Saturday, March 31, 2018

New Release Spotlight: March 27, 2018

I knew this week's New Release Spotlight would be a scramble to prepare on time. It's the week before spring break, and work has just been a mess this week. I thought about just skipping this week, but looking over the list, there were way too many that deserved a place on the Spotlight. So, the list is a little late this week, but I think it's totally worth it!

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Emergency Contact (Mary H. K. Choi)
Debut author! Penny Lee is thrilled to move to college in Austin, Texas, 79 miles away from her hometown, her non-friends, and the boyfriend who doesn't really know her at all. There, she meets Sam. Sam works at a cafe and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He wants to be a famous movie director, but right he has only $17 and a dying laptop. When Sam and Penny meet, they swap numbers and stay in touch--via text--and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other. Recommended for Grades 9+. Publishers Weekly and SLJ starred. Romance, realistic fiction, homelessness.
I Have Lost My Way (Gayle Forman)
Told in alternating viewpoints. Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs. Recommended for Grades 9+. Publishers Weekly starred. Realistic fiction, friendship.
The Place Between Breaths (An Na)
New book from Printz Award winner An Na! Grace, sixteen, fears that she will succumb to the schizophrenia that took her mother away, while she and her father work for a genetics lab rushing to find a cure. With multiple points of view and a few plot twists, this short (181 pages) novel could make a great choice for reluctant high school readers. Recommended for Grades 7+. Multiple starred reviews. Realistic fiction, mental illness, schizophrenia, unreliable narrator.
And She Was (Jessica Verdi)
When Dara finds her birth certificate, she is puzzled to find two strange names on it, but when her mother, Mellie, reveals that she is transgender and transitioned when Dara's biological mother died soon after Dara's birth, Dara is stunned and angry--and she sets off with her friend Sam, in search of the grandparents she never knew existed (and who may be able to fund her tennis career), and the family secrets she can only guess at. Recommended for Grades 9+. Kirkus starred. Realistic fiction, transgender, LGBTQIA, single parent.
The Pros of Cons (Alison Cherry, Lindsey Ribar, Michelle Schusterman)
Chapters alternate among three points of view. Vanessa Montoya-O'Callagh, a writer, Phoebe Byrd, a drummer, and Callie Buchannan, a taxidermy assistant form an unlikely friendship when a random mix-up at a hotel lobby brings them together. Recommended for Grades 7+. Publishers Weekly starred. Realistic fiction, friendship, humor.
Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning (Leslie Odom, Jr.)
Actor Leslie Odom. Jr. played Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical phenomenon Hamilton. Since then, he has performed for sold-out audiences, sung for the Obamas at the White House, and won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. But before he landed the role of a lifetime in one of the biggest musicals of all time, Odom put in years of hard work as a singer and an actor. With personal stories from his life, Odom asks the questions that will help you unlock your true potential and achieve your goals even when they seem impossible. Nonfiction, autobiography, memoir.
Reflection (Elizabeth Lim)
Twisted Tales, book 4. This series twists and ages-up classic Disney movies for a YA audience. I debated on putting this with sequels, but since it is a stand-alone story, I put it with the featured titles. And, I have to at least give Disney props for commissioning an Asian author to write Mulan's story. This book picks up where the movie left off, this time with Mulan traveling to DiYu (the Underworld) in an attempt to rescue her friend Shang from death. Retelling, Mulan, China.
Frat Girl (Kiley Roache)
A frat house with a history of sexist behavior is given a year to change their behavior, while Cassandra Davis comes to the frat for a research project to prove their misogyny, but begins to fall for pledge Jordan Louis. Pair this with Adiche's "We Should All Be Feminists" (see the TED Talk). Romance, feminism, college life.
The Beloved Wild (Melissa Ostrom)
Harriet Winter is the eldest daughter in a farming family in New Hampshire, 1807. Her neighbor is Daniel Long, who runs his family's farm on his own after the death of his parents. Harriet's mother sees Daniel as a good match, but Harriet isn't so sure she wants someone else to choose her path—in love and in life. When her brother decides to strike out for the Genesee Valley in Western New York, Harriet decides to go with him—disguised as a boy. Recommended for Grades 7+. Historical fiction, adventure, frontier life, gender-bender.
Damselfly (Chandra Prasad)
Inspired by Lord of the Flies. Indian-American teenager Samantha Mishra, her best friend Mel Sharpe, and the other members of the Drake Rosemont Academy fencing team are on their way to Tokyo when their plane crashes on a jungle-choked island, so while they hope for rescue, the teens will need to use all their ingenuity to survive the jungle, the old man who is stalking them--and each other. Recommended for Grades 7-12. Adventure, survival.
Not If I Save You First (Ally Carter)
Ally Carter is so popular in my school! Six years ago Maddie lived in Washington D.C. with her father, a Secret Service agent assigned to the President's family. Her best friend was Logan, the President's son. After her father was wounded in an attempted kidnapping, the two of them moved to a remote cabin in Alaska. Maddie wrote to Logan, but he never replied to her letters. Now, Logan has suddenly turned up on her doorstep, and, while she has no intention of forgiving him for his silence, she soon realizes that first she has to save him from the winter wilderness and the men who are pursuing him. Recommended for Grades 7-12. Booklist starred. Thriller, Alaska wilderness.
The Way the Light Bends (Cordelia Jensen)
Novel in verse. Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents' daughter biologically, it's smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who exemplifies the family's high-achieving model of academic success. Recommended for Grade 7+. VOYA starred. Free verse, adoption, sisters, self-esteem, acceptance.


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Hurricane Child (Kheryn Callender)
Born on Water Island in the Virgin Islands during a hurricane, which is considered bad luck, twelve-year-old Caroline falls in love with another girl--and together they set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Multiple starred reviews. Magical realism, LGBT.
Me, Frida, and the Peacock Ring (Angela Cervantes)
Paloma Marquez is traveling to Mexico City, birthplace of her deceased father, for the very first time. She's hoping that spending time in Mexico will help her unlock memories of the too-brief time they spent together. While in Mexico, Paloma meets Lizzie and Gael, who present her with an irresistible challenge: The siblings want her to help them find a valuable ring that once belonged to beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Mystery, art.
Good Dog (Dan Gemeinhart)
Just the summary of this one makes me want to cry! Brodie was a good dog. And good dogs go to heaven. Except Brodie can't move on. Not just yet. As wonderful as his glimpse of the afterlife is, he can't forget the boy he left behind. The boy he loved, and who loved him in return. The boy who's still in danger. So Brodie breaks the rules of heaven. He returns to Earth as a spirit. With the help of two other lost souls--lovable pit bull Tuck and surly house cat Patsy--he is determined to find his boy and to save him. Even if it costs him paradise. Even if he loses his eternal soul. Because it's what a good dog would do. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Kirkus starred. Animals, adventure, dogs, death.
The Parker Inheritance (Varian Johnson)
Twelve-year-old Candice Miller is spending the summer in Lambert, South Carolina, in the old house that belonged to her grandmother, who died after being dismissed as city manager for having the city tennis courts dug up looking for buried treasure--but when she finds the letter that sent her grandmother on the treasure hunt, she finds herself caught up in the mystery and, with the help of her new friend and fellow book-worm, Brandon, she sets out to find the inheritance, exonerate her grandmother, and expose an injustice once committed against an African American family in Lambert. Recommended for Grades 5-7. Multiple starred reviews. Mystery, historical fiction, bullying, racism, divorce.
Mega Robo Bros (Neill Cameron)
Alex and Freddy are just like any other brothers. They squabble. They drive their parents crazy. There's only one difference...they're the most powerful robots on Earth! But Alex and Freddy will soon discover that they're not the only super-powered robots around. For an evil robotic mind is making sinister plans, and their lives won't stay peaceful for much longer. Recommended for Grades 4-6. Kirkus starred. Graphic novel, humor, science fiction.
Cilla Lee-Jenkins, Future Author Extraordinaire (Susan Tan, Dana Wulfekotte)
Priscilla "Cilla" Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best—herself. Humor, family, Chinese-Americans.
Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond (Sam Hearne)
Baker Street Academy, book 1. John Watson has barely settled into his new school, Baker Street Academy, when his teacher announes a trip to one of London's top museums, home to the Alpine Star, the world's most famous jewel. But the gem has been stolen! The police are soon on the trail, and the whole world is talking about the crime. When police catch the thief along with the stolengem, it seems the case is closed. But Sherlock Holmes has other ideas. old through Watson's blog, detective notes, school assignments, media reports, and comic-strip illustrations. Recommended for Grades 2-6. School Library Connection starred. Mystery, Sherlock Holmes retelling.
The Elephant Thief (Jane Kerr)
Set in Scotland and Northern England. When young pickpocket Danny accidentally buys an elephant at an auction, he finds himself swept up on an unforgettable adventure. Offered a job by a zookeeper, all he has to do is ride Maharajah from Edinburgh to Manchester in one week. Everyone in the country is watching, even the Queen, but the journey soon proves to be filled with drama and danger. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Historical fiction, animals, elephants.
Ice Wolves (Amie Kaufman)
Ice Wolves, book 1. Everyone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragons are sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives. So when twelve-year-old orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he wonders whether they are even related. Still, whether or not they are family, Rayna is Anders's only true friend. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Kirkus starred. Fantasy, animals.
Out of the Wild Night (Blue Balliet)
Mary W. Chase died on Nantucket Island just over one hundred years ago, but she is still there, in the house she once lived in, and she wants to keep it that way--but first she must some how contact a group of children who are interested in preserving historic homes on the island. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Kirkus starred. Ghost stories, history of Nantucket Island (where author Blue Balliet is from).


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This list also appears on my New Releases--Weekly Board on Pinterest:

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