Tuesday, May 8, 2018

New Release Spotlight: May 8, 2018

It's a long Spotlight list this week, and about a third of them are shaded in purple. Last week was big for the Middle Grade books, but this week, the Young Adult titles look incredible!

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Puddin' (Julie Murphy)
Companion to: Dumplin'. I LOVED Dumplin', and apparently, it's going to be a movie! In Puddin', Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a little girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream of being a newscaster--and to kiss the boy she's crushing on. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they find that they might have more in common than they ever imagined. Recommended for Grades 8+. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus starred. Realistic fiction, humor, overweight teens, Texas.
Undead Girl Gang (Lily Anderson)
When Wiccan Mila Flores's best friend Riley and mean girls June and Dayton die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe the rumor that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth--she brings the girls back to life. Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders. But they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer...before the killer strikes again. Recommended for Grades 7-10. Supernatural, mystery, zombies.
The Way You Make Me Feel (Maurene Goo)
Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad's business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? Recommended for Grades 7+. SLJ and Booklist starred. Realistic fiction, romance, Korean-Americans.
Love & Luck (Jenna Evans Welch)
Companion to: Love & Gelato. Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt's wedding, hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken. But her brother, Ian, isn't about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can't wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother--and her problems--behind. But then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie is trapped in the world's smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Romance, Ireland.
Kenzie's Rules for Life: Ho to Be Happy, Healthy, and Dance to Your Own Beat (MacKenzie Ziegler)
Dancer, singer/songwriter, actress, and model offers her advice on friendship, family, fitness, style, and positivity. She shares lessons drawn from her own experiences for those navigating through their tween years on how to be happy, healthy, and confident in all aspects of their lives. Nonfiction, self-help.
A Lite Too Bright (Samuel Miller)
Arthur Louis Pullman the Third is on the verge of a breakdown. He's been stripped of his college scholarship, is losing his grip on reality, and has been sent away to live with his aunt and uncle. It's there that Arthur finds a journal written by his grandfather, who went missing the last week of his life and died hundreds of miles away from home. Now Arthur has his grandfather's journal, and he's going to embark on a cross-country train ride to relive his grandfather's last week, guided only by the clues left behind in the dementia-fueled journal. Recommended for Grades 8+. Multiple starred reviews. Mystery, coming of age, Alzheimer's Disease.
Boying Up: How to Be Brave, Bold and Brilliant (Mayim Bialik)
Growing from a boy to a man is no easy task. Bodies are changing, social circles are evolving, hair is appearing in places it never was before, and on top of it all, there's the ever-present pressure to conform to the typical idea of what it means to be "manly" and masculine. But it's easier to do if you're armed with facts. Using personal anecdotes as an overly observant mother of two boys and plenty of scientific information from her life as a neuroscientist, Mayim Bialik, PhD talks directly to teen boys about what it means to grow from a boy to a man biologically, psychologically, and sociologically. Nonfiction, health.
We'll Fly Away (Bryan Bliss)
Luke and Toby have always had each other's backs. But then one choice--or maybe it is a series of choices--sets them down an irrevocable path. We'll Fly Away weaves together Luke and Toby's senior year of high school with letters Luke writes to Toby later--from death row. Best friends since childhood, Luke and Toby have dreamed of one thing: getting out of their dead-end town. Soon they finally will, riding the tails of Luke's wrestling scholarship, never looking back. If they don't drift apart first. If Toby's abusive dad, or Luke's unreliable mom, or anything else their complicated lives throw at them doesn't get in the way. Recommended for Grades 9+. Multiple starred reviews. Realistic fiction, death row, letters.
Moonrise (Sarah Crossan)
Told in verse. Seventeen-year-old Joe hasn't seen his brother in ten years. Ed didn't walk out on the family, not exactly. It's something more brutal. Ed's locked up -- on death row. Now his execution date has been set, and the clock is ticking. Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with his brother, no matter what other people think...and no matter whether Ed committed the crime. But did he? And does it matter, in the end? Recommended for Grades 9-12. SLJ starred. Free verse, death row, family.
Surface Tension (Mike Mullin)
After witnessing an act of domestic terrorism while riding his bike, Jake is found near death, with a serious head injury and unable to remember the plane crash or the aftermath that landed him in the hospital. A terrorist leader’s teenage daughter, Betsy, is sent to kill Jake and eliminate him as a possible witness. When Jake’s mother blames his head injury for his tales of attempted murder, he has to rely on his girlfriend, Laurissa, to help him escape the killers and the law enforcement agents convinced that Jake himself had a role in the crash. Recommended for Grades 7+. Thriller, terrorism.
The Handsome Girl and Her Beautiful Boy (B.T. Gottfred)
Everyone assumes that Zee is a lesbian. Her classmates, her gym buddies, even her so-called best friend. Even Zee is starting to wonder. Everyone assumes that Art is gay. They take one look at his nice clothes and his pretty face and think: well, obviously. But there's more to Zee and Art than anyone realizes. What develops is a powerful connection between two people who are beautiful in all the ways they've been told are strange. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Multiple starred reviews. Realistic fiction, gender roles, romance.
My Name is Victoria (Lucy Worsley)
Miss V. Conroy is good at keeping secrets. She likes to sit as quiet as a mouse, neat and discreet. But when her father sends her to Kensington Palace to become the companion to Princess Victoria, Miss V soon finds that she can no longer remain in the shadows. Her father is Sir John Conroy, confidant and financial advisor to Victoria's mother, and he has devised a strict set of rules for the young princess that he calls the Kensington System. It governs Princess Victoria's behavior and keeps her locked away from the world. Recommended for Grades 7-12. Kirkus starred. Historical fiction, royalty, Queen Victoria.
The Stars at Oktober Bend (Glenda Millard)
Alternating viewpoints. Alice is fifteen, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone. Something inside Alice is broken: she remembers words, but struggles to speak them. Still, Alice knows that words are for sharing, so she pins them to posters in tucked-away places: railway waiting rooms, fish-and-chips shops, quiet corners. Manny is sixteen, with a scar from shoulder to elbow. Something inside Manny is broken, too: he once was a child soldier, forced to do terrible, violent things. But in a new land with people who care for him, Manny explores the small town on foot. And in his pocket, he carries a poem he scooped up, a poem whose words he knows by heart. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Publishers Weekly and SLJ starred. Romance.
The Foreseeable Future (Emily Adrian)
Audrey's life has been planned out for her since she was born, and now she's supposed to attend Whedon College in the fall, where both of her parents work. But Audrey has a different plan in mind: She's going to earn some money and move to Seattle. And the best way to earn that money is by working the night shift at the local nursing home. Seth O'Malley works there, too, and a romance quickly blossoms between them. But things get complicated when Audrey saves the life of Cameron Suzuki, Seth's ex. A video of her performing CPR at the beach goes viral, and suddenly, Audrey's wanted for TV interviews and newspaper articles. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Romance.
Mayfly (Jeff Sweat)
Debut author! Jemma has spent her life scavenging tools and supplies in her tribe's small enclave outside what used to be a big city. Now she's a teen, and old enough to become a Mama. Making babies is how her people survive--in Jemma's world, life ends at age seventeen. Survival has eclipsed love ever since the Parents died of a mysterious plague. But Jemma's connection to a boy named Apple is stronger than her duty as a Mama. Forced to leave, Jemma and Apple are joined in exile by a mysterious boy who claims to know what is causing them to die. The world is crumbling around them, and their time is running out. Recommended for Grades 7+. Science fiction, dystopia.


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Whatshisface (Gordon Korman)
Twelve-year-old Cooper Vega and his military family has moved so often that he is used to new schoolmates not knowing his name, but at the moment he has a bigger problem--his new phone is haunted by the ghost of Roderick Northrop, a boy from the sixteenth-century, who needs his help to finish a quest, which is somehow tied up in the Stratford Middle School production of Romeo and Juliet. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Humor, friendship, school.
The Cure for Cold Feet (Beth Ain)
This one reminds me of Frazzled. Izzy Kline faces all the drama of middle school with total honesty and deep heart. Hiding out in the girls' bathroom...FaceTiming one friend while group chatting two others...Being forced to ballroom dance with a boy for a social studies unit... There is a LOT going on in middle school. New experiences and shifting dynamics are around every turn. And it's not just her friends--Izzy's family is shifting as well. It's anxiety-inducing but also thrilling as Izzy learns to stake her claim. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Free verse, realistic fiction, middle school.
I Am Gandhi: A Graphic Biography of a Hero (Brad Meltzer)
25 graphic artists join together to tell the story of Gandhi. As a young man in India, Gandhi saw firsthand how people were treated unfairly. Refusing to accept injustice, he fought back through quiet, peaceful protest. He used his methods in South Africa and India, where he led a nonviolent revolution that freed his country from British rule. Through his calm, steady heroism, Gandhi changed the lives of millions and inspired civil rights movements all over the world, proving that the smallest of us can be the most powerful. Biography, graphic novel.
Boy Bites Bug (Rebecca Petruck)
Will didn't plan to eat a stinkbug. But when his friend Darryl called new kid Eloy Herrera a racial slur, Will did it as a diversion. Now Will is Bug Boy, and everyone is cracking up inventing insect meals for him, like French flies and maggot-aroni and fleas. Turns out eating bugs for food is a real thing, called entomophagy. Deciding that means he can use a class project to feed everyone grasshoppers, Will bargains for Eloy's help in exchange for helping him with wrestling, but their growing friendship only ticks off Darryl more. Recommended for Grades 4-8. Booklist starred. Realistic fiction, friendship.
Peeves (Mike Van Waes)
Steven 'Slim' Pickings is on the edge of a breakdown--but then, it always feels like Slim is teetering on the edge of something. The difference this time is that something's caused Slim's worries to come alive! He's set loose a bunch of annoying, pesky, outrageously contagious creatures--and they're infecting everyone they meet and massing to take over the town. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Fantasy, monsters, anxiety.
Ramayana: An Illustrated Retelling (Arshia Sattar)
The Ramayana is one of Hinduism's two great epics and was composed about two and a half thousand years ago. It remains vital in the Indian imagination, yielding a rich cultural vocabulary of images, ideals, and social values. The Ramayana tells the story of a young prince, Rama, who is unjustly exiled into the forest by his step mother. His lovely wife, Sita, and his loyal brother go with him and away from the city, the three encounter strange and dangerous creatures. Sita is abducted by a ten-headed demon and Rama makes an alliance with magical monkeys to fight a war and win her back. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Folktales, heroes, Indian mythology.


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A Stone for Sascha (Aaron Becker)
This year's summer vacation will be very different for a young girl and her family without Sascha, the beloved family dog, along for the ride. But a wistful walk along the beach to gather cool, polished stones becomes a brilliant turning point in the girl's grief. There, at the edge of a vast ocean beneath an infinite sky, she uncovers, alongside the reader, a profound and joyous truth. Multiple starred reviews. Wordless picture book, death, grief.

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


  1. May I ask what the purple means?

    1. Hi, Ashley,
      The purple means that that title has gotten at least two starred reviews from professional review sources (SLJ, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, etc), has won literary awards, or are books I think will be especially popular in school libraries. Hope that helps!


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