New Release Spotlight: February 4, 2020 (YA)

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Another big list this week! I have once again split this week’s Spotlight into three groups: young adult, middle grades, and picture books. This is the YA Spotlight. The middle grade and picture book lists are also linked at the bottom of this page.

I am most likely to read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder because it reminds me of other thriller/mysteries I’ve enjoyed like One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus and Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson. What Kind of Girl also looks good to me because it reminds me of Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios. Domestic violence is a serious issue with teen girls, and I’m glad to see a few YA books tackle the topicl

As always, titles with a * by them received two or more starred professional reviews. Don’t forget to bookmark The Ginormous book list, which officially hit 400 titles this week!

*Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate–as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing–with some awkward dude she hardly knows–is beyond her. Going door to isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer–and so are Maya and Jamie.

Booklist and SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 7+
  • Themes: elections, politics, volunteering, Jewish characters, Muslims, Ramadan, bat mitzvah, divorced parents

Where Have All the Bees Gone?: Pollinators in Crisis by Rebecca E. Hirsch

Bees pollinate 75 percent of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States. Around the world, bees pollinate $24 billion worth of crops each year. Without bees, humans would face a drastically reduced diet. We need bees to grow the foods that keep us healthy.

But numbers of bees are falling, and that has scientists alarmed. What’s causing the decline? Diseases, pesticides, climate change, and loss of habitat are all threatening bee populations. Some bee species teeter on the brink of extinction. Learn about the many bee species on Earth — their nests, their colonies, their life cycles, and their vital connection to flowering plants. Most importantly, find out how you can help these important pollinators.

Includes color photos, bibliography, source notes, index. Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): nonfiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 5+
  • Themes: bees, climate change, sustainability, pesticides, habitat loss, pollination, environment

Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation by Karen Cherro Quiñones

Theodosia Burr, daughter of Vice President Aaron Burr, came of age in New York City when the New Nation was growing up. She attended the inauguration of President George Washington in 1789, was at her father’s side on the campaign trail and at his inauguration in 1801, attended presidential addresses to Congress, and hosted the most prominent politicians and thinkers of her time.

The Burrs’ ideas about educating young women were revolutionary. Theodosia was an experiment in the equal treatment of women–regardless of social status–in education, family life, society, and the law. The family believed that women had an important role to play in the New Nation, and Theodosia was fully prepared.

  • Genre(s): biography, nonfiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: women, education, American Revolution, New York City, Aaron Burr, children of presidents, social class, US history

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Book 1 in a planned duology. Debut author! As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer–the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice.

To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic. When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic. But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder–and more peril–than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected…or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

  • Genre(s): fantasy
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: pirates, magic, princesses, pirates

 

Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives–Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nationinstigates a terrible war, Emilie and Annette come together to help the rebellion unearth the truth before it’s too late.

No starred reviews, but all professional reviewers I read praise the story, particularly its wide-ranging LGBT representation.

  • Genre(s): fantasy
  • Recommended for: Grades 7+
  • Themes: alternating perspectives, magic, social class, gender roles, swordfighting, sorcery, switching identities, LGBT+, rebellion

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Debut author! This book was originally published in the UK in 2019.

Everyone in Fairview knows the story. Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town. But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent…and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

No starred reviews, but there are HUGE Goodreads ratings on this title! After reading a few of the Goodreads reviews, I’ve added this one to my TBR.

  • Genre(s): mystery, thriller
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: detectives, cold cases, murder, suicide, secrets

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

Cal wants to be a journalist, and he’s already well underway with almost half a million followers on his FlashFame app and an upcoming internship at Buzzfeed. But his plans are derailed when his pilot father is selected for a highly-publicized NASA mission to Mars. Within days, Cal and his parents leave Brooklyn for hot and humid Houston.

With the entire nation desperate for any new information about the astronauts, Cal finds himself thrust in the middle of a media circus. Suddenly his life is more like a reality TV show, with his constantly bickering parents struggling with their roles as the “perfect American family.”

And then Cal meets Leon, whose mother is another astronaut on the mission, and he finds himself falling head over heels–and fast. They become an oasis for each other amid the craziness of this whole experience. As their relationship grows, so does the frenzy surrounding the Mars mission, and when secrets are revealed about ulterior motives of the program, Cal must find a way to get to the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction, romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: astronauts, LGBT+, Houston, Texas, journalism

The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz

Queen’s Secret, book 1. This is a planned duology with somewhat mixed reviews. Professional reviews are mostly positive, but two call the story “formulaic.” But Goodreads reviews are quite low for this author.

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.

Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.

When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.

  • Genre(s): fantasy
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: apprentices, assassins, royalty, powers, magic, stolen objects, war, love, alternating perspectives

What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka

Winning a scholarship to California’s most prestigious art school seems like a fairy tale ending to Sabine’s awful senior year. After losing both her mother and her home, Sabine longs for a place where she belongs. But the cutthroat world of visual arts is nothing like what Sabine had imagined, and when she sets out to copy a modern masterpiece to improve her skills and (hopefully) her grades, she accidentally becomes party to a crime.

As of this writing, there are only 23 Goodreads reviews, but the average rating is pretty high.

  • Genre(s): thriller
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: art, death of a parent, grief, crime, poverty, homelessness, high cost of college

What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel

What kind of girl stays after her boyfriend hits her? The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But her classmates have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if Mike was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true?

Some girls want to rally for his expulsion–and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: multiple perspectives, domestic violence, abuse, mental health, eating disorders, secrets, self-harm, OCD, anxiety


THIS WEEK’S SEQUELS (YOUNG ADULT):

 


MORE LISTS FROM THIS WEEK:

       

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