Wednesday, June 6, 2018

New Release Spotlight: June 5, 2018

Sometimes, there are just too many good books! This post is one day later than usual because I did not anticipate the huge number of new releases this week. What is it about the first week of June that has all the publishers releasing books like mad? And, this isn't even the full list. I left off about 10 books because the list was just getting way too long.

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Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe (Preston Norton)
Cliff Hubbard is a huge loser. He has no one at school and life in his trailer park home has gone from bad to worse ever since his older brother's suicide. There's no one Cliff hates more than the nauseatingly cool quarterback, Aaron Zimmerman. One day, Aaron returns to school after a near-death experience with a bizarre claim: while he was unconscious he saw God, who gave him a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High suck less. And God said there's only one person who can help: Neanderthal. Recommended for Grades 9+. Booklist and Publishers Weekly starred. Coming of age, bullying.
Always Forever Maybe (Anica Mrose Rissi)
When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Betts already knows the two of them are infinite. Inevitable. Destined to become an us. Betts has only ever kept one secret from her best friend, Jo, but suddenly there's a long list of things she won't tell her, things Jo wouldn't understand. Because Jo doesn't see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling. She's wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters. Pair with Bad Romance. Recommended for Grades 9+. Realistic fiction, abuse.
Neverworld Wake (Marisha Pessl)
Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her six best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim—their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend—changed everything. Recommended for Grades 9+. Thriller, science fiction.
Invisible Ghosts (Robyn Schneider)
Rose Asher believes in ghosts. She should, since she has one for a best friend: Logan, her annoying, Netflix-addicted brother, who is forever stuck at fifteen. But Rose is growing up, and when an old friend moves back to Laguna Canyon and appears in her drama class, things get complicated. Jamie Aldridge is charming, confident, and a painful reminder of the life Rose has been missing out on since her brother's death. She watches as Jamie easily rejoins their former friends--a group of magnificently silly theater nerds--while avoiding her so intensely that it must be deliberate. Recommended for Grades 8+. Romance, ghosts.
The Summer of Salt (Katrina Leno)
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. Recommended for Grades 8-12. Kirkus and SLJ starred. Realistic fiction.
Save the Date (Morgan Matson)
Charlie Grant's older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can't wait--for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster--all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect. The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. Realistic fiction, humor, weddings. Recommended for Grades 7-12. Humor, realistic fiction, siblings.
Little Do We Know (Tamara Ireland Stone)
Next-door neighbors and ex-best friends Hannah and Emory haven't spoken in months. Not since the fight-the one where they said things they couldn't take back. No matter how much Hannah and Emory desperately want to bridge the thirty-six steps between their bedroom windows, they can't. Not anymore.
Until their paths cross unexpectedly when, one night, Hannah finds Emory's boyfriend doubled over in his car outside her house. In the aftermath of the accident, all three struggle to understand what happened in their own ways. But when a devastating secret about Hannah and Emory's argument ultimately comes to light, they must all reexamine the things they hold true. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Publishers Weekly starred. Realistic fiction.
The Bird and the Blade (Megan Bannen)
Enslaved in Kipchak Khanate, Jinghua has lost everything: her home, her family, her freedom...until the kingdom is conquered by enemy forces and she finds herself an unlikely conspirator in the escape of Prince Khalaf and his irascible father across the vast Mongol Empire. On the run, with adversaries on all sides and an endless journey ahead, Jinghua hatches a scheme to use the Kipchaks' exile to return home, a plan that becomes increasingly fraught as her feelings for Khalaf evolve into an impossible love. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Kirkus starred. Retelling (Turandot, an opera), historical fiction.
Bring Me Their Hearts (Sara Wolf)
Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly. Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him--every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him--until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat. Recommended for Grades 9+. Fantasy.
Dear Rachel Maddow (Adrienne Kisner)
Debut author! Brynn Haper's life has one steadying force--MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. She watches her daily and writes e-mails to Rachel that she doesn't ever send. In her letters, Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick's death, about her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she's stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out. Recommended for Grades 8-12. Humor, grief, GLBT.
The Summer of Us (Cecelia Vinesse)
American expat Aubrey has only two weeks left in Europe before she leaves for college, and she's nowhere near ready. Good thing she and her best friend, Rae, have planned one last group trip across the continent. From Paris to Prague, they're going to explore famous museums, sip champagne in fancy restaurants, and eat as many croissants as possible with their friends Clara, Jonah, and Gabe. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Realistic fiction, friendship.
The History of Jane Doe (Michael Belanger)
I love romances from the boy's point of view! Ray is a history buff who knows everything about the legends and lore of his rural Connecticut hometown. Burgerville's past is riddled with green cow sightings and human groundhogs, but the most interesting thing about the present is the new girl--we'll call her Jane Doe. Inscrutable, cool, and above all mysterious, Jane seems as determined to hide her past as Ray is to uncover it. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Kirkus starred. Realistic fiction, mental illness, suicide.
Fat Girl on a Plane (Kelly deVos)
Eighteen-year old Cookie gets the chance of a lifetime when she scores a trip to New York to pitch her fashion portfolio and appeal for a scholarship. But in the airport on her way out of Phoenix, Cookie is forced to pay for two seats because she is too overweight to fit in one. Devastated, Cookie vows to lose weight. Told in before-and-afters, one year apart. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Realistic fiction, overweight teens.
Sweet Black Waves (Kristina PĂ©rez)
First book in a planned trilogy. As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what's right, even as her powers grow, will set Branwen against her best friend and the only man she's ever loved. Recommended for Grades 7-12. Historical fantasy.
Jacked Up (Erica Sage)
Debut author! Sent to Jesus Camp by his nonreligious parents, Nick gains a new perspective on his sister's suicide and the secret he has been keeping about it, with the help of new friends and the ghost of Jack Kerouac. Recommended for Grades 9+. Realistic fiction, summer camp, Christian life.
Mariam Sharma Hits the Road (Sheba Karim)
Three Pakistani-American teenagers, on a trip through the land of pork ribs, mechanical bulls, and Confederate flags. It's going to be quite an adventure. The summer after her freshman year of college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala, and religious but closeted Umar. But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what could be a better escape than a spontaneous road trip down to New Orleans? Recommended for Grades 8+. SLJ starred. Coming of age, road trips.
Social Intercourse (Greg Howard)
Debut author! Beck: The Golden Girls-loving, out-and-proud choir nerd growing up in the "ass-crack of the Bible belt." Jax: The Golden Boy, star quarterback with a slick veneer facing uncomfortable truths about himself and his past. When Beck's emotionally fragile dad starts dating the recently single (and supposedly lesbian) mom of former bully, Jaxon Parker, Beck is not having it. Jax isn't happy about the situation either, holding out hope that his moms will reunite and restore the only stable home he's ever known. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Realistic fiction, humor, LGBT.
How We Roll (Natasha Friend)
Quinn is a teen who loves her family, skateboarding, basketball, and her friends, but after she's diagnosed with a condition called alopecia which causes her to lose all of her hair, her friends abandon her. Jake was once a star football player, but because of a freak accident--caused by his brother--he loses both of his legs. Quinn and Jake meet and find the confidence to believe in themselves again, and maybe even love. Recommended for Grades 7-10. SLJ starred. Realistic fiction, romance, disabilities.


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Breakout (Kate Messner)
Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek--two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town's maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Multiple starred reviews. Realistic fiction, racism.
Wild Blues (Beth Kephart)
Thirteen-year-old Lizzie's favorite place in the world is her uncle's renovated schoolhouse cabin. Life hasn't been easy for Lizzie lately. Her father abandoned their family, leaving Lizzie with her oftentimes irresponsible mother. Now, her mom has cancer and being unable to care for Lizzie during her chemotherapy, Mom asks her where she'd like to spend the summer. The answer is simple: Uncle Davy's cabin. Lizzie also can't wait to see Matias, Uncle Davy's neighbor and Lizzie's best friend. Matias has proportionate dwarfism, but that doesn't stop him and Lizzie from wandering in the woods. Every day they go to their favorite nook where Matias paints with watercolors and Lizzie writes. Until one day when Matias never arrives. Recommended for Grades 5-8. Publishers Weekly starred. Realistic fiction, adventure, missing children.
Lions & Liars (Kate Beasley, Dan Santat)
Frederick Frederickson has a food-chain theory about life. There are lions, like the school bully. Gazelles, like the bullied kids. There are meerkats, and the fleas that live on the butts of meerkats. Frederick's a flea. Fifth grade is off to a terrible start when Frederick is sent to a disciplinary camp for troublesome boys. His fellow troop mates--Nosebleed, Specs, The Professor, and little-yet-lethal Ant Bite--are terrifying. But in between trust-building 7exercises and midnight escape attempts, a tenuous friendship grows between them. Recommended for Grades 3-7. Booklist starred. Humor, summer camp.
The Cardboard Kingdom (Chad Sell)
Welcome to a neighborhood of kids who transform ordinary boxes into colorful costumes, and their ordinary block into cardboard kingdom. This is the summer when sixteen kids encounter knights and rogues, robots and monsters--and their own inner demons--on one last quest before school starts again. Recommended for Grades 3-7. Multiple starred reviews. Graphic novel.
The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle (Christina Uss, Jonathan Bean)
Debut author! Introverted Bicycle has lived most of her life at the Mostly Silent Monastery in Washington, D.C. When her guardian, Sister Wanda, announces that Bicycle is going to attend a camp where she will learn to make friends, Bicycle says no way and sets off on her bike for San Francisco to meet her idol, a famous cyclist, certain he will be her first true friend. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Kirkus starred. Adventure.
The Mortification of Fovea Munson (Mary Winn Heider, Chi Birmingham)
Fovea Munson is nobody's Igor. True, her parents own a cadaver lab where they perform surgeries on dead bodies. And yes, that makes her gross by association, at least according to everyone in seventh grade. And sure, Fovea's stuck working at the lab now that her summer camp plans have fallen through. But she is by no means Dr. Frankenstein's snuffling assistant! That is, until three disembodied heads, left to thaw in the wet lab, start talking. To her. Out loud. Recommended for Grades 3-8. Supernatural, humor.
The Frame-Up (Wendy McLeod MacKnight, Ian Schoenherr)
There's one important rule at the Beaverbrook Gallery--don't let anyone know the paintings are alive. Mona Dunn, forever frozen at thirteen when her portrait was painted by William Orpen, has just broken that rule. Luckily twelve-year-old Sargent Singer, an aspiring artist himself, is more interested in learning about the vast and intriguing world behind the frame than he is in sharing her secret. Recommended for Grades 3-7. Booklist starred. Fantasy, mystery.
Fadeaway (Maura Ellen Stokes)
Debut author! Fourteen-year-old Sam thinks she has all summer to hang out with her best friend, Reagan. But then her life changes forever. Sam's world, once filled with school, basketball, and Reagan, has now abruptly changed and she must learn to navigate high school on and off the court without her best friend. But when Reagan suddenly "reappears," Sam clings to her friend's presence, even as it hurts rather than helps her grief. Wide appeal on this one--it is recommended for Grades 5-10. Booklist starred. Realistic fiction, grief.

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The Turtle Ship (Helena Ku Ree, Colleen Kong-Savage)
Long ago in Korea, a young boy named Sunsin spent his days playing with his pet turtle Gobugi and dreaming of sailing around the world. As a poor villager, though, his dream to travel seemed impossible. Then one day, the king's court announced a contest to find the best design for a new battleship to defend the land from invaders. The winner would sail the ocean with the royal navy. Determined to win, Sunsin attempts to build an indestructible battleship with a few found items. Great for STEAM connections.

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

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