visit that Ephraim was promised a miracle, and now, many decades later, Ephraim is ill and needs that miracle. Can Micah find Circus Mirandus and obtain the promised wish that could save his grandfather? Micah is a wonderfully appealing young hero — vulnerable and almost desperate, yet he shows bravery, resilience, and a decency that never flags. His selfless quest to save his grandfather is the stuff of classic hero tales. While it honors the old epics, Beasley’s glorious debut is fresh, unique, and completely original.” —Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas
(Bloomsbury, 9781619634442, $18.99)
“After her father loses his wealth, Feyre, a young girl in her teens, must hunt to keep her impoverished family. When she kills a faerie disguised as a wolf, Tamlin, one of his fellow immortals, invades her home and demands that she pay the penalty: she must spend the rest of her life in his kingdom or face death. Resigned to imprisonment, Feyre discovers that Tamlin is no ordinary faerie, but a High Lord. In spite of herself, love for him blossoms in her young heart and she strives to help him combat ancient threats to his kingdom. A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first in a new series that promises magic, love, and adventure.” —Staci Rice, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, KS

3. Magonia, by Maria Dahvana Headley
(HarperCollins, 9780062320520, $17.99)
“Aza has never really fit in on Earth. Every day she is fighting to breathe because of an undiagnosed lung defect. Then she sees a ship in the sky that is calling her name. Only her best friend, Jason, believes that she saw it. When the people from the ship abduct Aza and show her a life that she was destined for, she is faced with life-changing decisions. She could stay on the ship where she can breathe and belongs, or she can fight to return to the family she loves on Earth. Magonia is an amazing story of destiny, family, and love that will take your breath away.” —Clare Donovan, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

4. The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renée Ahdieh
(Putnam Books for Young Readers, 9780399171611, $17.99)
“In this reimagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad’s best friend has been killed by the vicious boy-king who takes wives and orders their death the following dawn. When Shahrzad volunteers to be next so that she can avenge her friend’s murder and end the king’s treachery once and for all, she stays her own execution by telling him a story and convincing him to keep her alive until it ends. In the meantime, she begins to discover that the king is not what he seems — he is burdened by a dark secret. Mesmerizing and perfect for fans of Cruel Beauty, The Winner’s Curse, or Shadow & Bone, this tale will knock readers off their feet with its romance, magic, and beautiful use of language.” —Paige Mushaw, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

5. Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats, by Alicia Potter
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385753340, $16.99)
“There are lots of cats who are too scared to be proper cats — cats scared of mice, of birds, of pouncing and climbing. So, Miss Hazeltine opens her home to them and gives them lessons in how to be brave. One night, when Miss Hazeltine leaves to get milk and doesn’t return, it’s up to Crumb, the most shy and fearful cat of all, to lead the others on a quest to rescue their rescuer. This is a story for anyone who needs help conquering their own fears.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

6. Book Scavenger, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
(Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 9781627791151, $16.99)
“Garrison Griswold is Emily’s idol. The developer of ‘Book Scavenger,’ a wildly popular online game for book lovers, Griswold is a rock star in the book world. But when Emily’s family moves to Griswold’s hometown on the very day he has an unfortunate accident, Emily finds herself in possession of a valuable book that might be the first clue in a new game, or may well be the first clue in discovering who is behind Griswold’s accident. With elements of travel, adventure, mystery, famous authors, codes, online games, books, and two book-loving 12-year-old friends, Book Scavenger has just the right ingredients for the perfect middle-grade novel.” —Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

7. One Word From Sophia, by Jim Averbeck
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781481405140, $17.99)
“Sophia is a spunky girl with a big wish: to own a giraffe! One by one, she approaches family members to explain how beneficial giraffe ownership can be, using graphs, charts, and detailed business proposals. Each time, though, she’s told to use fewer words, until she finally finds the right one: ‘please.’ The ink-and-watercolor illustrations are bright and perfectly capture the mood as Sophia works to make her giraffe dream a reality. Silly, sweet, and filled with hilarious giraffe-related ideas, this book will be a winner for kids and grown-ups alike.” —Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

8. Murder Is Bad Manners: A Wells and Wong Mystery, by Robin Stevens
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481422123, $16.99)
“Hong Kong transplant Hazel Wong serves as Watson to Daisy Wells’ Sherlock Holmes in this debut middle-grade mystery series set in 1934 at Deepdean School for Girls. After Hazel finds the body of Miss Bell, the science teacher, it suddenly disappears, setting the Wells and Wong Detective Society on the case. Hazel narrates the story through her casebook, revealing that she is the more analytical of the pair. There are plenty of red herrings and wrong turns, but in the end Wells and Wong solve the case and leave readers eager to read more of their appealing tales.” —Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

9. Rook, by Sharon Cameron
(Scholastic Press, 9780545675994, $17.99)
“I could tell you that Rook is an homage to The Scarlet Pimpernel set in a post-technological future France, where wealthy families are imprisoned and publicly executed. But that wouldn’t help you understand what this book is really about. Rook is about the characters: the smart, stubborn young heroine who risks her life to save those who can’t save themselves; the rakish smuggler who may be an opponent or an ally; and the memorable group of supporting characters that make Rook a story that you’ll savor until the very last page.” —Lelia Nebeker, One More Page, Arlington, VA

10. Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson
(HarperTeen, 9780062278227, paper, $12.99)
“Supervillain Ballister Blackheart’s schemes take an unexpected turn when his new sidekick reports for duty. Nimona is a gleeful shapeshifter with a penchant for mayhem, and together they prepare to take down a corrupt government protected by the flowing-haired Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. But Nimona’s dark past begins to catch up with her, and as things go awry everyone must question what they’re fighting for. With delicious complexity, unforgettable characters, and stunning art, this graphic novel is supremely awesome!” —Fiona Hartley-Kroeger, Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts, Berkeley, CA

For Ages 4 – 8

8: An Animal Alphabet, by Elisha Cooper
(Orchard Books, 9780545470834, $17.99, available July)
“Cooper’s latest book is stunning both in its simplicity and its complexity. With a page of animals for each letter of the alphabet, Cooper asks the reader to identify which creature is drawn eight times. An index in the back offers more information on each animal. This gorgeous book is perfect for art and animal lovers of all ages!” —Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, NY

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret, by Bob Shea
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484713785, $9.99)
“Shea is back with his own brand of madcap humor in this new series. Ballet Cat only wants to play ballet, all the time, every day. Her best friend, Sparkles, wants to do something different, but Ballet Cat refuses. Then she realizes that Sparkles isn’t having fun. What should she do? The pictures are sparse and the colors bright with plenty of pink to go around. This book is a great start to a series that promises to be as much fun as the Dinosaur vs. titles.” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, IN

Bernice Gets Carried Away, by Hannah E. Harrison
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803739161, $16.99, available July)
“Nothing says disappointment like being the only one at the birthday party to get the plain white, no-frosting-flower piece of the cake, and Bernice’s day just gets worse from there. She takes matters into her own hands, and with the help of too many balloons and a grumpy rain cloud, Bernice discovers a way to lift her mood. Fun illustrations and a non-didactic, solution-oriented story make this perfect for anyone who has ever had a bad day.” —Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Duncan the Story Dragon, by Amanda Driscoll
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385755078, $16.99)
“Duncan is a little green dragon who wears red high-tops, enjoys a cold chocolate milkshake, and LOVES stories, but his fiery breath causes a problem. All Duncan wants is to read a good story, but every time he opens a book, the pages catch on fire. What is Duncan going to do? Driscoll’s illustrations are bright and cheerful in this tale of friendship, reading, and adventure.” —Clara Martin, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Ellie, by Mike Wu
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484712399, $16.99)
“Oh, no! The zoo is about to be shut down! What can the animals do? The monkeys, giraffes, and other animals start cleaning up the zoo, but what can Ellie, the baby elephant, do to help? Then Ellie picks up a paint brush and starts to paint. She paints with beautiful colors and creates loving pictures of her friends. Find out if the animals can save their home in this charming new book.” —Anna Brindley, Blue Phoenix Books, Alpena, MI

Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings, by Matthew Burgess, Kris Di Giacomo (Illus.)
(Enchanted Lion Books, 9781592701711, $17.99)
“Burgess introduces the profundity of E.E. Cummings to children in a smart way, by showing him as a creative, insightful child who cherished his surroundings. Filling the book with a balance of whimsical rhyme, biographical notes, wonderful illustrations, and samples of Cummings’ poetry, Burgess’ words and Di Giacomo’s pictures convey both the sensibility of an artist while providing the basic facts of his life.” —Todd Wellman, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

I Yam a Donkey!, by Cece Bell
(Clarion Books, 9780544087200, $16.99)
“Imagine retelling ‘Who’s on First?’ but using a donkey and a yam instead of baseball players! These two have a difficult time communicating with one another and, frankly, the donkey just doesn’t get it. Kids will love the humor, and the fact that they understand something the donkey doesn’t is very clever. There are lots of laughs to be had here!” —Jessilynn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by Jonah Winter, Shane W. Evans (Illus.)
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780385390286, $17.99, available July)
“The path to vote is uphill and a hard road for elderly Lillian, but on her way she walks alongside her ancestors who were sold into slavery or denied the right to vote. She walks beside every African American who fought to be equal and, yes, she will find her way to that voting booth. Vibrant illustrations and luminous colors decorate this subtly strong picture book.” —Morgan Turnage, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Mad Scientist Academy: The Dinosaur Disaster, by Matthew McElligott
(Crown Books for Young Readers, 9780553523744, $17.99, available July)
“When a group of students — including a werewolf, a swamp monster, and a robot — arrive at Mad Scientist Academy for their first day of class, they find their professor, Dr. Cosmic, in a tangled heap. Dr. Cosmic explains that their class pet — a dinosaur! — has escaped. The students set off on a scavenger hunt through the virtual dinosaur exhibit to track down Oscar, collecting clues along the way. Plenty of engaging facts within a fun, adventure-filled context make this graphic novel a worthwhile addition to any collection.” —Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI

Night Animals, by Gianna Marino
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780451469540, $16.99, available July)
“In this beautifully illustrated book, a group of nocturnal animals are hiding. Hiding from what? Why, from night animals, of course! Animals that only come out in the dark are scary, making spooky noises and terrifying Wolf, Possum, Skunk, and Bear. When Bat lets them in on a secret — that they are the night animals — the group is relieved, at least until the next spooky noise comes along. This is a giggle-worthy story that introduces readers to a variety of nocturnal animals.” —Amanda Snow, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event, by Rebecca Bond
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374380779, $17.99, available July)
“In 1914, when Antonio was a little boy, he lived with his mother, who ran a three-story hotel in the woods of Ontario for lumberjacks, hunters, miners, and other people passing through. One summer day, a fire broke out in the surrounding woods, forcing everyone — people and the forest-dwelling animals alike — into the nearby lake for safety. As the fire raged on in the forest around them, everyone stood side by side, bonded by their shared catastrophe. Out of the Woods is a true story about the author’s grandfather and his retelling of what happened in the woods on that summer day.” —Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Princess and the Pony, by Kate Beaton
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 9780545637084, $17.99)
“Princess Pinecone wants nothing more than to ride gloriously into battle alongside her warrior kin, but when her birthday wish for a steed is granted, things don’t exactly turn out as she envisioned. Beaton, the author/illustrator of Hark! A Vagrant!, scores again with a laugh-out-loud picture book about a lovable farting pony and the merits of embracing the unexpected.” —Aubrey Winkler, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

Rude Cakes, by Rowboat Watkins
(Chronicle Books, 9781452138510, $16.99)
Rude Cakes is a fun and silly book that is sure to cause a laugh riot. While rude cakes misbehave, giant cyclopses are the model of good behavior. Fortunately, one rude cake’s encounter with a giant cyclops — where he’s mistaken for a jaunty dancing hat — is what that cake needs to change his not-so-sweet ways. The playful text and humorous illustrations blend perfectly to create a top-notch read.” —Mark Adam, Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company, Pomona, CA

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle, by Miranda Paul, Jason Chin (Illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781596439849, $17.99)
“This nonfiction picture book makes it fun to learn about the water cycle, from water to steam and from clouds to rain and back again. Younger readers will like the poetic, rhyming text, and older readers will learn something new from all the water cycle facts. Chin’s stunning illustrations add to this innovative and informative book.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

For Ages 9 – 12

Another Kind of Hurricane, by Tamara Ellis Smith
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780553511932, $16.99, available July)
“Zavion and Henry are each recovering from tragedies. Zavion’s house has disappeared with Hurricane Katrina and Henry has just lost his best friend on a favorite mountain in Vermont. In this remarkable debut, told in alternating voices, Smith weaves together each of the boys’ stories, allowing readers to feel sad about the circumstances but renewed by the love of others who support the boys and rally to bring new joy to those who have suffered.” —Arna Lewis, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

The Arctic Code, by Matthew J. Kirby
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062224873, $16.99)
“The Earth is in a new ice age and Eleanor’s mother is a scientist working in the Arctic to find sources of oil to help with the world’s disaster. When her mother goes missing, Eleanor stows away on an airplane to get to the station at Barrow to help find her. The search launches Eleanor on a race to discover what is happening to our planet and to uncover a threat that may not be of this world. A great start to a new series! —Sue Mason, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, OR

Close to the Wind, by Jon Walter
(David Fickling Books, 9780545816625, $17.99)
Close to the Wind shows readers what modern war is like from the perspective of a 10-year-old boy, Malik. There are no battlefields or bodies, just the frightening and confusing reality that many urban refugees continue to face during political upheaval. Walter does not name the country that Malik is escaping from or the details of the source of the conflict, allowing readers to concentrate on Malik’s tender-hearted character and his responses with the attention and respect that he and others like him deserve.” —Clare Doornbos, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Larkspur, CA

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly
(Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 9780805097443, $16.99, available July)
“After the Galveston flood, two new people bring change to Callie’s little town — her cousin, full of secrets and independence, and a veterinarian, who opens a whole new world of possibilities. Callie Vee is a wonderful heroine: trapped in a world that doesn’t value girls, she finds ways to learn and grow, to chip away at conventional attitudes and to prove her worth, her intelligence, and her great potential. I wish every girl could read Calpurnia’s story and know they can do whatever they love and become whomever they want!” —Susan Thomas, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY

Dragons Beware!, by Jorge Aguirre, Rafael Rosado (Illus.)
(First Second, 9781596438781, paper, $14.99)
“Look out, lizards! The fearless Claudette of Giants Beware! is back, and nothing is going to stop her from rescuing her poppa from a dragon. But everything about her quest is complicated, especially when you take into account the presence of gargoyles, the apple hag, the many princes wooing Claudette’s diplomatically skilled friend Marie, and the burning question of how a band of heroes will eat when their chef has sworn off cooking for a while. There’s just so much to love about this breathless adventure in which everyone has a moment to shine — including that maybe not-so-terrible dragon!” —Molly Templeton, WORD, Brooklyn, NY

The Golden Specific, by S.E. Grove
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780670785032, $17.99, available July)
The Glass Sentence introduced a world unhinged from time and space in 1799 by the Great Disruption which plunged different areas of the world into completely different historical periods. In The Golden Specific, 13-year-old Sophia Timms, apprentice mapmaker to her Uncle Shadrake, and her friend Theo have been searching for her explorer parents, who disappeared many years ago while on an expedition. When Sophia discovers a clue to their destination, she embarks on a journey to a dangerous part of the disrupted world and meets new characters along the way. I look forward to the next book in order to continue the journey with these characters.” —Pam Stilp, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

I’m With Cupid, by Anna Staniszewski
(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 9781492615460, paper, $7.99, available July)
“Lena is a reaper. When people are about to die, she touches them and sends them on their way. Marcus is a cupid. When he touches people, they fall in love. Lena and Marcus are both at the same eighth grade party when Connie pushes them into a closet and dares them to kiss. But this is no ordinary first kiss — it’s electric, and now Lena is a cupid and Marcus is a reaper. What follows is chaos at its funniest. This is the start of a new series that promises to be great fun!” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, IN

Lost in the Sun, by Lisa Graff
(Philomel, 9780399164064, $16.99)
“In the seven months since he was responsible for a hockey accident that resulted in a friend’s death, Trent has been increasingly convinced that everyone — his brothers, his dad, his friends — hates him. He is dealing with the guilt and has been withdrawing from the world until the resident ‘weird girl,’ Fallon, reaches out to him. She understands rejection because of the scar on her face, and with her friendship Trent slowly realizes the power of forgiveness and letting go. Graff tackles deep subjects successfully, and provides a resolution that is both heartfelt and fitting.” —Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

Return to Augie Hobble, by Lane Smith
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626720541, $16.99)
“Nothing ever goes quite right for Augie Hobble. He lives at an amusement park, which should be an awesome place to grow up, but in actuality is a run-down, has-been kind of place. He just failed his Creative Arts Class and now has to spend the summer doing a make-up project, the school bullies won’t leave him alone, and he may have just killed his best friend. But something strange is going on and Augie’s project notebook may solve more than one of his problems. Readers who loved the quirkiness of The Stinky Cheese Man or the offbeat humor of A Tale Dark and Grimm will devour this new novel by author/illustrator Smith.” —Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, by Kelly Jones, Katie Kath (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385755528, $16.99)
“Sophie Brown inherits her uncle’s unusual chickens when her family inherits his farm. What makes these chickens unusual, you ask? Super speed, telepathy, and invisibility, among other traits. If that isn’t enough to deal with, someone is trying to steal Sophie’s new feathered friends. This whimsically illustrated diverse book is told in the format of letters to Sophie’s abuela and her late uncle. Fans of Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary will love this thrill-a-minute tale of rural adventure.” —Sarah Sawyers-Lovett, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, PA

Woundabout, by Lev Rosen, Ellis Rosen (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316370783, $17)
“After their parents pass away, two kids go to live with their aunt in the mysterious town of Woundabout where nothing changes — not the weather, not your routines, not even your age. The kids find a crank that fits special holes in the ground, and when turned, makes the city grow beautiful and change. They go on a quest to find out why the mayor refuses to use the crank to allow the city to change. This is a great read-aloud — a magical journey into the nature of change and how change is, in itself, good and necessary. I loved It!” —Tanecia Cannon, BookPeople, Austin, TX

For Teens

Anything Could Happen, by Will Walton
(Push, 9780545709545, $17.99)
“The reason books like this need to be written is to remind us that everyone deserves to be loved unconditionally. The character of Tretch is your brother, your son, your favorite co-worker, your nephew. He is one of the most kind, true, genuine teenage boys you’ll ever meet. It takes great courage to be honest, and Walton’s main character realizes that being truly honest opens you up to being loved. When you read Anything Could Happen, you’ll hold your breath, your heart will break, and you’ll wish you could see Tretch’s dance moves!” —Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Because You’ll Never Meet Me, by Leah Thomas
(Bloomsbury, 9781619635906, $17.99)
“Ollie and Mo’s friendship unfolds during the course of their correspondence. Ollie, who is allergic to electricity, and Moritz, who has a pacemaker, can never meet face-to-face but the things they have in common form a unique bond between them. Ollie lives alone in the woods with his mother. Moritz attends a public school where his physical appearance makes him a target for ridicule and bullying as, in addition to a pacemaker, he wears dark goggles to hide the smooth skin where his eyes should be. There’s a mystery wrapped up in this tale, but the beauty and humanity of the main characters is where this gorgeous book especially shines.” —Elliott bat Tzedek, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, PA

Conviction, by Kelly Gilbert
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781423197386, $17.99)
“Wow! The pressure of the situation that 17-year-old Braden finds himself in when his father is arrested for murder and Braden is the crucial witness builds and builds throughout the novel as the author slowly reveals what really happened that night. My heart is still bleeding for Braden, days after finishing Conviction, which I highly recommend for both adults and teens.” —Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Game of Love and Death, by Martha Brockenbrough
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 9780545668347, $17.99)
“This book is captivating from the very first page! Period details from 1920s Seattle form a rich backdrop for a timeless story of illicit love between a white boy and an African American girl. Adults and teens alike will enjoy this historical novel with magical elements. The characters of Love and Death add the perfect touch of magic and mystery, reminiscent of The Night Circus.” —Emily Adams, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Hold Me Like a Breath, by Tiffany Schmidt
(Bloomsbury, 9780802737823, $17.99)
“Schmidt has taken a classic fairy tale and turned it on its head, crafting a unique backstory and a compelling world for her reimagined heroine. No longer a one-note princess, Penelope Landlow is a modern twist on a well-known archetype, and her struggle to pick up the pieces of her family’s shattered legacy will leave readers wanting more. A stunning start to a new series.” —Lauren Strohecker, Farley’s Bookshop, New Hope, PA

More Happy Than Not, by Adam Silvera
(Soho Teen, 9781616955601, $18.99)
“In this tale set in the near future, when a procedure allows people to have specific memories removed for their own good, Aaron is dealing with the suicide of his father and the dawning realization that he might not be straight. He has a perfect girlfriend and a loving mother, but growing up in the Bronx is a struggle. When Aaron starts developing feelings for his new best friend, Thomas, he thinks about getting the procedure to make him forget that he likes boys. Silvera’s debut is a beautifully different and heartfelt novel about family, class, sexuality, and self-acceptance.” —Paige Mushaw, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

The Porcupine of Truth, by Bill Konigsberg
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 9780545648936, $17.99)
“Carson is resigned to spending his summer in Billings, Montana, helping his mother to care for his ailing father. His life is changed forever, however, when he meets Aisha, a young girl who has just announced to her family that she is a lesbian. Carson is dealing with family issues, but his developing friendship with Aisha impacts his life in such a way that he is able to come to terms with his family. This heartwarming story demonstrates the power of love and determination and how true friendship can change the course of your life.” —Kathy Taber, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, by Stephanie Oakes
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803740709, $17.99)
“Minnow Bly has spent the last 12 years of her life in the Montana wilderness with the Kevinian cult. She has no family, no education, no hands, and virtually no self worth. When the cult compound is burned down and the Prophet is found dead, the authorities turn to Minnow for answers. As she adjusts to life in juvenile detention and struggles with the decision to help the FBI, Minnow is finally able to educate herself and dream. Oakes has created a wonderfully strong female character in Minnow — one who isn’t scared to think for herself and who is able to dream, even after years of being told she cannot. Highly recommended!” —Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780451474704, $19.99)
Saint Anything pulled me in immediately as the main character, Sydney, uproots her life to deal with guilt over her brother’s big mistake, a drunk driving accident that left another boy paralyzed and earned her brother a prison sentence. In venturing into unknown territory — a new school, new friends, a new job — Sydney gets the opportunity to both figure out who she really is and finally face the things that have made her feel so burdened and alone. Poignant and honest, Saint Anything is my favorite Dessen novel yet.” —Danielle Borsch, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

Shadow of the Wolf, by Tim Hall
(David Fickling Books, 9780545816649, $18.99)
“This is a Robin Hood story so original it feels like it was written before all other versions! Forget swashbuckling and merry men, this tale is filled with sinister magic, ancient prophecies, possessed sheriffs, reluctant heroes, and savage damsels that are far from distressed. Breathtaking imagery and lyrical writing make for one of the most sophisticated stories I’ve read in a long time. Readers will be captivated from the first page!” —Amy Oelkers, The Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

Undertow, by Michael Buckley
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544348257, $18.99)
Undertow is an exciting new sci-fi teen thriller. Lyric lives in a state of fear — fear that her family’s secret will be revealed, fear for the safety of her best friend, and fear of the feelings she is developing for the Prince of the Alpha, the beings that walked out of the ocean three years ago. Soon, Lyric discovers that there is more at stake than her own personal safety and that of those on Coney Island. How far will she go to save those she loves and the world itself?” —Lisa Nehs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

We Are All Made of Molecules, by Susin Nielsen
(Wendy Lamb Books, 9780553496864, $16.99)
“If, as 13-year-old Stewart knows, we are all in constant exchange of molecular matter, then author Nielsen has unleashed trillions of atoms with her writing and can expect them to arrive back to her — and to the readers of this amazing story of family blended, friends bended, and the science of what it means to be human proven. Fans of Wonder, hold tight. This could be the young adult book of the year.” —Joanna Parzakonis, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI