The Summer 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Summer Kids Indie Next ListHere is a preview of the titles on the Summer 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 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 Fall Kids’ Indie Next List is July 16, 2018. The list will focus on titles published between August 1 and October 31, 2018. Nominations may be submitted via e-mail, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss or NetGalley.

The Summer 2018 Kids’ Indie Next Great Reads

The Top Ten

1. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
(Wednesday Books, 9781250168450, $17.99)
Sky in the Deep is the YA fantasy I’ve been waiting for — a breath of fresh air that holds the reader captive from the opening scene. Be warned, you will fall hard for Eelyn and Fiske. You will swoon, you will gasp, you will laugh, and you will cry; this book touches on all the emotions. In a brutal, bloody world, Young pulls no punches when putting the characters in intense situations that leave the reader on the edge of their seat. With lush descriptions, impactful character development, and powerful writing, this debut author will have you clamoring for more of her words.”
—Sarah Green, Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL

2. Furyborn by Claire Legrand
(Sourcebooks Fire, 9781492656623, $18.99)
Furyborn is exactly the kind of ambitious, well-written YA high fantasy that I’ve been looking for. This novel is female-focused and driven, with girls who are strong, powerful, pissed off, damaged, unabashedly sexual, and in control. The writing is so beautiful, I found myself re-reading sentences simply for the pleasure of it. It’s a story that is complex, compelling, and carefully crafted. Claire Legrand is a jewel. I can’t wait for the next installment.”
—Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

3. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9781524767570, $16.99)
“Lucy is definitely not your average 12-year-old. Though a lightning strike four years ago left her basically unharmed, it rendered her a mathematical savant with some compulsive behaviors. When Lucy is forced to attend middle school, she does not fit in and struggles to be accepted. She finds solace and friendship among a couple of her classmates and a very special dog. A charming and delightful story about overcoming obstacles and ultimately finding your place in the world.”
—Anita Isser, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

4. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781368003551, $17.99, available June)
“Higgins is back with a pitch-perfect tale of first-day jitters and unexpected empathy. Penelope, a pink-overall-clad T-rex, is exceptionally nervous about her first day of school. She’s so nervous that, after learning her classmates are all children, she eats them. Delicious! But Mrs. Noodleman is not amused. It isn’t until someone tries to make Penelope into a snack that she begins to understand just how her classmates feel. Penelope’s growing awareness of her classmates’ feelings is both adorable and relatable. Higgins’ charming illustrations and use of humor make Penelope’s story ideal for younger readers, especially as they transition into new experiences and social situations.”
—Sara Grochowski, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

5. Bob by Wendy Mass, Rebecca Stead, Nicholas Gannon (Illus.)
(Feiwel & Friends, 9781250166623, $16.99)
“This is a fun little book told in alternating points of view. On one hand, we have Livy, a 10-year-old girl visiting her gran in Australia for the first time since she was five. On the other, we have Bob, a green zombie creature dressed in a disheveled chicken suit who has waited those five years for Livy in the closet of her grandmother’s house. They rekindle their lost friendship (mysteriously forgotten by Livy) to search for Bob’s beginnings and hopefully to get him back home, wherever that is. This book is a magical and fun read.”
—Rani Birchfield, Front Street Books, Alpine, TX

6. Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan, Eric Fan
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481470377, $17.99)
“The Fan brothers have created a magical dream world that readers will want to return to over and over again. Each illustration begs the reader to pore over its details and imagine the possibilities such a world could hold. Finn’s journey to honor his grandfather is one of the best picture book journeys I’ve ever been on.”
—Erin Barker Yourstone, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

7. The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods, Anuska Allepuz (Illus.)
(Philomel Books, 9780525515210, $16.99)
“A gentle tale—with a healthy dose of magic—about friendship, hope, and looking to the future. The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker reads like a newly discovered folktale that, once found, becomes essential. Sure to delight questing readers of all ages.”
—Sam Miller, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

8. Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062418388, $17.99)
“I adored Julie Murphy’s earlier book, Dumplin’, and Puddin’ is every bit as delightful. Millie Michalchuk, the fat girl who was the runner-up in the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant in Dumplin’, is a born rule-follower who is nevertheless chafing at the restrictions being put on her by society—and by her overprotective mother. Millie has plans for her life that don’t fall within the narrow paths she’s been taught to follow. Callie, whose life revolves around the school’s dance team, seemingly has it all until a bad decision forces her out of her former life and into Millie’s orbit. Murphy gets inside her characters’ heads beautifully as she narrates the pains, pressures, and joys of high school.”
—Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, MI

9. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
(Delacorte Press, 9780399553929, $18.99, available June)
Neverworld Wake begins like a young adult version of Groundhog Day, with a group of young people experiencing the same 11 hours over and over, trapped in a purgatory. One will be allowed to live while the others will die—and they must unanimously vote on it! Mysteries and secrets from the past intertwine with the dangers of the present in this wonderfully dark fantasy novel. Pessl really delves into the psyche of young people, exposing traumas and fears that are usually well-hidden. The finale is stunning—a brilliant piece of psychological drama that is both suspenseful and, ultimately, incredibly moving. This is a book adults and young adults will love.”
—William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

10. Breakout by Kate Messner
(Bloomsbury, 9781681195360, $17.99, available June)
“The format of Breakout—a collection of notes and recordings for a time capsule—was a great way to really get to know the book’s characters. As a former English teacher, I know that this book will be beneficial for teaching voice and character development in English classes. By the end, I couldn’t put it down for anything! I loved the poetry and history that swirled throughout—thank you, Kate Messner, yet again!”
—Shelley Lowe, Monkey and Dog Books, Fort Worth, TX

Ages 4 to 8

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, Suzanne Kaufman (Illus.)
(Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780525579649, $17.99, available July)
“This is a beautiful and brave book. The inclusive, colorful, joyous illustrations help get across its very important message. It makes me proud to be a Seattleite!”
—Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

Brave Enough for Two by Jonathan D. Voss
(Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers, 9781250127488, $17.99, available June)
“At its heart, this is a story about comfort zones, trust, bravery, and, most importantly, friendship—a soul-warming story to share with those you love any time of the day. Perfect for fans of Winnie the Pooh and The Velveteen Rabbit, Brave Enough for Two is a modern classic in the making.”
—Ashlee Null, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap, Greg Pizzoli (Illus.)
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780399550560, $17.99)
“Shhhhh. Crunch the Dinosaur wants to come out and play, but he is just too shy. Whisper his name and maybe he will venture out to join you. Engaging and interactive, this cute new dinosaur tale will delight young readers over and over again.”
—Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Dad by My Side by Soosh
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316438087, $16.99)
“There is nothing quite like the love between a father and daughter, and this adorable picture book captures that perfectly. Daughters of all ages will appreciate the sentiment of this little girl’s larger-than-life father, who does everything from cooking to playing to cuddling with her. A perfect gift for Father’s Day.”
—Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, Dan Santat (Illus.)
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484767603, $17.99, available June)
“A grandson and his grandfather—unable to converse—sit in front of a television until the boy loses interest and turns to his drawings. Grandfather then brings out his sketchbook and together they begin to ‘talk’ without words but with worlds of color, action, and excitement. Once again, Santat’s (After the Fall) illustrations create a powerful book, this one about communication between the generations. Sure to be a hit with all ages and perhaps another Caldecott winner.”
—Karen Briggs, The Booknook, East Tawas, MI

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, Max Lang (Illus.)
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780553537864, $17.99)
“When Jim is in a grumpy mood for no reason, his jungle friends offer their best advice. But putting on a smile and doing the things they suggest doesn’t make him feel any better, so what’s next? I am in LOVE with this story. Everyone has their grumpy days, and you know what? A grumpy day now and then is absolutely okay.”
—Hana Boxberger, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall, Isabelle Arsenault (Illus.)
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781481469975, $17.99)
The Honeybee is a sweet, beautiful book with an interestingly layered palette and an important message for youngsters. Arsenault’s painterly style is so fresh and striking, and the text makes for a gentle read-aloud.”
—Gretchen Treu, A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI

A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano, Lane Smith (Illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626723146, $18.99)
“This is the first book of 2018 that just screams ‘Caldecott.’ The text is beautifully melancholy and the phrasing and rhythms are simply made for reading out loud. When combined with Lane Smith’s impressionistic illustrations (and the stylistic shift in the middle), this becomes one of those picture books that makes you gasp in wonder even as you’re getting misty-eyed. And its impact doesn’t lessen with re-reading; in fact, there are new details to discover every time you open its cover.”
—Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books, McMinnville, OR

How to Be a Lion by Ed Vere
(Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9780525578055, $17.99, available June)
“Take one poetic duck and one lovable lion and you have the makings of a perfectly charming, melt-your-heart read aloud. Leonard and Marianne are—against all odds and what others think—the best of friends in this instant classic that will stand the test of time. This book is a gentle yet empowering hug.”
—Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk, Sara Palacios (Illus.)
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780425291986, $16.99)
“I joke that I ‘book’ and I don’t ‘math,’ the latter of which could certainly include coding, but How to Code a Sandcastle may change my mantra. One of our store’s favorite picture book authors, Josh Funk, has written a smart, engaging, and easy-to-follow book about coding that easily explains the subject to readers of all ages. Add a fun beach setting as we head into summer and amazing illustrations by Sara Palacios, and it’s a perfect equation for success.”
—Holland Saltsman, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

I’m Sad by Michael Ian Black, Debbie Ridpath Ohi (Illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481476270, $17.99, available June)
“It’s important to let children know that life isn’t so bad and things will get better, but it’s equally important to make sure they know that it’s okay not to be happy ALL of the time. I’m Sad is a funny and surprisingly sweet examination of those days when you wake up and just aren’t at your most cheerful. Sometimes you’re just sad and that’s okay—it’s even a little nice.”
—Amy Brabenec, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
(Candlewick Press, 9780763690458, $16.99)
“A beautiful and light-hearted story for every kind of fanciful and imaginative kid! Jessica Love’s illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and perfectly portray Julián’s wish to be a magical creature. This is a delightfully simple story that explores gender expression and individuality. Careful details also help communicate Julián’s fear of revealing his identity to his abuela, an important representation of emotions that kids need to help them handle all kinds of situations.”
—Johanna Albrecht, McIntyre’s Books, Pittsboro, NC

Niblet & Ralph by Zachariah OHora
(Dial Books, 9780735227910, $17.99, available June)
“Niblet and Ralph are best friends: they talk on the phone every day (meow!) and share hobbies (napping and purring). But they have never actually met! Will they find a way? A cute parallel story of best friendship between cats and new friendship between humans. Sixties-esque pictures and a great layout make this story a joy. Purrrfect for story time!”
—Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

Something Smells! by Blake Liliane Hellman, Steven Henry (Illus.)
(Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781481488648, $17.99, available July)
Something Smells certainly does not stink! This charming picture book is a winner in every way. After young Elliot awakens to a powerful odor wafting through the house, he searches for its source. It isn’t his pets, a skunk, or even Dad. Whimsical illustrations reveal a loving family highlighted by the very appealing (and clueless) Elliot. This funny tale with its oh-so-gentle message is a joy to read aloud. Listeners will giggle knowingly. Don’t miss this!”
—Christopher Rose, The Spirit of ’76 Bookstore, Marblehead, MA

Whale in a Fishbowl by Troy Howell, Richard Jones (Illus.)
(Schwartz & Wade Books, 9781524715182, $17.99)
“I loved the spare, subdued palette of this lovely book. Wednesday the whale is in the middle of everything, but she should be in the middle of the sea. How can a whale in a tank even begin to understand the sea? This is a story about possibilities and finding one’s perfect place.”
—Lillian Welch, Island Books, Mercer Island, WA

Ages 9 to 12

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss
(Margaret Ferguson Books, 9780823440078, $16.99, available June)
“A funny, heartwarming, and infinitely imaginative story about a friendless 12-year-old girl determined to ride across the country to befriend her hero, Polish bicycling champion Zbigniew Sienkiewicz. Along the way she meets ghosts, pie-makers, and crazy inventors; gets run over in a pig stampede; and accidentally launches a missile. And that’s when she’s not being chased by the mysterious woman in black. A fun, can’t-miss summer read for everyone!”
—Chris Abouzeid, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

All Summer Long by Hope Larson
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, 9780374304850, $21.99)
“Bina can’t wait for summer; she and her best friend, Austin, have always spent summers together, trying to have the BEST SUMMER EVER. But Austin’s away at soccer camp this year and won’t return Bina’s texts, so Bina has to learn how to have fun all by herself. A sweet study of that awkward time between being a child and being a teenager, All Summer Long is a perfect antidote to long, lazy summer afternoons.”
—Rachel Roepke, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780399544682, $17.99)
“Amal is living a decent life in her Pakistani village. She loves school and plans to go to college and become a teacher. But when she offends a member of the most influential family in the village, her dreams and goals are suddenly upended and she is sold as a servant to pay her father’s ‘debts.’ Saeed takes on challenging subjects—indentured servitude and the treatment of women—and makes them accessible to a middle reader, while making the reader cheer for Amal as she finds her way again.”
—Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

The Boy From Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis
(Amberjack Publishing, 9781944995614, $15.99)
“A tale of friendship and loyalty that crosses the boundaries of time, The Boy From Tomorrow engages readers from the first page. Seances, psychics, and Ouija boards create a setting both mystical and dangerous. I loved exploring the possibilities of communicating across time with Josie and Alec and appreciated their indestructible friendship.”
—Laura DeLaney, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (Indies Introduce)
(Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781524719371, $20.99, available June)
The Cardboard Kingdom is a love letter to make-believers. The kids in Sell’s fictional neighborhood spend the summer creating elaborate costumes (including an evil sorceress, an alchemist, a banshee, and a gargoyle), weapons, and secret hideouts from cardboard boxes. Many of the kids face resistance from their parents, such as the professor whose father doesn’t understand why she wants to dress up in a mustache or the banshee whose grandmother constantly tells her that ‘nice girls don’t talk so loud,’ but each finds strength in their alter ego. The Cardboard Kingdom is a wonderfully crafted world that has something for everyone, including your inner child.”
—Kinsey Foreman, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Endling: The Last by Katherine Applegate
(HarperCollins, 9780062335524, $17.99)
“Rats, rats, I got close to the end, I realized this must be book number one in a series! Byx is such a wonderful, creatively imagined character with her knack for gliding and determining whether a speaker is lying, as is Tobble, who is fiercely loyal to Byx. This book gives us much to think about and compare to today’s world regarding how to take care of creatures, including humans, and the environment. I can’t wait to read where Byx and Tobble’s adventures will take them in the next book!”
—Nancy Gebhardt, The Twig Book Shop, San Antonio, TX

Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge, Joseph Kuefler (Illus.)
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062680341, $16.99)
“Evangeline is (hopefully) the next haunt huntress in her family’s long line and she is being trained by her grandmother in the art of fighting banshees, grims, Acadian fang worms, and more. Her familiar hasn’t shown up yet, but she’s (mostly) sure it will soon, and then she’ll be official. But when she and her grandmother are called to New Orleans for a new job, things start to get complicated...and scary. Evangeline isn’t sure she can handle this job, but she might have to, with or without her (still-absent) familiar. Exciting, a little spooky, and full of great characters.”
—Lillian Tschudi-Campbell, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

Front Desk by Kelly Yang
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 9781338157796, $16.99)
“A well-balanced book that shows one young Chinese girl’s experience of immigrating with her family to California. Funny, heart-wrenching, and innovative, this book shows the difficulties of starting over in a new country in a way that a young reader is able to understand. A great book to open our eyes to the different and sometimes unseen ways people struggle and how we can make the world a better place by being more inclusive and willing to listen to each other’s stories.”
—Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Heartseeker by Melinda Beatty (Indies Introduce)
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9781524740009, $16.99, available June)
“An excellent beginning to a story kids will become immersed in! The protagonist, Only Fallow, cannot just see when people are lying, she can’t tell a lie herself without it being incredibly painful. When news of Only’s abilities reaches the king, he commands her to work at his side to parse out traitors and corruption at court. Heartseeker’s every chapter is action-packed and the stage is set for a blockbuster second book. I cannot wait!”
—Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH

The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider, Chi Birmingham (Illus.) (Indies Introduce)
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484780541, $16.99, available June)
“Imagine being a seventh-grader whose parents own and work in a cadaver lab and who love their work and constantly talk about their favorite body parts. Imagine having to give up summer camp plans to work in this body part lab that you consider extremely gross. As if that was not bad enough for Fovea (whose name means eyeballs, by the way), imagine having disembodied thawing heads begin to talk to you! Throw in a tiger kidnapping, weird recording sessions, a random mugger, and an order for 600 legs, and you have the makings for a never-to-be-forgotten summer. Well-written and destined to be a favorite of middle readers.”
—Pat Trotter, Bookends on Main, Menomonie, WI

Nightbooks by J.A. White
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062560087, $16.99, available July)
“Unlike his ‘normal’ sports-loving brother, Alex has always loved monsters and scary stories. His favorite movie? Night of the Living Dead. His favorite hobby? Writing spooky stories. When things at school push him to make a change—to act more ‘normal’—things take a turn toward the unexpected. Because apartment 4E is not what it seems. Alex finds himself in the middle of a story, and a spooky one at that. Can he escape with the help of some new friends, or will he run out of stories first? Dark magic, fairy tales, and witches swirl together in a spellbinding new mystery from J.A. White.”
—Clarissa Murphy, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
(Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385755665, $16.99)
“Much weepy love for the last of the Penderwick books. It took mere pages to draw me back in and it should come as no surprise that Jeanne Birdsall has triumphed again. As the Penderwicks return to Arundel, the house where it all began, there are all the elements that you’d expect from a rousing Penderwick adventure, including music, dogs, new friends, and an appearance from the dreaded Mrs. Tifton. The stories about these Penderwick girls and the extended family and friends that they have gained along the way are magical, charming, funny, and real. From the very beginning, the Penderwick books have been modern and classic at the same time. I am sad to leave them but grateful for the years I have spent with them.”
—Lorna Ruby, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea by Lynne Rae Perkins
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062499660, $16.99)
“In this intermediate reader, Alix has an imagination as big as the ocean that she and her sister, Jools, are visiting with their parents for the first time. Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea is a charming and sweet look at handling new experiences, making friends, and learning all sorts of fun things along the way. With Perkins’ wonderful illustrations, this quick and breezy book is sure to keep the kids reading this summer!”
—Jill Beauchamp, Horizon Books, Traverse City, MI

Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Watson Hackl
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780399557385, $16.99, available July)
“A charming mystery with a clever and resourceful protagonist. Cricket’s adventures, driven by a longing to heal her family, are as informational as they are exciting. This book grabs readers from the start and journeys with them through ups and downs and twists and turns that leave the reader sad, hopeful, and, above all, grateful for a delightful story well told.”
—June Wilcox, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, Greenville, SC

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin (Indies Introduce)
(HarperCollins, 9780062665867, $16.99, available July)
“Della’s mama has schizophrenia. It’s been under control for years, except for a bad time when Della was younger, but lots of pressures have been building up, and her mama’s stopped taking her medicine. Della’s daddy is trying to keep things together at home in addition to keeping their family farm going in the midst of a drought. Della wants her normal mom back, and she’s trying everything she can think of to help, but it seems like she’s just making things worse. A warm and sensitive story about families living with mental illness.”
—Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee, Denver, CO

For Teens

All of This Is True: A Novel by Lygia Day Penaflor
(HarperTeen, 9780062673657, $17.99)
“A fabulously complex, confident novel about four avid fans of a YA author and the disastrous results of their relationship with her. Is everything true—or is anything true? Amazing, edgy, passionate—I loved this book and the characters and couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to share it with our avid teen readers.”
—Vicky Titcomb, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

Anger Is a Gift: A Novel by Mark Oshiro
(Tor Teen, 9781250167026, $17.99)
Anger Is a Gift is a feat worthy of all the awards and accolades it is sure to receive. Mark Oshiro has written a fully intersectional book with characters ranging across gender, sexuality, disability, and mental health and covering topics such as systemic racism, disability access, police brutality, anxiety, first love, and more. With fast-paced and compulsively readable writing, Anger Is a Gift is a much-needed addition to the literary canon. Fans of The Hate U Give, Dear Martin, and All American Boys will enjoy this novel.”
—Shauna Sinyard, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen (Indies Introduce)
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062674159, $17.99, available June)
“This book of riddles is itself a kind of sublime riddle composed of the ingredients of a true classic tale. There is doomed love, an authentic historical backdrop, fallen kingdoms and thwarted destinies, sacrifices that elevate, and an ending that, by transcending its finality, takes the reader full circle to begin the tale again with fresh eyes. Bannen takes the operatic tradition of Princess Turandot’s slave girl and infuses it with a richness of character and a convincing dramatic immediacy that rewards the reader at every turn. The Mongol Empire has never been so deftly invaded as it is in the pages of The Bird and the Blade.”
—Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
(Simon Pulse, 9781481495400, $18.99)
“This story captures that moment at the movie theater when your date touches your hand in the dark while knocking the popcorn over in the loudest way possible—it’s cute and exciting, but also slightly embarrassing. Sandhya has crafted another excellent teen romance about a shy and ambitious young woman trying to show the world her passion and talent. A fantastic summer read!”
—Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain: A Novel by Will Walton
(Push, 9780545709569, $17.99)
“Avery has a lot to deal with—recuperating from a serious injury, coming to terms with his family history of alcoholism, navigating his changing relationship with his best friend, and coping with the death of his beloved grandfather. In Walton’s capable hands and original voice, Avery’s difficult summer is full of tenderness, wit, and the transcendent beauty of both poetry and pop music. I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain is a book for anyone who has ever been moved by a poem or a song, anyone who is or has been an adolescent, and anyone who has or will ever experience loss and grief—which is to say, here is a book for all of us.”
—Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Legendary: A Caraval Novel by Stephanie Garber
(Flatiron Books, 9781250095312, $18.99)
“Stephanie Garber delighted readers last year with her debut, Caraval, and her second story is just as beautiful and engrossing. In Legendary, we see Caraval through the eyes of the less trusting, more jaded Donatella. Starting out with Tell’s backstory, the reader begins to unwind the lies that surround her and, in doing so, the lies that permeate their world. Dark and dangerous, Legendary brings the reader back to a decadent world where the only thing you know for certain is that you don’t know anything.”
—Jessica Cox, Plot Twist Bookstore, Ankeny, IA

Monday’s Not Coming: A Novel by Tiffany D. Jackson
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062422675, $17.99)
Monday’s Not Coming is a heartbreaking story of a missing teenager, a community that seems not to notice, and a best friend who will go to whatever lengths it takes to find her missing friend. Tiffany D. Jackson weaves together multiple timelines, increasing the tension and emotion until you reach an ending that will haunt you long after you finish the book. This is a difficult but important and timely story. Highly recommended for teen and adult readers.”
—Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
(HarperTeen, 9780062652775, $17.99, available June)
“A stunningly imagined version of pre-Victorian England, complete with charming ghosts, combines with timeless, laugh-out-loud humor in this retelling of Jane Eyre. This book is a breath of fresh air in the teen genre, with strong heroines, an irresistible yet complex plot, a light smattering of romance, and a gleeful—yet tasteful—abandonment of the fourth wall. I would recommend this book to anyone who is tired of predictable plot twists, cliffhangers, and endings and is looking for a rollicking adventure through a quasi-historically accurate rendition of Jane Eyre’s England (with ghosts added, of course).”
—Annika Pfister, Petunia’s Place Bookstore, Fresno, CA

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (Indies Introduce)
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062438775, $17.99, available July)
“This book floored me. I was expecting to like it, but I fell hard and fast for Sarah Henning’s original take on the sea witch story. Evie is already an outcast in her hometown—she is the daughter of a fisherman and she uses magic, which is forbidden, to help him. When a young girl arrives who looks eerily similar to her dead best friend, Anna, Evie will do whatever it takes to make sure that she can stay on matter the cost. Magic, love, and loss permeate this stunning novel, which I will be highly recommending!”
—Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780425290217, $18.99)
The Smoke Thieves is a brilliant opening salvo in a new trilogy. Featuring five very different characters whose stories weave together in unexpected ways, this book is a rapid-fire read full of pulse-pounding action. The world-building feels effortless as Sally Green creates a land filled with brutal kings, demons, and political machinations. I was not ready to leave this world at the end of the first book and will be waiting very impatiently for the sequel!”
—Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh, Elsie Chapman (Eds.)
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062671158, $17.99, available June)
“With A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman have edited a wonderful collection of short stories by some of the most prominent YA authors, exploring themes of East and South Asian folklore and mythology. Featuring 15 stories that cover every genre from contemporary to fantasy, readers will be delighted by the breadth and imagination of authors such as Preeti Chhibber, Melissa de la Cruz, and Cindy Pon.”
—Angela Spring, Duende District, Washington, DC

Undead Girl Gang: A Novel by Lily Anderson
(Razorbill, 9780451478238, $17.99)
“Brilliant, bold, and badass: This describes the Undead Girl Gang and its one-of-a-kind protagonist, Camila Flores, a curvy Mexican Wiccan out to avenge her best friend’s murder. After bringing BFF Riley back to life to catch the killer, Mila is shocked to realize she also brought back the two most popular girls in school, recently dead as the result of a suicide pact. Frenemies and besties alike team up in this epic girl-power punch.”
—Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS