Tuesday, January 22, 2019

New Release Spotlight: January 22, 2019


Congratulations to Emily in Spartanburg, South Carolina for winning last week's New Release Spotlight giveaway! Emily chose Jack Montgomery: World War II: Gallantry at Anzio as her winning book. The New Release giveaway continues this week--just scroll to the bottom of this post to enter.
This week is a little slow, with only 11 books on the list. I am excited to order Ship of Smoke and Steel and The Storm Keeper's Island for the library, and as I'm a huge fan of Katie McGarry, I'm sure I'll read Only a Breath Apart at some point.

NOTE: Titles start with YA and go down in age to picture books at the end. Scroll to the bottom for sequels. Titles highlighted in purple are those that received two or more starred professional reviews.

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Only a Breath Apart (Katie McGarry)


Jesse dreams of working the land that's been in his family forever. But he's cursed to lose everything he loves most. Scarlett is desperate to escape her "charmed" life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done. Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can't say no. Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.
PAGES: 359
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 9-12
GENRES: romance, realistic fiction
THEMES: domestic violence
READALIKES: Nowhere But Here (McGarry), Things I Can't Forget (Kenneally)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "The ways the system sometimes fails the most vulnerable are well-depicted." (Kirkus starred review, 15 Nov 2018)

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The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me (Olivia Hinebaugh)


Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke responds to the failure of her school's abstinence-only sexual education curriculum by handing out advice and contraceptives in the girls' bathroom, even as her own life gets complicated.
PAGES: 304
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 9-12
GENRES: realistic fiction, humor, romance
THEMES: sex education, standing up for what you believe in
READALIKES: Famous in a Small Town (Mills), Top Ten (Katie Cotugno)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "Though YA sex education is incorporated more seamlessly into L. C. Rosen's Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) (2018), this is an inclusive, sex-positive romance with plenty of moxie." (Booklist, 15 Dec 2018)

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A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II (Elizabeth Wein)


In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat. Led by Marina Raskova, these three regiments, including the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, nicknamed the "night witches," faced intense pressure and obstacles both in the sky and on the ground. Some of these young women perished in flames. Many of them were in their teens when they went to war. This is the story of Raskova's three regiments, women who enlisted and were deployed on the front lines of battle as navigators, pilots, and mechanics.
PAGES: 388
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 8-12
GENRES: narrative nonfiction, biography
THEMES: WWII, military, strong heroines, war
READALIKES: Code Name Verity (Wein), Purple Hearts (Grant)
STARS AND AWARDS: SLJ starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "Wein does not shy away from describing the difficult and often terrifying aspects of living under Stalin, including descriptions of man-made famines and the Great Purge." (SLJ starred review, 1 Dec 2018)

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Someday We Will Fly (Rachel Dewoskin)


Warsaw, Poland. The year is 1940 and Lillia is fifteen when her mother, Alenka, disappears and her father flees with Lillia and her younger sister, Naomi, to Shanghai, one of the few places that will accept Jews without visas. There they struggle to make a life; they have no money, there is little work, no decent place to live, a culture that doesn't understand them. Meanwhile Lillia is growing up, trying to care for Naomi, whose development is frighteningly slow, in part from malnourishment. And always the worry about Alenka. How will she find them? Is she still alive?
PAGES: 353
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 7+
GENRES: historical fiction
THEMES: WWII, Jewish refugees, Shanghai, Sino-Japanese War
READALIKES: Anya's War (Gosline), First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants (various authors)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "Particularly fascinating is the juxtaposition of the plight of Jewish refugees with that of the Chinese living in a Japanese-occupied Shanghai." (Kirkus starred review, 15 Dec 2018)

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Unnatural Disasters (Jeff Hirsch)


Lucy Weaver has her future all figured out. Make an appearance at prom, ditch graduation, and then head out on an epic road trip with her boyfriend, Luke. But when everyone's phones start to ring halfway through the dance, Lucy knows something terrible has happened--something big. Decades of climate change have left the world teetering on the brink--entire cities drowned, violent extremism on the rise, millions of refugees with nowhere to turn. Is this the night it finally slips over the edge?
PAGES: 344
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 7-12
GENRES: science fiction
THEMES: post-apocalypse, global climate change, terrorism
READALIKES: Ashfall (Mullin), Monument 14 (Laybourne)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "A brilliantly written tale of a town in crisis; while possibly too quiet and quotidian to move some, there is terror in picturing a mundane life in the midst of an apocalypse." (Kirkus, 15 Nov 2018)

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Ship of Smoke and Steel (Django Wexler)


In the lower wards of Kahnzoka, the great port city of the Blessed Empire, eighteen-year-old ward boss Isoka enforces the will of her criminal masters with the power of Melos, the Well of Combat. The money she collects goes to keep her little sister living in comfort, far from the bloody streets they grew up on. When Isoka's magic is discovered by the government, she's arrested and brought to the Emperor's spymaster, who sends her on an impossible mission: steal Soliton, a legendary ghost ship--a ship from which no one has ever returned. If she fails, her sister's life is forfeit.
PAGES: 368
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 8-12
GENRES: fantasy, action, adventure, romance
THEMES: family, loyalty
READALIKES: Throne of Glass (Maas), Daughter of the Pirate King (Levenseller)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "The characters are well-developed, and diversity—in ethnicity, ability, and sexuality—is abundant. From gory fights to unexpected romance, this has something for every fantasy lover." (Kirkus, 15 Nov 2018)

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The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Light the World (Mike Winchell)


In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a burgeoning science called electricity promised to shine new light on a rousing nation. Inventive and ambitious minds were hard at work. Soon that spark was fanned, and a fiery war was under way to be the first to light--and run--the world with electricity. Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of direct current (DC), engaged in a brutal battle with Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse, the inventors of alternating current (AC). There would be no ties in this race--only a winner and a loser.
PAGES: 255
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 7-11
GENRES: narrative nonfiction, science
THEMES: STEM, engineering
READALIKES: The Manga Guide to Electricity (Fujitaki), The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos (Christian Davenport)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "Scientific explanations are incorporated, but this work focuses on the social aspects of this 'war.'" (SLJ, 1 Dec 2018)

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The Cold Is In Her Bones (Peternelle van Arsdale)


Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe. Milla's whole world is her family's farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she's forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next. Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever.
PAGES: 278
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 7-10
GENRES: supernatural, paranormal
THEMES: demons, courage, curses
READALIKES: Cruel Beauty (Hodge)
STARS AND AWARDS: BCCB starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "The author has created a cautionary tale that warns against ignorance and shines a spotlight on feminism." (SLJ, 1 Dec 2018)

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Circle of Elephants (Eric Dinerstein)


Companion to: What Elephants Know. Thirteen-year-old Nanda Singh, the youngest elephant driver in Nepal, enjoys a very special relationship with his tusker, Hira Prashad, through which he grows in understanding and compassion with all animals, including humans.
PAGES: 266
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 4-8
GENRES: historical fiction (1970s)
THEMES: Nepal history, elephants
READALIKES: What Elephants Know (Dinerstein), Tua and the Elephant (Harris)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "With its abundant STEM connections and quiet prose, this is a natural fit for curious, animal-loving middle-graders." (Booklist, 1 Dec 2018)

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The Storm Keeper's Island (Catherine Doyle)


Looking for a middle grade read-aloud for St. Patrick's Day? This one looks great! Fionn Boyle comes from a long line of brave seafarers, people with the ocean behind their eyes. But he can't help but fear the open sea. For years, Fionn's mother has told him stories of Arranmore Island, a strange place that seems to haunt her. Fionn has always wondered about this mysterious island, and from the day he arrives he starts noticing things that can't be explained. He can sense the island all around him, and it feels like the island is watching him, too.

PAGES: 320
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 3-7
GENRES: fantasy, supernatural
THEMES: family, Ireland
READALIKES: Finn Finnegan (Karchut), The Ruins of Gorlan (Flanagan)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, SLJ starred, School Library Connection starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: " A first purchase, modern yet timeless fantasy with plenty of heart and a Celtic twist" (SLJ, 1 Nov 2018).

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Rotten!: Vultures, Beetles, Slime and Nature's Other Decomposers (Anita Sanchez)


What's that terrible smell? It's the revolting scent of rot. But being rotten isn't necessarily bad. If nothing ever rotted, nothing new could live.
Decomposition may seem like the last stop on the food chain, but it's just the beginning. When dead plants and animals decay, they give life to a host of other creatures, and each one helps ecosystems thrive. Decomposition happens in the forest, the ocean--even in your stomach and between your teeth! From vultures and sharks to bacteria, maggots, mushrooms, and more, discover the dirty rotten truth about one of nature's most fascinating processes.
PAGES: 84
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 3-6
GENRES: nonfiction
THEMES: decomposers, food chain
READALIKES: Zombie Makers (Johnson), Itch!: Everything You Didn't Want to Know About What Makes You Scratch (Sanchez)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: "Fun for pleasure reading and factual enough to satisfy science teachers, this title is recommended for anywhere young people take an interest in nature, compost, rot, and renewal." (SLJ, 1 Nov 2018)

This week's sequels (YA):


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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

13 comments:

  1. Loving the anthologies that are coming out! I really value your posts to keep me in the loop of what my students will LOVE!

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  2. I look forward to reading these posts every Tuesday! Thank you!

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  3. Several new titles to add to my cart, thank you!

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  4. I'm excited for the new Emma Mills book, Famous in a Small Town.

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  5. Thanks for the great reviews and I appreciate you adding Readalikes!

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  6. PLEASE keep up with the Readalikes! So helpful. I am an admin assistant and the librarian at our small school so I truly appreciate your guidance when wading through the deluge of book choices in the world. If you can manage it I would love to see your feedback on more non-fiction too!

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    1. Glad you are enjoying them! No worries, I have no intention of stopping the New Release Spotlights. I've been doing them every Tuesday since May 2016, with only a couple of small gaps every now and then. I enjoy them and find them useful, too!

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  7. The book titled, "Ship of Smoke and Steel" looks very interesting.

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    1. Yes! I have my eye on this one, too. And The Storm Keeper's Island!

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    2. Yes! I have my eye on this one, too. And The Storm Keeper's Island!

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  8. Great List! Thanks for all your hard work! IT really helps me to order new and interesting books!

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  9. I look forward to your updates each week. I almost always add titles to my list of books I need to purchase for the media center.

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