On a Theme: DC Comics YA Novels

ON A THEME - redesign

With DC Comics, I really wish they had more prose novels in their arsenal.   There is definitely potential with all of their characters, those that are well-known and those that are still unfamiliar.  They have a bunch of graphic novels lined up for the 2020-2021 period but new novels are a bit lacking.

I cannot express how much I would love a YA novel about a group of girls that join forces and call themselves the batgirls (i.e. Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Barbara Gordon, and Tiffany Fox).  OR a middle-grade novel about Arthur Curry (i.e. Aquaman) growing up in the human world with his Dad and discovering who he is.

For now, though, we have a few to keep us occupied and reading about our favorite heroes.


Young Adult Titles #2


29749085. sy475

Title:  Wonder Woman: Warbinger
Written by:  Leigh Bardugo

What It’s About:  Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world.

Alia is a Warbringer. As a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, she is fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Now Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.


29749090

Title:  Batman:  Nightwalker
Written by:  Marie Lu

What It’s About:  Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list. Bruce is turning eighteen and inheriting his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Industries and all the tech gadgetry that he could ever desire. But on the way home from his birthday party, he makes an impulsive choice that leads to community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison. There, he meets Madeleine Wallace, a brilliant killer with ties to the Nightwalkers. A girl who will only speak to Bruce. She is the mystery he must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?

Bruce Wayne is proof that you don’t need superpowers to be a superhero, but can he survive Madeleine’s game of tense intrigue and deception?


29749098

Title:  Catwoman:  Soulstealer
Written by:  Sarah J. Maas

What It’s About:  Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, the city looks ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever—she may be Batwing’s undoing.

In this third DC Icons book, Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that’s closest to her heart?


29749094. sx318

Title:  Superman: Dawnbreaker
Written by: Matt De La Peña

What It’s About: When the dawn breaks, a hero rises.

Clark Kent has always been faster, stronger, better than everyone around him. He knows drawing attention to himself could be dangerous, but lately it’s difficult to stay in the shadows. And he’s not the only one with something to hide. When Clark follows the sound of a girl crying, he comes across Gloria Alvarez and learns that people have been disappearing. With his best friend, Lana Lang, at his side, Clark is determined to discover what evil lies below the surface of their town. Before he can save the world, the future Man of Steel must save Smallville.


23110163

Title:  Lois Lane: Fallout
Written by: Gwenda Bond

What It’s About:  Lois Lane is new to Metropolis, and this time, the teenager is determined to fit in. But almost as soon as she walks into her new high school, it becomes clear that it won’t be easy. Kids known as the Warheads are making another girl insane, and Lois, with her snazzy new job at the Daily Planet, might be the only person who can stop them . . .


27818091. sy475

Title:  Lois Lane: Double Down
Written by: Gwenda Bond

What It’s About:  Lois Lane has settled in to her new school. She has friends, for maybe the first time in her life. She has a job that challenges her. And her friendship is growing with SmallvilleGuy, her online maybe-more-than-a-friend. But when her friend Maddy’s twin collapses in a part of town she never should’ve been in, Lois finds herself embroiled in a dangerous mystery that brings her closer to the dirty underbelly of Metropolis.


31632115. sx318

Title:  Lois Lane: Triple Threat
Written by: Gwenda Bond

What It’s About: For the first time, Lois Lane has almost everything she wants. Non-temporary home? Check. Dream job? Double check. Incredible BFFs? The absolute best. And now, her online crush, SmallvilleGuy, is coming to Metropolis. If all goes well, they’ll turn their long-distance friendship into a some-kind-of-fairy-tale romance. But when does all ever go well? Before she can check “boyfriend” off her list, Lois must take down a mad scientist plus a trio of mutant teens, protect the elusive flying man from the feds (including her dad), and navigate her very first date with SmallvilleGuy.


Coming Soon...2


52239859. sy475

Title: Black Canary: Breaking Silence
Written by:  Alexandra Monir

What It’s About:  Dinah Lance was seven years old when she overheard the impossible: the sound of a girl singing. It was something she was never meant to hear—not in her lifetime, and not in Gotham City, taken over by the Court of Owls. The sinister organization rules Gotham as a patriarchal dictatorship, all the while spreading their influence like a virus across the globe.

Now seventeen, Dinah can’t forget that haunting sound, and she’s beginning to discover that her own voice is just as powerful. But singing is forbidden—a one-way stop to a certain death sentence. Can she balance her father’s desire to keep her safe, a blossoming romance with mysterious new student Oliver Queen, and her own desire to help other women and girls rise up and finally be heard? And will her voice be powerful enough to destroy the Court of Owls once and for all?

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on December 29, 2020.


Middle Grade Titles


27245995

Title:  Wonder Woman at Super Hero High
Written by:  Lisa Yee

What It’s About:  Wonder Woman isn’t like most high school students—but Super Hero High isn’t like most high schools!

Wonder Woman is an Amazon Warrior and Princess. She has never left her home on Paradise Island. But she wants to be a super hero—the very best super hero she can be. In order to train at the most elite school in the galaxy, she has to juggle acing her classes, forging new friendships, trying to make the team for the Super Hero Super Triathlon, and her insane suite-mate sharing her every embarrassing moment on social media. Not to mention . . . Wonder Woman has never seen a boy before. High school is going to be harder than she thought.


27405470

Title:  Supergirl at Super Hero High
Written by:  Lisa Yee

What It’s About: Supergirl is the new girl in school—and she just also happens to be the most powerful teenager in the galaxy!

After losing her home planet of Krypton and everyone she knows, Supergirl has made a new home on Earth, but she’s isn’t so sure that Super Hero High School is the right place for her. Wonder Woman, other new friends, and a kindly librarian make her feel welcome, but breached inter-dimensional portals, invading alien armies, and bad dreams shake her confidence. It’s not easy being a super hero and a high school student all at once!


30213121. sy475

Title:  Batgirl at Super Hero High
Written by:  Lisa Yee

What It’s About:  Batgirl has always hidden in the shadows—but does she have what it takes to stand in the spotlight at Super Hero High?

Barbara Gordon has always been an off-the-charts, just-forget-about-the-test super-genius and tech whiz, and then she gets the offer of a lifetime when Supergirl recognizes that Barbara’s talents make her an ideal candidate for Super Hero High. Donning the cape and cowl, Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl, ready to train at the most elite school on the planet, next to some of the most powerful teenagers in the galaxy. She’s always had the heart of a hero . . . but now she’ll have to prove that she can be one. Good thing she loves a challenge!


32673425

Title:  Katana at Super Hero High
Written by:  Lisa Yee

What It’s About:  Sword-wielding Katana isn’t like most high school students—but with classmates like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl, Super Hero High isn’t like most high schools!

In addition to training to be a super hero, Katana also follows the noble warrior traditions of the Samurai. Now a mysterious presence has given her the responsibility of guarding a hundred ancient Samurai swords—but why her, and for what purpose? With the help of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Ms. Martian, and some of her other super friends, she intends to find out. But she just made captain of the fencing team, she has a huge school project due, and a villain with ties to her family’s past seems to be amassing an army. Maintaining her inner peace isn’t going to be easy . . .

. . . but Katana has the steel to save the day!


35758095

Title:  Harley Quinn at Super Hero High
Written by:  Lisa Yee

What It’s About:  Funny girl Harley Quinn loves fighting crime with her classmates like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl, but she always does it her with own madcap style–and a big mallet! It’s no surprise that Harley can’t resist getting involved in a dance competition and organizing an outrageous battle of the bands. But when a high-tech carnival comes to town, Harley knows that things aren’t what they seem and that only she can get to the bottom of the mystery–and deliver a great punch line while doing it!


36840414

Title: Bumblebee at Super Hero High
Written by:  Lisa Yee

What It’s About:  When the world’s honey supply starts to drop and some of her old tech disappears, super student Bumblebee enlists her friends Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, and Beast Boy to help her find out why. Is it a new villain, or someone from the past? With so much going on at Super Hero High, Bumblebee isn’t sure how she’s going to keep an eye on everything, but she’s determined to do it with style . . . and sting!


Coming Soon...2


49814641

Title: Diana and the Island of No Return
Written by:  Aisha Saeed

What It’s About: Warrior. Princess. Hero. Diana”s destiny is to be the world”s greatest female super hero… if she can survive this action-packed adventure!

Young Princess Diana is fierce and whip-smart, and she loves her island home of Themyscira. Her deepest wish is to be able to train with the rest of the Amazons and protect her homeland–but she”s told it”s out of the question. This is the year Diana hopes to persuade her mother, Queen Hippolyta, to let her learn how to fight when the world”s most powerful women gather on Themyscira for a festival to celebrate their different cultures.

But at the start of the festivities, an unexpected and forbidden visitor–a boy!–brings news of an untold danger that threatens Themyscira and all of its sacred neighboring lands. It”s up to Diana and her best friend, Princess Sakina, to save them, even if it means tangling with a cunning demon who reveals that a terrifying force is out to capture Diana against her will.

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on July 14, 2020

On a Theme: Season of the YA Witches

ON A THEME - redesign

This is the 3rd and final part of my witchy On a Theme post series and I am sad it is coming to an end.  It’s been really fun to take a closer look at some YA books and stretch the witch theme to include some fantasy titles with magic users.

I also included some witch-filled titles set to come out later this year so there is more to look forward to!


32968540

Title:  Akata Witch (Akata Witch #1)
Written by: Nnedi Okorafor

What It’s About:  Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied.

But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?


28818313

Title:  Iron Cast
Written by: Destiny Soria

What It’s About:  It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle.

By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, she realizes how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.


27969081

Title:  Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1)
Written by: Zoraida Cordova

What It’s About:  The only way to get her family back is to travel to a land in between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation. . . and she hates magic.

At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she’s not sure she can trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.


36484081. sy475

Title:  These Witches Don’t Burn (These Witches Don’t Burn, #1)
Written by:  Isabel Sterling

What It’s About: Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

Isabel Sterling’s delightful, suspenseful debut is equal parts sweet romance and thrilling mystery. With everything she loves on the line, Hannah must confront this murderous villain before her coven–and any chance she has with the new girl–is destroyed.


35053372. sy475

Title:  The Lost Coast
Written by:  Amy Rose Capetta

What It’s About: Danny didn’t know what she was looking for when she and her mother spread out a map of the United States and Danny put her finger down on Tempest, California. What she finds are the Grays: a group of friends who throw around terms like queer and witch-like they’re ordinary and everyday, though they feel like an earthquake to Danny.

But Danny didn’t just find the Grays. They cast a spell that calls her halfway across the country, because she has something they need: she can bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays, missing since the summer night she wandered into the woods alone. But before Danny can find Imogen, she finds a dead boy with a redwood branch through his heart. Something is very wrong amid the trees and fog of the Lost Coast, and whatever it is, it can kill. Lush, eerie, and imaginative, Amy Rose Capetta’s tale overflows with the perils and power of discovery — and what it means to find your home, yourself, and your way forward.


6304335

Title:  Beautiful Creatures (Beautiful Creatures #1)
Written by: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

What It’s About:  Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


37819386. sy475

Title:  How to Hang a Witch
Written by:  Adriana Mather

What It’s About:  Salem, Massachusetts, is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials—and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves the Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.


30095464

Title: Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1)
Written by: Rin Chupeco

What It’s About:  A story of scorned witches, sinister curses, and resurrection, The Bone Witch is the start of a dark fantasy trilogy, perfect for readers of Serpent & Dove and The Cruel Prince.
Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price. . .

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles. . . and make a powerful choice.


25740412. sy475

Title:  The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1)
Written by:  Laurie Forest

What It’s About:  Elloren Gardner is the spitting image of her grandmother, who drove back the enemy forces in the last Realm War. But while her people believe she will follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and become the next Black Witch of prophecy, Elloren is devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at Verpax University. But she soon realizes that the university may be the most treacherous place of all for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, Elloren’s best hope of survival may be among a secret band of rebels. If only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to fear.


38856385

Title:  The Babysitter’s Coven (The Babysitters Coven #1)
Written by:  Kate M. Williams

What It’s About:  Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately, Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria cooking. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitter’s club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.


5287473

Title:  Hex Hall  (Hex Hall #1)
Written by:  Rachel Hawkins

What It’s About:  Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she is a witch. Her non-gifted mother has been supportive, consulting Sophie’s estranged father-a warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who exiles her to “Hex Hall”, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fairies, and shape-shifters.

By the end of her first day, Sophie has three new enemies, a futile crush on a warlock, a tagalong ghost, and a vampire roommate. Worse, Sophie soon learns that an unknown predator has been attacking students. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.


13597755

Title:  Hexed  (The Witch Hunter #1)
Written by: Michelle Krys

What It’s About:  Indie Blackwood is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend. On the surface, her life looks perfect. But when a guy dies right before her eyes and an ancient family Bible is stolen, Indie’s world spirals into darkness. Turns out, Indie has a destiny. And it involves much more than pom-poms and parties.

If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, the hot warlock who has an uncanny knowledge of everything that matters, she’s a witch too.
Indie is about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.


40024139

Title:  Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1)
Written by:  Shelby Mahurin

What It’s About: Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.

Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.


36502054

Title:  Sea Witch (Sea Witch #1)
Written by: Sarah Henning

What It’s About:  Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Hiding her talents, mourning her loss, drowning in her guilt.

Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears on the shore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Suddenly Evie feels like she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But magic isn’t kind, and her new friend harbors secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad—or on two legs—without Evie’s help. And when Evie reaches deep into the power of her magic to save her friend’s humanity—and her prince’s heart—she discovers, too late, what she’s bargained away.


35879387. sy475

Title:  The Price Guide to the Occult
Written by:  Leslye Walton

What It’s About:  When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life.

She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.


15728807

Title:  House of Ivy and Sorrow
Written by:  Natalie Whipple

What It’s About:  Jo Hemlock is not your typical witch. Outside the walls of her grandmother’s ivy-covered house, she’s kept her magical life completely separate from her life in high school. But when the Curse that killed her mother resurfaces, it threatens to destroy not only her life but her grandmother’s too—and keeping her secret may no longer be an option.


13590839

Title:  Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)
Written by:  Jessica Spotswood

What It’s About:  Everybody thinks Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship–or an early grave.

Then Cate finds her mother’s diary and uncovers a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. But if what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe–not even from each other.


37825495. sy475

Title:  Witch Born
Written by: Nicholas Bowling

What It’s About: Two queens, two religions, two visions for the future of the nation.

Alyce’s mother has just been burnt at the stake for practicing witchcraft. With only a thin set of instructions and a witch’s mommet for guidance, Alyce must face the world that she’s been sealed off from — a world of fear and superstition. With a witch hunter fast on her trail, she’ll need the help of an innkeeper and a boy looking to discover the truth behind his own mother’s past.

But as her journey continues, another war rages: a hidden war of the supernatural, of the living and the dead. Good and evil are blurred, and nobody’s motives can be trusted. And Alyce finds herself thrown unwillingly into the conflict. Struggling to understand her own powers, she is quickly drawn into a web of secret, lies, and dark magic that could change the fate of the world she is just coming to know.


13547454

Title:  Witch World
Written by:  Christopher Pike

What It’s About: Heading off for a weekend in Las Vegas with her friends, Jessie Ralle has only one worry—how to make it through the road trip in the same car with her Ex, Jimmy Kelter. The guy who broke her heart five months ago when he dumped her for no reason. The guy who’s finally ready to tell her why he did it, because he wants her back.

But what Jessie doesn’t realize is that Jimmy is the least of her problems.

In Las Vegas she meets Russ, a mesmerizing stranger who shows her how to gamble, and who never seems to lose. Curious, Jessie wants to know his secret, and in response, alone in his hotel room, he teaches her a game that opens a door to another reality.

To Witch World.

Suddenly Jessie discovers that she’s stumbled into a world where some people can do the impossible, and others may not even be human. For a time she fears she’s lost her mind. Are there really witches? Is she one of them?


42773037. sy475

Title:  Witches of Ash & Ruin
Written by:  E. Latimer

What It’s About:  Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.


45701797

Title:  When We Were Magic
Written by:  Sarah Gailey

What It’s About:  Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.


44638436

Title:  The Near Witch
Written by:  V.E. Schwab

What It’s About:  The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.


Season Of The Witch (the Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, Book 1) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title:  Season of the Witch
Written by:  Sarah Rees Brennan

What It’s About:  It’s the summer before her sixteenth birthday, and Sabrina Spellman knows her world is about to change. She’s always studied magic and spells with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda. But she’s also lived a normal mortal life — attending Baxter High, hanging out with her friends Susie and Roz, and going to the movies with her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle.

Now time is running out on her everyday, normal world, and leaving behind Roz and Susie and Harvey is a lot harder than she thought it would be. Especially because Sabrina isn’t sure how Harvey feels about her. Her cousin Ambrose suggests performing a spell to discover Harvey’s true feelings. But when a mysterious wood spirit interferes, the spell backfires… in a big way.  Sabrina has always been attracted to the power of being a witch. But now she can’t help wondering if that power is leading her down the wrong path. Will she choose to forsake the path of light and follow the path of night?  This exclusive prequel novel will reveal a side of Sabrina not seen on the new Netflix show. What choice will Sabrina make… and will it be the right one?

Daughter Of Chaos (chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, Novel 2) by Sarah Rees BrennanTitle:  Daughter of Chaos
Written by:  Sarah Rees Brennan

What It’s About:  Sabrina Spellman has just made the hardest decision of her life: She’s leaving behind her beloved friends at Baxter High. Now it’s time to follow the path of night and find her way among the witches and warlocks at the Academy of Unseen Arts.

Sabrina has always been good at the school thing, but now she has a whole new world to navigate. Her power is growing daily, but it comes with a high price. She must always remember her new allegiances and the cost they have on her friends… and on herself.

And then there’s her new classmates. Prudence, Dorcas, and Agatha are friends, kind of, but can Sabrina trust them? And what about Nick Scratch? He’s as charming as ever, but will his feelings for Sabrina last?

Path Of Night (chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, Novel 3) (media Tie-in) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title:  Path of Night
Written by:  Sarah Rees Brennan

What It’s About:  Half-witch, half-mortal 16-year-old Sabrina Spellman has made her choice: She’s embraced her witchy roots, and her power is growing daily. But will it come at too high a price?

It’s not easy being half-mortal, half-witch. At least, not for Sabrina Spellman. She just discovered that her dad is Satan… and that it’s her destiny to rule Hell.

As usual, Sabrina’s got other plans for her future. She’s figured out a way to trap her father… but he’s caged in the body of her boyfriend, Nick Scratch. Now the love of her life is stuck in Hell… with Satan stuck inside him.  Sabrina knows there’s a way to get Nick back while also keeping dear old dad out of commission. She just has to figure out what it is. Unfortunately, her loyal cousin Ambrose is unavailable because he’s off hunting Father Blackwood, the evil former head of the Church of Night.  Fortunately, Sabrina’s still got her mortal friends, Roz, Harvey, and Theo. So when her aunt Zelda, now the church’s high priestess, mentions an ancient quest that might help open the gates of Hell, Sabrina and her friends are all in. But Zelda failed to mention that the quest has some perils of its own…


28818369

Title:  The Graces (The Graces #1)
Written by:  Laure Eve

What It’s About:  Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are attractive, rich, and glamorous, and they’ve cast a spell over their high school—and their entire town. They’re also rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be one of them.

This is especially true for River: the new girl at school. River’s different from the rest of the horde that both revere and fear the Grace family. She’s dark, aloof, and just maybe . . . magical. And she wants to be a Grace more than anything. But what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in their town is no accident. The first rule of witchcraft is that if you want something bad enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.


32824058. sx318

Title:  Strange Grace
Written by:  Tessa Gratton

What It’s About:  Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all? Find out in this lush, atmospheric fantasy novel that entwines love, lies, and sacrifice.

Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.

Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out.


35297394. sx318

Title: The Wicked Deep
Written by:  Shea Ernshaw

What It’s About:  Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.


28220826. sy475

Title:  When the Moon was Ours
Written by: Anna-Marie McLemore

What It’s About:  To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.


35230420

Title:  Summer of Salt
Written by:  Katrina Leno

What It’s About:  Georgina Fernweh waits impatiently for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has touched every woman in her family. But with her eighteenth birthday looming at the end of this summer, Georgina fears her gift will never come.

Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, falling in love, and the mystery behind one rare three-hundred-year-old bird—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.


The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

Title:  The Fascinators
Written by:   Andrew Eliopulos

What It’s About:  Living in a small town where magic is frowned upon, Sam needs his friends James and Delia-and their time together in their school’s magic club-to see him through to graduation.

But as soon as senior year starts, little cracks in their group begin to show. Sam may or may not be in love with James. Delia is growing more frustrated with their amateur magic club. And James reveals that he got mixed up with some sketchy magickers over the summer, putting a target on all their backs.

With so many fault lines threatening to derail his hopes for the year, Sam is forced to face the fact that the very love of magic that brought his group together is now tearing them apart-and there are some problems that no amount of magic can fix.


33958230

Title:  Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1)
Written by:  Julie C. Dao

What It’s About:  Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her.

Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.


Kingdom Of Souls by Rena Barron

Title:  Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls #1)
Written by:  Rena Barron

What It’s About:  Heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. Yet she fails at bone magic, fails to call upon her ancestors, and fails to live up to her family’s legacy. Under the disapproving eye of her mother, the Kingdom’s most powerful priestess and seer, she fears she may never be good enough.

But when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate enough to turn to a forbidden, dangerous ritual. If she has no magic of her own, she’ll have to buy it-by trading away years of her own life.

Arrah’s borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal, and on its heels, a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves. She must race to unravel a twisted and deadly scheme. before the fight costs more than she can afford.


Bone Crier's Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Title:  Bone Crier’s Moon  (Bone Grace #1)
Written by:  Kathryn Purdie

What It’s About: Bone Criers are the last descendants of an ancient famille charged with using the magic they draw from animal bones to shepherd the dead into the afterlife—lest they drain the light from the living.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become their matriarch, but first she must complete her rite of passage: to kill the boy she’s destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Now his vengeance must wait, as Ailesse’s ritual has begun and their fates are entwined—in life and in death.


43261156

Title:  Ink in the Blood
Written by:  Kim Smejkal

What It’s About: Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all-Profeta itself.


Coming Soon...2


48717624

Title:  B*Witch
Written by:  Paige Mckenzie & Nancy Ohlin

What It’s About:  When the new girl in school joins a group of teen witches, she and her friends must team up with a rival coven to take down a mysterious killer.

New girl and secret witchl Iris just wants to get through her first day of school without a panic attack. The last thing she expects is to be taken in by a coven of three witches-soft-spoken Greta, thoughtful and musical Ridley, and fiery and spirited Binx. They may be the first witches Iris has met IRL, but their coven is not alone in their small northwestern town.

The Triad is the other coven at their school. When the Triad’s not using spells to punish their exes or break up happy couples for fun, they practice dark magic. The two covens have a rivalry stretching all the way back to junior high.

When tragedy strikes and one of their own is murdered, the rival covens must band together to find out who is responsible before it’s too late. Someone’s anti-witch ideology has turned deadly . . . and one of them is next.

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on July 7, 2020.


49789629

Title:  The Year of the Witching
Written by:  Alexis Henderson

What It’s About:   In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on July 21, 2020.


48675479

Title:  A Wicked Magic
Written by:  Sasha Laurens

What It’s About:  Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless.

During a spell gone wrong, Liss’s boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss’s friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured?

Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss’s orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she’s hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with.

When another teenager disappears, the girls know it’s no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen?

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on July 28, 2020.


52339313. sx318 sy475

Title:  Cemetery Boys
Written by:  Aiden Thomas

What It’s About: Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on September 1, 2020.


53038638. sx318 sy475

Title:  Wayward Witch (Brooklyn Brujas #3)
Written by: Zoraida Cordova

What It’s About: Rose Mortiz has always been a fixer, but lately she’s been feeling lost. She has brand new powers that she doesn’t understand, and her family is still trying to figure out how to function in the wake of her amnesiac father’s return home. Then, on the night of her Death Day party, Rose discovers her father’s memory loss has been a lie.

As she rushes to his side, the two are ambushed and pulled through a portal to the land of Adas, a fairy realm hidden in the Caribbean Sea. There Rose is forced to work with a group of others to save Adas. Soon, she begins to discover the scope of her powers, the troubling truth about her father’s past, and the sacrifices he made to save her sisters. But if Rose wants to return home so that she can repair her broken family, she must figure out how to heal Adas first.

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on September 1, 2020.


50892338

Title: Legendborn
Written by: Tracy Deonn

What It’s About: After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on September 15, 2020.


50622362

Title:  Among the Beasts and Briars
Written by:  Ashley Poston

What It’s About:  Cerys is safe in the Kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden.

Cerys knows this all too well: When she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything.

As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions a small and irritating fox from the royal garden and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home.

But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on October 20, 2020.


52735921. sx318 sy475

Title:  Kingdom of the Wicked
Written by: Kerri Maniscalco

What It’s About: Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is at is seems…

Note: This title is scheduled to be released on October 27, 2020.


51813582. sy475

Title:  Witches Steeped in Gold
Written by:  Ciannon Smart

What It’s About:  A Caribbean-inspired fantasy, the novel follows two witches from enemy castes—one seeking power, and one seeking revenge—who will stop at nothing to overthrow the Witch Queen, even if it means forming an alliance with each other and unleashing chaos on their island nation.

Note: This title is scheduled to be released in April 20, 2021.


52305778

Title: Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic #1)
Written by: Liselle Sambury

What It’s About: After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.

Note: This title is scheduled to be released in June 15, 2021.

Currently Reading: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Title_ Stalking Jack the Ripper

What It’s About:

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege, stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life. Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine.

When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.


Currently Reading...Reboot


I am 100 pages in and so far?  It is an okay book.  I’m not overwhelmed with love for it.

I like the setting of this novel (i.e. Victorian-era London) and the main character of a young and budding female forensic pathologist.  Her dressing up as a boy to blend into a room full of boys in order to attend her Uncle’s lecture is pretty brave but also speaks to her privileged status in her society as well.

I also think that while Jack the Ripper is interesting because he is one of the ultimate unsolved mysteries, he is also such a horrific figure that was never brought to justice.

Another thing!  I may already know the identity of the murderer.  I won’t say it now because if I am right, then it would be a major spoiler.  However, my spidey-sense is tingling!

I will read another chapter before bed.

Blast from the Past: Paperbacks

blast-from-the-past-redesign

While these two books were published in 2017 and 2018, their subject matter is about taking a look at the history of books from specific time periods and reading audiences.

It is important to reflect back on those trends in literature and make connections for what gave rise to them, what influenced them, and what readers got out of them.  It is also interesting to bring them forward in time with our current selves and society.

I mean…at the age of 14, I thought the best book I had ever read was a paranormal mystery teen romance featuring a recently resurrected Egyptian mummy prince.  I still own that book, by the way, and may speak of it again one day.


33670466. sx318

Title:  Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction
Written by:  Grady Hendrix

What It’s About:  Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of two iconic decades . . . if you dare. Page through dozens and dozens of amazing book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, and knife-wielding killer crabs! Read shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate!

Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby. Complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles, this unforgettable volume dishes on familiar authors like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, plus many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Also included are recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried.


40093255

Title:  Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of ’80s and ’90s Teen Fiction
Written by:  Gabrielle Moss

What It’s About:  For fans of vintage YA, a humorous and in-depth history of beloved teen literature from the 1980s and 1990s, full of trivia and pop culture fun.

Those pink covers. That flimsy paper. The nonstop series installments that hooked readers throughout their entire adolescence. These were not the serious-issue novels of the 1970s, nor the blockbuster YA trilogies that arrived in the 2000s. Nestled in between were the girl-centric teen books of the ’80s and ’90s—short, cheap, and utterly adored.

In Paperback Crush, author Gabrielle Moss explores the history of this genre with affection and humor, highlighting the best-known series along with their many diverse knockoffs. From friendship clubs and school newspapers to pesky siblings and glamorous beauty queens, these stories feature girl protagonists in all their glory. Journey back to your younger days, a time of girl power nourished by sustained silent reading. Let Paperback Crush lead you on a visual tour of nostalgia-inducing book covers from the library stacks of the past.


Written by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan.
Directed & animated by Andrew Matthews.
Produced by Amanda Fox

This video may be from 2018 but it is really good at highlighting the trends in YA as well as some of its history and statistics.  It is worth a watch.

Warning though? J.K. Rowling’s face pops up and considering recent events, it might upset some viewers.  I know that when her face popped up on the screen my eyes rolled so hard that they fell out of my face and into the sea.


My Thoughts graphic

I wish there were more books like these, which examine but also celebrate stories, while also discussing them in a way that is for every reader audience.

I also really want a full book (not a few mentions in several chapters of an academic book) that examines YA and Middle-Grade fiction written by black and other authors of colour.  I think that would be a fascinating history to explore on its own and one that is sorely needed.

There is a gap here so let’s fill it.

On a Theme: Witches in Middle-Grade Fiction

ON A THEME - redesign

Part 2 of this witchy theme will focus on Middle Grade novels.

I know Harry Potter usually dominates our thoughts and memories when it comes to magical stories, but I wanted to take the time and shift that focus to other stories.

There are so many books to discover so I hope you or a young reader you know will find something magical in this list to read.


Cover image of The worst witch

Title:  The Worst Witch (Book One)
Written by: Jill Murphy

What It’s About:  Mildred Hubble is a trainee witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy, and she’s making an awful mess of it. She’s always getting her spells wrong and she can’t even ride a broomstick without crashing it.

Will she ever make a real witch?


29093476. sy475

Title:  The Apprentice Witch  (Book One)
Written by: James Nichol

What It’s About: Arianwyn has flunked her witch’s assessment: She’s doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch — much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.  But remote Lull is not as boring as it seems. Strange things are sighted in the woods, a dangerous infestation of hex creeps throughout the town, and a mysterious magical visitor arrives with his eye on her. With every spirit banished, creature helped, and spell cast, Arianwyn starts to get the hang of being a witch — even if she’s only an apprentice. But the worst still lies ahead. For a sinister darkness has begun to haunt her spells, and there may be much more at stake than just her pride… for Arianwyn and the entire land.


30653902. sy475

Title:  Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded
Written by: Sage Blackwood

What It’s About:  Chantel would much rather focus on her magic than on curtsying, which is why she often finds herself in trouble at Miss Ellicott’s School for Magical Maidens. But when Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, Chantel’s behavior becomes the least of her problems.

Without any magic protecting the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom. On a dangerous mission, Chantel will discover a crossbow-wielding boy, a dragon, and a new, fiery magic that burns inside her—but can she find the sorceresses and transform Lightning Pass into the city it was meant to be?


28110852. sy475

Title:  The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Written by:  Kelly Barnhill

What It’s About:  Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.


53029302. sx318 sy475

Title:  Kiki’s Delivery Service
Written by:  Eiko Kadono

What It’s About:  Half-witch Kiki never runs from a challenge. So when her thirteenth birthday arrives, she’s eager to follow a witch’s tradition: choose a new town to call home for one year.

Brimming with confidence, Kiki flies to the seaside village of Koriko and expects that her powers will easily bring happiness to the townspeople. But gaining the trust of the locals is trickier than she expected. With her faithful, wise-cracking black cat, Jiji, by her side, Kiki forges new friendships and builds her inner strength, ultimately realizing that magic can be found in even the most ordinary places.

Blending fantasy with the charm of everyday life, this enchanting new translation will inspire both new readers and dedicated fans.


Title: Starfell: Willow Moss & the Lost Day
Written by:  Dominque Valente

What It’s About:  Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, has a magical ability for finding lost things – like keys, or socks, or wooden teeth. Her magic might be useful, but it’s not exactly exciting . . . Until, that is, the most powerful witch in the whole of Starfell turns up at her door needing Willow’s help.

A whole day – last Tuesday to be precise – has gone missing. And the repercussions could be devastating. Can Willow find the day to save the day?


43803346

Title: The Mystwick School of Musicraft
Written by: Jessica Khoury

What It’s About:  Amelia Jones always dreamed of attending the Mystwick School of Musicraft, where the world’s most promising musicians learn to create magic. So when Amelia botches her audition, she thinks her dream has met an abrupt and humiliating end—until the school agrees to give her a trial period. Amelia is determined to prove herself, vowing to do whatever it takes to become the perfect musician. Even if it means pretending to be someone she isn’t. Meanwhile, a mysterious storm is brewing that no one, not even the maestros at Mystwick, is prepared to contain. Can Amelia find the courage to be true to herself in time to save her beloved school from certain destruction?


13546433Title:  The Power of Poppy Pendle (Book One)
Written by:  Natasha Lowe

What It’s About: Poppy has magical powers, but she would rather be a baker. Can she find a way to follow her own path? This charming novel includes more than a dozen delectable recipes!

Ten-year-old Poppy, born to ordinary parents, has inherited coveted witch power. In Poppy’s world, witches work for good and are much valued, but Poppy does not want to be a witch—she wants to be a baker, and she is extremely good at baking. Her parents insist Poppy follow in the footsteps of her great aunt, a famous witch, but Poppy has plans of her own.

Part magic, part adventure, and wholly delicious, this spirited story includes more than a dozen recipes you can try at home.


29918993. sy475

Title:  Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble (Book One)
Written by:  Anna Meriano

What It’s About:  Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.

Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.

And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?


6764806

Title:  Unfamiliar Magic
Written by:  R.C. Alexander

What It’s About:  Desi is a witch. And she knows she could be a great witch—if only her mom would teach her any spells. Unfortunately, Desi’s mom is more concerned with keeping them safe and their abilities hidden.

When her mom leaves town under mysterious circumstances, it should be Desi’s perfect opportunity to explore magic on her own. But Desi has been left in the care of the most unusual babysitter of all time: her pet cat—also her mom’s familiar—now transformed into a teenage girl named Cat. And Cat has only three goals: Learn how to eat sushi with her new hairless monkey paws, get the awkward boy next door to pay for her sushi, and keep Desi out of trouble. And that means no magic.

Yeah, right!


40652132

Title: The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom
Written by: Temre Beltz

What It’s About:  In the fairy-tale kingdom of Wanderly, everyone has a role.

Birdie Bloom is a Tragical—an orphan doomed to an unhappy ending. Agnes Prunella Crunch is a witch. The wicked kind.

In Wanderly, a meeting between a witch and a Tragical can only end one way: tragically. But with the help of some mysterious Winds, a few wayward letters, and a very unusual book, the two might just form the kingdom’s unlikeliest friendship—and together, rewrite their story into one that isn’t very Tragical at all.


41209680. sx318

Title:  The Blue Witch (The Witches of Orkney, Book One)
Written by: Alane Adams

What It’s About:  Before Sam Baron broke Odin’s curse on the witches to become the first son born to a witch and the hero of the Legends of Orkney series, his mother was a young witchling growing up in the Tarkana Witch Academy.

In this first book of the prequel series, the Witches of Orkney, nine-year-old Abigail Tarkana is determined to grow up to be the greatest witch of all, even greater than her evil ancestor Catriona. Unfortunately, she is about to fail Spectacular Spells class because her witch magic hasn’t come in yet. Even worse, her nemesis, Endera, is making life miserable by trying to get her kicked out. When her new friend Hugo’s life is put in danger by a stampeding sneevil, a desperate Abigail manages to call up her magic?only to find out it’s unlike any other witchling’s at the Tarkana Witch Academy! As mysteries deepen around her magic and just who her true parents are, Abigail becomes trapped in a race against time to undo one of her spells before she is kicked out of the coven forever! Rich in Norse mythology, The Blue Witch is the first of a fast-paced young reader series filled with magical spells, mysterious beasts, and witch-hungry spiders!


49395271

Title:  The Witches of Willow Cove
Written by:  Josh Roberts

What It’s About:  It’s not easy being a teenage witch. Seventh grader Abby Shepherd is just getting the hang of it when weird stuff starts happening all around her hometown of Willow Cove. Green slime bubbling to life in science class. Giant snakes slithering around the middle school gym. Her best friend suddenly keeping secrets and telling lies.

Things only begin to make sense when a stranger named Miss Winters reveals that Abby isn’t the only young witch in town—and that Willow Cove is home to a secret past that connects them all. Miss Winters, herself a witch, even offers to teach Abby and the others everything she knows about witchcraft.

But as Abby learns more about Miss Winters’ past, she begins to suspect her new mentor is keeping secrets of her own. Can Abby trust her, or does Miss Winters have something wicked planned for the young witches of Willow Cove?


36131823. sy475

Title: Begone the Raggedy Witches (Book One)
Written by:  Celine Kiernan

What It’s About:  On the night that Aunty dies, the raggedy witches come for Mup’s family. Pale, cold, and relentless, the witches will do anything for the tyrannical queen who has outlawed most magic and enforces her laws with terror and cruelty — and who happens to be Mup’s grandmother.

When witches carry off her dad, Mup and her mam leave the mundane world to rescue him. But everything is odd in the strange, glittering Witches Borough, even Mam. Even Mup herself. In a world of rhyming crows, talking cats, and golden forests, it’s all Mup can do to keep her wits about her. And even if she can save her dad, Mup’s not sure if anything will ever be the same again.


35603805

Title:  Nightbooks
Written by:  J.A. White

What It’s About:   Alex’s original hair-raising tales are the only thing keeping the witch Natacha happy, but soon he’ll run out of pages to read from and be trapped forever.

He’s loved scary stories his whole life, and he knows most don’t have a happily ever after. Now that Alex is trapped in a true terrifying tale, he’s desperate for a different ending—and a way out of this twisted place.

22583007

Title:  The Thickety: A Path Begins (Book One)
Written by:  J.A. White
Illustrated by: Andrea Offermann

What It’s About:  When Kara Westfall was five years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic…except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr’s Realm. But mostly it’s called the Thickety.

The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.

And that is just the beginning of the story.


690867

Title: Dear America: I Walk in Dread
Written by: Lisa Rowe Fraustino

What It’s About:  Deliverance Trembley lives in Salem Village where she must take care of her sickly sister, Mem, and her daily chores for fear of her cruel uncle’s angry temper. But after four young girls from the village accuse some of the local women of being witches, the town becomes increasingly caught up in a witch hunt.

When the villagers begin to realize that Deliverance is a clever girl who possesses the skills to read and write, the whispered accusations begin. Within the pages of her diary, Deliverance captures the panic, terror, suspicion, and hysteria that swept through Salem Village during one of the most infamous eras in American history.


703292

Title:  The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Written by:  Elizabeth George Speare

What It’s About:  Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met.

Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.


18554574

Title: The Only Thing Worse than Witches
Written by:  Lauren Magaziner

What It’s About:  Rupert Campbell is fascinated by the witches who live nearby. He dreams of broomstick tours and souvenir potions, but the closest he can get to a witchy experience is sitting in class with his awful teacher Mrs. Frabbleknacker, who smells like bellybutton lint and forbids Rupert’s classmates from talking to each other before, during, and after class.

So when he sees an ad to become a witch’s apprentice, Rupert simply can’t resist applying. But Witchling Two isn’t exactly what Rupert expected. With a hankering for lollipops and the magical aptitude of a toad, she needs all the help she can get to pass her exams and become a full-fledged witch. She’s determined to help Rupert stand up to dreadful Mrs. Frabbleknacker too, but the witchling’s magic will be as useful as a clump of seaweed unless Rupert can figure out a way to help her improve her spellcasting—and fast!

35464019

Title: Wizardmatch
Written by:  Lauren Magaziner

What It’s About:  Twelve-year-old Lennie Mercado loves magic. She practices her invisibility powers all the time (she can now stay invisible for fifteen seconds!), and she dreams of the day that she can visit her grandfather, the Prime Wizard de Pomporromp, at his magical estate.

Now Lennie has her chance. Poppop has decided to retire, and his grandchildren are coming from all over to compete in Wizardmatch. The winner inherits his title, his castle, and every single one of his unlimited magical powers. The losers get nothing. Lennie is desperate to win, but when Poppop creates a new rule to quelch any sibling rivalry, her thoughts turn from winning Wizardmatch to sabotaging it…even if it means betraying her family.


39350048. sx318

Title: Rival Magic
Written by: Deva Fagan

What It’s About:  Antonia may not be the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen, but she’s worked hard to win her place as apprentice to renowned sorcerer Master Betrys. Unfortunately, even her best dancing turnip charm might not be enough when Moppe the scullery maid turns out to be a magical prodigy. Now that Betrys has taken Moppe on as a second apprentice, Antonia’s path to wizarding just got a bit more complicated.

But when Betrys is accused of treason, Antonia and Moppe are forced to go on the run. To prove their master’s innocence—and their own—the rivals must become allies. As their island province teeters on the brink of rebellion, they’ll face ancient spells, vengeful mermaids, enchanted turnips, voice-stealing forests, and one insatiable sea monster.


36228484

Title:  Witch for a Week (Book One)
Written by:  Kaye Umansky
Illustrated by:  Ashley King

What It’s About:  When Elsie Pickles offers to house-sit the mysterious home of local witch Magenta Sharp, she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Left with a talking raven and a scruffy dog for company, a magical tower that has a mind of its own and a book of instruction called Everything You Need to Know, what could possibly go wrong?

With an assortment of weird and wonderful neighbours banging at the door and a box of volatile magical ingredients that must be used immediately, Elsie finds out that looking after Magenta’s home might not be as easy as she first thought … does she have what it takes to be a witch for a week or will it all end in a magical disaster?


25663892

Title:  Witch Wars (Book One)
Written by: Sibéal Pounder
Illustrated by:  Laura Ellen Anderson

What It’s About:  When Fran the Fabulous Fairy turns up in Tiga Whicabim’s shed to tell her she’s a witch, Tiga doesn’t believe her. Or at least not until Fran points out that TIGA WHICABIM is actually an anagram of I AM A BIG WITCH . . . and takes Tiga through the drainpipes to compete in a challenge to crown the next Top Witch of Ritzy City. No one expects a witch from ‘above the pipes’ to be a serious contender, but soon Tiga and her new best friend, Peggy Pigwiggle, are at the head of the pack! Does one of them have what it takes to win?


23396683

Title:  Which Witch?
Written by:  Eva Ibbotson

What It’s About:  ‘Find me a witch!’ cried Arriman the Awful, feared Wizard of the North. Arriman has decided to marry. His wife must be a witch of the darkest powers – but which witch will she be? To find the most fiendish, he holds a spell-casting competition. Glamorous Madame Olympia performs the terrifying Symphony of Death and conjures up a thousand plague-bearing rats. The magic of gentle Belladonna, the white witch, goes hopelessly wrong. She produces perfumed flowers instead of snakes. And bats roost in her golden hair instead of becoming blood-sucking vampires. Poor Belladonna longs to be an evil enchantress – but how?


Coming Soon...2


51285821. sx318 sy475

Title: Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch
Written by:  Julie Abe

What It’s About:  Sometimes all you need is a pinch of magic…

Eva Evergreen is determined to earn the rank of Novice Witch before her thirteenth birthday. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose her magic forever. For most young witches and wizards, it’s a simple enough test:

One: Help your town, do good all around.
Two: Live there for one moon, don’t leave too soon.
Three: Fly home by broomstick, the easiest of tricks.

The only problem? Eva only has a pinch of magic. She summons heads of cabbage instead of flowers and gets a sunburn instead of calling down rain. And to add insult to injury, whenever she overuses her magic, she falls asleep.

When she lands in the tranquil coastal town of Auteri, the residents expect a powerful witch, not a semi-magical girl. So Eva comes up with a plan: set up a magical repair shop to aid Auteri and prove she’s worthy. She may have more blood than magic, but her “semi-magical fixes” repair the lives of the townspeople in ways they never could have imagined. Only, Eva’s bit of magic may not be enough when the biggest magical storm in history threatens the town she’s grown to love. Eva must conjure up all of the magic, bravery, and cleverness she can muster or Auteri and her dreams of becoming a witch will wash away with the storm.

Note:  This book is set to be released on August 4th, 2020.


43605823

Title:  Cattywampus
Written by: Ash Van Otterloo

What It’s About:  The magical story of a hex that goes haywire, and the power of friendship to set things right!In the town of Howler’s Hollow, conjuring magic is strictly off-limits. Only nothing makes Delpha McGill’s skin crawl more than rules. So when she finds her family’s secret book of hexes, she’s itching to use it to banish her mama’s money troubles. She just has to keep it quieter than a church mouse — not exactly Delpha’s specialty.

Trouble is, Katybird Hearn is hankering to get her hands on the spell book, too. The daughter of a rival witching family, Katy has reasons of her own for wanting to learn forbidden magic, and she’s not going to let an age-old feud or Delpha’s contrary ways stop her. But their quarrel accidentally unleashes a hex so heinous it resurrects a graveyard full of angry Hearn and McGill ancestors bent on total destruction. If Delpha and Katy want to reverse the spell in time to save everyone in the Hollow from rampaging zombies, they’ll need to mend fences and work together.Fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Witch Boy will love this funny, folksy, fresh debut from Ash Van Otterloo that proves sometimes it takes two witches to make the strongest magic happen.

Note:  This book is set to be released on August 4th, 2020.


52165391

Title:  Cinders & Sparrows
Written by:  Stefan Bachmann

What It’s About:  In a witch’s house, nothing is as it seems.

Thirteen-year-old Zita doesn’t know the first thing about being a witch. Then, one moment to the next, she is whisked from being a housemaid in a tiny village to inheriting a castle, an enchanted wood, and entire rooms full of ghosts, treasures, and mysterious secrets.

But Zita soon realizes her newfound fortune comes with a world of trouble. Her long-lost family – a glamorous dynasty of witches who have long stood as a bastion against the lands of the dead – has been murdered, snuffed out by some sinister foe from the spirit realm, and her guardian, the beautiful Mrs. Cantanker, does not seem to have her best interests at heart.

As Zita navigates the perilous halls of her new home, she finds herself thrust into a magical battle of wills between the living and the dead. It will require every ounce of cunning, friendship, and secret power she can find, because whatever killed her family is now after her. . .

Note:  This book is set to be released on October 13, 2020.

Off Script: I Love You So Mochi – Mood Board

Off Script - Redesign

As DJ Khaled has said many a time, here’s another one!

In this Off Script post, I will be going back to a book I read a while ago because it was a book that filled me with the sweetness I needed at that time and I wanted to do a little something for it.

Please check out my photoset for Sarah Kuhn’s novel, I Love You So Mochi.  I have cast Takumi Kitamura as Akira and Mei Nagano as Kimi Nakamura.

39828159. sy475

What It’s About:  Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement. She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel brave, fabulous, and like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother sees this as a distraction from working on her portfolio paintings for the prestigious fine art academy where she’s been accepted for college. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.

When she arrives in Japan, she loses herself in Kyoto’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival–and meets Akira, a cute med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. What begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.


i love you so mochi 3

“When you go home, I want you to remember that you are boundless,” he says. “That your dreams are not limited by anything—not uncertainty. Not what someone else thinks or says. Not what you think you should be doing versus what makes your heart light up.”

Future Reads: Black YA and Middle-Grade Stories 2020

future-reads-redesign

There are still many books yet to be released in 2020 and so many stories to still read.

Some stories that should be on everyone’s list this year if they weren’t already, especially given recent events, will be the focus of this Future Reads post.

It’s important to read and support black stories written by black authors no matter what genre they belong to because they don’t have just one story to tell but several.

As usual, my focus is on YA novels and Middle-Grade novels.  Let’s get to it!


Young Adult Titles #2


50160619. sx318 sy475

Title:  You Should See Me In A Crown
Written by:  Leah Johnson

What It’s About:  Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.

But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

Note:  Already out!  It’s also Pride Month y’all so definitely check this one out.  


49629448

Title:  A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Written by:  Roseanne A. Brown

What It’s About:  For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts his younger sister, Nadia, as payment to enter the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a heart-pounding course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

Note:  Already out!  This is a title I have had my eye on for some time and I am so happy it is finally out.  


53001418. sx318 sy475

Title:  All the Things We Never Knew
Written by:  Liara Tamani

What It’s About:  From the moment Carli and Rex first locked eyes on a Texas high school basketball court, they both knew it was destiny. But can you truly love someone else if you don’t love yourself? Acclaimed author Liara Tamani’s luminous second novel explores love, family, heartbreak, betrayal, and the power of healing, in gorgeous prose that will appeal to readers of Nicola Yoon and Jacqueline Woodson.

A glance was all it took. That kind of connection, the immediate and raw understanding of another person, just doesn’t come along very often. And as rising stars on their Texas high schools’ respective basketball teams, destined for bright futures in college and beyond, it seems like a match made in heaven. But Carli and Rex have secrets. As do their families.

Liara Tamani, the author of the acclaimed Calling My Name, follows two Black teenagers as they discover how first love, heartbreak, betrayal, and family can shape you—for better or for worse.

This title is set to be released on June 9, 2020.


45429289. sy475

Title:  Raybearer
Written by:  Jordan Ifueko

What It’s About:  Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere.

But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love.

This title is set to be released on August 18, 2020.


46223352

Title:  Now That I’ve Found You
Written by:  Kristina Forest

What It’s About:  Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . .

Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress-her grandma Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway. The only problem? Gigi is a recluse who’s been out of the limelight for almost twenty years. Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears.

With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma-and herself.

This title is set to be released on August 25, 2020.


48717633

Title:  The Voting Booth
Written by:  Brandy Colbert

What It’s About:  Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?

Duke Crenshaw is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight.

Only problem? Duke can’t vote.

When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right.

And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.

Romantic and triumphant, The Voting Booth is proof that you can’t sit around waiting for the world to change?but some things are just meant to be.

This title is set to be released on July 7, 2020.


52855111. sx318 sy475

Title:  This is My America
Written by:  Kim Johnson

What It’s About:  Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time–her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

This title is set to be released on July 28, 2020.


Title:  Punching the Air
Written by: Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

What It’s About:

The story that I thought
was my life
didn’t start on the day
I was born

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.

The story that I think
will be my life
starts today

Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?

This title is set to be released on September 1, 2020.


45800564. sy475

Title:  The Black Kids
Written by: Christina Hammonds Reed

What It’s About:  Los Angeles, 1992

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

This title is set to be released on September 1, 2020.


49867239

Title:  Charming as a Verb
Written by:  Ben Philippe

What It’s About:  Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.

There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.

Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . .

This title is set to be released on September 8, 2020.


50156232. sy475

Title: The Summer of Everything
Written by: Julian Winters

What It’s About:  Comic book geek Wesley Hudson excels at two things: slacking off at his job and pining after his best friend, Nico. Advice from his friends, ‘90s alt-rock songs, and online dating articles aren’t helping much with his secret crush. And his dream job at Once Upon a Page, the local used bookstore, is threatened when a coffeeshop franchise wants to buy the property. To top it off, his annoying brother needs wedding planning advice.

Confronted with reality, can Wes balance saving the bookstore and his strained sibling relationship? Can he win the heart of his crush, too?

This title is set to be released on September 8, 2020.


49397758

Title: Grown
Written by:  Tiffany D. Jackson

What It’s About:  When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields?

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted’s dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.

This title is set to be released on September 15, 2020.


40024136. sy475

Title:  Legendborn
Written by:  Tracy Deonn

What It’s About:  After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

This title is set to be released on September 15, 2020.


44648676. sy475

Title:  Smash It!  (Smash It! #1)
Written by: Francina Simone

What It’s About:  Olivia “Liv” James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants to SMASH junior year does…

After Liv shows up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts—why, God, why?—she decides to set aside her wack AF ways. She makes a list—a F*ck-It list.

1. Be bold—do the thing that scares me.

2. Learn to take a compliment.

3. Stand out instead of back.

She kicks it off by trying out for the school musical, saying yes to a date and making new friends. Life is great when you stop punking yourself! However, with change comes a lot of missteps, and being bold means following her heart. So what happens when Liv’s heart is interested in three different guys—and two of them are her best friends? What is she supposed to do when she gets dumped by a guy she’s not even dating? How does one Smash It! after the humiliation of being friend-zoned?

In Liv’s own words, “F*ck it. What’s the worst that can happen?”

A lot, apparently.

#SMASHIT

This title is set to be released on September 22, 2020.


45734692. sx318

Title:  Early Departures
Written by:  Justin A. Reynolds

What It’s About: What if you could bring your best friend back to life—but only for a short time?

Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know that he died, and that he’s about to die . . . again. He doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save him. And that the reason they haven’t been friends for two years is because Jamal blames Q for the accident that killed his parents.

But what if Jamal could have a second chance? A new technology allows Q to be reanimated for a few weeks before he dies . . . permanently. And Q’s mom is not about to let anyone ruin this miracle by telling Q about his impending death. So how can Jamal fix everything if he can’t tell Q the truth?

Early Departuresweaves together loss, grief, friendship, and love to form a wholly unique homage to the bonds that bring people together for life—and beyond.

This title is set to be released on September 22, 2020.


43699419. sy475

Title:  Every Body Looking
Written by: Candice Iloh

What It’s About:  Candice Iloh weaves the key moments of Ada’s young life—her mother’s descent into addiction, her father’s attempts to create a home for his American daughter more like the one he knew in Nigeria, her first year at a historically black college—into a luminous and inspiring verse novel.

This title is set to be released on September 22, 2020.


37829267

Title:  Dear Justyce
Written by:  Nic Stone

What It’s About:  In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller, Nic Stone delivers an unflinching look into the flawed practices and silenced voices in the American juvenile justice system.

Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, though, Justyce walks the illustrious halls of Yale University . . . and Quan sits behind bars at the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center.

Through a series of flashbacks, vignettes, and letters to Justyce–the protagonist of Dear Martin–Quan’s story takes form. Troubles at home and misunderstandings at school give rise to police encounters and tough decisions. But then there’s a dead cop and a weapon with Quan’s prints on it. What leads a bright kid down a road to a murder charge? Not even Quan is sure.

This title is set to be released on September 29, 2020.


44309678. sy475

Title:  Rebel Sisters (War Girls #2)
Written by: Tochi Onyebuchi

What It’s About:  In the epic, action-packed sequel to the “brilliant” (Booklist, starred review) novel War Girls, the battles are over, but the fight for justice has just begun.

It’s been five years since the Biafran War ended. Ify is now nineteen and living where she’s always dreamed–the Space Colonies. She is a respected, high-ranking medical officer and has dedicated her life to helping refugees like herself rebuild in the Colonies.

Back in the still-devastated Nigeria, Uzo, a young synth, is helping an aid worker, Xifeng, recover images and details of the war held in the technology of destroyed androids. Uzo, Xifeng, and the rest of their team are working to preserve memories of the many lives lost, despite the government’s best efforts to eradicate any signs that the war ever happened.

Though they are working toward common goals of helping those who suffered, Ify and Uzo are worlds apart. But when a mysterious virus breaks out among the children in the Space Colonies, their paths collide. Ify makes it her mission to figure out what’s causing the deadly disease. And doing so means going back to the homeland she thought she’d left behind forever.


Middle Grade Titles


52730723. sy475

Title:  The Hero of Numbani (OVERWATCH #1)
Written by:  Nicky Drayden

What It’s About:  In the technologically advanced African city of Numbani, in the not-so-distant future, humans live in harmony with humanoid robots known as omnics. But when a terrorist tries to shatter that unity, a hero named Efi Oladele rises! Efi has been making robots since she was little — machines to better her community and improve people’s lives.

But after she witnesses Doomfist’s catastrophic attack on the city’s OR15 security bots, Efi feels the call to build something greater: a true guardian of Numbani.While Doomfist sows discord between humans and omnics, Efi engineers an intelligent and compassionate robot, Orisa, named after the powerful spirits who guide her people. Orisa has a lot to learn before she’s ready to defeat Doomfist, but Efi has some learning to do, too, especially when it comes to building — and being — a hero. With Doomfist rallying his forces, and the military powerless to stop him, can Efi mold Orisa into the hero of Numbani before it’s too late?

Note:  Already out!


44286883

Title:  Forever the Summer
Written by:  Leslie C. Youngblood

What It’s About:  Georgie has no idea what to expect when she, Mama, and Peaches are plopped down in the middle of small town USA–AKA Bogalusa, Louisiana. G-baby wants to help out at the once famous family diner that once served celebrities like the Jackson 5 and the Supremes, but with restaurateur Great Aunt Elvie needing help remembering day-to-day things, everyone is too busy to show G-baby the ropes.G-baby makes friends with Markie, a foster kid under Aunt Elvie’s care, who has a limb difference and a huge singing voice.

When G-baby’s best friend, Nikki, comes to visit they realize that the kids in town don’t have a place to hang out like their Boys & Girls club in Atlanta and that the diner is danger of closing. G-baby, Nikki, and Markie embark on a mission to start a club of their own: the Bogalusa Summer Club.And save the diner. Since it takes funds to accomplish these goals, they decide to put on a talent show to raise money. Along the way, G-baby will discover an unexpected talent of her own: fighting for what’s fair and right even when everything is stacked against you.

This title is set to be released on  July 6, 2020.


52400423. sx318 sy475

Title:  Something to Say
Written by: Lisa Moore Ramée

What It’s About:  Eleven-year-old Jenae doesn’t have any friends—and she’s just fine with that. She’s so good at being invisible in school, it’s almost like she has a superpower, like her idol, Astrid Dane. At home, Jenae has plenty of company, like her no-nonsense mama; her older brother, Malcolm, who is home from college after a basketball injury; and her beloved grandpa, Gee.

Then a new student shows up at school—a boy named Aubrey with fiery red hair and a smile that won’t quit. Jenae can’t figure out why he keeps popping up everywhere she goes. The more she tries to push him away, the more he seems determined to be her friend. Despite herself, Jenae starts getting used to having him around.

But when the two are paired up for a class debate about the proposed name change for their school, Jenae knows this new friendship has an expiration date. Aubrey is desperate to win and earn a coveted spot on the debate team.

There’s just one problem: Jenae would do almost anything to avoid speaking up in front of an audience—including risking the first real friendship she’s ever had.

This title is set to be released on July 14, 2020.


51988656

Title:  Before the Ever After
Written by:  Jacqueline Woodson

What It’s About:  For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone’s hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he’s as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ’s house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ’s mom explains it’s because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that–but it doesn’t make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name.

As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can’t remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?

This title is set to be released on September 1, 2020.


51344283

Title:  Jayla Jumps In
Written by:  Joy Jones

What It’s About: When eleven-year-old Jayla finds out that her mother used to be a Double Dutch champion, she’s stunned. Her mom, who’s on doctor’s orders to lower her blood pressure, could move like that?!? Jayla decides to follow in her mom’s footsteps, thinking that maybe double Dutch can make her stand out in her big, quirky family. As she puts together a team at school and prepares to compete, Jayla finds that Double Dutch is about a lot more than jumping rope—and it just might change her life in ways she never imagined. Full of hilarious family dynamics and plenty of jump rope action, Jayla Jumps In follows one girl’s quest to get her mom healthy and find her place in her community.

This title is set to be released on September 1, 2020.


51342422

Title:  When Life Gives You Mangos
Written by:  Kereen Getten

What It’s About:  Twelve-year-old Clara lives on an island that visitors call exotic. But there’s nothing exotic about it to Clara. She loves eating ripe mangos off the ground, running outside in the rain with her Papa during rainy season, and going to her secret hideout with Gaynah—even though lately she’s not acting like a best friend.

The only thing out of the ordinary for Clara is that something happened to her memory that made her forget everything that happened last summer after a hurricane hit. Sometimes things come back to her in drips like a tap that hasn’t been turned off properly. Other times her Mama fills in the blanks…only she knows those aren’t her memories and it is hard feeling like she is not like everybody else.

But this summer is going to be different for Clara. Everyone is buzzing with excitement over a new girl in the village who is not like other visitors. She is about to make big waves on the island—and give Clara a summer she won’t forget.

This title is set to be released on September 15, 2020.


39726908. sy475

Title:  Maya and the Rising Dark
Written by: Rena Barron

What It’s About:  Twelve-year-old Maya is the only one in her South Side Chicago neighborhood who witnesses weird occurrences like werehyenas stalking the streets at night and a scary man made of shadows plaguing her dreams. Her friends try to find an explanation-perhaps a ghost uprising or a lunchroom experiment gone awry. But to Maya, it sounds like something from one of Papa’s stories or her favorite comics.

When Papa goes missing, Maya is thrust into a world both strange and familiar as she uncovers the truth. Her father is the guardian of the veil between our world and the Dark-where an army led by the Lord of Shadows, the man from Maya’s nightmares, awaits. Maya herself is a godling, half orisha and half human, and her neighborhood is a safe haven. But now that the veil is failing, the Lord of Shadows is determined to destroy the human world and it’s up to Maya to stop him. She just hopes she can do it in time to attend Comic-Con before summer’s over.

This title is set to be released on September 22, 2020.


50358040

Title:  Class Act
Written and illustrated by:  Jerry Craft

What It’s About:  Eighth grader Drew Ellis is no stranger to the saying “You have to work twice as hard to be just as good.” His grandmother has reminded him his entire life. But what if he works ten times as hard and still isn’t afforded the same opportunities that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted?

To make matters worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend Liam might be one of those privileged kids. He wants to pretend like everything is fine, but it’s hard not to withdraw, and even their mutual friend Jordan doesn’t know how to keep the group together.

As the pressures mount, will Drew find a way to bridge the divide so he and his friends can truly accept each other? And most important, will he finally be able to accept himself?

This title is set to be released on October 6, 2020.


49090449

Title:  Twins (TWINS #1)
Written by:  Varian Johnson
Illustrated by:  Shannon Wright

What It’s About:  Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran — a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there’s nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?

This title is set to be released on October 6, 2020.


39884377. sy475

Title:  Tristan Strong: Destroys the World (Tristan Strong, Book 2)
Written by:  Kwame Mbalia

What It’s About:  Tristan Strong, just back from a victorious but exhausting adventure in Alke, the land of African American folk heroes and African gods, is suffering from PTSD.

But there’s no rest for the weary when his grandmother is abducted by a mysterious villain out for revenge. Tristan must return to Alke–and reunite with his loud-mouthed sidekick, Gum Baby–in order to rescue Nana and stop the culprit from creating further devastation. Anansi, now a “web developer” in Tristan’s phone, is close at hand to offer advice, and several new folk heroes will aid Tristan in his quest, but he will only succeed if he can figure out a way to sew broken souls back together.

This title is set to be released on October 6, 2020.


49486929

Title:  The Last Mirror on the Left
Written by:  Lamar Giles
Illustrated by:  Dapo Adeola

What It’s About:  Unlike the majority of Logan County’s residents, Missus Nedraw of the Rorrim Mirror Emporium remembers the time freeze from The Last Last-Day-of-Summer, and how Otto and Sheed took her mirrors without permission in order to fix their mess. Usually that’s an unforgivable offense, punishable by a million-year sentence. However, she’s willing to overlook the cousins’
misdeeds if they help her with a problem of her own. One of her worst prisoners has escaped, and only the Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County can help bring the fugitive to justice.

This funny and off-the-wall adventure is perfect for readers of Jonathan Auxier and Lemony Snicket.

This title is set to be released on October 20, 2020.


52693631. sy475

Title: Serena Says
Written by: Tanita S. Davis

What It’s About:  JC shines like a 4th of July sparkler. She has the best ideas, the biggest, funniest laugh, and the party starts when she arrives. Serena St. John is proud to be known as her best friend.

Everything changes when JC returns from the hospital with a new kidney—and a new best friend. Out of the spotlight of JC’s friendship, suddenly things aren’t quite so sparkly in Serena’s world.

Lonely Serena works on perfecting her vlogs, hoping to earn a shot at becoming a classroom reporter. If she can be smart and funny on video, why can’t she manage that in real life? If only she could always pause, edit, or delete conversations. It would be so much easier to say the right thing at the right time . . . instead of not saying what she should, or, even worse, blurting out a secret that wasn’t hers to share.

Life doesn’t have a pause button—but as Serena discovers her voice through vlogging, she learns that she’s not just there to reflect JC’s light—she’s fully capable of shining on her own.

This title is set to be released on November 3, 2020.

Off Script: Beats for Every Part of the Day

Off Script - Redesign

Whether you’re working or studying or decluttering at home, we all need a little bit of music to help us get through it.

I know with me, I always need some tunes to help lull me to sleep.

This Off Script post will suggest some music videos that have really been getting me through these days, weeks, and months.  I hope you can find some peace in the beats.


For mornings that start with a cup of coffee:

For mornings that start with a bit of meditation and reflection:


For days when you’re working:

For days when you’re studying:


For the days when you’re puttering around the house:

For the days when you’re cooking meals alone or together:

For days when you’re spending time with your pets:

For days when you wish you were you anywhere but at home:


For nights when you’re trying to fall asleep:

For those nights when you need a bit of noise to help you drift off:

Blast from the Past: Black YA & Middle-Grade Authors of the 90s

blast-from-the-past-redesign

I have been seeing a lot of amazing book lists featuring recent books by black authors or about black characters, and they have definitely inspired me but to do something a bit differently.  I wanted to shift that focus from the now to those authors that came before.

I really grew up in the 1990s and the authors that are part of this list are authors I remember and read when I was young.

Read the voices of today but also read the voices of the past.  Let them carry you forward to the future.

I am also looking to add to this list!  If you know of a black YA or Middle Grade author with books published during the 1990s, please comment on this post.  I want this list to grow.


1180716

Title:  Slam!
Author:  Walter Dean Myers

What It’s About:  Seventeen-year-old Greg “Slam” Harris can do it all on the basketball court. He’s quick enough to handle the point guard slot and, as his tag implies, he can slam dunk at will. His temper is like his game, hard and fast.

Slam’s grades aren’t so hot, though. He knows it, but he doesn’t want to hear it. And when his teachers jam his troubles in his face, he blows up.

Slam has seen ballplayers come and go and knows he could be one of the lucky ones. Maybe he’ll make it all the way to the big arenas, or maybe, like his man Ice, he’ll stumble along the way. He never doubted himself on the court until he found himself going one-on-one with his own future, and he didn’t have the ball.

Newbery Honor author Walter Dean Myers calls on his own Harlem background in this raw and gritty story of a young basketball player coming of age and trying to make it on the unforgiving courts of the city.

44184

Title:  Monster
Author:  Walter Dean Myers

What It’s About:  Young, black 16-year-old Steve Harmon, an amateur filmmaker, is on trial for the murder of a Harlem drugstore owner and could face the death penalty. Steve copes by writing a movie script based on his trial. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred until he can no longer tell who he is or what the truth is.


751635

Title: The Skin I’m In
Author: Sharon G. Flake

What It’s About:  Maleeka suffers every day from the taunts of the other kids in her class. If they’re not getting at her about her embarrassing home-made clothes or her good grades at school, it’s about her dark, black skin – a deeper shade than any of theirs.

When a new teacher, whose face is blotched with a startling white patch, starts at their school, Maleeka can see there is bound to be trouble for her too. But the new teacher’s attitude surprises Maleeka. Miss Saunders loves the skin she’s in. Can Maleeka too? A deeply involving novel that will draw readers into Maleeka’s world and let them see it through her eyes.


1134172

Title:  If You Come Softly
Author: Jacqueline Woodson

What It’s About:  Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he’s in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he’s going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don’t exactly fit in there. So it’s a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock, and after that they know they fit together–even though she’s Jewish and he’s black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that’s not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way.

272333

Title:  The House You Pass On the Way
Author:  Jacqueline Woodson

What It’s About: Thirteen-year-old Staggerlee used to be called Evangeline, but she took on a fiercer name. She’s always been different–set apart by the tragic deaths of her grandparents in an anti-civil rights bombing, by her parents’ interracial marriage, and by her family’s retreat from the world. This summer she has a new reason to feel set apart–her confused longing for her friend Hazel. When cousin Trout comes to stay, she gives Staggerlee a first glimpse of her possible future selves and the world beyond childhood.


119838

Title:  Tears of a Tiger
Author: Sharon M. Draper

What It’s About:  After a car accident kills Robert, Andy’s best friend and teammate on the Hazelwood High Tigers, Andy doesn’t know if he can go on. He’s consumed with guilt for driving the night of the accident after a long evening of drinking and partying. With perceptiveness and compassion, Draper portrays an African-American teenager who feels driven to consider suicide in the wake of a devastating tragedy

266668

Title: Romiette and Julio
Author:  Sharon M. Draper

What It’s About:  Do you feel the soul of another calling to you? Do you know in your heart that your destiny and his were meant to merge in the cosmos? We can help you find him.

When Romiette Cappelle and her best friend, Destiny, decide to order The Scientific Soul Mate System from the back of Heavy Hunks magazine, they’re not sure what they’re getting into. But Destiny, a self-proclaimed psychic, assures Romi that for $44.99 plus shipping and handling, it’s the only way they’re ever going to find out who their soul mates really are. If nothing else, maybe Romi will get some insight into that recurring dream she’s been having about fire and water.

But they never expect that the scented candle and tube of dream ointment will live up to their promises and merge Romiette’s destiny with that of Julio Montague, a boy she’s just met in the “cosmos” of an Internet chat room. It turns out they go to the same high school, not to mention having almost the same names as Shakespeare’s famous lovers! Sweet-scented dreams of Julio have almost overtaken Romi’s nightmares…

…when suddenly they return, but this time in real life. It seems the Devildogs, a local gang, violently oppose the relationship of Romiette and Julio. Soon they find themselves haunted by the purple-clad shadows of the gang, and the fire and water of Romiette’s dream merge in ways more terrifying — and ultimately more affirming — than even Destiny could have foreseen.


210694

Title:  Like Sisters on the Homefront
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia

What It’s About:  When fourteen-year-old Gayle gets in trouble with a boy—again—her mother doesn’t give her a choice: Gayle is getting sent away from New York to her family down South, along with her baby, José.

In a small town in Georgia, there is nowhere to go but church, nothing to do but chores, and no friends except her goody-goody, big-boned, kneesock-wearing cousin, Cookie. Gayle is stuck cleaning up after Great, the old family matriarch who stays upstairs in her bed.

But the more she spends time with Cookie and Great, Gayle learns about her family’s history and secrets, stretching all the way back through the preachers and ancestors of the past. And slowly, the stories of her roots begin to change how Gayle sees her future.


Middle Grade Titles


199623

Title: The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural
Author: Patricia C. McKissack
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney

What It’s About:  History becomes a haunting experience in Patricia C. McKissack’s spooky collection of African-American chillers. Set in the deep American South, The Dark Thirty includes 10 stories rooted in the times of slavery and up to modern day. Well-known illustrator Brian Pinkney has created dramatic and shadowy black and white pictures to bring out the mystery and titillation of this multiple award-winning anthology. These thrillers are a fantastic introduction to more focused issues in African-American history.

9610788

Title: A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia 1859
Author:  Patricia C. McKissack

What It’s About:  It’s 1859 and Clotee, a twelve-year-old slave, has the most wonderful, terrible secret. She knows that if she shares it with the wrong person, she will face unimaginable consequences. What is her secret? While doing her job of fanning her master’s son during his daily lessons, Clotee has taught herself to read and write. However, she soon learns that the tutor, Ely Harms, has a secret of his own.

In a time when literacy is one of the most valuable skills to have, Clotee is determined to use her secret to save herself, and her family.

Patricia C. McKissack weaves the pages of Clotee’s diary with the intrigue and disloyalty of spies and traitors, the celebrations of life, and the anguish of death.


368468

Title:  Bud, Not Buddy
Author:  Christopher Paul Curtis

What It’s About:  It’s 1936, in Flint, Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but Bud’s got a few things going for him:

He has his own suitcase full of special things.

He’s the author of Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.

His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: flyers advertising Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!!

Bud’s got an idea that those flyers will lead him to his father. Once he decides to hit the road and find this mystery man, nothing can stop him–not hunger, not fear, not vampires, not even Herman E. Calloway himself.

1621254

Title:  The Watsons Go to Birmingham
Author:  Christopher Paul Curtis

What It’s About:  Enter the hilarious world of ten-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. There’s Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron, who’s thirteen and an “official juvenile delinquent.” When Momma and Dad decide it’s time for a visit to Grandma, Dad comes home with the amazing Ultra-Glide, and the Watsons set out on a trip like no other. They’re heading South to Birmingham, Alabama, toward one of the darkest moments in America’s history.


654258

Title:  Meet Addy
Author: Connie Rose Porter

What It’s About:  Addy Walker’s family is planning a dangerous escape from slavery in the summer of 1864. But before they can make the escape, the worst happens–Master Stevens decides to sell some of his slaves, including Poppa and Addy’s brother, Sam. Addy and Momma take the terrible risk of escaping by themselves, hoping that the family eventually will be together again in Philadelphia. Set during America’s own struggle over slavery, the Civil War, Addy’s story is one of great courage and love–love of family and love of freedom.

18948092

Title:  Addy Learns a Lesson: A School Story (Addy #2)
Author: Connie Rose Porter

What It’s About:  Addy and her mother arrive in Philadelphia to begin life as free people. Everything is new to them in the big city. Addy is happy–she has a friend for the first time, Sarah, and she is learning to read and write. In school, Addy sits next to Harriet. Harriet is smart, wealthy, and popular. She has the life that Addy thought freedom would bring her. Addy hopes to be friends with Sarah and Harriet, but she ends up having to choose between them. Addy’s choice teaches her about real friendship and real freedom.


2219479

Title:  Francie
Author:  Karen English

What It’s About: Francie lives with her mother and younger brother, Prez, in rural Alabama, where all three work and wait. Francie’s father is trying to get settled in Chicago so he can move his family up North. Unfortunately, he’s made promises he hasn’t kept, and Francie painfully learns that her dreams of starting junior high school in an integrated urban classroom will go unfulfilled.

Amid the day-to-day grind of working odd jobs for wealthy white folks on the other side of town, Francie becomes involved in helping a framed young black man to escape arrest-a brave gesture, but one that puts the entire black community in danger. In this vivid portrait of a girl in the pre-civil rights era South, Karen English completes Francie’s world using lively vernacular and a wide array of flesh-and-blood characters.


2068093

Title  Heaven
Author:  Angela Johnson

What It’s About:  You never know what’s gonna come down — in Heaven.

At fourteen, Marley knows she has Momma’s hands and Pops’s love for ice cream, that her brother doesn’t get on her nerves too much, and that Uncle Jack is a big mystery. But Marley doesn’t know all she thinks she does, because she doesn’t know the truth. And when the truth comes down with the rain one stormy summer afternoon, it changes everything. It turns Momma and Pops into liars. It makes her brother a stranger and Uncle Jack an even bigger mystery.

All of a sudden, Marley doesn’t know who she is anymore and can only turn to the family she no longer trusts to find out.

Truth often brings change. Sometimes that change is for the good. Sometimes it isn’t. Coretta Scott King award-winning author Angela Johnson writes a poignant novel of deception and self-discovery — about finding the truth and knowing what to do when truth is at hand.


228032

Title:  Cousins (Cousins #1)
Author:  Virginia Hamilton

What It’s About:  One thing was, Cammy knew what she liked and what she didn’t. She liked – no, she was full of love for – her grandmother; even now, when Gram Tut was at the Care home.

She loved her mother, and her big brother, sixteen-year-old Andrew. He rode around in a pickup truck that he called his “pup.” And sometimes he let her ride around in it with him!

But her cousins were something else. Richie was just plain trouble, no matter what Andrew said. Elodie – L.O.D. – was barely a cousin, though she counted as a friend.

The problem was her cousin Patty Ann. She was too pretty and too smart. Too spoiled. Cammy hoped she would vaporize, the way people did in science fiction. But then, people sometimes got their wish. Supposing Cammy got hers? What would she do then?

541211

Title:  Bluish
Author:  Virginia Hamilton

What It’s About:  Friendship isn’t always easy. Natalie is different from the other girls in Dreenie’s fifth-grade class. She comes to school in a wheelchair, always wearing a knitted hat. The kids call her “Bluish” because her skin is tinted blue from chemotherapy. Dreenie is fascinated by Bluish, and a little scared of her, too. She watches Bluish and writes her observations in her journal. Slowly, the two girls become good friends. But Dreenie still struggles with with Bluish’s illness. Bluish is weak and frail, but she also wants to be independent and respected. How do you act around a girl like that?

Spotlight: Author S.K. Ali

Spotlight - Redesign

On this Spotlight post, I will be highlighting some items by a really amazing author that I admire – S.K. Ali.

A few years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to meet S.K. Ali at a young adult fiction event at my local library when her first novel, Saints and Misfits, had been released.  Her book was already on my radar so I jumped at the chance to go to this event and hear her speak about her book.  I love hearing authors discuss their work and process so this is my idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon.

Hearing her speak really made a lasting impression on me.  When I had the chance to speak with her later one-on-one, she was incredibly kind when faced with my shyness.  She’s a fierce and authentic woman, which comes through in her writing and the voices of her characters.  It was a done deal for me and I went out and bought Saints and Misfits that day, read it, and loved it.

My hope with this Spotlight post is that readers will discover a new great author and find stories that they can relate to.


32333055. sy475

Title:  Saints and Misfits

What It’s About: There are three kinds of people in my world:

1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do. They’re in your face so much, you can’t see them, like how you can’t see your nose.

2. Misfits, people who don’t belong. Like me—the way I don’t fit into Dad’s brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother, Mama’s-Boy-Muhammad.

Also, there’s Jeremy and me. Misfits. Because although, alliteratively speaking, Janna and Jeremy sound good together, we don’t go together. Same planet, different worlds.

But sometimes worlds collide and beautiful things happen, right?

3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O’Connor’s stories.

Like the monster at my mosque.

People think he’s holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask.

Except me.

Note:  In the above interview, the author discusses Saints and Misfits and might discuss some spoilers for the book.  That being said, the interview is really insightful so give it a watch.


40148146. sy475

Title:  Love from A to Z

What It’s About:  

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.


43853210. sx318

Title:  The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family
Written by: Ibtihaj Muhammad & S.K. Ali
Illustrated by: Hatem Aly

What It’s About: With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.


50158635. sx318 sy475

Title: Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices
Edited By: S. K. Ali & Aisha Saeed
Illustrated by:  Sara Alfageeh

What It’s About: Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift-giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

The full list of Once Upon an Eid contributors include: G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen, Ms. Marvel), Hena Khan (Amina’s Voice, Under My Hijab), N. H. Senzai (Shooting Kabul, Escape from Aleppo), Hanna Alkaf (The Weight of Our Sky), Rukhsana Khan (Big Red Lollipop), Randa Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?), Ashley Franklin (Not Quite Snow White), Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Mommy’s Khimar), Candice Montgomery (Home and Away, By Any Means Necessary), Huda Al-Marashi (First Comes Marriage), Ayesha Mattu, Asmaa Hussein, and Sara Alfageeh.


Extra Notes_

I recently discovered through twitter that a bunch of Asian authors were getting together online for the month of May and hosting panels discussing topics like world-building in science fiction and fantasy worlds, Asian food and identity, Asian Characters in Historical YA, and Writing the Complexity of the Asian American Experience.  That’s just to name a few! There are about 6 videos online already with more coming in the next few days.  I am including one below that features S.K. Ali.