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New Book Releases February 2022 — Week of February 8

Welcome to Week 2 of the New Book Releases February 2022! I’ve got a great list of 20 new titles this week! This week’s Spotlight features a variety of genres and diverse characters!

My top picks for New Book Releases February 2022 — Week 2:

  • No Filter and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado (YA)
  • On the Move: Home Is Where You Find It by Michael Rosen (MG)
  • Tiny Cedric by Sally Lloyd-Jones (PB)

This week’s new book release titles are #2278-#2298 on The Ginormous book list.

NEW BOOK RELEASES FEBRUARY 2022 — WEEK 2 — YOUNG ADULT

Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon

Debut author! Sunny G’s brother left him one thing when he died: His notebook, which Sunny is determined to fill up with a series of rash decisions.

Decision number one was a big one: He stopped wearing his turban, cut off his hair, and shaved his beard. He doesn’t look like a Sikh anymore. He doesn’t look like himself anymore. Even his cosplay doesn’t look right without his beard.

Sunny debuts his new look at prom, which he’s stuck going to alone. He’s skipping the big fandom party–the one where he’d normally be in full cosplay, up on stage playing bass with his band and his best friend, Ngozi–in favor of the Very Important Prom Experience. An experience that’s starting to look like a bust.

Enter Mindii Vang, a girl with a penchant for making rash decisions of her own, starting with stealing Sunny’s notebook. When Sunny chases after her, prom turns into an all-night adventure–a night full of rash, wonderful, romantic, stupid, life-changing decisions.

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 8-12
  • Themes: death of a sibling, taking chances, being true to oneself, Sikh Muslims, identity, Prom, alcoholism, cosplay, journals, stuttering, speech disorders
  • Protagonist description: boy, age 18, Sikh Muslim; secondary characters are diverse

Lulu and Milagro’s Search for Clarity by Angela Velez

Overachiever Luz “Lulu” Zavala has straight As, perfect attendance, and a solid ten-year plan. First up: nail her interview for a dream internship at Stanford, the last stop on her school’s cross-country college road trip.

The only flaw in her plan is Clara, her oldest sister, who went off to college and sparked a massive fight with their overprotective Peruvian mom, who is now convinced that out-of-state-college will destroy their family. If Lulu can’t fix whatever went wrong between them, the whole trip—and her future—will be a waste.

Middle sister Milagro wants nothing to do with college or a nerdy class field trip. Then a spot opens up on the trip just as her own spring break plans (Operation Don’t Die a Virgin) are thwarted, and she hops on the bus with her glittery lipsticks, more concerned about getting back at her ex than she is about schools or any family drama.

But the trip opens her eyes about possibilities she’d never imagined for herself. Maybe she is more than the boy-crazy girl everyone seems to think she is.

On a journey from Baltimore all the way to San Francisco, Lulu and Milagro will become begrudging partners as they unpack weighty family expectations, uncover Clara’s secrets, and maybe even discover the true meaning of sisterhood.

SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction, humor
  • Recommended for: Grades 8-12
  • Themes: road trips, overachievers, sisters, Peruvian Americans, college, university, spring break, cross-country trips, Catholic schools, family
  • Protagonist description: two sisters, Peruvian American; diverse secondary characters

No Filter and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado

Twenty one-year-old Max Monroe has it all: beauty, friends, and a glittering life filled with adventure. With tons of followers on Instagram, her picture-perfect existence seems eminently enviable.

Except it’s all fake.

Max is actually 17-year-old Kat Sanchez, a quiet and sarcastic teenager living in drab Bakersfield, California. Nothing glamorous in her existence–just sprawl, bad house parties, a crap school year, and the awkwardness of dealing with her best friend Hari’s unrequited love.

But while Kat’s life is far from perfect, she thrives as Max: doling out advice, sharing beautiful photos, networking with famous influencers, even making a real friend in a follower named Elena. The closer Elena and “Max” get–texting, Snapping, and even calling–the more Kat feels she has to keep up the façade.

But when one of Max’s posts goes ultra-viral and gets back to the very person she’s been stealing photos from, her entire world–real and fake–comes crashing down around her. She has to figure out a way to get herself out of the huge web of lies she’s created without hurting the people she loves. But it might already be too late.

Publishers Weekly starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 8-12
  • Themes: lies, fake online identities, social media, California, identity theft
  • Protagonist description: female, age 17, Puerto Rican, fat

You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen

Debut author! Sabriya has her whole summer planned out in color-coded glory, but those plans go out the window after a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort.

You Truly Assumed was never meant to be anything more than an outlet, but the blog goes viral as fellow Muslim teens around the country flock to it and find solace and a sense of community.

Soon two more teens, Zakat and Farah, join Bri to run You Truly Assumed and the three quickly form a strong friendship. But as the blog’s popularity grows, so do the pushback and hateful comments.

When one of them is threatened, the search to find out who is behind it all begins, and their friendship is put to the test when all three must decide whether to shut down the blog and lose what they’ve worked for…or take a stand and risk everything to make their voices heard.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 8-12
  • Themes: terrorism, summer, Islamophobia, Muslim Americans, journals, blogs, social media, friendship, Virginia, Washington, DC, bombs, coming-of-age
  • Protagonist description: female, Black, Muslim American, HS senior

Pixels of You by Ananth Hirsh (Author), Yuko Ota (Author), and J.R. Doyle (Illustrator)

In a near future, augmentation and AI changed everything and nothing. Indira is a human girl who has been cybernetically augmented after a tragic accident, and Fawn is one of the first human-presenting AI.

They have the same internship at a gallery, but neither thinks much of the other’s photography. But after a huge public blowout, their mentor gives them an ultimatum: work together on a project or leave her gallery forever. Grudgingly, the two begin to collaborate, and what comes out of it is astounding and revealing for both of them.

Pixels of You is about the slow transformation of a rivalry to a friendship to something more as Indira and Fawn navigate each other, the world around them–and what it means to be an artist and a person.

  • Genre(s): graphic novel, science fiction, romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 7+
  • Themes: augmented humans, artificial intelligence, internships, photography, unwilling partnerships, artists, rivalries, New York City, near future, robots, discrimination
  • Protagonist description: female, Indian American, has some robots body parts; female, cyborg, white

On the Move: Home Is Where You Find It by Michael Rosen (Author) and Quentin Blake (Illustrator)

That’s why
it can happen again.
It does happen again.
It has happened again.

Some of Michael Rosen’s relatives were lost before he was born, in the Holocaust. First, he wondered about them. And he wrote poems. Next, he searched for their stories. And he wrote poems. Then he found their stories. And he wrote poems.

This is the companion book to The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II.

Author Michael Rosen has brought together forty-nine of his most powerful poems, exploring the themes of migration and displacement through the lens of his childhood in the shadow of World War II, the lives of his relatives during that war, and migration, refugees, and displacement today and tomorrow, here, there, and everywhere.

Throughout, atmospheric watercolors from master illustrator Quentin Blake evoke the hardship, exhaustion, isolation, and companionship of being on the move. At once intimate and universal, On the Move probes the power of art to adapt, bear witness, and heal.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): poetry, memoir
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-8
  • Themes: Holocaust, WWII, death, migration, refugees, displacement, European history, world history, family, survival, war, perseverance
  • Protagonist description: male, white, Jewish

Cold by Mariko Tamaki

Todd Mayer is dead. Now a ghost, hovering over his body, recently discovered in a snow covered park, naked and frozen. As detectives investigate Todd’s homicide, talking to the very people linked to the events leading to his death, Todd replays the choice that led him to his end.

Georgia didn’t know Todd. But ever since she heard about his death, she can’t stop thinking about him.

Maybe because they’re both outcasts at their school, or because they’re both queer. Maybe because the story of Todd people keep telling feels like a lot of fake stories Georgia has heard people tell. Plus Georgia has a feeling she’s seen Todd somewhere before, somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be.

Told through the voices of Todd in his afterlife and Georgia as she uncovers the truth behind his death, Cold is an immersive, emotional, and provocative read.

  • Genre(s): mystery
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: ghosts, murder, criminal investigations, cheating, flashbacks, queer, outcasts, private schools, bystanders, homophobia
  • Protagonist description: female, biracial (Asian and white)

Finding Her Edge by Jennifer Iacopelli

With gold-medalist parents, and her older sister headed to the Olympics, all she wants is to live up to the family name and stand atop the ice dance podium at the Junior World Championships. But fame doesn’t always mean fortune, and their legendary skating rink is struggling under the weight of her dad’s lavish lifestyle. The only thing keeping it afloat is a deal to host the rest of the Junior Worlds team before they leave for France.

That means training on the same ice as her first crush, Freddie, the partner she left when her growth spurt outpaced his. For the past two years, he’s barely acknowledged her existence, and she can’t even blame him for it.

When the family’s finances take another unexpected hit, losing the rink seems inevitable until her partner, Brayden, suggests they let the world believe what many have suspected: that their intense chemistry isn’t contained to the ice. Fans and sponsors alike take the bait, but keeping up the charade is harder than she ever imagined. And training alongside Freddie makes it worse, especially when pretending with Brayden starts to feel very real.

As the biggest competition of her life draws closer and her family’s legacy hangs in the balance, Adriana is caught between her past and present, between the golden future she’s worked so hard for, and the one she gave up long ago.

  • Genre(s): sports fiction, romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 7+
  • Themes: Olympic Games, ice dancing, financial problems, ice skating, lies, pretend romances, love triangles, competition, athletes
  • Protagonist description: female, white, age 16

NEW BOOK RELEASES FEBRUARY 2022 — WEEK 2 —  MIDDLE GRADES

Loyalty by Avi

When his father is killed by rebel vigilantes, Noah flees with his family to Boston.

Intent on avenging his father, Noah becomes a spy for the British and firsthand witness to the power of partisan rumor to distort facts, the hypocrisy of men who demand freedom while enslaving others, and the human connections that bind people together regardless of stated allegiances.

Awash in contradictory information and participating in key events leading to the American Revolution, Noah must forge his own understanding of right and wrong and determine for himself where his loyalty truly lies.

SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): historical fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 4-8
  • Themes: death of a parent (father), murder, Boston, Massachusetts, American Revolution, propaganda, slavery, freedom, spies, England, Sons of Liberty
  • Protagonist description: boy, age 13, white, American

The Witch Sword, and the Cursed Knights by Alexandria Rogers

Twelve-year-old Ellie can’t help that she’s a witch, the most hated member of society. Determined to prove her worth and eschew her heritage, Ellie applies to the Fairy Godmother Academy–her golden ticket to societal acceptance. But Ellie’s dreams are squashed when she receives the dreaded draft letter to serve as a knight of King Arthur’s legendary Round Table. She can get out of the draft–but only if she saves a lost cause.

Enter Caedmon, a boy from Wisconsin struggling with the death of his best friend. He first dismisses the draft as ridiculous; magic can’t possibly exist. But when Merlin’s ancient magic foretells his family’s death if he doesn’t follow through, he travels to the knights’ castle, where he learns of a wicked curse leeching the knights of their power.

To break the curse, Ellie and Caedmon must pass a series of deathly trials and reforge the lost, shattered sword of Excalibur. And unless Ellie accepts her witch magic and Caedmon rises to become the knight he’s meant to be, they will both fail–and the world will fall to the same darkness that brought King Arthur and Camelot to ruin.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): fantasy, adventure
  • Recommended for: Grades 4-8
  • Themes: witches, fairy godmothers, schools, magic, King Arthur, knights, Wisconsin, Merlin, curses, Camelot
  • Protagonist description: boy and girl, both age 12, both white

*Dream, Annie, Dream by Waka T. Brown

As the daughter of immigrants who came to America for a better life, Annie Inoue was raised to dream big. And at the start of seventh grade, she’s channeling that irrepressible hope into becoming the lead in her school play.

So when Annie lands an impressive role in the production of The King and I, she’s thrilled…until she starts to hear grumbles from her mostly white classmates that she only got the part because it’s an Asian play with Asian characters. Is this all people see when they see her? Is this the only kind of success they’ll let her have–one that they can tear down or use race to belittle?

Disheartened but determined, Annie channels her hurt into a new dream: showing everyone what she’s made of.

Booklist and Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-7
  • Themes: immigration, theater, basketball, school stories, Asian stereotypes, typecasting, racism, prejudice, discrimination
  • Protagonist description: female, 7th grader, age 12, Japanese American

The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q. Raúf

Getting in trouble is what Hector does best. He knows that not much is expected of him. In fact, he gets some of his most brilliant prank ideas while sitting in detention.

But how far is too far? When Hector plays a prank on a homeless man and is seen and shamed by a schoolmate, he reaches a turning point. He wants to be viewed differently and decides to do something that will change his fate for the better. But will anyone take him seriously?

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-7
  • Themes: pranks, getting into trouble, homelessness, kindness, changing bad behavior, changing a bad reputation, bullying, friendship, middle children, London, England, false accusations
  • Protagonist description: boy, age 10, English, no race given

A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow

Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears,” that sparkle on the Caribbean beaches of St. Rita. So when Kela and her friend Lissy stumble across an ancient-looking comb in a coral cave, with all she’s already lost, Kela can’t help but bring home her very own found treasure.

Far away, deep in the cold ocean, the mermaid Ophidia can feel that her comb has been taken. And despite her hatred of all humans, her magic requires that she make a bargain: the comb in exchange for a wish.

But what Kela wants most is for her mother to be alive. And a wish that big will exact an even bigger price…

  • Genre(s): fantasy
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-7
  • Themes: Caribbean islands, Caribbean folklore, grief, death of a parent (mother), theft of property, mermaids, granting wishes, magic, alternating viewpoints
  • Protagonist description: Alternates between female, age 12, Black, Caribbean and a mermaid

The View from the Very Best House in Town by Meera Trehan

Sam and Asha. Asha and Sam. Their friendship is so long established, they take it for granted. Just as Asha takes for granted that Donnybrooke, the mansion that sits on the highest hill in Coreville, is the best house in town. But when Sam is accepted into snobbish Castleton Academy as an autistic “Miracle Boy,” he leaves Asha, who is also autistic, to navigate middle school alone.

He also leaves her wondering if she can take anything for granted anymore. Because soon Sam is spending time with Prestyn, Asha’s nemesis, whose family owns Donnybrooke and, since a housewarming party gone wrong, has forbidden Asha to set foot inside. Who is Asha without Sam? And who will she be when it becomes clear that Prestyn’s interest in her friend isn’t so friendly?

Told from the points of view of Asha, Sam, and Donnybrooke itself, this suspenseful and highly original debut explores issues of ableism and classism as it delves into the mysteries of what makes a person a friend and a house a home.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-7
  • Themes: autism, elite private schools, best friends, middle school, social class, alternating viewpoints, unique viewpoints, inanimate object as narrator, classism, mansion, bullying
  • Protagonist description: female, autistic, Hindu, Indian; boy, autistic, white

NEW BOOK RELEASES FEBRUARY 2022 — WEEK 2 — PICTURE BOOKS

 

*Powwow Day by Traci Sorell (Author) and Madelyn Goodnight (Illustrator)

River wants so badly to dance at powwow day as she does every year. In this uplifting and contemporary picture book perfect for beginning readers, follow River’s journey from feeling isolated after an illness to learning the healing power of community.

Additional information explains the history and functions of powwows, which are commonplace across the United States and Canada and are open to both Native Americans and non-Native visitors. Author Traci Sorell is a member of the Cherokee Nation, and illustrator Madelyn Goodnight is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

Kirkus and SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: Native Americans, community, powwows, tradition, dancing, drums, illness, healing
  • Protagonist description: young female, Native American

Once Upon a Forest by Pam Fong

After a fire leaves the forest smoldering, a determined marmot and her resourceful bird friend set off on a rescue mission in this beautifully illustrated, wordless story.

They clear away fallen branches and scorched bushes. They rake and dig and plant new seedlings in the earth. With determination and ingenuity, as the seasons pass, they care for the little trees by making sure they have enough water, protect their branches from the wind and snow, and keep away hungry creatures, until the trees can thrive on their own.

With a little time, care, and hope we all can help the earth.

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): wordless picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: forest fires, woodland animals, rescue, recovery, renewal, community, determination, seasons, Earth Day, conservation
  • Protagonist description: marmot and bird

Also by E.B. Goodale

A moving story that follows one family through generations of time spent together and shows readers that memories allow us to connect to the past, the present, and also each other.

This gorgeously illustrated book explores the power of memory, teaches children subtle lessons about the passing of time, and celebrates the cherished bonds we share with those we love.

SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: family, generations, memories, connection, passing of time, Mother’s Day
  • Protagonist description: girl, mother, grandmother, all white

*Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl (Author) and Patricia Metola (Illustrator)

Britta visits her two favorite trees, Apple and Magnolia, every day. Though she can’t explain it, she’s sure they are best friends! Then one day, Magnolia’s branches start to droop. Is there anything Britta–or Apple–can do to help? After all, unusual friendships can be the most powerful of all.

With a lyrical story and vibrant art, Apple and Magnolia unveils the extraordinary connections between trees and the wondrous bonds between all living things. The book includes an author’s note offering facts about how trees communicate with one another. This book also includes a downloadable discussion guide on the publisher’s website.

Booklist and SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: trees, conservation, friendship, nature, science, data collection, scientific method
  • Protagonist description: young girl, brown-skinned

Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty (Author) and David Roberts (Illustrator)

It’s cleaning day, but the family cat will do anything to avoid getting a bath. So instead of mopping the floor or feeding the fish, the family is soon busy rocking the rug, vacuuming the lawn, and sweeping the dishes. Bouncy rhyme carries the story headlong into the growing hilarity, until finally Dad restores some kind of order–but will the cat avoid getting his whiskers wet?

Horn Book starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book, humor
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 1
  • Themes: bath time, cats, storytime, silly stories, rhyming books
  • Protagonist description: biracial family with two dads

Out of a Jar by Deborah Marcero

Follow-up to In a Jar. Llewellyn does not like to feel afraid or sad, angry, lonely, or embarrassed. And so he comes up with a brilliant plan: he tucks each of his feelings into jars and hides them away where they won’t bother him anymore. But when he gets in trouble in class, Llewellyn finds he needs to put away excitement too.

And when joy is quickly followed by disappointment, he decides to get rid of joy as well. After a while, Llewellyn walks around not feeling much of anything at all. And what happens when his emotions refuse to be bottled up any longer?

SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: emotions, feelings, anger, sadness, loneliness, embarrassment, excitement, disappointment, joy, social-emotional music
  • Protagonist description: white rabbit

*Tiny Cedric by Sally Lloyd-Jones (Author) and Rowboat Watkins (Illustrator)

Tiny Cedric, King ME the First has banished anyone taller than him from his palace. Which is everyone, basically.

The only ones left are the babies. And now they’re in charge of the Royal Duties!

How will Cedric cope–especially now that he must kiss boo-boos and read bedtime stories? Will he become a kinder, gentler, BIGGER king?

Publishers Weekly and SLJ starred. For older readers, use this as an allegory of powerful people making foolish decisions based on discriminatory.

  • Genre(s): picture book, humor
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: corruption, height, tallness, community, foolish leadership, kings, absurdity, allegory
  • Protagonist description: male king, very short, red curly hair

 

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 new book releases 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.

Click here to see my previous lists of New Book Releases.

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