The Summer 2017 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the titles on the Summer 2017 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 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 Autumn Kids’ Indie Next List is July 14. The list will focus on titles published between August 1 and October 31, 2017. Nominations may be submitted via e-mail, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss or NetGalley.

The Summer 2017 Kids’ Indie Next Great Reads

The Top 10

1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062382801, $18.99, available June)
“Get ready to swoon over this book. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder meets Sorcery and Cecelia in this delicious, historical romp. Monty and Percy, best friends since forever and Monty hopes maybe something more, are headed off on their grand tour. Despite severe prohibitions on alcohol, sex, and other vices, Monty is determined to have a decadent time. But they get more than they bargained for when Monty accidentally steals an important object from the French court. Filled with highwaymen, pirates, and heart-pounding exploits of a romantic nature, this is the summer road-trip adventure you’ve been waiting for.” —Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

2. Words in Deep Blue, by Cath Crowley
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781101937648, $17.99, available June)
Words in Deep Blue is one of those books that stick with you long after you’ve finished reading them. The center of the story is Howling Books in Gracetown, Australia, home of the Letter Library, a collection of books you can’t buy but which you can write in, circle a favorite passage, or leave a letter to a stranger, friend, or lover. Like the precious books in the Letter Library, Words in Deep Blue is about life and death and love and friendship, about what was and is and can be. It’s about books and reading and the immediacy of teen life, and it ripped my heart out in the best way.” —Kate Reynolds, Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton, NY

3. Beyond the Bright Sea, by Lauren Wolk
(Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9781101994856, $16.99)
“Lauren Wolk is a master of those quiet books that work their way into your head and chest. Beyond the Bright Sea is a quietly powerful look at the meaning of home and the pull to understand ourselves through our pasts. Beyond the Bright Sea’s heroine, Crow, is the perfect mix of naive determination and unerring practicality. She is the perfect vessel through which to introduce readers to the history of the Elizabeth Islands and the tragedy of Penikese Island. Both Wolf Hollow fans and new readers will not be disappointed.” —Amy Brabenec, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

4. Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder
(Walden Pond Press, 9780062443410, $16.99)
“A ragtag bunch of children live together on an island free of adults, and it is all they have ever known. Every year a boat comes ashore, taking the oldest child on the island somewhere unknown and leaving behind a young child who must be taught how to survive and to become a part of the group. When Jinny steps into the role of Elder, she must consider that her time on the idyllic island will soon come to an end as she raises the newest and youngest addition to the group, a spunky young girl named Ess. A heartbreaking and thoughtful tale about the magic and wonder of childhood and the exhilarating yet frightening transition to young adulthood, Orphan Island will stay with the reader for a long time. I adored this book! It is certain to be a classic!” —Diane Capriola, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

5. Windfall, by Jennifer E. Smith
(Delacorte Press, 9780399559372, $18.99)
“At its heart, Jennifer E. Smith’s Windfall is about what we choose to do with luck, whether it is good or bad. Heart is something this book has plenty of — heart and hope fill every page. Windfall is one of those books that forces a happy sigh out of you once you’ve turned the last page, and inspires you to care — not just about its wonderful trio of characters, but about the world around you and the people on the outskirts of your mind. Winning the lottery is about luck, but Windfall reminds us that luck can only bring so much, and our choices, our reactions to that luck, are what impact our lives.” —Rachel Strolle, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL

6. Once and for All, by Sarah Dessen
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780425290330, $19.99, available June)
“Growing up working with her mother, a coveted local wedding planner, Louna has witnessed every type of wedding imaginable. Louna’s own shot at love was brief but amazing, and it has left her feeling uninterested in anything less and still reeling from the shock of its sudden loss. So when flirty and flighty Ambrose is foisted upon her work life, she finds his charms more annoying than anything else, despite his kindness and attentiveness. Although the growing romance is lovely, reading Sarah Dessen always means discovering many layers to the characters, and this book is no exception. Once and for All is another heartfelt character exploration (with a completely lovable guy).” —Danielle Borsch, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

7. When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon
(Simon Pulse, 9781481478687, $17.99)
“Dimple wants to defy her parents’ expectations and attend a summertime coding seminar in San Francisco. She has no idea why her parents agreed to let her go, but she does know she is definitely not interested in finding a guy. Rishi wants to obey his parents, find a nice Indian girl to marry, and have his future laid out perfectly. He’s going to the seminar, too, but only to meet Dimple. A sparkling YA rom-com that had me grinning like a fool!” —Jennifer Laughran, Oblong Books and Music, Millerton, NY

8. Hattie & Hudson, by Chris Van Dusen
(Candlewick, 9780763665456, $16.99)
“A heartwarming tale of a brave, intrepid girl and her friendly neighborhood lake creature! Hattie loves nothing more than paddling her canoe around the lake near her house. While exploring one day, Hattie happens upon a curious creature who shares her love of the water. Unfortunately, the rest of her town is convinced the creature is actually a monster. Can Hattie change their hearts and minds? Told through Chris Van Dusen’s signature lively illustrations, Hattie & Hudson is a delightful summer read full of wonder and heart.” —Bill Grace, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

9. Posted, by John David Anderson
(Walden Pond Press, 9780062338204, $16.99)
“John David Anderson must have a pipeline straight to the brain of adolescent boys, because he is masterful at writing the day-to-day life of the average middle-grade kid. The tribe that Frost has created with his three best friends is infiltrated by a strange and confident girl named Rose at the same time as his middle school creates a new rule about cell phones, and suddenly his closely guarded friendships are threatened. With warmth and laughter and tremendous depth of character, Posted is a novel that shows with specificity and rare truth the ways that kids grow within and beyond their early relationships.” —Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

10. Life, by Cynthia Rylant, Brendan Wenzel (Illus.)
(Beach Lane Books, 9781481451628, $17.99, available June)
“Through the eyes of animals from around the world, Cynthia Rylant gives readers a look at the many wondrous things in all lives, including beauty, strength, and perseverance. When her gorgeous prose is combined with Brendan Wenzel’s stunning illustrations, the result is pure magic. A book for every home, library and classroom, this is a must-read for all ages!” —Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Ages 4 to 8

Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten, by Candice Ransom, Christine Grove (Illus.)
(Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9780399554551, $17.99, available June)
“The first day of kindergarten sure is tough for Amanda Panda. Nothing is going the way she expected, and quitting seems to be the only option. Luckily for Amanda Panda, Bitsy wants to be her friend. Together they learn to conquer all the challenges of kindergarten.” —Kidron Mariotti, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

Blue Sky White Stars, by Sarvinder Naberhaus, Kadir Nelson (Illus.)
(Dial Books, 9780803737006, $17.99, available June)
“This might be the most beautiful book I have ever read. In these troubled times, leave it to Sarvinder Naberhaus and Kadir Nelson to capture the true spirit of America in one seemingly simple book. Blue Sky White Stars gives me hope. This should be on every 4th of July display and in every American home.” —Molly Olivo, Barstons Child’s Play, Washington, DC

The Case of the Stinky Stench, by Josh Funk, Brendan Kearney (Illus.)
(Sterling Children’s Books, 9781454919605, $16.95)
“A delightfully delicious companion to one of my favorites, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast. This time around there’s a dastardly odor coming from somewhere in the fridge and it’s up to Inspector Croissant and Sir French Toast to uncover the stench or all of their foodie friends may be tossed or sauced. With great use of imagination and rhyme, The Case of the Stinky Stench makes a fun read-aloud for all ages, including the reader. Bon appétit!” —Holland Saltsman, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

Colette’s Lost Pet, by Isabelle Arsenault
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780553536591, $17.99)
Colette’s Lost Pet is whimsical, funny, and quietly beautiful. Arsenault’s picture books are among my favorites; her illustrations always hold such a tender sweetness. When Colette is tasked with making friends in her new neighborhood, she is a bit shy. To make herself feel better, she creates an elaborate lie about a lost parakeet named Marie Antoinette. All of the neighbor children help her search for this enormous bird that can surf, speak, and otherwise dazzle. Arsenault’s artwork, done largely in black and white with sudden bursts of color, is as magical as the lie Colette creates — stunningly vibrant yet interspersed with the mundane shades of everyday life. Lovely.” —Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel, by Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri (Illus.)
(Dial Books, 9780525428886, $18.99)
“Strap on your reflux capacitor and stock up your bookshelves, because tacos have been outlawed across the land and the dragons’ time machine is a little wonky. In Dragons Love Tacos 2, Rubin and Salmieri have offered up more tasty silliness than one kid alone could ever stomach.” —Jilleen Moore, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Go Sleep in Your Own Bed, by Candace Fleming, Lori Nichols
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780375866487, $17.99)
“It is bedtime on the farm, but when pig toddles off to snuggle down for the night, he finds someone sleeping there already. What ensues will have pajama-clad young readers giggling themselves to sleep — right after they ask to hear the story one more time.” —Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Goldfish Ghost, by Lemony Snicket, Lisa Brown (Illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626725072, $17.99)
Goldfish Ghost begins with the ghost of a goldfish being ‘born’ upside down above his bowl. He floats around the vacation town of Cape Cod looking for friendship and a place to fit in. It’s hard for him to find his new place in the world, but the old lighthouse proves to be a beacon of hope. Goldfish Ghost is heartwarming (despite it being a ghost story), and the illustrations are so beautiful they’re easy to get lost in.” —Frostie Russell, Books & More of Albion, Albion, MI

Little Excavator, by Anna Dewdney
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9781101999202, $17.99, available June)
Little Excavator provides a welcome twist to the traditional construction site tale, proving that no one is too little to make a difference. It’s time to build a park, but it doesn’t seem like Little Excavator can do anything. There’s always someone stronger or taller or just plain bigger. But for some jobs, little is just right. Dewdney’s charming paintings provide this sweet story with characters kids will want to visit again and again.” —Sarah Holt, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

Margaret and the Moon, by Dean Robbins, Lucy Knisley (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780399551857, $17.99)
“Here’s to female scientists and children’s picture books about them! I loved Margaret and the Moon, which is about Margaret Hamilton, the woman considered the first female software engineer. This is a must-read for strong girls and those who love and support them.” —Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Morris Mole, by Dan Yaccarino
(HarperCollins, 9780062411075, $17.99)
“When you think about cute animals, moles aren’t usually the first to come to mind. But this adorable picture book may just change that! Morris Mole is an unlikely hero, but he’s out to accomplish big things through hard work, a willingness to step up, and determination. With charming illustrations and a lovable hero, this is a definite must-read.” —Emily Lloyd-Jones, Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle’s Children’s Books, Mendocino, CA

A New Friend for Sparkle, by Amy Young
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, 9780374305536, $16.99, available June)
“Friendship, taking turns, learning new things, and shaking your butt to the beat! It is hard to choose one thing to love with all my heart in the newest Sparkle story. I love that this story makes unicorns cool for girls and boys. Everything IS better when we do it together!” —Amanda Connor, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Now, by Antoinette Portis
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626721371, $17.99, available July)
“A wonderful picture book for kids that demonstrates the importance of staying in the moment and enjoying life as it happens. A great book for teachers and parents to help children focus on the beauty around them and appreciate the here and now.” —Lisa Nehs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

7 Ate 9, by Tara Lazar, Ross MacDonald (Illus.)
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484717790, $17.99)
“In a world populated by letters and numbers, private detective I is approached by a panicked 6, who reports that 7 ate 9 and he fears he will be next! I is determined to get to the bottom of things, questioning other numbers before unearthing the mystery’s twist. The number puns are rapid-fire, and there are plenty of visual gags — when 8 learns about 7’s alleged crime, she removes her belt to disguise herself as 0. But this book is not just a collection of jokes built around a concept — it has a real story with a solid conclusion. One of the wittiest picture books I’ve encountered in years and with the multiple levels of humor, 7 Ate 9 is sure to delight adults just as much as the kids they read it to!” —Ann Childs, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

This Book Will Not Be Fun, by Cirocco Dunlap, Olivier Tallec (Illus.)
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780399550614, $17.99, available June)
“This is a hoot! Who can resist a glow-in-the-dark kung fu worm? And an impromptu dance party with impossible creatures? You, too, just might find yourself ‘shaking [your] bottom,’ as it were.” —Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

Toad on the Road: A Cautionary Tale, by Stephen Shaskan
(HarperCollins, 9780062393470, $17.99)
“Stephen Shaskan knows how to make a book for story time! Toad on the Road is full of the great rhymes, vibrant illustrations, funny jokes, and ample sound effects that are trademarks of his books. A great story to share with toddlers and preschoolers, or for the emerging reader to try on her own.” —Angela Whited, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

Ages 9 to 12

The Apprentice Witch, by James Nicol
(Chicken House, 9781338118582, $16.99, available July)
“When Arianwyn unexpectedly fails her witch qualification test, she’s basically banished to a backwater town called Lull to work as an apprentice. No one expects that she’ll have much to do, but there’s something dark lurking in the woods around Lull and Arianwyn might be the only one who can figure out what’s gone wrong. Full of lovely, familiar-feeling magic and a cast of entertaining characters, this book is a delightful read in the style of the best British fantasy.” —Lillian Tschudi-Campbell, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, by Rita Williams-Garcia
(Amistad, 9780062215918, $16.99)
“A hero isn’t always a hero to everybody. When Clayton’s beloved, blues-playing grandfather passes away, Clayton and his mother clash over their feelings. His mother wants to sell everything and move on, but Clayton loved Cool Papa Byrd and his music more than anything. So Clayton does the only thing he can think of: he runs away in search of Cool Papa Byrd’s band. But the big, bad world isn’t a simple place, and love isn’t such a simple thing.” —Alex Schaffner, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart, by Stephanie Burgis
(Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, 9781681193434, $16.99)
“Have your hot chocolate ready before you start reading this book, because I guarantee you won’t want to stop reading to make a cup once you’ve begun this delightful (and delicious) tale of friendship and growing up. Aventurine is a young dragon whose scales aren’t hard enough to protect her yet, but, tired of being stuck at home, she runs away. When she tries to eat a human, the delicious smell of cooking chocolate reaches her nostrils first and she drinks his hot chocolate instead. It is the most wonderful thing she has tasted, but it turns out it was enchanted and now Aventurine is a human girl. Feeling like she has failed her family, Aventurine travels to the closest city in search of more chocolate. With the help of a new friend and a chocolatier boss, she finds so much more than that.” —Lindsey Pattavina, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

Dragon’s Green, by Scarlett Thomas
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481497848, $17.99)
“Scarlett Thomas has created a world every bit as vivid and magical as Harry Potter’s. Effie’s father insists there’s no such thing as magic, although her grandfather is reputed to have practiced it. When her grandfather dies and leaves her his library, Effie finds out how much magic there actually is in this world — and in the Otherworld. Unfortunately, a dark mage is after Effie’s grandfather’s books, and he doesn’t care who he hurts to get them.” —Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee, Denver, CO

The Girl With the Ghost Machine, by Lauren DeStefano
(Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, 9781681194448, $16.99, available June)
The Girl With the Ghost Machine is quite a touching story. For children who are working through a loss, this book is like a good friend who has been through the same and understands just how you feel. The characters are well developed and the relationships ring true. I truly enjoyed this book. I lost my father when I was young and this book helped me to play the ‘what if’ game with Emmaline, her father, and her friends and to become engrossed in their ideas of a ghost machine.” —Dwi Grandison, Hockessin Bookshelf, Hockessin, DE

Hamster Princess: Giant Trouble, by Ursula Vernon
(Dial Books, 9780399186523, $12.99)
“Harriet is back, and she’s as much fun as ever! In Ursula Vernon’s fourth fairy tale twist (this time involving a very large beanstalk, a giant, and a magic harp), Harriet finds herself yet again in a larger-than-life adventure that readers won’t want to put down. Smart, funny, exciting, and a bit ridiculous, this newest installment in the Hamster Princess series is sure to satisfy fans and newcomers alike.” —Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Lemons, by Melissa Savage (Indies Introduce)
(Crown Books for Young Readers, 9781524700126, $16.99)
“When 12-year-old Lemonade Liberty loses her mother, she also loses her whole world, as she is forced to move from bustling, hip San Francisco to quiet, sleepy Willow Creek to live with a grandfather she’s never met. Willow Creek, as it turns out, is famous for Sasquatch sightings, so Lemonade joins Tobin at his Bigfoot detective agency. But as she navigates her way through her new surroundings and a world without her mother, Lemonade finds that fitting in may be as elusive as Bigfoot himself. A wonderful story about love, loss, and healing, Lemons proves that even though life can sometimes be sour, finding a way to cope can be sweet. With beautifully created characters and a strong childlike wonder, Melissa Savage is a new voice I’ll be thrilled to hear more from.” —Katherine Megna-Weber, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

Orphan Train Girl, by Christina Baker Kline
(HarperCollins, 9780062445940, $17.99)
“If you are interested in historical fiction, Orphan Train Girl is perfect for you as it parallels the situation of a modern-day foster care child with the situation of an orphan in the 1920s. This book is so moving and, in the end, heartwarming. It shows how much of history goes undocumented and untold, until authors like Christina Baker Kline share these stories with us.” —Makenna Castor, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

Real Friends, by Shannon Hale, LeUyen Pham (Illus.)
(First Second, 9781626724167, $21.99)
“I don’t know anyone who will have trouble identifying with Shannon Hale’s graphic memoir of her search for a true friend. Adults tend to forget that, despite the charming innocence that often accompanies childhood, kids are often dark and mean and unsure of how to deal with the struggles they’re facing. This book would pair well with Cece Bell’s amazing graphic memoir, El Deafo.” —Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Refugee, by Alan Gratz
(Scholastic, 9780545880831, $16.99, available July)
Refugee looks readers straight in the eye, challenging them to truly see these kids who are battling the worst moments of our recent history. Josef and his family are fleeing the Nazis, Isabel is trying to get to America from Cuba, and Mahmoud is running from the violence of Syria. All three stories are grim, filled with sacrifice, courage, and moments of great loss, but, ultimately, hope wins. This novel is fast-paced and well-constructed, and readers will be able to relate to all three kids. Gratz does a terrific job of illuminating these historical moments and, in the end, shows readers that we are all connected.” —Margaret Neville, The King’s English, Salt Lake City, UT

The Someday Suitcase, by Corey Ann Haydu
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062352750, $16.99, available June)
“There is nothing like a best friend, and Clover knows that Danny will always be hers. Now in fifth grade, Clover is passionate about science, facts, and compiling evidence. When Danny suddenly becomes gravely ill and the doctors can’t give him a diagnosis, Clover makes Danny her project for the science fair and keeps a notebook about Danny’s symptoms to assist the doctors in any way she can. But a bit of magic takes over science: Danny always seems to improve or feel a little better when Clover is close to him. Clover and Danny makes plans to embark on an incredible adventure with their own special wishes in mind. This wistful novel full of the love of a deep friendship will make you wish that Clover and Danny were your friends. I enjoyed their journey so much!” —Joanne Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

This Would Make a Good Story Someday, by Dana Alison Levy
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9781101938171, $16.99)
“I absolutely loved this book. It is rich with thoughtfulness while still being a fun, engaging read. Sara’s cross-country train trip with her family is bound to be chaotic when you factor in two moms, an activist older sister and her recycling-enthusiast boyfriend, and a little sister who cannot be contained. This entertaining story also touches on serious issues of our age: environmentalism, racism, class issues, and what it means to really make a difference. As usual, Levy does not talk down to her audience, but makes tough stuff relatable and digestible in context. Seriously, don’t miss this.” —Shoshana Smith, The Reading Bug, San Carlos, CA

Walking With Miss Millie, by Tamara Bundy
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780399544569, $16.99, available July)
“Staying with her grandma in Rainbow, Georgia, was not Alice’s idea, and she is sure life is about to get a lot worse now that she’s been coerced into walking cranky, old Miss Millie’s mean dog. When the dog refuses to budge without his owner, Alice ends up on daily walks with Miss Millie and having conversations that change her life. Miss Millie can be crusty, but Alice learns that years of segregation have filled her heart with pain, compassion, bravery, and kindness. Alice has her own heartaches, and over time she confides in Miss Millie and a true friendship is born. I loved the witty banter between these two as they gradually open up to each other, and their remarks about the town residents they run into are priceless. Highly recommended.” —Ellen Davis, Dragonwings Bookstore, Waupaca, WI

York: The Shadow Cipher, by Laura Ruby
(Walden Pond Press, 9780062306937, $17.99)
“This is truly a remarkable novel involving three eighth graders whose apartment building has been bought by a rich landlord. All the families are being forced out, but there is a legendary puzzle that leads to treasure, and the trio decides to find it to save their home. Full of fascinating characters, history, puzzles, fantastical creations, humor, grief, loss, and surprising twists and turns, York is a promising start to a new series.” —Richard Corbett, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

You May Already Be a Winner, by Ann Dee Ellis
(Dial Books, 9781101993859, $16.99, available July)
“Who is Olivia? She’s a girl who grew up in a trailer park and whose father left for reasons she doesn’t really understand. She doesn’t go to school, but that’s okay, because she can teach herself and her younger sister at home. Meanwhile, she fantasizes about winning the lottery, because that would solve all their problems. I really felt for Olivia and her sister, Berkeley. Olivia’s voice contains maturity and frustration; her whimsical daydreams take you off track in the best ways. What a voice, and what a character.” —Alison Nolan, Linden Tree Books, Los Altos, CA

For Teens

Be True to Me, by Adele Griffin
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616206758, $18.95, available June)
“Adele Griffin knows how to do flawed characters in an authentic way, as she shows with the alternating narrators of Be True to Me — petty, privileged Jean and rough, impulsive Fritz. The young women are spending another summer in Sunken Haven, a place where the elite gather for lazy days, drunken nights, and party traditions. Between them is Gil, a surprise addition to the close-knit community and a handsome, young rising star at his uncle’s law firm. If you like stories of summertime, blossoming love, secrets, and betrayal, this is for you. But beware: Adele Griffin’s tales come with a darker edge to all the glitter of a perfect private island.” —Danielle Borsch, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

The Black Witch, by Laurie Forest
(Harlequin Teen, 9780373212316, $19.99)
The Black Witch is a 600-page epic fantasy that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until I read the whole thing over one weekend. The first in a new YA series, this book has everything — suspense, a fantastic world, magic, dragons, hints of romance, and important things to say about interpretations of history and acceptance. I will warn you, though, there is one major flaw with this book — the next one isn’t available to read yet and the wait is going to be interminable!” —Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY

Dear Reader, by Mary O’Connell
(Flatiron Books, 9781250077080, $17.99)
Dear Reader is a quirky and unique novel about the ways relationships change us. A special teacher can change the way you think or read, a first love can affect the ways we move through adulthood, and fiction can alter how we view the world around us. Mary O’Connell playfully explores the relationships Flannery forms with others, not through action but through unique narrative devices and interior voices. Alternately emotional and lighthearted, Dear Reader will satisfy bookish types and Brontë enthusiasts of all ages!” —Johanna Albrecht, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Flame in the Mist, by Renée Ahdieh
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780399171635, $17.99)
Flame in the Mist is a propulsive, compelling story set in an ancient world of samurai, rōnin, and ninjas and full of secrets, court intrigue, revenge, thievery, murder, and magic. Hattori Mariko is an intelligent but undervalued young woman who sets her own course after her convoy is brutally attacked in the forest and she is left for dead along with her companions. I couldn’t put this down, and my biggest disappointment was reaching the end to realize that this is the first in a series! I can’t wait for the next book.” —Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

Grit, by Gillian French
(HarperTeen, 9780062642554, $17.99)
“Incoming high school senior Darcy has a reputation as a bad girl, but there is so much more to her. Living with her widowed mom and her good-girl older sister in the pocket of a disapproving aunt, Darcy’s life is complicated. She’s used to ignoring the rumors, but the secret she is keeping for her cousin Nell weighs heavily on her and threatens to blow her world apart. This coming-of-age story is full of anger, betrayal, fear, and, ultimately, courage and hope. Not a happily-ever-after ending, but one full of promise.” —Ellen Richmond, Children’s Book Cellar, Waterville, ME

Midnight at the Electric, by Jodi Lynn Anderson
(HarperTeen, 9780062393548, $17.99, available June)
“Three young women who will never meet but whose paths are intertwined in startling ways are linked together over space and time by their indomitable spirit and their desire for a better future. Adri is one of a chosen few to help colonize Mars in 2065 after climate change has irreversibly damaged Earth. Catherine’s family farms in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl era and faces grim choices to survive. Lenore, an Englishwoman traumatized in World War I, decides to leave for America. All three young women must choose to start their lives anew and recreate themselves in ways they can barely imagine. Readers of all ages will be surprised by their connection and moved by the sincerity of their hope.” —Cindy Pauldine, The River’s End Bookstore, Oswego, NY

The One Memory of Flora Banks, by Emily Barr
(Philomel, 9780399547010, $15.99)
“I thoroughly loved this book! Flora is someone you root for from the beginning as she follows her journey towards the boy who she thinks has, with his kiss, unlocked her brain’s ability to remember. The story keeps you guessing whether something has really happened or not, as you’re not sure you can trust Flora’s memory. There are several plot twists I didn’t see coming dealing with her brain injury, how it was caused, and how her mother deals with her own fear and guilt. The poignant relationship with her brother is profound and the message that resonates throughout the story is one we all need: be brave.” —Dea Lavoie, Second Star to the Right Books, Denver, CO

The Pearl Thief, by Elizabeth Wein
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484717165, $18.99)
“It is both wonderful and heart-wrenching to be back in the mind of Julie, one of the two stalwart protagonists of Code Name Verity. The stakes may be a bit lower in The Pearl Thief but there is no doubt that Julie will pursue the mystery of an unknown attacker, a mysterious body, and missing pearls with just as much zeal. Themes of recognizing your privilege, figuring out who you love, and coping with family change will resonate with young readers.” —Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Ramona Blue, by Julie Murphy
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062418357, $17.99)
“I loved everything about this book! Ramona is spectacular in her extraordinary ordinariness (and I mean that in the very best way). She is every girl, sure of herself until she isn’t and struggling to find her way while remaining true to herself. Her supporting characters are the kids we encounter every day. They are gay, straight, black, white, struggling, privileged, confident, and questioning, but they are not ‘issues.’ They are just regular kids, and their stories are spectacular. This is the perfect addition to the We Need Diverse Books canon and exactly what bookstore shelves should be filled with!” —Laura Donohoe, Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Asheville, NC

Roar, by Cora Carmack
(Tor Teen, 9780765386311, $17.99, available June)
Roar is a whirlwind of adventure! This fast-paced book is filled with action, adventure, self-discovery and more than a little magic. As Princess Aurora, aka Roar, learns to harness the power of storms and capture the magic contained at their hearts, she may just learn to trust others and her own strength. I loved the raw emotion of the story as well as the strength of the characters. This is a must-read for anyone who loves an adventure story, magic or fantasy, or books with strong female characters.” —Sally Sue Lavigne, The Storybook Shoppe, Bluffton, SC

Spill Zone, by Scott Westerfeld, Alex Puvilland (Illus.)
(First Second, 9781596439368, $22.99)
“Tough-as-nails Addison will do anything to provide for her little sister, Lexa — that includes going into the Spill Zone, aka the most dangerous place on Earth. After an unnatural disaster hits her city, killing her parents and causing her sister to become mute, Addison survives by selling pictures of the Spill Zone, despite the danger it puts her in. Spill Zone is the cool, creepy, and awesome story of how Addison breaks all her safety rules for a million dollar payoff — and of how the Spill Zone might want to keep her there forever.” —Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Thick as Thieves, by Megan Whalen Turner
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062568243, $17.99)
“I love the Queen’s Thief books and I am thrilled to go back to that world and explore the politics, intrigue, and stories in this wonderful series. This new book follows a Mede slave as he negotiates the politics of that vast empire as well as the role slaves play in running an empire. There are subtle touches of Rome and Greece, but the world is entirely unique. With Megan Whalen Turner’s deft touch for developing her characters and the world in which they move, Thick as Thieves is thrilling as both a political and an adventure novel. Expect to be swept up into the world she has created.” —Liesl Freudenstein, The Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO