New Release Spotlight: June 23, 2020

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Late-June lull! I’ve only got 14 new titles for you this week, over half of which are YA. My favorite title on this week’s list is Hunted By the Sky, a fantasy romance based on medieval India. What a gorgeous front cover!

ABOUT THE SPOTLIGHT

The New Release Spotlight began in May 2016 as a way to help librarians keep up with the many new children’s and YA books that are released each week. Every Tuesday, school librarian Leigh Collazo compiles the New Release Spotlight using a combination of Follett’s Titlewave, Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble. As always, titles with a * by them received two or more starred professional reviews. Recommended grade levels represent the range of grade levels recommended by professional book reviewers.

The titles on this week’s list are #777-#790 on The Ginormous book list.

*Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti

Sydney Reilly has a bad feeling about going home to San Francisco before she even gets on the plane. How could she not? Her mother is Lila Shore—the Lila Shore—a film star who prizes her beauty and male attention above all else…certainly above her daughter.

But Sydney’s worries multiply when she discovers that Lila is involved with the dangerous Jake, an art dealer with shady connections. Jake loves all beautiful objects, and Sydney can feel his eyes on her whenever he’s around. And he’s not the only one. Sydney is starting to attract attention—good and bad—wherever she goes: from sweet, handsome Nicco Ricci, from the unsettling construction worker next door, and even from Lila. Behaviors that once seemed like misunderstandings begin to feel like threats as the summer grows longer and hotter.

It’s unnerving, how beauty is complicated, and objects have histories, and you can be looked at without ever being seen. But real danger, crimes of passion, the kind of stuff where someone gets killed—it only mostly happens in the movies, Sydney is sure. Until the night something life-changing happens on the stairs that lead to the beach. A thrilling night that goes suddenly very wrong. When loyalties are called into question. And when Sydney learns a terrible truth: beautiful objects can break.

THREE starred reviews!

  • Genre(s): mystery, thriller
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: child of a celebrity, beauty, toxic masculinity, objectification, San Francisco, California, virginity, unwanted male attention, crime, evidence

Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl―Gul―in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance―and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

SLJ Express starred. This story is inspired by medieval India.

  • Genre(s): fantasy, romance, adventure
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: royalty, kings and queens, rebellion, strong females, female warriors, magic, revenge, alternating perspectives, birthmarks, prophecies, orphans, social class

What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

Lex was taken–trafficked–and now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn’t quite know how to be Lex again.

After she moves in with her aunt and uncle, for the first time in a long time, she knows what it is to feel truly safe. Except, she doesn’t trust it. Doesn’t trust her new home. Doesn’t trust her new friend. Doesn’t trust her new life. Instead she trusts what she shouldn’t because that’s what feels right. She doesn’t deserve good things.

But when she is sexually assaulted by her so-called boyfriend and his friends, Lex is forced to reckon with what happened to her and that just because she is used to it, doesn’t mean it is okay. She’s thrust into the limelight and realizes she has the power to help others. But first she’ll have to confront the monsters of her past with the help of her family, friends, and a new love.

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: kidnapping, sex trafficking, trust, safety, self-esteem, rape, drugs, physical abuse, prostitution

The Sullivan Sisters by Kathryn Ormsbee

Time changes things. That painful fact of life couldn’t be truer for the Sullivan sisters. Once, they used to be close, sharing secrets inside homemade blanket castles. Now, life in the Sullivan house means closed doors and secrets left untold.

Fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, is shocked by the death of Siegfried, her pet turtle. Seventeen-year-old Claire is bound for better things than her Oregonian hometown—until she receives a crushing rejection from her dream college. And eighteen-year-old Eileen is nursing a growing addiction in the wake of life-altering news.

Then, days before Christmas, a letter arrives, informing the sisters of a dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing about. The news forces them to band together in the face of a sinister family mystery…and, possibly, murder.

  • Genre(s): mystery, realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: sisters, family secrets, single mothers, death of father, Oregon, college admissions, addiction, alcoholism, mental health, Irish Americans, inheritance, murder

Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross

After eight years, Evadne will finally be reunited with her older sister, Halcyon, who has been serving in the queen’s army. But when Halcyon unexpectedly appears a day early, Eva knows something is wrong. Halcyon has charged with a heinous crime, and though her life is spared, she is sentenced to 15 years.

Suspicious of the charges, brought forth by Halcyon’s army commander, as well as the details of the crime, Eva volunteers to take part of her sister’s sentence. If there’s a way to absolve Halcyon, she’ll find it. But as the sisters begin their sentences, they quickly learn that there are fates worse than death.

SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): fantasy, romance, mythology
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: soldiers, crime and punishment, prison, false accusations, sisters, relics, heroism, Greek mythology

My Eyes Are Up Here by Laura Zimmermann

Debut author! If Greer Walsh could only live inside her head, life would be easier. She’d be able to focus on excelling at math or negotiating peace talks between her best friend and…everyone else. She wouldn’t spend any time worrying about being the only Kennedy High student whose breasts are bigger than her head.

But you can’t play volleyball inside your head. Or go to the pool. Or have confusingly date-like encounters with the charming new boy. You need an actual body for all of those things. And Greer is entirely uncomfortable in hers.

SLJ starred. How many high school girls (and women) can relate to this story? A seldom-discussed topic that will make a great addition to middle and high school libraries.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: body image, large breasts, self-esteem, high school, school stories, volleyball, mothers and daughters

Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano

One cold, crisp night, Jack Sommers was faced with a choice—live forever according to the ancient, magical rules of Gaia, or die.

Jack chose to live, and in exchange, he became a Winter—an immortal physical embodiment of the season on Earth. Every year, he must hunt the Season who comes before him. Summer kills Spring. Autumn kills Summer. Winter kills Autumn. And Spring kills Winter.

Jack and Fleur, a Winter and a Spring, fall for each other against all odds. To be together, they’ll have to escape the cycle that’s been forcing them apart. But their creator won’t let them go without a fight.

  • Genre(s): fantasy, romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: seasons, assassins, mythology, star-crossed lovers, rebellion

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood―an ancient forest possessed by souls―to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.

  • Genre(s): fantasy, adventure
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: spies, royalty, magic, bringing people back to life, friendship, assassins, orphans, stron world-building

Super Puzzletastic Mysteries: Short Stories for Young Sleuths from Mystery Writers of America by various authors

From tales of hapless superheroes and stolen squirrel monkeys to murderous triplets and haunted basements, these thrilling, puzzling, and hilarious cases have one thing in common—YOU get a chance to be the detective before the author reveals the solution.

Check out this impressive list of contributers: Chris Grabenstein, Stuart Gibbs, Lamar Giles, Bruce Hale, Peter Lerangis, Kate Milford, Tyler Whitesides…

This book is perfect for one of my new Genre Personalities coming up in a couple of weeks!

  • Genre(s): short stories, mysteries, puzzle books
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-7
  • Themes: puzzles, brain teasers

Con Quest! by Sam Maggs

Cat and Alex are excited to be at the world’s most popular comics convention―and they’re even more excited to compete in the Quest, a huge scavenger hunt run by their favorite nerdy celebrity. The big prize: a chance to meet him!

The twins ditch their older sister Fi and set off to find geeky clues, tackle nerdy challenges, and cross as many items as possible off their Quest list, which includes volunteering at an Artist Alley booth, gathering cosplayers in enough colors to make a double rainbow, and actually finding something healthy to eat in the convention center!

Can the twins work together even when they disagree on how to compete? Will Fi find Cat and Alex before their parents realize they’re missing? Most importantly, can these ultimate fans complete the ultimate Quest?

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): adventure
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-7
  • Themes: puzzle books, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, comic books, comic book conventions, nerd culture, cosplay, twins, siblings, brothers and sisters

*Braver: A Wombat’s Tale by Suzanne Selfors and Walker Ranson

Lola Budge isn’t your average bare-nosed wombat. While her parents and neighbors in the Northern Forest want nothing more than peace and quiet, Lola loves to talk. Bored by the quiet routine of wombat life, Lola desperately wants something, anything, interesting to happen.

But when Lola follows the terrifying sound of unfamiliar screeching, she discovers a predator who has been kept in exile for many generations. And this creature has captured the peaceful wombats and carted them away―including Lola’s parents.

To save her family, Lola will need help from the Queen of Tassie Island herself. But the road to the golden city of Dore is long and treacherous for a young wombat, especially with predators on the loose. To save the ones she loves, Lola will have to brave infested swamps, rushing rivers, and soaring heights, while encountering all sorts of strange critters, both friend and foe.

Kirkus and Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): animal fantasy, adventure
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-7
  • Themes: wombats, animals, quests, hero’s journey, Tasmania, Australia, platypuses, rats, penguins

Starting from Seneca Falls by Karen Schwabach

Bridie’s life has been a series of wrongs. The potato famine in Ireland. Being sent to the poorhouse when her mother’s new job in America didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. Becoming an orphan.

And then there’s the latest wrong–having to work for a family so abusive that Bridie is afraid she won’t survive. So she runs away to Seneca Falls, New York, which in 1848 is a bustling town full of possibility. There, she makes friends with Rose, a girl with her own list of wrongs, but with big dreams, too.

Rose helps Bridie get a job with the strangest lady she’s ever met, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Mrs. Stanton is planning a convention to talk about the rights of women. For Bridie and Rose, it’s a new idea, that women and girls could have a voice. But they sure are sick of all the wrongs. Maybe it’s time to fight for their rights!

  • Genre(s): historical fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-8
  • Themes: slavery, indentured servitude, immigration to America, 19th Century, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, orphans, women’s rights, abolitionist movements, prejudice, racism

National Regular Average Ordinary Day by Lisa Katzenberger (Author) and Barbara Bakos (Illustrator)

Peter does not like being bored, so he comes up with a way to have some festive fun–he’ll celebrate a different holiday each day! He even rates them on a scale of 1 to 10. But when he wakes up one morning to discover there isn’t any holiday, he realizes he’ll have to take matters into his own hands and make up his own! That’s easier said than done, though, and nothing seems to go right–until Peter realizes that even a regular, average, ordinary day can be something worth celebrating.

  • Genre(s): picture book, humor
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: holidays, calendar, friends, boredom, imagination, creativity, play

Nola’s Scribbles Save the Day by Cristina Lalli

Nola loves her scribbles. They go with her wherever she goes. But she can’t seem to share her scribbles with others―no one seems to understand the imaginative world she’s created for herself. Frustrated and uninspired, Nola draws a blank. A big, boring blank.

But when Nola falls deep into a creative slump, she discovers she’s not alone. If she can find the courage to share her scribbled ideas again, she may just inspire others to think outside the box and give their ideas a try too.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: art, imagination, inspiration, drawing, community

THIS WEEK’S SEQUELS (YOUNG ADULT):

THIS WEEK’S SEQUELS (MIDDLE GRADES):

THIS WEEK’S SEQUELS (ELEMENTARY AND PICTURE BOOKS):

 

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