New Release Spotlight: June 25, 2019

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Only FOUR more days of school! FOUR!

This week’s 11 new releases include a middle grade graphic novel with four starred reviews! I will absolutely be getting that one for my 12-year old. There are also two picture books about pet adoption, a YA fantasy set in Seoul, and a middle grade nonfiction book about how the FBI finally caught the Unabomber. Quite the mix this week!

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Ooh! A fantasy set in modern-day Seoul! And by a debt author! Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt. But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

PAGES: 448
GENRE: fantasy, romance
THEMES: Korean folklore, friendship
READALIKES: Descendant of the Crane (He), The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (Yee)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Seamlessly weaving together the supernatural elements with everyday life, Cho’s debut-driven by anguish, sweet romance, and the need for connection-is a formidable first effort that ends with a promise of further adventures.” (Publishers Weekly, 13 May 2019)

Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson

In Haley’s high school there are two boys named Martin Nathaniel Munroe II (cousins), and one of them has started a text conversation with her, which becomes an all-consuming exchange between two people who see themselves as outsiders, but the only trouble is that Haley really does not know which Martin she is talking to, and actually meeting face-to-face may lead to an epic meltdown.

PAGES: 384
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 7-12, reluctant readers
GENRE: realistic fiction
THEMES: texting, dating, generalized anxiety disorder
READALIKES: TTYL (Myracle), Virtually Yours (Tash)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Told entirely in chat conversations, the potentially perplexing narrative will be understood by readers who are accustomed to communicating online and reading deeply into text messages.” (Kirkus, 15 Apr 2019)

Cursed by Karol Ruth Silverstein

As if her parents’ divorce and sister’s departure for college weren’t bad enough, fourteen-year-old Ricky Bloom has just been diagnosed with a life-changing chronic illness. Her days consist of cursing everyone out, skipping school–which has become a nightmare–daydreaming about her crush, Julio, and trying to keep her parents from realizing just how bad things are. But she can’t keep her ruse up forever. Ricky’s afraid, angry, alone, and one suspension away from repeating ninth grade when she realizes- she can’t be held back. She’ll do whatever it takes to move forward–even if it means changing the person she’s become. Lured out of her funk by a quirky classmate, Oliver, who’s been there too, Ricky’s porcupine exterior begins to shed some spines.

PAGES: 315
GENRE: realistic fiction
THEMES: chronic illness, rheumatoid arthritis, family problems
READALIKES: When My Heart Joins the Thousand (Steiger)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Silverstein, who was diagnosed with arthritis as a teen, excels at evoking the physical and emotional pain Ricky endures without having Ricky’s condition define her. She emerges as a likable, relatable heroine whose wit and sense of hope will prove inspiring.” (Publishers Weekly, 29 Apr 2019)

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care. Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle. When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

PAGES: 376
GENRE: realistic fiction, romance
THEMES: suicide, family problems
READALIKES: Serious Moonlight (Bennett)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Told in Rob’s and Maegan’s alternating perspectives, this drama romance, which features teens wrestling with complicated issues and big decisions, will leave readers asking whether it’s okay to do something wrong for the right reasons.” (Booklist, 1 May 2019)

War in the Ring: Joe Louis, Max Schmeling, and the Fight between America and Hitler by John Florio (Author) and Ouisie Shapiro (Author)

America’s black boxing champion. Hitler’s favorite athlete. And a world at war. Joe Louis was born on an Alabama cotton patch and raised in a Detroit ghetto. Max Schmeling grew up in poverty in Hamburg, Germany. For both boys, boxing was a way out and a way up. Little did they know someday they would face each other in a pair of battles that would capture the imagination of the world. In America, Joe was a symbol of hope to a nation of blacks yearning to participate in the American dream. In Germany, Max was made to symbolize the superiority of the Aryan race. The two men climbed through the ropes with the weight of their countries on their shoulders–and only one would leave victorious.

PAGES: 208
GENRE: narrative nonfiction, sports
THEMES: boxing, WWII, nationalism
READALIKES: The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation): The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics (Brown)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Even for readers not well-versed in boxing lore, the story is fascinating and reads as smoothly as a novel.” (SLJ, 1 May 2019)

The Unabomber: Agent Kathy Puckett and the Hunt for a Serial Bomber by Bryan Denson

The Unabomber was a lone-wolf terrorist who carried out fourteen bombings that left three people dead and another twenty-three injured. A cunning genius, he dodged his FBI pursuers for nearly two decades, terrifying Americans from coast to coast. Agent Kathy Puckett, a spy hunter and highly trained psychologist, served as the turning point in the FBI’s efforts to understand the mind of the faceless killer. Her insights helped send more than a hundred agents to a remote cabin in the mountains of western Montana on April 3, 1996. There the FBI captured Theodore J. Kaczynski, engineer of the most notorious bombing spree in U.S. history. Bryan Denson presents the story of the FBI’s investigation of the Unabomber and the agent who helped bring him to justice.

PAGES: 162
GENRE: narrative nonfiction, true crime
THEMES: crime, FBI, forensic science
READALIKES: Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice (Stevenson), The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives (Slater)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “An enthralling, well-researched introduction to true crime for upper elementary/middle school readers.” (SLJ, 1 Jun 2019)

*Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis

When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.

PAGES: 393
GENRE: graphic novel, historical fiction
THEMES: royalty
READALIKES: Amulet series (Kibuishi)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, Kirkus starred, Publishers Weekly starred, SLJ starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “It’s a stunning visual package, and the slow-­burning story of Margaret’s gradually opening world is made all the more captivating by the well-researched historical setting, immersive world building, and engrossing characters.” (Booklist starred review, 15 May 2019)

Wolfie Monster and the Big Bad Pizza Battle by Joey Ellis

Monster brothers Wolfie, Jackson, and Roy are in for some serious competition when the gigantic corporation, Happy Leaf, moves into their hometown of Oak Hollow and wants to buy their pizza parlor. But not all is on the up-and-up when they discover the villainous CEO, Lord Mudpant, wants to turn the townspeople into zombies. Can the boys set aside their squabbles long enough to thwart Mudpant’s nefarious plans?!

PAGES: 144
GENRE: graphic novel, humor
THEMES: optimism, absurdity
READALIKES: Captain Underpants series (Pilkey), Dog Man series (Pilkey)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “This ridiculous and fun twist on a well-worn trope will charm the legions of readers who can’t get enough “Captain Underpants,” “Dog Man,” and “Lunch Lady” books.” (SLJ, 1 Jun 2019)

*Moth by Isabel Thomas

A newly-emerged peppered moth blends in with other speckled-winged moths on lichen-covered branches, but over time the moths with black wings increase as trees are blackened by soot from man-made machines.

PAGES: unpaged
GENRE: picture book
THEMES: insects, human impact on nature
READALIKES: Pond (LaMarche), Old Turtle (Wood)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, Horn Book starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The text, both poetic and informational, tells an evolution story while transmitting a gentle environmental message, and the artwork is detailed, at times alarming, and always captivating.” (Booklist starred review, 15 Mar 2019)

How to Walk a Dump Truck by Peter Pearson (Author) and Mircea Catusanu (Illustrator)

Just like a new pet, a new dump truck is a heap of responsibility, but it’s also loads of fun. Just remember: If you take care of it well, your dump truck will be your forever friend. Includes tips on: selecting the perfect leash at the hardware store; whether to feed your truck diesel or regular; cleaning up your truck’s messes at the dump; socializing with other trucks, and much more.

GENRE: picture book
THEMES: pet adoption, trucks
READALIKES: Before You Were Mine (Boelts), The One and Only Wolfgang (Greig)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “A book that runs like a well-oiled machine; expect a load of love from both truck fanatics and pet owners.” (Kirkus, 1 Apr 2019)

Adopting a Dinosaur by José Carlos Andrés (Author), Ana Sanfelippo (Illustrator)

A little girl wants a pet, but her parents won’t let her have one. They jokingly tell her she may have a dinosaur if she can find one, and she does! A charming and humorous tale about imagination, fantastical pets, and parents who get themselves in trouble.

GENRE: picture book
THEMES: pet adoption, dinosaurs
READALIKES: How to Walk a Dump Truck (Pearson)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Humorous without a trace of snark, this Spanish import hatches just right.” (Kirkus starred, 1 Apr 2019)




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One Comment

  • Enjoy your last 4 days of school and thanks for the great reviews!


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