Books & Books

Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress by Leanne Hatch

I love the concept behind this adorable story. We’re big fans of recycling, reusing and giving new life to old things in our household, and I think anyone open to the idea would enjoy having this book in their at-home story time rotation.

Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress by Leanne Hatch, (List Price: $17.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593354483, June 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Emily Henry has done it again and stolen my heart completely with her two main leads. In this one, a literary agent and a book editor end up stuck together in his tiny hometown, which happens to be the whimsical setting in the bestselling book she agents for– one he gave a scathing rejection to upon their very first meeting. It’s a “we think we’re enemies” but are actually idiots-to-lovers who perfectly fit each other kind of story. Henry is the unquestioned queen of banter, but this is probably her wittiest, most laugh-out-loud funny book to date. I had so much fun reading BOOK LOVERS.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry, (List Price: $17, Berkley, 9780593334836, May 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero

Lovers of history, poetry, and myth will find themselves in awe of R.M. Romero’s young adult debut. The story of Ilana Lopez, a Jewish Latina from Miami sent to stay with her aunt in Prague, is inspired by the author’s very real time spent restoring Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe, and rings true because of this even through its layers of story magic. The Ghosts of Rose Hill is by turns glittering, dark, enchanting and haunting.

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero, (List Price: $18.99, Peachtree Teen, 9781682633380, May 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Reclaim the Stars by Zoraida Córdova

Reclaim the Stars is a knockout collection of young adult SFF short stories from voices of the Latin American diaspora. Each story feels personal, powerful & stands strong on its own, but I love the marvelous tapestry this book creates by binding them all up.


Reclaim the Stars by Zoraida Córdovas, (List Price: $19.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250790637, February 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida


Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos

This wordless, gorgeous graphic novel is stunning in its delivery of a story that lives so close to my heart: exile and assimilation after leaving 1960s Cuba. On a personal level, this book’s very existence feels like a major triumph but I think it will reach any reader who picks it up. Hand Isla to Island to fans of Victoria Jamieson & Nidhi Chanani. I can’t wait for more work from Alexis Castellanos!

Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos, (List Price: $12.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers 9781534469235,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell from Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL

Oona and the Shark by Kelly DiPucchio, Raissa Figueroa

Oona is back! And with sharks! What could be better?! I am endlessly charmed by the gorgeous illustrations in these wonderfully written picture books. Kelly DiPucchio and Raissa Figueroa are a picture book dream team.

Oona and the Shark by Kelly DiPucchio & Raissa Figueroa, (List Price: $17.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063071421, January 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut

In this fascinating blend of essay and fiction, Labatut explores the nature of scientific discovery and the consequences of coming face to face with what we cannot understand. While there was quite a bit that I didn’t understand (quantum mechanics!!) I was fascinated and transfixed. Labatut’s prose is mesmerizing and I cannot wait to see what he does next.

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut, (List Price: $17.95, New York Review Books, 9781681375663, September 2021)

Reviewed by Gaël LeLamer, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida


The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld

Count on me to fall in love with a quirky fairy tale any day of the week. But I mean, what in the world cannot be achieved by a girl who becomes a log when she’s asleep, her robot brother, a sweet family of beetles, and a clever witch? I adore this graphic novel-style picture book full of sibling love and weird vibes that manages to feel cozy-classic and totally brand new at once.

The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld, (List Price: 18.99, Neal Porter Books, 9780823446988, August 2021)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland has written another YA novel that gets to the root of things and unearths the magic that was always there, waiting for us: this is her special power. Where Sia Martinez’s story brought us new worlds, Moon Fuentez’s story powerfully dissects our current one; the everyday magic of fireweed, moths, dragonflies, mulberries, and salt burst off the page in Vasquez Gilliland’s kaleidoscopic prose. How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe is also a story of sisterhood and grief, of trauma and religion, of abuse and mental health, but at its heart lives a romance of epic proportion. Moon Fuentez is the beautiful, artistic, fat, witchy Latinx heroine that we all need and I adore her gorgeous love story.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, (List Price: 19.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534448667, August 2021)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Malice by Heather Walter

A Spring 2021 Read This Next! Title

Malice by Heather Walter
Del Rey, April

Maleficent is one of the ‘villains’ of literature who has seen the most retellings in pop culture but I can confidently say that this is my favorite thus far. There is so much to love about this feminist, sapphic take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. Alyce & Aurora are glorious, nuanced characters and their romance is a darkly glittering thing of beauty. This one is perfect for fans of Naomi Novik’s retellings & Holly Black’s Folk of the Air books.

– Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore is one of the most gifted fantasy writers of our time. When this book opened from the perspective of a many-tentacled sea creature at the bottom of the ocean, I was surprised and delighted to find myself completely comfortable knowing that this chapter would fit with the larger story so very satisfyingly. And I was right, of course. I am overwhelmed by my love for the Graceling realm and the brilliant way that Cashore has expanded on the world with each of the novels, building such strong, full characters and gorgeous wrought lore along the way. And now there are telepathic blue foxes! And silbercows! And The Keeper! And they all feel more real than my own world, having finished this novel so recently. I hold WINTERKEEP and Lovisa just as close to my heart as I do GRACELING, FIRE & BITTERBLUE and I really will read anything that Kristin Cashore writes.

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore (List Price: $19.99, Dial Press, 9780803741508, January 2021)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

In Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Lily Hu and Kath Miller are gorgeously rendered against the glittering backdrop of San Francisco, escaping into the night for The Telegraph Club where they find themselves staring down a sort of freedom that they know they cannot leave behind. From the very first page, this is a novel that feels so incredibly full and rich with historical details and simmers with yearning and tension I simply could not put it down. Delving into the realities of 1950’s Chinese America identity, queer culture, McCarthyism & women in STEM, Lo has crafted a historical fiction novel of the absolute highest caliber.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (List Price: $18.99, Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780525555254, 1/19/2021)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite

Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite have done it again, and more, with their sophomore novel, One of the Good Ones. This book kept me up into the early morning hours, furiously flipping pages, needing to know where things would end up for the Smith sisters. The story takes you on a real journey, jumping through history and back again, dissecting race relations in America with an unflinching eye; it is beautifully written, heartbreaking, disturbing and yet, ultimately, hopeful. I can’t recommend it enough.

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite (List Price: $18.99, Inkyard Press, 9781335145802, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

The Project by Courtney Summers

A Winter 2021 Read This Next! Title

The Project by Courtney Summers
Wednesday Books, February

Courtney Summers is back with another electric gut punch of a novel and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have once again found myself a quivering mass of emotion after turning the last page of The Project. Only Courtney can perfectly encapsulate the dueling states of fragility & ferocity that exist within young women when they find themselves alone in a world that isn’t designed to protect them from harm. I dare you to pick up this brilliant novel about two sisters and a mysterious cult–you won’t be able to set it down again.

— Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL

Scroll to Top