LIBRARY IDEA FOR SEPTEMBER:

HISTORY OF BOOK CENSORSHIP: This presentation is perfect for Banned Books Week or as an introduction to book burning in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. The slides give a brief history of nine censorship and book banning incidents in world history.

Currently Reading...

BOOK OF NIGHTCharlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make.

She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall…

YOU MIGHT LIKE...

Library Challenge #1 tasks you with an annual review (or maybe your first review) of your library's Selection and Reconsideration Policies.

LIBRARY CHALLENGE #1 Are library book challenges scary? I think so! But they are much less scary when you have a strong plan. When you know exactly what to do

Read More »
This article is 10 essential tips for new school librarians. These are the 10 things you should do FIRST in your new school library.

You’ve landed a brand new school librarian job–congratulations! All summer, you’ve looked forward to standing in the middle of your very own library, taking a deep breath, and reveling in

Read More »
This is a collection of fun ideas for middle school library orientation. Even if you don't use the ideas, the videos are a lot of fun to watch!

Ahh, the first day of school! Call me crazy, but I’ve always loved it! I will see my first middle school library orientation classes this Wednesday. We have a book

Read More »

New Release Spotlight: Best YA Books March 2022

Welcome to the Best YA Books March 2022 list! As often happens with my New Release Spotlight lists, the YA list is lengthy! Every book on this list received at least one starred review, with nearly all of the books listed below earning at least two starred reviews from professional library journal reviewers.

I also have Best Middle Grade Books March 2022 and Best Picture Books March 2022 if you prefer those lists.

Remember that this Spotlight reflects only titles from March 8-March 31. I already did a separate Spotlight for March 1st titles, which also features strong YA titles.

This week’s Spotlight titles are #2370-#2381 on The Ginormous book list.

*Diamond Park by Phillippe Diederich

Flaco isn’t the kind of kid who gets in trouble. He doesn’t want to give his mom or his aunt Ana Flor any grief–they’ve had enough since his cousin Carlos died serving in Afghanistan.

But Flaco finds a whole lot more trouble than he bargained for when he and his friends Tiny, Magaña, and Susi ride the bus from their Houston neighborhood to Diamond Park to buy a used car. And not just any car–a 1959 Impala convertible, a dream car.

The transaction gets complicated fast, and Susi ends up with a knife in her hands, covered in blood. When Tiny has to disappear to avoid ICE, Flaco and Magaña head south in the Impala to set things right. In a wildly impetuous move, the two boys cross into Mexico hunting for a trafficker named Anaconda, the man they believe is the real killer, to clear Susi’s name.

Booklist and SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction, mystery, thriller
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: friendship, murder, Houston, Texas, Mexico, family, immigration, police, Spanish language, road trips, racism, stereotypes, poverty, narcos, drug dealers, mental health, misogyny
  • Protagonist description: male, Mexican-American, high school senior

*A Forgery of Roses by Jessica S. Olson

Myra has a gift many would kidnap, blackmail, and worse to control: she’s a portrait artist whose paintings alter people’s bodies. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone. But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son.

Once she arrives at the legendary stone mansion, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. A killer stalks these halls–one disturbingly obsessed with portrait magic. Desperate to get out of the manor as quickly as possible, Myra turns to the governor’s older son for help completing the painting before the secret she spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.

Kirkus and SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): historical fantasy
  • Recommended for: Grades 7+
  • Themes: artists, painters, magic, powers, necromancy, death, murder, The Picture of Dorian Gray, anxiety, anachronisms, corruption
  • Protagonist description: female, age 18, white

*Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram

Hunter never expected to be a boy band star, but, well, here he is. He and his band Kiss & Tell are on their first major tour of North America, playing arenas all over the United States and Canada (and getting covered by the gossipy press all over North America as well). Hunter is the only gay member of the band, and he just had a very painful breakup with his first boyfriend–leaked sexts, public heartbreak, and all–and now everyone expects him to play the perfect queer role model for teens.

But Hunter isn’t really sure what being the perfect queer kid even means. Does it mean dressing up in whatever The Label tells him to wear for photo shoots and pretending never to have sex? (Unfortunately, yes.) Does it mean finding community among the queer kids at the meet-and-greets after K&T’s shows? (Fortunately, yes.) Does it include a new relationship with Kaivan, the drummer for the band opening for K&T on tour? (He hopes so.) But when The Label finds out about Hunter and Kaivan, it spells trouble–for their relationship, for the perfect gay boy Hunter plays for the cameras, and, most importantly, for Hunter himself.

THREE starred reviews!

  • Genre(s): romance, realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: boy bands, fame, musicians, queer, LGBTQIA+, social media, celebrities, homophobia, racism
  • Protagonist description: male, age 17, gay, white, Canadian

*Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao

Debut author/artist! After spending her early years in Wuhan, China, riding water buffalos and devouring stinky tofu, Laura immigrates to Texas, where her hometown is as foreign as Mars–at least until 2020, when COVID-19 makes Wuhan a household name.

In Messy Roots, Laura illustrates her coming-of-age as the girl who simply wants to make the basketball team, escape Chinese school, and figure out why girls make her heart flutter.

THREE starred reviews!

  • Genre(s): memoir, graphic novel, nonfiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 8-12
  • Themes: Wuhan, China, Coppell, Texas, COVID-19, prejudice, discrimination, basketball, LGBTQIA+
  • Protagonist description: female, Chinese American, queer

*Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore

Everyone who lives near the lake knows the stories about the world underneath it, an ethereal landscape rumored to be half-air, half-water. But Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia are the only ones who’ve been there. Bastián grew up both above the lake and in the otherworldly space beneath it. Lore’s only seen the world under the lake once, but that one encounter changed their life and their fate.

Then the lines between air and water begin to blur. The world under the lake drifts above the surface. If Bastián and Lore don’t want it bringing their secrets to the surface with it, they have to stop it, and to do that, they have to work together. There’s just one problem: Bastián and Lore haven’t spoken in seven years, and working together means trusting each other with the very things they’re trying to hide.

THREE starred reviews! This is a great title for libraries looking to increase representation in library materials.

  • Genre(s): fantasy
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: lakes, local folklore, underwater worlds, secrets, childhood friends, LGBTQIA+, ADHD, dyslexia, neurodivergence
  • Protagonist description: two teens; one is a transmasculine nonbinary boy; the other is genderfluid and nonbinary

*The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson

On her eighteenth birthday, Hilde leaves her orphanage in 1930s Berlin, and heads out into the world to discover her place in it. But finding a job is hard, at least until she stumbles into Café Lila, a vibrant cabaret full of expressive customers. Rosa, one of the club’s waitresses and performers, immediately takes Hilde under her wing. As the café denizens slowly embrace Hilde, and she embraces them in turn, she discovers her voice and her own blossoming feelings for Rosa.

But Berlin is in turmoil. Between the elections, protests in the streets, worsening antisemitism and anti-homosexual sentiment, and the beginning seeds of unrest in Café Lila itself, Hilde will have to decide what’s best for her future…and what it means to love a place on the cusp of war.

Kirkus and SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): historical fiction, free verse
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: anti-Semitism, homophobia, , Berlin, teens with jobs, LGBTQIA+, pre-WWII Germany, orphans, Jews, discrimination, betrayal, 1930s, Weimar Era
  • Protagonist description: female, age 18, orphan, white, Catholic, German

*Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson

Jamal Lawson just wanted to be a part of something. As an aspiring journalist, he packs up his camera and heads to Baltimore to document a rally protesting police brutality after another Black man is murdered.

But before it even really begins, the city implements a new safety protocol…the Dome. The Dome surrounds the city, forcing those within to subscribe to a total militarized shutdown. No one can get in, and no one can get out.

Alone in a strange place, Jamal doesn’t know where to turn…until he meets hacker Marco, who knows more than he lets on, and Catherine, an AWOL basic-training-graduate, whose parents helped build the initial plans for the Dome.

As unrest inside of Baltimore grows throughout the days-long lockdown, Marco, Catherine, and Jamal take the fight directly to the chief of police. But the city is corrupt from the inside out, and it’s going to take everything they have to survive.

THREE starred reviews! The summary will be easy to explain in a booktalk, and the topic is timely and of interest to many teens. Consider ordering more than one copy.

  • Genre(s): dystopia, science fiction, thriller
  • Recommended for: Grades 8-12
  • Themes: journalism, police brutality, #BLM, Black Lives Matter, city-wide lockdown, civil unrest, militarized state, Marshall law, computer hacking, corruption, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Protagonist description: male, age 17, Black, gay, American

*The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart

It’s been three months since The Night on the Bathroom Floor–when Lily found her older sister Alice hurting herself. Ever since then, Lily has been desperately trying to keep things together, for herself and for her family. But now Alice is coming home from her treatment program and it is becoming harder for Lily to ignore all of the feelings she’s been trying to outrun.

Enter Micah, a new student at school with a past of his own. He was in treatment with Alice and seems determined to get Lily to process not only Alice’s experience, but her own. Because Lily has secrets, too. Compulsions she can’t seem to let go of and thoughts she can’t drown out.

When Lily and Micah embark on an art project for school involving finding poetry in unexpected places, she realizes that it’s the words she’s been swallowing that desperately want to break through.

THREE starred reviews!

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction, romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: sisters, mental health, mental illness, anxiety, self-harm, found poetry, impact of mental health on family members, bipolar disorder
  • Protagonist description: female, age 16, white

*Squire by Nadia Shammas (Author) and Sara Alfageeh (Author, Illustrator)

Aiza has always dreamt of becoming a Knight. It’s the highest military honor in the once-great Bayt-Sajji Empire, and as a member of the subjugated Ornu people, Knighthood is her only path to full citizenship. Ravaged by famine and mounting tensions, Bayt-Sajji finds itself on the brink of war once again, so Aiza can finally enlist in the competitive Squire training program.

It’s not how she imagined it, though. Aiza must navigate new friendships, rivalries, and rigorous training under the unyielding General Hende, all while hiding her Ornu background. As the pressure mounts, Aiza realizes that the “greater good” that Bayt-Sajji’s military promises might not include her, and that the recruits might be in greater danger than she ever imagined.

In this breathtaking and timely story, Aiza will have to choose, once and for all: loyalty to her heart and heritage, or loyalty to the Empire.

FOUR starred reviews! I just ordered this for my 15-year old son!

  • Genre(s): fantasy, graphic novel
  • Recommended for: Grades 8-12
  • Themes: knights, famine, war, training programs, oppression, military, Middle East, North Africa, alternate history, prejudice
  • Protagonist description: female, brown skin, member of an oppressed ethnic group

*Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters

School’s out, senior year is over, and Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where–despite his social anxiety–he’ll be left to make friends on his own.

Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. The way it should be.

But when an unexpected run-in with Davi–Isaac’s old crush–distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan.

It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

Booklist and Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: summer after graduation, social anxiety, comic convention, Pride, Georgia (state), LGBTQIA+, love triangles
  • Protagonist description: male, age 18, Mexican and Black, gay, American; two male love interests are Brazilian and Puerto Rican

*Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried to Commit the Perfect Crime by Candace Fleming

In 1924, eighteen-year-old college students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb made a decision: they would commit the perfect crime by kidnapping and murdering a child they both knew. But they made one crucial error: as they were disposing of the body of young Bobby Franks, whom they had bludgeoned to death, Nathan’s eyeglasses fell from his jacket pocket.

Multi-award-winning author Candace Fleming depicts every twist and turn of this harrowing case–how two wealthy, brilliant young men planned and committed what became known as the crime of the century, how they were caught, why they confessed, and how the renowned criminal defense attorney Clarence Darrow enabled them to avoid the death penalty.

FOUR starred reviews! This is another title that will be easy to booktalk.

  • Genre(s): narrative nonfiction, true crime
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: crime, kidnapping, murder, forensics, 1920s, true crime, Clarence Darrow, death penalty, homophobia, anti-Semitism, law, ethics, punishment, morality, Chicago, Illinois
  • Protagonist description: two teen males, white, privileged

*Close-Up on War: The Story of Pioneering Photojournalist Catherine Leroy in Vietnam by Mary Cronk Farrell

Close-Up on War tells the story of French-born Catherine Leroy, one of the war’s few woman photographers, who documented some of the fiercest fighting in the 20-year conflict. Although she had no formal photographic training and had never traveled more than a few hundred miles from Paris before, Leroy left home at age 21 to travel to Vietnam and document the faces of war.

Despite being told that women didn’t belong in a “man’s world,” she was cool under fire, gravitated toward the thickest battles, went along on the soldiers’ slogs through the heat and mud of the jungle, crawled through rice paddies, and became the only official photojournalist to parachute into combat with American soldiers. Leroy took striking photos that gave America no choice but to look at the realities of war–showing what it did to people on both sides–from wounded soldiers to civilian casualties.

Later, Leroy was gravely wounded from shrapnel, but that didn’t keep her down more than a month. When captured by the North Vietnamese in 1968, she talked herself free after photographing her captors, scoring a cover story in Life magazine. A recipient of the George Polk Award, one of the most prestigious awards in journalism, Leroy was one of the most well-known photographers in the world during her time, and her legacy of bravery and compassion endures today.

Farrell interviewed people who knew Leroy, as well as military personnel and other journalists who covered the war. In addition to a foreword by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Peter Arnot, the book includes a preface, author’s note, endnotes, bibliography, timeline, and index.

Kirkus and Booklist starred. Pair with Julia Billet’s graphic novel Catherine’s War, which is also about a female war photographer (though not the same Catherine or the same war).

  • Genre(s): narrative nonfiction, biography
  • Recommended for: Grades 6-12
  • Themes: photography, journalism, war, Vietnam War, traditional gender roles, 1960s, US history, world history, Women’s History Month
  • Protagonist description: female, French, white, age 21

The Wolves Are Waiting by Natasha Friend

Before the night of the Frat Fair, 15-year-old Nora Melchionda’s life could have been a Gen-Z John Hughes movie. She had a kind-of boyfriend, a spot on the field hockey team, good grades, and a circle of close friends. Of course there were bumps in the road: she and her lifelong BFF Cam were growing apart and her mother was trying to clone her into wearing sensible khakis instead of showy short skirts. But none of that mattered, because Nora always had her dad, Rhett Melchionda, on her side. Rhett was not only Nora’s hero, but as the Athletic Director of Faber College, he was idolized by everyone she knew.

Now, Nora would give anything to go back to that life. The life before whatever happened on the golf course.

She doesn’t want to talk about it–not that she could, because she doesn’t remember anything–and insists that whatever happened was nothing. Cam, though, tries to convince Nora to look for evidence and report the incident to the police. And then there’s Adam Xu, who found Nora on the golf course and saw her at her most vulnerable. She ignores it all, hoping it will all go away. But when your silence might hurt other people, hiding is no longer an option.

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: sexual assault, college fraternities, “boys will be boys”, crime cover-ups, university life, fathers and daughters, misogyny, rape culture, family
  • Protagonist description: female, age 15, white

 

THIS WEEK’S SEQUELS (YA):

 

RELATED POSTS:

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. On Tuesdays, 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.

0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop