New Release Spotlight: December 18, 2018

It’s Winter Break!!! I know many schools are still in session for part or all of this week…you’re almost there!

Congratulations to Julie from Olathe, KS for winning last week’s New Release Spotlight’s lucky draw. Julie selected The Fade by Demitria Lunetta as her prize. I’m doing the drawing again this week, so don’t forget to scroll all the way to the bottom to enter. You may pick any book from November or December’s New Release Spotlights (click on the New Releases tab to see Spotlights for the past 10 weeks). The drawing will close on Sunday at midnight CST, and the winner will be notified on Monday.

December continues to be a slow month for new releases. I found only seven new releases this week, and next Tuesday (Christmas Day) looks equally sparse. I’m not even sure if I’m going to bother with a New Release Spotlight next week since the list will be so short. We’ll see.

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 (none of those this week).

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

The Disasters (M.K. England)

Both the publisher and early Goodreads reviews compare this book to The Guardians of the Galaxy and Firefly. All the reviews I read are positive, calling Disasters a funny and entertaining space adventure.

Nax and a handful of other space Academy washouts are the only surviving pilots after the school is hijacked by terrorists, but in order to spread the truth about the attack, Nax and his fellow failures must execute a dangerous heist.

PAGES: 352
GENRES: science fiction, space opera
THEMES: false accusations, terrorism, friendship
READALIKES: Starflight (Landers); These Broken Stars (Kaufman, Spooner)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The refreshingly normalized representations of Muslim, South Asian, trans, and bisexual characters enrich this appealing story. An action-packed, entertaining blend of space hijinks, humor, and romance.” (Kirkus, 15 Oct 2018)

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

The Girl With the Broken Heart (Lurlene McDaniel)

Two professional reviews Kirkus and Booklist are miles apart on this title, and Goodreads reviews are too few in number to call. If Lurlene McDaniel books are popular at your school, or horse-riding is a thing, you won’t want to miss it.

Kenzie Caine is enrolled at Vanderbilt University, with the goal of becoming a veterinarian. When she lands a summer job caring for and helping to rehabilitate abused horses, she is over-the-moon happy. But a serious heart condition limits her ability to complete the more physical aspects of the job, so her employers have tasked the charming Austin Boyd with helping her.

PAGES: 288
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 7-adult
GENRES: romance, realistic fiction
THEMES: horses, heart condition, inspirational stories
READALIKES: Racing Savannah (Kenneally)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Despite a plot overloaded with issues to the point of melodrama, the suspense is skillfully paced, and the characters well rendered and appealing.” (Booklist, 15 Oct 2018)

“The trite romantic trappings aren’t helped by stilted prose that contains reams of exposition. Neither Austin nor Kenzie is a distinct character, due in large part to the frequent and clumsy point-of-view shifts.” (Kirkus, 1 Oct 2018)

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love (Heather Demetrios, various authors)

Well-known YA authors answer real letters from teens all over the world about the dark side of love: cheating, betrayals, break-ups, dating violence, and loneliness. Contributors include: Becky Albertalli, Nina LaCour, Adi Alsaid, Libba Bray, and many more.

PAGES: 304
GENRES: anthology, epistolary
THEMES: emotions, rejection, psychology
READALIKES: Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (Hall, Jones, et. al.); Stuff That Sucks: A Teen’s Guide to Accepting What You Can’t Change and Committing to What You Can (Sedley)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “There’s something for everyone in this collection, whether you’ve loved from a distance or up close, or have been too afraid to love for fear of getting hurt. A moving choice for libraries serving teens.” (Booklist starred review, 15 Oct 2018)

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

29 Dates (Melissa de la Cruz)

Ji-su’s traditional South Korean parents are concerned by what they see as her lack of attention to her schoolwork and her future. Working with Seoul’s premiere matchmaker to find the right boyfriend is one step toward ensuring Ji-su’s success, and going on the recommended dates is Ji-su’s compromise to please her parents while finding space to figure out her own dreams. But when she flubs a test then skips out on a date to spend time with friends, her fed-up parents shock her by shipping her off to a private school in San Francisco.

PAGES: 400
GENRES: Coming of age, romance, realistic fiction
THEMES: tradition vs. younger generation, being yourself, independence, South Korea
READALIKES: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Han)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The story is interspersed with dialogue from Ji-Su’s 29 dates, adding structure to the tale and conveying the awkwardness of early relationships.” (Publishers Weekly, 5 Nov 2018)

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life (Rachel Cohn)

On her sixteenth birthday, foster kid Elle Zoellner, discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahara, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington, DC, to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hyper-critical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn’t exist.

PAGES: 352
GENRES: Realistic fiction
THEMES: family, Japan, wealth
READALIKES: The Princess Diaries series (Cabot)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Cohn’s descriptions of Tokyo are fresh and vivid, focusing on details interesting to teen readers, such as cat cafés, Japanese slang, and the elaborate presentation of food. It’s one of those rare books that combines an authentic teen voice with a confident plunge into a fascinating culture.” (Booklist starred review, 1 Oct 2018)

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

Buried Lives: The Enslaved People of George Washington’s Mount Vernon (Carla Killough McClafferty)

I had difficulty finding this one on Titlewave; if you search by the ISBN (978-0823436972), it will come up. This is also a Junior Library Guild selection for Feb 2019, middle grades nonfiction.

When he was eleven years old, George Washington inherited ten human beings. His own life has been well chronicled, but the lives of the people he owned–the people who supported his plantation and were buried in unmarked graves there–have not. Using primary source material and photographs of historical artifacts, Carla McClafferty sheds light on the lives of several people George Washington owned as slaves.

PAGES: 168
GENRES: nonfiction, history
THEMES: US history, slavery, George Washington, US colonial period
READALIKES: In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives (Davis)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred (15 Nov 2018); JLG selection (Feb 2019, middle grade nonfiction)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “While learning about their lives, readers will also see how Washington’s views on slavery shifted over the years.” (Booklist starred review, 15 Nov 2018)

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

Love, Z (Jessica Sima)

From the author of Not Quite Narwhal

When a small robot named Z discovers a message in a bottle signed “Love, Beatrice,” they decide to find out what “love” means. Unable to get an answer from the other robots, they leave to embark on an adventure that will lead them to Beatrice–and back home again, where love was hiding all along.

GENRES: picture book, fantasy
THEMES: love, robots
READALIKES: Robot in Love (McBeth)
STARS AND AWARDS: Publishers Weekly starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Love, the robot finally learns, can be many different things-and sometimes it’s closer to home than one realizes.” (Publishers Weekly starred, 12 Nov 2018)

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

This week’s sequels (MG):

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

This week’s sequels (YA):

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 photo 9900cc-blog-line.png
This list also appears on my New Releases–Weekly Board on Pinterest:


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.