Tuesday, September 4, 2018

New Book Releases for Kids and Teens: September 4, 2018

I've been writing New Release Spotlights for about 2 1/2 years now, and in my experience, September, January, and May are huge months for new releases. In previewing this week's releases, I can tell you that this first week of September is keeping with that trend. So...for this month, I will highlight only the best of the best releases each week. For the releases I do not spotlight, I have added an extra section (similar to the sequels section) that will at least let you know what other new titles are available. I've been writing New Release Spotlights for about 2 1/2 years now, and in my experience, September, January, and May are huge months for new releases. I actually had one NRS in January that featured 42 titles! In previewing this week's...

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Sadie (Courtney Summers)
Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him. Perspectives alternate between 19-year-old Sadie and a true crime podcaster. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Multiple starred reviews. Thriller, mystery, abuse.
A Room Away From the Wolves (Nova Ren Suma)
Teen runaway Bino has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women's residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina's lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she's come to Catherine House and what it will cost for her to leave. Recommended for Grades 9-12. BCCB and SLJ starred. Thriller, abuse.
And the Ocean Was Our Sky (Patrick Ness, Rovina Cai)
Inspired by Moby Dick and set in a futuristic alternate world. With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba's pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself...As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men. Illustrated. Recommended for Grades 7+. Multiple starred reviews. Fantasy, adventure, retelling.
Not Even Bones (Rebecca Schaeffer)
Not Even Bones, book 1 (trilogy planned). Debut author! Nita doesn't murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet--her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they've been "acquired." Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother's victim, she ends up sold in his place--because Nita herself isn't exactly "human." She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Recommended for Grades 10-12. Booklist starred. Thriller, supernatural.
Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree (Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Viviana Mazza)
A new pair of shoes, a university degree, a husband--these are the things that a girl dreams of in a Nigerian village. And with a government scholarship right around the corner, everyone can see that these dreams aren't too far out of reach. But the girl's dreams turn to nightmares when her village is attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group, in the middle of the night. Kidnapped, she is taken with other girls and women into the forest where she is forced to follow her captors' radical beliefs and watch as her best friend slowly accepts everything she's been told. Recommended for Grades 8-adult. Multiple starred reviews. Realistic fiction, Africa, human rights.
People Kill People (Ellen Hopkins)
A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression? Recommended for Grades 9-12. Realistic fiction, free verse, violence.
Meet the Sky (McCall Hoyle)
Years ago, an accident left Sophie's sister crippled and her father out of her life. Sophie only wants to keep things together and get into veterinary school. When a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina's Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can't control. Sophie gets separated from her family during the evacuation and finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she'd have chosen--the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Realistic fiction, survival, romance.
Nevertheless, We Persisted (various authors)
If I ever teach English again, I will include some of these essays in our class readings. This is a collection of 48 essays from actors, activists, athletes, politicians, musicians, writers, and teens, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, actress Alia Shawkat, actor Maulik Pancholy, poet Azure Antoinette, teen activist Gavin Grimm, and many, many more, each writing about a time in their youth when they were held back because of their race, gender, or sexual identity--but persisted. Recommended for Grades 7-12. VOYA and Kirkus starred. Nonfiction, biography, essays, prejudice, racism, sexism.
Dare You To Lie (Amber Lynn Natusch)
When her FBI agent father is framed for murder, Kylene is forced to move in with her grandfather, back to the small town that turned its back on her, and the boy who betrayed her.All Ky cares about is clearing her father's name, but someone won't let her forget the photo scandal that drove her away two years ago. As the threats gain momentum, Ky finds an unlikely ally in the annoyingly attractive rookie FBI agent sent to keep an eye on her. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Thriller.
Steal This Country (Alexandra Styron)
Inspired by Abie Hoffman's Steal This Book. The book opens with a personal essay and a historic look at civil disobedience and teenage activism in America. That's followed by a deep dive into several key issues: climate change, racial justice, women's rights, LGBTQIA rights, immigration, religious understanding, and intersectionality. Each chapter is introduced by an original full page comic and includes a summary of key questions, interviews with movers and shakers--from celebrities to youth activists--and spotlights on progressive organizations. Recommended for Grades 7+. Nonfiction, civics, activism.
When Elephants Fly (Nancy Richardson Fischer)
T. Lily Decker is a high school senior with a twelve-year plan: avoid stress, drugs, alcohol and boyfriends, and take regular psych quizzes administered by her best friend, Sawyer, to make sure she's not developing schizophrenia. When a newspaper internship results in Lily witnessing a mother elephant try to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty, Lily can't abandon the story or the calf. With Swifty in danger of dying from grief, Lily must choose whether to risk everything, including her sanity and a first love, on a desperate road trip to save the calf's life, perhaps finding her own version of freedom along the way. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Realistic fiction, mental health, animal rights.
The 48 (Donna Hosie)
Twins Charlie and Alex Taylor are the newest time travelers recruited to the Forty-Eight, a clandestine military group in charge of manipulating history. The brothers arrive in 1536 feeling confident, but the Tudor court is not all banquets and merriment: it is a deep well of treachery, torture, lust, intrigue, and suspicion. The boys' mission to prevent Henry VIII from marrying Jane Seymour is further complicated when Alice, a fellow trainee, appears under mysterious and brutal circumstances--and when whispers of an uprising within the Forty-Eight reach their ears. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Science fiction, time travel.


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Tight (Torrey Maldonado)
Bryan knows what's tight for him--reading comics, drawing superheroes, and hanging out with no drama. But drama is every day where he's from, and that gets him tight, wound up. And now Bryan's friend Mike pressures him with ideas of fun that are crazy risky. At first, it's a rush following Mike, hopping turnstiles, subway surfing, and getting into all kinds of trouble. But Bryan never really feels right acting so wrong, and drama really isn't him. So which way will he go, especially when his dad tells him it's better to be hard and feared than liked? Recommended for Grades 4-7. SLJ starred. Realistic fiction, urban fiction.
Path to the Stars (Sylvia Acevedo)
Debut author! A meningitis outbreak in their underprivileged neighborhood left Sylvia Acevedo's family forever altered. As she struggled in the aftermath of loss, young Sylvia's life transformed when she joined the Brownies. The Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world and nourished her love of numbers and science. With new confidence, Sylvia navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home, forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master's in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Also available in Spanish. Recommended for Grade 3+. Booklist starred. Nonfiction, memoir, space science.
Hilda and the Hidden People (Luke Pearson, Stephen Davies, Seaerra Miller)
This is the novel tie-in for a new animated Netflix series debuting later this month, and I can see it being very popular with upper-elementary students. Hilda is an explorer, adventurer, avid sketchbook-keeper and friend to almost every creature in the valley. In this first book in a planned trilogy, Hilda encounters her very first troll, negotiates peace with some very persnickety elves, and reunites two lovelorn ancient giants. Recommended for Grades 3-6. Graphic novel, fantasy, TV tie-in.
Fake Blood (Whitney Gardner)
It's the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn't grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he's harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires? When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ's chance to win over Nia's affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he's got more of Nia's attention than he bargained for when he learns she's a slayer. Kirkus starred. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Graphic novel, vampires.
The Girl in the Locked Room (Mary Downing Hahn)
A family moves into an old, abandoned house. Jules's parents love the house, but Jules is frightened and feels a sense of foreboding. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, though, she can't stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor--in a room with a locked door. Could it be someone who lived in the house a century earlier? Her fear replaced by fascination, Jules is determined to make contact with the mysterious figure and help unlock the door. Recommended for Grades 4-6. Supernatural, ghost stories.
The Big, Bold, Adventurous Life of Lavinia Warren (Elizabeth Raum)
Give this to fans of The Greatest Showman. Lavinia Warren never let her height--or the lack of it--prevent her from leading a full and adventurous life. Although she never grew more than three feet tall, she became a beloved teacher, a world traveler, an entertainer and the friend of many powerful figures. Lavinia was teaching at a local school when she heard about an opportunity to travel doing shows as a "human curiosity" on a Mississippi River boat. Eventually she met P. T. Barnum and worked at his American Museum. It was there that she met Charles Stratton, a little person known to the world as "Tom Thumb." Biography, circus, Tom Thumb, P.T. Barnum.
Sheets (Brenna Thummler)
I inadvertently left this one off last week's list. Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen-year-old in charge of the family laundry business, her daily routine features unforgiving customers, unbearable P.E. classes, and the fastidious Mr. Saubertuck who is committed to destroying everything she's worked for. Wendell is a ghost. A boy who lost his life much too young, his daily routine features ineffective death therapy, a sheet-dependent identity, and a dangerous need to seek purpose in the forbidden human world. Recommended for Grade 6+. Graphic novel, ghosts.
Dodger Boy (Sarah Ellis)
Life becomes complicated when 13-year old friends Charlotte and Dawn meet a Texan draft dodger who comes to live with Charlotte's Quaker family. Tom Ed expands Charlotte's horizons as they discuss everything from war to civil disobedience to women's liberation. Grappling with exhilarating and disturbing new ideas, faced with a censorship challenge to her beloved English teacher and trying to decode the charismatic draft dodger himself, Charlotte finds it harder and harder to stick to her unteen philosophy, and to see eye to eye with Dawn. Recommended for Grades 5-9. Kirkus starred. Historical fiction, LGBTQIA.
The Ghost Road (Chris Cotter)
Ruth is spending the summer in Newfoundland, with family she's never met. When she arrives, she finds Newfoundland is very different from her life in Toronto - people there are more friendly, but also superstitious, believing in ghosts and The Sight and family curses. Ruth's cousin Ruby is also staying, and the two discover they have a lot in common: they both lost their mums when they were two years old, they're the same age and they even like the same food. When they find ominous information on some tombstones in the local cemetery, Ruth and Ruby start investigating their family's past. Receommended for Grades 4-7. Kirkus starred. Mystery, ghost stories.
After Life: Ways We Think About Death (Merrie-Ellen Wilcox)
Why do we die? Why can't we live forever? What happens to us after death? Moving between science and culture, After Life: Ways We Think About Deathtakes a straightforward look at these and other questions long taboo in our society. By showing the fascinating, diverse ways in which we understand death, both today and throughout our history, the book also shines a light on what it is to be human. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Nonfiction, life and death.


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The Girl With A Mind for Math (Julia Finley Mosca)
After touring a German submarine in the early 1940s, young Raye Montague set her sights on becoming an engineer. Little did she know sexism and racial inequality would challenge that dream every step of the way, even keeping her greatest career accomplishment a secret for decades. Through it all, the gifted mathematician persisted--finally gaining her well-deserved title in history: a pioneer who changed the course of ship design forever. Kirkus starred. Picture book biography, math.
How to Catch a Turkey (Adam Wallace, Andy Elkerton)
A group of school children and staff set out to capture a turkey, but it manages to escape all of their traps.
Dreamers (Yuyi Morales)
In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn't come empty-handed. She brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams...and her stories. Caldecott Honor artist and five-time Pura Belpre winner Yuyi Morales's gorgeous new picture book Dreamers is about making a home in a new place. Yuyi and her son Kelly's passage was not easy, and Yuyi spoke no English whatsoever at the time. But together, they found an unexpected, unbelievable place: the public library. Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred. Autobiography, immigration.
The Day the War Came (Nicola Davies, Rebecca Cobb)
The day war came there were flowers on the windowsill and my father sang my baby brother back to sleep. Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. Kirkus starred. War, refugees.
Carlos Santana Sound of the Heart, Song of the World (Gary Golio)
Carlos Santana grew up surrounded by music. His father, a beloved mariachi performer, taught young Carlos how to play the violin when he was only six years old. But when Carlos discovers American blues, he is captivated by the raw honesty of the music and grows disinterested in the traditional violin and mariachi music he had been playing. Soon Carlos receives his first guitar and finds new musical inspiration. Booklist starred. Picture book biography, musicians.
The Night Monster (Sushree Mishra, Sanket Pethkar)
Every night, when the owl hoots and the shadows of the trees dance on the walls, the Night Monster creeps into Avi’s room and frightens him. One day, his sister suggests he write a letter to the monster, and Avi’s nights are not the same any more. Winner of the 2017 Jarul Book Children’s Choice Award in India.

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

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